My experiences with Feed can be described like this:
People told me to read it. They gushed about M.T Anderson's writing and pointed out that he won aMy experiences with Feed can be described like this:
People told me to read it. They gushed about M.T Anderson's writing and pointed out that he won a Printz Honor and showed me funny snippets on his website and blog, pointed me towards gushing reviews of the titles from critical sources, simply told me that I had to read this book, had to.
I ignored them. I read many other (great) books. Then I was at the library and spotted Feed in the shelves. The copy looked well worn and well used. I read the back, saw those many critical sources and read the interview with the author at the back, which indeed did show his humor. I took the book home.
I brought the book to school to read, as I often finish books during study halls or assigned reading times. I finished the book in a day during study hall.
And I adored it.
Now, I must admit, I am almost ashamed I didn't read it. Is Feed perfect? No, it isn't. But is it chilling and amazing how much of the future Anderson predicted? (Read this article and you'll see how good he predicted different technologies and concepts in the novel.) Heck, yes. And is Feed an impressive book? Yes times a million.
Feed in the essence, is a dystopia though it preceded the influx of dystopian titles by many years. (And this book really shows what a good dystopia can be, and what impressive world building can do.) Titus and his friends are wild, crazy, and adventurous, and always up to a trip to the moon (a vacation hotspot). They interact via feeds, social networking tools in their brain that allow them to communicate with one another, buy things, and get news. While on the moon, their feeds get hacked and malfuctioned. And Titus meets a girl -- Violet, who is willing to resist the feed, to not buy into the social culture that their society has created. Their feeds get fixed, and soon enough they are back to Earth and continuing on their wild, crazy lifestyles. Titus and Violet begin to fall in love, but as Violet resists more and more, her life falls into danger.
The plot sounds exceedingly simple. We have all seen this before -- people resisting and falling in love -- in many different contexts. What really raises the plot above, what makes the book into something that can be critically acclaimed and well-loved, is the satire. The book is a satire. And it is hilarious. Anderson makes fun of our society, of how we act and how we believe and what we are interested in. The satire is really awesome.
But besides this satire, which made me laugh in more than one place, there are the questions. In many critical reviews in professional review journals, the reviewer will state something along the lines of "the author raises many questions on love, life, and religion" (substitute the descriptors of the questions being raised to suit your fancy). Anderson raises many questions, about our media culture and our technology and our over saturated world, how we act and believe and what we think is important. These questions make the book very thoughtprovoking. It took me a while to read the book, and it is fairly short, because of all the questions. I had to stop, think and ponder. The questions make the book fascinating. They make you think and wonder and really think about the media culture that is in our world today.
This combination -- a mixture of satire and questions -- really elevates Feed up to something that is amazing and deserves the many accolades it has recieved.
If I have a qualm on the plot, even with how wonderful and creative it is, my qualm is that I knew what would happen. I predicted the end of the book early on. And I was right. But I didn't mind turning through 300 pages or so just to get to an ending that I had already guessed, because the questions and the satire made me engaged. I wanted to get to the end so I could keep reading the hilarious jokes and the many raised questions.
The characters are impressive -- Titus is strong and smart and his friends -- who really can be counted as one person (and I think that's how they were intended to be) make sense as teenagers in the future. Violet was my favorite, smart and sweet and willing to resist. I worried that she would be an archetype, nothing more than a "rebeling girl", but she was truly an impressive character and what happened to her broke my heart.
Anderson's writing is strong and easy to read, injecting the right amount of humor and seriousness needed for the book. He's a strong writer and I can see why everyone loves his books. I for one am very interested in reading his other books -- I'd tried reading them before and given up. But enjoying this book has made me want to read the rest of his books.
Frankly, I loved this book, and if you are like me and have been holding off on Feed, I have two words for you: READ IT!
This book is a lot different than Flash Burnout but it's still a fun and intriguing read. L. K Madigan definitly had a great start as a YA author anThis book is a lot different than Flash Burnout but it's still a fun and intriguing read. L. K Madigan definitly had a great start as a YA author and it's saddening that she has passed away.
