So I know the title is a literary reference and everything, but this book is not about a dog (although there is a dog). It is about cats.
I mean, it'sSo I know the title is a literary reference and everything, but this book is not about a dog (although there is a dog). It is about cats.
I mean, it's also about time travel and chaos theory and history and World War II and Victorian England and love and old mystery novels and expensive fish and jumble sales and a really hideous vase, but mostly it's about cats.
Princess Arjumand is the most adorable cat I've never seen. Seriously, if this book doesn't make you pick up your cat and snuggle it, then that's probably because you don't have a cat.
This book is a mystery story. It throws an impressive number of balls into the air at the start, and manages to juggle them effortlessly throughout the story, until the end when it catches them all one by one in a cascade of time-traveling logic. I love closed time-loops, and while this isn't exactly that, it's close enough for me. And the musings on how seemingly insignificant things (like cats) can affect the course of history, changing small things that lead to changing big things, are delightful.
I have trouble getting started with books, and the beginning of this one was no exception. The beginning is all dramatic irony, since Ned is so out of it for the first few chapters that everything goes over his head, and I was afraid the entire book would be like that. Once Ned gets to Victorian England and finds Verity, though, things really get going, and for the last third or so I couldn't put it down. It was way more suspenseful than I expected from the setup. When you're a time-traveler, though, the stakes are always high.
The story manages to make a Victorian comedy of errors seem like a fast-paced thriller. And though the reader is given all the same clues Ned has, and we might have a vague idea of what's going on (I guessed who the mysterious Mr. C was fairly early on), it's still impossible to predict everything that happens in this wonderfully complicated book. Definitely deserves a re-read or two.
Remember, the next time you can't find your cat, that it might have been taken by well-intentioned time travelers. They'll bring it back as soon as they can....more
This is my favorite kind of book. I love books where everything is linked, where it all fits together like a perfect puzzle. There are mysteries leftThis is my favorite kind of book. I love books where everything is linked, where it all fits together like a perfect puzzle. There are mysteries left unsolved until the very last page, and they're all resolved in a delicious, satisfying way that brings everything full circle. It's also one of those books you want to start reading again as soon as you finish, just to see all the clues you missed. It's the kind of book I dream of writing someday.
It's clear Morton cares about her characters. This is an intangible quality I'm always looking for in books. If I feel like the author is only interested in shocking the reader with twists, I feel cheated, no matter how compelling the mystery. So many authors disappoint me in this respect, and I'm so glad Morton didn't. I look forward to reading everything else she has written.
I have a very carefully curated to-read list on Goodreads, but sometimes it's the books I pick up on a whim at the library that I end up loving the moI have a very carefully curated to-read list on Goodreads, but sometimes it's the books I pick up on a whim at the library that I end up loving the most.
Why isn't there more of this book? Why aren't more books like this book? How is this book so good? Why wasn't this book around when I was a kid?
Rooftoppers is gorgeously written and utterly charming. I read it, and then I read it again to add all the quotes I loved to Goodreads. (I may have gone overboard with the quotes.) I only wish it were a bit longer. I wanted to know what happens to all these lovely characters after the book ends. Then again, maybe you're meant to imagine, instead. Certainly there is not a single wasted word in this book.
Recommended for everyone who loves books, words, and reading. Definitely going on the list of books to give my niece when she is old enough....more
This was my second time reading the trilogy, this time for Mark Reads. It's just... stunning. I don't think it's perfect. I think Tom Bombadil is supeThis was my second time reading the trilogy, this time for Mark Reads. It's just... stunning. I don't think it's perfect. I think Tom Bombadil is superfluous. But nobody writes like Tolkien. Nobody has invented a world like Middle-earth. This book is singular....more
Dear Sarah Dessen, HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SO GOOD. NO BUT FOR REAL THOUGH. Sincerely, a fan who read almost all of this book in one sitting and cried likeDear Sarah Dessen, HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SO GOOD. NO BUT FOR REAL THOUGH. Sincerely, a fan who read almost all of this book in one sitting and cried like a baby....more
So... this is the best book ever, right? I mean, is there anyone who's read this book who hasn't cried their eyes out? Just read it, if you haven't alSo... this is the best book ever, right? I mean, is there anyone who's read this book who hasn't cried their eyes out? Just read it, if you haven't already. Or even if you have!
