Nevermore is incredibly original and that is, by far, the most engaging part of this novel. Creagh really had an interesting idea that worked nicely a...more Nevermore is incredibly original and that is, by far, the most engaging part of this novel. Creagh really had an interesting idea that worked nicely at some points but at others fell completely flat, starting with the characters and the clichés they are built upon.
In young adult fiction, the outcast is usually the protagonist, so it was interesting to see how the story would vary significantly with having our protagonist being part of the popular and pretty inside group. Well, the novel is basically an unnecessarily lengthy chronicle of Isobel's fall from grace because of the stupidest reason ever: she gets paired with a goth boy for a school project (the most over-used excuse to bring characters together in y/a these days). From then on, the story follows the predictable path of her falling for the boy, the boy first being indifferent or kind of mean towards her and then the discovery that they are a) in love and b) trapped under supernatural circumstances.
Isobel is not the worst character I've read about, but she just lacks, well, anything that makes her interesting or worth caring for. She is slightly superficial, annoying, dim-witted and spends the majority of the book whining over her lost popularity, and whatever good thing she had going for her by showing compassion for Varen (goth boy) was lost to me by the rest of her behavior, like letting her abusive boyfriend manipulate her life and not tell anyone or feeling so sorry for herself by everything that had happened. As a matter of fact, the only interesting character, and probably the only reason why I will read the next one, is Varen himself and that is probably because not enough is said about him and he is mostly kept in the shadows. The author shows us small bits of him and his tortured life and that is enough to make him the best thing about the book. And probably also Reynolds, the mysterious masked ally. The only other character that seems to be at least round is Gwen and she still seemed stereotyped to me, not to mention that she suspiciously fits the overall description of the author herself. The rest of the characters are stereotyped, cardboard cutouts of what bad movies and tv had determined teenagers are liked, quite specifically the stuck-up cheerleaders and the meat-headed, possessive jerk of a football player.
What could’ve possibly been the most amazing part of this story was the supernatural concept of the world of dreams, but even that was spoilt by over-descriptive passages that only confused me and left me feeling lost. Most of this book should’ve been left on the editor’s floor, because, when you consider just how little actually happens in the story, the length is overwhelmingly unnecessary. I kept waiting for Varen and Isobel’s romance to pick up and it eventually happened…50 pages short of the books’ ending. I appreciate the author’s attempt at really building up the relationship and taking the time for the characters to know each other and find something to like about each other, especially in a field where characters fall instantly in eternal, cut-your-wrists-passionate love after having just met, but the pace of both the story and the romance was extremely slow and torturous. The connection between Poe and Varen, while I see the originality, it stills feels too far-fetched for me. The book is obviously well-researched and I can tell the author is really passionate about this, but her passion should’ve extended to the characters and that would’ve probably made them come alive instead of lying flat on the page. The same with the events. A little more spark and the story would’ve really been as intense, terrifying, dangerous and as mysterious as I’m sure the author aimed it to be. The abrupt, sad ending is probably what will draw readers to the second one, like me, but other than that Nevermore is an ambitious, original story that lacked the wow factor the concept alone should’ve made the reader crave for more. I can only hope for the next one to be better. (less)
I'm not really into romance, or meek leading female characters at that, but I don't know what Evernight had that pulled me in with incredible force si...moreI'm not really into romance, or meek leading female characters at that, but I don't know what Evernight had that pulled me in with incredible force since the start. The relationship between Lucas and Bianca was the driving force in the story and the hardships they have to go through to be together squeezed at my heart every time. The plot wasn't really deep or overly complicated, but Gray has an uncanny ability to deliver unexpected, earth-shattering twists and turns that leave you wondering how could you not have seen them coming. While these twists worked perfectly for me on the first two books, and while I understood its purpose, the one on the third installment in the series, Hourglass, left me slightly disappointed. At least I hoped she would somehow fix it in Afterlife, the last book in the series. I was, somehow, even more disappointed.
