As someone born and raised in Puerto Rico, I am more than used to seeing my island fetishized by outsiders. While this is my home, for innumerable peoAs someone born and raised in Puerto Rico, I am more than used to seeing my island fetishized by outsiders. While this is my home, for innumerable people this is their paradise away from home. And that's it. For so many, Puerto Rico is reduced to beaches, sunsets, dancing and beautiful women. Which is why it hurts doubly to see a YA book do the same, then claim it will do otherwise, and end up portraying Puerto Rico in an even worse manner. Because, yes, having my country reduced to party and fun and vacation is bad enough, but being portrayed as an ignorant, regressive little island stuck in time and full of superstitious, uneducated and rowdy people is even worse.
Coincidentally, I divide my time here in between the two settings that the author chose to carry out the story: San Juan, where I study, and Rincón, in my parents' home which is about 15 minutes away from there. I can tell you, right off the bat, that the only accuracy this book can claim when it comes to these two places is only geographical localization. That's about it. Oh, I don't doubt the author Wikipediaed the shit out of Old San Juan, as she name dropped location after location to the point where it lost all meaning. Maybe she even visited it, but that would be even worse because that would only sustain my conclusion that she did it as a tourist. The way she described my home goes in tune with the fetishistic way in which most people describe it, and not even the generous kind. This author would have you believe that we are stuck 30, 40 years in the past. That we are all languid days and nights of party and passion. That we, the women, are uneducated, naturally sensual beings that always wear sundresses and flowers in our long, wild hair to look for men to trap. There is not a single complex or flattering representation of Puerto Rican (or even Latina) women in the entire novel. According to this novel, we are all flirty, fickle, untrustworthy and spiteful beings, said so by her male characters and reinforced by the representation of the women in this novel. The male characters themselves are boring, unremarkable and predictable as hell, but at least their representation didn't paint their entire races and genders in such a generalizing and unflattering light.
Like in this book, people see the way in which we protect the mixture of Taíno and African traditions and conserve the Spanish fortifications and architecture that identify Old San Juan, and immediately assume we are stuck in an idyllic time where it was all farming and fishing and languishing under the heat. The Puerto Rico that this author describes as modern is the Puerto Rico of decades ago, stretches of villages and cottages, superstitions and seemingly conflicting beliefs. Is the Puerto Rico that tourists prefer, the one they would have us be forever. One that affects all the cultural and social progress Puerto Rico has achieved for decades.
Not only is the general representation of my island and my people, both of which grated on me til the point that I got genuinely furious, inaccurate, but the use of cultural elements, traditions and history was also done in a very irresponsible way. First off, the bits of Spanish scattered over the book rarely matched the Spanish actually used in Puerto Rico. To assume that every Latin American group speaks the same Spanish is preposterous and, quite frankly, kind of offensive. Never, in my 20-something years of living on this island and traveling all around it, have I ever, ever encountered a native Puerto Rican using the word "pinche". We do not do that. That is a thoroughly Central and South American word. Not a Puerto Rican one. Moreover, some of the Spanish was grammatically, semantically and syntactically incorrect. If you insist on incorporating bits of a language you do not speak, the least you could do is find someone who does to make sure you are not writing a string of errors all throughout your novel.
This author borrowed haphazardly from Taíno culture and then decided to throw it unceremoniously 500 years later with ridiculous incongruity into unrealistic settings that fail to resemble in any remotely accurate manner Puerto Rico in any way or form. When I got to the part where she began to describe some random indigenous village in the southern coast of the island - in the second most cosmopolitan town in the entire island, I must add - living in a societal structure that mirrored the Taíno's, all this set only about 40 or 30 years in the past, I genuinely screeched and had to restrain myself from throwing the book out a window. Not only were the Taíno elements used however the author felt like with little respect to accuracy, they were presented in the most preposterous scenario within relatively recent Puerto Rican history.
