Phew, I am so glad that's over. I can't believe I actually made it through all those pages, I'm sure I wouldn't have done if I hadn't set myself the...more Phew, I am so glad that's over. I can't believe I actually made it through all those pages, I'm sure I wouldn't have done if I hadn't set myself the challenge of reading every monthly book club read chosen by one of my groups. Ugh. Seriously, just ugh. I have read some dismal books in the young adult paranormal genre, books that have been boring or annoying or have offended me, but I think I can honestly say this is up there with some of the worst books I've ever read. Everything about this book aggravated me in one way or another, from the ridiculous length of it to the male protagonist who's about as convincingly male as estrogen pills. I couldn't even concentrate on the story for the most part because I kept picturing Ethan as a thirty-something woman.
There are some things I'm going to rant about that may not have bothered me several years ago before Twilight came along, waving its cliche banners, and I appreciate that some people might find this slightly unfair seeing as this novel was released four years before the saga*. Well, unfortunately, I can only tell you what I thought of this book now, not speculate on what I might have thought if I'd read it a few years earlier. And, this fact aside, other things have nothing to do with when it was written or its similarities with other novels that have since been released from this genre. Like the fact that Ethan pisses me off and is a terrible attempt at writing a teenage male voice.
So, let's get the whole "this is like every other paranormal young adult book" thing out of the way. There were one or two additions to the witchy aspect of it that felt somewhat original but the general pattern of this novel with the romance and the carbon copy characters was predictable and, therefore, boring. No one likes a boring read and it's especially annoying when the book is nearly 600 pages long. Shall I check the usual paranormal YA criteria off for you? Small town... check. New girl... check. Boring holier-than-thou protagonist... check. Everlasting love after a very small amount of time... check. I don't know if this counts as instalove but it certainly counts as instaweirdobsession, full of laughable musings like "there's just something about her that makes me know it's meant to be" (hopefully, it's obvious that this is not a direct quote).
I thought that this book might be a little more original because of the uncommon choice to have a male protagonist, but everything is still exactly the same. Now, though, instead of a girl-next-door type, you have a boy-next-door type who sails along in his faultlessness, constantly comparing himself to the less intelligent and morally-questionable beings he must interact with every day. Ethan even treats us to a rare bout of what I can only call male slut-shaming; he criticises his male peers for having one-track minds and wanting to get off with girls when he is looking for something more meaningful... good for him, but why does that make him any better than the rest? He is actually an exact male version of many paranormal YA protagonists who criticise the popular girls for being more relaxed with their sexuality.
Not only that, but he also insults the other members of his Southern US town. The novel plays heavily on Southern stereotypes and portrays almost everyone but Ethan as being incredibly stupid. Ethan sneers at everyone, he is obviously smarter, has his morals in the right place and is just downright awesome in comparison. He makes it no secret from the very first chapter that he considers himself above them and it made me hate him before the story had even started going anywhere. He even goes so far as to announce that he doesn't have an accent because he was raised by intelligent people... I have two words for him: HATEFUL SNOB. Or FUCK YOU. Either works.
And predictable. This was Predictable with a capital P. We don't even need to meet Lena or even hear her name to realise that she is the one Ethan will end up with. As soon as one of Ethan's classmates asks "have you seen the new girl?" and Ethan begins to wonder if she'll be hot, we know from that point where the whole thing is heading. Sometimes, I'll admit, there's some fun to be had watching a couple angst it out together, even though you know they'll be together eventually, but before we even knew her name? I can't even say that I stopped caring because, truthfully, I never even started. This whole book was just... not good. Not good at all.(less)
2.5 Me and this book went on a strange journey together and the end result was very conflicted feelings.
It all started when I decided I wanted to beco...more
2.5 Me and this book went on a strange journey together and the end result was very conflicted feelings.
It all started when I decided I wanted to become more involved in one of my goodreads groups and actually pay attention to the monthly book reads. In the past, I used the group for challenges and recommendations but didn't participate in the group read-along, so I decided that I would read every book voted for except the ones that a) I had already read or b) I couldn't obtain for whatever reason. I then made my way to the page to see what my first book club read would be and found it was a book I was sent months ago and never read due to the atrocious cover and my belief that it would be little more than an annoying teen romance series that set out to find each hot guy a girlfriend with every volume. This book was Storm. But, even with my reservations, I can't resist challenging myself to something I wouldn't normally pick so I settled down to give this novel a try.
And at first I was very pleasantly surprised. I found myself devouring chapter after chapter and enjoying all aspects of the story. I liked Becca, I liked Hunter, I liked the Merrick brothers, I liked the urban fantasy aspect of it that wasn't neglected even with the book's romantic focus. Being someone who isn't usually a fan of young adult romance, I couldn't believe how quickly I became interested in these characters and their relationships with one another. The banter is superb, I love a touch of witty sarcasm to make me laugh. Plus, ridiculous good looks aside, the Merrick brothers seemed to be realistic portraits of teen boys.
Secondly, the main character/heroine can make or break a book like this and Becca immediately got into my good books by saving Chris Merrick in the very first chapter - no damsels in distress here. But she also has weaknesses and flaws so she isn't allowed to fall perfectly into a predesignated mold called "kickass heroine". Becca starts off so well that I think this was why it became all the more disappointing later on when she began to change into someone who criticises other women for what they are wearing and behaves stupidly on numerous occasions.
The nasty girls in this novel can be spotted by their revealing clothing ("boobs were going to explode from the neckline of her shirt in a minute") and their tendency to hang drooling all over the Merrick brothers. There seems to be a suggested relationship between sexual promiscuity (implied or otherwise) and evilness in Storm. Characterization ends with descriptions of their slutty clothing and behaviour. Oh, and they're all cheerleaders. I'm being serious when I say this: can someone please explain to me this obsession with cheerleaders? I live in England and don't know any schools that actually have cheerleaders but they're so popular in American movies and books. They appear to be a kind of tribe of beautiful, evil women that are out to destroy all other women with their perfect hair and bodies. I don't understand it at all.
The saddest thing is that this story could easily have been an excellent tale about the "slut issue" and the damaging effects of the war on female sexuality because it starts where Becca has a reputation of being the school slut. Girls won't be associated with her (apart from her one friend) and guys pass lewd notes to her in class, she is rumoured to have slept with most guys in her school but the truth is quite a different story and these rumours are actually lies spread by her ex. This is all fine and dandy but I would ask - what if she had slept around? What does it matter? This isn't tackling the slut issue, it's actually making it worse: everyone thinks she's evil because she's a slut but they're wrong because she's not a slut? No, they're wrong because these matters do not define a person... and that should have been the message.