Somehow, Bianca was even more meek and whiny than normal. What was supposed to be the main focus of the story and the biggest challenge in Lucas and Bianca's relationship, meaning the fact that they were both dead, was somehow mostly ignored. It didn't really become this impenetrable, emotionally-destructive obstacle it should've been. I was really looking forward to, at least, seeing how Lucas would be tortured by the fact that he was now what he hated the most, but he seemed to accept it rather easily and had only problems with his unquenchable thirst for blood. That bothered me slightly, but probably no more than Bianca's, well, doing nothing except being whiny and repetitive. For some reason, she was special to the wraiths. She could help them, except that it takes her, what?, 300 pages to get around that idea. Each time there was a monologue of her excuses and fears, I felt like I was reading the same pages over and over again. If the author had, at least, phrased them differently, I probably wouldn't have felt like I wasted my time reading 200 pages of the same whining, which, subsequently, lead me to feel slightly aversive to Bianca, and even to Lucas. Interestingly enough, though in the past they have been somewhat shallow and flat, it was the secondary characters that really shined in this book. Vic, Ranulf and Balthazar were great in the novel, supplying the few comic moments in the book and, probably, some of the most heartfelt moments too. Patrice, I was desperate for her arrival. I don't really understand the purpose for her absence in the previous books, because I felt Gray could've done amazing things with this incredible character. Her role in this book is a bit small, but there is something about this character that brings strength and depth to the story. I encourage everyone to find Gray's short stories about Patrice's life because they are simply amazing. Other characters, like the newly introduced Skye, were flat and placed there simply because they were convenient. Even Bianca's parents weren't explored and exploited to their whole potential, like the hate Bianca's mom had for wraiths. Dana and Raquel were like, meh. Out of some miraculous divine intervention, Raquel feels bad about betraying Bianca and Dana decided to abandon her life and everything she believes in for Lucas. It was not bad, it just needed to be more developed and explained.
This series needed an ending before they became a House of Night: pointless, senseless and, honestly, just painful. But I feel Gray could've done a better job at tying the loose ends. It all seemed to be done in a rush, desperate to just be over with it. Charity, one of the most amazing antagonists I've seen in young adult in a while, was dealt with easily and without a problem. It just seemed like the author really didn't want to deal with her. I found myself amazed with how much I actually liked Mrs. Bethany in this book, maybe because now she wasn't just the mean headmistress, and her plan with the wraiths was an original plot twist, but there was something missing. What probably bothered me the most was the way the author solved Lucas' problem. That twist only helped make the book too shiny and Disney-like. Honestly, I think I would've preferred if something bad had happened because at least it would've given the story some substance, some drama and heartbreak. In the end, everything is too perfect. I didn't want a completely sad ending, I just wished for, well, more, as I was ready to receive from an author as talented as Gray.(less)
This book had all the tools to be great: good writing, an awesome concept and great packaging, I mean, look at that cover! But despite an awesome firs...moreThis book had all the tools to be great: good writing, an awesome concept and great packaging, I mean, look at that cover! But despite an awesome first couple of pages, my interest in this book declined faster than the IQ of anyone who loved Twilight, or something even worse like the House of Night series. The start reeled me in with unexpected force but then, somewhere between the totally pointless and forced love triangle, the flat characters with stereotyped personalities, the constant repetition of descriptions (I think I got perfectly clear the first twenty times that Emily's hair is "ropey", that Sam was "huge" and that Finley's hair color is "like honey", among other things, thank you very much) and the technology overload just to get the point across that this is a steampunk novel, the book completely lost me. And I won't even go into how much telling-instead-of-showing the author did or how much it completely annoyed me that our "heroine" only felt attracted to men who could overpower her - that alone knocked off two stars from its rating. I still don't think this is a terrible book, its just kind of bleh. There's room for improvement and I'll probably pick up the next one when I find it cheap.
Someday I'll make a more thorough review. Just don't hold your breath. (less)
I'm resisting the urge to give this one three stars, but giving it more than a 2.5 wouldn't be fair because I would give it that score...moreScore: 2.5 stars
I'm resisting the urge to give this one three stars, but giving it more than a 2.5 wouldn't be fair because I would give it that score solely based on the originality of this incredible concept Marr tried explore here with Graveminder.
