First of all, I can't believe the average on this is so high. This book is just not that good, very aveOkay, I’m starting to get a little annoyed now.
First of all, I can't believe the average on this is so high. This book is just not that good, very average in every way. Maybe to someone who hasn’t read the author before it wouldn’t be too bad, but if they have read the Mortal Instruments, it’s quite obvious that she doesn’t have that many ideas in her head.
As I’ve said about the Mortal Instruments, this book isn’t bad. It’s a fun story with quirky characters and tons of magic and that’s great. But seriously, Clare has got to stop using old characters and plots. Will is exactly like Jace (who is exactly like fanfiction Draco), and I have no idea why people are insisting that they have any differences in personality whatsoever. I wouldn’t say Tessa is too much like Clary, but that’s because she doesn’t really have a personality at all. She’s that very typical-YA female, that’s introverted, tragic, pretty-but-doesn’t-know-it and loves books (seriously, why does every heroine in YA like to read? Self-insert much? It’s not a bad thing to be bookish, but from my experience, not that many people like to read. It’s just a cheap way for the reader of the book to attach to the character, because, hey, they like to read too!).
While I liked the interactions between the family, besides that, I found the dialogue very stilted. The way Jem talks in those long, flowery passages just isn’t realistic – people just don’t talk like that. He still is my favourite character from this book, though. It’s really too bad Tessa probably won’t end up with him. (I’m guessing the maid, because she loves him? It would kind of work out.) His character is refreshing in this huge bunch of caustic, tough characters.
I’ll probably buy the next one, just because I’m a tool when it comes to Cassandra Clare.
... And one last thing - her parents were killed in a carriage accident? Really?...more
I just don’t think I’m cut out to be a Maggie fan.
People always tell me that my expectations for books are too high, that I need to stop anticipatingI just don’t think I’m cut out to be a Maggie fan.
People always tell me that my expectations for books are too high, that I need to stop anticipating so much. Maybe. But honestly, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable for me to find a book once in a while that meets my expectations, but it seems I never can. It feels like every book that I read, not much happens at all, or the characters are so unlikable I want to rip my eyeballs out.
In my books, I like fireworks. Explosions. Passionate kissing. White hot anger. Laugh-out-loud wit. Characters I ache for. I read books to make me feel. And this book utterly fails at that for me.
I think that books should strive to have both an exceptional plot and exceptional characters, but I can settle with one – both these things are lacking in The Scorpio Races. I have the same problem with Puck and Sean as I had with Grace and Sam from Shiver – they’re so bland that they barely exist. I read 200 pages of this novel (which is what the entire page length should’ve been for this!) and barely know anything about either of these characters other than the fact that they love horses, and they’re orphans so I should instantly feel sorry for them. They’re not bad people, but I felt very disconnected from them because there was nothing there to connect with.
And then there’s “the plot.” I picked this up solely because of the premise – it’s nothing less than brilliant. It makes me very weary that any author is even capable of making a book about a killer water horse race boring, but Maggie managed it! I’m sorry, I’m sick to death of books with barely any plot. I know we live in an age with character-driven stories, and that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean having strong plots don’t make a book significantly better. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK. NOTHING. There are entire CHAPTERS where literally nothing happens. If a book doesn’t have anything going on, then it better have a pretty powerful message to back it up. I think this book was attempting to be deep and profound, but unfortunately, it wasn’t, so again, another failure.
Sorry, but I read books for plot and characters (doesn’t everyone?), not for empty pretty words. One star for the premise, another for the beautiful setting. It’s too bad, because if this story had been written by someone else, it could have been amazing. ...more
There’s some people I dearly want to address, so I’m gonna do it now, because let’s face it, I’m never going to actually be able to do it in real lifeThere’s some people I dearly want to address, so I’m gonna do it now, because let’s face it, I’m never going to actually be able to do it in real life.
Dear Shay, Really? No, REALLY? You think it’s cliché for girls to like Pride and Prejudice, do you? Of course, why would girls like Pride and Prejudice? It’s not like it’s one of the most beloved novels in the world and has stood the ultimate test of time. But no, it’s cliché because girls like it because it’s about *marriage* - no, there’s nothing more to the story than that you sexist, close-minded douchebag. Clearly Buffy comics are far more sophisticated than Pride and Prejudice – my little mind just can’t comprehend your tastes. Here’s hoping you die in a hole in England, Diana P.S. I always root for the good boy, but you made it positively impossible. Good luck being a tool. P.P.S. You’re not cute because you hike and eat granola bars and Gatorade for lunch.
