Okay, so maybe I don't quite understand the concept of "older style" writing, which is why I was a little reluctant to enjoy this book. However, havinOkay, so maybe I don't quite understand the concept of "older style" writing, which is why I was a little reluctant to enjoy this book. However, having read my fair share of Jane Austen books as well as those high school required classics, I have an idea how to follow books like this. Unfortunately, I probably just couldn't get into this one enough to fairly judge its premise, story line or even character develop (all of which felt like there really was none, save for the same old, same old).
This is a book described as a Victorian ghost story by some. And while it seems that MY concept of a ghost story and some OTHER people's idea of a ghost story might be a bit different, I had at least been expecting SOME element of ghostly wonder. At the very least, I wanted it to be creepy or scary or that it would instill some sort of fear or spine-tingling chill up my spine. Instead, it just turned out to be a long drawn out narration about how one particular duration of time in one man's life had completely changed his life and scared him into silence.
And to be totally honest, while there were some points in this book that I could follow really well and enjoyed, those moments disappeared pretty quickly as I easily lost interest after a few more sentences and started wandering around to find something else to do. The entire first half of the book was awkwardly loaded with detail about the narrators life and his take on his own personality as well as vague detail about how some incident he came across affected him immensely. And of course, there really was NO NEED for Mr. Kipps to keep referencing that incident in such secretive terms because, as the summary of the book would tell you, this is a ghost story and we are all aware that he had encountered something awful and haunting.
So a lot of the beginning of the book was build-up that just seemed like it was awfully unnecessary. In fact, if we just skipped straight ahead to the moment where he arrives in Crythin and starts going through the home of the deceased Mrs. Drablow, it would have cut off a whole lot of boring. However, even were THAT the case, it seemed like the heavily loaded descriptions about the narrator's state of mind and how he comes to have that state of mind (from childhood revelations to current knowledge and insight) still made up at least 90% of each chapter. Very little of the narration draws upon the historical happenings of Eel Marsh House, and very little of the narration deals with the horror of the actual haunting. And in turn, the same events seemed to happening nightly and we only get to see what the narrator is feeling and thinking, each and every time that the horrific hauntings take place.
I'll admit: I got frustrated and bored and even a little ready to just drop the book and move on. But I've already dropped too many books this year and I figured that I would be damned if I didn't finish this one (especially since I somehow managed to get through more than 50% of it). I remember very little of the story line, however, save for the same repetitive haunting of Eel Marsh House told in three or maybe four or maybe even five separate parts of the book. I read, but didn't pay much attention to all of Mr. Kipps' narration about his own feelings and emotions. And I was quite disappointed that the story was NOT scary and didn't even wager a cent of spine-tingling eeriness.
And of course, since a lot of the haunting seemed like typical, standard ghost story lore, none of it was surprising to me. And the rest of the book was quite predictable.
Maybe this just wasn't a book for me. Or maybe I had been expecting too much out of it, or expecting something quite different. There were moments where I DID enjoy it if only because I thought that the story line was starting to get a little exciting. But then when it kept on going in the same way it had been, I just couldn't find it in me to like it at all. It IS well, written, in terms of description and style; but it just wasn't very attractive, at least not enough for my taste.
So basically, while some may find this writing style great, I just couldn't find it in myself to enjoy the book. It says a lot when I can barely remember certain details about it to be memorable at all. And the fact that everyone was so closed-mouthed about the historical events surrounding Eel Marsh House and the woman in black and the deceased Mrs. Drablow... but then finally, one of the characters decides to suddenly talk about it quite freely without any goading or such... Really, what was THAT all about? Faux de machina to shed some light on the entire haunting debacle?...more
EDIT 3/2/2012: Okay... I couldn't do it. After finishing half of the book, I found myself setting it down and saying that I would come back to it laterEDIT 3/2/2012: Okay... I couldn't do it. After finishing half of the book, I found myself setting it down and saying that I would come back to it later. Later ended up being about three weeks later and when I picked it back up, I was a little reluctant to continue reading it. Why? I'm sure it had a lot to do with the fact that I really just didn't want to go through another two hundred pages of this never ending forbidden love.
Bella loves Edward, Edward loves Bella, but they're trapped in this somewhat flimsy "We can't be together because of obvious reasons" forbidden love drama. And yet... they STILL get together even if just to hang out and see each other and be together and NOT make-out. I mean, they're together, but they don't admit that they are officially together. But Bella DOES refer to him as her boyfriend even though they aren't official because Edward's afraid that he'll somehow lose his senses and kill her.
I say: "Just turn her into a vampire already! It'll solve all sorts of problems, really." But who am I to judge the logic of the Twilight world, right?
