I thought I had topped my levels of sheer absurdity with Dear Killer, but, as it turns out, They All Fall Down was more than willing to put u1.5 star
I thought I had topped my levels of sheer absurdity with Dear Killer, but, as it turns out, They All Fall Down was more than willing to put up a really great fight, and thus, ended up taking the cake for the most preposterous, ridiculous, inane, insipid and laughably vacuous book I've read in quite some time.
The entire premise of this book is insanely misogynistic, and in spite of the author's best efforts to change that by adding a twist to the purpose of the list towards the end, the fact still remains that this book is outstandingly sexist without even trying to. We have this "tradition" called "The Hottie List" (I shit you not), in which 10 lucky girls are declared the best and hottest in the entire school as judged by every guy on campus (and they make each and every single one vote or they risk a beating) based only on their general hotness... and they all love it. Every single girl in that school worships that disgusting list, and the author used that opportunity to demean in the most despicable way one of the girls in the list by writing her as a thoroughly superficial, Paris Hilton-like grade A bitch who (supposedly) gave blow jobs to the entire football team (or whatever) for her spot on the list. Because, when you are already demeaning the integrity of all women in your book by making them accept wholeheartedly a disgusting list that rates them on their looks alone, why not also go the extra mile and add slut shaming to it?
Even the MC's best friend is obsessed with that list and spends the entire novel whining about "riding" the MC's "coattails" into popularity, because, oh yeah, being on that list made you instantly famous and made you part of a secret club/society of super hot girls that... I don't know, gets you into parties? Molly's entire characterization was this vapid, shallow and silly constant whining and moaning about using Kenzie as a ticket to popularity and then bitching when they did and Kenzie hung out with other, more popular people.
But, of course, Kenzie, our MC, was not like that. She's the super special snowflake that doesn't even care about the list, even though she spends the entire novel talking about it, telling everyone that she doesn't deserve to be in it and she can't possibly understand what got her into it, making everyone wax poetics about how worthy she is, how gorgeous and special and perfect and brilliant and glorious she is. And, since Kenzie's bound to remind you about 5 times per page if you decide to read this book, I am obligated to tell you about how brilliant she is. She is constantly talking about smart she is, all based on her capacity to translate a couple of phrases in Latin, and that's her biggest argument against her presence on the list, because we all know, beauty and brains are a dichotomy and there is no such thing as a smart, beautiful woman. Except Kenzie is both, of course, and the only one in the entire novel.
That stupid list ruled the entire school. We even have this nurse in her 40s bragging about having been #9 in her year, as if that had been the highlight of her entire life. And for all of these girls it really was. There's no depth to any character in this novel and all women are relegated to popularity-obsessed, shallow and superficial idiots. Only one person acknowledges that the list objectifies women and it is a character whose moral inclinations are questionable since the beginning and is thoroughly creepy in the process, so what does that tell you?
And the guys... We are supposed to sympathize with this guy who suddenly got interested in a girl simply because she showed up in the list and gives her the lovely endearment of "Fifth" in reference to her place on the list? Like that's not offensive, demeaning and disgusting in the slightest? I'm supposed to like a guy that completely objectified the MC, disregarded her wishes entirely and claimed her for himself like she was a pet or something? I'm supposed to feel attracted to this third wheel in the love triangle after all that?
Am I supposed to empathize with Kenzie, a girl who allows guys to call her "Fifth", is never concerned or offended by the very existence of the list, much less that she was in it, and based all of her decisions on how cute and popular a guy was? Am I suppose to like this self-absorbed girl who, once she was on the list, started to wonder how other girls were on it as well if they weren't even "that pretty"?
The only remotely nice thing I can say about this book is that the main love interest, Levi, was, in fact, genuinely nice and adorable. He came from the usual stereotype of the misunderstood bad boy with a bad rep and a heart of gold, but he was nice to read about. The romance, though, as expected, was of the instant variety and was kind of awkward in certain scenes.
The resolution of this mystery was so patently absurd, I reread the reveal scene a couple of times to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding the whole thing. I will give credit where credit is due and admit that I never saw it coming, - mainly because that would've been the most ludicrous and preposterous of possibilities -, but the author kept the secret close to her heart and handled the mystery in a way that kept you wondering to the end. That doesn't mean, however, that it was satisfactory in the slightest or that it wasn't outlandish and incongruous to the extreme. It made sense in the way it was written, to be honest, but the idea behind the entire concept is ridiculous. Moreover, this twist didn't make the insulting nature of the list any less offensive because, not only did it demeaned the worth of those in the list even further, it also confirmed that some of them weren't "worth" of being in it, as if an honor had been unfairly bestowed upon them simply because they needed to and, even when being in it had terrible consequences for the girls in it, they still were not deserving of it.
This novel also asks for a monumental suspension of disbelief. The things that happen in this book left me in a state of utter incredulity, especially after the big reveal. But still, I would've given it a chance if I had actually enjoyed any aspect of this story, which evidently I didn't. It was eyeroll after eyeroll for me, which quickly built up into complete exasperation and irritation, and then turned into indignation and anger. I don't believe for a second that the author tried to be offensive with this in any way, but, at least to me, it came across as profoundly offensive and insulting.
This was an idea that could've worked in the same trivial and frivolously entertaining way most generic movie thrillers work today, but I expect a bit more from a book. At the very least I expect some respect to be given to the mostly female audience this book is addressed to, and I didn't find it anywhere. I didn't see any of these girls striving to be anything more than a number in a list that ranked them in levels of hotness and granted them the great benefits of popularity and parties and the attention of cute jackasses that only want them because all the other guys in schools had given their hotness the nod of approval. The only girl that aspires for a bit more is Kenzie, and never once does she stands against this whole thing because that was only used as a device to isolate her as the truly special and wonderful being she is.
This is a very fast book, and fairly entertaining too, I must admit, but it was not enjoyable to me. Even if I had managed to put aside my distaste for the sexist premise this whole story is based on, the preposterous and improbable way in which the plot developed still would've bothered me immensely, far too much for me to enjoy this book in a way. Maybe I am taking it too seriously. This is certainly a quick, entertaining and silly book that would easily take away the boredom of any given day, but the impact it had on me was almost entirely negative, and I did take issues with the way things were portrayed in this novel, so it is more than same to say that this book was definitely not for me. ...more
Read-along with the awesome Cas! ------------------------------------ I can't remember the last time a book made me so angry. I've had my fair share ofRead-along with the awesome Cas! ------------------------------------ I can't remember the last time a book made me so angry. I've had my fair share of disappointingly bad books, but one that left such a bad taste on my mouth and my blood boiling with how offended I was by it? If I ever did read one that had the same effect, I've forgotten about it and I do hope Quarantine: The Loners suffers the same fate. If I could give zero stars to this book, I would. But I refuse to leave this book without a rating because my indignation with it deserves to make an impact and if I can achieve it by giving it 1 star, I will do just that.
