"We're just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought."
This book is about many, many things: empowerment (especially o...more"We're just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought."
This book is about many, many things: empowerment (especially of women), invisible but indubitable social lines, fear of self and fear of society, knowledge, freedom, growing up, everyday existence. At the end of the day, though, it is about the above quote: being human in a world full of humans. Or, perhaps being a woman in a world full of humans.
I have to say, too, something this book most definitely is NOT. It is not just another worn-out diatribe about race relations in the civil rights-era South. Don't be fooled into thinking it is, and don't be fooled into thinking Stockett has no business writing as a black woman because she's white. Don't give in to that simple, societally-imposed, clear-cut assumption, because you'll miss out on the rest of what this piece has to offer, especially the strong feminist streak. Stockett isn't writing as a black woman or a white woman -- she's writing AS a WOMAN.
Back to the book: The three first-person voices are each distinct and memorable; sometimes I still find myself thinking in Aibileen's silky southern drawl or Minny's fierce battery of words. To the point that I was a little put off by the top-of-the-chapter denotations of the current narrator all throughout the book. I felt it did a disservice to the author's obvious ability to clearly convey who was speaking through nuance, style, and tone. Three characters are developed with whom I fell in love; I don't need to be told my good friends' names each and every time I see them because I simply KNOW them.
Stockett is not one to mince words, and I found her writing to be fairly pedestrian. But, she describes certain specifics (the spider mites on a well-loved Southern bloom, the "asleepness" of a neon bar sign) with a poignancy that directly adds to the driving, almost-activist narrative she is telling. This is a period piece with purpose; a life-imitating-art-imitating-life, semi-autobiographical foray into the lines we create to divide us. The author is subtle and powerful, a weaver of the tiny emotions of everyday living that make us human.(less)
The good: - Magic system: Well thought through and executed, very physics-based/scientific, creative - Mystery: The skaa have been kept in the dark for...moreThe good: - Magic system: Well thought through and executed, very physics-based/scientific, creative - Mystery: The skaa have been kept in the dark for so long that they are rediscovering their world as we are discovering it - Bad guys: The Lord Ruler is a twisted, thinks-he's-helping-the-world kinda bad, and he surrounds himself with mutilated henchmen (who, it's hinted, gain much of their powers from said mutilation) - Plotline: All the chaos and difficulty of inciting a political rebellion against a systemically powerful elite class and a repressive ruler; I certainly did NOT see the resolution of this coming, but it fits in very well with how social movements get true momentum (by creating a hero to rally behind)
The not-so-good: - Protagonist: Vin has all the chance in the world to be a Katniss-style heroine -- reluctant, resourceful, butt-kicking. Sadly, though, Sanderson waters her down by putting her in dresses (which she winds up loving) and tossing her head-over-heels for some guy. I'm nearly done the second book, and this only gets worse. - Writing style: It's god-awfully pedestrian. I found myself glazing over during some of the fight scenes, which seem to be only made for the big screen or Kung Fu lovers, and the dialogue is so stilted as to be laughable. Sanderson repeats words multiple times in a sentence ("Following after him, Vin followed closely..."), a simple lazy editing job that irks me something fierce. - Characterization: Flat, flat, and more flat. I feel zero attachment to any of the characters in the first novel, though I must say, the second novel greatly improves upon this (Sazed, OreSeur).
Overall, I've been surprised by how much I've enjoyed the journey this series has led me on and, though I struggled to get through Mistborn, the second book seems to be reeling me in much more effectively and makes me want to finish them out. (less)