I loved this book when I was a kid/teen and decided recently that I had a hankering to reread it. So I bought a copy on Amazon for under $1 and tore tI loved this book when I was a kid/teen and decided recently that I had a hankering to reread it. So I bought a copy on Amazon for under $1 and tore through it.
Not quite as charming as I remembered: very typical old-school YA fiction. Pretty strict gender roles, princess stuff, sparkly gowns, etc. It still had charm because I was so nostalgic for it but I think that was the best aspect of it. Quinn is a bit headstrong but not rebellious, and ultimately is a bit too timid for my liking now. (I was a lot more timid in my youth.) The villain has an undercurrent of rape-y vibe but doesn't actually do much other than threaten and posture. I think I like the story concept more than I like how it was executed. But I'll continue to read it again every so often, purely for the nostalgia factor....more
A charming, if benign, little fairytale. Clara is mostly sweet, sometimes prudish, and awkward in her coming of age. The love story is a bit of a surpA charming, if benign, little fairytale. Clara is mostly sweet, sometimes prudish, and awkward in her coming of age. The love story is a bit of a surprise at the end. I don't think there was anything particularly notable about the book, just a standard fairytale. Lots of tragedy, but ultimately a happy ending. Sweet....more
First 80%: what a fabulous book! It's like A Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and the Harry PoJekyll/Hyde review ahead.
First 80%: what a fabulous book! It's like A Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and the Harry Potter series had an adorable steampunk baby. The narrative is perfect, fast-paced and interesting. Ceony is a badass heroine who's learning to make the best of what she's got and survive while she loses out on what she thought she was going to become.
80-90%: NOPENOPENOPE. This became a simpering bullshittery of "I'm only saving your life because you're such a dreamy dreamboat". Complete with copious eyelash fluttering and a blush like a "cerise sunset", Ceony suddenly becomes an idiot girl in love with a man that she's known for a couple of weeks who's twice her age.
90-100%: ok, maybe that was just a blip. But it was a blip that brought this book from a full five star rating down to a three for me. Pretty big blip. I wanted so badly to like it, all of it. I think the plot is brilliant. But making this a love story made me ragey and totally disillusioned with Ceony. Bitch please, you've known him a month. And you're envisioning marrying him? I found teenage melodrama/infatuation annoying even when I was a teenager.
But that is literally the only problem with this book. If I can just pretend that he's a father figure, or perhaps an affectionate older brother, I love it. So I'll just be in denial about that part of the book, and it's a favorite. Argh!...more
**spoiler alert** Warning: snarky, spoilery review ahead! That said, there are gifs should you venture within. Just sayin'.
This whole book is worse th**spoiler alert** Warning: snarky, spoilery review ahead! That said, there are gifs should you venture within. Just sayin'.
This whole book is worse than staring at David Tennant crying in the rain:
Seriously, this book is a sadfest stuffed with tears with a sob topping (after having been marinated in a pathetic-ugly-cry special sauce). Adrienne is incorrigibly stupid; she knows her aunt Marie is a terrible fucking person but she keeps expecting her to change. She stays, passing up opportunity after opportunity to escape, because she figures her giant shitfest of a life will magically change somehow.
Seriously lady, get a fucking clue. It was time to leave when she kidnapped your ass from France and dragged you to America. It was time to leave when she wrote to your family to tell you that you died. It was time to leave when Marie made you her own personal misery-maid and changed your name. IT WAS TIME TO LEAVE WHEN YOUR SHITTY FAMILY DIDN'T DEFEND YOU AGAINST THE SHITTY TOWNSPEOPLE. Seriously, fuck public opinion. Have the balls to defend your family members. Unless you don't love them. In which case let them be ostracized and laugh your ass off while they slink away. (P.S. You're probably a terrible person if you choose this option. Unless said family member deserved it.)
But no, Adrienne won't just fucking walk away. She'd rather off herself after mouthing off a little. What a fantastic plan.
I would've spent most of the second half crying if I hadn't hated Adrienne so much. She's content to let everybody walk all over her while she waits for her white knight. Even though she thinks about escaping, she just won't. I was so frustrated by the end of it I wanted to strangle her. Seriously though, if I wasn't such a heartless bitch, I would've looked like this:
End of the book: everybody dies, bad guys get away with everything, fuck your happiness.
