It may go without saying that this book did very well, and a lot of people like it. I can appreciate how much work Brooks put into this book. I thinkIt may go without saying that this book did very well, and a lot of people like it. I can appreciate how much work Brooks put into this book. I think I also understand why it's so well liked. But it simply did not work for me. Any tension or excitement I might have felt was smothered by the constant historical and political references.
The premise is interesting. A zombie war has come and gone, and the story is told in the form of a collection of interviews about the war. In theory, this premise works due to the nature of zombies. Other monsters tend to live on a much smaller scale. Vampires usually lurk in darkness. Even if they try to take of the world, there aren't many stories of vampirism (meaning the virus) taking over the world. Even giant monsters like Godzilla only terrorize one part of the world at a time.
In contrast to most other monsters, zombies and the zombie virus traditionally threaten the whole world. Zombies threaten the existence of humanity as a whole. Because of this, a story that's a collection of interviews with people all over the world makes sense. If zombies are a worldwide problem, a worldwide zombie story should be perfect.
But for me, it wasn't.
For me, this book lacked tension, which was replaced by history and politics. From page one to the last page, the book simply did not hook me. Because of the sheer number of characters, I had no opportunity to become invested in any of them. The use of interviews as a storytelling mode did not help either because, as a result, I felt separated from the subject of each individual tale. World War Z was interesting and intriguing, but that was due to a gimmick that couldn't sustain my interest.
I might have felt tension were it not for the overwhelming amount of historical and political references—some fictional and some real. I spent every year of my time in college avoiding history classes. Yes, history is important. No doubt. But it was never my subject. I'm a math/science person who happens to also be a creative. The social sciences (like politics and history) have always escaped my understanding. All the history and politics in this book made my head hurt. Each reference drew me further out of the events of the story and made me want to run for cover. I felt like I needed to memorize facts instead of just enjoying the story. In short, this book felt like work.
On the other hand, it's hard not to respect how much effort and research must have gone into this. Brooks is a scholar, and World War Z is a masterpiece, weaving fiction and non-fiction together so deftly that I couldn't always tell where real history ended and fictional history started. Kudos to Max Brooks, but World War Z was not for me....more
I recently watched all of Battlestar Galactica for the first time. It was amazing...and now it's over. Looking for something to fill the void it leftI recently watched all of Battlestar Galactica for the first time. It was amazing...and now it's over. Looking for something to fill the void it left in my life....more
I liked this book. But I didn't adore it, partly because the main character was not sufficiently developed, and also partly because the writing styleI liked this book. But I didn't adore it, partly because the main character was not sufficiently developed, and also partly because the writing style annoyed the stuffing out of me at times. Three stars.
Let's start with the action: The action was good, and there was plenty of it, ranging from personal disputes to failed burglaries to assassination attempts. The plot was spelled out nicely, and the book always had a clear direction. The amount and types of action gets five stars. This book certainly was not boring.
The characters were interesting, although the main character was probably the least interesting of all. At the end of the book, I understand the secondary character Jenks (who rocks, by the way) better than I understand Rachel Morgan, the protagonist. Rachel underestimates her abilities as a witch; she has some minor insecurities about her physical appearance; and she is scared of her partner and roommate, Ivy. Those are the only things I learned about Rachel based on her actions. The author told me many times that Rachel enjoys the chase of being a runner (i.e., a magical bounty hunter), but I saw no evidence of that throughout the book in her thoughts or actions. Never once did Rachel express any kind of excitement or positive reaction to being in an action-type situation, except to directly express that she liked it. Okay, if you say so; I'll have to take your word for it.
The two main secondary characters, Jenks and Ivy, were great additions to the book. Ivy is a gorgeous living vampire, who may be a little sexually attracted to Rachel. It was fun to watch Rachel work with Ivy, of whom Rachel is clearly terrified. And Jenks was continuously entertaining, with his ongoing quips and failure to take just about anything seriously. For those of you who do not know, Jenks is a 4-inch tall pixy. When Rachel turned herself into a mink for the first time, she was impressed at how completely hot Jenks was when they were close to the same size. I have decided that I will develop a shrink ray, so that I can hang out with Jenks. He is the awesome-ist.
A final note on characters before I change the subject: So Rachel and Nick are dating. And it is oh-so-cute when he puts his arm around her waist. But wait, what's that you say? This ISN'T a young adult book? Okay then . . . where's the freakin' sexual tension?! WHERE?! It ain't here; that's for sure.
