Unquestionably one of the most engaging books I've read in years. I've read very little science fiction before this but the story concept and seemingl...moreUnquestionably one of the most engaging books I've read in years. I've read very little science fiction before this but the story concept and seemingly endless parade of positive reader reviews convinced me to give it a shot. I COULD NOT put it down. My only small criticism would be that the ending seemed a bit rushed and it seemed odd to introduce new characters near the end. Leads me to believe (and hope) that these stories will pick up again in a later book. Still, a five star book for me-and I don't give five stars often. Looking forward to the next installment!(less)
This was just alright for me. The first half of the book was pretty engaging but the second half just plodded along at a rate akin to torture. I think...moreThis was just alright for me. The first half of the book was pretty engaging but the second half just plodded along at a rate akin to torture. I think what was lacking was a well defined central conflict. We see Abe at the beginning battling various vampires but these short sequences aren't really part of an overall plot. The book has no momentum, no driving force. The central conflict, such as it is, is the Civil War and the end of slavery so as to cut off the "food supply" for the powerful southern vampires. Ennhhh. This conflict had no focal point. Did it need a focal point? I'm not sure. But it needed something. (although I might point out that in the movie version, this flaw was fixed with addition of "adam" as the villain and focal point of the southern vampire rebellion)
At the halfway point, it was pretty well dead in the water. Does the fact that I already knew the outcome of the war and Abraham Lincoln's life affect how much I enjoyed the book? Maybe. But even the little 'twist' at the end was easily predicted. Not a horrible read but it lacked a lot. Also, I would have rather enjoyed meeting back up with the original narrator at the end...and I'm still curious as to who the seven people were that he was supposed to contact. I'm wondering if I missed something?(less)
This was not very good. I'll say, disappointing. The first book was great, the second was alright but this one just didn't cut it. I will say one thin...moreThis was not very good. I'll say, disappointing. The first book was great, the second was alright but this one just didn't cut it. I will say one thing, Collins somehow cleverly managed to write the exact same story three different times and sell them by the millions-so kudos to her. Yes some of the incidentals changed from book to book and even a couple background characters came and went but it was the same story each time. Same disinterested and blindly stupid protagonist. Same unconvincing love triangle. Same conflict, Katniss vs The Capitol, same fight scenes taking place in arenas (although in this installment, the 'arena' was the entire capital...uh huh) There were so many instances of absurd, roll-your-eyes unrealism (like the entire city street that's on a BIG HINGE that can indiscrimately lower citizens (or rebels) into a pit of dark creatures...Did you hear that? THE ENTIRE STREET WAS ON A BIG HINGE!!) And the book was filled with this kind of ridiculous crap.
**vague spoilers ahead**
The quality of writing was piss-poor and long stretches of this were utterly dull. If you're going to make Katniss a rebel, then make her a real rebel, make her give an actual shit about what's going on. Let her get dirty...and WTF did a prep team have to do in this book?? Hell, Collins just kept falling back into the same storygroove. A prep team had a place in the first book and maybe even in the second book...but what the hell kind of rebellion has prep teams and propoganda? OMG, this was just fucking asanine!! If Collins had taken the time to make Katniss care about her role in the rebellion, then the deceit she uncovers at the end would have been more dramatic and how she reacted to that deceit much more believable.
The fact that she ended up with the guy I was rooting for didn't even compensate for this fizzle of a finale. And even though she ended with this particular guy, Collins didn't even write it well. I mean, she just told us in a summary-style ending what happened. She wouldn't even give her readers the satisfaction of sharing that moment with the characters when they're finally together and Katniss finally realizes who she loves. And that was the biggest disappointment of all because that was the only reason I kept reading this last book.
Probably would have given this 3.5 stars instead of 3. I enjoyed the story but it was not as engaging as the first installment. The first half of the...moreProbably would have given this 3.5 stars instead of 3. I enjoyed the story but it was not as engaging as the first installment. The first half of the book moved rather slow and by the time the pace picked up, I realized that the author was taking me down a very similar plot-path as book 1. There was no character growth and there was only marginal movement in the entire plot of the story. Katniss was as clueless as ever. Perhaps Collins believes that the way to build suspense is to make the main character 'out of the intellectual loop' so that the reader may be as surprised as Katniss by the turns of events? That approach didn't work for me.
The action in the arena was not as exciting as in book one...I didn't find myself rooting for her (or Peeta) It was just kinda flat.
