An interesting concept that was executed poorly. Once again, the characters are flat, and there's no tension in any of their actions or the plot at la...moreAn interesting concept that was executed poorly. Once again, the characters are flat, and there's no tension in any of their actions or the plot at large.
I managed to make it through Uglies, but have just abandoned Pretties because it was going nowhere at all and it was more-or-less impossible for me to believe that a clique of teenagers who openly styled themselves as "criminals" would be able to evade and thwart the Specials as easily as Tally and her friends were. Not much of a dystopia if Big Brother's foot isn't firmly on the neck of rabble-rousers.
It's a shame; the series could have been could have been a sharp commentary on modern society's obsession with 'beauty', and I can see where there is the possibility for very interesting world building, but that opportunity is bypassed completely.
And seriously, if I never read the word "hoverboard" again, it'll be too soon.(less)
I almost put this book down two sentences in, when we were told that the main character's name is Sunni Forrest [really?], but for reasons unknown, I...moreI almost put this book down two sentences in, when we were told that the main character's name is Sunni Forrest [really?], but for reasons unknown, I kept reading.
I only kept reading for another 100 pages, and then happily abandoned it. There is an entire trainload of poorly-executed exposition; the characters are flat, and the plot non-existent. And I absolutely did not buy that, after her stepbrother vanished, Sunni would immediately leap to the conclusion that he'd been sucked into a painting. For 15 pages, she and her friend Blaise had been talking about art, Dean had been a pain, he vanishes, and instantly Sunni realizes that obviously, he must be in the painting. Nothing at all had been established to make this conclusion in any way logical - the world was not portrayed as magical,where such things might be the norm, Sunni was not shown to be a particularly whimsical or fantasy-minded person, who might be inclined to consider fantastical solutions to seemingly impossible problems.
I'm definitely not against characters working out that magic must be involved in Plot Point X, but come on - it has to be firmly established that the character in question is the type of person who would be inclined to make that kind of connection. Sunni, so far, had been shown to be interested in art, in Blaise, and in getting her annoying stepbrother to stop being annoying. The only reason she comes to that conclusion is because the author needs her to.(less)
The pacing on this book is really rushed; everything barrels along so quickly that I never got a good sense of Annie or the world she's inhabiting. It...moreThe pacing on this book is really rushed; everything barrels along so quickly that I never got a good sense of Annie or the world she's inhabiting. It feels as if the author wanted to hurry and get past the actual plot to get to the reveal. (less)
**spoiler alert** Wow, I'm kind of amazed at how much I didn't like this book. It sounds right up my alley, all bleak dystopia and careful, realistic...more**spoiler alert** Wow, I'm kind of amazed at how much I didn't like this book. It sounds right up my alley, all bleak dystopia and careful, realistic details about how an epidemic of infertility would change the social and cultural landscape. And don't get me wrong; those details were enthralling, and I enjoyed those bits; they were very well-considered and well-constructed.
However, the main character is your typical intellectual over-privileged older white guy who somehow manages to become the hero for apparently no reason other than he's an intellectual over-privileged white guy. I felt no sympathy at all for Theo; I didn't really understand why dissidents would approach him for help when it would be fairly clear to anyone observing him that he's completely passive,passionless,and inert.
I certainly didn't understand why Julian would in any way, shape, or form feel like Theo was her hero/saviour, or why she would put her faith, and the safety of her child [the only child on earth], in him. There's nothing about Theo that inspired any feelings of security or confidence that he would be competent enough to make a cup of tea, much less take care of the only pregnant woman on the planet.
Frankly I had no idea that the author was female until I Googled; the book came across so strongly like a weird fantasy-fulfillment that I thought it had to be written by an intellectual over-privileged white older English guy.(less)
Got this book at a library sale because I was in the mood for true!hauntings and/or Victorian spiritualism, and got neither. I was a little disappoint...moreGot this book at a library sale because I was in the mood for true!hauntings and/or Victorian spiritualism, and got neither. I was a little disappointed to find out it wasn't a true account, but that didn't ruin the book for me; lots of creepy-haunting books aren't true accounts.