Maybe I couldn't finish this book because of the main female lead. I DO have issues liking a story line if I don't like the characters. I once did drop an anime series (yes, I watch anime too) because I couldn't find one likable character. And the story line didn't fair too well either.
The story line of Twilight isn't much better. Well, let me rephrase that: The story of a normal high school girl falling in love with a god-like vampire boy is something that I could probably buy into. However, three hundred pages (because that's how far I got) of a girl mooning over her forbidden love that was reciprocated anyway... I couldn't take it anymore. This story could have been edited down to around a hundred pages and maybe I would have been a little more forgiving. Or if the adventure started somewhere earlier on in the first book, I would have had a reason to keep reading. But as I was told, after Bella and Edward have their mutual affections not quite acknowledged by each other, some villain will show up and well... apparently that's when it starts getting interesting.
Okay... Well, why didn't we get the villain and the intrigue to begin with. At the very least, incorporate the villain somewhere in the beginning so that I have SOMETHING to look forward to. While I like the occasion romance story (since I'm a sucker for rom-coms and romantic dramedies all around) I don't mind a story being based off of just a pair of lovers getting together. But it should at least be interesting... and written well. If the narration were at least witty, then I could follow it a little better and have better thoughts of Bella.
But no. I don't like Bella for her personality, her wannabe emo drama queen tendencies, her complete dedication to letting her entire life revolve around Edward every day, 24/7, and her lack of witticisms. She is JUST not an interesting person to follow. And her tendencies to be arrogant where she shouldn't be about her academics, about the rest of the peanut gallery going to high school with her... Because this is a case of creating a dull character who is actually the most appealing character in the story just because every other supporting character is created to be even flatter than the main character. No one else in the story has a personality either.
And so, to all of those people who recommended Twilight to me, bugging me to read the book before I judged anything... Twilight is totally NOT the "Best Book Ever". Case closed. At first, before even reading Twilight, I didn't really have much thought about it aside from, "I'm not interested in the vampire genre." Now, after attempting to read it, my impressions of it have gotten even worse. I probably would have been better off just leaving it alone.
However, I DO repeat, that I DO understand where the appeal lies. I get the story and I get cult following. What I DON'T get is how people can say the words "Best Story Ever" or "Best Book Ever" without batting an eye. I mean, sure, it's a cute little love story, based off of the most cliched trope in all romances: a poor, under-appreciated Cinderella girl meets her perfect, worship-worthy Prince Charming. And that's all it is.
And that's pretty much all I need to say about it. I'm sorry I couldn't give a more fair review by finishing the entire book then making my opinions... but I just couldn't find it in myself to pick the book back up and knock out the rest of it without hitting my head with the book a few more times.
Also, if anyone is interested, here's a link to the mid-story review that I wrote just to get some frustrations off my chest: Twilight: 50% Progress Report
First Impression from 2/6/2012 Before anyone starts jumping down my throat about my unfair judgement, let me start by saying that this is sort of like my "Pre-test" to reading Twilight. This is the "First Impression" opinion; the future still holds many possibilities to whether or not my opinions change. And you know what? I'm entitled to first impression opinions too. In the future when I've read and decided whether or not I actually enjoy this book (or even the entire series), THEN we can let the "I told you so's" commence. Until then, bear with me because I DO have lots of opinions.
For as far as I've read (probably just chapter one), Twilight reminds me of something painfully embarrassing about my own past: my first couple attempts at writing my own stories.
Basically this is how it adds up: I take a basic plot and add an ideal heroine to it. Along the way, that ideal heroine ends up becoming more and more Mary Sue to the point that even I start to become annoywed with her. In fact, I keep adding on self-claimed traits that make absolutely no contribution to the story outside of bolstering my Mary Sue into a bigger Mary Sue. While I'm at it, I make said Mary Sue into a self-proclaimed loser... however, due to all of the other descriptive factors about her, we are pretty hard-pressed to believe half of what she says about herself. In essence, she has become the resident high school drama queen despite the fact that she has nothing to throw around about dramatic woes. She's the pretty, smart, misunderstood girl with a heart of gold; but in reality, she's got a nice family, people willing to get to know her, and she's really not as individualistic or alone as she keeps claiming, and honestly NOT that witty either.
For instance, Bella's little cheek about the high school kids of Forks not understanding sarcasm. This is a little snit that would have had more conviction if it had come from someone who was naturally sardonic to begin with; however, so far in her own narration, I have sensed no colorful or creative witticisms. In fact, she's really just telling things as they occur, making a comparison here and there, every so often that seem like an attempt to be witty, but ultimately just end up being flat analysis. If there had been some sarcasm intended in any part of her narration, I must have missed it completely, or just didn't understand it all (my bad).
