This book was pretty amazing. I think it lived up completely to the promise of the first book and I thi...moreOkay, 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.(less)
I have a whole new appreciation for this book after reading it along with Mark Reads Harry Potter. He's reading each book chapter by chapter and writi...moreI have a whole new appreciation for this book after reading it along with Mark Reads Harry Potter. He's reading each book chapter by chapter and writing a review after each, so it's like reading the books for the first time. I've been immersed in HP fandom for so long that it's easy to forget the first time you read the books, to go back to that sense of wonder, and Mark gives me that.
I was amazed at how much Rowling was able to pack into each chapter. I have a whole new respect for this book. I can't wait to read books 6 and 7 along with Mark!(less)
This is good stuff. It has some of my favorite elements of a story: Girl dressing up as boy in order to survive (see also: Bloody Jack: Being an Accou...moreThis is good stuff. It has some of my favorite elements of a story: Girl dressing up as boy in order to survive (see also: Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy), historical culture transformed into fantasy world (see also: Megan Whalen Turner, Naomi Novik), and of course, dragons (see also: dragons). It's full of political intrigue and secrets and things going on behind the scenes, and its action is fast-paced and keeps you riveted. Eon is a great protagonist. She's courageous and independent, but fallible. She often makes the wrong choices throughout the story, and readers will bite their nails and urge her to realize the truth. When she finally does, it makes you want to cheer.
This book also contains something rare in a Young Adult book--or any book: a positive portrayal of a transgender person. The character of Lady Dela knows she is a woman, even though her body is that of a man. She is persecuted by some, but others support her, including her own family. When asked why she doesn't have her male genitalia removed through surgery, she replies, "I don't need to be cut to know I am a woman." She is at all times referred to as "she." She is portrayed as a positive role model for Eon, and ultimately the key to Eon's understanding of her true power.
--SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH--
However, the treatment of disability in the book is slightly problematic. Eon has a permanent limp and chronic pain, her hip and leg having been crushed when she was younger. Because of this, she is "untouchable" and thought to bring bad luck, which helps her more easily pass as a boy. She has a deep friendship with one of the servant boys in her house, who also has a disability and is called a "freak" by other characters. All of this is in keeping with the society in which the book is set, which is fine. The problem comes at the end of the book, when Eon's dragon heals her leg, making her "whole" again. This is a common trope: character with a disability overcomes the odds to achieve great things, and then as a "reward" is suddenly healed of hir disability. I was disappointed to see it in this book, which I otherwise quite liked.(less)
I think this book might be my favorite of all the HP books, even though the ending is pretty sad. I LIVE for backstory and there is SO MUCH of it in t...moreI think this book might be my favorite of all the HP books, even though the ending is pretty sad. I LIVE for backstory and there is SO MUCH of it in this book. I love learning about the Horcruxes(!) and Voldemort's childhood. And this is the book where we see the most of Dumbledore, and he finally treats Harry like an equal, which I love. Plus there's Felix Felicis, Luna Lovegood commentating Quidditch, and Harry being more mature than he's ever been. This book has some of the happiest and saddest scenes of the entire series, and I love it.(less)
I first encountered this book when my library was weeding its children's paperback collection. I grabbed several out of the pile destined for the recy...moreI first encountered this book when my library was weeding its children's paperback collection. I grabbed several out of the pile destined for the recycling bin, including this one. I knew Lowry's work, but I didn't know this was her first novel, or how good it would end up being.
I loved it. It was beautifully written from start to finish. The setting was rich with detail and made me want to move to the New England countryside and start my own garden. It was a bit slow to get going, but once the older sister started to get sick, I couldn't put the book down.
I'm not sure whether to classify it as children's or YA. The protagonist is young, but the tone is sophisticated enough for teenagers. It was in the children's section of my library, but with the recent explosion in YA publishing, I have to wonder what it'd be classified as if it came out now.
I had to wonder if it was partly autobiographical--and it seems it is--because the family dynamics in the book seemed so real to me. Several of the passages, such as this one, could have been lifted directly from my own childhood. I'm a younger sister of a sister, and my father's a professor, so I especially identified with those aspects of the book: the older sister being the "easy" one, while the younger one was more rebellious; the absentminded professor father who invites his students over for Thanksgiving and spends hours alone in his study.
My one complaint is the title. Not only does "A Summer to Die" make it sound like an R.L. Stine thriller, but it gives away the entire plot. There's a reason why Bridge to Terabithia isn't called "Bridge to Terabithia... OF DEATH." No wonder the library weeded it--if I were a kid I wouldn't pick up a book called "A Summer to Die" either.
There are so many great recurring images and themes in this book--flowers, photography, country houses, gardens, quilts--I find it hard to imagine that it was impossible to pull a better title out of one of those. If I ever meet Lois Lowry, I'll ask her if it was her first choice.
Title aside, though, this book was a wonderful surprise. I was in the mood to read something from the 70s-80s era of children's lit after reading Shelf Discovery, and I'm glad I picked this one.(less)
Pratchett at his absolute best. Not a good book to start with if you've never read Discworld before, but for fans, a fantastic story featuring one of...morePratchett at his absolute best. Not a good book to start with if you've never read Discworld before, but for fans, a fantastic story featuring one of Pratchett's best characters. Also, time travel!(less)