Objectively speaking, this book is action-packed, fast-paced and slightly addictive. At the parts when the action was taking place, it was hard to tear my eyes from the page because if there is one thing I can commend the authors of this book on is that they can certainly built an atmosphere. But I'm afraid that's all the nice things I can say about this book.
The writing was stilted, relied way too much in telling instead of showing, when it tried to be poetic it all just came across as cheesy and amateurish and it tended to follow the disjointed, robotic pattern of 'he did this, then this. he did that. he said that.' There is basically not plot to this novel, because just stringing a bunch of violent acts together does not make a plot. There is blood and gore in abundance in this novel, which I usually like, but in this novel that is the norm and half-way through it was nothing more than a cheap trick to keep you entertained. It also asks for a lot of suspension of disbelief from the readers, because when it comes down to it, this novel makes no sense and everything, from the conflict to the setting, is just a flimsy excuse to rehash the whole teens-killing-each-other Hunger Games style-thing. There is very little substance to the novel and even the concept can be summarized as a mix of The Way We Fall, No Safety in Numbers and Monument 14. I'm not a fan of any of those books, but they were by far better executed and more original than this novel. The worst part about this novel though, is that, in spite of all that, this could've been a 3-star/average book if it wasn't for the truly awful characterization in the story.
Don't get me wrong, no character in this novel gets bragging rights for being deep or complex or developed. At best, only David, the protagonist, gets away with being a decent guy, even though he was way too perfect and often seemed like the type of guy others dream of being. His brother was not as likable but his rage was a nice attempt at complexity, even if it fell flat and he came out as irritating all throughout the novel. But everyone else is so pathetically static and flat that they would be laughable if they hadn't been so offensive.
To give you a hint of how the female characterization in this novel fares, I'll just tell you the names of the only two all-girl gangs in the novel: The Pretty Ones and The Sluts. Think calling a group the Sluts is far worse than being called the Pretty Ones? Well, the Pretty Ones are as shallow and superficial as you'd expect, but their group becomes a lot worse when you realize they are essentially prostitutes. They do not fight for their survival in that school, instead, their leader pimps the other girls out to the leading gang when they want. Every girl in this novel has to prostitute herself and sell their dignity to survive. Even the ones out of those two gangs participate in pornographic photo shoots within the walls of the school to be able to survive. Basically, in this novel, girls aren't capable of anything but being pieces of meats and selling themselves. The guys fight for their survival, the girls sell themselves and make freaking beauty products for the market of a disease-ridden school barely able to feed itself. You think that's bad enough? Well, when it comes to The Sluts, this book crosses the line from insulting to appallingly insensitive and disrespectful when it is revealed that that particular gang bears that name because the leader was raped. Yup, she calls herself a slut because she was raped when the disaster started and she could not avenge herself on the guy. Let that sink in.
Every single girl in this novel is an insulting and demeaning stereotype. The head cheerleader, token mean girl and hottest thing on two legs is the sadistic and psychotic ex-girlfriend of the protagonist, because of course, she has to be the worst trash on Earth to cheat on the protagonist, and is also the official school pimp and the toy of the evil guy, so weak that she is unable to defend herself of his abuse and wants the protagonist dead because he later rejects her. Every other girl in this novel is petty, shallow and ridiculous. They literally wait for the main guy to walk down an isle to throw themselves at his feet and get a touch of his godly body. Well, those are the pretty ones. The ugly ones in this novel are constantly reminded of their appearance, humiliated and they always happen to be 'weird'. Oh, but of course, there's a special one, one that has the guys fighting for her because she is just so sweet and special. Lucy is the biggest Mary Sue I've ever had the displeasure of reading about. Sweet, pure and innocent, but just oh so gorgeous. She cannot think of anything but just how much she loves the main guy, she goes crazy when a girl just looks at her love interest (because us women are just crazy jealous and fly into horrifying states of frenzy if someone even dares to think about our men) and she gets turned on by being saved by guys. But that's hardly the only thing that turns her on. No, the authors of this book graciously provided this pathetic excuse for a female lead, a coward that is unable to fight at that, by having her get turn on when she is sexually harassed by guys. I am not kidding you. She admits that, when the savage, violent, would-be murderers and rapists of the jock gang (because, if you are a football player it is required you are a brute with no conscience or functioning brain) would touch her and leer at her body, she would pretend to be offended, but truly, she was turned on. Ah, the old "girls really want to be sexually dominated and preyed upon". No. Fuck no.
I can't remember the last time I read something so openly and disgustingly misogynistic, sexist and objectifying. Each of the female characters reinforces a horrible stereotype of women men like to tell themselves in order to feel better about objectifying, sexualizing and getting their way with women against their will. I am not claiming the authors did this on purpose, but the message is there, whether it was unintended or not. I simply cannot believe all of this has gone unmentioned in the many other reviews about this book. Even worse, I cannot believe the high ratings this book has, most of them at the hands of other women! I don't care if this is just a work of fiction. You put this in the hands of a younger audience and you let them think that it is okay because is not real and you ignore the fact that, book or not, this gives ideas to people, it gets ingrained into the fabric of who they are and they can grow up to believe this appalling, horrible vision of women. We are not sexual objects. We can fight for our lives and we can survive and we can do it without sacrificing our dignity! And we do NOT enjoy being objectified and sexualized and harrassed! It is not okay to treat us like we are blow-up dolls you can satisfy yourself with as you please and we do not enjoy that. Even worse, it is not okay to use one of the most traumatizing events that could happen for a woman and then make a fucking joke out of that experience.