However,I didn't think this book was particularly scary or creepy; it was a fairly run-of-the-mill fictional haunting with some lesbianism thrown in for omgsoshocking!!1!! value.
I didn't think the book felt like a diary at all, and the language doesn't feel like the diary of a woman of that time period, either. I don't think this kind of format has to be presented in strictly period language, but here there's only the most perfunctory effort. It reads as terribly modern, and I found that distracting.
Sukeena is very much cast as the Magical Negro, and I had issues with the descriptions of her - they're very exoticizing, and she doesn't really have any personality beyond "dangerous" or "sensual" or "protective".
For all that Ellen says they're "friends", she constantly refers to Sukeena as "my maid" and only seems to deal with Sukeena in relation to what Sukeena can do for her - supernaturally, physically, sexually. That's...not really what I consider a friendship. I'm not saying that a white woman of the early 1900s wouldn't have radically different views towards black people in general, but it's poorly-done. And there's no real motivation for Sukeena to a) be so loyal to Ellen, and indeed, b)have come to America in the first place.
Very meh. I spent a lot of time while reading this book wondering, "Would this be more interesting if I hadn't already seen the movie?"
As it is, I wa...moreVery meh. I spent a lot of time while reading this book wondering, "Would this be more interesting if I hadn't already seen the movie?"
As it is, I wasn't very engaged, and I'm not entirely sure what the point of the modern-day portions was meant to be. I didn't feel that those sections added anything, and I wasn't at all invested in Nick's search for his twin brother. Again, that may be because I'd seen the movie and knew the twist which made it really obvious what was up with the "twin".(less)
Smug above all else. The author is very impressed with his own knowledge of literature, and would like you to be impressed as well. And while there's...moreSmug above all else. The author is very impressed with his own knowledge of literature, and would like you to be impressed as well. And while there's nothing wrong with knowing literature, half of the conversations between characters seem like transcriptions of lectures the author went to during his second year at college.
Although there were bits of the universe that were interesting, I found the characterization to be weak and the characters themselves to be unsympathetic and dull. I gave up about half-way through because I just didn't care about what happened to any of them.(less)
I was looking forward to this one, because penal-colony era Australia is really interesting and kind of mind-boggling in some ways - and then most of...moreI was looking forward to this one, because penal-colony era Australia is really interesting and kind of mind-boggling in some ways - and then most of this book is spent above the outback, doing nothing. Sigh.
I liked the bits with Bligh, I liked that Caesar is perfectly happy with Rankin, I am very fond of Kulingile, and I LOVE the bunyips!! Maybe we'll get drop bears in the next volume.
Mostly, however, the story was very thin and disappointing.(less)
The only story of the lot that really held my attention was "Pop Art", which was lovely and nicely peculiar. The rest were fairly predictable and unen...moreThe only story of the lot that really held my attention was "Pop Art", which was lovely and nicely peculiar. The rest were fairly predictable and unengaging, both plot- and character-wise. I understand that it can be difficult to create fully-fleshed characters in a short story format, but most of the characters felt like they were only there to hang the plot on. (less)
So very unsatisfying. There were a lot of interesting overall elements that never quite came together, and a great number of characters who had the po...moreSo very unsatisfying. There were a lot of interesting overall elements that never quite came together, and a great number of characters who had the potential of being interesting, but instead were squandered in favour of the elements which never quite came together.
I'm also not a fan of the "destroy the economic machine so Paradise can begin!" motivation, because I find it spectacularly boring, and it's only fictionally interesting if the apocolypse of anarchy is addressed.