Not surprisingly, this is not an issue that both genders experience and the author does nothing to challenge the double standard. The Merrick brothers are supposed to appear even more sexy because of the comment about it being a common occurrence to find a random girl in the house for one of them. Yet, despite the little pat on the back the brothers like to give themselves for sexual conquests, Gabriel specifically warns Chris away from Becca because she has "played around the block". Real nice. The sexism makes it impossible to let the good outweigh the bad and it also made it impossible for me to continue to like or care about the Merrick brothers when they behaved like such dicks.
Some spoilers in this paragraph (sorry) Another thing that stood out to me was some of Becca's unrealistic behaviour (in my opinion, anyway). I just don't believe that someone who went through a trauma like that would behave in the way she did and constantly put herself in harm's way again and again after the event. Even her actions in the very first chapter are questionable when you know what she's been through, never mind going to the house of the guy who raped her and getting drunk whilst there or going around the side of a building at night with him. That's not brave, it's just plain stupid, even if I do have to applaud the author for looking into reasons why victims of sexual assault don't always report the incident.
Sadly, after a beginning that made me think I'd been wrong to judge a book by its cover and genre, Storm came full circle and managed to disappoint me anyway. Better luck next month, I hope.(less)
Before I picked this book up, I had so many great feelings about it. Partly because of all the dazzling reviews it has received from my most trusted...more
Before I picked this book up, I had so many great feelings about it. Partly because of all the dazzling reviews it has received from my most trusted GR friends, and partly just because it is sold as exactly the kind of urban fantasy I love: strong heroine, hot supernatural men, "cataclysmic civil war" between the fae... I admit that I was excited enough to buy this book before reading the 4/5 star reviews.
Okay, so what exactly was my problem? I exhale a great big shuddering sigh as I say - for the umpteenth time - this was just never anything special to me. This genre, the urban fantasy genre, is easily one of my favourites when I find a book/series that really appeals to me; they have a way of dragging you into their world and making you care about the characters and lust after the hunky men. But countless times I come across the same old pattern. The Shadow Reader will undoubtedly be loved by hardcore UF fans who actually read these books for that same old pattern that I mentioned. Some people love this format and I'm sure that's why books continue to be written in a very same-y way.
For me, I made the inevitable comparisons to the Fever series and this novel just couldn't compete at all. I'm still waiting for a fae novel that can and I've been starting to believe I won't ever find one. Mckenzie is definitely a strong heroine, but at the end of this book she doesn't feel as well-developed to me as Mac did halfway through Darkfever. The thing I loved most about Mac is that she was a normal young woman, in fact she first appears far more ditzy than most. She doesn't stroll in, sword swinging, and she hasn't been trained for the situation she finds herself in. And yet, she shows that even the ditziest, blondest young women can turn kick-ass if the moment calls for it. This is one thing I love about that series which is very difficult to find in others. PNR heroines are often sappy and pathetic, UF heroines tend to be factory-manufactured warriors. I want to see regular girls and women - like myself - showing that they don't need super powers to be awesome.
I didn't even bother comparing either Kyol or Aren with Barrons because they are a million miles apart in every way. But looking at them on their own they still seem to be rather boring, Kyol's the nice guy and Aren's the bad one. Mckenzie has known (and secretly wanted) Kyol for years, she has known (and secretly wanted) Aren for a couple of weeks. Guess who she chooses here?? Yet another Twilight-style love triangle it would seem. ZZZzzzz....
Yes, so sorry to the people who loved this, I'm not sure why I feel guilty for not loving it too, but I do. The only thing I will say in its favour is that this book reminded me how much I need to re-read the Fever books, so I thank Sandy Williams for that. (less)
So... I realise this might be quite odd, lol, but me and my sister write songs and she sings them. And we wrote a song that was inspired by this book...moreSo... I realise this might be quite odd, lol, but me and my sister write songs and she sings them. And we wrote a song that was inspired by this book and we just uploaded it to youtube if anyone would like to listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saRGQk... We would appreciate any feedback you can give :)
.................................................................................................. “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans.” - Stephen Hawking
The 5th Wave is my first read by Rick Yancey but it certainly won't be my last. This book is an example of what I define as really good science fiction. The sci-fi genre has produced books that I have loved and books that I have hated; I love it in theory, but I am sceptical about it because there is a tendency for the genre to be somewhat... distant. And cold. I don't know how well I can explain this, but sci-fi offers so many exciting things: new technology, aliens, intergalactic battles, etc. but I need something more than that. Perhaps a greater connection with the characters in order for me to be sympathetic towards their situation. Or a touch of some other element like humour or romance. While a novel doesn't always have to be deep and complex for me to enjoy it, I think sci-fi needs to go deeper than simply an alien invasion.
And The 5th Wave does that perfectly. Yancey brings in many different characters - each with very distinct personalities - and explores their individual reactions and experiences after the aliens descend on earth. There's Cassie who has lost almost everything but clings to life with the hope of keeping the promise she made to find her brother. There's Ben Parish who is driven by a desire for revenge against those who murdered his sister, and his own guilt because he was unable to stop them. And there's Evan who may or may not be trustworthy. But there is also an incredible cast of secondary characters too. The emotionally-detached Ringer, Cassie's little brother and Cassie's father - there are no wasted characters here.
But I think the one thing above all else that makes this book so amazingly, nail-bitingly awesome is not the excellent action scenes, the well-developed characters or the moral dilemmas they face; no, it is the sense of never knowing who can be trusted. The author conveys this feeling so well that I became just as tense and suspicious of everyone as the characters were. The aliens can take human bodies, they can look, speak and act exactly like humans - how can the human race win in this situation? How can they form alliances when anyone could be the enemy? Cassie says at one point that it is this lack of trust that is the aliens ultimate weapon; it is that uncertainty which creeps into your mind and makes you wonder if the person sleeping next to you is even human.