I say tried, because for me, she didn't manage to fully explore the theme of Graveminder and instead placed the focus of the book on the characters, which kind of came back to bite her in the neck because the protagonists were flat and uninteresting and their romance worked better for me than sleeping pills. Their history together was not a strong enough foundation to give support to the complicated relationship Marr wanted to focus the story on. All of their interactions went exactly like this:
Byron: "I know you don't want to hear me say it, but I love you." Rebekkah (really? With two Ks and an h at the end? Really?): "I don't love you. You are my friend. I don't deserve you." Byron: "I know you love me. You know you love me. You love me." Rebekkah: "I can't. I have commitment issues. I don't like staying in one place. Want to have sex so this conversation comes to an end?" Byron: "No. You love me." Someone leaves the room and it all happens again when they see each other.
Also, Byron's ready acceptance to his role as Undertaker surprised me, and his little speeches about his role and the honor with it and how he would do just about anything for Rebekkah also bothered me, especially because those scenes dragged on and were re-runs of the same thing over and over.
For such a short book with a begging that rapidly set in motion the rest of the story (a rather good start, actually, that the rest of the book didn't manage to keep up with), the rest of the story was actually pretty boring.
There were so many interesting things Marr could've done with the characters, the setting and the horror part of the story, and they all ended up falling flat. The mystery and "bad" character were entirely predictable and left me unsatisfied.
I'm glad this is a stand-alone, because my interest in this concept would've made me buy the next one and I don't think I would've liked to go through the same painful boredom twice. (less)
It took me quite a while to finish this one, mostly because I simply couldn't bring myself to pick it up, fearing being bored out of my mind, and, ins...moreIt took me quite a while to finish this one, mostly because I simply couldn't bring myself to pick it up, fearing being bored out of my mind, and, instead, decided to ignore it for a couple of days after getting a taste of the first few stories. I have a very bad track record with anthologies, but I keep getting excited about them and buying them. Mostly because Holly Black is almost always in them, even if the great majority of her contributions to anthologies are either "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" or, like in this one, "The Poison Eaters", which I still love despite having encountered it previously in about 5 different anthologies and whose presence in this shape-shifter compilation of short stories puzzled me. Still, I had been interested in this one for a long time, so, when I finally bought it, I immediately began reading it hoping to fall in love with the promised stories of shape-shifter folklore from around the world. There were a few really good ones, but the great majority simply bored me to death. I even gave up on some halfway through them or skip them altogether. There was just no pull, no enthralling, mystifying qualities that one would expect from stories about shape-shifters, and I think that is largely due to the fact that many of the authors went for the werewolf theme. The promise of shape-shifter stories from folklore, or even stories from uncommon shifters was half-fulfilled and I felt slightly betrayed because of that.
Some of the stories were simply bizarre, meandering and redundant, non-sensical and mind-numbingly boring. Others were memorable, but that was the minority. So, in the end, if you are looking for a light, fun read, this one is not for you. It is interesting and some of the stories were fantastic, but you might want to take this one slowly and with a bit of patience. (less)
I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. I think I lean more towards indifference, but when it comes to the rating, a 3 would imply that a pa...moreI honestly don't know how I feel about this book. I think I lean more towards indifference, but when it comes to the rating, a 3 would imply that a part of me enjoyed it and a 2 means that I disliked it. Neither are true.
The writing was bad, juvenile and unpolished. I sometimes read the same line several times because I couldn't believe the author had used such a terrible simile to explain a scene or event. The pacing of the actual plot is slow, although there are a lot of actions scenes thrown all over the book just for the hell of it, and the plot wasn't as neat as it should've been. There were also some pretty annoying characters, including the protagonist, whose shallowness seemed to know no end, and mainly her useless and required group of friends who lacked so much personality, they just sort of melted into one uninteresting and flat being, but as a whole, I didn't hate this book as much as I thought it would. At some point, I was fairly certain I was going to give it 3.5 stars. To be more specific, both my interest and the book's appeal rose considerably when Puerto Rico was mentioned. What can I say, I'm proud of my island. While it was nice to see that the author did some research on the tourist attractions and historical sites, the culture and even the food, I was put off by the geographical inaccuracies and seriously pissed off with the stereotyping of the men and the adjectives the author chose to use on them, some of them stinky, creepy and awful. That was simply insulting.