With Croak Grim Reapers have "entered" the YA world. Now, Grim Reapers are evidently not new, with movies anGo away, vampires; enter the Grim Reapers!
With Croak Grim Reapers have "entered" the YA world. Now, Grim Reapers are evidently not new, with movies and books and plenty of legends about them. However (and correct me if I am wrong) Grim Reapers have not entered the YA world before. I know of some books that touch on reapers but none that are entirely based around reapers. Frankly, I was almost surprised that there had never been a YA book (that I know of; I could be wrong) focusing entirely around these hunters; nowadays there seem to be plenty of books about panoramal creatures and hunters.
The beginning of this book may be a harder sell, and some readers may become disinterested in the book. Lex is a "punk" girl, punching and hurting and harming people and constantly getting warned, suspended, and expelled. Some readers have commented that they found Lex hard to relate to in her actions, but I related to her a bit and didn't dislike her. To me, she seemed to be a girl who didn't know how to understand her emotions and acts. The plot quickly moves away from the more realistic setting into Croak (hence the title) as Lex goes to live with her uncle Mort. Croak, is of course, a town populated entirely by Grim Reapers, and of course, Lex is a Grim Reaper herself, and of course, she is going to learn how to become one.
Some of the plot is based upon tropes: girl learns that she is (insert creature/thing here) must learn how to become (insert creature/thing here) and adjust to becoming (insert creature/thing here). But Croak puts a pretty fresh spin on these tropes, as Lex doesn't want to learn to be a Reaper. But she obliges and begins to learn. This was the other complaint I had with the plot: it was hard to understand the "rules". The Grim Reaper world has created a foundation of rules on which their society is based on, which are a bit complicated. The rules are explained quickly and I still was confused on some aspects (such as Killing and scything) by the end of the book.
However, I did enjoy the plot. Lex is very funny and how she goes about being a Reaper brings extra humor. She has plenty of wild misadventures, and the world of Croak is very funny as well (such as the afterlife populated by fighting famous figures). The world is filled with dark humor and the book knows what is appropriate humor and what is not. I also loved the climax, which is very heartbreaking and perfect for the story while building on towards the next book in the series.
As for the characters, Lex was a strong girl for me with insecurities and motivation. She seemed relatable and interesting, and changed over the course of the story from her "angsty" persona to a better girl. Cordy was another favorite of mine and I loved the sisters' relationship and how it influenced and motivated the plot. I liked Driggs but the romance he developed with Lex was completely unsurprising to me. Uncle Mort was also very funny and the rest of the Reapers were as well.
Gina Damico's writing was strong and interesting. She wrote third person well and I felt that I understood Lex's motivations and feelings very well. Her writing was perfect for the story in my opinion, strong and fresh.
I really enjoyed this book and I'm eager for the sequel, SCORCH, which comes out in the fall. A fun read.
In some advertisements you see and hear that it is “____ for people who don’t like _____”. For instance, when Stephenie Meyer’s The Host first came ouIn some advertisements you see and hear that it is “____ for people who don’t like _____”. For instance, when Stephenie Meyer’s The Host first came out, Little, Brown, her publisher, chose to promote the novel as “science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction.”
I’d say that Silver Phoenix could also be described this way, as “fantasy for people who don’t like fantasy”. It’s built upon genre tropes but starts to triumph and become more of an engaging fantasy, providing enough details for fantasy lovers and enough explanations for those who tend to shy away from the genre.
Ai Ling is going on a quest. After she is almost forced to marry an old man after her father disappears, she decides to go on a quest to save her father and get away from the arranged marriage. She meets up with Chen Yong, who is also on a quest, and his brother Li Rong. Ai Ling soon discovers that she can enter people’s souls, using a necklace that her father gifted her. They must find her father and save the kingdom from an evil dictator.
The crux of the plot is built on a formulaic plot. The first few chapters seemed to almost be a hodgepodge of fantasy cliches: arranged marriage, missing father, quest, secret power. I found the first few chapters fairly boring and mundane, but the plot seemed to pick up once Ai Ling neared found Chen Yong and they started to journey together.