At best, she seems pretentious and extra-emo-wannabe (which I don't condemn her for because she IS a high school girl after all and we've all been through that phase). At the very least, could she have been written a little more in style rather than on such a bland first impression?
What else can I add? Oh yes. Writing style. Simple, straight forward, yet unattractive and almost too monotonous. Once again, very much like the way I used to attempt writing my own stories -- like I had a stunted vocabulary or something like that.
Bella Swan is an extremely one dimensional character for all I can see right now. It's probably unfair of me to judge her so prematurely (only one chapter into the book), but the fact that she seems to have a lot of qualifiers for her own personality versus how she really sounds versus how she sees herself... it makes it hard to know in which direction she's supposed to eventually develop. She sees herself as an outcast, takes no pleasantries with her mood, attitude, or looks, but almost has an air of feeling like she's the one being singled out when in fact she's the one shoving people away. In terms of character, I'm already not liking her.
HOWEVER, to the benefit of the story itself, I have to admit that it's quite intriguing already. Its only downfall is that it's written with a style very akin to someone at third grade vocabulary level. Short descriptions, using the same expressions and words, no analogies, no words worthy of imagination... Random tidbit information that does story progression no good, but at the very least, they are brief and so you forget about anyway (which makes it kind of unnecessary and you wonder why we need to know about each and every class Bella is attending throughout the day). But the story's idea isn't bad; the premise is attractive enough that its gotten my attention for the next scene or the next chapter to come.
Why is Edward Cullen so hostile to Bella before he's even met her? What's up with the entirety of the high school who seem so curious about Bella? Most of all, already knowing the premise of this story line, what ends up drawing a vampire to Bella when he starts off the very first chapter resenting her very being, repulsed by her presence, and simply angry that he even has to breathe the same air as she does?
For the most part, I have enough of an interest in the story line to continue on with this book. At least I have an idea where it's going and where it will end up. I just want to know what happens to get it there. Unfortunately, it's the character of Bella Swan as well as the writing style that's got me conflicted about how well I'll be able to follow the rest of the story. Nonetheless, after this first chapter, I'm going to be adding this book to my reading list permanently. I'm a sucker for romance anyway, and so if the story develops ideally, then at the very least, I've got a nice romance and a possibly interesting story to follow.
After all, there HAS to be a reason why so many people are so in love with this entire series, right?
I realize that my opinions might seem rather harsh for only having read one chapter. And I realize that people might think that I'm not interested in giving Twilight a fighting chance either. And I admit openly that I really DID start reading this book with the intention of fully NOT enjoying it. Yes, I was looking for faults, which conclusively resulted in my finding of so many of them. Call it bias or call it an anti-popular trend streak I have, but whatever it is, this is exactly how I felt about the beginning of the book.
I'm not the type to be pretentious and hate everything that's popular. I've been on the Harry Potter bandwagon, the Hunger Games tent... so I'm not averse to popularity. And yes, I DO admit that I've had my criticisms of Twilight, prejudged before I've even read or seen the movies. I'm not a fan of vampire genres outside of the original Dracula novel, and have always had issues with weak female leads (of which I've heard so much from others, seems to fit Bella Swan's description). BUT, I'm willing to give this series a chance to change my mind because I don't want to be told that I can't judge a book before I've even had a chance to experience it.
And so, come what may... Maybe by the time I've gotten to the heart of Twilight's conflict (which I've heard doesn't even quite come around until Book Three?), I'll be fully engrossed with the entire world and the story. Maybe I'll even come around to like Bella. But for now, in this present, this post is exactly how I feel about Twilight: my pre-judgement and my "only-one-chapter-in-impression-so-how-dare-I-pass-judgement-so-quickly" first impression opinions....more
I guess being a popularly loved book doesn't necessarily make it a fantastic read. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it, but to be totally honest, thI guess being a popularly loved book doesn't necessarily make it a fantastic read. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it, but to be totally honest, there were a LOT of points throughout that I found myself wanting to find something else to do. In fact, when I finally hit the halfway point, I began to look forward to the ending. And when I consistently checked my progress to see how much further I had until the I could stop reading this book, I realized that the first Maximum Ride book was just NOT capturing my attention at all.