I know the author has some Puerto Rican heritage to claim, but what she wrote into her novel represents a degree of ignorance and complete disregard that infuriated me to my very core. I can talk about the flatness and overall pointlessness of the very thin plot that can be found in this novel. I could write about the shallowness of every single character, the exasperating concentration of generic and boring that was the main character and the infuriating way he treated Puerto Rican girls like they were his harem to take and use, or I could even mention how the elements of magical realism in the novel failed to impress in any way. Even if I hadn't felt offended to my core because I am Puerto Rican, the book would've been supremely mediocre in every single way. But, in the face of what it did make me feel for having shamelessly abused my country and my culture, I seriously do not give a fuck. I hated this book, not for its shitty story and main character, but for the hurt it gave me as a Puerto Rican. Seriously, fuck this book. ...more
Sometimes, your instincts are right and your first impression is spot on. Sometimes, granting second chances only serves to reinforce what you alreadySometimes, your instincts are right and your first impression is spot on. Sometimes, granting second chances only serves to reinforce what you already knew from the start.
My relationship with Veronica Rossi extends for only two books and a short story, and it's already been rocky enough to demand an immediate and permanent separation. Apparently I'm in the minority when it comes to her stories, but I seriously don't see the appeal. My impression of her books has been pretty consistently reinforced by every story I've read by her: the promise of a wildly imaginative and original idea used to disguise what is, in reality, a generically (and barely) plotted and uninventive narrative full of generically appealing characters that ultimately leave barely an impression behind, fading away almost immediately upon reading the last line.
Riders is very different from Under the Never Sky, at least thematically. But my feelings for both can be succinctly summarized with "that's it?" Quite honestly, the only sort of impression this book made on me is how aggressively, violently male the novel was. I understand the need to make sure that your male character sounds like an actual male, which is something some authors struggle with when adopting a narrative told by their opposite sex, but there is certainly a level of too much that this book blew right past. It felt like being stuck for hours in a conversation with one of those guys who need to constantly remind you how much of a macho man they are. It was relentless, distracting, and very off-putting.
But aside from that intense (and abused) form of characterization, the book puts little to no effort in fleshing out any of the other characters in the novel. They are all given vague stereotypes (the charming Latino; the studious British boy; the angry African American) and then left to pointlessly roam around until they are needed. Their interactions never seemed authentic to me, and the immediate hatred that the narrator felt for the only black guy in the novel upon meeting him struck me as slightly racist.
The one girl in the novel is no different. She has no personality, no characterization. She's literally only there to sort of give whatever plot's in there some direction and to be the object of the main character's affection. It was almost painful to read about the main character's developing feelings for this girl, when really, there was nothing there. I was actually surprised when something did develop between them, because it was obviously forced by the will of the author and not because it flowed naturally from the characters. They had zero chemistry and barely given any time to get past their own names before they were falling for each other. I can put two water bottles next to each other and get more chemistry out of that than what I got from these two characters.
In fact, there was no emotional depth to anything in this novel. It was exceedingly hard to engage with any aspect of the story when the story itself failed to summon any shred of convincing emotion for whatever happened to the characters. It is also especially hard to care about anything at all when nothing actually happens. The story moves from point A to point B without much fanfare, without any interest in making the progression interesting or engaging. The pointless of the plot itself - first the road trip, then the hiding - made it really hard to stay focused on the story, because there really wasn't anything to hold my attention or to justify any interest in my part. If you, for some reason, really enjoy watching ridiculous displays of manliness and pathetic pissing contests among testosterone-overdosed teenage boys, then congratulations, you've found your new favorite book.
Towards the beginning, the narrative style of the novel really caught my attention. The main character tells the story as he is being interrogated, and that was a pretty awesome way to kick off a story, but shortly after that, the effect fizzled out and, once the flatness of the plot and characters became evident, the novel lost whatever little appeal it held for me.
