The fourth star is given only because I know where she is going with all this. This was an interesting book with a lot of plot elements that don't quitThe fourth star is given only because I know where she is going with all this. This was an interesting book with a lot of plot elements that don't quite balance. Ilsa J. Bick is a wonderful writer, and in her last two books she has proven herself a master of the sophisticated dispersal of information. She knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat, driving you crazy with what she withholds from you and keeping you on the hook with what she gives. This is difficult to do, and in Draw the Dark, she hasn't quite mastered it. There were too many times when the reader is allowed to figure something out far enough ahead of the protagonist that the reader feels frustrated waiting for him to get there. The story of his parents and the Sideways Place needed just a little more integration with the rest of the story, or even just a little more resolution perhaps. I find it difficult to criticize the book much because it was so close to being just right. It has so much going for it, it's just a little more ambitious than Bick can handle. But just a little. The fascination with the brain that continues in the Ashes trilogy is evident here. Lots about Alzheimers, and PTSD and what it does not just in terms of how it feels, but what trauma and disease do to the structure of the brain. She never shies away from things that are uncomfortable, gory, or gross whether in terms of physical trauma or just how awful people can be to each other. The plot of the book just might be great, I just would have liked to read the same story written by the author in her current state of mastery. She's not quite there yet, but you can see that she has it in her. Hence the 4th star. If I hadn't read her later work, I might have given it three, though I'd have gone 3.5 if goodreads allowed it. But, I can't not know where she is headed as a writer and it makes me feel more generous. ...more
Although written at a reading level appropriate for young readers, it wasn't simplistic or lacking in substance. I had one little nitpick with the ploAlthough written at a reading level appropriate for young readers, it wasn't simplistic or lacking in substance. I had one little nitpick with the plot which would have, if goodreads allowed such a thing, have knocked half a star off, but I decided to round up rather than down. A nice easy read, I finished it in one day. I am going to add it to my Pinterest "When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books" board since I never would have wanted to appear in public with this cover, but that is what Kindles are for, right? If you want a nice, easy read that manages to still be clever, well-written, this is a good choice. It is an excellent palate cleanser between your very serious literary tomes, and if you need a gift for a middle grade to ya age reader, it would be hard to do better. ...more
3 and a half. 3 star first half, solidly 4 star second half. I understand that a lot of set up and world-building was necessary, but I was on the verg3 and a half. 3 star first half, solidly 4 star second half. I understand that a lot of set up and world-building was necessary, but I was on the verge of not bothering to finish. Then I was suddenly very very into the story.
The blurb from Veronica Roth on the front describes Shadow and Bone as like nothing she's every read before which is odd since for the first part it is exactly like everything I have ever read before, including Roth's own Divergent. Girl leaves familiar world, learns new powers, meets new people, gets some sort of makeover, undergoes personal transformation, kisses a boy. It's not a bad formula. I liked our main character right from the start, though I wanted her to be a little less of a sad sack. Never fear though, once she hits that personal transformation part of the story, she wastes no time growing into her potential.
The reason I went back and forth between 3 and 4 is that the world-building takes too long. It is really not until half way through that the story picks up momentum, but once it does, wow. Suddenly not so predictable. Suddenly I'm grateful for the time she spent establishing the background though I still wish she had managed to engage me more during that time.
