Everyone told me I should read Amy and Roger's Epic Detour after I tried Matson's Since You've Been Gone and didn't love it. One person suggested on my review that maybe I just didn't relate to the characters and, you know, I think they might be right.
Matson's characters read too young and immature for me. Her female MCs are high school seniors or juniors, but they blush at things that wouldn't have made me blush at twelve.
In this one, I never felt any chemistry between Amy and the shockingly-gorgeous Roger, but I think that was because Amy has the mental age of a young child. At one point, she wishes she could die because Roger asks if she might be too warm sleeping in all her clothes (he doesn't ask in a remotely sexual way, he's just offering genuine concern). I can already tell that this book will not be for me....more
I am not kissing her because I want to, and I am not kissing her because I need to - I am kissing her for a reason that transcends want and need, tha
I am not kissing her because I want to, and I am not kissing her because I need to - I am kissing her for a reason that transcends want and need, that feels elemental to our existence, a molecular component on which our universe will be built.
I have enjoyed Levithan's books in the past, but the magic that other readers found in Every Day just wasn't there for me.
Many claims have been made about this book - that it is a clever "what if" science fiction novel, that it explores what it means to be genderless, without a body, and without a family, and that it is an evocative love story. I honestly didn't get much sense of any of that.
The story is about "A" - someone who wakes up in a different person's body and life every single morning. They have always been this way and have come to accept it. Until, that is, they end up inside the body of a boy called Justin and fall for Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. Suddenly, A's many lives revolve around locating Rhiannon and spending time with her. Hoping they can be together, and knowing that they can't.
The strongest part of this book - for me - was the many small stories scattered throughout about the different lives A enters. They are fleeting, varied, but often quite interesting and touching.
Beyond this, though, it was a disappointment. This same story written by many other authors would be called out for its "instalove". However, I suppose Levithan writes poetically enough that A's relationship with Rhiannon seems deeper, when in reality A falls in "love" with her instantly (because she is a "sad girl" who wants to go to the ocean).
Secondly, there is no explanation at all for the paranormal aspect. No attempt to address it, no consideration given to why A always wakes up in a body 4 hours or less away from Rhiannon and is always the same age. But I can suspend a lot of disbelief and I understand this isn't the kind of book that concerns itself with the "hows", so that wasn't even a major issue.
By far a bigger issue for me was something that many people have praised the book for - the unique perspective from the point of view of someone who is genderless and without a life of their own. Wow, what an interesting idea, right? Indeed it is, and yet it is not explored at all. There is very little discussion of what it means to be male, female, both or neither. It is taken for granted that these things are meaningless and shrugged off. What a wasted opportunity to look at a fascinating subject!
Some people look at Every Day and see a very different and beautiful book. I look at it and see another YA romance, framed in such a way that it can claim to be different without ever really breaking new ground.
I realize that this may be a bit premature but I've read so many unoriginal fantasy novels that I don't want to waste anymore time on them. I couldDNF
I realize that this may be a bit premature but I've read so many unoriginal fantasy novels that I don't want to waste anymore time on them. I could easily be persuaded to come back to this if the reviews are positive, but here's my review of the first chapter:
A girl called Katniss is hunting in the woods when she is suddenly distracted by her longtime best friend turned sexgod, Gale Jacob.
“A pair of strong, tanned legs stands before her, leading up to the broad, commanding form of her oldest friend. The boy Kat has known longer and better, it sometimes seems, than she has known herself. A boy who, until recently, was equal parts playmate and pest. Now, he has grown taller and handsomer and somehow resists falling into either category the way he used to.”
Jacob announces that he is competing in the Blood Tournament - a series of games set in an arena - against other competitors who have been training for this their whole lives.
“You can’t go,” she says quickly. “They’ll kill you. You’re only seventeen. Some of the contestants are Olympic athletes, professional wrestlers, and soldiers.”
When it becomes obvious she can't stop him, she gives him a brooch for luck.
“...she removes the long iron pin from her shoulder... She holds it between them. “Take it. To protect you in the games.”
Please note: I only read the first chapter. Who knows? Maybe it is nothing like it initially appears to be. Let me know if I was wrong to DNF so soon....more
"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my aud
"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."
Before anyone wants to tell me - yes, I know that John Green did not invent a new style of book. But he is well-known enough that he's good to use in comparisons.
So I'd say you would like this if you enjoy John Green's books, particularly TFiOS. This is the kind of book where the extremely philosophically-minded teen protagonist pauses at least once a paragraph to ruminate on the nature of the universe, people, and her own tumultuous emotions.