As I read, it felt like the novel itself failed to summon any sort of excitement for what was happening, like it was perfectly aware that it was flat-lining and it couldn't have possible cared less. That makes me care even less, and for anyone keeping score, my caring levels were already pretty down in the negatives. And that's the worst part: I don't hate the book in the slightest. I just don't care for it at all. And if a book can't make me care for it, well, then that's a book that might as well had been left unread. ...more
The Suffering is the perfect example of how much an author can grow and learn between books, how experience can be a wonderful teacher if the person iThe Suffering is the perfect example of how much an author can grow and learn between books, how experience can be a wonderful teacher if the person is willing to develop and work their craft. About a year ago, The Girl from the Well left me feeling disappointed. It showed promise and was a decent debut novel as a whole, but there was potential wasted and it ended up being a slightly underwhelming novel. So it was with no small amount of apprehension that I approached The Suffering. As it turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about.
With a more structured plot, more focused storytelling and meticulous writing, Chupeco fulfilled with the Suffering the promise her debut novel had, ultimately delivering with this one the great novel that The Girl from the Well should’ve been. Instead of shifting back and forth between multiple points of view, The Suffering concentrated on the narrative of Tarquin alone. Of course, reading from the perspective of Okiku sounds more appealing, but the flow of the story worked a lot better this time around by fixating only in Tarquin’s POV, and stranger still, Okiku was even more compelling a character through the eyes of Tarquin as well. The result reminded me of Anna Dressed in Blood to some extent, as they are both told from the perspective of a teenage boy with a mystifying connection to a girl ghost that enjoys tearing people apart – not to mention the inclusion of the infamous Aokigahara forest in Girl of Nightmares, which is the setting of most of the action in The Suffering as well – but that’s where the similarities end.
Tarquin is a decent narrator, perhaps not as compelling as Okiku was in the first novel (ignoring the slightly frustrating and repetitive bouts of fractured narration, which are successfully contained in this novel, resulting in a more satisfying use of that technique), but a very engaging and solid point of view nonetheless. He carries the weight of the novel well, and what’s interesting is that even he is aware that he’s hardly the most important or fascinating point in the novel, so a lot of attention is given to Okiku, their relationship and the horrors they are experiencing, as opposed to a more introspective look at his life and what he feels. There were certain points where he failed to come across as a believable teenage boy to me, but it was still a commendable effort on the author’s part, and in any case, fulfilled its intended point extremely well. His voice conveyed beautifully the confusing, disturbing but ultimately touching nature of Tarquin and Okiku’s relationship, which I loved to see developed in this novel. The writing, likewise, is fantastic, a bit repetitive a handful of times, but perfectly suited to the style of the novel.
The Suffering is legitimately creepy and a very well-executed YA horror novel as a whole. It was chilling and disturbing, and it delivered flawlessly the Japanese horror atmosphere while maintaining the due respect and loyalty to the culture. Unlike the first one, the introduction to Japanese culture didn’t take over the narrative and plot, and instead was worked seamlessly into the story. Chupeco never left the reader blind to what was happening and dealt important – and very fascinating – information about the customs and background that shaped the atmosphere of the novel without it ever feeling like info-dumps. Moreover, it was all so mesmerizing. I love Japanese culture and learning about these dark bits of history (real or inspired by reality, both) was immensely fascinating and riveting.
This novel kicks off strongly and it remained a thoroughly gripping read from beginning to end, never once relinquishing its complete hold on my attention or lagging in any way or form. The story is fast-paced and wildly entertaining, but never is the complexity of the novel sacrificed in exchange for breakneck speed and enjoyment. It dealt twists into the story that melded together almost perfectly, and I didn’t even mind the seemingly disjointed first third of the novel that deals with a situation in America rather than Japan, because it all fit together so well. Chupeco managed to keep the intensity of the story all the way through, keeping me focused and entertained even in the most passive of moments in the story. This is a book that I positively did not want to stop reading, and I can’t remember the last time that happened to me.
The entire half of the novel dedicated to the Aokigahara forest, the dolls, the Hell’s gate and the ritual was very near perfection to me. Chupeco didn’t hold back with the horror, death and disturbing brutality, and still, somehow she managed to intersect legitimately touching moments of love, friendship and bravery. The climax and ending of the novel were amazing. I had my doubts about it when I saw it coming, but the result was unexpectedly satisfying, very different from what other novels would’ve done, and provided for a perfect ending to this series, perpetuating the morally ambiguous and anti-hero air of the novel that set it apart from others in the genre from the very beginning.