Still, all-in-all, not a bad read, just not as strong as "the Hunger Games". It just didn't grip me.(less)
This was an amazing read and at 1300+ pages it's kind of an investment. This will probably stand up as one of my all-time favorites. It was not a perf...moreThis was an amazing read and at 1300+ pages it's kind of an investment. This will probably stand up as one of my all-time favorites. It was not a perfect novel, however. The sheer length of it affected the pacing. I read this on my kindle and I recall being at the 57% mark before I really felt that the story was in full motion. There were a couple other small problems. For instance, it seemed to me that Danglars really didn't have sufficient motive to instigate such a plot against Dantes. Yes, Dantes was a young man who, by merit of his good character, was rewarded with a promotion to a sea captain. Danglars (who expressed no interest in being a ship captain himself) was so jealous of Dantes' good fortune that he devised a plot against him. It seemed odd that Danglars, who was interested in money and banking, would carry a petty jealousy so far. The second small problem I saw was that the three 'villians' Villefort, Danglars and Fernand scarcely knew one another in the beginning of the novel and two of the three were mere common folk. Yet, all three somehow found great fortune and somehow came to associate together in the same Parisian aristocratic circles. I realize that for the sake of storytelling, this was necessary to happen, just seems unlikely. Beyond these two small problems, I loved the book. And like other reviewers have pointed out, this was not a tale of revenge-not at its heart. It was a tale, ultimately, of remorse and forgiveness and epiphanies of connectedness.(less)
I'm sorry, but this book was just 'okay' for me. While it shared the same tone and humor as "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" it lacked...moreI'm sorry, but this book was just 'okay' for me. While it shared the same tone and humor as "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" it lacked the heart and soul. Like FGTATWSC, it chronicles the lives of a family and community of a small town; it begins in the 1940's and extends into the '90's. My biggest problem with this book is that there was no story to it. It was entertaining most of the way through and felt fun to visit the characters like they were my own friends and family but it was all very shallow. And this book certainly made me yearn for a time period I never knew myself. Flagg does Americana very well, I will certainly hand her that much. My second problem with the book was that the characters were all pretty bland. Even Neighbor Dorothy who was like the glue that touched them all...well, let's just say she was no Idgie. And some of the characters (Hamm and Norma) I found just out-and-out annoying. I might have liked the book better, had the focus been more on Bobby who was the most interesting character and a central character in the early years. But Bobby was just shuffled to the side when he became an adult and the tiny bit of plot focused on Betty Raye and Hamm's political careers (for me this was a big yawn)
Don't get me completely wrong, there is an entertainment factor here and I see that a lot of reviewers rated this much higher than I did...I did enjoy about 65% of this book. I was just hoping to find a story that was as rich and textured, poignant and humorous and as real as "Fried Green Tomatoes..." but this fell disappointingly short of the mark.(less)
I realized when I bought this book that it was written with a slightly younger audience in mind but that it had also built a fanbase among adults. In...moreI realized when I bought this book that it was written with a slightly younger audience in mind but that it had also built a fanbase among adults. In recent years I've read several books intended for kids/young adults that had a cross-over appeal for older readers (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight) Of all these books, The Hunger Games is the only book that I would, whole-heartedly and without a trace of embarrassment, recommend to another adult.
Overall, the Hunger Games was quick-paced. The beginning was a bit slower but once I got to the actual 'games', this book was impossible to put down. It was a great story that was completely engaging. It was bare-boned, not weighed down with excessive wordiness and imagery and this kept the survival story at a constant sprint.
It was brutal, dark and it pulled surprisingly few punches. It was a great story containing characters I cared about and a good ride for a reader of any age.
I am hopeful that The Hunger Games will finally be the book in the young adult fiction genre that will knock that glittery vampire and his pathetically dull girlfriend off thier undeserved pedestals! Fingers crossed.(less)
I picked up this book for no other reason than it was written by McEwan. Until today, I've loved everything I've read by him.
Good Lordy, where to star...moreI picked up this book for no other reason than it was written by McEwan. Until today, I've loved everything I've read by him.
Good Lordy, where to start with this...I know, I'll start with the good points. McEwan's vocabulary and sentence structure are, as always, immaculate. He obviously did a lot of research too so a thumbs up for putting in the hard work on that front.
