For those of you who don’t know, The Graveyard Book is about a living boy who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard. While I appreciated the creativity o...moreFor those of you who don’t know, The Graveyard Book is about a living boy who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard. While I appreciated the creativity of the concept, I found the plot itself to be boring. I had to push myself to finish it. I think this was because Gaiman spent a lot of time describing protagonist Nobody Owens’s morbidly unconventional childhood instead of carving out the twists and turns of a more complex plot. The Graveyard book paints an eerie picture that is intriguing to look at for a little while but it just didn’t hook me. My favorite of Gaiman's works is still resoundingly Coraline.(less)
I would first like to say that Will Herondale is a giant douchebag and I can't stand him. Unless he's been possessed by the demon of douchebagery, the...moreI would first like to say that Will Herondale is a giant douchebag and I can't stand him. Unless he's been possessed by the demon of douchebagery, there is no excuse for his selfish, obnoxious behavior. I don't care if his rudeness is a front cultivated to mask his mysterious inner turmoil or if he is sometimes nice. If he stood in front of me, I would gladly slap him across the face.
Now that I've got that off my chest...
I actually enjoyed Clockwork Angel very much. This is the first novel in what will be a trilogy set in the same world as The Mortal Instruments, but several centuries earlier. I love Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series and looked forward to getting a peek at some Shadowhunter history. I also love period pieces, expecially when they're set in London, so when I found out about this book I thought: Mortal Instruments plus Victorian England? A sure formula for an excellent story. The Fantasy genre of Clare's books lends an interesting dynamic to writing a historical prequel, namely the possibility that some characters present in The Mortal Instruments (vampires, warlocks, etc.) may have easily been alive in 19th Century England. Every time I came across the name of someone I knew from Mortal Instruments, I was very excited.
Expect the same adventure and mystery found in The Mortal Instruments with complexities added by the 19th Century setting: the subjugated role of women, a strict etiquette, and the master/servant relationship, among others. The novel is dark and creepy, with a hint of steampunk. The characters feel real (Jem is my favorite), the plot is intriguing and moves forward steadily with unforeseen twists, and the conclusion left me eager for the sequel.
Readers who like this book might also enjoy Clockwork by Philip Pullman or the Sally Lockhart series by the same. Or, if you are already fans of these, pick up Clockwork Angel.
I give this novel four stars only because I can't give The Mortal Instruments six. I believe the next installment of the trilogy, Clockwork Prince, will be released this December. I can't wait.
Don't let this book fool you. It will try. It will pretend to have a plot, just to draw you in. It will dance pretty descriptions before your eyes and...moreDon't let this book fool you. It will try. It will pretend to have a plot, just to draw you in. It will dance pretty descriptions before your eyes and hide nonsense behind pretty words, hoping that you won't notice. Steifvater writes, "As the hours crept by, the afternoon sunlight bleached all the books on the shelves to pale, gilded versions of themselves and warmed the paper and ink inside the covers so that the smell of unread words hung in the air." Isn't that lovely? It fooled me too.
The "plot" is soon forgotten. As soon as girl meets boy (in his human form), all pretense at plot is abandoned in favor of what I like to call Gooey Teen Romance.
You've seen it. Two teens meet each other for the first time and it's like a spell has been cast. They think constantly about that person. Every other aspect of their life fades into the background. Everything becomes irrelevant except for this other person. They need to see this person, need to speak to this person. But most of all, they need to touch this person. They yearn for them. Gooey Teen Romance primarily consists of yearning. I don't know about you, but I don't like to read page after page of descriptions of yearning. I like to read stories. About things happening. With plots that unfold, instead of gathering dust in the corner.
This is the plot, before it was discarded and then vaguely picked up again towards the end of the book like oh yeah, wasn't I talking about something? The book begins with Grace enduring a wolf attack. She lies there in the snow, motionless, doing nothing to protect herself. This seems like an interesting sub-mystery--why doesn't she fight to live? But don't get your hopes up. This is never addressed. So as she calmly submits to death-by-mauling she looks up into the yellow eyes of one of the wolves. And the wolf seems to gaze back. Then he calls the other wolves off. She survives.
After this moment, Grace feels a special connection to what she comes to think of as her wolf. He appears in her backyard every winter. She looks forward to Christmas because she knows her wolf will be waiting and the edges of the woods. Watching her. Guarding her, it seems.
