OOOOOHHHH... (view spoiler)[ Zuko is Ozai's son, not Ikem's. (hide spoiler)] Well, that's fine. I was initially shocked that such a revelation was rev...moreOOOOOHHHH... (view spoiler)[ Zuko is Ozai's son, not Ikem's. (hide spoiler)] Well, that's fine. I was initially shocked that such a revelation was revealed in the comics, comics that I guess about 1/3 of the original viewers of the show know about/actually read. But the explanation was well done.
I suppose the reason why I love this series so much is because it's about Zuko and Azula. The main heroes from the show almost take a back seat in this arc, as the story focuses so much about this particular pair of dysfunctional siblings. They are both such interesting and complex people. I love how Zuko hasn't turned bland in turning to the good side. (view spoiler)[ Likewise, I love how Azula ran away halfway through. She has gone crazy, yes, but her mom admitted to her and apologized for not loving her as she should have. I really want to know what happens to Azula. She's probably at the start of some sort of long torturous turn to the good side like Zuko or ends up a poor soul who refuses to be redeemed and ultimately has a tragic end. But it's a kid show. Of course they wouldn't go down that route. But it's Avatar, a show famous for not dumbing down major themes and epic stories... maybe... I don't know. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway, we find out about Zuko's mom. It was pretty darn good. I love the design of the face spirit (view spoiler)[ and her relationship with KOH, and Zuko's initial "not wanting to tell new-face mom about himself because of her happiness. (hide spoiler)] This final installment of THE SEARCH won't disappoint.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What can I say about this book? It's beautiful, both in story and in illustration. Conor has to deal with his mother’s vague terminal illness, and one...moreWhat can I say about this book? It's beautiful, both in story and in illustration. Conor has to deal with his mother’s vague terminal illness, and one night he is approached by a monster. A monster that, surprisingly, Conor has no fear of. It is there to help him, make him listen, make himself look at the truth. The tales of the monster are fascinating, Conor's reactions realistic. The way it weaves the stages of grief in and throughout the book are evident, but not shoved into your face. This is what I feel like The Book Thief should have been. Conor is very likable and his emotions very real. Well, maybe not. I can't really say for sure because I am lucky enough never to have lost a very very close person to a terminal illness before. But they were relatable all the same.
I need to repeat how amazing the illustrations are. They are the greatest monochromatic I’ve seen since Shaun Tan's The Arrival. Very well done. (less)
Poor, poor Jamie. I bought this book on a whim for a buck at the library because I saw the immortal name S.E. Hintonadorning the cover. This has got t...morePoor, poor Jamie. I bought this book on a whim for a buck at the library because I saw the immortal name S.E. Hintonadorning the cover. This has got to be good! Then I read some reviews on goodreads and got disillusioned. Not as good The Outsiders, Hinton really fell off her game. About a vampire? Seriously? Well, anyway, I read it. And loved it. And, if I'm being completely honest, it's probably because I love Jamie (view spoiler)[ Hard childhood, rogue sailor, abused vampire slave. How much more woobish can a character get? Especially after Grenville steps into the picture, he reminded me very much of Smike from Nicholas Nickleby. Anyway (hide spoiler)]. He's is a charismatic, handsome, young man with the tough, raunchy personality of a sailor. Which makes sense considering that he is. Ex navy, spends time smuggling and feels most at home at sea. One day, when he's at a small town of Hawkes Harbor, he hears of the legend of Hawkes Island. It's haunted, they say. Don't go there, they say. So what does our hero do? Guess. (view spoiler)[ There, he accidently lets loose a vampire and his life changes forever. Grenville Hawkes bites him, but lets him live as a servant. Well, not really a servant, but a poor abused slave. Jamie's very biology gets rewritten as his very high pain tolerance is gone forever, and his nerves and free-spirit are broken. Grenville goes to a Doctor Louisa Kahn to see about reversing the curse that makes him a vampire as Louisa takes advantage of the situation to observe (conduct research or whatever) a vampire and his slave. Jamie, on the other hand, gets shot on a kidnapping charge, ends up in a mental hospital, etcetera etcetera etcetera. His life becomes hell. Read the book if you want more. (hide spoiler)]