But, for me, this didn't feel like a story. It felt like a collection of thoughts and conversations that are all meant to show how smart, deep and expertly snarky the narrator is. Everything that happens to her - from nearly getting sexually assaulted to going to eat at a gas station diner - has a message behind it. And it feels like it too.
Nothing feels natural. Emotions feel like plot tools or an excuse for a dally into a pretty writing exercise. Conversations feel like another opportunity for the author to show how witty and snarky Mim is.
I've read a number of reviews since finishing this book that all say something like "I liked it but just didn't connect for some reason" or "It's well written but there's something I can't put my finger on". I felt the same way, except I'm pretty sure I know what it is.
On a technical level, the book is well-written and it deals with some serious subject matter. But I never felt any emotional connection. Mim is a flat cardboard cutout used as a mouthpiece for the author's philosophy and snark.
I said the characters in The Fault in Our Stars didn't feel like teenagers and some people got pissy because I was implying that teens weren't smart/wise/etc., but I'm starting to think that's not what I mean anyway. It's not that these characters don't feel like teenagers, it's that they don't feel like people, period. They feel like a commentary on the world or on literature or on philosophy. Or science. They feel like an author trying too hard to be clever.
But I guess that's just me. Many people seem to love these kind of books.
"In the dead of night they come for you, Alex," he said. "Sooner or later they come for everyone."
4 1/2 stars. Oh wow, this was truly terrifying. If
"In the dead of night they come for you, Alex," he said. "Sooner or later they come for everyone."
4 1/2 stars. Oh wow, this was truly terrifying. If you're looking for a tense, fast-paced and frightening book that pulls you in immediately and makes your heart pound, I cannot recommend Lockdown enough.
You know, I think realistic stories can be very scary, and so can supernatural stories, but the most horrifying stories of all are those that balance the two of them. The kind of stories that play on real fears that many of us have, but inject them with all new kinds of horror. And this is one of those stories.
For me, being accused of a crime I didn't commit is a terrifying thing. Being thrown into prison for life when I haven't done anything wrong is actually part of a recurring nightmare I've had for years. Now let's imagine this situation, except you're not thrown into any ordinary prison. You're sent to Furnace - a prison located a mile underground, terrorized by vicious gangs and cruel guards. A prison where strange, inexplicable things happen at night. A prison where people disappear after dark - and you better hope they never come back.
It's told in an extremely compelling and effective past tense narrative that builds up a fantastic feeling of suspense. The narrator's tone of impending horror had me on the edge of my seat, almost afraid to turn the page. But it's so unfair, so frustrating, so nasty... you just can't look away.
“Don't make the mistake of bringing your heart down here with you, there is no place for it in Furnace.”
I typically read books with a lot of female characters, but this all-male cast was refreshing and likable. I was genuinely afraid for Alex and his friends, but I also enjoyed the dialogue and dynamic between them. I loved the cynical, hilarious Donovan and the silly, lovable Zee. I also loved the complexity of some of the secondary and unlikable characters.
This is definitely one of those books you sit down to read a chapter of and end up finishing in a single sitting. So very exciting and scary. I NEED to know what happens next.
Court of Fives is sold as a high fantasy, but reads much more like a loosely-plotted YA dystopia, complete with a national competition and actions thaCourt of Fives is sold as a high fantasy, but reads much more like a loosely-plotted YA dystopia, complete with a national competition and actions that make no sense.
There was never a point when I got sucked into the story. The characters all feel flat as crepes (minus the delicious fillings) and I simply cannot understand what Jessamy's fucking problem is. I do not get why she is so caught up in her own self-centred need to enter the Fives (multilevel competition, blah blah, haven't heard that one before!) when it could seriously harm her family.
In this world, Jessamy, her sisters and their mother are commoners who are looked down upon by upper-class society. Her father is a Patron who has remained faithful to his commoner lover even though many in this society expected him to find himself a Patron wife who would produce sons.
The law forbids people of Saroese ancestry from marrying the native people of Efea, who are called Commoners.
The family live in a fragile state of being both shunned and - when needed - tolerated by high society. It is really important for them to keep the peace and not cause trouble. So what does Jessamy do when her father wants to bring his daughters to a public event and show he is not ashamed of them?
She sneaks off to participate in the Fives, risks completely ruining the lives of her father, mother and sisters, AND knows she can't let herself win anyway! That's right. She risks everything her family holds dear for a chance to lose a competition.
Why is she doing this? WHY?? Shall I tell you? It's to manufacture a story that doesn't exist. Pointless actions. No reason for anything beyond "because the author needed something dramatic to happen". This is not a story; it's a series of mindlessly sensational events.