Then a boy, Jack Culpepper, is killed by wolves. The town is in an uproar and the boy's family insists the wolves be eradicated. But Jack' body is stolen from the morgue and Grace could have sworn she heard his voice in the forest. And there's a new wolf lurking in its shadows. A mercurial wolf with very familiar eyes. She's determined to save her wolves and also worried about what has become of Jack and what this new, dangerous wolf will do.
Sounds good, right? I thought so. But then human Sam, aka golden eyed wolf, appears and the plot is forsaken. The angry wolf hunters are never mentioned again. Let the yearning and drivelly romance begin. Grace actually mentions, several times, that she feels like the rest of her life (school, her friends, her parents) doesn't matter anymore. All that matters now is being with Sam. I had some horrifying Twilight flashbacks. Their relationship is revealed as being even more unhealthy when Grace admits that she fell in love with Sam before she knew he was a human. She fell in love with a dog. Fell. In love. With a dog. He is touched, instead of being properly repulsed by her bestial tendencies.
Steifvater alternates between Sam's and Grace's perspectives although the only way to tell the difference between speakers is context. I often skipped reading the chapter heading and mistook who was narrating. Steifvater probably wanted to get both points of view in, but focused on trying to sound writerly instead of creating distinct voices for her characters. See As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner as an example of successful alternating perspectives. One of Sam's chapters begins, "I was a leaking womb." First of all, what boy would ever liken himself to a womb? Second of all, leaking? Was it his time of the month? Was he leaking baby juices? Whatever female reproductive organ he feels like, there is no need for metaphorical leakage. It's just disgusting. Regardless of whether or not this is a successful and illuminating metaphor (it's not. what does it even mean?), this is not something that ANY boy would say. She really wrote this. Its on page sixty-three.
Further nonsensical imagery include, but are not limited to: -paper falling like listless birds (page 49). Grace drops some loose leaf. Imagine listless (languid, dispirited, indifferent) birds falling to the ground. I think a languid, dispirited bird--if birds feel those things--would just hang around in a tree or on the ground. Now imagine sheets of paper falling to the ground. Do they look similar? Does describing these indifferent birds help you envision the paper? I rest my case.
-The full leaking womb bit goes like this: "I was not a wolf, but I wasn't Sam yet, either. I was a leaking womb bulging with the promise of conscious thoughts…" Okay, so I think what Steifvater is trying to tell us is that Sam is in between forms and he can almost feel the conscious thoughts coming, like a baby being born? But... I don't know. If he didn't already have conscious thoughts he wouldn't have been able to tell us this, so that doesn't work either.
-"Sam and I had spent last night talking about the strange room of stuffed animals at the Culpeppers' and wondering, with the constant irritation of a scratchy sweater, where Jack was going to make his next appearance" (Page 120). This metaphor makes sense but it's really crammed in there. Awkwardly. This sentence is as awkward as a leaking womb.
I only wrote three examples down. But there are plenty more. I attribute them to Steifvater paying more attention to what her words sounded like than what they meant. A lot of this novel reads like overwrought pseudo poetry. For example: Sam's song lyrics. One of Sam's hobbies is to make up song lyrics in his head and then force us to read them (One of his songs is about truffles). I skipped over them. They seem completely out of nowhere and disconnected to his character.
So who is Sam? In the winter he's a wolf with yellow eyes that saves girls from being mauled. In the summer he is a boy who makes up songs in his head, feels like a uterus with something oozing out of it, and reads Rilke. Which Steifvater forces us to read too.
When I picked up Shiver, I wanted a story about the silent bond between a girl and a yellow-eyed wolf. I imagined them exploring a lush forest carpeted in pine needles. I imagined the wolf following the girl, the amazement that such a majestic and wild animal had chosen her as its companion. I imagined the adventures they would have together, and her shock and delight when the wolf became a boy. When he could respond to her with words of her own language. Then, the bond they built as girl and wolf might evolve into something else. I was hoping he would still be wild and wolflike as a boy.
But Sam is just ordinary. And this isn't the story I got.
I'm primarily focusing on the negatives here, and I feel a little bad about that. There is a lot more of the beautiful description I quoted in my first paragraph. But I didn't like this book. Partly because it didn't meet my expectations, partly because this kind of story just isn't my cup of tea, and partly because a lot of things in it didn't make sense.