Stylistically, this book is a little choppy. Well, very choppy. It's one of those that jumps around timelines. I bothered to read it through and figure out the chronologic timeline, and I think she actually made a mistake in one of the dates. I can see how that would turn readers off, as the brain wants chronologic order dammit! Even after I put them in order, they still feel choppy. One day, Jamie's freaking out about candles, thinking about that one time he didn't understand language or whatever. One day, out of the blue, Grenville (view spoiler)[ is interested in Katie to transport the soul of his long dead beloved wife into. What the heck? Where did that come from!? (hide spoiler)] There are a lot of mini-plots that are super under-developed. Too bad this isn't popular. S.E. Hinton could have made this book twice as long easily is only she'd explain more things. How did Grenville become a vampire? What the heck with the ghost? When exactly did Louisa start making progress with the cure? What happened between the time Jamie was hospitalized and Terrace Hall? There are so many blanks that could have been filled by zealous fan fic writers if not the actual author. Plus, there is the bad rap that vampires get because of it's highly popular romanticization lately. You know what I'm talking about. Now everything even remotely vampiric BEGS to be compared to Twilight. I just want to say that this was written BEFORE it. Yes, literature that had vampires living in modern society existed before that immortal piece of shlop was written. And this vampire, Grenville Hawkes, isn't nice. He's abusive, cold, can turn into a bat, doesn't freaking sparkle, bites people, is strong, fast, intelligent. In the end, (view spoiler)[ I like Grenville. Sure I don't know how, when exactly, or why he suddenly became human and nice and guilty for the way he treated Jamie, but when he does, it feels genuine, and their bond is very nice to read. (hide spoiler)] Maybe I'm giving Jamie too much credit. Grenville along with several other characters combined made this book interesting. This book is definitely flawed, but I liked it anyway.
Final notes: My major complaint is that (view spoiler)[ I hated Louisa Kahn. The bitch feels bad for Jamie but takes advantage of him as much as Grenville does? Blackmailing him with sending him back to Terrace Hall (even though she took him out of it too early... he was definitely not cured what the hell) thinking that Jamie doesn't really believe it? What? If he didn't actually take your threats seriously, lady, then he wouldn't be so compliant! Why did you bother blackmailing him like that if you thought he didn't really believe it? Then of course Jamie somehow shakes her grip but he still thinks she and Grenville should get together? Yeah right. That subplot got absolutely NO development and irritated the hell out of me. Lousia Kahn is the reason for 4 stars. Yeah. She's a bitch. And we're supposed to like her? NO. I liked the cold-hearted abusive vampire better. >:( Anyway. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I hated this. The Clutters were murdered, and so Capote shows up on the scene with an apparent crush on one of the murderers and writes a book about h...moreI hated this. The Clutters were murdered, and so Capote shows up on the scene with an apparent crush on one of the murderers and writes a book about how innocent and kind and abused he was. Yes, Perry is a woobie. But he was a MURDURER of AN ENTIRE FAMILY. Kind of disrespectful to their memory much? The stylistic prose, making it seem fiction was just stomach churning. I remember reading a newspaper article and told my friend OMG THEY GOT THE DEATH PENALTY! and he goes "geez! spoilers!" Seriously? IT HAPPENED. IT WAS REAL. SIX PEOPLE DIED. And Capote turned it into "omg spoilers they die at the end!" He wrote a fanfic about a freaking quadruple murder and the resulting death penalty. I can hardly believe it was classified as non-fiction. It may have been "based off a true story", but it's NOT NON-FICTION. It just makes me angry. Two stars for the prose.(less)
Boring. Depressing. John's an asshole, Lorraine's not much better, always going along with his schemes. Good job you two. (view spoiler)[ Way to take...moreBoring. Depressing. John's an asshole, Lorraine's not much better, always going along with his schemes. Good job you two. (view spoiler)[ Way to take advantage of an old guy. Did you really think it was a good idea to throw a party in an old guy's house when he's away at the hospital recovering from a heart attack? You both are terrible people. Thus, even though it's not that rational, I blame both of them for Pigman's death. Just trample all over his kindness and soul why don't ya?! In John's words, 3@#$$*$@# 3!@^&@* #%^^&@*#, and GO TO #&$^#& (hide spoiler)](less)
