It took a while for me to get into this one and really figure out the mythology because it works so differently than what I'm used to with vampire tal...moreIt took a while for me to get into this one and really figure out the mythology because it works so differently than what I'm used to with vampire tales. But once I did, I really enjoyed it. This is the second book by Tim Powers I've read and I'll definitely be reading more. He writes well, is very creative, and both have been weird tales that nevertheless drew me in and kept me turning pages.(less)
Who would've thought a book could be about math, philosophy, social commentary, unknown dimensions, family relationships, and more all at once? And wh...moreWho would've thought a book could be about math, philosophy, social commentary, unknown dimensions, family relationships, and more all at once? And who would've thought such a book would be so fun to read? I didn't know much about this book when I picked it up, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it highly. It's short and sweet and a quick read.(less)
Good and interesting information. Not great writing or editing, but still worth reading for quick info on the development, history & current state...moreGood and interesting information. Not great writing or editing, but still worth reading for quick info on the development, history & current state of the vampire mythos. (less)
I enjoyed this book so much more than the first in the series, Soulless. I liked Soulless, it just had a little too much of the romance novel to it fo...moreI enjoyed this book so much more than the first in the series, Soulless. I liked Soulless, it just had a little too much of the romance novel to it for my personal taste. There's much less of that here, so if that's what you mainly enjoyed about Soulless, you might not like this one as much. But honestly I can't see that happening. There's still everything that made me enjoy Soulless: the wit, humor, lovable characters, adventure, mystery, Victorian steampunk, etc., etc., etc.... And I so love Alexia and Conall and their relationship. From the description, I was afraid Conall might be absent for much of the book and I would miss their entertaining interactions, but there was plenty to keep me satisfied, but not enough to overshadow Alexia's relationships with all her other friends and new acquaintances. I have a feeling that this series is just going to get better and better and I can't wait for the next installment.(less)
This is a first book, so I'm going to give constructive criticism. I hope that's what the author wants and that it helps him, even if just a little. D...moreThis is a first book, so I'm going to give constructive criticism. I hope that's what the author wants and that it helps him, even if just a little. Due to that, there will be spoilers.
Firstly let me say that I've had the opportunity to read other first novels and couldn't even finish some of them. I did finish this one, so that's a big positive right off the bat. And I didn't finish it just to get it finished. I was genuinely interested in where the story was going and what would happen to the characters.
The prose was a little dry for my taste, but I've experienced that in this type of sci-fi from established authors, so that's not necessarily a deal-breaker I suppose. It just had little flow and no beauty to the use of the language and how the words were strung together. It got the job done as far as telling the story, but it wasn't nearly as enjoyable (to me, a professed book and language snob) as it could have been.
The descriptions of the battles and fights were often confusing to me. Granted, I've had no experience with those types of situations and don't read lots of books where battles play a major role, but I have read some good ones, so I know it can be described so that people like me will be able to keep up with the action.
The characters were decently portrayed. Some of the supporting cast could have used a little more fleshing out, but overall I felt that I knew the characters and understood their motivations. The biggest problem I had was that the characters too often did things that contrasted with what I'd been led to expect about them. Even right at the beginning, before there had been much action, I could have told you that Jace Spade would never have fallen for the not-even-thinly-veiled deceptions by Dr. Mahlis. It was far too predictable and easily spotted, yet Spade blindly and faithfully followed along, despite the fact that he'd been given no reason whatsoever to trust Dr. Mahlis.
Those are my major problems but, like I said, I've seen far worse first novels. (less)
This gets three stars only because of the fact that it did draw me in and engross me, as did the first two books of the trilogy. However, another simi...moreThis gets three stars only because of the fact that it did draw me in and engross me, as did the first two books of the trilogy. However, another similarity between all the books is that there are just so many weaknesses. I had really high hopes and was so ready to hear about the full-blown rebellion of the districts - finally - but was once again let down by Ms. Collins. I don't think she'll be gaining my readership again after this.
First, my few kudos. (And there are spoilers, so proceed being duly warned. I just hate hiding the entire review when the first part doesn't have spoilers and might be of use to someone who hasn't read the book yet.) Ms. Collins is a good storyteller. It's rare that I'm so engrossed in a book that annoys and disappoints me so much at the same time. I can't deny that particular talent of hers. It just makes me that much more disappointed in her plotting of the stories.
It was good to see a different Peeta, even if it was brought about by torture and brainwashing. At least it brought him (in the end) to a more realistic view of Katniss. I don't think I could have dealt with him continuing to idolize such an undeserving person. Loving her despite her flaws? Much better. I also really like Gale in this book. He's far from perfect, but he tries to do what's right, he admits it when he screws up, he struggles with things he feels are the best course of action even though they may be bad things in and of themselves, and he has a (relatively) realistic view of Katniss and is her friend and tries to help her anyway.
Also, I did appreciate the realistic view of war as a horrid thing that can make good people do truly awful things in the name of their cause. I would have appreciated more exposition on the guilt/sorrow/self-doubt/etc. this surely must lead to, as well as a little more heroism in the face of it all.
And now, the negatives. I'm really not sure I can express how much I dislike Katniss. Yes, she was great with the wounded soldiers in the field hospital and in the battle following and her words against the Capital were true and truly inspiring. But overall, she's so self-absorbed that even this little bit of heroism rang false to me. Thank goodness for her publicity team, or I have a feeling this would have been a very short-lived rebellion if it was truly so dependent on her motivating the troops. Did she ever once listen to any advice from anyone? Granted there were those who were using her for their own purposes and only cared about her insofar as she could advance their own ends, but one thing I do like about her is that she seems pretty adept at recognizing those people and their motives. She also had people who truly cared about her and the cause and wanted to help her in her role as the Mockingjay. But she mostly ignored them as thoroughly as she ignored everyone else. It was due not to her, but to her team and supporters that most of the stupid crap she pulled didn't end disastrously. Realistic characters need flaws, but Katniss desperately needs some good qualities (besides her amazing aim) to balance out all her bad ones. And all I'll say about her treatment of Gale and Peeta is that they both deserve someone much, much better.
I wasn't happy with the way most of the deaths were handled. I knew some deaths were really going to make me upset, because it's war and that's what happens. Not everyone lives, and the line isn't drawn by whether the readers like the character or not. I also realize that it's unrealistic for soldiers in the midst of battle to be able to stop and grieve when one of their fellows dies and that necessarily this will cause some deaths to feel too quick and unacknowledged at the time they happen. But this must be balanced out with closure later. Grieving, honoring, and remembering are important and they were just absent, which was disappointing.
Prim's death really bothered me at the time, but the more I think about it, the more I understand Ms. Collin's choice here. My first reaction was "WTF?" After everything Katniss did to keep her alive, it all comes to nothing and she dies?! But, it also reinforces that our principal motivation for doing something isn't always the only honorable or important motivation and that even if that goal ends in failure, there is still good that is accomplished.
And in the end, I didn't like the end. Far too rushed. I don't mind the things that actually happened, but it was all too quick to actually get to experience any of it. Although, that's a complaint I have about a number of books. It's like authors are good at telling an exciting story and when they get to the end, they're not able to go from the exciting climax down the gentle slope that's truly needed to wrap things up. Instead they just sort of drop us off a cliff and as we're falling there are these billboards that flash by almost too quickly to read that tell us what happened next and in the rest of the characters' lives. Then we hit bottom with a jolt and it's all over and we're left feeling... well... dropped off a cliff. (less)