Sure, it was a fast-paced and simple read. I kept at it because there was always that lingering feeling of, "Something seems like it's about to get exciting." But nothing ever really happened. The first 75% of the book focused a little too much on the kids running and escaping and getting chased and running away and fighting Erasers (or getting shoved around by them) and mostly... well, did I mention running away? Okay, so there was that first story arc wherein the youngest of the Flock gets kidnapped and we must go and rescue her -- but even with that, it seemed extremely bland. On top of that "rescue Angel" story arc, each of the rest of the kids kept going into their own little tangents for about two milliseconds and so we spent a lot more time travelling to rescue Angel than we should have. After that, it just kept getting less and less exciting (much less than it had even originally been).
When something finally started coming into focus for the central conflict (aside from running away and escaping) I had gotten a little excited. But then that excitement ebbed pretty quickly and I really just wanted to know when the book would end.
Honestly, the story line isn't a bad one and there is so much potential and future fun to be had with the rest of Maximum Ride and her adventures with the Flock. But somehow, as it had taken so long to even get the central conflict underway, with so much dragged out "running away" and "being beat up" and the like that I'm not sure I'm even really looking forward to the pacing of the second book. I'm curious to see where the rest of the story is headed. I was ecstatic about reading Maximum Ride because of the concept. But there's just too much filler material that could have been cut out completely and STILL the story would have taken off just fine.
I will wait out the next book, but much like for Witch and Wizard, I'm in no hurry to get there. In an uncalled for comparison, I actually found Witch and Wizard much more appealing than Maximum Ride. At the very least, the story progressed very quickly and the humor was a lot more well-received in the former. In Maximum Ride, these kids get to being sarcastic, but it's the type that just makes you roll your eyes rather than laugh out loud (unlike in Witch and Wizard where I found myself chortling and chuckling so many times)....more
I don't quite have words. I'm not quite sure I'm sure I know what was going on in this book. There was a lot of attacking and there was a lot of stranI don't quite have words. I'm not quite sure I'm sure I know what was going on in this book. There was a lot of attacking and there was a lot of strange analogies and a lot of strange things happen. But in the end, what exactly was going on? I'm not quite sure. Rather than being a fast-paced read (which it sort of was) that I enjoyed like I had the first book, this one, I constantly found myself loathe to continue. And when I DID continue, I found myself eager to get to the end.
Because in the end, we get back to square one, with no new developments really, with a lot of the same stuff happening that happened in the first book. Of course, there's a whole new mysterious occurrence that bugs me, because it makes me curious. But, honestly, I think I could live without knowing right away what happens next in this somewhat saga.
And the humor that I had found funny from the first book -- a lot of it just seemed rather cheesy this time around. And a lot of happenings just seemed nonsensical.
The best thing about this book: it was a fast-paced read and slightly entertaining....more
It was the premise of the story plot that got me interested in the first place, and I have to admit that the build up was doing a pretty good job settIt was the premise of the story plot that got me interested in the first place, and I have to admit that the build up was doing a pretty good job setting up the world and the conflict. However, halfway into the story, it just felt like a chore to read when the conflict continued to be "discussed" rather than progressed on. I admire that there is a strong female heroine in this story, but I feel like Una Fairchild fit into the world too easily after being transported from the world of Readers. She almost instantly began to behave the same way that all the "characters" of Story behaved and you couldn't even really tell that she wasn't part of Story. Nothing seemed entirely strange to her and she readily accepted each and every new strange occurrence. Maybe it was the fact that she was still young and open-minded, or maybe it has to do with the ultimate reason why she had been Written In to Story, but never had this issue been brought up about how easily she fit into Story.
The characters ran a bit flat and I found that aside from that mysterious conflict going on from Story's history, I didn't really care what happened to the main characters at all. Peter Merriweather was an admirable main male lead as well, except for a young kid who's afraid of failing his practical exams and who came from a good, wholesome family, he seemed to have no problems bending rules, skipping classes, and getting into trouble. It seemed as if each character was just "playing a role" rather than coming to life as their own character.
I plan on reading the next book, but I'm not really anticipating it too much. It's one of those, "I'll read it when I see it next, or whenever I have time" types of things....more
My main issue with this book, I think, was the third person, present tense narration. It somehow made the story and its characters seem a lot more impMy main issue with this book, I think, was the third person, present tense narration. It somehow made the story and its characters seem a lot more impersonal and harder to relate with. I like the idea of relating archaeology with a modern crime mystery, because aside from being a sleuthing reader, you also learn a few interesting things about history and culture. As I'd already mentioned in a status update, the only parts of the book that actually caught my attention were when we were investigating the little girls' kidnappings and when Ruth explained about some archaeology facts. Outside of that, the more personal sides of the characters seemed... well, tedious, and I found myself being hard-pressed to really care.
So this book wasn't terrible, but I just didn't really care for it much. It was written well despite the present tense usage, but it just wasn't for me....more