this is smack dab in the middle of "it was okay." I probably won't ever read it again which is why it is getting 3 and not 4. but the writing was fine...morethis is smack dab in the middle of "it was okay." I probably won't ever read it again which is why it is getting 3 and not 4. but the writing was fine and the story interesting. I'm not sure what was lacking to keep me from 4 stars - maybe just that I couldn't relate to the main character's issues. Definitely don't regret reading it though because it was an enjoyable read.(less)
Well, I read this right after having read The Paris Wife, which I enjoyed. The Paris Wife is historical fiction and, as such, is, well, fictiony. It r...moreWell, I read this right after having read The Paris Wife, which I enjoyed. The Paris Wife is historical fiction and, as such, is, well, fictiony. It reads as a story. And one you either you enjoy or you don't. I quite liked it. Liked it enough to want to know "more" about Hadley and that's how I got to this book.
This book is biography and so less story. It's tedious in parts. It jumps around too much in parts, in efforts to support and substantiate things being said. It is, overall, pretty soulless.
I'm sure my view on each of these books is tainted by the order in which I read them. However, had I read this book first I never would have been motivated to read The Paris Wife. And if I somehow had gotten around to reading it, I probably would have been disappointed at the fluff job done to all the material covered in Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife. As it is, I was free to enjoy A Paris Wife for what it was and enjoy this one for what it was. It wasn't the fault of this book that I occasionally had feelings of "c'mon c'mon I already know about this" given it covered the same time periods of the same people.
This book is worth reading on its own, but it did make an interesting "Deeper Look" if you enjoyed the Paris Wife.(less)
Is this book really as bad I as I think it is? I need more friends to read this, to reassure me that it really...more(EDITED: Updated star-status at the end)
Is this book really as bad I as I think it is? I need more friends to read this, to reassure me that it really is awful and it's not just that I'm sick (which I am. I mean, with bronchitis.) So do it! Read this! And tell me it is bad!! ("Ew, this is awful! taste it!")
Anyway, i'd say 2 stars just because i feel guilty giving only 1 star and I *did* finish it. So, 1.5 stars. Because you know something is wrong when "It Was Okay" sounds way too generous...
Where to start?
Could there be a more unlikeable main character? I know I'm not the target audience, age-wise, but geeze, as a female, I'd at least like to like her as a fellow female, even if a young one. And I don't. She's the exact sort of insipid, unintelligent, first-this-man-now-this-one type of female character I don't like. So, there's that straight off the bat. (Shay is a way better character.)
And then there is just the whole story telling, which is ridiculous for the most part. I mean, there is this whole section where Tally is with a primitive tribe (no! she really is! I can't even get into the whole 'what is this i don't even...' of that part as a whole) and she notices the women are making a fire for cooking (the men having just been out warrioring about, as it were) and she thinks -- snidely, I might add -- "oh yeah, i remember in Olden Times women used to get the crappy jobs". What? Leaving aside the fact that all of a sudden Tally seems to know/remember a lot of things, despite the fact that she was pretty clueless about ancient history in the first book (and this is a big thing to "leave aside" because it annoyed the f*** out of me), why on earth would she automatically assume cooking was a crappy job? I mean, she's never cooked. She lives in a society where food comes fully prepared to you pretty much technomagically and it has been this way for hundreds of years. Aside for that extremely brief period out in the wild where *someone* made stew (and I don't think it was Tally and I'm pretty sure it was likely communally done male/female equally), Tally knows jack shit about cooking. Certainly a person like that would never make an assumption that cooking = crappy job so OH NOEZ SEXIST PIGS (another concept that would be entirely alien to her in practice). And she's snide about the issue more than once.
It seems to me that, if anything, given her recent experience Outside the only and/or first thing she would have thought was "oh! hey! I wonder how THEY go about setting up their fire pit/spits/outdoor kitchens/etc" in the spirit of this-is-new-and-interesting-to-observe and not this weird misplaced snide feminism for pet's sake.
Alright, I'm probably belaboring what seems like a minor point but my point is the book is pretty much entirely full of little points like that. It's awful.
And then it all wraps up neatly (not without fanning the flame of LOVE TRIANGLE in the last few pages though! couldn't skip that bit!) and once again Tally (view spoiler)[is captured but instead of all these trouble makers being just done away with -- I mean it hardly seems like a government that goes through all this other trouble with society would balk at that -- now she's going to be SPECIAL (hide spoiler)]. Egad.