Every aspect of this story is told incredibly well, from the action to the characters to the touch of romance. Yancey sets the creepy must-keep-looking-over-your-shoulder mood from the start and keeps it going throughout. His story-telling is superb, whether it's the big, fast-paced, life or death scenes, or the small but equally important events that shape how we view characters and relationships. This book is as mesmerizingly clever as it is addictive and unputdownable. I am so excited for the rest of this series.(less)
Sequel, please? Now? I thought this book was really really good. I would have happily handed out five stars, except for the fact that I had the kille...more
Sequel, please? Now? I thought this book was really really good. I would have happily handed out five stars, except for the fact that I had the killer's identity figured out less than halfway through the book. I feel very sad that Ms Dense seems to have been randomly replaced with Marple, but thankfully this novel is about a lot more than just solving the main mystery.
I actually took longer to read this book than I tend to do, and most of that time was spent on the first few chapters. So I shall be issuing a warning to those who feel underwhelmed at first - stick with this book, it really does get better and better. The problem was, depraved individual that I am, I felt the introduction to the story and characters to be really light. I'm the kind of reader who likes my mysteries dark and full of gore and psychopaths... and Jasper Dent's character reminded me of a much smarter version of Cassel from White Cat. I love Cassel, but he never strikes me as a "serious" character, and this is how I felt towards Jasper. At first.
But it soon became apparent that Barry Lyga really knows how to balance light and dark in a way I'm not even familiar with. There was humour in this book and Jasper Dent was in many ways a regular teenage boy with a best friend and a girlfriend. Since his dad was arrested, he has lived with his grandmother - a woman suffering from the effects of old age and a sometimes cruelly psychotic personality - but this is all rather amusing, instead of tragic. However, the author's ability to suddenly flip the switch between light-hearted teen humour and really dark descriptions of murder and sociopathic tendencies had quite an effect on me. It could have seemed silly and forced, yet for me it just made it more dramatic and disturbing.
Perhaps this is just me because I don't recall reading reviews that have picked up on this dark twistedness. But I honestly thought there was something extremely horrifying and effective about the contrast between light and dark tones in the novel.
Jasper Dent is also a very complex character, he has all kinds of conflicting emotions flying around inside him. He is the kind of person who questions his motives for everything: is he helping someone because he wants to help them? Or is he helping them for what he gets out of it? If a person is brought up knowing only one way of life, are they destined to follow that path? Can they change?
There are a few problems I had with the story. I don't believe the sheriff would really have been that understanding in a real life situation, and I don't believe he wouldn't have been just a tad more suspicious of Jasper in the beginning. Also, would that social worker really have been that concerned for a guy so close to eighteen who could obviously look after himself? I'm not sure they would have.
These things are very small matters that don't actually take anything away from the novel. This is a seriously gripping story... so, you know what you should do: read it! (less)
I can understand why some people might like Fury. It's one of those books that surprises you towards the end and it becomes increasingly darker throu...more
I can understand why some people might like Fury. It's one of those books that surprises you towards the end and it becomes increasingly darker throughout the novel. I did enjoy it. However, I didn't love it anywhere near as well as I thought I would simply because I can point you towards several authors that do what Shirley Marr does but are far better at it.
Raw Blue, for example, is a book that deals with personal trauma as well as family difficulties and it has a similar style of starting after the bad stuff has occurred and letting the reader find out in random flashbacks of memory what actually happened. I like this format and I admit that Shirley Marr uses it in quite an effective way. But she didn't capture that pain, that raw emotion. This was probably because the main "trauma" was experienced by the friend of the narrator and not the protagonist herself. Whatever the reason, it made the whole reading experience a lot less dramatic and effective for me.
Another thing, I mentioned that this book surprises you at the end. I do mean the story, but I also mean by suddenly getting a lot better. I found that I struggled with caring about the plot and characters during some parts earlier on in the novel and would have given it only two stars if there hadn't been the sudden improvement.
I'm also still not sure what I think about the way the characters were portrayed. We are immediately introduced to elitist, bitchy and spoilt rich girls that use "like" way too many times in a sentence and truly believe they were born superior to everyone else. It was annoying but I expected the author to kind of "humanize" them in the way that Melina Marchetta does with characters that you should dislike but don't. I kept waiting to have that moment where I realise that even these spoilt, bitchy girls are just like everyone else in some ways, that they have worries and insecurities and are simply the way they are because of how they've been brought up to be. Though there were some attempts to do this, I didn't think it was particularly effective, especially in comparison to other authors I've read recently, the aforementioned Melina Marchetta, and A.S. King to name a couple.
The novel ended up being 20% teen trauma/crime/heartache and 80% high school politics. The latter is a type of novel that so very rarely works for me anyway and I fear even a very well-written story of that sort would have trouble beating the likes of Courtney Summers, an author who manages to capture teen anger, guilt and sadness in a high school setting better than any I've ever known. Fury spent too much time focusing on cliques, rumours and boys so that what the novel was really about got very small coverage and does not stand out in my mind as an example of this kind of story being handled well.
If you like dark, young adult reads that conclude well even if the rest of the novel is underwhelming... well, Fury could be your next favourite book. (less)
DNF - pg 212 The Miseducation of Cameron Post starts by painting a beautiful picture of rural Montana and childhood, but is too long a novel in my opin...moreDNF - pg 212 The Miseducation of Cameron Post starts by painting a beautiful picture of rural Montana and childhood, but is too long a novel in my opinion. My interest at the start quickly waned as the story became dragged out by periods of extremely slow pacing towards the middle. Eventually, I no longer wished to spend any more time with Cameron and her troubles.(less)
Though the isbn is the same as the one pictured, my edition of this book has a much creepier cover and tagline:
Needless to say, I was completely expec...moreThough the isbn is the same as the one pictured, my edition of this book has a much creepier cover and tagline:
Needless to say, I was completely expecting something a bit dark and twisted, a creepy psychological murder mystery with an outcome I never saw coming. And I got that. But I never expected this book to leave me feeling so... sad. And you know why? Because I cared. Ms French carefully builds up a complex personality for each of her characters, complete with a past, a sense of humour and some serious issues to go with it all, and you can't help but care what happens to the detectives even more than you care what happens with the case.
This would have been five stars easily if it wasn't for one pretty huge issue that everyone who has read the book will understand immediately. For me, it didn't ruin the read and I'm still surprised the average rating has been so negatively affected by it, but it was a pretty ginormous gaping hole that I couldn't completely ignore either.
