This is a story about the most selfish, stuck up star that ever lived, and the world is made just to suit her. I love Austen, but I truly, deeply loat...moreThis is a story about the most selfish, stuck up star that ever lived, and the world is made just to suit her. I love Austen, but I truly, deeply loathed the main character.(less)
**spoiler alert** CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS. PLEASE DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED BOOKS ONE THROUGH FIVE.
This review will have to serve for the...more**spoiler alert** CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS. PLEASE DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED BOOKS ONE THROUGH FIVE.
This review will have to serve for the whole series so far, because I don't... I can't go back and review the first couple of books separately now, or it will probably break my heart.
Also: the word 'star' will have to serve as a general substitute for all of the cusswords that are about to pour out of my mouth--as in "Oh my stars," a phrase that my grandmother (one of the main inspirations for Rainey) uses.
I'm not touching these starring books again until the whole starring series is finished. I knew, ahead of time, that I was walking into some pain because I was heartily warned the series was unfinished. My beefs have nothing to do with that--well, that's not true. My beefs are definitely related to the fact that the series is unfinished because the last two books WERE CRAP. If they'd been good, maybe stuck to the original plot, maybe WOUND UP SOME OF THE THOUSANDS OF LOOSE ENDS INSTEAD OF SPIRALING INTO SUCK COUNTRY, I wouldn't be so starring starred. But they did, and I am.
The first book was just addictive. It's that good. I wasn't going to read it but someone alerted me to the fact that every member of the cast in the filmed version was so beautiful I'd have to watch with shades on, so I did, and because I am a huge ole history nerd--especially medieval--I got sucked right in. Riiiiight in! Like a fool. Well, I didn't feel like a fool until the end, actually--the first book is a great page turner, compelling characters, tightly written, excellent world building... The book is practically flawless, actually. It might be one of my favorite all time books ever. The second picked up and added a few new narrators, which, okay, whatever. It can definitely be trying talking in the same voice for many books, even when you love that voice (sorry Rainey girl). Still an excellent blend of believable fantasy and rock solid historical imagery, wrapped up neatly in a page turner of a book that has you terrified everything will fall apart before your eyes. I found myself enjoying even the newer voices in the second book--Jaime Lannister, in particular, became a real favorite of mine even through the end of the series (and thus another source of great starring disappointment). Tyrion is probably going to go down in history as one of the most memorable anti-heroes of all time, Cersei as number three on VH1's Alltime Villain List, Catlyn Stark on my personal Belongs-With-Bella-Swann-In-Star List; for the most part, the people that populate these books are a great effort by an author at creating actual people making actual history. It is fantasy, and not real--but it's [i]that good[/i], in the beginning.
And then things began to fray (no pun intended).
The first clue was Lady Star Stark. I didn't hate her immediately; I thought, okay, she's definitely a little attached to her womb fruit and clingy and somehow still bossy but so what? She seems like a decent person. FALSE. She's the first flaw in the above "actual people" formula--she is an inconsistent character that is clearly just a roving plot point--need to start a war? Okay, she's suddenly impulsive AND a kidnapper, which we can maybe justify because she's such a devoted mom. But wait...if she's so devoted, WHY THE STAR IS SHE ABANDONING HER STARRING HALF DEAD KID... AND A MOTHERSTARRING FOUR YEAR OLD! WTSTAR! That doesn't make any sense! None! Rickon goes starring feral why she roams the countryside to what, bring Ned a knife? Get starring real. It's to set up the scene with Balish (and eventual betrayal--but he loves Cat, so why does he...Oh) and get her somewhere she can snatch Tyrion (and start a stupid starring war). But that's not enough. The starring star then follows her son TO WAR. Because that's what ladies...wait. What? NO IT'S STARRING NOT. I can't stand her, true--I hate that almost all the women in this series who have real power are either evil as star or obsessed with their children or both, and Lady Star ends up as both--but the author killed me with this star. And when her starring star wasn't even done once I finally thought I was rid of her, it made me scream. Roving undead plot point, on the loose.
But there were other problems. The story began to grow. By the end of book 3, it was big; by the end of book 4, I was thinking 'this isn't going to end soon.' On the one hand, this could be awesome--because a fantasy series this detailed and well written about a whole world is incredible. On the other... Why the star can't we break this world up into pieces, instead of dragging the readers through starring FEAST before getting back to the original plot? I know they're related--all the plots are related--but... Come on. It looked... Indulgent. Selfish. And then that letter at the end of Book 4... The first line was infuriating. It felt condescending and even cruel, to a certain extent. I know it was meant to be the opposite, and luckily I just sped on to book 5 (or unluckily, as it happened), but if I hadn't had some Dany to look forward to... Ugh.