Dear Publishing Companies Who Sell YA Books, Hi, there. Clearly there has been some sort of misunderstanding going on that I feel a personal responsibility to correct as someone who at one point actually cared for the YA genre. Some sort of memo got out that Twilight was actually something that you should try to be replicating and that it was something with literary quality to begin with. This entire Twilight franchise was fabricated – you’ve just been PUNK’D. Please go back with trying to emulate stuff like Narnia, Harry Potter or even The Hunger Games, or, if you’re feeling really brave – something original altogether. Cheers, Diana
Dear Andrea Cremer, WTF is this!?! How dare you? How dare you make this super cool world with warlocks, werewolves, wraiths, incubi, alternate dimensions and all that other awesome stuff and then throw it away to focus on your lame love triangle! You could have done so much with that! Think of all the politics you could’ve made up! There’s so much magic going on in this, you could have made the world so complex, so dark, so epic. And what do I get instead? Calla going back and forth between two lukewarm love interests that you keep insisting are interesting. I went in with a predisposition to like Shay because I actually find good boys way hotter than bad boys (come on, they’re recklessly brave and sweet and have that awesome hero complex) but I couldn’t STAND this guy. He was like that annoying little sister that’s trying to tag along with the big kids that think she can take care of herself but of course, the older kids always have to end up saving her when she does something stupid. Ren was kind of charismatic when he wasn’t sexually harassing Calla. By the way, I think your heroine has a bit of a problem – she seems to orgasm every time I guy so much as brushes her shoulder. She should probably get that checked out. Thanks for making me both jealous and frustrated, Diana P.S. I read this book after I had WISDOM TOOTH SURGERY and I was BEDRIDDEN and I was STILL bored reading this. Your characters are that bland and I cared that little about what happened to them. Next time - more focus on the plot, less on romance. Somethin' to think about....more
Almost every single person I follow on goodreads practically worships this book. I was so excited to pick this up, wanting to read a GOOD young-adult book for a change, and how sad it is that here I am, barely giving it two stars. I read to page 300, and was so bored I skipped to the last chapter.
I’m not the most sophisticated reader out there. I’m the first to admit it. I can like trashy books, as long as they’re entertaining. Because that’s why I read – to be entertained. If the plot is interesting, or the characters intriguing, I can forgive the less attractive aspects. What the kiss of death for me is if it’s boring, which is exactly what this book was. I know, it’s a juvenile, subjective criticism, but I’m sorry: it was so, so, SO DULL. There’s no other way around it.
I don’t understand why people like this book so much. I really can’t. People are blown away – why? Why, oh, why? It seemed like pretty standard fantasy fare to me, without anything fresh brought to the table.
THE PLOT: What plot? People go from one place to another. The whole book is a like a travel guide for the world of Skuldenore, and unfortunately, not a very interesting one. They speak of languages that are never explained, and there isn’t much culture beyond the black-and-white categories of the “bad countries” and the “victims”. The whole thing is about the characters heading back to Lumatere, which I still don’t fully understand how they plan to get inside since there’s a curse around it. The plot only advances by accidents, coincidences or Evanjalin giving more information to Finnikin over something she knew all along but just decided to give to him at certain specific points.
THE WORLDBUILDING: Since there was so little magic in this book, basically it was just a fictional history lesson. Like I said, they kept speaking about different skin colors and languages, but they meant nothing to me. I finally gave up looking at the map because I cared so little about each of these countries. The politics were also laughably kiddish – there were the bad guys and the good guys, with nothing else in between. That’s not how life works.
THE CHARACTERS: See, this is where I have the biggest problem. Everyone is just fawning over the amazing characters. Wha? Finnikin is the most cardboard-cutout protagonist there ever was. He’s brave and noble and intelligent, and his only flaws are his stubbornness/hot temper and fear of the responsibility thrust upon his shoulders. His dad? Mufasa was more dimensional. Sir Topher? What was the point of this guy!? He had no personality whatsoever. Froi? Unlikable to his core. Evanjalin actually did interest me a bit. Her strength was the only reason anything got done in this book. She was the only one who believed in something with all her heart, and I could respect her.