Steven Crashinsky saved his school from blowing up at the hands of a super psychotic kid. And he's a complete asshole. Told from his point of view, he...moreSteven Crashinsky saved his school from blowing up at the hands of a super psychotic kid. And he's a complete asshole. Told from his point of view, he is working on writing a book based on his life and what actually happened that fateful day, and the narrative goes back and forth. It's bizarre. And pointless. It's boring. And repetitive, and HE'S SO UNLIKEABLE. Plus, Burn (I forgot his full name), is also TERRIBLE. I mean, sure he's the one who threatened to blow up the place, but SERIOUSLY. I hated him so much. Every time he appeared, I was put on edge. I have no sympathy at all for him despite (view spoiler)[ the fact that his ENTIRE FAMILY DIED (hide spoiler)] That may have messed him up, but he’s EVIL. I hated Lindsey; I even hated Jamie. Yep, so completely freaking normal to sit around watching Nickelodeon all day. And his mother was on board with this? What IS Jamie's character? She simply doesn't give a shit about anything other than television? For crying out loud there isn't a single likable character in this book. Steven's dad? The worst father ever to be conceived of in fiction (well, maybe not the worst in terms of actions; he didn’t beat his kids or anything, but seriously) He is such a BASTARD. Felicia (the absolutely perfect perfect woman ever who always says the right things, super nice, "super-hot" etcetera etcetera)? I hated her because she's freaking marrying him. WHY? WHY WHY WHY? When Crash isn't hooking up with girls he's planning cheat on and/or break up with as soon as the affair is over, he's getting high, complaining how scarily psychotic Burn is (and he IS), or gushing about how amazing Roxanne was (view spoiler)[ Burn’s collage sister who tutored him once and hooked up with several times who committed suicide (hide spoiler)]. Hell. Even the last line was about freaking (view spoiler)[ hooking up with a rich-ho who’s totally into him for some reason. One who he’s cheated on some other girl with that was mad at him for a time and then got over it. The last line went something like “She asked me over and her parents aren’t home!” (hide spoiler)] I hated Steven so much. All he can talk about is how he’s fantasizing about girls, hooking up with girls while thinking about others, etcetera. The last part of the book when the narrative finally goes into exactly what went down that fateful day was fine. But the 500 pages of sheer idiocy I had to slog through was NOT WORTH IT. ["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This did a magnificant job of juggling the many different issues in the book. Terminal illness, grief, spirituality, interpersonal relationships, etce...moreThis did a magnificant job of juggling the many different issues in the book. Terminal illness, grief, spirituality, interpersonal relationships, etcetera etcetera etcetera. More later(less)
Quick read. Basically Cruise Control from Shawn's point of view. Shawn, in fact, actually is aware of the world, and this book goes into detail what h...moreQuick read. Basically Cruise Control from Shawn's point of view. Shawn, in fact, actually is aware of the world, and this book goes into detail what he is going through while being physically unable to communicate any of his thoughts or have any control over any part of his body. He is surprisingly not bitter about it, and it was interesting to read. (view spoiler)[ And no. He doesn't magically get better in the end. In fact, it's a bit of a depressing cliffhanger sort of. But it was well done because an ending with a magical cure would be a cop-out. Considering the source material, that was one of the things that kept me reading. How on earth could the author end this book? (hide spoiler)]
Also, did anyone else notice that, hey! Terry Trueman, Pulitzer Prize winner for writing books about dealing with a family member with severe cerebral palsy and father of a child with such a disorder, writes a jerk pulitzer prize winning dad of Shawn? That was just weird to think about the entire time I read it. Especially with all of Shawn's dad's thoughts about so-called "mercy killing" his kid. May technology advance enough for us to be able to figure out new ways for people struck with this disorder to be able to communicate one day.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Leo's sister was brutally murdered four years ago, and since then, his dad left and his mom went crazy (scary abusive psycho crazy). He's the one with...moreLeo's sister was brutally murdered four years ago, and since then, his dad left and his mom went crazy (scary abusive psycho crazy). He's the one with the job, taking care of basic necessities such as food, and one night, when it get to be too much, he goes for a drive.