In The Woods is a deeply psychological read that explores the nature of psychopaths and memory - or lack of. The story is narrated by Rob Ryan, a detective on the Dublin murder squad, who is sent back to his home town in hopes of unravelling the case of a local child murder. A young girl found dead in the very same woods in which Detective Ryan played as a child. But Rob Ryan has a secret. Years ago two of his friends disappeared whilst playing in those woods and whilst he was with them and a witness to whatever happened, he retains no memory of the events. His friends were never found. The question is: will this new case bring back old memories? Is there some piece of evidence that's waited twenty years to be found in those woods?
A case like the one Rob and his partner - Cassie - face would leave a very personal mark on anybody, you cannot investigate the murder and sexual assault of a child and keep it just business as usual. As the investigation progresses and leads the pair in a number of directions only to meet with dead end after dead end, it begins to take its toll on the two detectives, they come out of it very different people from those we knew at the beginning. It seemed a very realistic and rather sad progression.
I'm not saying that every wordy paragraph in this beautifully-written novel was needed, but I personally didn't want them to be taken out. I think the main reason I enjoyed this novel so much was because it is about far more than a murder mystery, it's about all the people involved and how they are affected. And I was honestly on the verge of tears after reading the ending and then reading friends' reviews of the second book in this series and discovering that we never get to hear more from Rob.
There's a touch of love in this book, just a touch, not enough to be called romance. No descriptive sex. No sweet-nothings. And it fucking broke my heart.(less)
Now I finally understand why everyone seems to like this book so much more than the first. You see, The Thief is a wonderful little book filled with...more
Now I finally understand why everyone seems to like this book so much more than the first. You see, The Thief is a wonderful little book filled with excellent writing, an interesting protagonist, an exciting fantasy world and a great big twist near the end. The Queen of Attolia had all of this, but it just had more of everything. It was everything I loved about the first book... on steroids.
Every character and every sentence - damn it, every word even! - is important, serves it's own purpose and is never wasted. This is a characteristic in books that is rare but oh so wonderful when you manage to find it.
Being told in 3rd person, unlike book one which was from Eugenides POV, allows the reader to see the bigger picture and to better understand the world that forms the backdrop of this series and the political relationships between Attolia, Eddis and Sounis. But, oddly, at the same time I felt like we also got to know Eugenides far better than in The Thief, and I loved him all the more in this second installment. He's such a perfectly imperfect character, he's flawed, he's brave without being ridiculously self-sacrificing, he's a little devil and yet you can't do anything but be on his side. Whatever happens to him in the next book has suddenly become very important to me.
And it's not just Eugenides... I mean, how easy would it have been for the author to make the Queen of Attolia nothing more than a villain sat on a foreign throne? But that's not the story Megan Whalen Turner is trying to tell. Like I said, Turner doesn't waste characters and her use of 3rd person in this novel lets us readers see the real queen behind that stone mask of cruelty. Of all the qualities I like characters to have, complexity is quite possibly my favourite.
But I think the book was really sold to me when Turner managed to successfully pull off a romance that surprised me, pleased me and just generally worked without being soppy or cheesy. A young adult novel with romance that doesn't make me cringe? Genius. (less)
4.5 Sometimes a book is just all that much better for being so disgustingly horrible. For not glossing over the gruesome details, for keeping the read...more 4.5 Sometimes a book is just all that much better for being so disgustingly horrible. For not glossing over the gruesome details, for keeping the reader hooked in wide-eyed horror. This is that kind of book. The author doesn't waste his time on niceties, this story's about the harsh realities of survival and the unfortunate lengths that people have to go to in order to just stay alive. This book is nasty and gritty, and yet none of the violence and gore felt gratuitous, and above all else Paolo Bacigalupi is actually an incredible writer.
For those of you - like me - who felt that Ship Breaker was a little bit too much of a "boy book", despite being impressed by the writing and the imagery, I want to let you know that you should have no such concerns about The Drowned Cities. Not only is this a much better book than its predecessor, it has a broader reach. This, in my opinion, is about so much more than high-action scenes to please teen male readers, there are strong messages about war and loyalty and survival.
The story mainly focuses on three individuals, Mahlia, her companion Mouse, and a genetically engineered soldier which combines parts of various animals and human DNA to make the ultimate killing machine (called Tool). War plays a big part in this book, it is what threatens the safety of the characters, what forces them on, what challenges them to make a number of big decisions. Mahlia, with only a stump at the end of her right arm, is already a victim of this war. A war that is a lot more familiar to humanity than most of us would like to think.
To digress slightly, tomorrow I will be taking an exam in international relations and one of the key topics is what we call "new wars". These are a certain type of wars that have been on the rise for the last couple of decades, the kind that sees new technology creating cheap and light weaponry that can be handled by children. Some of these children are five years old when they are recruited and forced to kill or be killed. The relevance? Mahlia and Mouse are children also caught up in a war, a war where the "soldier boys" are nothing but children with attitudes and big guns. Children who've been brainwashed into seeking cruelty and violence - because their only other option was to become a victim. The Drowned Cities may seem to be a futuristic/dystopian novel, but the war that the characters are facing is nothing that hasn't already happened in our world, nothing that isn't happening right now.
This is a very sad, honest tale of war, with particular emphasis on the effect it has on children. There are many questions being asked here that I think Paolo Bacigalupi wants us to seriously consider. It is so easy to forget that children are being forced into this kind of life through fear, not in a different world or dimension, not in a possible future, but right now across the globe. This is a much deeper and thought-provoking book than I imagined and I know I'll be thinking about it for quite some time.(less)
Beautiful words, beautiful stories, beautiful characters... you know, this is just one damn beautiful book. I am in awe of it. Can you fall in love w...more
Beautiful words, beautiful stories, beautiful characters... you know, this is just one damn beautiful book. I am in awe of it. Can you fall in love with a book? If so, I'm guilty. I don't mean to sound condescending to young adult readers (I am one) but this book simply does not deserve the readership that thought Twilight was the best book ever written.
Everything about the marketing and presentation of this book does not convey how truly wonderful it is. Firstly, though the cover illustration is a stunning work of art, I think it tends to immediately appeal to younger readers and rule out an older audience. It's pretty... but it looks like a children's book. Same with the title... it's cute, very cute and it's quite a subtle representation of what the book is about... but again, it sounds like a cutesy Twilight-style romance. Another thing it has in common with the saga is the genre it is categorised in: paranormal romance.