One thing that I disliked about the plot was how sometimes things seemed too quick. Ai Ling would reach somewhere, have to fight a battle, and then they would move on. These chapters would seem to move so fast that I barely understood what was going on without rereading. I understood that Pon wanted to have an action-packed plot, but at times the plot seemed too fast.
Also, the main death of the story — a crucial point — seemed barely dwelled upon. This death greatly impacted the story, and the death and funeral were taken care of in a couple of chapters. The remaining characters would also remark upon the death at times, but as they had grown to spend so much time with this character (and the readers had, too) it seemed like they would spend more time dwelling upon the death.
Otherwise, however, the plot was rich and interesting. The descriptions of food were very intriguing and it made me grateful that I ate lunch while reading this novel. The historical aspects were also done well, without info-dumping of any kind, and added an extra layer to the novel. The book, like I said, would be a good read for both fantasy and non-fantasy lovers, and I can see it having wide appeal. (I also found it funny, that in the “Afterwords” section of the paperback edition, Pon remarks that many readers have sent her angry letters saying that they got extremely hungry while reading the novel.)
The characters I honestly never felt a real attachment towards.I think it was because the novel was more focused on the action aspects then characterization, Ai Ling was a good character, with a goal — save her father — and an interesting personality, but I felt detached from her. I felt like we didn’t learn much about Chen Yong either, and he ws more an archetype — boy searching for his family — than a character. Likewise Li Rong’s jokes were funny, but several people pointed out to me that it seems inappropriate for the time period and that he probably wouldn’t be cracking such crude jokes in, erm, ancient China (or Japan, I’m not sure).
Pon’s writing was strong but it seemed unnecessary to use third person. The only person we ever get inside the head of is Ai Ling, and I think the plot might have been better in a first-person POV.
Above all, though, Silver Phoenix was a good read and i may have to track down the sequel.
That was the first thing I thought after finishing the book. This book had been recommended all over the moon by my Goodreads friends. I Holy crap.
That was the first thing I thought after finishing the book. This book had been recommended all over the moon by my Goodreads friends. I had been eager to read it. It sounded impressive and it was published by Carolholda Lab (a publisher that always seems to have unique and interesting stories).
I got Ultraviolet at the library and started to read. And frankly, I didn't expect to love the book as much as I did. But I did enjoy the book -- no, frankly, I adored it.
I don't think I've ever read a book similar to this, so genre-bending and making you think. This is not an easy book to read, and I knew that the genres changed midway and I was still surprised.
Alison considers herself a murderer. She's convinced that she murdered her archnemisis Tori, who has gone missing. She is sent to a pysch ward after Tori goes missing and finds herself lost and confused and simply wanting to know whether she is the true murderer. Then a new doctor, Faraday, arrives and begins to teach her about her synesthesia. The two connect and form a close bond -- and that's all I can say without spoiling majorly .
I loved the plot for the first half. It was interesting and fresh and I related to Alison. She was a relatable character, and I hated her mother and the doctors and I wanted her to be alright. Faraday was interesting and I loved seeing how his perspective changed Alison's beliefs so much.
And then I reached the second half.
And then I adored the plot. Everything changed in a matter of chapters, a matter of words. The reader is catapulted from one world and thrust into another. The reader is trusted to keep up, to understand what has happened. This genre-bending....is amazing. I rarely see anything like this in YA, seeing something start as something and change into another. I am not going to spoil what the big reveal is, however I will say that it was impressive and the perfect counterpoint to the realistic world that Alison inhabits for the first half.
I loved that Anderson trusted her readers enough, trusted that we could keep up and understand the plot. She raises fascinating questions and comments and really makes you think; she really trusts her readers to understand what is going on.
The characters are impressive -- I related to Alison, as I said, and Faraday's character was intriguing and impressive (as well as being hilarious). I related also to the other teens in the pysch ward, and I loved how being in the ward gave Alison different perspectives on her fellow immates and on life. I really enjoyed reading, personally, about Kirk and Micheline and seeing how their lives changed so much throughout the book.
Anderson's writing is impressive, perfect for straddling between two genres -- fluid and interesting. The writing works perfectly for how the plot goes, and the writing is easy to read.
I loved this book, and I am dying to read the sequel.