My primary problem with this book lies with the author's odd descriptions and, in some instances, lack of descriptions. Some of the action sequences (and by action, I am referring to all movements and not necessarily just to fighting) were told kind of like freeze frames. The description gave bits of what was happening, but I didn't see a blending of movement from one position to the next. Some of the descriptions of magical beings or items are also incomplete. For example, I still don't know what a splat ball is, and Rachel was apparently almost killed by splat balls. And I still don't understand the difference between a ghoul and a living vampire. A ghoul has vampire-like abilities. But why does a ghoul have to be turned into a dead/undead vampire after death, while a living vampire does not? And the book repeatedly refers to something Ivy and other vampires do called "pulling an aura," which makes Ivy's eyes go all black and terrifies the bejesus out of Rachel. I have no idea what that is. I hope it's explained more fully in later books.
Furthermore, some of the descriptions contain really odd word usages and imagery. For example: "I spotted Keasley's slow moving shadow making its way across the dew-wet grass past the silent trees and bushes." Sounds ominous, right? Well, Keasley is a good guy (at least through this book, he is), and he just walked into a happy-joy-joy party. Why the ominous imagery? Why are we watching his shadow? And who cares that the trees and bushes are silent? They usually are, after all. Anyway, I found the descriptions distracting in many instances, and in many other instances, I was annoyed by the lack of description. Argh!
But I didn't hate the book, and I'll continue reading the series....more
This book had a lot of interesting characters, but it seemed unfocused. The book felt like the first installment in a series (which it is), in that aThis book had a lot of interesting characters, but it seemed unfocused. The book felt like the first installment in a series (which it is), in that a bunch of characters were introduced but had no real impact on the story. The main character Kate is still a mystery, as the author likely intended her to be. I still do not know her motivations or her background. Unfortunately, as a result, I did not connect with Kate or really care about her survival. Frankly, I was much more concerned with the survival of Curran, one of the secondary characters.
I have it on good authority that other books in this series are better, so I will probably give the series another shot in the future. And I do want to see more of Curran!
Update: I have now finished books two and three of this series, and I am pleased that I continued reading. The second book was good, and the third book was pretty great. Curran is my boyfriend!...more
Mistborn is a truly super-awesome and fantastic book, with the masterful sort of ending that I have come to expect from the genius that is Brandon SanMistborn is a truly super-awesome and fantastic book, with the masterful sort of ending that I have come to expect from the genius that is Brandon Sanderson!
At the beginning of the book, we meet Vin, a street urchin just trying to survive as a member of an oppressed socio-economic class. One of the ways that Vin survives is by using what she thinks of as her "Luck." Her use of luck is detected by some very bad guys, as well as by some questionable guys.
Among these questionable guys is Kelsier, who brings Vin in as part of his thieving crew and explains that her Luck is simply one of the eight basic forms of Allomancy. Allomancy is the burning of various Allomantic metals, where each metal provides an associated ability to the person burning it. "Mistings" can burn exactly one basic Allomantic metals, and "Mistborns" can burn all Allomantic metals, which includes a few additional metals on top of the basic eight. Vin and Kelsier are Mistborn, and various other members of their crew are Mistings.
The Lord Ruler is a mysterious god-like bad guy who oppresses everybody, especially the lower class, while asserting his rule. So of course, Kelsier and Vin seek to bring down the Lord Ruler and pretty much the entire government, all the while being hunted for their abilities.
One of things I adored about this book is that we, the reader, get to learn all about Allomancy and how metal-burning works, as Kelsier breaks it down for Vin. So in a beautiful, non-contrived manner, we are introduced to the magic system.
The characterization in the book was great. I understood Vin and Kelsier. Vin is stubborn survivor trying to find her place in the world, and Kelsier wants vengeance and justice for his wife's death. The Lord Ruler has his own super-secret motivations that remain a mystery as the book comes to a close. I can't wait to read about this in the later books! I really hated (i.e., the way a reader should hate the bad guy) the Lord Ruler and his minions, who were pretty freakin scary. I think further development of the other crew members would have been nice, but maybe I'll see more of them in the later books of this trilogy.
Throughout a great deal of the book, the crew is working their "job," which is a multi-layer plan to give themselves a fair shot at taking out Lord Ruler. In the end, some parts of the plan succeed and some fail miserably. Despite the failures, the crew members forge ahead against the Lord Ruler . . . whom they have no idea how to kill.