So. Book 5. First off, I thought he'd killed Tyrion, which made me mourn and put the book down for a week or two. I love Tyrion's evil, clever, lovable star. I do. And having Peter Dinklish's handsome hound-dog face in my head does not lessen that love, so I had to just... Take a deep breath. But I am invested, so I picked the book up and plowed on. And then...Tyrion's not dead? How? INSERT ROVING PLOT POINT. How dare this happen to my Tyrion? When he shot his dad--really, when he strangled Shae--I was like...Okay. But Tyrion's unpredictability buoyed me through this drastic character change. I was willing to roll with those punches. But Griff somehow pulling him out of the iron grip of the greyscale man under starring water, once his mouth had already filled with the stuff? I don't think so. I don't love Tyrion more than I love common sense, and after Theon, and Lady Star, and even Bran and Rickon, and there was even that scare with Jaime... Not to mention, by the end of Dance, there's Mance and the Onion Knight and Brienne and Theon AGAIN. Bringing people back from the dead? A problem, at that point.
And then... Nothing happened. Well, okay, stuff happened--to a bunch of the characters we met in FEAST. As an example of how I feel like this wasn't necessary, the whole storyline with Princess Arianne and Oakheart and Myrcella could've come up in a raven, around the table of the Hand, whatever, and taken two lines. Why I had to read multiple chapters about her round breasts and her boring knight, I'll never know. DANCE started out promising-ish, but then... Then nothing happened to most of the characters I care most about. Tyrion's undead, that's true, and his story was necessary; most of Dany's made sense (more about that final beef below, though). Theon's dragged endlessly--we get it, the Bastard's a bastard. Okay. Bran's was the same thing every time, as was Arya's, and even Jon's... Jon, Jon, Jon...
To a certain extent, I guess I knew it was coming, but that was really... On top of being forced to read a chapter in Melisandre's perspective, I just quit. I starring quit. I can't win--if Jon comes back, the incredibly disappointing trend continues; if he doesn't, I've lost the last perspective I really gave a star about in the five kingdoms. It's going to be hard finishing these books.
Because after that happened, Dany cropped up again. And she's my favorite. She's the only one who manages to be dynamic without stretching the limits of possibility, and a good person. She might be the only good person on the whole starring planet. BUT. The last chapter has her off in a fairy world with her dragon, thinking bullstar that she's NEVER STARRING believed before--Dany is practical, a truth-seer, unafraid of dealing with uncomfortable star with BLOOD AND FIRE. She's a starring DRAGON! And in the last chapter, she's just... An idiot. I don't care that she hasn't been eating enough, her hairs all scorched off, and she's gotten to fly, it doesn't fit. She wouldn't be thinking, hey, things are cool, I just torched 200 people and Daario is okay...No. No, no no.
So I'm not touching this starring bunch of books again until the whole lot is done and someone tells me what happens to Jon Snow and that Dany isn't suddenly an idiot-child (ROVING PLOT POINT BE GONE). I'm tempted to leave one star, but that would just be spite. The style of the writing is still excellent, and even these last two books are better than some of my best writing on my best day.
This book is a record of the most awesomely-car-wreck-tastic mess of a relationship I have ever encountered. Nothing on Jerry Springer could ever comp...moreThis book is a record of the most awesomely-car-wreck-tastic mess of a relationship I have ever encountered. Nothing on Jerry Springer could ever compare. The writing is fantastic, it's interesting history, and you don't know who to vote off the island. Once again, the Brontes' reputation precedes them, and once again I was mislead by the hype; this story has to be experienced to give it a fair shake, and I look forward to gasping and oohing and awing with everyone who has ever read it for the rest of my life (because it's just that affecting). (less)
I picked this up as a freebie on Kindle, and it's not my cup of tea. I'm not a fan of the vengeance-and-testosterone fueled thriller in any genre, be...moreI picked this up as a freebie on Kindle, and it's not my cup of tea. I'm not a fan of the vengeance-and-testosterone fueled thriller in any genre, be it paranormal, horror, or nonfiction. Furthermore, elaborate and loving descriptions of weaponry are a clue right away that I should just put a book down. BUT! If you are a fan of either of those things, there's a good chance you'll enjoy this story--particularly if you're kinda over gooey descriptions of misunderstood vampires (there's only a hint of that in this book, and it's all reserved for one character). (less)
I can't believe I've never read this play before; there are lines in it that are not only exquisite, but were used by a fr...moreOh Chekhov, you bummer you.
I can't believe I've never read this play before; there are lines in it that are not only exquisite, but were used by a friend of mine in a re-working of several Chekhov pieces performed several years ago. Somehow (like Cheever, and so many other things, I guess) it escaped me.