It gets two stars because I quite liked most of the characters,despite the fact that they were stuck in the middle of a lame plot arc.(less)
I tried to read this book, and was simultaneously so bored and so frustrated that I just ditched the whole thing. The author seemed to be intent on of...moreI tried to read this book, and was simultaneously so bored and so frustrated that I just ditched the whole thing. The author seemed to be intent on off showing how weird and edgy he is, and the exposition of the world-building was just too, too much.
Also he kept doing this thing where he'd knock off the exposition for a while, would start to head in an interesting direction with the plot or a character aaaaaaand then would drop that interesting thread in favour of going off to explain a building to you in minute detail.
Honestly, I got a strong feeling of "Look at the whole new world I created for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign!" off the book, and if I want to play D&D, I already have a DM.(less)
I probably would have loved this book as a kid, and I can see how it would have been something very new and different aimed at a YA audience when it w...moreI probably would have loved this book as a kid, and I can see how it would have been something very new and different aimed at a YA audience when it was first published, but having only just now read it for the first time, I was very "meh".
The main problem, of course, is that the concepts it introduces, which would have boggled and delighted me as a kid, are now very familiar. And if I were a math person, I'd still probably have gotten a kick out of the inclusion of advanced concepts in a YA book. But I'm very much not a math person, and was put a little put off by the Christian aspects, as well as the characterizations, mostly because the children all seemed much older than they were supposed to be. I kept getting the impression that Charles Wallace maybe wasn't actually a human child, which would explain his unrealistic vocabulary and actions, but that impression never panned out.
I did like the Mrs. Ws and Aunt Beast, and I very much liked Meg's realization that finding her father wasn't going to make everything all right, which is something we definitely all have to learn at some time or another: parents aren't infallible and can't fix everything. Otherwise, sorry - it's definitely something I would have appreciated more at age ten or twelve.(less)
HOW did I miss this book before now? I love me some utopia-that's-actually-dystopia fiction, I'm a huge fan of the One Person Breaking Out of Forced C...moreHOW did I miss this book before now? I love me some utopia-that's-actually-dystopia fiction, I'm a huge fan of the One Person Breaking Out of Forced Conformity trope and the notion that the tendency toward individualism can't be suppressed forever,and this certainly delivered. I'm a little hesitant to read the sequels, though, because I thought the ending was just about perfect, and I don't know that I'd want it disturbed.(less)
I really like the premise of immigrants bringing Old Country gods with them to America, and I generally like Gaiman, in comic or prose form, but this...moreI really like the premise of immigrants bringing Old Country gods with them to America, and I generally like Gaiman, in comic or prose form, but this book just doesn't hang together well. Shadow, true to his name, is insubstantial, seems to have any motivation of his own, and I didn't really care about or sympathize with him. It's as if he's not actually "there", no matter where he is, and while that may be all right for an actual shadow, it's a grave, and boring, misstep to give the main character of a book that kind of non-presence.
Also there is the fact that it feels like Gaiman is trying to create a form of alternate America mythology, which is certainly a valid and interesting goal - however, he's not American. It shows in certain phrasings - no-one in America "does a runner" [honestly, the editing process should have caught that:] - but also in some undefinable way, it doesn't "feel" quite American. Non-Americans writing America are fine and dandy, and has been done to great effect - but I think the problem may be that, on many levels, Gaiman tends to write subduded and often subtle characters, and I am here to tell you that most of the time, America is not exactly either of those things, even when it perhaps should be. America isn't really "in-character", so to speak. (less)
This was great steampunky/supernatural fun! True, it did lean more romance novel than I'd been expecting, and yes, the "socially reviled forward-think...moreThis was great steampunky/supernatural fun! True, it did lean more romance novel than I'd been expecting, and yes, the "socially reviled forward-thinking spunky bluestocking" character is nothing new, but I found Alexia attention-holding nonetheless.
Also certain reviewers might want to note that Akeldama's spectacular flamboyance is not meant to signify that he's gay, he's spectacularly flamboyant because he's a fop. Granted, there are scenes with Biffy which do imply that he's gay or at least bi, but foppery is not an indication of sexuality.(less)