The artwork was really pretty, but that about covers all the positives. The story had a lot of problems: gendered language, didn't care for the treatmThe artwork was really pretty, but that about covers all the positives. The story had a lot of problems: gendered language, didn't care for the treatment of the female characters (why must they always be half naked while the men get clothes??), the plot relied heavily on shock value, and it just wasn't very interesting.
I found most of the characters to be annoying, especially Marik and his complete 180 personality flip at the halfway point. He goes from being a super pessimistic loner to someone who could rival Spongebob's "I'm ready!" mentality, and I just didn't buy that.
The plot was a jumble of ideas that never really found its purchase with me, floundering around in an ocean listlessly. Where did the plot want to go? Was it lost? I think so. The running theme of "keep hope alive" was cute, but became tiring as the book went on. It's almost like this story was written on the "hope" that it would be good. Sadly, that's not how writing works.
I know a lot of people might be confused why I decided to continue this series despite disliking each book aloWarning: spoilers.
Absolutely no stars.
I know a lot of people might be confused why I decided to continue this series despite disliking each book along the way. I get that it might seem pointless to subject myself to mediocrity purposefully. But I'll be honest, a small part of myself enjoyed the terribleness in a sense of morbid fascination.
Without a doubt, Darken the Stars is the worst of the three and actually angered me. While books one and two can be swept under the rug as simple wish fulfillment gone terribly wrong, this one is a flaming pile of dog shit.
I didn't really have any intention of reviewing Darken the Stars, but after browsing other reviews, I feel morally obligated to say what no one is talking about. Kricket falls in love with the primary antagonist of the series -- the guy, who at one point, tries to choke her under water into submission. I'm not talking about a poorly written Stockholm syndrome. This is a legitimate romance that the author attempts to sell the reading on and it's so horribly offensive.
The entire novel is based around Kricket finally being in the palm of Kyon's hands, right where he wants her. She's trapped on his beach and makes several attempts at escape with no success. Each time she does try to fight Kyon, he hurts her in some way. He also chooses what she wears and makes it clear that her opinions and wants mean nothing. Basically, he's disgusting and the farthest thing from romantic.
However, somewhere along the lines, Kricket starts to fall for Kyon by way of a forced alliance (of course) and "changes" him. This is so very problematic. First, it completely glosses over the severity of domestic abuse. Second, you can't FIX people, certainly not abusers, with love. Out of the blue Kyon starts showing affection and a little more respect for Kricket. Then we find out that her mother entrusted Kyon to look after Kricket, which is supposed to explain why he sought after her so hard in the first two books. Kricket accepts this and starts to rationalize some of his abusive tendencies and dismiss the others. There's even a point in the book where she refers to him as "my psychopath." Also, there's a lot of sex between them, where Kyon insists on getting Kricket to confess her love as he pounds into her. >insert vomiting<
What's worst is how so many reviewers are so pro Kyon as a love interest and it's got me going HUH? I'm not the kind of person that is usually bothered by how others react to books, but in cases like this, it really disturbs me to see it. And I think it's entirely irresponsible for an author to portray an abusive relationship as romantic. It's sick.
Side note: this entire series revolves around the mental, emotional, and physical abuse of one female character by way of the people who supposedly love her. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?
Anyway, this is a case where my curiosity really did me no good. But I just had to know how it ended and the fact that it was free on Kindle Unlimited didn't help. Next time I'll try to remember that just because I CAN, doesn't mean I SHOULD. I definitely don't recommend this, not even for the lols. Stay far away. ...more
Welp. Another case of pretty cover and terrible book has struck me again.
Kricket is a super special girl. She has special powers, special eye color,Welp. Another case of pretty cover and terrible book has struck me again.
Kricket is a super special girl. She has special powers, special eye color, special hair color, special name and spelling of said name. She's really beautiful, but doesn't know it and every guy wants her body for himself... some as old as dirt! She's also The One at the center of a prophecy her super special mom prophesized long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Are you rolling your eyes yet?