Because one gif just wasn't enough to express my feelings about this book.
You may notice that it's two stars instead of one. Here's why: the writing was good. The plot, if there had been one, was decent. It's just that all the characters were utterly unlikable and there was no plot and everybody dies. If I wanted to read something where everybody dies, I would've gone with Shakespeare....more
This did not start out promisingly. The boyfriend who thinks the most romantic place to take his girlfriend's virginity is a nasty ass tunnel, MorpheuThis did not start out promisingly. The boyfriend who thinks the most romantic place to take his girlfriend's virginity is a nasty ass tunnel, Morpheus (ugh, just everything about that guy, but especially his black velvet cowboy hat/red suede pants/red gloves/blue hair ensemble), the drooling idiocy of young teenage love? I'm not a fan. I had high hopes for "Skater Girl" (Avril Lavigne, stay out of my books!) in the last book, even though she continually irritated me by chasing after Morpheus even while she's repulsed. I just don't understand that impulse; if I'm repulsed by someone, I don't want to fuck them end of story. I don't care how hot they are, or how "mysterious" (barf).
Alyssa's also obnoxiously wishy-washy in her affections, which I know is a very real thing for a lot of people but not something I've ever done. She hates Morpheus but then is like totally in love with him three pages later when he smiles at her or some shit. I cannot stand that kind of now-I-love-you-now-I-don't crap.
I think the whole book would've been dramatically improved if the only line Morpheus had was "My dick's awesomer. Get on it girl...I mean luv!" Because that's basically the only thing he's saying the whole time. (Also if I could never read another misspelling of "love", that'd be great.)
Ultimately, I just think Alyssa is too immature. She wants to save the world but also wants to pretend everything's okay and just enjoy her prom. That shit is stupid. She needs to pick. Which I suppose is the whole point of the book, but not one that's not very well made.
For all my dislike of this book, I found the ending strangely satisfying. It almost bumps the rating up to three stars. But in the end, a single chapter isn't enough to redeem an entire book of drippy teen romance sludge....more
I would categorize this book as a loose fairytale retelling with rich Indian flavors. It's a jolt of creepy mystery every few chapters, combined withI would categorize this book as a loose fairytale retelling with rich Indian flavors. It's a jolt of creepy mystery every few chapters, combined with an excellent coming of age story. Nair really makes 10 year old Rakhee's voice believable. While the prose is lush and lovely, the majority of the action in this book is in the last fifth of it. And then it becomes a WHAMBAMTHANKYOUMA'AM style of narrative. I couldn't put it down. That said, it was not one of my favorites. The action felt contrived and sort of mushed together, with the reader barely able to keep up with what's happening. It reminds me of those action movies where everything is happening at once and you're supposed to be watching it all but your eyes don't turn independently like a gecko so you can't and you miss half of it because you're so overwhelmed. Not a pleasant feeling. But still a good story. I'm torn between 3 & 4 stars, but I think it's more solidly in the 3 star category because of the extreme concentration of action and that icky gecko feeling....more
The story seems to drag a bit at the beginning but improves as the book continues. I think the pictures actually illustrate the story less well than tThe story seems to drag a bit at the beginning but improves as the book continues. I think the pictures actually illustrate the story less well than they did in the first book. The ending is what redeems this book to four stars (side note: damn cliffhangers)....more
While I loved this retelling of Alice in Wonderland pretty much all the way through, the ending really killed it for me. Also her continual forgivenesWhile I loved this retelling of Alice in Wonderland pretty much all the way through, the ending really killed it for me. Also her continual forgiveness of Morpheus smacked to me of the abusive relationship in Twilight, which was obnoxious as hell. That said, I do think the author has a talent for retellings and I'm interested to read the next book in the series, if only to see if the main character ever comes to her senses about asshats (even if she was raised with them)....more
A magical retelling of the selkie myths from Scottish and Irish folklore. This is a beautiful and moody book, very well suited to be read on rainy orA magical retelling of the selkie myths from Scottish and Irish folklore. This is a beautiful and moody book, very well suited to be read on rainy or foggy days when it's chilly (preferably while also on the coast but hey! I live way inland). It's a multi-generational story about a single island where a witch exacts her revenge on the men who never gave her a second thought. She takes her boundless anger out on them for several decades. Eventually though, she does soften; aging often does that to a person.
