Yeah no. The reviews have made me realize just how much of a flopping crappiness this boOMG THIS IS THE BEST COVER I'VE EVER SEEN.
Edited 26 April 2013
Yeah no. The reviews have made me realize just how much of a flopping crappiness this book is. Another case of the cover being beautiful and the book a rambunctious decree of death on humanity. (*cough* Mara Dyer) But yeah. Noooo. Not reading this. I wish I could have the original cover art to hang on my wall, though, without the title and author. ...more
Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lo**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW**
Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I'm going to try really, really hard to make this review as gentle as I can let it be. But make no mistake: I did not, at all, like this book.
Let's just discard some misinformation first. That first line in the summary? "An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure"? That is not true. At least, not for me. Let me explain.
This book is not exotic, because I felt the writing was very bland. The story was told with a sort of detachment, and no real emotions were really explored. It was very "this happened, now this, now oh look here's something else that's happened, and oh my, this is all very tragic". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Ms. Forster can't write. Surely she can. But her style was just really not my type. Also, this book is not "entirely original". Sure, it sounds absolutely amazing and original. I thought so, too. But upon reading it, I realized that it utilizes the same variation of court intrigue that Alison Goodman's Eon series does so well, except it doesn't do it so well. It's a flurry of events that do have consequences, but are not developed. It's like watching a movie unfold when nothing seems important to you because nothing connects. Not the two-dimensional characters, not the paper-cut out world, not the misuse of Asian culture, and certainly not the absolutely unscintillating romance.
Romance first: I'm so unsure as to where the whole thing was going. It was a nice tentative thing at first--no insta-love here, and yay, a backstory!--but... it was so flat. I wished I could proclaim what so profoundly breathes life into characters, because then and only then will some people deem me qualified to talk, but as a reader and a blogger/reviewer, all I can say is that I didn't feel anything. It was more "meh" to me than anything else, and the whole thing seemed to be going in a thousand different directions at once (do you see the pun tucked in there?).
I told you this review was going to be negative, so I'll wrap it up with this last bit of complaint that is quite personal and most likely won't affect most of you.
I'm 100% Chinese. I grew up in China. I'm quite sure I'm of enough caliber to analyze my culture, so let's look. I realize that Miriam mentioned somewhere that this book is based off of South Asian cultures, and I also understand the gap in translation. I've gone to enough museums to know that "the green-leafed Spring" is an acceptable, translated painting name, etc. But this book had so. many. of the long-named translations like "in the name of the Long-Tailed Cat" that it was ludicrous. I've never read an Asian-based fantasy that used this many "translations". Most of them didn't even contain any, or just one/two. This whole bizarre use of Asian culture/terminology (whether or not it's Chinese, I've Asian blood in me, and I've studied this whole shebang enough times that I see a book not fully researched when I read it the first time) was just distracting. I could barely focus on the story when the meh writing and misused culture/terminology made me want to just, oh, I don't know, headdesk really really hard.
Overall, you definitely can give City of a Thousand Dolls a try. Warning, though: if you want a good Asian-based fantasy that will rock your socks off, I cannot say that this book is it. ...more
I will not write a full review on this, mostly because if I do then I might com1:12 AM.
That is the exact minute I finished this book.
And I'm so happy.
I will not write a full review on this, mostly because if I do then I might come across as rude--this book is the worst book I've ever read, after all. I'm not going to analyze it here, because it's late and I'm analyzing it for school anyway and I'd appreciate it not doing the evaluation twice. But basically, I'm just... I don't know. I cried while reading this book--not for the children, mind you, though their situation was terrible--no, I cried because it was so bad. At least, to me it was.
So yeah. There won't be a full review, and I do hope I won't have to remember this book later on in my life.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you haActual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you have to write a negative review for a book you have been so viciously anticipating, but candidly, in the case of Kill Me Softly, what started out as an intriguing and deliciously creepy dark tale quickly sunk below the level of no-return.
The focal point of my irritation for Kill Me Softly is its main character; when readers say a character can make or break a story, it's true. Mirabelle is blessed with kindness and intelligence--neither of which she turns out to possess. She started out interesting, and she was even acting like how I would've acted in her situation, which made me instantly like her. But though the beginning and end of the novel were strong peaks in a typical genre, the middle was as frustrating as trying to split cement with chopsticks. (Bad example, I know. But hopefully you know what I mean.) She was constantly furious and acted extremely selfish, and was again and again endowed in insta-lust. No, not love, though she repeated the ILY enough times to make me headdesk just twice as much, but she was truly blind to the fact that it was lust she was trapped in. I mean, if you're buying a sexy nightgown the day after you meet a hot guy you don't even know, and then when some... really bad stuff happen, and you discover terrible secrets, you run back to him anyway and scream "I LOVE YOU!", do you call that love? Intelligence? Or perhaps lust and the incredibly narcissistic need to claim someone, even someone infuriatingly evil and insane, as her own?
Speaking of which, here's the other thing that contributed to the trickle-turned-waterfall of my unprecedented distaste: a ferocious passion for possessions that are so obviously dangerous, fatal, and frankly, completely unnecessary. For example: There's a pair of brothers in this book. When Mira falls in "love" with one of them, and then she sees the other one, she literally thinks that he's hers. Which begs the question: is the gift of loyalty truly misplaced in such a conundrum soul as Mira's? And another thing: "kindness." There's an incredibly chivalrous guy in the book, and Mira is a complete... to put it mildly, jerk, to him. And when she insults him in a way that makes me want to punch her, she feels sorry... for herself, because now whatever chivalrous act the boy was going to do for Mira, she's afraid he won't do it anymore. Ah, see, now I'm sick of talking about Mira the Beewitch, so I'll quickly address the last major problem I had with this novel before I go on to explain the one and only redeeming point that let me finish the book. This book glorifies death. Not a few pages go by does it not mention the beauty of death, and here's a direct quote:
"She'd never looked more beautiful, more perfect, than she did when she was dead" -The very first page.
The problem with this is quite simple and moral: the glorification of death is often indirectly influencing the minds of unaware youth--that no, don't worry about death, it will make you beautiful and perfect. Such aggravatingly insinuating thinking just leads me onto one road: the road of not-wistful despise.
Yet through it all, there was one reason that I continued, and it's not my friend's vow that the ending will be worth all the suffering. In truth, I literally stopped and DNFed this book while I was 3/4 of the way through. But my friend urged me and I read on, and I discovered how I held on for so long when the book frustrated and angered me distressingly: the way the story is told. It's a dark fairy tale that rings as true and frightening as the ancient, authentic versions of Cinderella, where the sisters cut off their toes and heels to fit in the shoe, and Sleeping Beauty, who... well, don't read on if you're easily disturbed, but she was raped by the prince.
Yeah. I know. Glorious.
But that's what's truly innovating and solely successful about this book: that it's unapologetically messed up. And so, it's a book I definitely will not recommend for everyone, because not only is the main character a complete pain to force through, but the story is creepy and deadly and gory and brutal.
Yet that's what many seem to appreciate about this book, putting me in the minority. Who knows? You might like it where I failed to see its brilliance, and saw instead its disturbing and potential influence....more