If you made it to the end of this review, I applaud you.(less)
Oh God, I could not read this. I think I got to Chapter Five or Six and my brain started yelling WHERE IS THE STORY? Maybe some people will say that I...moreOh God, I could not read this. I think I got to Chapter Five or Six and my brain started yelling WHERE IS THE STORY? Maybe some people will say that I didn't give it a fair chance, but I read enough to get a feel for the writing, to decide it was not good writing, and to realize that I didn't care a smidge for the main character (or any other characters for that matter). Amelia is too wishy washy. She goes on about how she doesn't remember her last name or when she lived but she kind of hangs out in her cemetery and she doesn't even care enough about herself to TURN AROUND and READ THE TOMBSTONE. If she doesn't care, why should I?
I have more reasons not to like this novel and I wrote them down in a notebook that is somewhere else right now so I'll add them in later.
**EDIT Things I've remembered that don't quite work:
1. Amelia sees a boy drowning. She desperately wants to save him from sharing her terrible fate but can do nothing to help because she is a ghost. Yup, yup, still with you. She can hear his heart slowing. She wills him to wake up, to swim to the surface. His heart stops. ...And then starts again? You lost me. I'm no medical expert, but I'm pretty sure that if someone is drowning and their heart stops, it's not going to randomly start again. Maybe it's possible in some one in a million type scenario, but we've only just got this story going and already I'm in doubt. My suspended disbelief is sputtering and losing altitude.
2.After his magic revival, the boy swims to shore where a crowd of people who know him and are shouting his name have miraculously appeared. We are shown the gaping hole in the guardrails on the bridge or overpass where his car ripped through and plummeted into the river below. So if he was in the car by himself, where did all those people come from? According to the internet, it only takes about two or three minutes to drown. So how did all those people AND an ambulance get down to the river in two or three minutes? Were they driving in a caravan formation? Is there a convenient stairway down to the river? There may be some reason for all of this, but it is unusual and so must be explained.
3. When Call-Me-Joshua comes back to find Amelia, their interaction is stiff and boring. He says "O-kay" a bunch of times and Amelia looks at her dress. Despite the car crash and the rescue (which were both played down), there seems to be very little action in this story. There's next to no tension, and thus little to propel the story forward. The first twenty pages consist mostly of introspection, which might have been interesting if it led us somewhere. Also, who requests to be called by their full name when all of their friends/family/whoever clearly call them by a nickname?
I really wanted to enjoy Hereafter because I'm a huge fan of ghost stories, but it was extremely disappointing. If you were planning to read this, I recommend putting it down and going to read A Certain Slant of Light instead--it's a better version of the same type of story. If you really want to be spooked, More Than You Know is amazing. It's one of my favorites.
**If anyone can convince me that it will get better and that things happen and actually move forward, then I may consider giving it a second chance. Maybe.(less)
Okay so let's start with things I didn't like so we can end on a positive note.
I found the plot of this novel to be much less well-crafted than Clare...moreOkay so let's start with things I didn't like so we can end on a positive note.
I found the plot of this novel to be much less well-crafted than Clare's other work. I particularly like The Mortal Instruments series for its forward-moving plots that are centered on some kind of mystery or adventure--like where's mom and who are these weirdos with pictures on their arms? I enjoy romance when it's a subplot, but this trilogy's romance is creeping into the forefront, greedily elbowing the actual plot out of its way. In Clockwork Prince, the Magister and the clockwork angel and Tessa's unique abilities all take a backseat to her love triangle with Will and Jem. The romance is a spicy bonus but I’m reading the book because I want to know the secrets behind the Magister’s sinister scheming, why Tessa can shape shift, and who her parents were.
The one thing about Tessa that makes her interesting, that makes her stand out as a character, is the fact that she's a shape shifter and had no knowledge of this fact until some demon sisters trained her to do it properly. She should be using this ability, exploring its possibilities. This is what I was looking forward to when I read Clockwork Prince, but Tessa only shape shifts three times in the whole book: twice because it's part of a plan and once in the heat of battle. Why isn't she sneaking around in other bodies, getting into scrapes, and spying on people? Why isn't she using her skills for peronal gain or even just out of personal curiousity? It's such a fun, promising idea that I'm surprised Clare didn't do more with it. The subservient role of women in this time period lends itself to unique opportunities in this plot line.
