I almost never finished this book because it violated my 100 page rule - if I don't like a book by 100 pages in, I can put it down and we c(3.5 stars)
I almost never finished this book because it violated my 100 page rule - if I don't like a book by 100 pages in, I can put it down and we can both move on with our lives. The whole first half of this book was filled with clunky dialogue, a supremely annoying main character, writing that was mostly telling, not showing, and a totally cliched plotline involving a highschool that was more suited for the 1980's than hundred(s?) of years in the future.
BUT the SECOND half of the book was just great. The Plastine and plot and utter creepiness of her parents, and the big reveal of (view spoiler)[Bren's grandfather being Xander (hide spoiler)] which I sort of suspected, but still surprised me. I really liked Otto. I can see how this was set up with room for a sequel, or even a trilogy, but I thought the ending wrapped it up well - I was pretty satisfied.
I don't think I've ever been so conflicted about rating a book - the second half was definitely 5 stars, but the first half almost lost me. The only reason I kept going was because I was reading this as part of a group, and some of them finished it before me, and gave it high ratings, and I had to find out why. It was not because the story or writing hooked me in. I understand WHY the writing was done that way - it's from Rose's perspective, and she's slow-witted waking up from stass. It got quicker and flowed more as Rose woke up & took control of her life. If I wrote a story from my perspective while I was recovering from a migraine it would involve a lot of long boring pauses and simple phrases as well. It worked with the story as a whole, I wish I had some solid editorial advice to give to fix the problems I had with the beginning but I don't. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The number one thought I had throughout this book was - and this is not intended to offend any Australians, and absolutely exposes me as an American iThe number one thought I had throughout this book was - and this is not intended to offend any Australians, and absolutely exposes me as an American ignorant of world affairs - but who the heck would want to invade AUSTRALIA? Seriously, from a military standpoint, what advantage does that give you? Yeah, a whole lot of sparsely populated land that's difficult to defend, on an island, basically, not near anything else on the planet. If your goal was to set up a secret base of operations, why not just fly in to the middle of the outback, and have it be REALLY secret, instead of taking over a small town? Even if it is a small town on the way to somewhere else. What sort of step up does having control of an Australian city give you, in the scheme of things?
Also, no offense to anyone I know in real life, but if we are in a crisis situation where we have to decamp to the wilderness and I have to pick between you and my dogs, I hope you know how that decision would pan out.
I thought this book held up surprisingly well for being almost 20 years old, it fits right in to the post-apocalyptic YA trend that's going on now. The technology didn't feel dated or out of place, which was nice. The characters were well differentiated, but I was not all THAT interested in them, personally. All the teenager-in-love storylines were boring, to me. I was most interested in the invasion & occupation, and the story of the hermit.
I was a little disappointed in the ending - so many things were just left hanging. I guess that's the way it is with a series, but I was frustrated. I want to know who has invaded and why, but I'm not sure if I'm invested enough in the characters to read the other books in the series or just summaries online. ...more
This one was not great. The characters are mostly unlikeable people, definitely unsympathetic people, there is not a great plot, and the dialogue wasThis one was not great. The characters are mostly unlikeable people, definitely unsympathetic people, there is not a great plot, and the dialogue was flat. Also, this was Georgian as opposed to Regency, not what I was expecting.
The only bright spot was the trio of Pelham and Pommeroy and Edward Heron. The other thing that kept me going through this was the incredible detail. Otherwise, ugh....more
This review will be wholly unhelpful to anyone who is not me, FYI.
Ahhhh! I had the niggling sensation about halfway through this book that it was someThis review will be wholly unhelpful to anyone who is not me, FYI.
Ahhhh! I had the niggling sensation about halfway through this book that it was something I had read before, a very long time ago, when I was a little little kid, and when I had gotten about 2/3 through it I was POSITIVE I had, AND parts of this story have been appearing in my dreams for about 20 years, but I could never identify where they came from. I feel like I have to give it 5 stars at least because I am so thrilled to make this discovery, the murder and mistaken identities (especially the scene with Cedric, near the end) and madcap-style action, the stagecoach overturning and Pen all dressed in boy's clothes. I have no idea where I read this previously because I can't think of anyone I knew 20 years ago who would have had this. (I can very easily see myself reading this as an 8 year old, no one really cared what I read, plus it seems like something I would pick. In retrospect, a great book for an 8 year old, many crazy antics, fabulous language, & only one murder.) Was this ever a stage play, or ripped off as a stage play? That part might have been part of the dreams.
As it is, I would give the story, characters, etc 3 stars for being amusing & entertaining, but not paragons of literary style, per se, with a whole extra star for the personal discovery of a long lost book.
This book had the kind of prose where finishing each page felt like an accomplishment. Not to say it was bad! JustI think this is closer to 3.5 stars.
This book had the kind of prose where finishing each page felt like an accomplishment. Not to say it was bad! Just very weighty, for such a lighthearted subject. (Lots of family/inheritance/property rights drama for a supposed romance) I felt like I missed SO much significance because I am not familiar with colloquialisms of the regency period. The plot itself was not complicated, and I ended up liking or being amused by the characters (caricatures, many of them).