But to say that Twilight and Lips Touch: Three Times are both paranormal romances is like saying tin and platinum are both metals. It's in an entirely different league. And I almost didn't read this because I saw reviews saying the first story was just like Twilight. No, no, no. The very main difference between the two is that Laini Taylor remembers the basic principle of quality writing.
Let's look at Bella Swan for a second... after four books what do we know about her?
1) She's that girl who's in love with a vampire 2) She's that girl who's in love with Edward Cullen 3) She's that girl... um, that's about it.
In one paragraph of that first story called 'Goblin Fruit', that according to some is "just like Twilight", this is Kizzy:
"Kizzy wanted to be a woman who would dive off the prow of a sailboat into the sea, who would fall back in a tangle of sheets, laughing, and who could dance a tango, lazily stroke a leopard with her bare foot, freeze an enemy's blood with her eyes, make promises she couldn't possibly keep, and then shift the world to keep them. She wanted to write memoirs and autograph them at a tiny bookshop in Rome, with a line of admirers snaking down a pink-lit alley. She wanted to make love on a balcony, ruin someone, trade in esoteric knowledge, watch strangers as coolly as a cat. She wanted to be inscrutable, have a drink named after her, a love song written for her, and a handsome adventurer's small airplane, champagne-christened Kizzy, which would vanish one day in a windstorm in Arabia so that she would have to mount a rescue operation involving camels, and wear an indigo veil against the stinging sand, just like the nomads. Kizzy wanted."
YES. In just one paragraph, Laini Taylor has created a far more complex character than Stephenie Meyer ever managed. And let me just say, this book is hard to quote from because the entire thing is a quotable masterpiece, you can find something beautiful in every single paragraph on every single page. I actually took longer than it would normally take me to finish a 250 page young adult novel, and not because it was hard work, but because I would read a few sentences, think "wow", and go back and read it again. And again. My only fault with it is that I finished the last story and wanted to cry because there wasn't any more.
Who is this Laini Taylor who seems to have appeared out of nowhere all of a sudden with her extraordinary writing and her pink hair? I don't know but I do know I'll be getting my hands on her future work if I have to sell my soul in exchange (yeah, that was a bit melodramatic but I haven't come out of fairyland yet). Read this, spread the word. 'tis fantastic! (less)
Here's a book to read if you want to be seriously pissed off. But no, I shouldn't say that, because Sisters in Sanity is actually an excellent read a...more
Here's a book to read if you want to be seriously pissed off. But no, I shouldn't say that, because Sisters in Sanity is actually an excellent read and I'm wanting to sell it to you. So, instead I should say: this is a book to read if you like stories that leave a lasting impression. Or if you want to be introduced to an array of memorable characters. Or if you're sick of books with whiny heroines that base every thought and action around their (probably supernatural) boyfriends. And if you would like to read a book about girls coming together, forming a sisterhood, and ultimately triumphing over the bad guys. Girls who are fat, thin, straight, gay, bi, virgins, or sexually promiscuous; because Gayle Forman has created a literary platform where these differences are not a hindrance to the girls' friendship, but actually what brought them together in the first place.
This book has so many levels to it. On the surface it is about the mistreatment of young women who have shown any hint of individuality and have been thrown into a rehabilitation centre because of it. They are psychologically tortured each day by unqualified shrinks and, in extreme cases, physically harmed through malnourishment and dehydration. Brit is sent here because she stays out late playing in her rock band, and because she has coloured streaks in her hair. She is not a bad kid, she's a talented musician, but her father and stepmother wrongly interpret this as rebellion and even the first signs of mental illness(!). This whole part of the novel made me furious, made me want to strangle nearly every adult in the book.
But this stuff would just be infuriating and shocking if it wasn't for all the other messages in this book. I loved this idea that the girls made each other strong by banding together and supporting one another and I loved how each of them was as interesting and unique as the next. But even more so, I really enjoyed the questions about authority and whether it is always right to follow those in charge. Pulling examples from when heads of state have made the wrong decisions, Gayle Forman demonstrates how adults don't always get it right. She reiterated in her afterword at the end what the novel was all about, mentioning how teenagers with eating disorders or who are gay do not need to be punished but helped, nurtured and understood. This is a wonderful, thought-provoking and occasionally heart-warming story.
There are a few reasons why this book didn't get five stars. For one, the ending was not satisfying enough, certain people were forgiven all too quickly and I thought very little was learnt from the experience in that respect. Also, I had too many questions spinning around in my head and it's entirely possible that I missed something but: why didn't previous graduates of Red Rock report what was going on? Why didn't Brit even attempt to tell her father what was happening when he visited? It might not have worked but she didn't even try. And why didn't Brit attempt to leave with the band when she had the opportunity? She could have reported what was happening to someone but it just didn't seem to occur to her.
These last few things played on my mind too much to award the full five stars, but this really is a book that should be read by everyone - especially those who love a good dose of girl power in what they read. (less)
Another great aussie novel, only this time I got warm fuzzies instead of gut-wrenching depression. Good Oil is light, funny, occasionally sad, and di...more
Another great aussie novel, only this time I got warm fuzzies instead of gut-wrenching depression. Good Oil is light, funny, occasionally sad, and discusses some important issues in well-written conversations that are as hilarious as they are thought-provoking. It's told from two different perspectives and I think it's the only novel I've read that hasn't bored me when going over the same events from an alternative point of view; it's also probably the only multi-perspective novel where I can't make my mind up which POV I preferred.
On one hand, you have Amelia. She is so many things that I have been at some point in my life: bookish, introverted, naive, and completely obsessively in love with her older co-worker. I think I enjoyed the book all the more because I'd read all the novels she talked about and compared to aspects of her reality; I've had most of the same thoughts, and I went through a similar stage where I first started to learn about feminism and it made me rather unpleasant and angry at the world. I really, really got this girl.
As for Chris, the co-worker and object of Amelia's obsession, he is my personal definition of the perfect boyfriend. I don't care much for these beautiful, charmless boys that have taken over the young adult genre, I've never wanted a guy with super-strength or magical powers, and I've never wanted a vampire (okay, there was that one time...). But I like that he is funny, charismatic and believable. Yeah, that's it, he's so real. I think this is an aussie thing, creating wonderful but realistic characters, I've seen it quite a bit lately. Well, Chris likes to go out and get drunk, he wants to get laid, he's sensitive but he hides it from most people... and I would have fallen for him too.