A couple of things struck me on this, my third reading. First is the fact that Liesel only steals books on a "need-to-have" basis. Even though she only has a few books, she gets as much mileage out of them as possible before acquiring another. I like that, and it made me look at my own bloated book collection differently.
The other is the idea that Papa's soul was light because he had given so much of it to others. It's a good thing to aim for....more
Aaaah so good! Kate, you should definitely read this.
I loved all the little details of Miranda's life. Everything was brought to life so well, and I lAaaah so good! Kate, you should definitely read this.
I loved all the little details of Miranda's life. Everything was brought to life so well, and I loved Miranda herself, who read like a real kid to me. The writing didn't talk down to its audience at all, and that's awesome. It's in the tradition of the great children's books of the 60s-80s, including, yes, A Wrinkle in Time.
It's impossible to properly describe what this book is about, so I'm just going to say read it, and take the time to savor all the details....more
It was a little slow for me to get into, which might just be my unfamiliarity with a new fantasy world,This book is so awesome, I can't even. *flail*
It was a little slow for me to get into, which might just be my unfamiliarity with a new fantasy world, but I was more and more intrigued as the story went on, and then plot twists started happening, and I was hooked.
Not only is the story awesome, but it has a lot to say about power and privilege and what they do to people. It reverses a lot of fantasy tropes (which is refreshing in most cases, although I'm not sure how I feel about a matriarchal society in which rape is part of the coming-of-age ritual). You could read it as a commentary on white privilege, or the Christian religion, and the horrors both have caused. The story stands on its own without this analysis, but to my mind the analysis makes it better.
Also? There is hott sex. Hott, female-centered, non-misogynist sex. And as another reviewer says: Divine gay incest!
Objectively I realize this book isn't perfect, but I liked it too much to give it 4 stars. I have no idea how a sequel is possible, because the ending pulls no punches, but I eagerly await more stories from this world....more
This book was pretty amazing. I think it lived up completely to the promise of the first book and I thiOkay, I need to go cry for like five hours now.
This book was pretty amazing. I think it lived up completely to the promise of the first book and I think I even like it better than the second. I'm sure I'll have more detailed thoughts later when I've had time to recover from the -OMG OMG OMG-.
Actual star of this book: Buttercup, Y/Y? (Real/Not Real?)
ETA: Things I loved (a partial, not-too-spoilery list):
- The etymology of "Panem" (I am a word nerd) - The explanation for Snow's blood-breath - The Team Peeta/Teem Gale resolution - Buttercup (some more) - Finnick - Real/Not Real - Castor and Pollux (Their NAMES omg) (I am a word nerd AND an astrology geek) - Boggs - Everything about the ending after the big spoilery thing happens that I won't talk about (And that I was SPOILED FOR, because people on the internet don't THINK before they SAY THINGS *shakes fist*) - The fact that Katniss kept coming back to thinking about the ordinary people, the people on the ground (or in the mountain), who weren't major players on either side, and how they got stuck in the middle of all the politics and fighting through no fault of their own - The surreal quality of having everything filmed and edited like a reality show ("That's a wrap!") - Crazy Cat - THE HANGING TREE SONG. SO MUCH OMG.
I can't say I LOVE the physical torture and mental torture and people dying in horrible ways, because it makes me cry and threatens to give me nightmares, but I love that it's there, and I love the way it's written. Collins pulls no punches. This isn't like Harry Potter where he's been kept under the stairs his whole life but shows remarkably healthy mental development. This is actual horrible shit happening and people getting really fucked up because of it. I kept having to take breaks during reading to go do something light and fluffy for a while.
Is it ever okay to become your enemy in order to defeat your enemy? What if you can't win unless you are as brutal and heartless as they are? Where is the line between acceptable and unacceptable violence? Justified and unjustified war? At what point, in fighting evil, do you become evil yourself?
I honestly think these books will be classics. Read over and over again for a long time. Their themes resonate deeply and their images stick with you long after you've put the books down, like the names of the dead Katniss will never forget....more
Sigh... it's over. Reading this along with MRHP was so great. I hadn't read it since it came out, and I had forgotten most of the finer details of theSigh... it's over. Reading this along with MRHP was so great. I hadn't read it since it came out, and I had forgotten most of the finer details of the plot, as well as some huge ones. It was great to rediscover the last book, especially with the MRHP commenters reading along and pointing out some mind-blowing parallels and callbacks to earlier books that I had never noticed.