To end this review, I will simply restate what I said at the beginning.
I love mysteries. I really do. I love finding out the hints and twists and intricacies of a story, figuring out whodunit and trying to solve the mysI love mysteries. I really do. I love finding out the hints and twists and intricacies of a story, figuring out whodunit and trying to solve the mystery before the characters. Most of the things I've written are mysteries, and I'm not embarrassed to say that several mysteries top my "all-time favorites" list.
Another thing I love is girl detectives. Most people know the most famous ones -- Nancy Drew, etc. I haven't been able to find as many girl detectives in YA -- correct me if I'm wrong. There are girls that solve mysteries, but none that really act as detectives, working together with the police and their friends to solve the case (as Clare and her friends do in this novel). So I was excited to read this book, hoping it would be a good mystery with a fantastic girl detective. I was even more excited when I read the Publishers Weekly starred review, which stated that "Clare is a teen detective for the 21st century".
So I was very excited to read the book.
It had its flaws and shortcomings, but it turned out to be a good mystery with a strong female character.
Clarity "Clare" Fern lives in a small town along Cape Cod with her mother and brother Perry. The three of them each posses supernatural gifts: Clare is a psychic; Perry is a medium; and Mrs. Fern is a telepath. They live in a pristine Victorian home, running a business giving psychic readings to people, which causes the townspeople to scorn them and brings in tourists. The town of Eastport is peaceful and calm, filled with tourists. When a girl is discovered murdered, though, Clare is asked to solve the case and team up with her friend and the son of the town's new detective, using her powers. She soon suspects that her brother is involved in the case, and may be the murderer, and must find the truth that he is innocent.
Now, the plot follows a pretty interesting curve. Harrington knows what she's doing. She carefully tosses out clues, leaving you to decide if they're the truth -- or false herrings. The plot was very twisty and curvy, and she did the mystery well. It's hard to figure out whodunit, but the clues carefully show the way towards the final answer. There was one qualm I had with the plot. The book seemed to wrap and end up too neatly. All of a sudden everything was fine, the mystery solved, the only thing that seemed hanging was the romance (and from the beginning that seemed to be left for a sequel and the rest of the series). The outcomes of some of the characters were also fairly obvious, and seemed to be wrapped up just as predictably. I feel like I'm being vague here, but there are too many spoilers. So in a nutshell, the plot was intriguing and fascinating, and very mysterious, but wrapped up neatly with unsurprising results for the characters.
Clare was a very strong heroine. She knew what she wanted and how she was going to get it, and she had close ties to her family members. She was a realistic character and very well-rounded with flaws and strengths. She also had a strong sense of humor, a snarkiness that didn't go too far or simply fall into the background, and a snarkiness that made me laugh several times aloud. The author also did well showing how she solved the mystery; she became upset, got frustrated, etc. The love interests felt a bit more iffy. Gabe was a nice guy but his "secrets" started to annoy me. His character seemed built more on the secrets than his actual emotions, feelings, thoughts, and personality. I personally liked Justin better. Harrington portrayed him well, and he really felt like an ex-boyfriend: hopeful but resentful towards his former girlfriend. He also seemed to be further developed and have more of a personality than Gabe had.
A brief note on the supernatural elements, as they are a key part of the novel: the supernatural elements were well developed and interesting. Clare, Mrs. Fern, and Perry's powers all made sense, and the author showed and described the powers in a realistic way. The one qualm I had was how the Ferns didn't believe in psychics being able to see the future. This statement was never really backed up like the rest of the paranormal features, and didn't really make sense. I did like how their assumptions of people with that paranormal gift changed by the end.
The writing was crisp, clear, and fluid, simply getting to the point in a sentence without adding in too many unnecessary adjectives or verbs. Harrington's writing also sounded realistically like a teenage girl ("SkankyMcSkankbag" anyone?) and used Clare's snarkiness and humor wisely.
If you're interested in mysteries, this is a strong, sweet read with a love triangle and a clever, twisting mystery. I'll keep an eye out for the sequel, and while I had my issues, this was a novel I truly enjoyed as just as fun, sit-down-and-read book.