I thought the ending was handled very well and I liked how we left both Amelia and Chris. I was bracing myself for sadness but it was just the right amount of everything. I mean, throughout I was torn. I desperately wanted Amelia to be happy - the kind of happy she would have found with Chris - but I was aware of the age complications: 15 and 22 is nicht gut. I kept wondering how the author would resolve the situation, the answer is: brilliantly. (less)
People who get super creative with books are always taking a big risk, you know... writing in verse, two authors writing a POV each, and now this: a...more
People who get super creative with books are always taking a big risk, you know... writing in verse, two authors writing a POV each, and now this: a novel written like a dictionary. A series of random words from A to Z each representing something about the protagonist's most recent relationship:
abstraction, n. Love is one kind of abstraction. And then there are those nights when I sleep alone, when I curl into a pillow that isn't you, when I hear the tiptoe sounds that aren't yours.
It's a very quick read, some pages only having one sentence on them, but I found that David Levithan's creativity risk paid off here and resulted in a witty but sad tale of when love doesn't work out. I am yet to be disappointed by Levithan's writing, he has a grasp of the young adult mind that is both honest but refreshingly original. His humour is often rather crude but still hilarious, and I like how he never presents readers with the rose-tinted version of life and love.
I look forward to reading more from him in the future.
There's a monster in my mirror with puffy bloodshot eyes because she stayed up most of the night, crying and reading On the Jellicoe Road. But it was...more
There's a monster in my mirror with puffy bloodshot eyes because she stayed up most of the night, crying and reading On the Jellicoe Road. But it was worth it.
Melina Marchetta never fails to remind me why she is one of my favourite authors and, in my opinion, this is the best of her books I've read so far. It's very difficult to put into words how I feel about On the Jellicoe Road, all I can say is that my heart has been ripped out and shredded, my throat has sealed up with emotion and when I finally get some sleep, I get the feeling I'll probably dream about Jonah Griggs.
The story is of Taylor Markham, a girl who was abandoned by her mother as a young child and now resides in a boarding school for kids who are troubled, neglected or criminally inclined, her closest friend and mentor being Hannah, a woman who lives on the edge of the school grounds. Taylor is elected as a leader in the territory war games played by her school with the Townies (locals) and Cadets. She tries to balance this responsibility with her own worries about Hannah's sudden disappearance and her belief that it is connected to her own mother. On top of that is Jonah Griggs, one of the Cadets and a boy from her past, who knows her a little too much for comfort.
The biggest concern of mine is that the intended young adult audience may not fully appreciate Melina Marchetta, I know she's somewhat of a celebrity here on goodreads but she's hardly a household name... and it irks me. I want to tell everyone to read this, scream praise from rooftops, and glare with disapproval at the teens in my local library until they drop Halo and pick up these fantastic works of fiction. But it makes me sad that Melina Marchetta is probably too sophisticated a writer for the Twilight generation.
Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son, On the Jellicoe Road... every book I read seems better than the last. She creates moods that permeate the entire book so even the most simplistic scenes or conversations become deeply emotional, and Melina Marchetta plays my emotions like Jimi Hendrix played guitar. I can't think of a single book that has had me choked up more often than this one.
And Jonah Griggs, you stole my heart. Though I do think Melina Marchetta could quite easily persuade me to fall in love with a goldfish.
Basically this book is everything... beautiful, powerful, tragic without being melodramatic, and I know this wonderfully sad story will stay with me for a very long time.(less)
Despite the general hype about this book, I had my reservations because I had gone into The Lovely Bones with similar optimism and been highly disapp...more
Despite the general hype about this book, I had my reservations because I had gone into The Lovely Bones with similar optimism and been highly disappointed by a story that never really took off and was simply drab and boring. After reading the goodreads description for this, I imagined something of the same and could only hope I wouldn't have a repeat performance.
To be honest, if you're looking for fast-paced adventure and a really gripping plot then I'm not sure this book is for you. Gayle Forman uses subtleties and beautiful writing to tell her story in a deeply emotional and moving way. She creates wonderful moments from the most simplistic things as playing cello or going to a concert or the protagonist spending time with her grandfather. Where The Lovely Bones was a book about death, 'If I Stay' is very much a book about life and how the small things we overlook are so important. Forman creates the sense that life is always worth living, even when it seems that your whole world is falling apart - if you have nothing else, you still have a friend who'd risk their life for you. Still think your life isn't worth living when someone would disagree to such an extent?
The many different relationships in the book are told in varied but equally moving ways. The author shows the intricate relationship between mother and daughter, father and daughter, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, boyfriend and girlfriend, and just that of a person's closest friend. Mia, a shy cello-player from Oregon with only one close friend, is shown in this book to have a life full of love and things to be grateful for. I found it truly inspiring and heartwarming. I will be reading the sequel, without a doubt.(less)
I remember being 12 years old and thinking I was pretty much awesomeness personified for reading books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights when all t...moreI remember being 12 years old and thinking I was pretty much awesomeness personified for reading books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights when all the other kids were reading Roald Dahl. Since then I seem to be going backwards and reading all the books I should have read prior to my 16th birthday, like Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and also this one. And I love them! It just goes to show how a book doesn't have to be a couple of centuries old and a household name to be awesome.
I loved Ruby Oliver and, as a former clueless adolescent myself, I also understood her. She doesn't colour over the truth, in fact her voice is refreshingly honest and so so funny. E. Lockhart, for me, seems very good at portraying the newfound sexuality of a young girl, like with the realisation that, not only does Ruby not slap him and yell "ewww!" when Cabbie feels her up in the cinema, she actually likes it (shock, horror!). I think this is a great novel for teenage girls (and boys too, if they so wish), it addresses the 'slut' issue with humour and without being all up-in-your-face feminazi. It made me laugh and held underlying messages - it was always going to be a winner!
It's probably a 5 star read if I'm honest but I always like to wait until I've read more when it's only the first in a series. Either way, thank you Tatiana for the reviews that made me read this great book. (less)
Between the beautiful Edward Cullens and the sexy Salvatore brothers of today's young adult literature, it's easy to see why teenage girls think they'...more Between the beautiful Edward Cullens and the sexy Salvatore brothers of today's young adult literature, it's easy to see why teenage girls think they're doing something wrong when all they get is Rob with the mullet who likes to fart and swear in the classroom. That's what I like so much about this book... it's not a story of beautiful, unrealistic people or the abnormally brave and self-sacrificing. This is the most honest depiction of school, boys and family for a teenager that I have ever read.
