First of all I want to say that I really liked the first book in this series, and I had high hopes for this one, but there was one issue that I honest...moreFirst of all I want to say that I really liked the first book in this series, and I had high hopes for this one, but there was one issue that I honestly could not stomach, which is why it gets a 2 star *actually 2.5* and not a 3 star rating. The issue I really had with this book was how Jace and Clary deal with their newly discovered relationship to one another.
(view spoiler)[I'm assuming you've read if not click next spoiler at your own risk (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[ At the end of City of Bones Jace and Clary discover they are brother and sister, now up until this point there was A LOT of sexual tension between them, after this discovery it DOSN'T GO AWAY, and I had some major issues with it. (hide spoiler)] If you look at my reading progress for this book i spend months at page 180. (view spoiler)[This was just after the part of the book where Jace, Clary & Co go to the Faire court and the queen decides to have some fun at their expense because Clary drinks some potion that will keep her there forever. In order to leave the court she must be kissed. But it can't be any kiss "the kiss that will free her is the kiss she most desires" (pg 171) which is Jace, her own brother. And it wasn't just Clary that still had feelings Jace was just as guilty of having these incestual thoughts. (hide spoiler)] I had such major issues with this weird brother/sister relationship I couldn't keep reading (which is why I put the book down for 3 months reading other things instead.) In order to finish the book I actually had to (view spoiler)[CLICK NEXT SPOILER ONLY IF YOU HAVEN'T READ PAST (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[find out if Clary and Jace are actually brother and sister, which it turns out Jace isn't Valentines son after all (talk about major identity crisis 1st he is Jace Wayland, then Morgenstern and then some other sir name that I didn't look up, but I have my guess at who is real family is.) However, I still have my reservations as to the feelings these two characters share, since at this point in time they think they are related. (hide spoiler)]
Even with my SERIOUS issue w/ Clary and Jace, I will most likely pick up the 3rd book in this series as well as it's prequel Clockwork Angel because I find the world it's set in very unique and interesting. I like the concept of the shadow hunters and dang it I really want to find out what happens. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Oh. My. God. Wow! Seriously amazing. I must get my hands on a copy of the second book ASAP. Don't know why it took me so long to pick this one up, but...moreOh. My. God. Wow! Seriously amazing. I must get my hands on a copy of the second book ASAP. Don't know why it took me so long to pick this one up, but glad I don't have to wait long to find out what happens next. (less)
I knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and ye...moreI knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and yes I’m one of those people you see at the Renaissance Faire dressed in costume and if 18th and 19th century costumes were so expensive I would probably have those too. I also worked in a living history museum one summer (sadly it wasn’t as an interpreter, so no period dress for me.) So, when I the synopsis of Past Perfect my inner history geek jumped for joy. A YA novel set in an historical reenactment village *yay!*
The premise of the book is super cute too. Chelsea has worked at Essex Historical Colonial Village as an historical interpreter since she was little. She is trying to get over her ex, who decides to work at Essex over the summer too. At the same time she is trying not to fall for a boy from the rival civil war camp across the street, because every year the junior interrupters from the colonial village (unbeknownst to the adults) go to war with the kids from the civil war camp , so falling for a boy from the wrong century is a major problem. It’s very R&J/West Side Story, by no means an original story, but the setting makes it very unique and a whole lot of fun.
I also really liked Chelsea, she was fun to read and I felt I could really relate to her. That could be due to the fact that although Chelsea doesn’t think of herself as a “history nerd” she fosters a love for history that comes from growing up around it, and the fact that she says/thinks things like this “In his suspenders, loose-fitting vest, and felt hat, he looked even better than when I'd seen him in a T-shit and cut-offs. What can I say; I have a thing for guys in period dress, okay? That's Just who I am.” (pg. 126.) Which I can absoulty relate to. Love of history withstanding, Chelsea is very genuine and a joy to read. She isn’t perfect by any means and has flaws but it makes her believable and that is why I enjoyed reading her.
The book has a quite a bit of historical jargon and references which might get overlooked if you’re not a history person, but Leila Sales does a very good job of explaining the nuances of working in a living history museum. You can tell she’s had experience in this environment with historical reenactors. Ms. Sales also does a fantastic job of explaining the way we choose to portray the past. History happens to those who have lived it, and written by those who remember or interpret it. Whether it’s a major historical event like the Boston Massacre or our own life it’s how we choose to remember the past or interpreted the facts that determines how the past is remembered.
I really enjoyed Past Perfect. The setting was original and fun (mind you I’m a bit biased since I’m a total history geek). The characters are honest and genuine, they all have flaws, yet you can’t help but root for them. The story was believable, which is a big deal to me when dealing with realistic fiction, if I want to suspend my disbelief I’ll read fantasy and sci-fi books (which I read quite a bit of) but I like my realistic fiction to be just that, realistic. Over all it’s a book I truly enjoyed and would absolutely recommend, especially if you are a bit of a history geek like me. (less)
Wow, just wow! I don't want to go into details because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I'll just say if you haven't started this series go and fi...more Wow, just wow! I don't want to go into details because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I'll just say if you haven't started this series go and find a copy of Divergent now.
I will go into a few reasons why I LOVE this series. Mind you If you haven't read Divergent there may be some minor spoilers.