Can't wait for the movies. Harry Potter is the best thing ever....more
This book is brutal and amazing. I devoured it in a fever. Though the two books have similar themes, I liked this a lot better than Cracked Up toWow.
This book is brutal and amazing. I devoured it in a fever. Though the two books have similar themes, I liked this a lot better than Cracked Up to Be. It felt more satisfying, and I related more to the main character, who does bad things and has bad things done to her. Everyone's been on both sides of that line at one point or another.
I'm glad I didn't go to high school where Courtney Summers went to high school. The mean-girling and backstabbing in my school was way less harsh. More "we will refuse to sit with you at lunch," less "we will try to make you get raped." The book felt authentic to the core, though. I don't doubt that there are people out there having experiences like this and worse.
Another one of those YA books with completely oblivious parents. I don't care in this case, because what was going on with the teenagers was way more compelling, but I do feel the need to mention it. The adults in this book don't get involved because the characters know that getting them involved would do as much harm as good. That is often the case, but it would have been nice to see a fleshed-out adult or two instead of having them move like ghosts through other rooms.
I like that Summers focuses on themes of forgiveness and redemption. How do you forgive yourself when you know you've done something horrible? Young-adulthood is often the time where our illusions of ourselves as Good People are first challenged, sometimes shattered. Learning to deal with that is part of growing up.
I don't know why I'm always so surprised when everyone is gushing about how good a book is and then I read it and it's reallyWELL THAT WAS FANTASTIC.
I don't know why I'm always so surprised when everyone is gushing about how good a book is and then I read it and it's really fucking good. This one definitely lives up to the hype. Yelena is awesome, the rest of the characters are awesome, the setting is awesome, the plot is awesome. If you like fantasy, spies, and/or ambiguously dystopian worlds, read this.
I say "ambiguously dystopian" because the world the book is set in seems dystopian at first glance, but turns out to be more complicated than that. The territory of Ixia has traded a corrupt, classist monarchy for a strict, controlling autocracy. The new government is much fairer, but also rather totalitarian, with a strict code of law that accepts no excuses for breaking it. The new system has some benefits--greater equality, for one--but also many disadvantages, one of which is what lands our heroine in her predicament in the first place.
I think this is more realistic than if either type of government had been portrayed as unambiguously good, since in real life nobody's been able to discover a perfect system yet. The contrast reminds me a bit of The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, and I'd like to see it explored more in the sequels.
I'm not a huge fan of summarizing plots in my reviews, because you can get that information elsewhere and personally I don't like to know too much about a book's plot before I read it. But one thing I'd like to mention that I don't see a lot of other reviews mentioning is this book's portrayal of a transgender character. That's rare in fiction and I appreciated it very much here.
I adore this book. I hear the others in the series aren't quite as strong, but you better believe I will be reading them as soon as possible.
Oh, man. This book was heartbreaking in so many ways. I give it extra points for making me cry, something few books do nowadays.
How do you heal an entOh, man. This book was heartbreaking in so many ways. I give it extra points for making me cry, something few books do nowadays.
How do you heal an entire country? How do you move on from trauma too vast to be measured? This is Queen Bitterblue's task, after inheriting the country of Monsea from her sadistic and cruel father, King Leck. Leck poisoned the minds of everyone around him, torturing others for pleasure and forcing people to commit unspeakable crimes on his behalf. Bitterblue doesn't know the extent of her father's atrocities. She tries to ask, but her advisers waver between obfuscation, incompetence, and something approaching madness, and Bitterblue doesn't know who to believe or what to think. So in order to get to know her country better, she sneaks out of her castle at night to explore the city in disguise.
But this is no typical adventure story. It's the story of a broken kingdom trying to heal itself, and sometimes failing. It's the story of some people who have been hurt so badly that they will never heal, and others not sure if they can. It's about the power of telling the truth, of telling our own stories, and about how the truth can hurt as well as it can heal. We must move forward, but we can never erase the past, no matter how painful it is.
I now understand why Fire's story had to be told before this one, and although I don't know if I can ever bring myself to re-read the part with Leck/Immiker taking his father through the mountain tunnels, I do want to read that book again now that I have more context.
As for how this book stacks up compared to the others, I don't know if anything can match the simple perfection of Graceling, but this book isn't meant to be simple. It's complicated and messy, because it has to be. I would rank it below Graceling but above Fire in awesomeness levels.
Special awesomeness shout-outs for the snarky librarian named Death and his cat. I always like books better when they have a cat....more