The description promised something that I have read a million times over, the good old high school novel about guy troubles with a bit of homelife worries thrown in. But Melina Marchetta takes a simple, exhausted idea and uses her excellent writing and multi-faceted characters to create something unique, entertaining and completely moving. I wouldn't have bothered with this book if it hadn't been for Tatiana's recommendation and I am now extremely glad for it. This is the first Melina Marchetta book I've read and it definitely won't be the last.(less)
This book is not going to please fans of nice, twinkly, all-ends-well fantasy, that's for sure. Kathleen Duey has written a very dark and disturbing...more
This book is not going to please fans of nice, twinkly, all-ends-well fantasy, that's for sure. Kathleen Duey has written a very dark and disturbing tale about the pains undergone for the sake of magic. Young boys are starved, intimidated and abused in a school of magic that intends to separate the potential magicians from those destined to die because they are unable to magically produce their own food.
The story is actually split, alternating between the life of Sadima in a time centuries before we are introduced to the horrors of Somiss' magic academy. In Sadima's time magic is outlawed and it is only through the aid of Franklin that Sadima comes to realise the strength of her gift for mentally communicating with animals. But Franklin is just one half of a team hoping to resurrect magic, the other being the malicious and obsessive Somiss.
Then comes Hahp's story. He's a boy sent to Somiss' magic academy by his cruel father and there he discovers that he must learn to master the skills being taught to him or die. As boys around him slowly waste away, Hahp struggles with guilt when he alone manages to create food, and fear of what the wizards plan to throw at him next. In the dark dingy corridors of the academy, Hahp even starts to wonder if his sanity is still with him.
This is not the kind of novel that you can read by itself and gain any sense of fulfillment or resolution, it is clearly intended to be read as part of a series and the lack of answers means that I will be unable to do anything else. I really enjoyed this book, I often find that I can't resist a dark, disturbing story - not sure what that says about me, but oh well. I could see immediately what wouldn't appeal to the masses: the failure of the two stories to meet, the unresolved feel of the novel, and the abuse of the boys above all else.
But I found this a very refreshing change from the same old "nice" fantasy novels. Not a crowd pleaser but a good book for those readers who are looking for something different. (less)
If you're female and between the ages of about 12 and 25, I cannot think of a single reason why you shou...moreooh... secret societies and gender politics...
If you're female and between the ages of about 12 and 25, I cannot think of a single reason why you shouldn't read this book. It's fantastic. Both highly political and incredibly funny - it's the book I wish I'd been given to see me through being a teenager and to prepare me for later life. And no, I never went to an elite prep school with a bunch of stuffy trainee 'old boys' and a 60 year old all-male secret society... but I, like every girl I know, could have done with the reassurance that being your own person is more important than fitting the mold and that women are worth more than just a chest measurement. The story spoke to me on many levels and addressed issues that I have written articles on and feel very strongly about.
On the surface, it's a high school tale of cliques, first loves and mischief - quite like the author's The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver and the other Ruby Oliver books. I enjoyed reading about Ruby and frequently related to her but, for me, Frankie Landau-Banks was all the more kick-ass, funny and just so memorable. She's a 5-star heroine and the perfect partner in crime... if only she were real.
The writing in this novel was flawless with some hilarious dialogue between the characters, particularly regarding some of Frankie's ridiculous neglected positives, it's such a silly idea that shouldn't be so funny but I have no idea how many times I must have laughed. Little scenes like this are what made the book for me:
"They're not puppets, they're muppets," said Frankie. "I have a serious and justified love for Kermit that I will parage to the end." "Parage?" "Parage. The neglected postive of disparage." "You mean defend. You will defend Kermit to the end." "Parage." "Praise?" "Parage. I will parage him. And Animal, too. I love Animal. I used to watch that show on DVD all the time when I was little." Trish changed the subject. "We should do facials and paint our toenails Friday before they pick us up. What do you say, blow through dinner and come back here for girlie stuff?" Frankie said, "You're on. When we're finished, we'll be absolutely sheveled." "You'll be sheveled," said Trish. "I'm a normal person."
I mean, come on, that's funny. And she's so effin' stubborn it's great. I just loved Frankie and loved the plot and loved the book. I took notes on the damn thing. No, really, there are parts of this book that you just have to note down. By 'you', of course, I actually mean me.
I also want to point out for all you cynical people who "bah humbug" at novels set in high schools following a girl through her relationships and pranky misdeeds... this really is a great political statement. But it's in the dialogue and Frankie's awesomeness that it's revealed, sometimes subtle and sometimes not. My favourite thing about it is how the school represents today's society as a whole and the truths about the equality myth. Because, sadly, even though men and women are supposed to have the same opportunities and they are now allowed into the same professions, they sit at the same tables and they even become friends, beneath it all there is still an inner circle - rather like a secret society - that continues to slam the door in a woman's face. But better than this metaphor is the message behind it: that if you put your mind to it, you don't have to accept the way things are. That you have the ability to change the way of the world. Or the way of a prep school. Like Frankie does.
My thoughts on How to Save a Life remind me a lot of the way I felt about Please Ignore Vera Dietz. In fact, there's one thing I can pretty much quote directly from the review I wrote, about how there are two subjects in young adult books that would normally make me run a mile:
a) teen pregnancy, and b) coping with the death of a loved one
Both of them are just so overdone, annoying and melodramatic that I find it quite amazing that this novel can march onto the literary scene with its two perspectives, one by a girl who is pregnant, and the other by a girl who's trying to deal with the loss of her father, and be absolutely, wonderfully moving, heartbreaking and unforgettable. I can't say I'm shocked that it was good, the other reviews made me sure I would love this story, but I still find it surprising that this subject matter has been turned into something fresh and new.
I was slightly apprehensive, I do admit, because the only other novel I have read by Sara Zarr is Story of a Girl and I wasn't that impressed. No, perhaps it's not that, but rather I felt like myself and the author were on completely different wavelengths regarding a lot of issues that I find important, and I was a little concerned that some of these things might resurface in How to Save a Life. I need not have worried.