Moving on. Solar was awful and I was just beyond disappointed. I made a New Years Resolution to read 50 books this year and this was the first one I finished and I am betting it will be the worst thing I read all year. I was tempted to abondon this book before the end of part one BUT I read to the point where the main character frames one of his wife's lovers for his colleague's accidental death and I thought, 'okay, maybe this is going somewhere interesting at last'. by the end of part two I had given up hope of anything interesting happening but by then I figured it would only take a couple more days to finish it off and maybe, just maybe, Mr. McEwan would at least reward me with a meaningful ending if I just stick with it. The last line WAS nicely done but it didn't compensate for all the crap that preceded it.
The main thing I disliked about Solar was that there was barely a nuance of a plotline. I guess when a writer gains a certain status, trivial things like plot are just a nuisance to think about. Hell, just throw in a solid theme and lots of symbolism and the critics will adore it!! While the symbolism was not wasted on me, I really hate it when it's so contrived.
The main character was so unlikeable, just a disgusting caricature who is so horribly flawed he was completely unrelateable. And unfortunately the whole book is told from this vile man's point of view.
There was a bit of humor and the scene on the train with the crisps had me literally laughing out loud. There were a couple other scenes that I found 'funny in theory', meaning, I think McEwan intended for them to be humorous but the humor never quite materialized for me. For instance, the scene on the snowmobile where the nobel prize winner actually thinks his penis has fallen off and is rolling around in his snowsuit...now that SHOULD be funny but the tone was all wrong and it just didn't quite get there. It makes me wonder if McEwan intended the entire book to be lighter, more satirical in tone but if so, he didn't pull it off.
The book was also very technical in parts. I am not a physicist and I have no interest in physics or photovoltaics. Although it was written in a way that a lay-person like myself can understand, it was just boring as ALL HELL! I skimmed a lot.
When I pick up a work of fiction, I expect a certain entertainment value to be attached to it. Or I expect some small enlightenment, I expect to be moved by something in some way. But Solar did none of that. It only wasted a week of my reading time.(less)
I don't really have a hard and fast opinion on this one. It was just kinda ENHHHH. The book is, in fact, a collection of three short stories all of wh...moreI don't really have a hard and fast opinion on this one. It was just kinda ENHHHH. The book is, in fact, a collection of three short stories all of which are fairly good. For me, there was a definate period of adaptation needed to adjust to the mechanics of Harrison's prose. He seems to dislike commas a great deal and many of his sentences are just clumsy word trains and I had to re-read many sentences just to grasp his meaning. In general, I found the stories to be heavy on meaning and light on plot and none of the three really resonated with me. Of the three stories, I disliked the title story the most as I found it tedious. There were many passages I found ridiculously boring and they did little to balance out the remaining passages which were just an average amount of boring. I think this is the type of book that will appeal to certain types of micro-analyzing readers. I am not such a reader. I like 'thought-provoking' but I hate to feel I must dig so deeply into a story to try and justify to myself why I spent the time reading it. I guess the bottom line is this, it was decent, well written but the enjoyment factor was nil.(less)
**spoiler alert** Wow. The average rating for this book is 4.18 and the average rating for 'Great Expectations' is 3.6. What's wrong with that picture...more**spoiler alert** Wow. The average rating for this book is 4.18 and the average rating for 'Great Expectations' is 3.6. What's wrong with that picture? This book deserves nowhere near 4 stars. Harrison is barely approaching competent as a writer. There are so many holes in the plot and just plain unexplained weirdness (like the 8 foot range for vampire attacks??) and she contradicts herself a lot. In one part of the book/series she explains the difference between warlocks and witches and that a person becomes a witch by education. Then she says later that witches are witches because they are a unique genetic species. Which is it? Then there was the scene at Piscary's in which Rachel realized that Glenn may not make it out alive unless the other vamps thought he was Ivy's shadow. Later she said that Piscary had some special license so he could have both humans and vamps in his establishment and humans frequently visited Piscary's because of the dangerous edge. Which is it? I also got real tired of hearing all of the 'turn swears'...you know like 'go turn yourself!' or 'get turned'. It was old in book one and by book two it was infuriating. When I got to the part where Kist says 'fuck' I about swallowed my tongue in shock. I had no idea Harrison's lilywhite ass even knew the word!! The characters didn't really gain any dimension in this installment. Rachel is as incompetent as she was in book one. There was absolutely no chemistry between her and Nick...and I, for one, would have liked to have seen the beginning of their relationship and how they got together. But this book picked up with this boring relationship already in bloom. Had I seen the beginning, I might actually have rooted for the relationship even though it seemed doomed at the end. Just as well, seems there's a bit more chemistry between her and Kalamack...and her and Kist...and her and Glenn...and her and Ivy...actually her and anybody but Nick.
