Haha... ha... 'white cat', as in it's supposed to be good luck or something? Nah. That'd be too stupid to believe.
I had this thinking myself not long...moreHaha... ha... 'white cat', as in it's supposed to be good luck or something? Nah. That'd be too stupid to believe.
I had this thinking myself not long ago: memories hold a lot of our behaviors, habits, and feelings. When a child gets scolded or punished and are about to redo what they did wrong, they will remember their feelings and you would hope that they would not repeat a bad action from discipline. A skill is a play on both body-memory and actual memory; drawing is simply the ability to move your hands around to create a picture but not recalling techniques to help perfect the skill can make it seem we forgot how to draw.
If someone we love dies, their death will affect us in some way (well, usually). So on and so forth with more examples, yada yada.
White Cat plays with the idea of memory serving as behavior/personality. If you can't remember being scolded, you would then be given an impression of being allowed to do whatever you wanted. Here with Cassel, however, it played a much bigger role: he might have killed his best friend.
As far as characters go, they can be rather interesting because they don't play as a stereotypical normal or bad family. Cassel's family work for one of the powerful crime families that are 'workers'. 'Workers' tinker with quite a few body things, ranging from the physical to death itself. To keep them from being supremely powerful, the government has made just about any working illegal - and let's not forget that there are actual consequences thrust back to a worker when they work, like a physical worker getting sick for a while.
Cassel's family believes in blood being thicker than water and utmost trust between family members to the point of not having gloves on (gloves are supposed to prevent workers from doing their magic) around each other. Eh...
I liked the book as a whole. The characters were different from what I usually read but not to the point of being inhumane. They were pretty gray for the most part. Any sort of flashbacks did not detract from the plot a lot; events in the plot felt necessary and concise. Cassel in first-person read like a character speaking to me (which is saying something because I usually find a problem with characters in first-person not narrating like they would talking to someone).
This book is four stars because while it is a for-fun read (on the same boat as Incarceron), I would have liked to see more character development, even though this is the first part of a series. From Cassel, especially. It was a little embarrassing at times that Cassel was weak standing up to people. Sure, he could talk back, but he got beat up a few times from it. There's an understanding why he doesn't fight back physically; on the same token, though, I would have liked to see more confidence from him. He was sort of presented as 'smart but dumb', which got a sigh out of me a couple times.
Oh well. It was a pretty good darker fantasy read.(less)
Usually, I'm not into horror anything. I can take it better in books and manga perhaps because I can take it slower....more[[Review of entire Doubt series]]
Usually, I'm not into horror anything. I can take it better in books and manga perhaps because I can take it slower. The sudden burst in adrenaline is what I hate - especially if it's those jump-scares. Takes a while for my heart to get back to normal as I'm cursing up a storm. My friends tease me about forcing me into a horror movie showing, only to get my angry response. I seriously can't take jump-scares and mutilation. I start to imagine what's going inside a victim's body (the vein and artery ruptures, bone shatters, walls tearing, etc.) and I can't take it. It's not even so much the blood being present and out in the open because it's plenteous; but, when I see the flesh and other bits, time to GTFO.
When I was reading this manga, it was either during or after I was also in a RP for it with a friend of mine. (Probably after, but I did read the first couple of chapters for the RP). It helped me create one of my favorite female characters of all time, so, that, I must give thanks to.
I must also give thanks for the entertaining read.
A group of kids--- Ohshizclassstarting.
So where was I? Oh, yes.
A group of kids, various ages, get together to meet up because they all play this popular multiplayer cell game called Rabbit Doubt. Basically, hack off the potential wolf before it eats all your cuddly wittle wabbits. It's all harmless fun to just get together, have fun at the karaoke, you know, with people you played before - that's including one childhood friend. It's all good fun---
Well... fuck. Never mind!
That's right. As you guess it, it's not fun. No. It's bloody. With a game about distrusting others and trying to prove innocence, you're in a lose-lose situation. It's only a matter of time that people are going to suspect you. If you aren't soon, you are later. Don't trust your friends; don't trust your past relationships; don't trust who you thought were kind, whole-hearted people.
No. You survive.
But how can you? Any one of them could be the murderer, the 'wolf', but they are just as scared as you are. The only clues you have to discovering the secrets behind why the game is coming alive are the bar codes tattooed on everyone's bodies (in some not nice bits, for one or two people).
How are you going to get everyone to cooperate if they are all on the edge? How are you going to get everyone to use their bar codes with the intention of keeping them alive if they suspect that you're going to kill them?