Definitely not a surprise; his reputation precedes him, and this play pans out pretty much exactly as expected. Fortunately, it's a bit hard to get attached to the characters in it, so when horrible things occur there's a nice buffer; unfortunately, it's the ones that are most sincere and deeply attached to the potential beauty of the human spirit that are destroyed, so my nice buffer wasn't enough to block all the spatter. Le sigh.
Certainly worth reading, but much better to see performed, it's a study in unrequited love. Seagull, indeed.(less)
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would; it's reputation precedes it, and given it's association with a lot of rom-com mediocrities I was prep...moreI enjoyed this book more than I thought I would; it's reputation precedes it, and given it's association with a lot of rom-com mediocrities I was prepared to put on my ultra snobbiest beret and make sniffing noises in the review. But honestly, the commentary from the father is enough to recommend it. He is hilarious. And Elizabeth is extraordinarily likable and totally worth meeting.
I feel like I accomplished something in reading this book, and it is very clever, and sweet, and not sentimental in a refreshing way. If participating in the writing of women is your thing, this is a great stop, because Elizabeth Bennett is certainly worth your attention; if you just want a good companion piece with which to dissect the endless romantic tropes it spawned, you'll love it, and quickly learn nothing really touches the original.(less)
I think the inscription inside the cover of the copy loaned to me says it all: "This book just came out and it looked like your kind of thing. Politic...moreI think the inscription inside the cover of the copy loaned to me says it all: "This book just came out and it looked like your kind of thing. Politically, it may be a little to the right but I think the basic philosphy is sound--Love Dad, 2009." It was given to an anarchistic mechanic, if that tells what his thing might be. Many interesting insights, and worth reading (and thinking about), but a bit of a slog.(less)
Total nerd festival. Very historical, cute, spooky book about the Outer Banks. Managed to avoid some of the more skin-curdling aspects of the past in...moreTotal nerd festival. Very historical, cute, spooky book about the Outer Banks. Managed to avoid some of the more skin-curdling aspects of the past in the south (Curritack Jack focused on him as a patriot, which I liked, but Definitely With A Capital D glossed over that whole slave thing, which I think landed us at neutral--if it had been that happy slave crap I would've barfed, but since it didn't, well, okay). Written in the 60s, so very dated, but that's what ya get when you read old books. I liked it.(less)
I enjoy fantasy, and I enjoy well-written books, and I am an avowed history voyeur, so this all worked for me. Double plus good was the note by the au...moreI enjoy fantasy, and I enjoy well-written books, and I am an avowed history voyeur, so this all worked for me. Double plus good was the note by the author, who explained her sources for a very sketchy time period, and the expansive approach to the history of the UK, which is culturally vast and mostly bizarre. Long, dense, but good.(less)
I've never read any Cheever before, and I'd be interested in pursuing more of his work now that I've finished this quick novella. It is difficult to c...moreI've never read any Cheever before, and I'd be interested in pursuing more of his work now that I've finished this quick novella. It is difficult to care about any of the characters--the only one I was truly interested in is the cynical but loving daughter, who is only addressed in passing--but strangely fascinating as they detonate into each other's lives via absurdist accidents that somehow ring true to life. Cheever's dark, indulgent view of human motivation is moving and hilarious, but I'm glad the story ended when it did, as quickly as it did, the way it did. Which I suppose is the mark of a skilled writer, right? (less)
A friend got some 90 pages into this book and then stopped reading it in order to make sure I could finish it before my visit ended; she is very wise....moreA friend got some 90 pages into this book and then stopped reading it in order to make sure I could finish it before my visit ended; she is very wise. There are parts of this story that clarify my ancestor's battles in a way face-to-face conversations never have--it touches on Irishness, Catholic-ness, woman-ness, alcoholism, bookwormish-ness, academia, sexuality, and identity so powerfully that I can only say I will own a copy of my own, and faithfully distribute it to my many relatives and friends who can relate. Very touching, deeply introspective, horribly honest and somehow hopeful without an ounce of saccharine sentimentality, I can honestly say that this memoir is one of the best I ever hope to read. Others may not feel that way, but there are a lot of us who have been waiting for this book without knowing it. (less)
Antiquated, a little bizarre, and very male-centric, this will still be a fun read for fans of 60s children's books. I'm imagining that is not so comm...moreAntiquated, a little bizarre, and very male-centric, this will still be a fun read for fans of 60s children's books. I'm imagining that is not so common a group, however.(less)
This book is far more funny, imaginative, charming, and insightful to the ways of people--in spite of its claimed insight into animals--than I knew, o...moreThis book is far more funny, imaginative, charming, and insightful to the ways of people--in spite of its claimed insight into animals--than I knew, or I would've read it ages ago. My only regret is that the version I had omitted one or two of Toad's songs (I'm sure they are bombastic) and had no illustrations. This will definitely be a repeat read and I am looking forward to introducing my children to all of the animals herein. (less)