This is the second in the Levels series, so if you haven't read Song to Wake to, you'll probably want to read that first (it's not necessary, you'll sThis is the second in the Levels series, so if you haven't read Song to Wake to, you'll probably want to read that first (it's not necessary, you'll still be able to follow this one, but who wants to come in late and miss the start of the saga?)
Swords, yachts, fights, kisses, private jets, labyrinthine houses, secret caves, enormous lizards, love, jealousy, beautiful islands, deceit and ancient myths. Think that about covers it!
It wasn't the main character Lennie that drew me in the second I started reading this book, it was her family, Gram and Uncle Big. What a first page. It wasn't the main character Lennie that drew me in the second I started reading this book, it was her family, Gram and Uncle Big. What a first page. I can just imagine the agent that took this on sitting bolt-upright in his/her chair and saying 'hold the phone'.
Right from the first line, you know you're going to get something out of the ordinary with this book. And it delivers. It's hard not to love 6ft tall Gram in her floral frocks, painting her green ladies and talking to her roses. The same goes for every other supporting character in this book, from pot-smoking serial husband Uncle Big to Lennie's best friend, cigarette smoking feminist Sarah. Yes, you read all that right - these are characters you aren't going to forget.
This is writing at the polar opposite of cliche. The metaphors and analogies that Lennie uses are creative and brilliant, there's something on almost every page that, if you write, you'll wish you wrote yourself. I even loved the poetry (I'm a staunch ignorer-of-poetry.) Sometimes I ran across an idea or sentence that I'd have to re-read because it was like an effusive puppy tripping over it's own paws in an effort to get out of the door, but who cares? The overall effect was startling and rather wonderful.
Though this is a novel that tackles some difficult topics - the aftermath of the death of Lennie's sister, and the subsequent relationship Lennie has with her sister's boyfriend - it's often funny. Couple that with the only relationship in YA literature to actually make me jealous - Lennie <3 Joe Fontaine, and you're looking at a winner.
I'm not prone to tears, but I cried at the end of this novel. It gets 5 out of 5 stars for riotous writing, an entirely believable and heart-breaking story and poetry that I could not only understand but actually liked. ...more
Honestly? I think this is the best YA book I've read since I started reading YA books as an adult.
So what if the words 'I' and 'you' surely make up aHonestly? I think this is the best YA book I've read since I started reading YA books as an adult.
So what if the words 'I' and 'you' surely make up about a third of the word-count. Who cares. Utterly riveting - in fact I'm going to go ahead and say I couldn't put it down, cliche be damned.
This is a book that made me think 'damn, I wish I'd thought of that' and Christopher is the kind of writer that makes me want to do better (or maybe throw my book in the bin.) The setting is incredible, the characters are explored in depth, and the subject matter is truly fascinating (basically, this is a book about Stockholm syndrome.) The nuances of the relationship between Gemma (stolen) and Ty (thief) are perfect and make reading this book a lesson (the really good and very cool kind) in understanding Stockholm syndrome from the inside out.
Plus it's got camels, snakes, spinifex and all sorts of other interesting things you probably never knew much about before.
I'm going to recommend this one to EVERYONE because I really can't rave enough about how much I loved it. ...more
Fast-paced, full of action, possessing of a love triangle even with the third corner largely absent; why have I waited so long to read this book?
ThereFast-paced, full of action, possessing of a love triangle even with the third corner largely absent; why have I waited so long to read this book?
There were parts that put me in mind of ideas already realised - most notably the basic premise of the book being so similar to Battle Royale, but also the portions with the stylists that seemed similar to the visuals of The Fifth Element. However, this book was still relentlessly exciting and I haven't hesitated in buying the second in the series.
Great detail in the varies settings, fantastic visuals that will undoubtedly make for a good film, and a near perfect portrayal of a girl who's never had the time or need for a relationship being forced to confront the issue of love for the first time whilst fighting for her life. Chuck in some hallucinogenic wasps and this is good to go; thoroughly enjoyed it.
5 stars or 1 star? Do I return it to the charity shop from whence it came, or gush over it to everyone I know?
I don't think I've ever felt so conflic5 stars or 1 star? Do I return it to the charity shop from whence it came, or gush over it to everyone I know?
