I'm not a huge fan of romances, so I'm probably not the best person to judge this. I don't think it was a "good" book, per se, and it seems especially...moreI'm not a huge fan of romances, so I'm probably not the best person to judge this. I don't think it was a "good" book, per se, and it seems especially flawed when compared to the Stephanie Plum series, but Evanovich certainly scores points for keeping me entertained. While the premise is a little shaky and the characters start out pretty flat, the second half of the book really picks up, and parts of it are very funny. I liked the little mini-mystery; it's enough to keep the book from just being "romance," yet it's not serious enough to change the book's overall tone. (I don't tend to read many mysteries either, as I find them stressful. Yes, I know. I'm hard to please.) It's strange that a book that combines these two genres would appeal to me, but it does. Between the polite but inept (sorta) bad guys, the gun-wielding Grandma-Mazure-type old lady, and the refreshing way that the book doesn't make the mistake of taking itself seriously, I rather enjoyed it.(less)
This book was amazing! I'm not a huge fan of Amish fiction generally, as it is too easy to be preachy and/or over-the-top-sappy, but this book is neit...moreThis book was amazing! I'm not a huge fan of Amish fiction generally, as it is too easy to be preachy and/or over-the-top-sappy, but this book is neither. This is a warm, down-to-earth story with real characters, and while it never preaches at me, faith is still very important within the story. In this story, an Amish family encounters their long-lost, English-raised sister, and the story that unfolds is so intriguing, so real, that one cannot help but be mesmerized. This is a tale of honesty, deceit, and manipulation, of joy, pain, and love.
I received this book for free from Goodreads Firstreads Giveaways.(less)
This book failed on almost every level. I would be hard-pressed to find something that the author did well.
I will try to be as spoiler-free as possibl...moreThis book failed on almost every level. I would be hard-pressed to find something that the author did well.
I will try to be as spoiler-free as possible.
1. CHARACTERIZATIONS: I never found the character of Katniss to be very likeable, but she reaches an all-time low in this book, killing innocents without batting an eye. She is openly cruel, even to Peeta. The character assassinations don't stop with her, however; many characters are just destroyed in this book. I don't mean that they die (although some do), but rather, that they are so out-of-character and/or evil that it's just difficult to care.
2. PLOT: This plot is contrived. There is no other way of saying it. Katniss seems to have regressed intellectually, or else she is just plain dumb. I was left with the impression that the author needed certain things to happen, so she made Katniss do some pretty off-the-wall things just to move the plot in a specific way. Kat is so easily manipulated in this book. I understand that there are supposed to be conflicts in a story, but none of them seems real here. Instead of thinking how tough things were for the main characters, I kept thinking how inane the chain of events was. It's one thing to read about someone who struggles against seemingly insurmountable odds (as in Book 1), but it's really hard to sympathize with someone whose problems are no one's fault but hers. She was warned from trusted sources not to do certain things, but apparently, she just cannot wait to rush right out and do them. She spends many chapters oblivious to dangers that readers notice right away, dangers that she's even been warned about. She takes almost no precautions for the actions she does take. She exacerbates other characters' suffering and even causes the deaths of some people she allegedly cared about, not that they were any the wiser for trusting her.
3. EDITING/PACING: Many parts of this book seem to drag, and the ending is rushed. Ms. Collins would have done well to tone down some of Katniss' long-winded introspections, which occur throughout the book. She should have given us an ending that we could see, instead of spending the last few pages (and then the epilogue, too) only in summary. They teach it in many writing workshops and seminars: "Show, don't tell."
4. VOICE: Like the other two books, this is told in first person, from Katniss' point of view. But as before, this is a bad choice. In fact, it's even worse in this book because Katniss spends most of her time as everyone else's sock puppet. She never stops being manipulated, and she never learns all the facts. She is even unconscious for most of the action at the end, which is never described or even explained. Readers are left to piece together the events from the bits and pieces that Katniss learns, but the whole picture is never completed. This is not the ambiguity of great literature; it is a cop-out by the author.
5. PREACHY SLIPSHOD MORALIZING: Yes, I get it. War is bad. War leads to suffering, blah blah blah. This moralizing fails for two reasons. In the first place, it is far too over-the-top to work in the literary context. It would have behooved Ms. Collins to try for something more subtle. I am not even referring to the drastic events and downright tragedies that occur -- it would have helped immensely if Katniss' running commentary were a little more toned-down and believable. Secondly, the moralizing is undermined by its own plot. Many of the tragedies that occur are not the result of the war between the rebels and the capitol. Most aren't even the result of the peculiar situation into which characters have been thrust. No, most of the tragedies are traced right to Katniss' self-absorbed idiocy. Apparently, war kills people, but you don't really need to worry about that, because the odds are that Katniss will get to you first.(less)
I think this book is a little better-written than its predecessor. I still don't find the main character, Katniss, very likeable, but Peeta's charm he...moreI think this book is a little better-written than its predecessor. I still don't find the main character, Katniss, very likeable, but Peeta's charm helps to make up for that. I found certain events in the plot to be somewhat forced (but not overly so), and about half-way through, it becomes clear that the early events in this book merely set up the next round of Hunger Games. Once these games begin, the writing is gripping, well-edited, and fun to read. I think that the second half of this book might contain the best writing of the trilogy and the most compelling plot.
When I read The Hunger Games, I thought that the book would have been better if it were told either in third person or from someone else's point of view: that is even more so the case here. Some events are difficult to piece together, to understand, or even to follow, simply because Katniss does not understand. This opens the book up to some minor plot holes, and it makes it difficult to enjoy some of the secondary characters, since their actions and intentions (which affect almost everything Katniss sees or does) are never fully revealed.(less)
I enjoyed the book overall. I adored some poems but found others to be tedious and confusing. Some poems were difficult to understand, and many, parti...moreI enjoyed the book overall. I adored some poems but found others to be tedious and confusing. Some poems were difficult to understand, and many, particularly the poems written for specific people, might have been more enjoyable if the book had provided some kind of information or context. Some of these poems just don't work in a vacuum. These poems range from romance to horror to fantasy, and there is even a drama included at the end of the book. The poems are given in reverse chronological order, and I was glad of the opportunity to observe Poe's style and skill progress with time.(less)
I'm not a huge fan of romances in general, nor have I ever read anything else by Evanovich. If I weren't so much out of my comfort zone by reading thi...moreI'm not a huge fan of romances in general, nor have I ever read anything else by Evanovich. If I weren't so much out of my comfort zone by reading this book, I probably would have enjoyed it more and given it three stars instead of two. Some of the characters are somewhat flat (though quirky Aunt Edna is endearing). If you're interested in some of Evanovich's earlier works, or if you enjoy boy-meets-girl stories, you might want to give this book a try.(less)
Although I was initially put-off by some of the novel's darker content--explicit sexual scenes, deceitful characters, hints of child abuse--the plot i...moreAlthough I was initially put-off by some of the novel's darker content--explicit sexual scenes, deceitful characters, hints of child abuse--the plot itself was gripping enough to keep me reading until the very end. Amid the twists and turns, suspense, and excitement, a powerful story emerged.(less)