In spite of the rocky start that was The Girl in the Well, I am very sad to see this series come to a close. The Suffering was a fantastic book in its own right, but it excels as a sequel because of the way it managed to take the good from its predecessor and deliver a superb continuation to the story that tops the original in every single way. Chupeco’s growth as an author is palpable all throughout this novel and firmly positions her within the group of authors I am keeping a very close eye on from now on. In all likelihood the best Japanese-inspired YA horror novel I’ve read, The Suffering is an excellent conclusion to a solid duology and one of my favorite novels of the year. ...more
I'm just going to go ahead and award myself a 100+ buff on nerd cred for having read this book. Entertaining, definitely, but seriously overhyped. MedI'm just going to go ahead and award myself a 100+ buff on nerd cred for having read this book. Entertaining, definitely, but seriously overhyped. Mediocre writing, inconsistent pace that began with an insufferably slow start and then jumped into overdrive from a second to the next, and loose plotting, all combined with a tell-instead-of-show type of narration, shallow characterization, and self-congratulatory name and reference dropping (what I like to call intellectual masturbation, where the person loves to show others just how much knowledge they have in order to please themselves) make this novel a bit hard to get through, but I'd still say it's satisfying enough if you're just in for the fun. Cliched, certainly, predictable too, and the romance is forced and pretty much gave me second-hand embarrassment, but there's just something about the product as a whole that makes it charming, engaging and definitely memorable. Mediocre book in technique, but ultimately a very fun one in content....more
This book tried so freaking hard to be the anti-Fault in Our Stars right from the start, and it was so obvious and heavy-handed in the proces1.5 stars
This book tried so freaking hard to be the anti-Fault in Our Stars right from the start, and it was so obvious and heavy-handed in the process, that from the get-go it fell flat for me and I knew from page one that I would not enjoy this novel. I love TFIOS unabashedly, but I'll be the first to admit that it took on airs about being an anti-cancer novel and ended up becoming the very thing it was trying to criticize. In the end, at least for me, it all turned out great because I loved the book, because the book was honest and it had heart. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, on the other hand, set out to be the antithesis of all that, and it admittedly succeeded on being unlike other cancer books and not falling for the cliches and hollow messages of light in darkness and uplifting happiness amidst the sadness, but that ended up robbing the novel of any sort of soul. This book was a mockery, even of itself, and it never stopped feeling like a ham-handed and juvenile parody with the caliber of a Youtube parody video.
This book is not making any profound statement - is not doing anything, really - and that would've been perfectly okay if the novel had actually stood by its words of not trying to mean anything and hadn't tried so freaking hard to be touching in its mock-apathetic way. The novel had no effect on me, not because the novel intended it that way, but because of me, because I wasn't receptive to the novel's ridiculous way of being touching in application while being apathetic on its face. It's immature, it's not clever, and it's certainly not entertaining. I am well aware of what this book set out to do, but it was handled in such an unsubtle manner, with such an appalling lack of nuance, that it was just terrible. The writing was awful and repetitive, and like everything else in this book, it tried too freaking hard, and not once did I find it funny. I never laughed, giggled, guffawed, snorted or even smiled.
This book frustrated me to no end. It put so much effort on conveying how much it wasn't like all those other cancer books, and yet it slacked off on writing, plotting, dialogue and characterization. I can respect that all of this is meant to reflect the kind of person Greg is, because it did and it conveyed him as a character pretty powerfully, but I did not like this person, I did not care for his words or his thoughts, and I thought he was an insufferably vacuous character. And I know that might say a lot more about me than the novel, but this book was simply not for me. I am not the type of reader that would enjoy this novel, that would appreciate what it tried to do, because for me the whole thing was simply obnoxious. ...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
My first experience with a Heather Brewer book didn’t go well in the slightest. Even though I was well aware that I was way out of the target audienceMy first experience with a Heather Brewer book didn’t go well in the slightest. Even though I was well aware that I was way out of the target audience for her Vladimir Tod books, Eighth Grade Bites had been recommended to me so many times, I figured it was one of those cases were every person can find something to love in it. I was wrong. Dead wrong. I absolutely hated the book to a degree where I pretty much turned my back on every single book she published thereafter, even though some of them sounded quite intriguing, like her YA dystopian novel The Legacy of Tril: Soulbound. But one day I woke up and decided I had held a grudge against her for far too long and, thus, I swallowed my apprehension and jumped into The Cemetery Boys with only some mild skepticism.