I don't think I'm overreacting or being oversensitive about this. In fact, books should not give me reason to have to write my indignation about these topics like this in a public forum! Books should not offend me and insult me as a woman with misogynistic garbage like this! YA freaking novels should not ask for me to give up my ideals, my beliefs, my self-respect and my dignity in order to enjoy it! I will NEVER agree with stuff like this and I don't care if this is fiction or if the authors never intended to send this message because the things I previously pointed out are not exactly the result of in-depth reading subject to opinion. I gave you nothing but facts about the story and things that any person that goes through this book can see plain as day. This book is offensive, insulting, disrespectful and an indignity to the worth of women. I will not support garbage like this and I will never continue the series nor will I ever recommend this book to anybody. I don't care that this is just escapist fiction with blood and brutality for entertainment. This book got personal and insulted everything I believe in, insulted me as a woman and reduced us to mere sexual objects with no dignity that enjoy being used by men how they please. I will NOT stand for this, not now, not ever. ...more
So, I'm a Harry Potter fan, pretty much like almost everyone else in the world. But my ignorance as a fan was made clear to me when a friend of mine wSo, I'm a Harry Potter fan, pretty much like almost everyone else in the world. But my ignorance as a fan was made clear to me when a friend of mine was horrified at the fact that I did not know what 'My Immortal' was. I quickly set out to see what all the fuzz was about. That was a year ago. And I still can't get the damn thing out of my head. I don't think I've ever been this traumatized snd simultaneously made so happy by something in my entire life. This is horrible, guys. Probably the worst thing I've ever read in my entire life. But dear lord, I laughed so, so much. The YouTube dramatic readings are also fantastic. This is just so, so bad, it is awesome. I probably burned quite a few brain cells in the process, but I honestly regret nothing. ...more
Mini Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil This book is exactly what my Halloween night tradition with my boyfriend, siblings and friends is all about. HorriMini Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil This book is exactly what my Halloween night tradition with my boyfriend, siblings and friends is all about. Horrible and painfully predictable slasher/mystery/horror movies full of cliches and stereotyped characters, with no structure or brains to the plot. It's stupid and silly; you know it, I know it, we all know it, but there's a part of us that still enjoy them regardless of how predictable and silly they are. That alone is why I gave it 2 stars, because if I were to be completely honest, this book would get a very lonely star. This book entertained me and, quite truthfully, I couldn't stop reading. But it was so bad, just so, so, so very bad.There's nothing particularly original about this novel. Anyone keeping track of the slasher movies to hit theaters since the early 90's will no doubt be able to identify the murderer as soon as the characters show up and they will have a clear idea of how the story will progress. Mysterious setting? Check. No power or way to communicate with the outside world? Check. Freaky DVD that came out of nowhere? Check. Group of every teenage stereotype you can think of? Check. Protagonist that seems to be the only one equipped with a half-functioning brain, but is shy and pure and such a good friend that she lets others walk all over her, especially her best friend? Check. Super hot guy no one can resist? Check. Freaky, black-haired girl with mysterious ties to everyone in the house? Check and checked. Horrible jokes and time for insensitive comments and hookups in spite of the tower of bodies next to them? Girl ruining her life because one freaking guy did not pay attention to her? Oh, you know the answer to those two.The writing is uninspiring and fails miserably to set a good and believable suspenseful mood for the story. I was laughing and rolling my eyes about five times per page. The whole setup was too far-fetched right from the start. The story is horribly, almost painfully predictable and I honestly can't say I felt bad for any of the characters getting killed. What's worse, some characters were constructed in a way so that you wouldn't feel so bad about them getting killed, which really hurts the overall point of a novel about a bunch of people getting killed off. If you care about no one in there, if some of them you would actually be glad about being offed, then what's the point in a novel like this? One of the few good things I can say about the book is that, freaking finally, we have a black guy who's the one that's wanted and not the bestie of the main love interest. That was a really refreshing change that I truly appreciated.I was really looking forward to this novel. I previously read, loved and reviewed here the author's first book Possess, so I know McNeil can write and can manage suspense and creepiness very well, so my expectations for this one were very high. As you can see, though, I was sorely disappointed. But, if I had to say one thing in defense for the book is that I was entertained at least for a few hours....more
So, robot apocalypse, huh? I grew up loving the Terminator movies and I lost count of how many times I've seen I, Robot. Naturally, when this book wasSo, robot apocalypse, huh? I grew up loving the Terminator movies and I lost count of how many times I've seen I, Robot. Naturally, when this book was announced, it went straight to the top of my to-read list. When I received an ARC, I pretty much went crazy. But then the reviews started coming in and they were not good, 'not good' being the understatement of the century. But I do tend to differ in opinion from many early readers quite frequently, so I gave myself time before reading it and I am glad I did because this book is everything I wanted in a robot apocalypse YA novel: original plot, endearing but complicated, layered characters, a suspenseful mood and amazingly action sequences that didn't sacrifice the intelligence of the story and a gorgeous prose. Yup. Everything. Ha-ha-ha-ha. No. Really. There's none of the above in this book.
The short version of this review is this one: facepalm.
The slightly longer version will have me complain about how stupid the book was, how nonsensical was the little plot there was in there and basically every decision the characters made, how ridiculously flat the characters were, how ridiculous was the fact that the girl protagonist's only role in this book was being interrupted, cut off, harassed and yelled at by other characters, but oh, that's okay because she's great at sports (there's an actual line from one of the main boys that says: Nick was the muscle and I was the brain and Cass, well, she played dodgeball), and how much of an I, Robot rip-off the whole idea behind the story was. And then they tried to make this a sort of dystopia, and I've read my share of stupid-sounding dystopias, but this...this is just silly. The writing was terrible and the transitions between scenes were so awkward and stiff.
So, after months of having this one glaring accusingly at me from my Nook, I decided to finish it in the few free hours I had today while onScore: 1.5
So, after months of having this one glaring accusingly at me from my Nook, I decided to finish it in the few free hours I had today while on campus. Well, my first impression lasted all the way throughout the end and this one turned out to be the big pile of mediocre, half-thought out, inexplicably sexist, unoriginal and forgettable excuse for a YA novel that I thought it would be the minute I started it many, many months ago. I really don't feel like writing about the terrible and basically non-existent world-building, the cartoonish bad guy, the unoriginal and painfully predictable plot, nonsensical and boring storyline, the chemistry-less romance, senseless sexism and stock characters. The only good thing this one has going for is that the writing is not bad, and that still doesn't deserve a full-review from my part, so I'll just go straight to the point where I say, yes, I disliked it and no, I won't be reading the next ones. ...more
I was so excited when I was given this ARC that I dropped everything I was doing and jumped head-first into this novel. My excitement lasted about fivI was so excited when I was given this ARC that I dropped everything I was doing and jumped head-first into this novel. My excitement lasted about five chapters, or more specifically, up until the moment when the romance made an appearance, grabbed the plot on a headlock and ruined all potential this book had. I really wanted to love the book. I had even shortlisted this novel as one of my most anticipated novels for 2012, but it soon became evident that it was not living up to my expectations, or that it had much to offer, to be honest. I made it all the way to the end, looking for something, anything good to hold on to, but it failed to deliver. With flat, stereotypical and underdeveloped characters, disturbing emotional relationships, inconsistencies in world-building and a slow pace, Glitch failed in almost every way for me.
