Was The Fixer a blatant rip-off of the Scandal tv series?
Do I care?
It's been quite a while since a book had me so completely riveted, so absolutelyWas The Fixer a blatant rip-off of the Scandal tv series?
Do I care?
It's been quite a while since a book had me so completely riveted, so absolutely enthralled, and, once that happens, there's very little that will stop me from really digging that book. The Fixer was very entertaining, suspenseful, and actually managed to surprise me with a couple of twists. I need to stress how important it is to me that a book surprises me. Most thrillers, mysteries and horror stories fall through for me because of how predictable they are. I'm a hard person to surprise, in both reading and real life, so when someone or some book actually manages to sneak up on me, I get hung up on that and I love it.
Now, it would be a disservice to attribute my feelings for this book entirely to how twisty it was, because the truth is that this is a genuinely well written, well plotted and entirely engaging novel. The political intrigue and games, though sometimes a bit preposterous, were absolutely riveting and well carried out throughout the novel. The suspense was handled with finesse, the pace made the pages of this novel fly by, and Barnes filled this novel with very interesting characters.
Tess is a tough, smart and very engaging main character. I liked everything about her, from her attitude to her narrative voice and her actions, and thought her a very competent heroine. She was far too stubborn and impulsive sometimes and completely clueless about several crucial things, but, while that annoys me with other heroines, they all felt very authentic to Tess as a character and instead she came off as a realistic teenager to me. I believed her feelings, her reasoning, and I even understood her temper tantrums and her stubbornness. That's the difference between having a teenager do those things because teens are supposed to act like that or because it's convenient to the plot, and allowing your character to express herself and her feelings in a way that feels natural and authentic. I also enjoyed that the plot made it really clear all throughout the novel that this situation was well over Tess's capacity and her capabilities. It always seems ridiculous to me when we have this big mystery and conspiracy and only teenagers are capable of discovering it and then bringing a solution to it. Tess tries really hard, but I loved that she became aware that she was in over her head on this, that she needed help and that there were some things that were well beyond her reach. It added a layer of authenticity to the story that I really appreciated.
The rest of the characters were fascinating in their own right. I genuinely and legitimately liked every single character or was at least fascinated by them, regardless of their inclinations, and it's not because Barnes made them likable, but because she made them realistic, flawed and human. They had dimensions to them, far beyond what was required of them for the sake of the plot, and I loved that I could understand them, feel the emotion behind their choices and see how every step they took made sense within the context of their characterization. It takes a very impressive talent to make so much of secondary characters in the handful of lines they have within the book.
This book never sacrificed character depth or development for the sake of the plot, never took away the spotlight from the characters themselves in spite of the big proportions of the mystery that the novel focuses on. The same goes vice-versa. The quality of the mystery never suffered because of the focus on the characters and their developing relationships. It was twisty, engaging, surprisingly layered, and kept me on the edge of my seat all throughout the novel. Whenever I thought I had all the answers, The Fixer swept the rug from under me, taking the plot in directions I didn't anticipate and deepening the mystery every time the characters thought they knew where they were going. The novel had multiple subplots going on at the same time and it managed to bring them together seamlessly while still allowing for some threads to be left hanging naturally for some other upcoming sequels. There were a couple of twists in there that were taken right out of Scandal, but Barnes made it all hers and they went perfectly with the novel, so I couldn't even begrudge the novel that.
There's no romance in this novel, for which I am extremely thankful. I think Barnes knew that would've taken a lot from the plot and the characters, and it just goes to show the control she had over her own storytelling, how in tune she was with the story, because I can honestly say she made all the right choices with this one. There was but a hint of possible romance, nothing even outright evident but enough to make me wonder if it could be taken in that direction, and the thing is, I'd love to see how it could develop in further novels, but not in this one, and I'm happy she saw it that way too. Moreover, there was zero girl-on-girl hate, a surprisingly positive portrayal of popular girls, and a very fascinating diversity to how girls, and teenagers as whole, were portrayed in this novel.