Never have I read a book with so many ridiculous tropes balled up into one novel. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with tropes because even I have a certain weakness for some. For example, I fall prey to the "girl and boy hate each other, but slowly fall in love through forced interaction" trope every time and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But Under Different Stars reads like a self-indulgent writing experiment with absolutely no purpose.
While on the run from the department of social services, Kricket is abducted by a group of men who share the same violet eye color as her. They end up taking her to a different world, and surprise, surprise, she's an alien with powerful abilities that are highly sought after. She's immediately thrust into a world where females are valued as much as a prized show dog and whose vernacular verges on both corny and juvenile.
Yet despite being born with a vagina and thus seen as lesser than her male counterparts, every male she runs into wants her. Whether for political gain, selfish wants or sexual conquest, Kricket is a highly sought after commodity, and much of the novel is a pissing contest between various man folk. One that seems interesting at first, but quickly losses its appeal with every new suitor.
Though most of the novel takes place over the course of a week, possibly two if I'm being generous, Kricket manages to fall in love with one of her original captors, Trey. I can usually pick out who the love interest is from the very beginning and Under Different Stars didn't even bother making this remotely difficult, nor did it make an attempt to keep the lovers apart. As I previously stated, this novel is very self-indulgent and doesn't particularly care to stay the course of what was originally laid out in the beginning for the reader.
At one point Kricket confesses her love to Trey only to be rebuffed and in her words "friend-zoned" due to his already established previous engagement to a childhood friend, something she was well aware of beforehand. Yet, imagine my surprise when while Kricket is yet again fawning over Trey, claiming her undying love, and he AGAIN telling her no, that he suddenly tells her that he's broken it off with his fiancé and wants to be with her. And then an argument over who loves who the most ensues, ending with her basically begging him to deflower her and he saying he wants to marry her instead. Because nothing else matters but their love, guys!
Oh, kitten. Oh, honey. *makes out*
It's the first time I've ever read a scene that does a complete 180 with no warning whatsoever.
To say this Under Different Stars has a bad case of wish fulfillment is a complete understatement since Kricket can, in fact, wish her way out of certain circumstances. Whatever Kricket wants, she has the power to get. Kricket doesn't want to marry someone? No worries, another male suitor will have him killed. Kricket wants Trey to be with her and ditch his childhood sweetheart? So it shall be done. I mean, the amount of wank that went into this novel is shocking.
Kricket isn't the heroine of the story despite her situation. No, instead she is the heroine of the story because the world is setup to be terrible so she can be the shining ray of light. With so many male characters that belittle her and constantly want to control both her powers and body, Kricket is the stanch feminist who desires to be in control of her own destiny. While all the men attempt to mansplain to her, they later find out that she's actually a genius whose "brain lights up like a christmas tree" on a scanner. They frequently tell her how she can't defend herself and yet Kricket has the most powerful powers out of everyone. Everyone in the book is deliberately horrible, so she can look flossy as fuck.
To make matters worse, the ratio of male to female characters is nauseating. Only three, including Kricket, have lines in the book and I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand how many times they chatted with each other one page. Two other female characters are mentioned, one being Kricket's dead mother and the other Trey's fiancé. Everyone else is virtually male or just not mentioned. Ugh.
(view spoiler)[Also, why is her name Kricket?! Why is she the only one with the super odd name? Why does she spell it with a K?? (hide spoiler)]
A part of me is confused, surprised and disgusted with myself for continuing to listen to the audiobook even when I knew there was no way possible for it to redeem itself with me, but I'm such a stubborn reader with a pinch of masochism. Maybe under different stars I could have liked this book, but it's made up of too many of the things I dislike to have ever had a chance. Such a shame because I really do love those covers.
More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really think I'm physically incapable of giving Ben Hatke's books anything less than 5 stars. The reasons for this being that Hatke continues to creI really think I'm physically incapable of giving Ben Hatke's books anything less than 5 stars. The reasons for this being that Hatke continues to create such memorable characters and beautiful artwork. After reading all of his works, I totally consider him an auto-buy-author for me.