Similarly, I have no idea why the antagonist sets out to destroy Jessamy's family. The reason seems to be "because he is EVIL" which is a shitty reason. There is nothing in it for him that I can see and, even if there was, I still don't know why he would play such extensive games around it. Again, it seemed like an ill-conceived effort to create a plot.
"Why should Atlantis pay any mind to me?" "Because you are younger and have far more potential." . . . "Potential for what?" "For greatness."
The Burning Sky is the author's first YA Fantasy novel, after writing many adult Historical Romance novels, and it really shows. I expected some light fantasy and possibly a romance - I was okay with that - but this story is so ridiculously superficial. And not even in a fluffy, somewhat enjoyable way.
Some of YA's toughest critics on Goodreads enjoyed this book, so I felt sure I would love it. But I felt my interest waning as soon as the Mary Sue MC waltzed in without a personality but with a big ol' "The Chosen One" banner hanging over her head.
Iolanthe Seabourne has no personality. No hopes, fears or defining characteristics beyond the fact that she is "the greatest elemental mage of her generation". She excels at everything, cannot do any wrong, is part of an old prophecy to be the saviour, and is so lacking in anything interesting. She's not even a character; she's an archetype.
And every other character is an archetype too. We have the evil tyrant, the aged mentor, and a brave prince called Titus, who also manipulates Iolanthe to get her to behave the way he wants. There is no depth to the characters, no depth to the plot, and the attempts at depth to the world resulted in lots of tedious info-dumping.
Despite there being tons of information in the beginning, I still cannot envision the world, this society, or its history in the slightest. Maybe because Thomas' style is very slow and difficult to read. The superficial characters seem more suited to a middle grade novel (good guys always triumph, evil villain, handsome princes, etc.) but the writing is way too heavy - there's no flow to the style, you have to push your way through it.
By the last third of the book, I was skim-reading out of boredom and a desire to finish.
Consider checking out Tatiana's review before reading this book, as I should have done. Because there's nothing terribly wrong with Ruby RedDNF - 25%
Consider checking out Tatiana's review before reading this book, as I should have done. Because there's nothing terribly wrong with Ruby Red other than the fact that it feels very young and immature. I think I would have loved this about 10 years ago, but now the silliness and mental age of the narrator is off-putting.
The characters are in their mid-to-late teens but all of them feel like middle school kids. Take these two early scenes:
Mr Whitman took Gordon's test back from him, turned a page, and read out, "Elizabeth I was so ugly that she couldn't get a husband. So everyone called her the Ugly Virgin." The class giggled.
"Lesley thinks it may be a good thing that James died young. With a name like Pympoole-Bothame, how would he ever have found a wife?" I said, after making sure James was out of hearing distance. "I mean, who'd marry a man with a name that sounds like Pimple-Bottom?"
On the one hand, there's not much room to accuse this book of being slow - the action is constant, zippiI feel torn about The Girl of Fire and Thorns.
On the one hand, there's not much room to accuse this book of being slow - the action is constant, zipping along from a bloody battle, to a lusty encounter (PG-13, of course), to another dramatic reveal, to a kidnapping. Elisa's life spins off in a crazy new direction that starts with her marriage to a King of a nearby country in chapter one, and the pacing never slows down after that.
Elisa is a 16-year-old princess and was born the bearer of a Godstone (a literal gift from God that rests in her navel). Because of this, Elisa must follow in the footsteps of other Godstone-bearers and perform a special service to God. Nobody knows what it will be. In fact, Elisa knows very little about her destiny and the lives of those who came before her. Many secrets will be revealed as the story moves along.
To be honest, though, the action only barely masks an incredibly messy and ill-conceived plot. Despite being a very different kind of story, I would compare it to books like Divergent and The Maze Runner, in that it has lots of flashy action and fast pacing, but underneath there lurks mediocre writing, all tell and no show, and flat characters separated into the "beautiful" and the unattractive/fat.
Elisa is characterized by her fatness. Am I glad that authors are creating heroines that are not all skinny, beautiful, white girls? Of course I am. But I feel like being fat and unattractive is the defining characteristic of Elisa. It might make her different, but alone it's not enough to make her interesting.
I recently read Sugar - another book about an overweight girl - and the protagonist's characterization is fascinating. I understood her complex relationship with food, her need to constantly eat, and her self-loathing when she did. Elisa is so one-dimensional in comparison.
Also, I'm surprised many reviewers haven't pointed out how... religious this is. I don't know if Religious Fantasy is a sub-genre but I find myself thinking it should be to accommodate Carson's book. Religion and praying play huge roles in this story. If you took the magical elements out, I could almost see this as your standard Christian novel.
I recommend this with some hesitation, and mainly to those who don't mind an action-packed plot with little substance behind it.