Bree is just a rich girl who wants to get out from under the controlling thumb of her mother and boyfriend. And one night, in a fit of rebellion, she goes for a walk on the “bad” side of town…
Told from alternate views, this is the story of how they met and came to know each other…
There's a name for this type of situation: (view spoiler)[ Stockholm syndrome. I can't believe I saw the words "love story" on the back cover. That is not what this is. Leo, who thinks he might be going crazy, kidnaps Bree, upset and thinking that it should be that “slut wandering around” that should’ve died instead of his sister (she was dressed provocatively as part of her rebellion). In order to save her life, she tries to talk with him, let him know that she’s a person, a lesson she learned in a self-defense class. He is initially doesn’t engage but eventually lets down his barriers and Bree finds out that he is human too. Here’s what made this pretty good, despite the squicky feelings that come with Stockholm syndrome cases: the Leo and Bree, despite being stereotypically “troubled”, are not annoying. They are not complaining to the reader, and this isn’t a story of a “shallow rich girl” who learns a valuable lesson during a time of duress. While Leo has had a very hard life that makes Bree’s problems seem juvenile in comparison, her problems aren’t limited to friendship drama or nail polish. The problem I have with those sort of stories is that they preach the whole moral about “the crime of being wealthy” while ignoring the actual crime of kidnapping and other various terrible things. One top of that, they tend to side with the criminal. Leo and Bree aren’t like that. Another thing that this book addresses is that Bree finds out everything that I, the reader, finds out. Every single thing. So her character isn’t just another teenage girl falling for a messed up kidnapping teenage boy with a hinted-at vague troubled past on the grounds that she could “fix him”. What I know about Leo make me symphonize for him, and it makes perfect sense that Bree, despite being a kidnapping victim, feels at least a little sympathy for his situation. It’s what makes her a human being. The main problem that I have about this story is the ending. Leo (sort of obviously), lets Bree go, and she makes up her mind not to tell the police, and, after doing a little digging, she finds out who he is in more detail, and the last line, I’m not kidding, says something about how she’s glad because she could find him again. SERIOUSLY? Leo is seriously messed up, and although he sort of gets over it, you should probably get him a nice psychiatrist to talk to. For CRYING OUT LOUD. He held a knife up to your throat several times, tied you up, kept you against your will, and, although you left, you still are thinking about getting together with him? What? When the kids ask how you guys met, are you going to say “we first met when he kidnapped me and threatened to kill me. It was the most romantic time of my life wasn’t it honey”? NO NO NO NO NO!!! Yes, Leo is a woobie, but that doesn’t quite excuse the fact that he kidnapped and almost killed you! Sure, Leo is seriously messed up, is genuinely sorry, and is adorable on top of that (evidently), but this is NOT AN EXCUSE. It’s like Beauty and the Beast. Belle seems to completely forget that the Beast blackmailed her into staying with him forever, never to see her father again. Sure that movie was about “not judging appearances”, but for crying out loud, the beast sure had a good long laundry list of terrible ACTIONS to judge him by. Anyway, this was pretty good, with an interesting commentary about how people tend to be more complex than “he’s evil, she’s shallow”, and first impressions and human tendency to need to BLAME someone, even when no one is really at fault. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was ok. It was interesting because it was one of the first books about life on the streets as narrated by a girl. Not that it's really obvious, h...moreThis was ok. It was interesting because it was one of the first books about life on the streets as narrated by a girl. Not that it's really obvious, however, it was different. Much of the book was comprised of "I'm hungry and cold because I don't have food and it's cold". Strasser is very good at packing a punch with all of his books about difficult issues (school shootings, street life), and I think the most influential part was the reports about the death of several street kids that the main character knew (her street name is Maybe). The one thing that irritated me was how long it took Maybe to figure out that a warm bed and food was better than being "hungry and cold" as she complains about daily. But I'm not a street kid. I never was a street kid. I am, what they all would call, "a high ended middle class person who gets everything" et cetera. Yeah, this book made me a sense of survivor’s guilt somehow, like how come they get nothing and I get everything? Well, then comes the realization. What would I have done about her if I came across her? Take her home? The mistrust that all the street kids have with everyone NOT in their little tribe (their word) was