My heart wants to give this book one star but my head (sick as it is with bronchitis germs) is going to give it two, for the few bits I liked (Shay and Zane and some of the other characters) and for the fact that I actually did finish it.
But I will not be reading the third.
****UDPATE: I am going to have to downgrade this to 1-star. I still stand by that it is 1.5 stars but when I was putting it in the appropriate goodreads "shelf", I felt rotten for some other books that were in the 2-star category, that they should be considered the same level as this. For example, the poor ol' Time Baroness. The Time Baroness, for example, is nowhere NEAR as bad as this thing. So, i'm downgrading to 1-star for sake of categorizing but my actual ranking still stands at 1.5.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Eh. I would give this book 2.5 stars if I could, really, because my feelings were more in between It Was Okay and I Liked It. But, I maybe should have...moreEh. I would give this book 2.5 stars if I could, really, because my feelings were more in between It Was Okay and I Liked It. But, I maybe should have reviewed it right away when I finished it because I made the mistake of starting the next book (which is maybe less indication of Really Liking as it is indication of surfeit of free time at the moment - I'm stuck in bed with something bronchial) and I was only about 10% through the book before I was pretty much over it already. I mean, even stuck in bed with something bronchial, I was enough done with the second book of this series that I tossed it down and went and did the dishes instead! So, I'm afraid maybe that is coloring my view of the first book since now I sort of regret the waste of reading time.
But, the writing is fine in this book and that is frequently the first hurdle in YA fiction, for me. I didn't have any problems with the writing style. And I actually quite *liked* the style, as it applied to this book, because I did have a clear sense that the thoughts and things being projected *were* the thoughts of this age group. There was a good match between characters and style and I appreciate that when I am reading. (This was really brought to my attention for the first time when I read Stray, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately the similarities to the goodness that is Stray end with the writing style not annoying me.)
I also liked the premise of the book. I found it quite interesting. I was quite willing and happy to sink right into the world building and the premise and see where it took me. And then it took me Outside.
I think my view of where the book went down hill is already covered in Sparrow's Review -- and the whole review is worth a read - when she says:
Luckily, said ugly teens (particularly our protagonist, Tally, through her bff, Shay) discover that if they flee to the wilderness, they will be able to live a life of freedom and romance. Oh, what's that? Did I say "romance"? Thanks again Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, et al. Sometimes when characters go out into the wilderness . . . I don't even know. Does the phrase "it's been done" even begin to cover my feelings on that topic? Thus begins the cat-fight between Tally and Shay that is the uniting thread of this entire series. You see, there is a wilderness boy (imagine my surprise), who is quite a catch even though he's "ugly", and there's some jealousy and betrayal and kick-ass hoverboarding. You get the idea.
It was at this point in the book when I had to remind myself "you are not the target audience. you are not the target audience." So, bit of a crash and burn, mood-killer there. I would have quite happily kept reading about Tally venturing on following clues for far more of the book. That was the best part! (BIAS ALERT! I just re-read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon as a comfort book so girl-alone-in-the-wilderness-trekking = WIN!) Once the reach "outside" everything speeds up with the rapidness common to YA fiction and everyone is in love and secrets revealed and all of that after about 2 days of knowing someone. You'd think cautious people would be cautious, but no!
The plot is forwarded due to DRAMA (it really is, had Tally acted like a rational intelligent person instead of FULL OF DRAMA there'd be no more story. Or, at least, not this story. don't want to spoiler you.) and that always sort of annoys me (see: "not the target audience") and then there is an almost entirely improbable Giant Escape and then ... cliffhanger ending!
If I would have read this book years ago, I might have liked it more. It's definitely not even close to being some of the best YA dystopian stuff out there, but it's certainly not the worst (although the second book looks like it is shaping up to be!). I'd recommend this if only if you are jonesing for some YA dystopian stuff AND you aren't paying 10 bucks for it... (less)
This was pretty much a waste of time. Maybe it would appeal to someone who actually *was* a junior in highschool, like these characters are, but other...moreThis was pretty much a waste of time. Maybe it would appeal to someone who actually *was* a junior in highschool, like these characters are, but otherwise.. eh. The *idea* for the book had promise, but it never delivers. The characters are flat and annoying, with the exception of one of them who is flat but at least sort of interesting, and the plot just sort of sputters out; I do understand there is a sequel and so they book was left sputtering out on purpose but it certainly wasn't done in a way to make me at all interested in reading the next book.