I also had minor issues with some historical aspects of the novel. There was a kind of half-way attempt at period dialogue, but all Clare really did was use “shall” and get rid of contractions. I’m pretty sure that people used contractions in Victorian England. I think, with period speech, you either have to do research—which isn’t too hard, read some old letters or something—and really go for it, or you have write in the present day vernacular (avoiding obvious anachronisms) and it will just be understood that the character’s words are being translated in storytelling. Like in the movie Everafter. It’s set in medieval France, and yet everyone speaks with vaguely old-fashioned diction in English accents. It’s understood that the speech was adapted to aid the audience’s understanding. Maybe that’s what Clare was doing, but something about it felt off, or forced to me.
Clockwork Prince could have done with a little less classics-quoting. On the one hand, it’s interesting to know what was popular at the time and the books mentioned help set an historical backdrop. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine to read books that constantly quote other books. It feels a little bit like name dropping, or like a cheatery way to give the characters more depth.
Ta da! I’m done complaining.
And despite all of this, I did like Clockwork Prince. Not as much as Clockwork Angel and definitely not as much as The Mortal Instruments, but I enjoyed it. It’s the kind of book that has this magnetic pull to it, that makes you think about it constantly when you’re not reading it, that makes you count down the minutes to the end of your work day even more urgently than usual because you have a book to get home to, that makes you stay up reading late into the night.
I’m trying to think of specific praises to balance out my review full of criticisms and the robot battle scene was pretty cool and the Jessamine thing was intriguing (and oh my god I forgot to complain about Will’s secret but this is getting long), but I think this addictive quality is so wonderful and rare that it balances out all of the little flaws on its own. (less)
I have mixed feelings about City of Lost Souls, mainly because it didn't meet the expectations built up by the previous four books in The Mortal Instr...moreI have mixed feelings about City of Lost Souls, mainly because it didn't meet the expectations built up by the previous four books in The Mortal Instruments series. This fifth installment reads more like fan-fiction than professional writing. Clare spends way too much time on cliched descriptions of make-out sessions and telling us what her characters are wearing. Really, there is no need to provide detailed descriptions of a character's ensemble every single time he or she enters a scene. Maybe a few times is okay, if the outfit is relevant or contributes to characterization, but lines like this are too much:
"As she came in, Alec looked up and saw her, and sprang to his feet, hurrying barefoot across the room--he was wearing black sweatpants and a white t-shirt with a torn collar--to put his arms around her."
I don't think the color of Alec's sweatpants is important enough to warrant interrupting the action to tell us. Shoving that in there ruins the sentence.
It's one example of the many ways that this novel lacks focus. I often found myself thinking, "What, this again? Get to the good part!" Mostly during the scenes between Maia and Jordan. I felt like there was an inordinate amount of time spent on the trivial exploits of secondary characters. Maia and Jordan's scenes were all pretty much gooey teen romance, which I can't stomach, especially when they're written without any originality. My public library put a sticker on the book's spine with a spooky ghost and the word "Horror." A more accurate sticker might have shown the torso of a man whose muscles rippled under his tightly fitted shirt. There's a couple of those floating around CLS.
The plot--Clary and friends' attempts to find Jace and Sebastian and then stop Sebastian's nefarious scheme--often got bogged down with the aforementioned makeout sessions and fashion commentary, but when it wasn't, when we were right in the thick of things--the book was pretty good. There was a lot of interesting development with Sebastian's character and his relationship with Clary. My favorite scenes were with Sebastian. He's a fantastic--I don't want to say villain, because Clare makes things nice and grey for us. A very dark grey, but grey nonetheless.
To sum up: entertaining plot, surprisingly amateurish writing. Could have used some more editing to really reach its potential, I think.