certainly justified, as they spent most of their lives building it up in order to survive, however, they refuse shelter because of "rules that would take away their freedom" like curfews? Right. Freedom to do what? Be hungry and cold? I mean, (view spoiler)[ she realizes it in the end, after all of her buddies are dead but why not before? (hide spoiler)] Again, I really shouldn't judge. I've been fortunate enough never to have to deal with that sort of situation. I'm sure there may have been several reasons. Pride, need for independence (meaning like, "my mom sucked, so I don't need her. I don't need anyone! I'll show her." sort of thing), and maybe even slight commitment to the tribe. Plus, as said before, the blatant mistrust of any "non-street kid". This book was fine. (view spoiler)[ and I love a *semi*-happy ending. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Well this is one of those mood whiplash books. And it does it perfectly. (view spoiler)[ Lily, the titular killer's cousin, is the nastiest little wit...moreWell this is one of those mood whiplash books. And it does it perfectly. (view spoiler)[ Lily, the titular killer's cousin, is the nastiest little witch ever. And not in the "I'm so much better than you mean little girl" sort of way, but in the literally terrifying "what is she going to do next?" sort of way. She's clever, scheming, and downright evil at times towards David, the main character who was just acquitted for murder of his girlfriend (I think it ended up being a manslaughter case, it was never made clear), and just moved in with his Aunt Julia and Uncle Vic. Vic apparently let David stay because "he knows how it feels" or something... it has to do with their eldest daughters (view spoiler)["suicide" (hide spoiler)] though I'm not sure how this would cause him to sympathize with David. Anyway, the Aunt Julia, who has never really liked David or his mother, is cold toward him, and Lily, as mentioned before, is incredibly hostile. It's rare that any character can actually keep me on edge without me knowing anything about them, but seriously, this girl is messed up. On top of that, David is (view spoiler)[literally (hide spoiler)] haunted by Kathy's (his other cousin) ghost telling him to "helplily helplily helplily". Every time Lily came up in the narrative, I was on edge. She acted like she literally wanted to kill David. Her first uttered sentence to him was “did it feel powerful when she went down?” And from then on it gets worse and worse. Her parents have a strained relationship because of Kathy’s death, and they use Lily as a go-between like “Lily, ask your father if he would like seconds” (they’re just across each other at the table). A few things David says and does sort of repairs some of the strain of their relationship, and though he has repaired her parents’ feud, Lily is outraged. David is often uncomfortable, and because this is narrated first person by him, there are many long stretches of awkward silence and tension. Werlin did an excellent job of making me feel exactly what the main character was feeling. The disgust for his aunt and uncle for not listening to his concern for Lily’s mental health, the anxiety of starting a new school after his face had been tabloid headlines for the past few months… the unsettling atmosphere every time Lily showed up. In the end, we realize with David that (view spoiler)[ “guilt attracts guilt”, and that Lily actually killed Kathy… it was never a suicide. Lily may be a terrible character throughout the book, but it was made infinitely worse knowing exactly how and why she killed her sister (when she was seven, nonetheless). Shortly after confronting Lily, David he tells her that she won; she has succeeded in making him leave, and he moves out. Shortly after that, however, he sees Kathy’s ghost again, “helplily helplily helplily”, and he eventually runs back to the house just in time to see it on fire. Lily is nowhere to be found, and he knows exactly where Lily would be. He charges into the burning house and rescues her from not only the fire, but herself. Lily has felt immense guilt at her sister’s death (big shock), and because she was only seven when it happened, no one actually believes that she killed her. They think that it was a hallucination of the stress of “being there when her sister ‘committed suicide’”. Lily was trying to die in the same way Kathy died, and she struggles for a while to keep David from saving her, but David tells her that her punishment is not to die, but to learn to live, like him. From then Lily hangs on to him, he charges though the house and passes out. David learns later that they had to sedate Lily in order to get her away from him. Thus, the mood whiplash. Lily is an evil demon. Lily is even worse because she’s a hypocritical murderer. Lily is just confused and not getting the help she needs, and genuinely feels remorse for what she has done (and, like David, it was an accident). All the disgust aimed at her immediately goes to Aunt Julia and Uncle Vic, who have made it their policy to never talk about Kathy, never be real parents to Lily. They are caught up in their own selfish little world of