This book is so, so very good. The beginning of it had me spellbound but unfortunately a good night's sleep tempered that spell and I was left to read...moreThis book is so, so very good. The beginning of it had me spellbound but unfortunately a good night's sleep tempered that spell and I was left to read a simply very good book.
Piper and her fellow students at the facility are all preteens learning few very important life lessons. Their abnormal abilities just set the bar a bit higher for them than for the rest of us humans. (less)
Getting into this book was little difficult for me. This was and is the first Patricia A. McKillip novel I've ever read, which means I can't compare t...moreGetting into this book was little difficult for me. This was and is the first Patricia A. McKillip novel I've ever read, which means I can't compare the language to anything and I don't know whether to blame the original author or the translator for my initial confusion.
I persisted and within fifty pages I was completely immersed into this world. I started caring about Ducon, Lydea, Kyel, but especially about Mag. The plot was on the stingy side and the ending was... thought provoking, but far from disappointing unless you were wishing for an action packed adventure finale. Since I just wanted to see the characters through the upheaval, I was happy.
After reading so many novels where everything is spelled out to the last detail, reading this minimalistic and bare story was like a breath of fresh air. (less)
You've read the blurb, you've seen the film trailer, and you think to yourself: "I'm going to get ahead of this and read it before the film comes out....moreYou've read the blurb, you've seen the film trailer, and you think to yourself: "I'm going to get ahead of this and read it before the film comes out. That way I'm bound to love one version, preferably both." You think that and then you spend two days reading and then you're a mess. Oh, sorry, that's just me.
It's a very good book. Both the Goodreads and Amazon ratings say so. So says also the upcoming film adaptation - wait scratch that, it only actually says the book sold well. And why shouldn't it. It's after all a nifty idea of tell a love story spread over twenty years with quick snippets acting as glances into the characters' lives always on the same day of the year. July 15th. What could be greater? Yeah, well, it's grows old quite fast and then the reader is left wondering why did the author hold on to that date, July 15th, so rigorously instead of varying it and showing those important moments he ended up only recapping in the current format.
There's a lot of telling going on instead of showing in general. There are years the day works and the characters have real discussions and show where they're at in their lives, but then there are the years and days when it's nothing but telling after telling - and I wouldn't be surprised to see a quick 30 second montage covering these bits in the film.
Also there's the fact that I spend majority of this book if not hating then actively disliking the male protagonist. I gleefully cheered when he walked into a doomed marriage and when it fell apart, although, it could have been worse (view spoiler)[since Sylvie was cheating on him from before their wedding and there was a slim chance that Dexter wasn't Jas' biological father. (hide spoiler)].
As much as I hated Dexter, I was far from pleased with Emma too for a long time, and I guess her mistakes (view spoiler)[- Phill, anyone? - (hide spoiler)] were supposed to even the score somehow. And it did, until his rushed redemption (view spoiler)[and achieved brief happiness. The quickness of it - it could just be a flaw of the format - set alarm bells ringing and the character death wasn't as big of a surprise as it should have been (hide spoiler)]. At least that's how I feel.
This story is supposed to be about both Em and Dex, Dex and Em, but the end just proves otherwise. It's clear from the first chapter that this friendship happens, because he chooses so. I was entertaining a small hope that she had a say around half way through - see my update: Finally - but this is just a story about how Dexter Mayhew grew up. A prolonged coming to age story, that never quite finishes.
In truth, that's part of the books magic. It's gritty and real and it says you'll always feel incomplete. In real life very few people - even forty somethings - feel all grown up and ready. Probably less so than the twenty somethings.
You might have noticed the scant use of the word friendship in this review. That's because this book feels like dysfunctional romance from the start, despite the characters actively claiming otherwise.
I just saw the word "maudlin" in Amazon's blurb. That's actually quite good one word summary for this book and for Dexter's character. It's probably also what I was feeling when I broke down in tears for the last fifty pages and stayed up until 4 am trying to see through my alternatively too wet or too dry eyes.
Despite all this, it's a good book. Better even than its average rating and given the choice I would reread it in a heartbeat. I just wouldn't pick up another book with the same formula without exceptionally good recommendations from my friends.
P.S. I was expecting to hate the date by the end of the book and I'm glad I'm not the only one - one of the characters says so too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It turns out that Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the teenage angel capitol of the United States, if not the whole world. That's about as much as I walked aw...moreIt turns out that Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the teenage angel capitol of the United States, if not the whole world. That's about as much as I walked away from this book. That and Tucker.
I actually feel bad for not liking this book more than I did - not. The writing is solid and light years ahead of my current measuring sticks - Twilight (grammar) and Matched (character connectivity). Of course it's written in first, which apparently can't be helped with majority of English fiction, but there's also this plotlike entity that permeates the 300 or so kindle book pages I waded through.
The book is about angels and angel-bloods, which inevitably brings God into the picture, but the author carefully threads on that line and never makes me feel uncomfortable with the concept of belief in any way.
And then there's the real issue I had with this book. Clara - a name that's pretty as a stand alone but hideous in the current literary climate of character naming - is written perfectly like a typical seventeen year old girl should be written. I just don't happen to like the typical seventeen year old girls. I like my teenaged protagonists to act abnormally mature having left behind most of the awkwardness that comes from being a typical teenager with typical teenage problems. Simply put - I'm too old for this shit.