NOTES: *I thought this subplot was going to unfurl and it just never happened which is too bad because I think it would have been fantastic. It was this: (view spoiler)[Okay so Raphael asks Simon to be his bodyguard and Simon is like, "Um, seriously? You're a jerk, I don't think so." At another point in time and space, Camille asks Alec to kill Raphael in exchange for some juicy magic secrets. Alec says he can't do it. BUT. Imagine if Raphael had something on Simon, had kidnapped his sister maybe out of a desperation to acquire Simon's services, and Simon had to say yes. Then imagine Alec doesn't chicken out of his deal with Camille. Maybe her end of the bargain is something more necessary than information about making Magnus mortal. Maybe Magnus is hurt and Camille knows how to fix him. So Alec has to say yes. And then guess what will happen? Alec will try to kill Raphael, who is being protected by Simon, WHO HAS THE MARK OF CAIN, and lives are at stake? How exciting would that be!? I don't know how they'd get out of that pickle, that's the hard part. (hide spoiler)] *(view spoiler)[Brother Zachariah is definitely Will Herondale (hide spoiler)] *I really do not understand why this duck stuff is funny.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Ghostgirl is a fun, ghoulish read that fans of Tim Burton and Henry Selick will probably enjoy. (I would love to see them do a film of this.) High-sch...moreGhostgirl is a fun, ghoulish read that fans of Tim Burton and Henry Selick will probably enjoy. (I would love to see them do a film of this.) High-schooler Charlotte Usher is essentially invisible: she has no friends and most of her classmates simply ignore her. She has spent all summer diligently making herself over into the type of person she is certain popular boy Damen Dylan will want and feels confident that all her dreams are about to come true. Sadly, just as she is setting her plan into motion, she chokes to death on a gummy bear. Now literally invisible, but still determined, Charlotte clings to her plan and desperately looks for a way to make it happen--viewing her death as merely a minor setback. Charlotte's quirkiness and determined optimism save Ghostgirl from spiraling into a woe-is-me-I'm-invisible-and-alone sob story. Instead, Hurley's novel reads like a delightfully and absurdly morbid teen quest for recognition.
I did have some issues with plot resolution, and not the kind that can be fixed by a sequel. (GETTING SPOILERY FOR A BIT) The two major obstacles of the story are Charlotte's pursuit of Damen and her ghosty pals' attempts to save their drafty Victorian Manor, first from buyers and then from condemnation. In order to "pass on" they must successfully complete a task assigned to them by a mysterious higher power, which we find out at the start of the novel is "protecting" the house by keeping it uninhabited. They have a bit of trouble doing this because Charlotte, distracted by her designs on Damen, is not being very helpful and often inadvertently messes things up for the other ghosts. By the end of the book, the Damen plot thread is sufficiently resolved, but the Passing On business gets kind of glossed over.
At the climax of the story, when Charlotte finally chooses responsibility over personal gain, there is a sort of Magical Hooray Moment when we find out that Charlotte's decision means all the ghosts can pass on. I don't buy it. It's a bit too deus ex machina for me. I don't understand why all of the ghosts' fates were resting on Charlotte's epiphany of selflessness and not the resolution of their own issues. As a result of this, the conclusion felt bungled and vague. I wish it was set up more thoughtfully and also that Hurley elaborated more on all of the ghosts' deaths. It might have been more effective for the ghosts to help each other solve/avenge each other's deaths in order to pass over, especially since Hurley has already told us that each ghost came to a strange and unexpected end. Instead, they have to save an old house for no good reason except that someone told them to. (END SPOILING)
Ghostgirl made me chuckle at times and mutter "ugh gross" under my breath at others. I appreciated the Young Frankenstein and Edward Gorey references. The physical book is gorgeously designed, with it's Gothic lettering, black and pink Victorian patterned endpapers, and the pink roses adorning each page. I will read the sequel if someone finds it and puts it in front of me.(less)
Is this going to be series? I thought it was stand alone before I opened it, but now I could see there being a second book... I kind of hope there is...moreIs this going to be series? I thought it was stand alone before I opened it, but now I could see there being a second book... I kind of hope there is a second book. I enjoyed spending time with these characters and I want to know more!
Jacob Portman, a lonely teenage boy, suffers a mental breakdown when his grandfather dies under what Jacob (and only Jacob) sees as mysterious circumstances. He convinces his father to travel with him to a tiny island off the coast of Wales, the setting of tales that Grandpa Portman shared with Jacob in his childhood. Jacob feels these tales were more than just stories, and is determined, unbeknownst to his parents, to discover the truth behind them and his grandfather's enigmatic past. He hopes this truth will make sense of his grandfather's death.