The core concept of the novel was intriguing and interesting, definitely worth exploring. I honestly believe the author had a brilliant idea in the making with this story and, had the novel taken another route, it probably would've been amazing. But the story focused instead on a terrible and disturbing love triangle, based on one of the quickest insta-loves I've ever read about and composed of some of the most irritating, under-developed and just plain disturbing characters I hope to never see again. First of all, we have Zoe, the protagonist. Seeing the world from her perspective, an unique circumstances, was at first very engaging. But it soon lost its appeal when Zoe's weakness as a protagonist began to show. She was self-centered, dumb, weak, a pushover and a coward. Her narrative was redundant and repetitive and frustrating. She admitted to loving a guy within hours of knowing him, a guy that loved her unconditionally before ever actually meeting her and, worst of all, she allowed for her best friend, the third part of this love triangle, to sexually harass her and then she blamed herself for the emotional and physical abuse that he put her through, saying she deserved it for not loving him in the way he wanted her to love him. All this I found simply sick and disturbing. Zoe never pushed away the advances of her friend because she didn't want to lose his friendship and put up with his harassment and disturbing behavior which she truly and honestly believed she deserved. To say that this is wrong would be the understatement of the century. Maybe this was just an attempt from the author to show us just how good and kind Zoe is because she just couldn't bear to hurt her friend, but that was just the wrong way to make your character innocent and good. It was weak and showed no self-respect. She was not treated like a human being, she was treated like a piece of meat and she allowed it, excused it and then blamed it on herself. I am tired of reading about girls that take all the abuse because they are kind and because 'they understand' what the guy is going through. There is no reason in the world why anyone should take this abuse, no reason why it would be okay to allow and forgive your best friend for harassing you and for trying to pressure you into having sex with him, even having him outright ask you if he could 'see your genitals', then forgiving his insults, manipulations and anger issues, his possessiveness and condescension because you are a girl and he is a man, and even going as far as to excuse his physical abuse. I don't expect the character to castrate him in punishment, although that would've been a good idea considering what he does later in the novel to another girl, but I do expect my main character to be strong and respect herself, to protect herself and not to allow some guy to act this way towards her or even try to excuse him because, boo-hoo, she cannot return his feelings. This is just plain wrong. I will not even bother to talk about the two guys in this novel. One, the author tried to just shove down my throat with just how perfect and good and understanding and tortured he was, and the other, who I feel disgusted to even call a love interest, was just plain sick.
The plot goes nowhere for the greater part of the novel. It was frustratingly slow and tended to meander into unimportant matters. This is not really a dystopia, but a romance set in a pseudo-futuristic world. The idea of fighting against an unjust system comes later into the story and it is flimsy at best. The antagonist is just plain ridiculous and the side-plot concerning the X-men-like powers was not explained in the slightest, or believable at all. The world building, although it started, not particularly strong, but heading off to a good start, eventually came to a complete stand-still not long into the novel and ended coming off as under-developed and half-though out. The writing was juvenile, amateurish and I would even call it mediocre. The dialogue contributed nothing to the story and it was in discordance with the narration, since Zoe went from a highly technical way of speaking in conversations to modern talking in the narration. In conclusion, this book could've used a lot of polishing and editing in just about all the areas. The characters never develop, never learn and the story falls into a predictable and overdone track that unnecessarily drags. When I reached the end of the novel, I couldn't remember one good thing about it, or something I particularly enjoyed. At first I had given the book 3 stars on Goodreads, based on how much I liked the concept alone, but then it struck me that there is no way this book deserved that many stars. I refuse to give the impression that a book with such a twisted, disturbing and enraging romance or such a underdeveloped story could possibly have anything good to offer.
Weak world-building, flat characters, lack of a real plot and a revolting idea of what romance is, Glitch is probably my biggest disappointment of the year and the worst dystopia I've ever read. I would not recommend it and I will not be reading the other two books in the trilogy.
I finished this book some weeks ago and I decided to wait a little bit before reviewing it so that what I had to say about it didn't come out the wronI finished this book some weeks ago and I decided to wait a little bit before reviewing it so that what I had to say about it didn't come out the wrong way.
There were some good things about this book: there were some easygoing, likable characters, obvious research on police procedures and terminology, some nice attempts at humor and, most of all, a very nice and important message behind almost every topic in the story.
Sadly, at least for me, many of the good things were overshadowed by a half-thought out, excruciatingly boring plot, offensive inflexibility and stereotyping when it came to the characters and a desperate need of some editing.
I read in another review that this book is more like a decent draft of what could be a good story instead of a good book and I wholeheartedly agree.
I completely understand the good messages this book tries to convey; I actually applaud the author for tackling difficult subjects and trying to show a way out of them. But I think she went about it the wrong way, particularly because the author sees no gray areas anywhere. Everything is black and white and the stereotypes in this book are just painful. If she's blond and popular and pretty, of course she's a mean slut that flirts with everybody, goes about life relying solely on her looks, and gets a kick out of bullying the less fortunate and formulates evil plans to separate the protagonists. Of course Seth is gorgeous and kind and rich and, because he is so good, he believes in abstinence and the goodness in people, unlike the ex-boyfriend who is totally evil because he wants to have pre-marital sex and, therefore, he must be an abusive jerk that does drugs and would even sacrifice his ex-girlfriend to get more.