I ended up loving this book and will for sure read the rest of the series....more
2.5 really. I mean, it was better than Twilight, at moments quite good, but not really worthwhile. There were times when the writing was straight out2.5 really. I mean, it was better than Twilight, at moments quite good, but not really worthwhile. There were times when the writing was straight out of Sweet Valley High, including the weird fat-shaming that ran through all those books. Other times the author beautifully, vividly captured the feeling of being close to someone you have a crush on, physical attraction, falling in love. A lot of heteronormative bs (and there was A LOT) can be forgiven as these kids are in high school, when such attitudes reign supreme. For a book with a female lead though, a female who you are supposed to see as strong and interesting, there was way too much patriarchal protect-the-poor-wittle-baby-girls running through this for my taste. In fact, it reminded me of Twilight a bit. Decent romance, but nothing special....more
I read this a while back, but I'm reading the sequel now so thought I'd pop back and review it. Such a mixed bag. The premise of the book doesn't workI read this a while back, but I'm reading the sequel now so thought I'd pop back and review it. Such a mixed bag. The premise of the book doesn't work for me at all. I have bought into many dystopian worlds, but this idea of how society would reform itself after some sort of big disaster is so contrived, and would never happen. Even the whole "divergent thing". So, everyone is tested and gets to choose a faction based on having an aptitude for one thing, and the divergent are so dangerous because they are good at like, TWO things! And Tris is good at an entire THREE things! It is a lot to swallow. This was the pea under the many feather beds and mattresses of Divergent. If you can accept the premise and the initial world building (which I can't for long) then within that context, the characters are realistically written. If this sort of world existed (though, again, it just would not) this is how people would act, how they would talk. I loved Tris, and felt that I was getting to know her well from the beginning. The author articulates the characters well. The story is fairly well-paced, though in this first installment, that involved a lot of the world-building exposition, which kept irking me and taking me out of the story. Despite my reservations, I was hooked, and after a while, could not put it down. I'm reading the second one right now, and finding it all a little more believable. I still don't think this sort of society is plausible in really, any way. Roth is making it more complex than it first appeared, which helps me invest in it more. Still though. There's a lot of action, a good love story, and her writing is evocative. I can always see the environment, picture the people, understand how Tris thinks and feels. A lot of fun to read....more
I'd say 3 stars most of the way, and then the fourth star snuck up on me, nestled in and laid its head on my shoulder. I'd heard so many people rave aI'd say 3 stars most of the way, and then the fourth star snuck up on me, nestled in and laid its head on my shoulder. I'd heard so many people rave about John Green, and I did love Will Grayson, Will Grayson. So when this book seemed no more than a fun, easy ya read, I was a bit disappointed. But eventually, I loved it. I think if I had read it as an actual young adult, it could have even been life-changing. As a 35 year old though, it was more of a revisiting of ideas than a discovery of new ones. Recommend this to the teens in your life, for sure. ...more
I liked it. Didn't fully LOVE it, but the series has potential and I'd like to see where it goes. I was interested in the main character, but I want tI liked it. Didn't fully LOVE it, but the series has potential and I'd like to see where it goes. I was interested in the main character, but I want to know more about a couple of her convent sisters and hope the next book will feature them a bit more. There was a point where I was losing interest, then I realized that the narrator on the audiobook had a painfully slow speaking voice, so I just sped it up to 1.25 speed and found I was interested again. It's a fun read....more
Rounded up from 2.5. The story was pretty interesting, but the prose style was amateurish. I know that it's aimed at younger audiences, but just becauRounded up from 2.5. The story was pretty interesting, but the prose style was amateurish. I know that it's aimed at younger audiences, but just because you need to simplify doesn't mean you can't write well, and with style. I did enjoy the plot, and the pacing was good. The characters were mostly 2 dimensional, but maybe that is to be expected given that all of them have lost the memory of their old lives, starting fresh when they arrive at the Glade, remembering no detail but their name. There were also a couple of contrived plot points where the brainy protagonist completely fails to figure out a glaringly obvious fact. He is smart enough to decipher some complicated things, but fails to make very simple connections, and that took me out of my disbelief suspension. It was a page-turner, and I do plan to read the rest of the series. I hope that the writing improves, and maybe it will. People can get better. ...more
I do love stories about con artists. I love a good con, and that alone would make me like this series. I have rather come to love it though. The thirdI do love stories about con artists. I love a good con, and that alone would make me like this series. I have rather come to love it though. The third one should be on my reserve shelf at the library by next week, and I look forward to seeing how this ends. These books have an original take on magic, different from your standard fantasy fare, and the characters would be equally at home in a mafia story. It's a different kind of magical realism, one that skews more towards the real than the magic, where magic is infused with reality rather than the other way around. Well-paced, enjoyable, with twists that feel organic to the story, not contrived. Great series....more
If you like a good YA romance and don't hate steampunk, this book is aces. Yes, it fits the typical adolescent-girl-discovers-she-has-powers-and-then-If you like a good YA romance and don't hate steampunk, this book is aces. Yes, it fits the typical adolescent-girl-discovers-she-has-powers-and-then-develops-feelings-for-two-different-boys formula, but it's not a bad formula really. It's all about what you do with it. It's only a touch steampunk really, so if you are sick to death of the stuff, it shouldn't necessarily keep you away from this series. Great escapist weekend read. Well-written, and I enjoy all the references to Dickens, gothic novels, etc. I liked the main character and the side characters. The dialogue is good. The PG love scenes are well-written and not painfully saccharine. I previously avoided this author's work do them having some of the worst covers in all YA lit, which is saying a lot about how bad they are. Just google "Mortal Instruments", her other series, and you'll see what I mean. Get her books on your ereader if possible because this shit is embarrassing, but worth a read....more