The whole mythology behind the story is not exactly original, but it had a cool twist to it that I appreciated. I didn't think the leads had any chemistry whatsoever, but at least it wasn't insta-love, per se, so that was refreshing as well. I really liked that the protagonist held her own and defended herself, but that was mostly because we were told that, rather than because we saw it very often. If that was really true, she wouldn't need a guardian. I felt very uncomfortable with the situation Ellie had with her parents. I thought it would have some purpose, but it didn't. It was just there for us to feel sorry for her and it felt so forced the entire time I was tempted to skip the pages every time any of her parents came into the room. Furthermore, that her mother would be willing to go through all of that emotional abuse and see her child go through the same and still say she loves her husband and imply that she would never leave him was simply disturbing.
So, I think that, in the end, I'll just call it a 2.5 and get on with my life. Not sure if I'll read the other one. For the moment, I am not motivated to do so.(less)
I'm giving it 2 stars, though I am probably being too generous. The book is not awful and I've certainly read worse by far, but here's the thing: noth...moreI'm giving it 2 stars, though I am probably being too generous. The book is not awful and I've certainly read worse by far, but here's the thing: nothing happens. This book is boring, unexciting and practically uneventful. The characters are incredibly flat and in serious lack of a personality, and the "bad guys" are ridiculously cartoonish and just plain silly. (Seriously? Witchy, religious, exorcising grandmas? A bad, rock star- wannabe boy that can't get over his ex-girlfriend so he obsesses over the new girl? Really?) Of course, the leads fall in love within moments of meeting each other. I'm tired, no, exhausted of the insta-love plot and this book is all about that, which is made all the worse because there is no chemistry between the leads. The author is not a bad writer, but, besides the first lines in the book where I-forgot-her-name-already is detailing her death, there is no beauty in her prose, and, quite frankly, it reads like fan-fiction. The conversations were silly and bland and can our protagonist be any more dense? I lost count of how many times she asked for information she had just been given and how long it took her to realize the obvious. The whole concept of the ghosts and the netherworld was interesting, but, when you really think about it, it went largely underdeveloped and unexplored because the author chose to focus on the romance. Oh, and just out of curiosity, why exactly were the dead characters acting like animals, snarling, growling, crouching and pouncing like they were teenage werewolves instead of ghosts?
I am not even going to consider reading the next one any time soon. (less)
Shattered Souls instantly grabbed my attention because of the gorgeous cover and the interesting blurb about ghosts, reincarnation and exorcisms. The book had a pretty interesting concept and it kicked off right away with lovely writing, a complicated, troubled protagonist and some pretty creepy scenes. Sadly, the effect only lasted for so long. The book ignored key concepts on the story, dragged on the romance and wrapped it up with an unsatisfying ending.
I placed a lot of hope on Lenzi as soon as the book began. She sounded like a real teenager and I believed her fears. I loved the origami scenes because of how nicely they were written and how well the technique was used to allow Lenzi a breather from her crazy life. Also, I began the story very interested in Lenzi's relationship with her boyfriend and I thought it original and actually kind of nice that the story kicked-off with a boy already present who, unlike other YA, was not a jerk the protagonist needed to get rid off in order to make room for the new guy. Sure, the boyfriend was not perfect, and I absolutely hated that he was a pill-pusher and went all big-macho on her when he was jealous, but he didn't judge her, she could trust him with her fears and the weird things that were happening to her and he still loved her and promised to be there for her. And then Alden came along. I'm not saying I prefer one boy over the other, I probably prefer neither of them.
I do not hate this particular character, but I feel he pushed a lot of lines. I buy his tortured, self-sacrifice act because of the emotional distance Lenzi's previous incarnations placed between them, but he took it too far, constantly pushing away Lenzi, despite wanting her, because "she couldn't possibly know what she wanted". It all seemed to me like a poor trick to drag on the drama of the impossibility of their love. You don't kiss a person a second, turn her down because it is wrong and then kiss her again saying that has nothing to do with her request to be together. The whole routine got tiring right away. Alden also claimed to, as a Protector, do solely as the Speaker commanded, but, throughout the book, I was never able to shake the thought that Alden was manipulating her all the time. Whatever affection I had for Alden also evaporated when there came a scene where he told Lenzi to "shut up, don't think and do just what I say." Well, so much for only following the Speaker's instructions. I understand why he needed her to do that in that particular moment, but there's gotta be a hundred better ways to convey the message without sounding so insulting and hostile and like he is talking down to her because she is a silly woman that doesn't know better.