Obviously, this gorgeous, perfect new guy must fall for the quiet, pure and abused girl that, despite all the crap that life has thrown her way, remains uncorrupted and holds no grudge against her alcoholic, abusive mother (who, of course, is totally evil as well because she loves nothing besides her vodka) who cannot believe any guy could possibly pay her any attention. I get where her self-stem issues come from and I completely understand the author's attempt at shedding some light on the difficulties of the lives people in this circumstances go through - and I can honestly say this book opened my eyes a bit - but this became a Mexican soap opera from the get go and Maggie's constant "wow, he's so gorgeous and smart and rich and he couldn't possibly want someone like me because I'm worthless" - Bella-like-drama got really old after the twentieth time. If the author wanted to spread the message about the self-stem problems of people who live surrounded by abusive relatives, I say she went about it the wrong way.
The romance felt forced in almost all aspects. I still can't understand why an older man that works as an undercover agent could possibly want with a minor and I really can't believe no one saw anything wrong with that. Sure, he's only 21, but his maturity level should've been way over high school girls and if it bothered me in Vampire Academy, a fantasy story, it most definitely bothers me in this realistic fiction. Even more, with Maggie's entire approach at the romance, any kind of interest Seth had on her should've evaporated instantly. Furthermore, the way the teenagers in this book were presented was just wrong, like, MTV-movie kind of wrong. But perhaps the worst characterization came from the bad guys themselves. They were cartoonish and poorly drawn. If they sell drugs, then of course they're sadistic, disgusting, violent people. Everything is just one constant, insulting stereotype. Oh, and the jerk of an ex-boyfriend's stupid manipulation of Maggie was another low note for me. He abused her, humiliated her, hit her and even tried to rape her and she did nothing, furthermore, he went along with all his plans because God forbid he said she slept with him. This is not martyr behavior, this is sheer stupidity. aaggie was a victim because she allowed herself to be a victim of everybody and that's just not righ.
Like I said before, this book needs an editor with desperation. The story was dragged on and on and little with substance actually occurs in the story. From the "bad guy's" obsession with her in particular, to the oh-so-original partnering in class and the school drama, all of it was unoriginal,boring, unimportant and silly.
The climax brought only more disappointment. Someone dies and is completely forgotten and our protagonist completely falls out of character to accomplish something she should've never been able to do in the first place.
I wouldn't recommend this book. The author shows promise and there were some pretty nice lines in the book as well as soon scenes that I really liked which is why I don't intend to blacklist the author at all. I just hope her next work is not like this one. ...more
I can't do it anymore. I tried and failed miserably. I went through an entire bag of mini Snikers and a whole Hershey pie, not to mention a box of NerI can't do it anymore. I tried and failed miserably. I went through an entire bag of mini Snikers and a whole Hershey pie, not to mention a box of Nerds, and I still couldn't freaking finish this damn book. But it is definitely not my fault. This book was simply atrocious. Everything about it was wrong and I can honestly say I don't know how I made it through the first half. I liked that the protagonist was not a push-over with the requisite mean girl that tried to bully and intimidate her (bravo for that!), even though it was for a boy , but she did allow herself to be pushed around by a guy just because he was beautiful and her personality was still incredibly annoying. She wasn't believable in any of the emotions she portrayed throughout the novel and I never truly believed her grief. Reading the world through her was not enjoyable either. Her literary voice grated against my mental ears and I know Ali is the kind of girl I would not get along with, so I could not cheer or actually care for her. The same goes for Kat. Sweet Lord, that girl was annoying. Now, that's the kind of girl I'd love to wipe the floor with. I won't even talk about the rest of the stereotyped members of this stupid, stupid book, but I will say Cole was one of the biggest and creepiest jerks I've ever had the misfortune to read about. The romance was sick and ten sorts of wrong. A guy's chain is covered in blood and he has a reputation for beating up students and there's even a rumor going on that he beat up a teacher? He freaking growled at you the first time he saw you and then he possessively inquired about your relationship with a guy after just one pseudo-conversation, followed by manhandling you into his car? Yeah, so, so sexy. I know why his chain was covered in blood, that could be seen from a mile away, but a girl just meeting him, completely unaware of everything that's going on should've had enough common sense to have all of her warning bells and red lights starting up at that point.
What pisses me off the most isn't the whole twist on the zombie thing; with that I could deal. It wasn't even the preachy vibe I was getting from the book or the slight submission of women evident in some of the word choices and attitudes of characters in the book. I could've even moved on from the annoying slang, and trust me, that's a pretty hard thing to ignore in this book. But what I absolutely hated is the fact that this is being promoted as an Alice's Adventures in Wonderland retelling. It is not and to call it that is an insult to the original book itself, which happens to be my favorite childhood story and still one of my favorite books. There's nothing about Carroll's book in here and the author is obviously just trying to cash in on the splash that Tim Burton left with his movie adaptation. This book is a slap in the face to every reader that loved Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and eagerly and desperately waited for this book to remember their love for the original and celebrate its magnificence with a new and fun-sounding twist.
Don't get me wrong. Even if this book hadn't been wrongly dubbed as a "retelling", it probably would've still been atrocious and utterly awful. There's nothing good about this book, nothing realistic or engaging about the characters, nothing truly fascinating about the concept, nothing romantic about the emotional relationships and nothing inspiring about the writing. This is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the worst books I've read this year and my absolute biggest disappointment in years. I won't be reading the sequel, nor will I look for anything else that this author publishes....more
The book had an interesting premise, even if somewhat sketchy. I liked some of its concepts, but the protagonist completely ruined any chance this booThe book had an interesting premise, even if somewhat sketchy. I liked some of its concepts, but the protagonist completely ruined any chance this book had with me.
I hated this book. In case the 1 star rating wasn't clear enough, I absolutely despised it. I gave it 2 stars at first, because I really hate giving books a 1 star rating. I do give out 1 star ratings when a book deserves it, but I like thinking that (almost) every book has something to offer. But, after sleeping on it, I came back the next day and got a great amount of pleasure out of giving this one the single, lonely star I feel it deserves. I know I'm in the minority here, seeing as how this book has an overall rating of over 4 stars, but I really fail to see the appeal of this one, and it is not because of a lack of trying. While reading it, I gave up on this book three times. Three freaking times I put it aside, completely decided to never bother with it again, but I came back again and again. I just want to make it clear that I did not come back because I was intrigued or because I wanted to know the big "mystery": Everything about this book is ridiculously predictable right from the start. The reason I came back was because I kept hoping I could see what everyone was raving about. I think the 1 star rating makes it pretty clear that I never stumbled upon what makes this book deserve the praise.