I felt that everything about this book was just a lot more polished than Story of a Girl, and it was wholly more satisfying for it. I loved the writing - beautiful but without being burdened by prose that is too flowery - and I thought every single character had something to offer the story, no one introduced was wasted. And though this was also a sad book, I was glad the ending was happier and had a greater sense of closure than Story of a Girl did. (less)
There is something deeply unhealthy about this book; it's in the characters, in the story, in the relationships, in the sex, and just in the general...more There is something deeply unhealthy about this book; it's in the characters, in the story, in the relationships, in the sex, and just in the general mood of the novel. Reading this made me feel a little unwell, both physically and mentally, but I am glad I did. If you know me, you'll know I love complex characters with issues that feel raw and real rather than melodramatic. The people in this novel are majorly fucked up, no one is without a dark past and everyone, it seems, has a horror story.
The protagonist - Camille Preaker - was just thirteen when her sister died and fuelled by grief (amongst other things) Camille spent her teen years carving words into her flesh, covering almost every inch of her body with the marks of her pain. This could have brought the angst meter off the scale but Flynn handled it expertly, with just the right amount of sadness, frustration and gore. Ten years later, Camille Preaker is now a journalist who returns to the small town of her youth to report on the murders of two young girls - the girls showed no signs of sexual abuse, but all their teeth had been removed.
Camille is soon caught up in the town once again, she tries to get along with the mother who never loved her and establish a relationship with the troublesome half sister she hardly knows. It seems that once again small towns hold the biggest secrets and Camille finds herself getting dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation, her fragile state of mind constantly threatening to tip her over the edge.
This is one mean and nasty book. I knew I was getting a dark, psychological thriller, but I expected something on par with In The Woods. In Tana French's novels everyone has a deeply explored personality, but it seems that in Gillian Flynn's novels everyone has a deeply explored problem and Flynn never shies away from the details. You're not going to find anything pleasant in this story; sex, for example, is never simply for physical pleasure, it's an escape or a bargain or a catharsis. Everything else is similar.
In a world where women are victims - both in their media representation as "damsels in distress" and in statistics - this is a very interesting look at "evil" women. We are always less surprised when a man is arrested for raping/torturing/killing, it's programmed into us to believe that women are safer, kinder, built with an instinct that makes it difficult for them to be cruel and cause pain without reason. Upon interviewing the parents of Moors murders victims before the culprits were caught, they said they couldn't understand it because they'd always told their kids not to go off with men they didn't know. But they never warned them not to go off with women they didn't know, the idea was unthinkable. Times are changing, but a lot of the old ideas still linger: surely a woman wouldn't hurt a child? Surely a mother would never harm her children?
Yet, Flynn does an excellent job of challenging this idea. She shows how women can be cold, calculating and cruel. And I'm sure it will displease a lot of readers, but it fascinated me.
The Painted Veil, first published in 1925, is now considered a classic. That fact - combined with the cover, description and the revi...more This is so good.
The Painted Veil, first published in 1925, is now considered a classic. That fact - combined with the cover, description and the reviews - had me switching into classic-reading mode. That might sound like I've gone a bit mad, but I mean that I approach classics with a different frame of mind and a greater tolerance for slow-moving plots, airy-fairy language and characters I cannot relate that much to. You know what I mean, you cannot expect fast-paced action if you want to appreciate Austen and others like her, violence is toned down in classics, sex is a rarity. This doesn't mean they aren't good, but I always prepare myself for a very different - and perhaps more challenging - kind of read.
As it happens, I need not have bothered.
This book hooked me from the very first page where Kitty is caught in the bedroom with her lover and kept me interested right the way through. From the delving into Kitty's recent past and her mother's insistence that she marry as soon as possible, to Kitty's relationship with an intelligent and shy man who genuinely loves her but she cannot love back, to the middle of a cholera epidemic that challenges Kitty's views on life and love. Her character development is astounding, how she goes from being an annoyingly fickle and selfish young women, to one who sees the world in a new light and gains a certain wisdom that is only achieved through facing and overcoming hardship.
Much about this story reminds me of Gone With the Wind (thankfully, not the length), it's the same idea of an immature and self-centred young woman being unable to appreciate the love of the man by their side until it's too late. They would prefer to fawn over a married man who will never treat them seriously, and yet they are so shocked to discover that their beauty cannot get them everything they want. Both Kitty and Scarlet are extremely spoilt and vain, so used to getting what they want that they are unprepared when life suddenly treats them unkindly. But they do both manage to change and grow stronger as well.
This is a very sad novel. I find it sad how Walter was willing to overlook all Kitty's negatives and the fact that she didn't like him at all just so he could have the chance to love her. I know this wasn't her fault but I find it sad that she didn't love him, he was so sweet and kind and under-appreciated. The ending (well, the bit just before) is also sad, but necessary in order for Kitty to become the person she does so I can't really complain about it.
I think Kitty's state of mind at the end is an important statement about women at this interesting point in history where women have the vote but very few options in life, the way she realises that it is far more beneficial for everyone - both men and women - if girls aren't simply raised to be weak and mindless wives, but open-minded and independent human beings. Overall, this is a very interesting exploration of people and the relationships between men and women - it definitely won't be the last I read by W. Somerset Maugham.(less)
This book is a real melting pot of emotions. It reminded me very much of another favourite of mine - Sorta Like a Rock Star - in the way it created s...more
This book is a real melting pot of emotions. It reminded me very much of another favourite of mine - Sorta Like a Rock Star - in the way it created such a detailed, sad and often amusing picture of a teenager's life and how it pretty much just sucks a lot of the time.
I like teen problem novels that know how to be funny but still make the desired emotional impact as well. Karl Shoemaker lives with his alcoholic mother who steals his hard-earned money and sometimes even locks him out of the house all night, he's had to live this life ever since his dad died. He works five different jobs, has to put up with over thirty cats that like to do their business in his bedroom, all whilst struggling to cope with his raging teenage hormones (i.e. his constant erection). Due to his screwed up life, he has to attend a therapy group for troubled kids at school, a group which the kids have affectionately named "The Madman Underground".
All the characters are different, interesting, insane, indeed there is no one who escapes insanity in John Barnes' novel. There are some rather gross, shocking and disturbing scenes, upsetting things that happen or almost happen that had me on edge - but this all just adds to the book's unique charm. Plus, even the sad and disgusting stuff tends to have some humour to balance it out.
I really enjoyed Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance 1973 and was pleased with the conclusion and the journey made by Karl's character. It's so refreshing to have such an endearingly honest and funny narrator, it made the novel the perfect combination of serious and entertaining. If only there were more books like this. (less)