Lenzi, on the other hand, also stepped over lines of her own. She plays innocent the whole book and is genuinely shocked with Zak's (the boyfriend) angry, jealous behavior when she was actually cheating on him. That was extremely hypocritical of her and how much I liked her decreased considerably as the book reached its climax.
One good thing about the book, though, its the fact that the author has obvious talent when it comes to writing creepy scenes. The ghostly apparitions were all incredibly well-written and enjoyable, and perhaps, if the book had solely focused on that, I would've probably enjoyed it more. Sadly, there were some blast-to-the-past scenes that, while nicely orchestrated, particularly when it came to the historical background, they didn't feel real and I believe that is largely due to the author's inability to truly capture the language.
The resolution of the book is, perhaps, what ended up completely ruining the book for me. The bad guy was cartoonish in its completely evil nature and Lenzi, of course, tried to pull the martyr card towards the end. There was little to no information concerning the big, powerful organization calling the shots among Speakers and Protectors and the conflict with them was done with ridiculously easy. Also, the way the author chose to deal with the love triangle felt like a slap in the face to the reader. It was all to convenient and that considerably lowered the rating of a nice ghost book that actually managed to be spooky through good writing.
The book its not awful and both the concept and the pace are actually very enjoyable. If you can deal with all the aforementioned, I have no doubt you will probably like this book.(less)
Clare was a spunky and likable protagonist, but she was so dense. She missed the most obvious things and, if she had had...moreWell, this was disappointing.
Clare was a spunky and likable protagonist, but she was so dense. She missed the most obvious things and, if she had had just a shred of common sense, the book would've ended by chapter four. The mystery was not much of a mystery at all and the murderer was obvious for the start. The love triangle was just painful and silly and, honestly, I wouldn't go for either of the two guys. I felt like they type of guys they were supposed to be just got shoved down my throat. One was the super good guy (despite having done something despicable, but that's okay because there's an excuse), and the other was supposed to be the tough, misunderstood one but really was just a douchebag. I don't care how hot he is, if a guy insults me and my family, calls me names, disrespects me, labels me and essentially calls me a flirting slut because he saw me talking to some guys, there is no way I will find him attractive nor will I be so quick to reassert his innocence even more strongly that my own brother's. Also, while going through such an stressing situation with my family, I seriously doubt I will have it in me to make out with a guy and completely forget about how much things really suck right now.
It's a shame because this one had potential. There were some good parts, but, mostly, I just rolled my eyes and prayed for it to be over. I don't know if I'll be reading the next one or reviewing this one properly. (less)
This is not what I was expecting. And that's definitely not a good thing. My disappointment with this one has a little bit to do with just how differe...moreThis is not what I was expecting. And that's definitely not a good thing. My disappointment with this one has a little bit to do with just how different it was from Graceling and Fire, and a whole lot more to do with how long, boring, uneventful and confusing it was. It is a well-written book as one can expect from Cashore, but when the only thing compelling me to love it is the return of Katsa, Po and Fire, well, that says a lot about the actual story.
I liked Bitterblue. She reminded me a bit of Cashore's previous heroines: strong and independent but a little self-deprecate and stern with herself and her abilities. I was definitely looking forward to her development, to see how she grew into herself and into the queen she needed to be, to learn how she pieced together an identity for herself that was heavily stained by the actions of her lunatic father. Cashore didn't disappoint in that aspect because Bitterblue does grow admirably, but, well, the road there didn't really appeal to me that much, mostly because it included one of the most annoying and immature love interests I've read about.