First, the world building in this series is very strong. The Faction systemVeronica Roth has created is very intriguing and a true dystopian society. The world also feels very real to me, that might have something to do with it being set in Chicago, and being a Chicago area native I have real life experience in this city so when the author (also a Chicago area native) mentions Millennium Park, Lower Wacker, the Handcock, or the Sears Tower instantly know what those places look like. In some instances my familiarity with area was more of a distraction, for example when Tris mentions the Amity compound is an hour drive from the city I find myself wondering exactly where that could be, or where exactly the abnegation and dauntless compounds are located (North and South Side respectively but no set location according to Ms. Roth via an interview on Windy City Live)
I also really enjoy the characters in this series both Tris and Four are fully developed characters. Tris is strong and independent (although she doesn't always see herself that way) and in Insurgent she has some really difficult things to deal with emotionally that threaten to break that strength. There were a few times I felt my self thinking "No Tris why are you doing that" but it's the mistakes Tris makes and the secrets she keeps that make her real. As a reader who is looking down on the situation I can see Tris isn't making the right choice by keeping things from people, but honestly if it was me living through this experience I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing. The way Tris rings so true is the reason I love her.
Unlike a lot of "dystopian" novels out right now their relationship isn't the driving force of the novel. It's the threat of war among the factions and although this threat clearly effects Tris and Four's relationship it isn't the all consuming plot of the novel. As for their relationship it isn't perfect, and what relationship is? Tris has some major trust issues, and Four isn't entirely honest with her either. It will be interesting to see how the relationship continues to develop in the 3rd book.
Over all I really enjoyed Insurgent, maybe more than Divergent. One thing I know for sure I will be anxiously awaiting the final installment of this series!
4 Stars only because it's so short and I want more!!
J.K. Rowling wrote this short 800 word "prequel" for Waterstone’s “What’s Your Story?” Charity ben...more4 Stars only because it's so short and I want more!!
J.K. Rowling wrote this short 800 word "prequel" for Waterstone’s “What’s Your Story?” Charity benefit. Which is great, but I really, REALLY hope she chooses to write a book about the Marauders, it would be so much fun to read! (less)
This one kind of missed the mark for me. I had high hopes for Why We Broke up. The concept, a girl leaving a box of mementoes on her ex’s front door a...moreThis one kind of missed the mark for me. I had high hopes for Why We Broke up. The concept, a girl leaving a box of mementoes on her ex’s front door along with a letter explain why they broke up, was something I felt most teens (and adults) could relate to. Sadly, I think the story falls short of living up to its potential.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped let’s start off with what I did like. The concept was great, and something I could absolutely relate to. I had boxes full of mementos for a couple of my high school boyfriends. One of them I still have and another was very ceremoniously tossed in to the garbage not by me, but my now husband, then fiancé when we were moving into our current home. So having a few ex-boyfriend boxes of my own I really like the idea of giving it all back to the guy to let him figure out what to do with it all. The whole concept is rather cleansing, which is the point, because I’m sure Min’s ex Ed isn’t going to read the book of a letter that gets dropped on his doorstep along with all the junk inside. (More on that later.)
The other thing I liked about this book is the art work. Each chapter starts with an illustration of one of the items in the box, and the chapter explains the origin of that particular item and how it came into Min’s position and what it has to do with her relationship with Ed. I feel the illustrations really add to the concept and the story. The book itself is a miniature box containing all the mementos of Min and Ed’s relationship.
Now for what I did not like.
As far as the characters in the book none of them were all that likeable, especially our protagonist Min. At first I liked Min, she was into old movies and that was fun at first because I enjoy old movies myself. Now I’m not a film buff so I don’t know every old movie ever made so when I didn’t recognize the first few movies she referenced I figured they were maybe a bit more obscure than what I’m familiar with. Min, however, continues to reference these obscure films and I realized that these movies are all made up for the story. The author could have easily used real films so at least the readers could connect with Min on a more personal level, because as I said before I highly doubt her ex would actually take the time to read what she wrote.
Another problem I had with this book is that the entire 350 page book is the letter to her ex, which apparently she pens in an afternoon. In addition the impossibility that she could have written the entire story down (which hand written would be much longer than 350 pages unless her handwriting is very small) it’s the way she writes that bothers me. Min will recount entire conversations word for word, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I can recount a conversation verbatim this morning let alone one I had months ago. With that in mind I feel the story would have worked better if (A) the large conversations had been left out and the memories were more generalized and recounted the way people actually talk about the past. or (B) split each chapter in to 3 parts 1. The illustration 2. The letter. 3. The flashback that goes with the letter. Either option would work better than how it’s written now.
I understand that this “letter” or book is a Min’s way of getting over her ex, which as I said earlier I really liked. I find writing is a great way to get your feelings out of your head so you can analyze them. Not to mention dumping the entire letter and the box off at your ex’s to wash your hands of them and very plainly state “I’m done crying over you” is very empowering. The jury is, however,still out on if I believe Min expects Ed to actually read this “letter” she has left on his doorstep. I found myself wondering several times while reading the book if she is actually expecting him to read this, because for the life of me I can’t see Ed (or any teenage boy for that matter) reading 350+ pages about why they broke up. Now if this is just something she drops on his doorstep and never expects him to look at that is understandable, but then I can’t help but put myself in the author’s shoes. I guess what I’m saying is that if Min doesn’t expect her ex to read the book size letter she has written how can the author expect a reader to stick with the story to the end.
I’ll say it again, the concept of this book was great, but it really just fell flat for me which is sad because this was one of those “I have to read this one before the kids get it” books for me. The story however, was just too drawn out and I found myself on more than one occasion contemplating putting the book down and picking up something else instead. (less)