pretending that everything is always fine yet being incredibly hypocritical and mean towards people who they blame for everything wrong in their lives. This book managed to make me feel genuine sympathy for two manslaughterers, and it was an emotional roller-coaster the whole way. (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was a pretty good book. Charlie and Sam are (were) best friends, then suddenly, they're not. However, this isn't the main focus of the book, thou...moreThis was a pretty good book. Charlie and Sam are (were) best friends, then suddenly, they're not. However, this isn't the main focus of the book, though it is a theme. (view spoiler)[ In fact, they don't even take to each other until the last eighth or so. (hide spoiler)] The book focuses more on each individual life, alternating perspectives (but still narrated in the third person). Sam is having problems because (view spoiler)[ his parents got separated because his dad decided that he was gay, and his mother got a new homophobe boyfriend who is constantly making cracks about them, and Sam himself is (gasp) gay as well. Meanwhile Charlie is having drug dealing problems. When the two finally meet, catch up with each other, figure out their ancient feud, and make up in the end (I mean, obviously), it's great. A little awkward, but great. (hide spoiler)](less)
Ok, I only read like, 500 pages (and maybe 40 of the footnote pages). I kind of feel bad that I didn't finish it, however, I am not THAT into the book...moreOk, I only read like, 500 pages (and maybe 40 of the footnote pages). I kind of feel bad that I didn't finish it, however, I am not THAT into the book to want to finish it. As my shelves indicate, this was read as an "outside reading book" for school. I had a certain deadline, and so I am pretty content with what I did read.
This is a difficult book to read. The narratives go EVERYWHERE, and there were entire thick sections of the book that just passed by without me understanding a word. The one thing that I liked the most however, was the storyline with Hal Incandoza and family. More later.(less)
I don't think that the caption under the title: "What does this bully have to say for himself?" really fits what this book is all about. The focus is...moreI don't think that the caption under the title: "What does this bully have to say for himself?" really fits what this book is all about. The focus is much more on his underprivileged citizen status and general delinquency. The bullying in the book is fairly minimal compared to all of the other events about him. Granted, this is told from his point of view, and he does beat on other kids for money, and his lack of money ever doesn’t give him the right to do so. However, this was a very different type of book that I thought I was going to get. There are only a few things that I can’t believe that I want to rant about: (view spoiler)[ - Tod literally believes that a fixed sphinx statue that he broke is a miracle he feels that he needs to “pay back”? It never occurs to him that there was an extra one? I mean, the art girl is the art girl! Of course she would have an extra one at home. -The goth art girl says “hey your mom sews, she can do the costumes!” and practically forces him to do it despite the fact that Tod and his family are dirt poor and she provides NO MATERIALS FOR THE DAMN COSTUMES (admittedly, she doesn’t really know that he’s dirt poor, however, material for SEVEN COSTUMES can get a expensive. I mean, plan for expenses art girl!) She totally exploited Tod(‘s mother, she thinks) for her own selfish ego project (which ended up being a horrible play as well). I hope she realizes what Todd went through to get those damn costumes. He committed felonies! -The school administrators are prejudiced. British spelling my ass. They’re supposed to be terrible anyway, but seriously. -Gregg is EVIL. And that one bit about that girl (Hannah?) trying to “take over” Tod’s victims and exploit money because she’s a bitch? Bizarre. Very last minute plot thread that didn’t really add much. -What WAS Tod and his friends’ crime? It was a little unclear. I think something with Evil Gregg setting them up for stealing a school video camera or something. But weren’t they breaking in in the first place? That was unclear despite the fact that the entire point of Tod’s notebook was because they were caught doing it. -Tod’s poor. This doesn’t give him the excuse to go off beating on kids for money and literally trying to steal clothes for the FREAKING COSTUMES FOR THE SCHOOL PLAY. This plot thread goes over the top with him literally trying to swipe clothes from an old lady in the Laundromat. For crying out loud. Plus the backyard swiping of clothes off of clotheslines at night. It’s for a school play dammit! -School security is bizarre -Tod and art-girl relationship is sporadic and not well developed. (hide spoiler)] However, the ending was satisfactory, with (view spoiler)[ the teacher taking his notebook and using it to “prosecute” all of the kids and their wrongdoings. Yay! (hide spoiler)] Final synopsis, this is a good book. Despite how over-the-top they could get, I liked Tod’s voice and his stories.