Fast paced, riveting and complex, The Fixer is a pretty fantastic political thriller, which I honestly didn't expect at all. When I picked this up, I expected to be mindlessly entertained by some half-assed, ridiculously preposterous plot and some generic teenager characters, but Barnes pretty much blew all of my expectations away. The Fixer is intelligent, nuanced and well-written, more so than pretty much all of the YA thrillers I've read recently. If has a lot more to offer than a simple teen mystery, and it's far more than just a Scandal look-alike. The concept might not have been all that new, but Barnes made it her own and made it great. ...more
Is this book ridiculous? Yes. Absolutely preposterous? Definitely. Does that mean it wasn't absolutely entertaining? Nope. You see, this is one of thoIs this book ridiculous? Yes. Absolutely preposterous? Definitely. Does that mean it wasn't absolutely entertaining? Nope. You see, this is one of those books that you roll your eyes at, that make you snort at the sheer absurdity of it all, but it's also one that you just can't stop reading, no matter what. It is compulsively readable, very intriguing and undeniably riveting. I was hooked. So yeah, there were inconsistencies in the story, plot holes, and a deliberate over-stretching of a plot that couldn't possible be stretched any farther, but I had fun reading this novel, as in, legitimate, authentic and thrilling fun. The book is twisty and does all the things an intriguing mystery is supposed to do. I sort of figured the whole thing out about a third into the story, but the book kept me guessing, and that's what this type of book is supposed to do, which is something that most YA mystery/thriller fail horribly at.
I felt like some of the characters could've used a bit more dimension, like the big reveal could've been a bit more polished, the antagonist given a stronger motive, and I could've done with a lot less sexualization of the girl love interest, although I was happy to see that she owned her sexuality with unapologetic confidence, but truth be told, this is not a book that made an impact on me in terms of quality. It was just a thoroughly enjoyable, very engaging read, which was exactly the kind of book I needed to read at the time I picked it up.
Max's voice was believable, realistic and engaging, and I actually liked what the author did with Parvati's characterization, but you have to be prepared to deal with these characters making terrible decisions for the sake of prolonging the plot. Like I said, this book is so unrealistic it actually physically hurts, but all in all, it's a very readable, entertaining book that I had to stop myself from reading in one sitting, and that's, in all honestly, all I wanted out of it. ...more
Well, fuck. I actually liked this one, definitely a hell of a lot more than everyone else here. And I can see why most people have hated this3.5 stars
Well, fuck. I actually liked this one, definitely a hell of a lot more than everyone else here. And I can see why most people have hated this one, seeing as how I was initially very turned off by the book myself. But it grew on me, and I'm not sure I can explain how. This book is weird and strange and odd and very frustrating at times, but it was just so ridiculously different. It reminded me of the edginess of Holly Black's Modern Fairy Tale series, but with Moskowitz's unique style of disruptive, jumpy and screwed up narration.
In true Moskowitz fashion, this book is a physical manifestation of trigger warning. It is edgy, dark and provocative, it is very sex-positive, has unflinching scenes of sex and child prostitution, and has an exceedingly dark sense of humor. This is definitely a very mature YA read, and even if the aforementioned hadn't been included in the book, this still would've been a very polarizing book because of the way it is structured. Shifting back and forth between past, present and even freaking future, A History of Glitter and Blood is, literally, a book in pieces, a story in the making. Thus, the narration is constantly shifting back and forth, interrupting the story and breaking up the narrative flow to let some stream of consciousness pour in. That makes the style very hard to get used to at first, but once I got the hang of it, once I understood the importance of the story being told that way, I found myself liking it immensely.
I don't think I've ever read a book like this one. This book actually reads like it is being written in real time, at the very same time you read it. This had a very strange effect of binding me emotionally to the story and the characters, far more than I thought possible and definitely more than I would've if the story had been told in more traditional styles. This a very simple and straightforward story and not much actually happens overall, but the way the story is told makes it seem and feel a lot more eventful and bigger and seemingly more important than it actually is. This book is bizare and I'm still reeling from the experience of reading it.
It is also very honest and effortlessly inclusive and diverse. I like how it simultaneously made big and understated points about very important and mature issues like sex, from sexual discovery to desire, from sexual exploration, same-sex relationships, sexual inhibitions to even bold statements about rape and sex work. I liked that the characters themselves were so complex and very often unlikable and thoroughly selfish but still interesting and good at heart. The relationships between them were complicated and strange and sometimes disturbing, but still loving and caring and true. This book is a freaking contradiction, a love story that's not a love story, a history of a war and a world that's not supposed to be about one girl, but really, in the end is all about this one girl.