I don't think I've ever felt so conflicted about a book. Ever.
Here's what irritated me about The Time Traveler's Wife. First and foremost, the endless parade of references to art, music, literature, culture and politics. Now I get that the reader needs a frame of reference, especially when a novel jumps over several decades. But the constant name dropping really grated almost instantly. Because (and this is the important bit) you're only giving a frame of reference if the reader knows what you're referencing. I'm neither particularly young (sadly) or uneducated (happily) and almost all Niffenegger's references to art, music and literature were lost on me. This makes them meaningless.
I'm not a lazy reader. If I need to go and look up a word or a reference, I will. If I'd done that with this novel, I may have learned a lot, but I would also almost certainly have died before finishing. I actually got quite excited at one point because Henry wore a Kill Your Television t-shirt while Claire read a De Bernieres book. Congratulations to me on two references understood.
Pretentious doesn't even begin to cover it.
Secondly, the relief I felt when at one, and only one, point, Claire eats a ham sandwich. The rest of the time these people eat food I've never heard of. And they eat a lot. Completely superfluous. I don't require that all characters in all books only consume food within the remit of my own personal experience, but I also have no clue why we needed to know what was on Henry's plate every time he was around for dinner.
Pretentious doesn't even begin to cover it. (It's ok if I say that twice. Most characters in this book are 'pale under their make-up' at some point. The author must have been very pleased with that phrase.)
Thirdly, wordy and unnecessary descriptions of paper-making. Where was the editor?
Oh, and while I'm at it, you want me to feel pity/empathy/liking for a character who lives off a trust fund while making big paper birds in an art studio all day? Good luck.
Here's what I marveled at in The Time Traveler's Wife. I did feel pity/empathy/liking for a character who lives off a trust fund while making big paper birds in an art studio all day.
Henry and Claire's relationship is complex, nuanced, touching, tragic and altogether compelling. It's got a Cathy/Heathcliff quality to it - a sort of borderline dysfunctional intensity that you can't look away from. I've been thinking about it since I finished the book. Which is why it may well deserve those 5 stars. The last quarter of the book verged on heartbreaking.
This is a big, sprawling, untidy mess of a novel. It's like a patchwork quilt made by a schizophrenic. But it works. It really is all stitched together in the end.
Can anyone persuade me to come down on one side or the other? Should I overlook the many and varied ways this author found to make words annoy me? Or should I forget the details and focus on the romance at the heart of the novel? ...more
When Nostradamus, wild-eyed and trembling, proclaims to the French Court his prophecy of a great mass"HARK to the BEATING WINGS of the ANGEL OF DEATH!
When Nostradamus, wild-eyed and trembling, proclaims to the French Court his prophecy of a great massacre, the young King Charles only laughs. His mother, Catherine de Medici, pays more heed to the soothsayer's words - she believes he can truely see the future.
But Nostradamus's prophecies are not only for those who rule; he also has a message for Melisande, the minstrel's daughter. For he is certain that Fate links him and Melisande together. And as the Angel of Death approaches, the soothsayer gives into her safekeeping some very special parchments - parchments that the titled heads of France would do anything to see."
I picked this up from the YA section of Stourbridge library out of an interest in the author's agent and curiosity about the kind of writing that appealed to her. I'm glad I did. Although the protagonist Melisande is but twelve years of age at the start of the story (that's how it's written, only in first person from Melisande's point of view - it was on to a winner with me just from this by the way), she is, in some respects, a girl of that age - a young lady rather than a child. In other respects, she is unlike many other girls would have been. Melisande is well-educated, strong-willed, outspoken, quick-witted and capable. Just the kind of girl I like.
This is the way I enjoy learning about history best: from reading fiction. Even given that some aspects of this story are entirely fictional, I'd far rather learn about sixteenth century France by reading this than by reading a factual account. And this is a time period I was not at all familiar with before reading this novel. There was a fair amount of explaining historical context and several instances where the author repeated information she'd already told us, but given that this is aimed at perhaps the younger end of the YA range, I overlooked it.
Full of betrayal, love, deceit, secret caverns and passageways and even a leopard, this book has a very innocent romance lightly threaded through it. There's a loose moral to the ending, but one that encourages the reader to make up their own mind.