Saf was appealing at first. His physical description was attractive and his swagger as a pirate was intriguing, but then we really get to know him and we learn that he is childish, selfish, prone to anger and, really, a bit of a jackass. His relationship with Bitterblue annoyed me somewhat. I loved how Katsa and Po and Fire and Brigan went from fighting to love because they greatly respected each other, even when didn't particularly liked each other, but here, Saf ungrateful and disrespectful all the way through, and that bothered me a lot. It is more frustrating still to see what the relationship lead to.
I loved the concept of the novel, but the execution was uninspiring. The novel simply drags on; going over the same things multiple times and focusing on unimportant side plots filled with unimportant secondary characters. I know the novel makes a point out of intrigue and games of wit and clues and keys, but it was not exciting and, ultimately, it added very little to the story.
The writing, as usual, was fantastic, but, unlike the previous two, I felt that about half of the novel could've been edited out and the story would not have lost anything important, because the thing is, for a story with so many things going on at the same time, anything of importance barely happens in 500+ pages. Furthermore, having so many events and side-plots made the main storyline confusing.
I did love reading about the return of Katsa and Po and Fire, and that's probably the highlight of my entire reading experience with this book, which is sad when we consider that they are hardly the point of the story.
So, yes, this book was a huge disappointment. Maybe my expectations were too high for the conclusion of one of my all-time favorite series, but Bitterblue failed to deliver in many levels. It failed to lived up to Graceling and Fire, as a conclusion and as an engaging and romantic high-fantasy read. I do look forward to see what else Cashore will write, but I don't see this bitter taste Bitterblue left behind going away any time soon.
The good news is that this one is better than City of Fallen Angels.
The bad news is that City of Lost Souls still feels like a forced continuation of...moreThe good news is that this one is better than City of Fallen Angels.
The bad news is that City of Lost Souls still feels like a forced continuation of what should've, for the sake of the quality of the previous installments and out of respect for the fans, stayed a trilogy.
Like the previous installment, this one also unnecessarily dragged and ended up in a conflict that, although interesting, failed to be convincing. Quite frankly, not only is most of the story wasted away in unimportant side plots, but the main storyline is full of confusing and vague plot devices and logical flaws. Sebastian's obsession with Clary really served no purpose to the story other than to make him look more despicable. Clary's "dark mission", as the blurb described it, was nothing but steamy make-out scenes and sightseeing up until the climax of the novel. Actually, the whole book is basically just the chronicles of the romantic progress in the relationships of the protagonists. Do I like you - Do you like me? OMG, I'm so insecure in our relationship. Should we get back together? Should we have sex? There that's the entire content of 500+ page novel summarized in just a few questions.
Somehow, Clare managed to ruin characters I actually liked. Seems like I keep underestimating her capacity to destroy characters, seeing as how I thought she could not possibly make Jace any more obnoxious after the original trilogy and then she magically produced three more books that completely blew away my concept of the word. In this one, she managed to ruin Isabelle with ridiculous insecurities, that I know are supposed to stand as character development, but that, in my opinion, ended up weakening her. I also always held a begrudged respect for Clary, but her selfishness in this one was simply unbearable. Even Magnus lost his some of his appeal when she had him make multiple jokes that simply felt uncomfortably flat. I absolutely hated what she did with Maia and Jordan. I despised it on City of Fallen Angels because I couldn't forget how, in the original trilogy, Maia's ex boyfriend had been presented as an abusive jerk, and then there he is being shoved down our throats with how gorgeous and misunderstood he was and only so that Simon and Isabelle could be together with no other girl standing in their way. That was just wrong. Actually, most of these relationships are kind of sick. First of all, Simon cheated on both Isabelle and Maia. Jace is a controlling and condescending jerk, and, lastly, Alec's insecurities bordered long ago on ridiculous.
The main conflict of this addition to what still is one of my favorite series is simply silly sometimes. The plot is not as tight as in the first trilogy, the characters and their problems not as engaging and, overall, this series has lost most of the appeal it originally held for me. I aware that it could be a lot worse, but I feel cheated with these last two books. I guess I can only hope that the last (hopefully) installment somehow makes these last two worth it. (less)
Yes, it was because of the cover. I didn't care for the premise, but Wither came highly recommended with starred, raving reviews praising its vision of a future where our search for perfection lead to our doom. So I gave it a try, despite my misgivings and the feelings deep in my gut.