Gwen is one of the most detestable characters I've ever had the misfortune of reading about. She's right up there with Luce, Nora and Zoey in the list of characters I wish I could erase from literary existence by flushing them down a toilet. She's whiny, judgmental, self-absorbed, self-righteous, oh, and she wants me to remind you that she has no friends. God, I swear she said that last thing about 50 times per chapter. Please, remind me how much of a loner and a rebel you are about five freaking times per page, I don't get tired of it at all. Oh, and you wear hoodies and read comic books? Wow, that is so interesting and original and totally explains why absolutely no one gets you. (Yeah, right. Guess what? That was me in high school and that never had as a result a shortage of friends or cruel rejection from everyone.) And, of course, Gwen is a loner because she's not as rich or as "pretty" or as "special" as the rest of the mean girls in class, when the truth is she actually is, but, of course, she just doesn't know it. But that's okay. Gwen comforts herself by declaring all the other girls "raging sluts" and knowing that no matter what she does, says, wears or who she likes, she will never be like those "raging sluts". The whole characterization of one of the pseudo-antagonists in the story is that she is gorgeous and is only popular because she's been with every boy in school and likes labels and brands and is mean to poor little Gwen. Sounds familiar? Yes, like every other generic YA mean girl out there. And the plot is not that different, either.
There's really nothing original about this book. I considered giving this one extra points for bringing different types of warriors and mythical creatures into one school until I realized that, not only is the whole concept far-fetched in itself, the book never offers a real explanation for it. Oh well, I suppose it does. The school is supposed to train all these warriors for a war that even the protagonists is convinced is just a whole lot of superstitious bogus. Which if you think about it, for a girl that has powers and lives constantly surrounded by mythical warriors like the Valkyries to not believe that there could be a war with other mythical beings, well, it's pretty stupid all-around.
This book was really infuriating and frustrating. There's barely a plot in there, but I couldn't be bothered to follow it anyway when I had to see it flow through a character like Gwen, who is ready to judge and insult and scorn everyone around her but falls for a guy that's popular because he hurts people and signs the mattresses of all the girls he sleeps with on campus, because, of course, that makes him so hot. There's no character development in this book, no real mystery driving the plot, a ridiculous resolution that continues to belittle girls and furthers the stereotype about the mean girls and condemns woman sexuality, an interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying concept and a terrible lead I wish I could bleach out of my mind. It's been, what?, 3 or 4 months since I read this one and I still can't get over how much it disappointed and angered me. The thing is that I was actually expecting a lot out of this one, but a book like this one is nothing but a slap in the face to YA readers out there. It's nothing but a generic, formulaic story that has been done many times because someone out there believes we are not smart enough to recognize it for what it is, throw in there a bunch of high school stereotypes and some half-assed mythology to make it paranormal, and there you go. To conclude this rant, I vow to never read any more books in this series and to try my very best to even forget I wasted my time reading this.
I bought this book because the blurb sounded kinda interesting and this was one- May contain spoilers -
I'm done. And now I've lost the will to live.
I bought this book because the blurb sounded kinda interesting and this was one of my favorite covers of the year. Once I received it, though, I pushed it back because of the infamous incident with the book's author and because I've yet to see a good review for this book from reviewers I trust. But I decided to brave this one, because, well, I don't know, maybe I was feeling slightly masochistic and decided to inflict this pain on myself, but I did it. I should be happy, though. I can't believe I actually survived another Twilight. If you think Twilight was bad, this is one is actually worse.
Let's try to say something good. Hmmmm. I liked that it was not set in the U.S. That she used Celtic myths and legends and the crow.
Ok, so now that that's out of the way, this is going to be a little bit of a rant. I promised myself I wouldn't do it, because it is not like I expected anything from this one, but still, this was just that bad.
Megan moves to Ireland, and I could tell you all the other things that happen, but everybody knows the only important thing here is that she meets a guy. A mysterious, impossibly (and unlikely) beautiful, rich guy that has never shown any interest in any girl except now and that turn outs to be some sort of mythical creature and wants to protect, stalk, isolate, abuse and possibly smoother to death this girl he just met but that he knows he loves because he saw it there in her eyes.
Megan has to be one of the most pathetic excuses for a protagonist I've ever read about. She's shallow, uninteresting, bland and actually kind of dumb. And she saw the guy...and fell for him in a record-breaking three seconds flat. She actually calls Adam's sister a bitch before she knew they were related just because they were walking together. She signed up for classes she was terrified of just to see him (stalk him?) after school. She said Adam about 30 times per page on the second chapter. Why? I honestly don't know. She was giving him the puppy eyes even before talking to him or knowing anything about him and, you know what? Even after they get to "know each other" (you know how it goes in YA) a little better, I still failed to see Adam's appeal. The guy has the personality of a brick, which I supposed perfectly clicks with Megan's, after all, I never got tired of those heart-pounding tales of eating cereal and getting dressed.
As if that was not enough, dear little Megan is also an obnoxious, sexist hypocrite. There is a scene where Megan and her friend Caitlin were discussing the length of their friend's skirt and the fact that a teacher was checking her out and Megan said that it was obviously not the teacher's fault, that it was their mutual friend's fault because she wanted to be checked out and if the teacher looked it was because she asked for it. Really? There this little thing called self-control and ethic, and even if the girl was wearing a short skirt and is in fact responsible if a guy looks at her, the teacher should've had the decency not to blatantly and disgustingly check out a student.
Moving on, the mythology, perhaps the only thing that could've saved this train-wreck, was unnecessarily complicated and kind of stupid if you think about it. Half-way through the book I couldn't even bring myself to care whatever they were, and it got worst after the author's info dumps every couple of pages that really never cleared things up. Oh, but learning that Megan is there just to pop out kids is just lovely. Just what we need: another 'heroine' without a backbone making her life revolve solely around a guy (actual quote from the book) and just being there to do nothing more than give birth to freaky babies. And that the latter is the reason their love is "forbidden" is just rich.