This is going to sound weird, but one of the reasons I like these books (see also: Sylvester, Venetia), and find them refreshing, is that I have been reading so much for so long now, it is unusual for me to come across a word or phrase that I’m unfamiliar with. It’s a unique experience for me to have to puzzle out a situation given conversational clues, and that definitely occurred in this book. I felt like I gained a small amount of (completely inconsequential) knowledge after finishing this....more
This was a cute story - as with Seraphina, I really appreciated how fleshed out the world is. So much detail! The characters are not as developed in tThis was a cute story - as with Seraphina, I really appreciated how fleshed out the world is. So much detail! The characters are not as developed in this story, but it was still sweet. I am impressed that the author both wrote and illustrated this. 3.5 stars, if possible!...more
I am sort of shocked that I am rating this 4 stars. I would not recognize John Barrowman if I bumped into him, but this was recommended by friends whoI am sort of shocked that I am rating this 4 stars. I would not recognize John Barrowman if I bumped into him, but this was recommended by friends who are Dr Who fans, so I was a little suspect. It is hard to tell from the reviews on goodreads whether the high ratings are due to the fact that this is written by an actor, or because it's actually a good book. (Before reading this, I suspected the former.)
I was pleasantly surprised! It has an interesting magic system and an interesting plot, and I was interested in the characters the whole time I was reading, even though it was sort of obvious who one of the bad guys was the first time she was introduced. Some of the scenarios are a little ridiculous, and it got a little annoying that the twins would constantly do the exact opposite of what they were told to do.
I loved the connection to art and the artistic system of magic. And illuminated manuscripts! I am happy that I read this despite my initial reluctance about the author.
Edited - I am revising this down to 3 stars because I can't remember any of the characters' names a week after finishing this. Not a good sign....more
I was a little worried when I started this about how the Red Riding Hood story would be worked into the world described in Cinder, but I ended up beinI was a little worried when I started this about how the Red Riding Hood story would be worked into the world described in Cinder, but I ended up being very impressed, the two characters and basic plots fit together really well.
This book was structured almost in an every-other-chapter POV switch between Scarlet and Cinder, so the Cinder story continued throughout also. I was really pleased about that, especially because it turned out I did not like Scarlet very much as a character. Always so angry and impetuous! But it was good in a way because it made it feel as though Cinder and Scarlet were actually different people.
This would have been much more confusing if I had not read The Queen's Army first - none of that backstory is explained in this book. ...more
This was an okay transition story between the Cinderella story of Cinder and a Red Riding Hood story, which I think is what Scarlet is about. I was noThis was an okay transition story between the Cinderella story of Cinder and a Red Riding Hood story, which I think is what Scarlet is about. I was not clear initially how the two stories would be connected in this world, and this short story helped with that.
Other than that, I did not really care about the characters too too much. The genetic modifications were interesting, as were the werewolves, but the individuals themselves did not really inspire me....more
I really wish I had read this before reading Cinder, or that it was left in as the first chapter, or included as a flashback. Since it's the story ofI really wish I had read this before reading Cinder, or that it was left in as the first chapter, or included as a flashback. Since it's the story of how Cinder gets adopted and finds Iko and the basis of her relationship with her stepsisters & stepmother, a lot more about the characters made sense to me after I read this. (Although it shouldn't count as a book on its own for book-count purposes - only 19 pages long!)...more
I finished this book and immediately wanted to read book 2, which sadly does not exist yet. I enjoy fairy tale retellings generally, but I think thatI finished this book and immediately wanted to read book 2, which sadly does not exist yet. I enjoy fairy tale retellings generally, but I think that a lot of the time they end up being too similar to each other. This was a completely different world and I thought it worked really well. I am very curious about how the story will be continued in the next book. I would also love to read a non-Cinderella story set in this same world. ...more
I feel like I have to give this one 5 stars because there are very few books that actually make me laugh out loud when I am reading them in public, anI feel like I have to give this one 5 stars because there are very few books that actually make me laugh out loud when I am reading them in public, and there were several scenes in this one that did. LOVED the dialogue. I felt like I missed some key moments due to my lack of knowledge about horse-drawn transportation, but this was still great to read. ...more
I got about 4 pages into this before I had to go look up profiles of all 3 of the James siblings on Wikipedia (William, Henry, Alice), because I realiI got about 4 pages into this before I had to go look up profiles of all 3 of the James siblings on Wikipedia (William, Henry, Alice), because I realized I knew nothing about any of them. After I read the profiles, and got a little farther into the book, I started questioning why this story was written as, essentially, Real Person Fanfiction instead of an original work with fictional characters. It seemed like the circumstances and narrative were stretched to hang over the framework of the James family dynamic, where a set of characters not based on historical figures could have offered a lot more flexibility. Unless – and this was not made clear on Wikipedia – the James siblings did actually investigate Jack the Ripper?
The character of Alice and her personal circumstances (an invalid solving crimes) are interesting, and she was my favorite character of the book. I wish she got more screen time, especially given the title, I was not prepared for her brothers to be featured so prominently. However – I think the concept – a shut in solving mysteries – has been done MUCH better previously, by Rex Stout, with Nero Wolfe.