I think I've come to the conclusion that serialized fiction is not for me. On the whole, I find the genre underdeveloped and Harrison's series is just another example of poor fiction. The first half of the book was mind-numbingly boring. The second half was more engaging and the only truly interesting thing about the book was Trent Kalamack and his and his father's ties to Rachel's family. I'm just not sure it's interesting enough to keep me reading the series.(less)
I'm only about fifty pages into this one...and what a deviation this is from the first two books. After reading some of the other reviews, I guess I c...moreI'm only about fifty pages into this one...and what a deviation this is from the first two books. After reading some of the other reviews, I guess I can't expect it to get any better. These books are the only work of Koontz I've ever read but I noticed that the first two books included co-authors. Is it too early for me to assume that the co-authors were responsible for the success of the earlier installments? If I were to form an opinion of Mr. Koontz based soley on the first fifty pages of this book, I'd arrive at the conclusion that he is a talentless hack.
UPDATE: Okay, I'm finished now. This book was disappointing-there was a a huge depreciation in the quality of writing. Just about every method of writing poorly is demonstrated here. The characters, which were not especially rich to begin with, were further reduced to the thinness of the paper they were printed on. The dialogue was absurd, asananine, redundant and insulting. I've read more natural sounding exchanges in a Dick and Jane Primer. The plot was full of holes. The ending was convenient, uninspired and lazy. Yes, Mr. Koontz, you are a lazy, lazy writer. Deucalion was the only truly interesting character in the first two books and here, he was reduced to being a mere observer for most of the book. I'm not a writing expert but I read a lot and I know enough to say that when wrapping up a story, when you're at the point where you must pull those plot lines together, THAT IS NOT THE TIME TO START DOWN DIFFERENT STORY TANGENTS OR INTRODUCE NEW CHARACTERS!! And Victor Helios was maybe the worst villian ever brought to paper-not because he was so scary but because he was so unauthentic. Not since Pinky and The Brain have I seen more over-the-top villiany. RIDICULOUS And my harshest criticism of all is that Mr. Koontz does not know how to write horror. He shrinked away from every scene that may have contained some graphic element of horror and just glazed over things with lines like "Janet bit him in a place Bucky never would have thought to bite. Bucky was in awe of Janet's inventiveness." Well, this reader was not in awe of anything because this reader had no idea what happened because the author was too lazy to write it. A real horror fiction writer would have dug into it...that's why I like the genre and it's why I read it. I do not need to be coddled. If this is the best you can do Mr. Koontz, then go write some Goosebump style stories for kids.
All of that being said, I enjoyed the character of Jocko enough that the whole book was not a total loss. If only Koontz would have made the effort to make all his characters so endearing. Unfortunately Jocko was the only bright spot in the book. But even though I enjoyed reading his scenes, it was not enough to compensate for the shitty way Koontz ended this series. I've never read anything else by Koontz so I don't know how this book compares to any of his others. I doubt that I'll ever find out.(less)
Still reading this, but this is really, really bad. I don't know if I'll be able to finsih. It's hard when you're reading, and you can actually feel y...moreStill reading this, but this is really, really bad. I don't know if I'll be able to finsih. It's hard when you're reading, and you can actually feel your IQ dropping. I purchased this book from a display of popular vampire fiction. I didn't look at the book closely enough. I knew that there was TV show coming out based on this series so I thought I'd try it. Come to realize, after the receipt was long-gone, that this is a TEEN/YOUNG ADULT book. BUt I started reading because, Twilight was in the same genre and it was, at least, entertaining. To say that this is a teen/ young adult book is to thoroughly insult teens and young adults across the world. This book is written at a fourth grade level-I'm not exaggerating. So far, it is a poorly written story with characters I greatly dislike. I may read another chapter or two to see if there is anything at all redeeming about this book but I'll probably abandon it. This is an obvious, and poor attempt, to re-release this book and cash in on Twilight's rush of fortune.(less)
This book was better than the first installment and I enjoyed the first book fairly well. It kept me engaged all the way though. Even Randal 6 was an...moreThis book was better than the first installment and I enjoyed the first book fairly well. It kept me engaged all the way though. Even Randal 6 was an enjoyable character here (I disliked him a lot in the first book). I like to see how the new race is evolving/devolving with some having religious beliefs, desiring children, performing death rituals, honoring their dead, desiring to sadistically kill. These concepts were never really hinted at in the first book. I'm anxious to start the next book.(less)