I saw so many less than glowing reviews on this book that I decided to read it just to see if I'm still capable of forming my own opinion. The resultsI saw so many less than glowing reviews on this book that I decided to read it just to see if I'm still capable of forming my own opinion. The results were not encouraging.
The good things first. I loved the world the author created. It felt complete and thorough. All the details were there and it even made me want to appreciate poetry more. The imminent destruction of this Society would be something spectacular and I could hardly wait to read more about it. Unfortunately all that time and effort used to create this dystopian world seems to have been taken directly from character development.
The warning bells became intolerable, when I was half done. I still didn't know who I was supposed to cheer and empathize with. Basic logic soon cleared that dilemma, but it didn't really solve the problem, because I still didn't feel what the character was feeling. At least with Twilight, I could vicariously live through the (other) characters and feel every nonsensical emotion, but here, nothing.
Well, there was that brief moment where I was smitten with Xander and wondered maybe this was the first time I'd end up cheering for the one I'm supposed to be cheering for, but I should have known better. Xander, like Gale, like Jacob, and the rest of that club, was promptly pushed aside and forgotten making the love triangle trite.
Telling me the heroine is in love just isn't enough, not anymore, and that's the basic problem with first person voice. People, authors, forget to show what love feels like. It might not be my idea of falling in love, but you need to sell it with something more than (view spoiler)[I saw his picture and now I can't stop thinking about him; I must find out more about him; oh, geez, I'm in love (hide spoiler)]. Their motives were understandable and sensible, but I just didn't feel them. Not even the parents, who were as close to success as the author came.
The part that makes me really mad, is the brief encounter with action writing towards the end. It was beautiful, but without any emotional connection to the characters that too fell flat. Until then I was merely irritated with the protagonist, but (view spoiler)[her running after Ky and breaking the rules in public (hide spoiler)] just showed how much better than this the author is, or could have been. You don't feed your significant other ready-made meals for thirty years and then suddenly reveal yourself as a gourmet cook without consequences: Two stars.
Still, I'm tempted to give that third star for the one real character in this book, the Society. But I won't.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It wasn't bad but neither was it anything especially good either. An angsty short story that touched subjects far too big for its ~10k word count. EspIt wasn't bad but neither was it anything especially good either. An angsty short story that touched subjects far too big for its ~10k word count. Especially because a third of it was dedicated to the sex. ...more
I wish I could say I really enjoyed reading this ten day countdown to World War II, but for reasons unrelated to its content it was just too much workI wish I could say I really enjoyed reading this ten day countdown to World War II, but for reasons unrelated to its content it was just too much work.
Also for those same reasons I can't comment whether this book deserves the fourth star I'm withholding now.
1939: Countdown to War (1939 Nedräkningen till andra världskriget) isn't an easy read in any language. Its focus is too narrow for any casual reader for the devil truly is in the details. By concentrating solely on the last days of peace and on the intricate diplomatic choreography played on the stage of European politics, Overy underlines just how painfully human this tragedy is.
People don't start because they're angry and yelling at each other, because that still counts as dialogue. People start wars when the lines of communication are broken down, reliable intelligence is unavailable and fear for the worst takes over in the wake of unforeseeable circumstances, as the author points out.
This and other insights hidden within the pages challenge the reader to think and take a step closer to those people who more than seventy years ago faced a another Great War in their life time. Few held on to the illusion of honourable war, but they were all innocent in comparison with us for they hadn't grown up being taught about the horrors of the Holocaust.
That's another kind of tragedy; the more you already know about the Second World War and especially about the events leading up to it, the more you'll get out of reading this book.
It doesn't give you all the answers to the how or why but it pushes you to the brink, so you can discover the answers for yourself. ...more
Update: I'm rounding up the rating after the reread.
What kind of ridiculous name is that? That's what I thought when I first read Finnikin of thUpdate: I'm rounding up the rating after the reread.
What kind of ridiculous name is that? That's what I thought when I first read Finnikin of the Rock and marvelled at the fact that he was going to be the main character of the second book. Then I read the ending of Finnikin and decided I didn't care. I decidedly didn't care. I wanted to read Melina Marchetta's books and that was it.
I'm happy to say the gamble paid off. Froi of the Exiles not only deepens the world building (maybe not enough for the severest critics) and further explores other characters, it brings alive Lumatere's greatest enemy: Charyn and its people.
Froi is sent on a mission for his Queen and country, but he ends up finding himself instead. The exile without a past finds out exactly what he's lost. Through a journey that isn't that dissimilar from the one Finnikin and Evanjalin took, Froi finds a home and a family if not, yet, a place where he belongs.
I have my doubts about the love of these two broken people are still developing, but I don't doubt my love for the secondary characters. The brothers who share a face and their lost loves were who I really found myself invested in. Let's just say that Arjuro needs his happy ending. It's non-negotiable.
What was a throwaway remark in Finnikin was also further demonstrated in Froi. Bonding–what the people of Skuldenore call a marriage–is completely asexual. It's part of why I love these books so, but it's not the only reason.
For all the good there's so much more wickedness. It's like the ick factor of Finnikin and the turnside of the war is multiplied in Froi, but the story's set up and the characters ground it and make it believable if not bearable. A word of warning, though. If you can't forgive and look past what Froi did to Isaboe, you most likely won't like what's done to Quintana and others. Many, many others.