The typos and grammar errors got annoying and the flaws in logic and just plain flawed facts (i.e., where a hard drive is located on a computer) were REALLY annoying. I am able to cut some slack for holes in reasoning when a story deals with time travel because, well, it's time travel but the holes in the story were completely nonsensical even for a nonsensical situation. If you know what I mean.
The upside to reading it was that I actually went to bed early the night I started it and took a nap the following day, instead of being consumed with finishing it! Oh, and I'm going to give it an extra star for the potential it had -- I *did* want to find out where it was going, however painful the getting there started to be as the book neared its end.
I like this book well enough. It's a bit fluff, however, and I wouldn't recommend it for anything other than light reading. There is not a lot of dept...moreI like this book well enough. It's a bit fluff, however, and I wouldn't recommend it for anything other than light reading. There is not a lot of depth to it and it pretty much just coasts along to it's pretty inevitable conclusion, without much depth of plot or depth of character. The writing is fine, though, and so it serves a purpose and quick little fun read.(less)
Eh, I wanted to like this book more than I did because I REALLY like the idea of it, but somehow it never really caught me. It interested me enough th...moreEh, I wanted to like this book more than I did because I REALLY like the idea of it, but somehow it never really caught me. It interested me enough that I read it straight though, but overall I found the writing style a little lacking and juvenile for my taste; there wasn't enough depth to the characters. So, you have a whole bunch of really interesting mini scenarios but none of them felt *rich* enough so the whole book ended feeling like a surface skim of what could really have been a great novel.
I do recommend it though, because the idea is great and it was an enjoyable, if quick, read. Be warned though: there are a handful of errors in the book of the homophone variety (i.e. "sail" instead of "sale" -- and that's not an actual one in the book, I don't think, but just the first example I thought of) that are jarring to the reading experience. Otherwise, I recommend this for light reading.(less)
Wow. This was an extraordinarily well-written book. The pacing and devices used to forward the plot (which is three separate areas of story: the prese...moreWow. This was an extraordinarily well-written book. The pacing and devices used to forward the plot (which is three separate areas of story: the present, the past, the past at another time/event) has been done before, of course, and might not be some people's cup of tea in the first place, but the writing flowed between these segments without a hitch and I found the segments of the story to wind together effortlessly (and I credit that to great writing).
I cared about the characters in that I was interested in seeing how it all wrapped up but this does have a bit of melodrama attached to it and you have to be prepared for some improbable-feeling events which, while serving a purpose to advance the plot line, do sometimes seem a bit much. I was okay with that, though, because I expected this book to be sheer entertainment-value reading. I would definitely recommend this to fans of family drama, love story, etc. type books.(less)
This was quirky and cute and I wanted to enjoy it more than I did (I personally would book a vacation to Austenland, if I could). I think the reason I...moreThis was quirky and cute and I wanted to enjoy it more than I did (I personally would book a vacation to Austenland, if I could). I think the reason I didn't enjoy as much as I wanted to is that, at heart, I am just not a big fan of chick lit (which this book definitely is). But the premise is good, the characters sound and the writing is fine (and I pretty much read it all in one sitting, staying up late to do so), so don't let my lack of liking for chick lit sway you from checking this book out if it otherwise looks like it would appeal to you because it is a fun read.(less)
I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did (I mean, I consider myself a liker of Serious Historical Fiction). I really enjoyed this take o...moreI didn't think I would like this book as much as I did (I mean, I consider myself a liker of Serious Historical Fiction). I really enjoyed this take on Anne and Henry (and other characters) and I found each segment of Anne's past lives (as she remembered them) to be interesting and entertaining new takes on characters that have been pretty much set in stone by history. Do not go into this book thinking you are going to be reading a thick, densely historic Margaret George book because you aren't. I want to say that in comparison this is a bit of a romp through a well-established (and much written about) time period and characters but "romp" seems too light. While this book does feel light overall, it is written seriously and touches on some serious issues.