I might’ve hated how she developed her ideas in Eight Grade Bites, but I never doubted Brewer had it in her to delve into dark themes and use them in her favor with a very original flair. She sometimes tried a bit too hard, but the feeling that something was wrong, that there really was something creepy in this mysterious little town came across beautifully in this novel. Brewer handled the tension in the novel amazingly well and kept the mystery engaging and fascinating almost flawlessly all the way through. In fact, this has been one of the few times when guessing the big plot twist early in the novel hasn’t bothered me in the slightest.
Brewer dominated her use of a teenage boy’s voice as the narrator of the story. It came across as realistic, though not exactly likable. She really did a great job in making Stephen talk, act and, especially, think like a teenage boy, which is not something many YA female authors master. I did think she got carried away sometimes, particularly when it came to how Stephen saw Cara because the way he sexualized and objectified her got a bit creepy sometimes, but I can’t accuse her of not being realistically male in almost every aspect.
One of my main problems with the first of the Vladimir Tod books is that it tried too hard to be edgy, hip and cool and teenage goth, and to me it felt like I was having a conversation with one of those emos that hang around Hot Topic, draw Sharpie pentagram on their arms to piss off adults, and write bad song lyrics about the darkness of life because their parents gave them a curfew or wanted them to get good grades. It was hard for me to not roll my eyes, and though in considerable lower levels, I felt like that was also present in this novel. It’s really hard to sympathize with characters that “join the dark side” because of the overdramatic ways they think about their circumstances. I’m not dismissing the harshness of Stephen’s, or Cara and Devon’s, circumstances, but their “pain” was so histrionically thrown at my face, their actions so rooted in the darkness of their lives, that it came off as a bit cartoonish and hard to take seriously. Plus, that combined with some generalized characterization, made it really hard for me to care about any of these characters.
I had a vague idea about these characters, but I think only Stephen managed to come across as realistic, and in spite of that, I never actually managed to care about him at all. My only interest in the novel was the mysterious mythology Brewer was working on here. Devon might’ve been the most interesting of all the characters, I don’t think he was used to his whole potential.
My favorite thing about the novel was the mythology, how it drove the mystery, how it was completely independent of the big plot twist and the clever “end” Brewer gave to it. The tension and atmosphere of the entire novel hinges on this mythology, or at least for me it did because I honestly couldn’t have possibly cared less about the game Devon and his boys played with Stephen, and it works marvelously. I loved how Brewer played with the lines between the possible and the impossible, faith and fanaticism, reality and fiction, sanity and madness, and she did it all beautifully through the mere suggestion of the Old Ones. This added a great feeling to the setting, did wonders for the atmosphere of the novel as a whole, breathed life into that town, and made the entire novel very engaging for me.
The climax was a bit too far-fetched for me, though not entirely unpredictable, and it made me question the point of the entire novel. The entire plot seemed pointlessly drawn out after the big reveal, mostly because it made kind of senseless a few of the relationships and plot developments in the novel. But since I never cared much for that, it didn’t make much of an impact on me. Ultimately, I was okay with the novel as a whole and it turned out to be a satisfying experience for such a short novel, but, admittedly, most of the enjoyment I derived from the story came from a single remarkable aspect. The rest was simply okay for me.