I found this a really charming rendition of the selkie myths, one in which the book may have mostly talked about men, but it was in some ways all about the women. Since I read books primarily by and about women, this twist is what made it likable (if it had just been about the men, I wouldn't have liked it nearly as much). Overall, while the book is moody and the characters are sometimes hard to keep track of, it still put a smile on my face....more
I had a bit of trouble getting into this one in a way that I didn't notice with other books in the series. But once into it, I find myself engrossed iI had a bit of trouble getting into this one in a way that I didn't notice with other books in the series. But once into it, I find myself engrossed in September's continual growing up. Per usual, Valente's writing style is superb, funny and heavy at the same time, and it sucks you in. It's a fairytale, but it's also a coming of age in a way the other ones weren't. The others were about growing up, but this one focuses on her becoming an adult in her own eyes.
I think the ending was my favorite part of this book. Not because I was grateful it was over, but because it really tied the rest of it--which sometimes felt disparate--together in a neatly fairytaled bow....more
Haunted and haunting. This is a sometimes-hard-to-follow narrative that winds itself into your brain and refuses to be dislodged. After two false starHaunted and haunting. This is a sometimes-hard-to-follow narrative that winds itself into your brain and refuses to be dislodged. After two false starts in reading this book, I finally finished it. Reminiscent of Valente's prose in Palimpsest, this book is much scarier. I suspect it's doubly creepy for me as I'm reading it mostly at home, at night, alone, in my creaky apartment in a house from the late 1800s. If you like to be scared, I definitely recommend reading it in a setting like mine. If not, read it when daylight streams through your windows, curled cozily in your favorite chair, perhaps with a cat and a mug of something warm and comforting.
Reading tip: stop worrying about who's talking; you'll drive yourself insane, crazier than Miranda even. Instead, just keep reading. Let the words dig their claws into you. Stop trying to make the narrative behave. It won't.
Ore was a pleasant surprise to me; I thought she was a man for some reason at the start of the book. Miranda's looming madness is creepy on its' own, but in the context of the house, it's made that much worse. The focus on women and women's stories makes this book really brilliant; I'm a sucker for generational family stories (even if said generations are ghosts that flit in and out of your vision). Ultimately, it's a book that scared the hell out of me and while I feel I'd get a lot more out of it the second time around, I'm too scared to read it again....more
A fairytale in which you can taste the narrator's fear. Thus book is by turns scary and charming. There is also a good deal of wisdom that Gaiman impaA fairytale in which you can taste the narrator's fear. Thus book is by turns scary and charming. There is also a good deal of wisdom that Gaiman imparts on growing up and why some childhood memories behave differently from others. This is a brief fairytale that was written as a love letter, which makes it all the more charming. For its length, I assumed the ending would feel far too abrupt. However, master storyteller that he is, Gaiman manages to wrap it up rather neatly without seeming trite or too glib....more
The second book is not as immediately engaging as the first. I think that's due to the less flowery prose and descriptions that lack the richness founThe second book is not as immediately engaging as the first. I think that's due to the less flowery prose and descriptions that lack the richness found in the first book. A disappointing followup to the first.
Part of it is also that Zuzana became a main character and she is ANNOYING. Think whiny teenager annoying. I suppose that's apt as it's a young adult book, but still. Teenagers don't have to be annoying but this one sure as hell is.
A lot that happened in the end wasn't explained; she tried to be mysterious about it, but it ended up with me reading, being confused for chapters, then finally getting it and going "Ok...and?" (The other response I had was "Really...?!") Neither is a good response to have.
Basically the whole book feels fragmented and messy. She tried to do too much: too many plots, too many voices, not enough development of any one character. Guess she figured she could fall back on the character development she did in her first book. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to sustain the second book. And at the end, she essentially threw out all those plotlines she made you slog through to focus on the main one again (Akiva and Karou)....more