Not only are his books enjoyable for myself as an adult, but my kids absolutely love his works too. What makes Hatke's books stand out for me the most is that each of his main characters have been of different races. Sometimes it can be difficult to find this in childrens' books, so you have no idea how good it feels when you hear your daughter say, "Hey! She looks just like me!" Tears, guys. Tears.
Not only do his books feature diverse characters, but they feature strong female heroines who have super fun adventures like traveling through space, imaginary creatures, and the newest edition: a female mechanic!
But on to the review! Little Robot is a charming story about friendship and accepting differences. Our heroine is a very capable kid who doesn't exactly fit in with other kids her age. She enjoys fixing objects and creating new and improved versions things. Meanwhile, there is a little robot who has escape an assembly line and somehow their paths cross. And, thus, two unlikely friends become the best of friends. Through the book, their friendship changes. Our characters learn boundaries and how to deal with disagreements and acceptance.
In fact, I really loved the friendship between the characters because it was an issue my own kids could relate to. They could easily keep up with the pace of the story and tell when a character was "being mean" or "not being very nice," according to my kids. The simple, yet candid storytelling was an instant hit for us and provided a good discussion on what it means to be a good friend.
The illustrations in Little Robot is nothing short of breathtaking. But this is no surprise to me as I've been a huge fan of Hatke's art for a long time now. What I loved best were the full spreads with vivid colors. It was a great way to tell the story without actual words -- something that is great for my 5-year-old since he is not yet a reader. (The one thing my kids did seem to notice right from the start was the main character's lack of pants! Hehe.)
It kept him interested and we'd frequently stay on those pages and just admire the artwork. Likewise, the text was very simple and is perfect for early readers. My 7-year-old was able to read the entire book on her own.
All in all, this is another fantastic book from Hatke. If you have little readers in your home or enjoy picture books yourself, I would definitely recommend this one!
Review copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
There isn't anything inherently wrong with The Martian, but, look, that was a lot of fucking math.
When I was a kid still in the "oh god what will I doThere isn't anything inherently wrong with The Martian, but, look, that was a lot of fucking math.
When I was a kid still in the "oh god what will I do as a career when I'm a grownup?!" phase, I had the brilliant idea that maybe I'd be a mathematician. The Martian has just reminded me why that was a shitty idea. I love sci-fi and I'm super fascinated with space, but yeah, this one didn't particularly spark anything in me. It didn't leave me hungering for the next page. It was just another audiobook that I listened to to get me to the next level in Candy Crush.
But, some good points:
- Very strong narration: if you listen to the audio, good choice! Kind of. The good news is, the narrator is fantastic. The bad news is, the audio makes it hard to skim pass the more boring parts like the math. You'll have no choice but to suffer through it if it's not working for you.
- Excellent research: kudos to the author for all the research he did. I can't image how long it must have taken. The fact that he included all that math indicates how meticulous and deligent he is. I have nothing but respect for that. Even if it was boring to the tenth power.
- Fascinating concept: if I were stuck on Mars, I'd probably lose my mind. So it did fascinate me to see what Mark would do in each situation. My fascination ended at multiplying and dividing potatoes.
- Interesting characters: my favorite parts were of the characters at NASA and Mark's crew. Basically anyone that wasn't Mark. No wait, that's not fair. I think Mark did start to grow on me near the very end, but I can't say I was truly invested in if he lived or died. I would have been okay with either ending.
OMG MATH WHY SO MUCH MATH MATH MATH
I disliked that as soon as the book opened, Mark was counting potatoes. I understand why, and I get that the dude has to eat to survive Mars, but if you multiply that times my interest level, you'll get zero fucks. The problem I had was boredom. There just wasn't a lot happening outside of counting potatoes, multiplying water, something, something chemistry and science.
It got to the point where I starting coming up with my own mathematical equations. For instance, why doesn't my rage times my boredom equal Mark's death? If only I could kill off characters with my mind. If only.
So I got to the end of the book and it was a decent ending, I suppose. Again, it didn't spark any heightened suspense in my heart, I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I thought for sure this was going to be my kind of book and almost purchased the hardcover for myself. But then I remembered I don't actually like survival stories, which I guess explains quite a lot about why I didn't love it.
This book would have been significantly better with aliens. ...more