This review is more of me as a reader trying to sort out my thoughts than a summery and "read this!" or "don't read this!" argument. So.
Anwell met Fin...moreThis review is more of me as a reader trying to sort out my thoughts than a summery and "read this!" or "don't read this!" argument. So.
Anwell met Finnigan and he scratches his name backwards on the fence. Makes boyhood pact "you be good, or the angel, aka Gabriel, I'll be the bad, Finnigan." Oh no! Finnigan is an arsonist! He sets alight valuable items of those who have wronged (usually by bullying) Anwell/Gabrial. Why is he bullied? He accidently killed his older handicapped brother Vernon. His parents are "kooks", so he's an outcast. Note on parents. They are abusive bastards. Mother is always "ill" and "why do you do this to me Anwell?" and dad is overbearing control freak. None of the reviews I've read mentioned the possibility that Vernon is Finnigan in the Anwell's mind, which I find strange because it was strongly hinted at. In his room, Anwell sees Vernon scratching his name backwards on the window.
Other notes: Anwell/Gabriel kill parents with hatchet? Finnigan kill policeman Eli (something-or-other) with a wooden stake in his sleep? "You betrayed Anwell. He was your only friend for a while. Did you forget that? Do you even know what his father would've done to him if he knew there was a traitor in the house?
Surrender: Finnigan- Surrender was always mine. Anwell- I could never bear to chain him up despite his wild side... Finnigan (after Anwell hints at chaining Surrender up)- You are your father’s son. Ouch. Surrender is too wild, killing livestock and whatever. Father is going to kill him. Anwell unchains him and runs into the woods, away. Gives Surrender to Finnigan. Surrender is Finnigan's Achilles Heel. "You know the price of giving him to me." What does this mean? Father makes Anwell shoot Surrender. Implies that Anwell unchained Surrender and ran off into the woods to psychologically "spiritually" give him to Wild and free Finnigan. The dog he is to shoot now is only a shell. He gets punished by parents for running off? He slices them open with hatchet? Committed to mental institution from there? Says "I don’t' want my parents to visit."... so...
Anwell: Guilt and loneliness manifests itself into evil alter-ego Finnigan (the wild-child resulting from his oppressive bullied existence by parents and all others) who was actually Vernon in disguise (the guilt part). There's a thought. Fringe Brilliance: Anwell=Angel... sound symbolic? Like dog’s name Surrender also symbolic. For surrendering blah blah obvious.
Evangeline: Anwell's major crush. Good side Gabriel- Finally a good thing in my life. It is a secret from parents, I'm edgy and nervous as usual, but this is a good, untainted thing in my life. Bad side Finnigan- She's using you. She laughs at you behind your back. Why is your friendship such a secret? Not even a relationship. A pet-like "friendship". You will get your heart stomped on. Leave her. "Gabriel" resists and openly disagrees with his bad side for once Which explains why Anwell freaked out and went to her house. "Evangeline you're in trouble, HE knows about you. HE's going to come after you... to kill you!" Doorbell rings, it's Anwell's MOM, and Anwell is actually relieved. Epiphany- I'm more afraid of Finnigan than my bastard mother! Which means Finnigan is very bad and dangerous. So I'm going to kill him. I'm going to kill Finnigan before he can hurt the one semi-happy thing in my poor pathetic life. Results in self-inflicted illness and him dying.