It isn't a secret that this book ends with a cliffhanger. I knew it going in and it honestly didn't bother me as much as it would others. What did annoy me, were the very last lines of the epilogue. I didn't need that trick to be revealed. There's very little mystery in these books and all that keeps me reading is the need to find out how it'll happen. The what is easily guessed.
Marchetta's magic is in the words, not in the misdirection and slow reveal of a mystery. What I'm trying to say is that I've read better storytellers, but I've read few authors whose writing speaks to me like hers does.
Oh, and the story behind the ridiculous name is explained as well. I could tell you, but I won't. You'll just have to read the book to find out.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy from the US publisher through NetGalley....more
Takakansi lupaa teoksen olevan “täsmäkirja kuntauudistuksen kourissa kiemurtelevaan maahan”. Ja sitähän se onkin: kirjan alkusivuilla. Heikkisen kritiTakakansi lupaa teoksen olevan “täsmäkirja kuntauudistuksen kourissa kiemurtelevaan maahan”. Ja sitähän se onkin: kirjan alkusivuilla. Heikkisen kritiikki on terävimmillään alussa asetelman luonnissa. Lyhyt kuvaus siitä kuinka Suomi päätyi sisällissodan kynnykselle on hupaisa ja tarkka. Valitettavasti siihen se kosto fantasia sitten jääkin.
Jo muutaman kappaleen jälkeen tarina latistuu syrjäytyneiden sotaintoilijoiden – siis keski-ikäisten miesten – elämän kuvaukseksi. Tuntemattoman Koskelaa ihannoiva Jesse Purola ja Helsingin herroihin kyrpiintynyt Oula ovat pullamössö poikia kumpainenkin. Leluilla ja vekottimilla leikitään, mutta todellisesta sodasta tuskin tietää kumpainenkaan. Maahanmuuttaja Abdi ja pohjoisen räppäri lisäävät tarinan miesnäkökulmaan omat ulottuvuutensa.
Ei naisiakaan ole unohdettu: ei ainakaan porontaljoilta. Ainoa jokseenkin ihmisen oloinen naishahmo kirjassa on toimittaja Aino Riski. Työhönsä tympääntynyt kasvisruokavalionsa kanssa poroalueella kamppaileva tyttö sortuu sitten haastateltavaansa ja katoaa irrallisia lehtijuttuja lukuun ottamatta kirjan sivuilta lähes kokonaan.
Ja kun alun huumorikin uupuu yksittäisiksi anekdooteiksi, ei kirjasta minulle paljon iloa irronnut....more
It’s been almost two weeks since I read this book and the overwhelming joy I felt theThis review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog.
It’s been almost two weeks since I read this book and the overwhelming joy I felt then has since dissipated. The four stars I gave to The Raven Prince doesn’t seem as appropriate now as it did before. If I were working with half stars, I might adjust my rating, but as I am not, I’ll stick with what I chose.
Because as clichéd as the story was, it was entertaining enough to set it apart from all the three star meh books I’ve read.
I’ve come to expect some level of anachronism from modern historical romances. These books are written for a modern audience and there are things that couldn’t be thought of let alone written two or three hundred years ago that are expected in literature of today. As Scorn pointed out last week, it can be jarring, but if you’re prepared with a hefty dose the patented Suspended Disbelief magic powder you should be just fine. I was.
It didn’t bother me that a widow was working as a secretary for an earl in 1760. It didn’t bother me that said widow chose to further risk her reputation by caring for a sick whore. Neither did it bother me that the same virtuous and overly gentle-hearted widow chose to travel to London and pretend to be a courtesan just to have sex with the pre-mentioned earl. No, that part I actually liked, because I’m a well known fantasy fan, and because I had this feeling of a déjà vu. I can’t be absolutely certain but I think I’ve read those exact sex scenes before. Perhaps in Finnish in a book I “borrowed” from my mother.
Because the powder was working it’s magic I could sit back and enjoy the delightfully rounded characterisations for the main characters and the people around them. There was a sense of who they were, where they came from and why they chose the futures they chose, even if—predictably—the villainess of the situation was left with a little less attention than she deserved.
I liked that Anna Wren, the widow, was a headstrong feminist around the time blue stockings were only becoming a fashion. I liked that Edward de Raaf, the Earl, had real hopes and dreams he ultimately, and painfully, relinquished for something he wanted even more. I also liked he wasn’t one of the stupid heroes who needed to be hit with a sledgehammer in the head to realise the obvious truth.
“Would you prefer swive? Tup? Dance the buttock jig?”
Also, I have to echo Scorn’s spoilery remarks about the ending: (view spoiler)[I saw that a magic-cock-cures-all deus ex machina was coming around the time Felicity started thinking about her red headed child. For me, the only acceptable reason for Anna’s childlessness should have been her husband’s sterility. I’m aware that this happens in real life, that women who aren’t able to conceive with one man do with another, but this particular plot twist has been abused in romances and I would like to see it stop. (hide spoiler)]
To summarise: The Raven Prince fairytale was the best part of the book. Although there was too much sex, it was entertaining and I liked it. Slow start. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more