One of the things that drove me crazy in this book was the rampant unnecessary namedropping. (To be fair, this also drove me crazy in March, another instance of (I felt) Real Person Fanfiction, but one that won the Pulitzer, so clearly I was alone in that opinion.) But in this book, it was like the names of other famous people were being used to authenticate the characters and the setting. Drove. Me. Nuts. Nevermind the number of literary figures of the time that were included - at least there was a flimsy excuse for having them all involved, due to Henry James. But William Minor? (The Madman of The Professor & the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity & the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary) Why was this necessary?
The writing style was also lacking - especially in dialogue between characters. For someone trying to give the impression of an author (Henry James) with a tendency towards verbose and lengthy speech (examples here), having the (fictional) Henry James speak in short simplistic sentences was just poor judgement on the part of this author.
For a book that is ostensibly a mystery/thriller, the plot is not mysterious or thrilling.
I will end with this statement, from the Wikipedia page on Henry James, which describes everything this book is not. "James claimed that a text must first and foremost be realistic and contain a representation of life that is recognisable to its readers. Good novels, to James, show life in action and are, most importantly, interesting. The concept of a good or bad novel is judged solely upon whether the author is good or bad."...more
I do not understand Brandon Sanderson. He writes incredible epic length books. He comes up with inventive, creative, unique magic systems for each newI do not understand Brandon Sanderson. He writes incredible epic length books. He comes up with inventive, creative, unique magic systems for each new universe he writes about. The man teaches writing, finishes series for other authors like it's nothing, and comes up with thousands of pages of great stuff every year, without fail.
AND he can write short stories. This one was great. Different universe, different magic system, memorable characters, unique problems for them to solve. Loved it....more
There are already a ton of long analytical reviews of this book, so I'll make it short.
I liked this book a LOT. I think a big problem with many contemThere are already a ton of long analytical reviews of this book, so I'll make it short.
I liked this book a LOT. I think a big problem with many contemporary modern day character studies is that the characters themselves are flat and one dimensional - in this book, every character was so much like a real person they could have popped up off the page and started walking around. They did not seem at all like they were designed to fill a mold established by the author, they were real people, doing good things and bad things and okay things and dumb things.
It was not anything like Harry Potter.
I really appreciated the ensamble drama - how the characters interacted or didn't. It was very much like many BBC series set in small towns, but updated to more accurately reflect modern times, with flawed characters.
The writing style, especially in the use of dialect, reminded me of Elizabeth Gaskell.
I wish there were footnotes instead of endnotes for this book. (Actually, I wish that about all books. Footnotes are awesome.) I felt like this was aI wish there were footnotes instead of endnotes for this book. (Actually, I wish that about all books. Footnotes are awesome.) I felt like this was a good overview of the current research about sleep medicine, but it did not really get into next steps, or future solutions. The writing style was great, though, very easy to read.
I wish more people (and by people I mean corporations) took sleeping more seriously. Especially since it can affect so many areas of health. I really hate the macho American culture of competing to see who can get by on the least sleep. The results from the school districts that changed their schedule were fascinating, I don't understand why more wouldn't make the same change to boost test scores, since it is a relatively low cost solution. Ah well.
My own body's personal sleep preference is ideally 8-9 hours, from midnight-2am to 8-10 am. Currently, I have to get up between 5-6am, which falls right in a slow wave NREM sleep cycle, which means I wake up every single morning in a state of sleep inertia. This is the number one thing I would immediately change about my life if I won the lottery or became suddenly wealthy, because it makes every morning terrible. This book did not have many solutions for this kind of problem. But I do know more about why it happens, now....more
I thought the mystery in this was not so mysterious, and the ending was not that much of a surprise, but the characterization was just so great that II thought the mystery in this was not so mysterious, and the ending was not that much of a surprise, but the characterization was just so great that I did not really care. It was a little strange having all the characters just happen to be in this extremely secluded setting in another country, with no forethought or planning, but it made for a convenient story. I personally love that one of the main characters suffers from awful migraines, I identify with this part. Cannot wait for the next book....more
I am going to say right now that this was one of those books that was not super great overall, but it came at a good time for me. The whole thing distI am going to say right now that this was one of those books that was not super great overall, but it came at a good time for me. The whole thing distinctly had the feeling of being an early season Star Trek TNG episode, where there is a very linear plotline and a very clear mission and every character has exactly one personality trait which makes them either a) GOOD or b) BAD. There is also a lot of moralizing on the part of the main character, who is not the brightest star in the galaxy. I kept waiting for them to discuss the Prime Directive but it never came up, since this is technically not a Star Trek book.
Thinking about this analytically, this was not a great book.
I listened to the audiobook version, which was 100% excellent at achieving its primary goal - it made me not think about the fact that I was driving in horrible traffic for 3 hours per day. And it was oddly mesmerizing, like a radio serial drama.
Some of the writing was downright bad - I wanted to take a red pen to it most of the time. But the battle scenes were great - realistic and time delayed, with relativistic distortion and lagging communications.
And it passes the Bechdel test, which was surprising for a military scifi book.
I liked this much more than I thought I would....more