So maybe some of my apprehension for everything Brewer was a bit unjustified. I actually love it when that happens to me, when authors show me they have it in them to turn someone around, and now I’m more open to the idea of trying more of her books. I still think this one could’ve been even better, but the fact that I can’t say I severely disliked any aspect of it is a monumental improvement from where my relationship with Brewer started. Overall, a very short and entertaining story with a great atmosphere, realistic narration and fantastic mythology, that can be easily read in a single sitting. This book has Brewer written all over it, so fans of her will most likely love it, and those of us who didn’t or are new to her can find something in here to hold their attention and entertain them for a few hours. ...more
Complicit is an intense, clever, disturbing and thrilling ride that's brilliantly written and has one of the best endings I've read in quite a while.Complicit is an intense, clever, disturbing and thrilling ride that's brilliantly written and has one of the best endings I've read in quite a while. It takes a while to pick up and spends quite a lot of time in the romance, which are basically the only reasons why I gave it 4 stars, but everything else about this book is done amazingly well. What impressed me the most about this book is that Kuehn is so clever with her writing that, while you might see some things coming, she prepared in anticipation of that and delivered even more startling plot twists and surprises piled on top of the big reveal of the book, and even if you see everything coming, the book is incredibly easy to get lost in. This book is twisty, unsettling and intensely psychological. I definitely recommend it. ...more
Illusionarium was probably one of my most highly anticipated novels of 2015. Steampunk has been trying for a couple of years now to be the ne2.5 stars
Illusionarium was probably one of my most highly anticipated novels of 2015. Steampunk has been trying for a couple of years now to be the new "it" genre in YA, and while there's been a couple of great offerings in the genre, it's had its fair share of bad entries and it has yet to make the impact the publishers are trying to push. I honestly thought Illusionarium would be, at the very least, one of the really good ones, considering the creativity and originality behind the premise, the promising blurb and the certain amount of trust I placed on Dixon as a writer after I read Entwined, which, in spite of being pointlessly long-winded and sorta boring at points, I still fell in love with. My trust was not entirely misplaced, I mean, Illusionarium was decently written and certainly original, but I expected so much more from it. Overall, the novel decent, but I expected something spectacular, I wanted to be blown away, and instead, I got two days of struggle and threats against myself in order to finish the novel.
What's interesting is that, for me, Entwined and Illusionarium are perfect opposites of each other. Where I struggled with Entwined because of its length, because of its tendency to be rather uneventful for long periods of time, and how that ultimately made the story drag necessarily, I had the exact opposite problem with Illusionarium. This novel is very short, and thus the action moves along at such a rapid pace that it felt far too rushed. The story moved from one point to the other with hardly any build up or development, it just jumped through all the plot points, barely making contact, as if it were a race to the finish line. The plot moved along so quickly, it left no space for emotional impact, for development, for me to form any sort of attachment to the characters or get invested in what was happening. Most importantly, for a story as convoluted and complicated as this one, the reader should've been given more time to understand. At points, whenever it got too confusing (or nonsensical), I didn't say, let me go back and read and see how it turned out like this. No, I was like, fuck it, what's the point, let's keep going because I just want to be done with this, and I may not be an author, but I don't think that's the type of attitude I'd want my readers to develop. This was such an interesting world, such a brilliant concept and very intriguing story, but it was pointlessly overcomplicated, underdeveloped at points, and written in such a way that it didn't pique my interest or engage me like I wanted to or like I think the book hoped to.
From one moment to the other, Johnathan went from knowing nothing about illusioning to closing his eyes and illusioning things and on the next, he was practically an expert. We were introduced to a concept along with the main character, and in the next heartbeat, before we had even begun to comprehend what was happening, the main character was acting and doing and dominating the entire concept. And I know he's supposed to be brilliant, but I can't keep up with a narrative that gives the reader no time to understand the complicated mechanics of the world they are presenting and wants us to believe the main character needs no time to realistically assimilate it. And not only was this done with the development of the world and the plot, but also with the emotional impact of the story and the characters themselves. The relationships between them were so rushed that, even though the dynamics between the characters never felt strained or forced, they were hard to believe and even comprehend. The characters themselves work because they were charming and interesting, but they weren't particularly layered or developed, and they sometimes felt like stereotypes. Johnathan, in particular, though his voice was amusing (and the footnotes were entertaining), his voice never felt authentically male.