My biggest issue with this book, by far, is the lack of world building. A Dystopia novel relies heavily on a solid and believable world building, and Wither fails to deliver. Little is offered in the way of information and when you want your reader to believe that North America somehow survived what sunk the rest of the world and that technology advances so far as to cure cancer, but people still eat, live, drive, dress and do just about everything the same way we do it right now, explanations are a must. The science in this book was barely touched, which made it seem far-fetched and hard to get into. When the most advanced technological artifact shown in the novel is holograms, there is a discrepancy between what it is and what the author is telling us it should be, which renders the whole core concept of the novel unbelievable.
Rhine was not a bother as a protagonist, but the heroine hat might be too big for her. I felt disconnected from her, despite her horrible situation. There was a lack of depth to her, to her life and her outlook on her circumstances that took away the necessary urgency that should've guided this book and made me feel emotionally invested in it. Yes, her circumstances are terrible, but I find hard to believe her drive to leave her new home and husband, her disgust with her new life and her defiance to the system when she is leisurely enjoying the privileges that come with being married to a rich man that, by the way, respects her decision not to consummate their marriage and procreate when he is quickly approaching his expiration date and has just lost a wife he loves that bore him no children. I don't believe Rhine's conviction, especially when she needed a push from everyone and everything to do anything. In such an anti-woman world, the book needs a brave, strong heroine, not just a protagonist and Rhine, along with her intellect and impressive capacity for lying, won't cut it.
There are no significant connections between characters either. There is some spark, some attempt at reaching out, but Rhine really never bonds with anyone to the point that it is believable, not even with her love interest. I liked Rhine's interactions with her sister wives, but it never moves from there. Besides Rhine, almost every character in this story is an uninteresting shadow that constantly shifts throughout the novel, specially Jenna, who began the story with so much strength and lost it throughout the story. If her resignation to her new life had happened because she had seen there was no way out, that would've made for wonderful character development, but the change happened for no reason and just as a way for Rhine to feel jealous of her husband's attention on her sister wives. The little character development is not limited to Jenna; no character grows in this story, at all. The "bad guy" in specific also fails to deliver the sense of urgency the story needed and also never really represented the imposing, challenging figure it was meant to portray. Sure, his actions were terrifying, but it was more like a threat of a bad guy than an actual evil figure.
The romance aspect of the story was okay. There was no real spark or sexual tension between Rhine and Gabriel, but their connection built up slowly, and it was based on a mutual need to escape their realities, nothing superficial or meaningless, which is something I thoroughly enjoyed. Sadly, the rest of the book builds up just as slowly. There is a little amount of significant events in the book. It drags on, but it is surprisingly not boring and I belive that is largely due to DeStefano's beautiful writing. Simple and minimalist, but laced with gorgeous imagery, DeStefano's prose might just the one true outstanding thing about this novel, despite Rhine's constant repetitions of the same lines over and over for emphasis or the overusing of the same descriptions time and time again.
In the end, Wither is an interesting take on a difficult (and, at least for me,cringe-worthy) topic and I believe it handles it pretty well, maybe because the focus of the story shifts considerably from the real, intended horror of this terrible future for women in general to other safer aspects of these circumstances. This book is not bad, but the lack of world building and character development hurt the depth and urgency this novel intended to deliver. I have decided not to read the sequels for personal reasons, (in part for the nature of the book and its topic, since I never really managed to stop feeling disgusted by the role of women in this world and their content with it), but I encourage people to read Wither because of the beauty of the author's words and because it is actually a promising book. This book was simply not the one for me.(less)
It got a whole lot better towards the end, but that was not enough to make me forget that going through this book felt like a chore on some occasions....moreIt got a whole lot better towards the end, but that was not enough to make me forget that going through this book felt like a chore on some occasions. The book had some pretty interesting concepts but I don't think they were exploded to their full potential. Review to come. (less)
According to this book, my boyfriend must not love me very much. He still hasn't stalked me or tried to stab me to death in my sleep. Sigh...girls in...moreAccording to this book, my boyfriend must not love me very much. He still hasn't stalked me or tried to stab me to death in my sleep. Sigh...girls in books just have all the luck in the world when it comes to boys.
