I am really loving these. Like the first book, this one also feels like a smooth continuation of the series, just the right tone. Though it would be nI am really loving these. Like the first book, this one also feels like a smooth continuation of the series, just the right tone. Though it would be nice to still be getting each of these stories as a new television episode every week, I'll take what I can get!...more
I loved this book. It has a lot of things I really like - flipping back and forth in time, little bits of stories-in-stories, characters lives meetingI loved this book. It has a lot of things I really like - flipping back and forth in time, little bits of stories-in-stories, characters lives meeting and diverging and meeting again. There are a few things that, having gotten to the end, I wish had been included, but nothing to quibble about, really. Beautifully written, too. ...more
Hilarious, original, and soooo close to home for those in academia. Particularly recommended for anyone who works in a humanities department, or anyonHilarious, original, and soooo close to home for those in academia. Particularly recommended for anyone who works in a humanities department, or anyone who has ever had to write endless letters of recommendation...
The plot does suffer at points due to shoehorning it into the form, but I'm too impressed by the fact that it was able to work at all to be too fussed with that....more
Another great book in this series. It brings in issues related to the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s, and continues to be a realistic legal mystery/prAnother great book in this series. It brings in issues related to the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s, and continues to be a realistic legal mystery/procedural....more
This is one of the best new series that I've started in some time. Not only is it a nice character study, and (what seems to me like) an accurate portThis is one of the best new series that I've started in some time. Not only is it a nice character study, and (what seems to me like) an accurate portrayal of the gay community during this time period, but also a great legal mystery. It's really clear that the author is actually a lawyer. The legal procedures are realistic, which is more than I can say for a lot of books in this genre. The mystery is surprising and page-turning. I plan to read the rest!
Also, the narration of this book is really great....more
If you would like some SCIENCE with your science fiction, you should read this book. It's interesting that this was self published first, because I miIf you would like some SCIENCE with your science fiction, you should read this book. It's interesting that this was self published first, because I might have indeed predicted that agents/publishers might have thought, "people will not want this much science," and I am glad that is clearly incorrect. The amount of research that went into this book is impressive, and I really appreciate how it clearly drives the plot. A plot which I found really compelling; I stayed up very late reading this, nearly in one sitting.
That said, whereas I find the science realistic, I am not sure that I feel the same way about the characters, particularly the protagonist. I don't see how this ordeal affects him. He doesn't seem to change. It is possible that only someone with this kind of personality could survive an ordeal like this intact, but the way he remains throughout does not ring true to me.
This is a really great book. I seriously recommend it to any kid 8-12ish who loves to read. One of my favorite novels growing up was The Westing GameThis is a really great book. I seriously recommend it to any kid 8-12ish who loves to read. One of my favorite novels growing up was The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, and this has that same mystery/puzzle kind of storyline but ALSO it is all about books. So many books! I'm not sure that kids these days appreciate physical libraries the way we used to, but maybe this will just help to bring back some of that magic. My only big complaint is that some of the characters (the "villain" kid in particular) are really one-dimensional. This was enough to knock a star off for me, because I think that even for middle grade, kids can get that there aren't just good guys and bad guys. ...more
I'm not even sure how many stars I actually want to give this book, because everything is affected by my wanting to shout loudly to other reviewers: TI'm not even sure how many stars I actually want to give this book, because everything is affected by my wanting to shout loudly to other reviewers: THIS IS NOT JUST A HARRY POTTER RIP-OFF. Now, let me explain why.
First, if you read the entire book, you know that part of the point is to play with tropes. (I won't say why to avoid spoilers, but I think we can agree that's the case.) In order to play with or subvert tropes, you have to use them. Here are some tropes that JK Rowling DID NOT INVENT: wizarding schools, trios, immortality-seeking evil wizards, etc. e.g.:
That said, does the existence of Harry Potter make referencing these tropes easier? Of course! Because more people are familiar with them. Are the authors doing this on purpose? Almost certainly. Does that mean that the book is a "copy" of Harry Potter? No. Not anymore than Harry Potter was a copy of any of stories with similar tropes that came before it. (Like, seriously, not every science fiction chosen one story is a rip-off of Star Wars either, guys.)
Also, I think we all know that if one of the authors wasn't Cassandra Clare, who has a history with Harry Potter fan fiction, that these same complaints would not be raised so vehemently. (I don't want to name names, but there are books that have been published since HP that are much closer to it than this one.) But take a moment to consider that one of the reasons that Harry Potter worked so well, and resonated with so many people, is that it contained elements that people love. Cassie (and I assume Holly as well) was a big Harry Potter fan for a reason - she loves that kind of fantasy. So is it really that surprising that she writes it as well?
Now, to be fair, the authors obviously knew that these comparisons would be raised, and that was something they were willing to deal with. Honestly, I don't think the book would have worked if it was pre-Potter, because of the aforementioned issue of familiarity with tropes. Does that mean that it's a rip-off? Not anymore than Divergent is a "rip-off" of Hunger Games because it took advantage of the increase in popularity of dystopia as a genre to sell better. (And if you want to argue that Divergent DID rip off Hunger Games, then you should also think that Hunger Games ripped off The Giver... etc.)
Anyway, that's my rant about that. Feel free to argue with me. :) As for the book itself outside of the comparison issues, like other people, I think that the ending is what makes it, and what will make the rest of the books. It does mean that the lead-up in this novel isn't as strong (and indeed, relies very heavily on existing tropes, necessarily), but it means that the novels following this will probably be stronger. Also, I enjoyed it as much or more than I've enjoyed any middle grade novel recently. I also suspect that it plays very well to the intended audience, since it covers just the right kinds of themes for middle grade. ...more
I just, I can't with this book. Two stars because I was able to finish it, and also, some of the plot points were okay as long as you know nothing aboI just, I can't with this book. Two stars because I was able to finish it, and also, some of the plot points were okay as long as you know nothing about computers at all (like the characters, apparently).
To be fair, I am a programmer and it's a pet peeve of mine when authors clearly do ZERO research into how coding works and what is and is not possible. If this is not science fiction, there needs to be SOME amount of plausibility re: current technology. I think one of the reasons I was particularly disappointed is that I saw that the author is apparently a Silicon Valley type who went to Stanford. So I assumed they might actually know something about programming, or know someone who knows something about programming that could fact check for them.
Because, I don't care how much of a computer genius you are, you're aren't going to:
(1) Hack into "the SATs" in 30 seconds. Why is it that hacking into things is automatically the way to show someone knows their way around a computer?
(2) Create an app in a week that allows you to control any device automatically with your phone. And the technobabble explanation for how this works ("cross-correlating waveforms!" "modulation algorithms!") is utter gibberish.
(3) CODE IN BINARY. Yes, there is actually a line about 1s and 0s on a computer screen. MAYBE SHE HACKED INTO THE MATRIX.
So, that's a pet peeve of mine. But all that aside, there were some basic story things that didn't work either. Characters who served no purpose except minor plot points and then took up space with their own personal drama that didn't tie into the rest of the plot at all. Dangling plot threads that went nowhere, etc. The last twenty pages happening so quickly that you feel like you have whiplash.
But as I said, I did finish it, and I was genuinely curious about where it was going. ...more