It disgusts me when people dismiss this insta-love thing, swooning and sighing constantly over a guy and the whole 'I will die without him' thing just because this is fiction. This is YA, people. I am well out of my teens now so I don't take this seriously, but the minds of the people this is addressed to are very impressionable, or have you not seen the mobs of girls crying over Edward and Jacob like they're real and writing blogs about how they are their perfect guys and going through their lives looking for guys that resemble these 'heroes'? Girls look up to this novels and their heroines and heroes because they believe this is the right way to live. Don't be so flippant and dismissive when this is serious. These books are teaching the female readers absolutely nothing. They're just telling them to find a guy (preferably rich and beautiful and just a little bit overprotective and abusive, because you know, that's hot) and then they can be happy. These books inspire girls to be nothing but submissive wives and girlfriends with no identity or independence beyond that and that is not romantic, that is pathetic and against everything we've been fighting for for decades.
Ok, so back to the book. In the end, this book is boring, it drags on and ends up infuriating the reader because of the lack of originality behind everything. And there is no way someone can say the mythology and the whole thing with the elements is new because, hey! Avatar: The Last Airbender, you know that awesome, highly original animated series that aired back in 2005, about six years before this book was (surprisingly) published. So there is really very little originality behind the concept and, whatever interest I may have had in it was lost because of everything else that (barely) holds this story together.
There's no way I'm reading any other books in this series. I regret my curiosity, but right now I'm just glad to be done with it and able to move on to books that are really worth my time. ...more
Well, I'm glad that's over. Let's see. What was the worst part? The completely uneventful plot? The lifeless cMore of a 1.5 score. I'm being generous.
Well, I'm glad that's over. Let's see. What was the worst part? The completely uneventful plot? The lifeless characters that, ironically, were not the zombies? The lackluster romance? The completely ridiculous bad guy that in several occasions told our brilliant protagonists that he planned to kill everyone yet they still scratched their heads wondering who was hurting their friends or simply ignored the threats in favor of parties? One thing is clear, I am not reading the next one. Can't believe I spent my birthday reading this. ...more
I'll start with the good things about this book: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ _________I'll start with the good things about this book: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________.
Ok, now that that's out the way. I'll get on with what bothered me about this book: Everything.
From the useless female lead to that jackass of a love interest, everything about this book is insulting. This is not a book about romance; this is a book about manipulation, stalking, abuse, isolation, sheer stupidity, selfishness masked as sacrifice and rampaging teenage hormones posing as eternal love.
I want to say that I liked the mythology, but everything else about the book completely killed it for me. There is not even an honest friendship in this book, for Vee and Nora were the most pathetic excuses for "besties" I've ever read about. "That guy is a murderer!" "No, he can't be, he's hot." "No, he is!" "Opps, I invited him over and set you up with him against your wishes. See, I'm a great BFF." "I'm telling you, that guy is bad. (Thinking: She's kind of fat.)" "Ah! That guy is bad! You were totally right!"
And then, after all the stalking, all the abuse and humiliation, Nora plays martyr for who has to be the biggest, most-undeserving jerk I've ever read about: Patch. (And it is not like there isn't competition, Daniel from Fallen is still there.)
I seriously can't believe Patch is considered a "hero" or that anyone buys his "tortured" act. I don't plan to read the other books so I don't know if he miraculously changes into a better character, but judging by all I ever plan to read of this series, he is no hero, he is not romantic and he is not a guy real girls out there should be wanting real men to be. Nora is also an insult to true heroines out there. She has no self-respect or a sense of self-worth, for anyone who takes all this crap from someone and still follows him around like a puppy can't possibly have any shred of self-stem or self-respect.
Like I said, I have no intention of ever reading the sequels because I won't support such a sick conception of what a relationship is....more
I really wanted to like this book. Even now, after a year since I read it, I try to focus on the good things about it so I can convince myself to rea I really wanted to like this book. Even now, after a year since I read it, I try to focus on the good things about it so I can convince myself to read the next one, but I fail miserably. There is no part of me that’s interested in what is to come in this series or in the mysteries that were left unanswered in this first installment. Whatever promise this books had was completely destroyed for me by underdeveloped characters and a half-thought out plot.
Intrigued with the premise, I expected to find in Fallen a set of compelling, believable characters, a breathtaking, heartbreaking romance, a gothic, well-thought out setting, a riveting story and magnificent use of mythology. Well, I can honestly say I found none of the aforementioned in this story.
The story begins with a look to the past in which it is shown to the reader the misery the protagonists have to endure every time they find each other and fall in love. I was ready to let go of my grudge with the “destined lovers” thing if it was done right in this story, and at the beginning, I was very intrigued by the concept of being unable to actually be with your destined one. Until I met our protagonist: Luce.
I expected her to be strong, smart, capable and complex. I wanted someone who visibly struggled with the mysteries surrounded her and the horrors of her past, someone who stood her ground and didn’t allow anyone to manipulate her as they saw fit, and someone who demanded to know what concerned her. I wanted a protagonist that could find confidence within herself to carry on the burden she had been given. I got a half-wit, pushover, stalker, with no self respect or personality. She can’t even make her own decisions since there is a scene in which she is invited to a party and waits for Daniel (love interest and guy who treated her like crap at the moment) to nod his approval of her assisting that party.
Speaking of Daniel, what a hateful love interest he is. He is supposed to be this passionate, deep and tortured guy, but all I saw was a bipolar ass who felt he had the right to treat her like a yo-yo and pull her in and out as his moods shifted. Not like she complained. No, she decided she loved him and began to stalk him. In fact, they had already declared their undying love for each other before they had one meaningful conversation with more than five lines. Well, he didn’t make it exactly easy for them to talk since he ran away every time she tried to talk to him. And then when he does open up with her and tells her the big secret we’ve all know since the first page but Luce was too dense to figure out, she runs away like she and her feeble mind can’t handle the possibility of there being angels around her when she has been followed by shape-shifting, murderous shadows her whole life.
What is there of a plot in this story is incredibly predictable as it follows the normal progression of a high school drama/young adult paranormal: new girl comes to a new environment where she doesn’t fit in, some like her, others don’t and set out to make her life a living hell, she sees this incredibly gorgeous, secretive guy that pays attention to no one until she comes along and treats her kind of badly at first but then shows his sensitive side, other hot guys showers girl with attention but she is set on guy number one, they fall in love, and he turns out to be a supernatural being. The rest is just ridiculous. I am well aware that all secrets are not going to be revealed in the first installment on a series and that is not my problem. My problem is the lack of foundation for the plot. Things are going to be left unanswered and unclear, but the battle over Luce, the battle of the angels with each other, the fact that there are dark and light ones and they go to the same reform school, Cam’s interest on Luce and even the bad guys are just plain ludicrous and no amount of explaining will make any of those sound believable. The absence of a real bad guy in this book is also a serious fault for me. The only absurd attempt at a bad guy they had was quickly brushed aside and it involved the unnecessary death of a secondary character just to make that person really evil. Speaking of secondary characters, the book could’ve only featured Luce and Daniel and it would’ve turned out exactly the same way because the supporting cast is flat, mostly absent, undefined and, quite honestly, unnecessary.