The premise of the story is weird and original. I mean, time loop? Ymbrynes? How did Riggs come up with this stuff? I love it. The vivid world of the novel lures the reader deeper and deeper into the story, as Jacob's thirst for answers lure him through forests and bogs and abandoned old houses. Jacob, as well as the characters he meets on his adventure, are human, idiosyncratic, and vulnerable. It is easy to become invested in their lives. The photographs included add a haunting, historical vibe, that contributes to the novel's mysterious. I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to the sequel, which I've just researched and am now sure exists.(less)
Joan Aiken's boundless inventiveness and wonderful storytelling always leave my brain buzzing and whirring with delight. Her creativity is inspiring--...moreJoan Aiken's boundless inventiveness and wonderful storytelling always leave my brain buzzing and whirring with delight. Her creativity is inspiring--I only wish my imagination was as fertile. Aiken writes beautifully. Her prose is flowing, intelligent, and descriptive--as always, a pleasure to read.
These stories tell of a mermaid brought back from the sea in a glass bottle, a stolen horse, a man haunted by octopi only he can see, a vicar who is reincarnated as a cat, and a village that only exists for three days out of the year, among other equally intriguing subjects. I felt that some of the stories seemed like only sketches and some ended too soon, but maybe that's just me wanting more.
Finishing this has reminded me that The Serial Garden is waiting patiently on my shelf, and I look forward to reading it.(less)
Vera Dietz has lost her best friend Charlie twice: first when he betrayed her, and again when he died under mysterious and unsavory circumstances. Ver...moreVera Dietz has lost her best friend Charlie twice: first when he betrayed her, and again when he died under mysterious and unsavory circumstances. Vera knows something that might clear Charlie’s name, but isn’t sure she’s ready to share. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is about the courage it takes to break through the safe facade of normalcy—in whose shadows the twisting, choking roots of lies and hidden evils flourish.
King’s writing is strong and illuminating, her world and characters solid. Vera, the primary narrator, is sarcastic, intelligent, independent, and a little weird. I like her. It is easy to sympathize with her bitter regret of Charlie’s death—easy to feel the pain of Vera’s loss because halfway through the book I missed Charlie too. King’s alternating perspectives create nuance and depth. We get to hear from Vera’s dad and accounts from the deceased Charlie and the Pagoda (a town landmark) lend a dark quirkiness to the novel. Its most striking success is the clarity with which I can see through the prose of the story, how the characters and their lives become more real than the printed words before my eyes.
Vera’s tale is dark, funny, mysterious, and heartbreaking. It is honest: there is a sad, ringing truth to the tangle of emotions Vera struggles with after Charlie’s death and this honesty plays a large role in my response to the novel. I look forward to reading King’s other work.(less)
Evie "I want to see my name in lights" O'Neill gets shipped off to live with her uncle in Manhattan after her flapper antics cause trouble for her wel...moreEvie "I want to see my name in lights" O'Neill gets shipped off to live with her uncle in Manhattan after her flapper antics cause trouble for her well-to-do parents. In New York, a ritualistic serial killer whose crimes smack with the supernatural is on the loose and the police ask Evie's Uncle Will, owner of a Museum of the Occult, to consult on the case. Unknown to her family, Evie posses a supernatural power of her own, the ability to get psychic readings from objects, and she is convinced that if she uses it, she could play an essential role in the capture of the murderer. But this murderer proves to be darker and more elusive than Evie, Will, & Co. ever expected.
This book shares some similarities with Libba Bray's previous supernatural trilogy. Both follow the exploits of a young girl in a supernatural version of history. Unlike Gemma's story, The Diviners is written in third person, and instead of focusing primarily on one character, skips between a multitude of them. The book improves when we've had time to get to know the characters a little more. The idea of the American Dream seems to pervade the novel. Most of the characters are motivated by a desire to make something of themselves, to be famous, glamorous, celebrated. To achieve an ideal.
While the book did entertain me, I still felt that something was missing. Instead of the distant, sweeping descriptions of the era, which are scattered throughout the novel (one follows wind, blowing through the city and observing its inhabitants), I would have preferred more time spent on individual characters and more specific, more sensory descriptions of the time period filtered through the points of view of the characters. There was a little too much name dropping to convince me of the setting's authenticity and a little too much stereotype to allow me to connect fully with the characters. The only one I really empathize with is Mabel--I would have like to see more of her. I hope she plays a bigger role in the rest of the trilogy. I'm surprised at the way Libba Bray handles historical setting here, because Gemma Doyle's world seems so effortlessly authentic.
The story itself is creepy and mysterious, a good fall read. The plot was resolved at the end (Hooray!), but I'm still left with questions about the characters and their lives. I look forward to the unfolding of these mysteries in the next installment of the trilogy and hope that the world will be a little more textured.(less)