What an utter waste of time. The consolidated three hours it took for me to complete this tome of one-dimensional, unlikeable characters is 180 minute...moreWhat an utter waste of time. The consolidated three hours it took for me to complete this tome of one-dimensional, unlikeable characters is 180 minutes I'd like back.
There are seven characters; none of which seemed remotely convincing or valid. Most were vapid and so distasteful I wanted them to be caught out on their nefarious deeds. One character, Liz, was especially heinous and off-putting. I loathed that character. Any time the narrative was about Liz was a nadir for the book; just unrepentantly selfish, awful and unsympathetic.
This is certainly a misfire from an author who usually writes warmhearted, lovable characters with interesting and personal storylines. Nothing really clicked or felt more than average in scope or detail; the love affairs aren't steamy, the revelations aren't that shocking, and the last quarter of the novel lacks any real resolution for ANY of the characters. A very frustrating, pointless read.(less)
The cover is by far the most appealing aspect of the mess that is Tris & Izzie.
Simply and best put: the cover is the best part of the complicated mess that is this novel. I'd heard of a few other novels by this author I have wanted to read (mostly Mira, Mirror) so when I saw this on netgalley -- with that gorgeous cover -- I couldn't wait to read it. Sadly I was disappointed and frustrated by this retelling of the classic Tristan and Isolde legend.
The writing itself is very awkward and clunky from the beginning pages. Paragraphs like
"Mom said it was too painful to stay where all the memories were. Dad died just after I failed the test for magic that was supposed to figure out what kind I had. I guess magic can skip a generation or even fade out completely. No one knows the reason, but that's why there's less magic in the world now than there used to be. It's hard to live without magic surrounded by people who do, Mom says."
are prevalent and just as heavy-handed and meandering (this is on page 12, where the author is explaining her life now she has moved and then randomly we're learning about the state of magic in her world) throughout the entire story.
There's a LOT of exposition early on in order to catch the reader up to speed with the events and principles of this particular world. Rather than show the audience anything, every last detail is explained in monotonous dialogue or the vapid inner monologue like that quoted above of the main character, Izzie.
Izzie, or rather Isolde as she's called only by her angst-magnet Tristan, is not a character I cared about very much. Vapid, vain and entirely too boy-crazy to accurately represent a girl I'd like, Izzie is pretty clueless to top it all off. When warned by her witch mother Gwen (multiple times, over many years with her own life as an example of a true love philtre gone wrong) Izzie DRINKS a real love potion intended for another instead of you know, spilling it and thus making her fall in love with someone other than her 'perfect' boyfriend of a year. And then, after Izzie knowingly stole said potion with its intent and accuracy, and put it in a bottle of Sprite for two people who had NO IDEA what she was doing, and then took it herself, she COMPLAINS ABOUT THE RESULT. (Girl. YOU DID THIS. You were going to take two people who did not know each other and make them obsessively love each for all time and then when it backfires, YOU DRINK IT AND COMPLAIN? Are you kidding me.) Instead of ruining someone else's life (her ahem best friend was the target...) Izzie ruined her own. Instead of inspiring sympathy from me, I felt it was justified for a girl so supercilious as to decide who should fall in love without any awareness of that fact.
Speaking of Izzie's best friend and perfect boyfriend, all the characters in this felt very wooden, and fairly bland. None sparkled with individuality or flair; Mark, her original boyfriend, was so unassumingly bland I forgot Isolde was supposed to be conflicted half the time. And while these are supposed to be teens in high school, the conversations and overly-loaded dialogue felt way out of place. Izzie casually mentions Mark "the king of the school" (also, real subtle allusion to the real story, there) willing to "exile" another classmate for offending Izzie. I'm sorry, but teenagers do not talk that way. It's unrealistic and laughable, not to mention anachronistic for a generation unconcerned with history.
The plotting is glacial and very hard to get through. The odd moments of humor (Tristan to Isolde: "You see things" Isolde: "What, dead people?!") were intermittent, and while I did find them occasionally humorous, it wasn't enough to save my failing opinion of the style of this novel. I just cannot support a novel that has 16 year old teenagers discussing how they have found their soulmate, and how perfect him/her they are at length. The constant back-and-forth tugging between Tristan and Mark was extremely wearying, especially since I did not care who the author went with in the end: a fresh ending with a new twist or a new take on the old familiar. I just did not care.
Clearly this is a predictable story, one that has been told many times by many different people for a long, long time. But sadly, here in this novel, I saw little to distinguish from any other genre, run-of-the-mill retelling. I had hoped for an individualistic and clever take of forbidden love in a modern age, and instead I got genre popcorn. 1/5 and just not for me. (less)
As a fan of the ubiquitous, outrageous and beloved show, I had a desire to read the sourc material as I...moreRead This Review & More Like It On My Blog!
As a fan of the ubiquitous, outrageous and beloved show, I had a desire to read the sourc material as I have always always enjoyed the book over the show/movie/puppet re-enaction. This is the very first time (that I can remember) where that is not the case: I'll take the show and even those two atrocious movies over this crapfest. What was a fun, frothy, sexy show with independent and strong women was a soul-crushing excursion into the minds of characters so flat I could apply makeup while standing on them. Candace Bushnell might have had the right idea but she had no idea about how to execute it. Without Darren Star and the writing team at Showtime, the Samantha, Charlotte, Miranda and even Carrie we all love or love-to-hate would never even have come close to existing. There are no tangible storylines here - just a series of disjointed vignettes.
It is a bleak, and entirely off-putting book. There are no real characters, just darkly humorous facsimiles of modern people in a big city. No one is likable; no one even really has a tangible storyline! I have no idea where the writers of the eponymous show found their inspiration for Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha and Carrie: it certainly wasn't in the pages of this book. This was an incredibly depressing and unfulfulling read for me. I'd rather I'd never even started it, but I can't figure out how to unread this tripe. While it may seem I have a complete total hate-on for Bushnell, this is not true: her expansion into the YA market with the novel The Carrie Diaries had three-dimensional characters and a valid (if weak) plotline that I had fun reading. I just HATED both of these novels to a rather large and voluminous degree, and the characters so so much as well that I'll be needing a nice looooooooong break before I try another of her work. (less)
Is there a protagonist more unlikeable than Thomas Covenant? I've yet to find one in all my years of reading fantasy. In fact, I was so entirely off-p...moreIs there a protagonist more unlikeable than Thomas Covenant? I've yet to find one in all my years of reading fantasy. In fact, I was so entirely off-put by this character that my antipathy towards him makes me unable to appreciate anything worthy the series might contain. He's a foul, despicable man and I really couldn't see past him in any part of the novel. At the beginning, middle and end all I was focused on was how loathsome Donaldson had made this character. No redeeming attributes, no humor, no vim.. To me, if Donaldson had a good idea and wanted to make a lasting impact with his books, he lost that chance as soon as he introduced Thomas Convenant. His prose, when I could focus on it, did not to do much to help the book through its already numerous problems. Plodding, dull descriptions set in a fairly unique world that failed to keep my attention or imagination fixed on anything besides how I wished leprosy had finished off the main character. All in all, a fairly substandard book that I wish I had not taken the time to read. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)