The book it's too long when you consider just how little of all that is told is truly meaningful and contributes to the development of the story and the characters. Half way through, I had already lost all my interest and was praying for someone to just kill them all and release them and me from our misery.
Kate’s prose is pretty. Her words carry a sense of melancholia and a hint of nostalgia that is just perfect for this kind of story, but for some reason, it just didn’t flow naturally and effortlessly when I was reading this book. It all seemed kind of forced. The romance is not believable and their deep declarations of love made me roll my eyes. You can’t feel their connection just like you can’t feel the setting or the progression of the story and, rather, you are told throughout this book instead of shown what it is you have to believe and that is not how a story works for me.
I know a lot of people who really love this book and I got to admit the concept behind this whole story is pretty swoon-worthy, but it just didn’t materialize for me. I felt nothing but disdain for the protagonists and couldn’t take the plot seriously. The book had potential and maybe all my concerns with the first one were corrected in the next book, but it is very unlikely that I will ever know firsthand since I’ve yet to find a reason why I should go back to the world of Fallen. ...more
I decided to do my first review on this book because, first, after almost two years since I read it, I still can't get ****May contain spoilers ****
I decided to do my first review on this book because, first, after almost two years since I read it, I still can't get rid of the sour taste it left in my mouth and, second, because I was recently notified that a second installment to this series is coming out... on the date of my birthday. Since the universe has decided to make a joke out of me adding insult to injury, I decided to share with the world my views on this book titled Swoon.
I bought this book because of its cover, a mistake, I assure you, will never happen again. The cover is mysterious and alluring and it is fortified by an interesting premise that promises a new supernatural concept in a very much abused genre and a compelling, doomed romance. Souls seeking revenge, an exorcism gone wrong, a gutsy protagonist with psychic abilities, and a boy with an evil agenda and no interest in hiding his nefarious intentions. What was not to like? I was hoping this would be the story that would bring a new edge to an over-exploited genre that always ends up being more of the same. Well, I was very disappointed.
This story was executed poorly, the characters were impossible to like or to relate to and there wasn’t anything truly engaging in this book. I practically had to threaten myself to finish it, not because there was nothing going on, trust me, there were a lot of things going on, just the wrong kind of things.
Meet Candice, our protagonist. Since the beginning of the book, she is given a lot of baggage. Her best friend died, she is part of a very dysfunctional family, she has an ability she can’t understand and she is forced to live in a town in the middle of nowhere where she doesn’t fit in and with relatives she can barely stand. Add to that a very complicated first love and you have all the tools to emotionally and psychologically develop a strong protagonist throughout the story. The thing is, Candice doesn’t grow or mature at all in the story. In 400+ pages, she doesn’t even grieve her friend’s death or confront any of her problems head on. She doesn’t take responsibility for any of her actions or learns anything from her horrifying experience. You can’t even hope for her to develop her “special abilities” into something she can control to eventually help in the saving of her own behind, because it just doesn’t happen. In fact, she spends an entire chapter describing her latent abilities, knowing that they are not epileptic seizures as she had been diagnosed, and how she is sure that they are her special power, to later never even mention them again. She is, like any other dense and flat young adult female protagonist out there, just too deeply in love with an undeserving, bipolar douche to care about anything else, not even how despicable he and his actions are. There is even one scene in which she allows him to spank her in front of everyone. While he is in a date with someone else. And enjoys it, like there is nothing wrong with that.
The only redeeming quality this character possessed was her confidence in her average looks, which are usually the source of insecurity and much ranting and complaining in other books. Still, that was shadowed by her immature and infuriating approach at life and her situation.
The other secondary characters were flat and don’t even deserve being mentioned since they have absolutely no importance in the story other than to serve as pawn to Sin’s (love interest) “evil master plan”.
I was really looking forward to the romance in this book and how it would evolve since Sin is, from the get-go, the bad guy of the story. Tired of the too-good-to-be-true, godsend, unrealistically righteous male love interest, I was really interested in how this relationship would bloom. Well, it goes a little something like this: girl meets dead boy through psychic powers, boy possessing the body of another girl tells girl his sad story and his unquenchable thirst for revenge, poof! True,everlasting, pure love. Candice simply decides she loves him. That’s it. For no reason that I can understand because Sin simply used and played with her selfishly, slept with her cousin/new best friend/almost sister turning her into a sex addict, killed elderly people and threw the entire population of teenagers in town into a wave of rampaging hormones willing to throw orgies in any random living room (I'm not kidding, for some reason that was part of his evil master plan). He comes two hundred years after he was accused and hanged for the murder of his own lover and unborn child to a town in which, obviously, the people who once condemned him are nothing but a pile of bones, without a clue on who really killed her, and hellbent on taking revenge upon the descendants of even the lawyer who failed to defend him well. And he is willing to even use and sacrifice Candice to do it. I couldn’t feel sorry for him or his tragic past because the way he was portrayed throughout the book makes him one of the most hateful characters I have ever encountered in my years of reading. He then comes along and declares Candice the only light in his life. And then sleeps with her. And then disappears.
The prose of this book is nice, almost poetic, but unnecessarily complicated to the point you might need a thesaurus to be able to read it, which is a terrible contrast to the language used for the dialogue. There is a recurrent use of drugs and sexual themes in the book that, despite having a realistic hold since teenagers do speak about those things, eventually crosses the line and becomes overwhelming. The pace is not slow, but the events in the story are boring, uninteresting and just plain ridiculous. I wouldn’t say this is the worst book I’ve read in my life, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It is a shame because this book had the potential to be a truly engaging, powerful and memorable experience for the reader. It should have focused on how the protagonist solved her emotional problems, how she broke with bad habits and bad relationships and survived all the bad things life threw at her and how she stood up powerful and brave even against the guy she loved. I wanted the protagonist to learn something, to grow, to be better, but no dice. Instead, the story is just about a chick following an undeserving, manipulative idiot like a love sick puppy, and the sequel promises to be more of the same. ...more