THE ROMANCE: It. Came. Out. Of. Nowhere. I knew Finn and Evanjalin would fall in love, because she’s the only female and this is how these books work. So in that way it was kind of predicable. The weird thing was, I didn’t see it advance really, and before I knew it, Finnikin was crazy about her. Evanjalin is cool, for sure, but from the *reader’s* perspective. She does nothing in this book but screw him over, and he’s pissed with her about ninety percent of the time. I spent the whole book looking for clues for his attraction for her, and there were seemingly none. I only realized he was actually attracted to her by the time he was fantasizing about her and wanting to kill Balthazar for taking him away from her (that’s sweet – he hasn’t seen his friend in ten years but hates him because he might steal this woman he barely knows who treats him like dirt. Cute.) That was quite far into the book. They had a couple of sweet scenes – they do the witty banter thing well – but by that point they were already in love, which had no foundation on anything but annoyance and mistrust.
I’ve read some other one or two star reviews, just to see if I was on the same page with the others, and I’m certainly not. The only complaints they seemed to give were that Finnikin acted distastefully with the prostitute and that Evanjalin was manipulative and they didn’t like her. To both of these I say, “Um, yeah?” How do you expect a nineteen-year-old boy to act? And Evanjalin HAD to be cold: nothing would get done otherwise. That’s why I made my review so long, because nobody else seems to feel the way I do about this book.
So, why am I not giving it one star? I liked the message. It’s cheesy, but the idea of people who have lost everything, fighting together for a future filled with hope is a good one. It’s inspiring, and the characters motivation is such a pure one, you root for them all the way.
Unfortunately, it was bogged down by boring narrative that went on forever. I probably could have read the whole thing if it was cut down to maybe 250 pages or so. And that ending by the way – WHOA! Didn’t see that coming. It almost makes me wish I read the whole thing. Almost. But I’m not going to.
Warm, sweet and poignant – the perfect book to curl up with in bed right before you go to sleep, when you want to feel better.
I had a hard time gettWarm, sweet and poignant – the perfect book to curl up with in bed right before you go to sleep, when you want to feel better.
I had a hard time getting into this one at first, mainly because of the main character, Ana. While her defensiveness and pessimism may have been believable, it reminded me eerily of a friend of mine that sucks the life out of me every time I’m around her. The cynical attitude about EVERYTHING was uncanny. Still, I pushed passed it, and grew to really like Ana on her journey because she grew so much. She started out as an abandoned victim, but instead of giving in to the anger and hurt, she pushed on and became a strong individual. And now, looking back, I see that she had to be that way in the beginning so she COULD grow. The author did a really good job creating a vulnerable and relatable narrator, making her completely realistic due to her circumstances.
A large part – if not all – of the credit due to Ana’s progress was due to Sam. Their budding friendship/relationship was adorable, and Sam’s patience in the beginning was like a superpower. Honestly, Ana was very difficult to deal with, but he saw something in her, and she blossomed because of it. I personally loved how slow their relationship moved, because otherwise it wouldn’t have been realistic. Ana needed a lot of time and a lot of encouragement to trust again, and Sam gave it to her. It’s true what everyone’s saying: there’s no instalove to worry about in this book!
The world building was a little bit strange, but the more time I got used to it, the more I liked it. The reincarnation element was really cool, and I thought it was interesting that the souls were genderless. It made me think about what “identity” really means. I suppose a pure, unadulterated soul really doesn’t have a gender, if you think about it. I read a couple reviews mentioning that if that were true, then there wouldn’t be instances of people feeling they are “in the wrong body”, but if those cases, those people really are chemically and physiologically different – they really SHOULD be the other gender. Remove the hormones and really, what would we be?
ANYWAYS, I thought it was really cute, making me feel all fuzzy whenever I finished a chapter.
BTW, can someone please explain to me what a one-shoulder shrug is? There are THREE of them in this book. ...more
Children's books have always gotten to me in a way no other genre does. I love them. I love how they reveal simiple truths in a way adult books can't.Children's books have always gotten to me in a way no other genre does. I love them. I love how they reveal simiple truths in a way adult books can't. I love the heroism mentality. I love how creative they are because children's imaginations are so much broader than ours.
But this awesome, well written, little book just blew me out of the water; Madeleine L'Engle is a genius. It really is a children's book, but at the same time it deals with such dark themes they're almost scary. The fantasy/scifi element is also original and cool, and ties in perfectly with the messages of the story.
I'd pretty much recommend this book to anybody, adults and children alike. A child will enjoy it because it's a fun, magical story, but an adult might appreciate even moreso just because it really is so much more more that. ...more