So, if you happen to like paranormal young adult fiction that's written in first person, have at it. You'll probably fall in love with this book and become rabid - no offense intended, I've been one too - fan who writes epically long fanfics while waiting for the next book in the series, because if there was any doubt about a sequel, the ending pretty much squashed it.(less)
There are authors who can't write but are somehow published and popular anyway. There's also authors who have the brilliant knack of story telling if...moreThere are authors who can't write but are somehow published and popular anyway. There's also authors who have the brilliant knack of story telling if not the complete command of their language. There's a handful of much envied authors who can do both. And then there are the authors who sometimes stumble on a great story but don't know how to tell it even if their words are pretty.
It looks like Laini Taylor is among the last mentioned, and here I was hoping so much more from her.
I almost loved Lips Touch: Three Times, but I didn't. At the time three novellas in one was enough distract me of the flawed storytelling, or maybe the length of the stories was enough to rein the author in, but either case I missed something that's obvious to me now.
As pretty as Laini Taylor's words and worlds are, I'm not sure she's the best judge as to which story should be told.
Karou isn't the nicest of characters. She's frivolous and spiteful at times. Not that an unpleasant main character is an insurmountable obstacle for me, but I need something else, other than pretty but nonsensical expressions to carry me through.
This was the first time with Taylor's work that I stopped to pay attention to those details. And when I start snarking about grammar or complaining about overused metaphors, things are bad plot-wise.
The first third follows the typical young adult novel formula, where an exceptional and exceptionally beautiful girl is introduced in her element, which in this case is Prague with a door to everywhere in the world. She has friends in there and in Elsewhere. She doesn't have quite as lively imagination as her sketches make it seem, because she's only drawing from her real life.
And then we meet the broody angel-come-insta-love of Karou's life, another divinely beautiful being who does little else but stalk Karou and imagine himself in love with her without ever actually finding out who she is. This is kind of important, because it nullifies, in my eyes, the words he says to Karou before the wishbone is broken. (view spoiler)[It's only ever about Madrigal with him. He might have been attracted to Karou before he knew, but that was because some part of him recognised Madrigal's soul instead of finding something worth loving in this completely strange girl. (hide spoiler)]
We get the traditional "I'm telling you these characters love each other, believe me now" treatment instead of being showed why should we care about this beautiful couple and whether or not they're together. I've long since moved on from caring about insta-lust twu wuvs that are ever only told. It's worse here because it's a double shot of insta love.
Also, the word beautiful is overused. Where I bought that Madrigal had no sense of her own beauty, I didn't believe it about Karou. Karou was full of mischief but the kind that comes with knowing people treat you differently because of how you look and that you can charm your way out of those situations, whereas if Madrigal ever thought herself beautiful it was to resent the attention those looks brought her.
After Karou and Akiva, the brooding Angel (see what I did there), have snuggled a bit we learn about Madrigal. Her's was the only story I really wanted to read about, which is a shame because the last third suffered from being shoehorned into a side remark of another, bigger story. I think Taylor might have forgotten that she wasn't writing novellas this time.
(view spoiler)[As thankful as I am to have read Madrigal's memories, the scene could have been handled better from Karou's or even Akiva's point of view. Either could have conveyed that past life and Madrigal's fate through extensive dialogue and relevant descriptions. As it reads now, the picture surpasses its frame. But that's assuming Karou truly is the main character. (hide spoiler)]
As things are now, I don't know whether or not I'll be continuing with the series. I'm leaning towards waiting for reviews for the second book before making up my mind. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is one of those reviews that's going to earn me a bad name for going against every single review for this book on my timeline. I know I'm fixatin...moreThis is one of those reviews that's going to earn me a bad name for going against every single review for this book on my timeline. I know I'm fixating on the smallest thing, but that's how my mind works. I simply can't help it. I have to be painfully honest about this.
It's bad when you can't get past the first page without serious prompting from friends and a fanfic high, isn't it? And it's not because Roth can't write, she absolutely can, beautifully and enticingly once you get going. It's because I made the fundamental mistake of looking for sense where there was none.
It was the hair.
I'm not spoiling anything because this all happens right at the beginning of chapter one.
I truly couldn't get past the hair. What's the point of cutting her hair every three months, four times a year, if it's still long enough to be tied on a knot? It doesn't matter how long the hair is on the knot as long as it's long enough to make one. Split ends? They're Abnegations, supposed to veer towards selflessness, they're not supposed to notice or care. Appearances aren't supposed to matter to Abnegations. Even their food is plain.
The scene was about the mother taking care of her daughter, you tell me. It's still vanity and an indication of the lives modern city women lead, if this is what they consider normal.
I have long hair which is often tied on a knot. I get it cut or trimmed twice a year, at most. More often, if I want to keep my chemically induced curls, but that would be considered flaunting and I wouldn't fit in Abnegation then.
Speaking of which, I wouldn't fit in any of the factions this society is divided in. Not even the rogue Divergent faction. That's how artificial the setting is and that is how unbelievable it is to me.
There's no way this kind of society could spring from the ashes of war ravaged earth. I don't buy it for a second. And with that crumbles everything beautiful and true the author tried to convey. The love and loyalty? I simply didn't care.
But if you do, if you find yourself swept away by the futile and the pretty, it is an entertaining novel on a certain superficial level. I'm just sad I couldn't find that level when I started reading this book.
No, wait. I'm not sorry. I'm more complicated a person than that and that's the way I like it.
Not the worst I've read, but I was hoping it to be more entertaining than it was. Maybe it was the author, maybe it was the translator, either way the...moreNot the worst I've read, but I was hoping it to be more entertaining than it was. Maybe it was the author, maybe it was the translator, either way the language was not for me.(less)