Moreover, in spite of how slow Entwined was, I never actually found myself bored, whereas, with Illusionarium, I had a really hard time focusing on the story. I wouldn't say the story is boring, but I certainly wasn't all that entertained. Quite frankly, I had to push myself to finish this novel. The world in this novel is fascinating, truly intriguing and unbelievably creative, but it was still not enough to keep me hooked in the novel, and it was too complicated at points, and nonsensical at others. In fact, the whole point behind the illusions was hard to comprehend, the mechanics of the whole thing made sense up until it started messing with space and time and alternate dimensions. I've no idea how something that has no effect on people who are not breathing the same air could possibly open doors to another world and speed time to the point you can actually go into another time. The book tried to hard to make it scientific that it lacked logic at points, where, ironically, the generic magical explanation would've worked.
I liked the idea behind the plot, but the parts regarding the tournament between illusionists in particular felt like it had been forced into the plot. It felt disjointed in the story, barely connected to the main storyline and what the characters wanted and needed. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what was the point of the tournament in the story and its importance for the generic plan of the generic villain.
Towards the end, there were some scenes in there that were genuinely entertaining and engaging, and for a second I thought the whole story would turn around and give me what I'd wanted from the novel all along, but in the end, I found the final product to be very underwhelming, creative and original and intriguing, certainly, but not what I expected. This book failed to meet my expectations, and while it is not a terrible book under any circumstances, it failed to deliver something I could be even mildly enthusiastic about. There are certainly a lot of things to love about in this novel, its originality being its strongest point and something worthy of praise, but it just wasn't enough for me. ...more
With non-stop action, suspense and thrilling adventure, Steelheart is a really fun and entertaining read. I was never bored with this book, b3.5 stars
With non-stop action, suspense and thrilling adventure, Steelheart is a really fun and entertaining read. I was never bored with this book, but I can't say I was all that invested in it. The book brushed over the characterization, David's crazy ideas and actions, although entertaining, tended to succeed simply because he was the protagonist, and there was an almost offensive lack of women in this novel, especially women that symbolized power or that were likable. I'm rounding it up to 4 stars because the book was impressively plotted and it was undeniably entertaining, but I'm still debating if I will pick up the sequel. ...more
These two short stories (one for Day and one for June) don't really contribute much to the general plot of the series, nor do they expand much on theThese two short stories (one for Day and one for June) don't really contribute much to the general plot of the series, nor do they expand much on the world-building. Day's story in particular didn't really add much to his characterization, but June's did and that's the one I enjoyed the best. In her's, we get a glimpse of how she got to be the girl she was in Legend and at her beautiful relationship with her brother Metias. While I liked and enjoyed June's story better, both of them will probably sit well with fans of the series, even when it is not necessry to read them. ...more
I've yet to read Silver Linings Playbook, but from what I gathered from my experience with the movie, I knew to expect from a Quick novel some difficuI've yet to read Silver Linings Playbook, but from what I gathered from my experience with the movie, I knew to expect from a Quick novel some difficult and hard-to-swallow topics seen through a very amusing eye. That knowledge didn't help much. Forgive me, Leonard Peacock is a really dark and disturbing novel that made me feel really guilty about being entertained by it. And I was undoubtedly entertained, and I think Quick made fantastic commentary in the book, and that Leonard is a pretty memorable character, but I don't think anything else in the book is. From the chain of events, which were by themselves a bit difficult to visualized as stringed together, to the rest of the characters, not much left an impression on me. The writing is striking and drives the points home, - at times I felt I was reading some mixture of Suicide Notes and some really hardcore John Green which is not as bad as it sounds-, but I still struggled with the subjects in the novel and the way they were handled. This is by no means a bad book. Like I said, it is entertaining and really compelling, but this is disturbing stuff and dark humor, so it is not something I would freely recommend. ...more