Okay, this one was definitely original and unique and it had great moments. But...yeah, there's a a lot of buts. The book was frustrating at times, there were a lot of things that should've been explained better, some plot holes and way too much emphasis on the religious themes.
I started out really liking Struck, on the verge of totally falling in love with it. I loved Mia's voice, the overall writing of the story, the well-constructed setting and the whole concept of being a lighting addict. Mia was an engaging protagonist and a fantastic narrator for a story set in a post-apocalyptic, half-destroyed city barely carrying on with it's life. I admired Mia's devotion to her family, her fierce need to protect them and do whatever it took to keep them alive. Her condition was also fascinating and original and I was dying to know more about it, until the whole paranormal aspect came in and then that lead to a strange storyline that ultimately became the whole point of the novel.
At first, the introduction of Tarot cards and a group of people celebrating the end of the world was intriguing. But as soon as the prophecies came in, I became a bit wary. Still, I was willing to give it a chance and see where it all lead to. It was the cults and religious themes what pulled me from the edge of loving this book or even really liking it. It's not that I don't like religious themes in book because of my agnostic position or that I feel uncomfortable by the portrayal of them as a sort of brainwashing and manipulation organization because, overdone as it is in YA, that is not it at all. But I didn't like that, in this one, it took hold of the whole story and became the single most important point in the book. As soon as the dooming and condemnation began, for me, the story lost its appeal and it all went downhill from there. From that point on, Mia began making stupid decision after stupid decision, she entangled herself with irritating characters and began one of the most disturbing relationships I've ever read about. Stalking and an attempt at stabbing? Not really what I would dismiss about a potential boyfriend.
The whole story was also a bit predictable right down to the ending and it gets boring halfway through. The scenes during the climax were interesting and nicely-written, but the events leading up to it and the ones following it left me empty and in a hurry to just end it. It really disappointed me that a book that started so good made a change for bizarre topics that it could've done without.
I am torn. There were some things I loved about this book. The world building, for example, was incredible. Meadows built a fantastic and imaginative...moreI am torn. There were some things I loved about this book. The world building, for example, was incredible. Meadows built a fantastic and imaginative new world and integrated it with awesome creatures of myth and an amazing new mythology all of her own that had me intrigued all the way to the end. And the first hundred and fifty pages of the book were actually pretty good. Up until that point, I thought this one was a solid four stars. But then, I don't know, the book lost me.
First of all, though Ana's voice is lovely and the narration is beautiful, she is one detestable protagonist. It was ridiculous how she kept snapping, being rude, distrusting and basically insulting everyone who treated her nicely or showed her any kindness or even told her she was worth more than she thought. Especially Sam. God, that guy proved to her he meant well and gave her everything she needed, he even took her lashings without a word or a threat. She was the one who needed him and she treated him like crap. And yes, I get it. She was raised believing she was worth nothing and she grew up learning not to trust anyone but herself. But, c'mon. The girl was an emotional yo-yo. One moment she hated herself and thought she didn't have a soul and thought everybody hated her and wanted to be left alone. The other she wanted to prove everyone wrong, prove that she was worth something, that she was capable of loving and she didn't want Sam to leave her. This is made worse by the fact that, while she had nothing but attitude for those who treated her nicely, Ana forgot her backbone every time she was in the presence of those who actually deserved her insults. This got old and annoying really fast, which sucks because it lasts all the way to the end. Oh, and having Ana turn into Rambo out of nowhere at the end and have absolutely no remorse about some of her choices didn't really endear me to her.
I didn't mind the romance or the secondary characters. They were quite nice, actually. But most of the book is spent on that, and not much really happens. Then, towards the end, it picks up, if only to leave us with a mediocre attempt at a "bad guy", meh-kind of answers and an insulting resolution to the conflict Ana had with her inexplicably horrible mother.
Maybe I am being too harsh on the book, but I feel ripped-off. I've been waiting so long for this one, and maybe it is my own fault for building this one up to more than it was or for expecting something that it didn't quite ended up being, but, right now, I feel let down. I'm sure I'll end up reading the next one, but no hardcover pre-order for me. That's for sure.(less)