I am having a very hard time trying to come up with ways to describe this book, to make it sound appealing, because the truth is that it is not and there's very little I could say about my experience that would make anyone want to read it, and I honestly don't want to entice anyone into reading it. This is a very difficult book to enjoy, I'll admit that, and it takes very specific circumstances and characteristics on the part of the reader to actually end up liking this book. Basically, I'm admitting to liking this book because of something akin to the planets aligning: strange, coincidental and very specific circumstances that are likely to happen very rarely henceforth. I'm pretty certain I didn't make sense, but hey, it often felt like the book didn't either, so what the hell.
A singular reading experience, unique and strange and completely bizarre. I'm still not certain about my exact feelings for the novel itself, but I know that reading it, that the book as a whole was too much of a different and unrepeatable experience for me to give it anything else besides this rating. Would I recommend it? Definitely not. Most of the negative reviews I've read for this novel are spot-on and definitely more trustworthy than mine, but I still liked this fucked-up book against every single one of my instincts and natural inclinations and there's nothing I can do about it. ...more
One can always count on Rachel Hawkins to deliver great doses of fun and charming entertainment, as well as reliable, engaging heroines that are realiOne can always count on Rachel Hawkins to deliver great doses of fun and charming entertainment, as well as reliable, engaging heroines that are realistic, strong and very easy to root for. Sure, her stories are not exactly a fountain of originality and, truth be told, there's very little substance behind all the fluff, but her books never fail to remind me that it's perfectly acceptable to think a book's good even when it is solely pure entertainment and it doesn't take itself too seriously. But ultimately, while this one was certainly fun, it failed to live up to the promise of the first one.
Rebel Belle was a bit of a surprise for me because, although I already expected to be entertained, I did not expect the brain candy to also be absolutely badass and engaging the way it turned out to be. There were many elements about the story that I expected to be irritated by, but, somehow, it all turned out great. So I had some expectations of Miss Mayhem, and though it certainly delivered the appropriate levels of fun and sassyness, Miss Mayhem seem to just stumble along from beginning to end, balancing on a very thin thread of a plot that felt like a filler in the series.
Miss Mayhem was slightly similar to Rebel Belle in content. School drama, love triangle issues, BFF complications and a single social even where hell breaks loose, but, somehow, it wasn't as engaging as the first one, mostly because this one felt forced to some degree. The story felt slightly disjointed from what the first one had already established, not because it didn't follow the original, but because it didn't flow naturally from it. By giving it a similar structure to the first one, this one felt repetitive and, truth be told, rather pointless.
I didn't connect with the characters in this one, made harder by how supremely exasperating and silly they were at points, and their issues seemed overdramatic and ridiculous to me. Their actions didn't go with the characters, which means that for most of the novel, the characterization was all over the place and all so that specific events could happen to turn up the teenage angst to the max. For some reason, the love triangle kept shifting back and forth, turning into a love square and changing parts out of nowhere. Most characters didn't even play an important role in the story when it came down to it, and they all seemed to run around in circles with no idea where they were supposed to go, just hoping for the whole thing to be over. There was just something missing from the group dynamic and the whole thing just ended up feeling forced. Every single obstacle in their way felt deliberately placed there and that made it really hard to feel invested in these characters and their story because the whole thing felt contrived and strained, very much like this was a middle book and some things absolutely needed to be set for the big finale no matter what.
I don't feel like this novel contributed much to be mythology at work in this story, nor to the characterization of the main cast. The antagonist in this one felt cliched and didn't participate much in the story, and the conflict behind the novel was very unfulfilling, half-baked and anti-climactic as it was. Additionally, the writing was definitely not Hawkins best.
Unfortunately, Miss Mayhem was yet another victim of the middle book syndrome. It failed to meet the effortless entertainment and cleverness of the first one, and it's nothing more than an obvious, shaky platform for the third one. As a sequel, it's weak and unsatisfying, by itself it's flawed and rather pointless. It admittedly offers enough mindless entertainment and fun that works great with its short length and lighthearted content, but as a whole, the novel falls short from what it should've been. ...more