Sarah- What? Who is she? Loving aunt? Just a caretaker. A nurse who cares about Anwell. Why? Never looked into. Anwell is described as struggling against his bonds- mental asylum. Finnigan visits again after an entire year passes. "Gabriel" calls him out as a bastard who has always had control over (Anwell's) life, and Finnigan reacts by destroying the room. Sarah says once "remember the last time I loosened your bonds?" which implies that Anwell/Finnigan did it himself in a psychological skitzo battle. How is this possible when "Gabriel" is too weak to blink his eyes? Sarah calls Anwell Gabriel- she knows his good alter ego? Nurse isn't Aunt Sarah. Nurse is a nurse, turned into aunt by Anwell's mind.
They found the bones in the woods. You know what that means. Blame the policeman. Don't tell them about me and you. WHAT IS THIS??? WHO'S BONES? Symbolic for they can maybe see that it's you?
The End: Vernon visits Anwell in the institution where he is. Cold, small like a refrigerator Anwell? No forgiveness. The demon that has plagued Anwell since the moment that the event happened, 13 years ago. He drags Anwell away, to death, presumably, dragging him to hell. Anwell wrenches away, unfurls angel wings (how symbolic) and soars skywards. Represents his death, finally, his sacrificial death that kills Finnigan is redemption. He can finally go to a better place.
This follow-up to the show Avatar, the Last Airbender starts with Firelord Zuko making Aang swear to kill him if he sees him start acting like his f...moreThis follow-up to the show Avatar, the Last Airbender starts with Firelord Zuko making Aang swear to kill him if he sees him start acting like his father, which is a pretty dark notion to begin the next chapter of the show. A best thing about this book is how it takes a look at the diplomatic problems after the epic "The End" of the show. While the show ended on a newly crowned Fireloard Zuko addressing the gathered nations and talking of peace and prosperity, the book doesn't sugarcoat the difficult reality of cleaning up the aftershocks of a 100 year war.
The main and most memorable plot thread is the one regarding the struggle of diplomacy. There are several assassination attempts on Zuko's life by those in the Fire Nation who still believe that he is a cowardly traitor to his country. There are Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom, and the difficult question of either evicting or letting them stay on their now one-hundred year old ancestral land (some who have even married into the Earth Kingdom) poses a huge problem. And Zuko, (can’t he ever get a break) is having troubles coping with the stresses position as Firelord thanks to the said problems (he is only maybe 17 after all). It also looks into somehow answering the very aggravating unanswered question of the show “Where is my mother?” which if I am correct, is sort-of answered in the following books.
Regarding the other characters, Toph starts a metal-bending school, and there isn’t much success with the new trainees. Katara and Aang are officially a couple, calling each other “sweetie” much to Sokka’s disgust (ewww! Ooglies!). Sokka himself isn’t in this book much though. It has a lot of the sort-of-side characters, like Roku, Suki, Ty Lee, Mai, but they aren’t big appearances. Only popping up once or twice or so. Pretty good artwork, reminiscent to the show’s design, but as another year passes, the characters also physically grow up more
(It’s depressing when you about it, they were forced to save the world before they even had time to finish growing up. Combine this with the fact that Katara starts off the show saying “I haven’t been penguin sledding since I was a kid” with Aang replying “you are a kid.” And by the third season Aang is saying things like “There were plenty of dragons when I was a kid.”). Anyway, if you really liked the show, then check this out. It goes beyond the end, serving as a bridge between the old and the new show about Korra or whatever as well as tying up some of the loose ends.
Oh Mr. Sonnenblick. Why is it that I love every single one of your semi-cheesy simultaneously heart-warming and heart-breaking novels? I suppose the k...moreOh Mr. Sonnenblick. Why is it that I love every single one of your semi-cheesy simultaneously heart-warming and heart-breaking novels? I suppose the key lies into creating likable characters. Every single time. I liked Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie better, but this is a fine sequel. (less)