This kind of thing is not new. (What is new nowadays?) What got me was the execution (lol 'execution'--- I mean, cough) and loving the idea of trust (ever since Battle Royale, aw yeah) turning back on yourself. As Yuu Aikawa, you want everyone to be alive, especially your friend Mitsuki - but you are especially the one peculiar among everyone. You don't have a bar code. Bar codes open doors. You don't have one.
No, wait, everyone! I didn't---! LISTEN.
"THE LIAR MUST DIE."
A rather suspenseful tale where death is nigh, I really liked it. Wish the characters were fleshed out more personality-wise outside of backstory dropping, but at least the mangaka showed us their stories eventually. It's gruesomely violent when the reader does get around to the deaths, so don't read if you're expecting bloodless finishers and don't have the stomach for it.
It's Saw-like - the best American way to put it.
Con(s)? Oh yeah.
The ending. No spoilers but it was a bit ridiculous coming from the killer. Possible bad ending because it cuts off to let the reader decide what happened. And no: there are no other Doubt sources to conclude it after that last volume. While I did feel like I got cheated because of what possibly happens to the character (I liked them, dammit!) but how it all happened then just got... silly. I would have been fine if the whole events started because of the first reason (you know, the one without the biggest suspension of belief, for those that have already read them all) but... but...
Then I just felt like punching the killer right in the face. Screw over everyone because of what happened to you? YEAH. HOW LOGICAL AND NICE YOU ARE.
'Sides that, the pacing and suspense sold well to me. Again, I'm very much into trust turning back on people, so I also loved how everyone was doubtful of each other despite some having the best intentions and plans. Would like more fleshing out from the characters other than the main character and his friend; but, as you learn from reading these types of books, it's hard to do so when the focus is on the death of these poor, unfortunate souls.
-1 Star just for that ending. Seriously. I mean, I still liked it, but I had to suspend my belief a lot for that.
Mangaka, you know that what you did to kickstart the whole events was so sadistic. You know as well as everyone knows Yuu had the best intention for her.(less)
Read this a while back, but all I remember was not entirely liking it because it was slow in pacing, boring with the political aspects, and having lon...moreRead this a while back, but all I remember was not entirely liking it because it was slow in pacing, boring with the political aspects, and having long streams of pages without much significant action. When setting this book to the first one (Tinker), this one, in my opinion, pales by far comparison.
Wolf Who Rules went in the direction of political issues and, even, some racial profiling/racism. Wolf, at the beginning, wants all the oni dead. All of them. Including those that were bred with humans and raised by them. If I recall correctly, he said that they only had the potential to do wrong and, "breed like mice". This is a flaw of his character, I give it that, considering his wife, Tinker, was captured by them and slightly tortured in the first book; however, it kind of breaks in without giving much retrospect for his character. Tinker had it where he was hardly characterized; so, when this trait came out, it almost felt forced.
I could understand him, but the execution was not exactly done well.
After that, Tinker is... I don't know what she's doing. Something about a tree in a freezer, connecting with a dragon, trying to integrate the tengu into elven society, and other little oddities, but she was definitely made into a weaker character in this book. She actually seemed to derail from the person she was in the previous novel, I almost did not recognize her, if it were not for her fondness for machinery and science.
I can't remember the ending well since it took me too long to even go through the chapters. I believe it ended on a happier note than Tinker. Overall, Wolf Who Rules was unfortunately deprived of what made Tinker a bit charming for an adult elven/human novel.
P.S. If you were looking into this for the romance (which I don't necessarily go to find), I remember this also being poor in that department. Tinker and Wolf spent so much time without each other and not being in the same room that she was tempted to have sex with Pony. I kid thee not. She did not get that far but almost went there. That was how sparce romance there was here.(less)
College happens. I completely forgot to review this book soon after finishing it, so many details in my mind have been lost; and, unfortunately, I can...moreCollege happens. I completely forgot to review this book soon after finishing it, so many details in my mind have been lost; and, unfortunately, I can't be bothered to read the story again due to lack of time (and available effort).
Why not much investment of effort? Just because Tyger, Tyger really doesn't stand out from other fantasy book currently.
Oh come now. Yes, there are goblins, which you would think would make the book ttly awesome and original; yet, as far as I read, nothing exactly stood out. Case in point: I hardly remember the dang thing.
I put three stars because I simply liked it. Wasn't terrible; wasn't the greatest either. Its promise of Irish mythology fascinated me, since other tales outside of Greek and Roman (and possibly Norse) are hardly emphasized in literature. (Vampires, werewolves, fairies, angels, and Biblical demons are great exceptions to the previous statement). So, I thought: Gee! An Irish mythology story with some adventure and family goodness? What a change! What could possibly go wrong?
Aha... Finn. Adding him with character development issues ruined the book substantially.
What is with instalove these days? Can't remember if Teagan fell for him right away, but I know he did for her. Ugh. For my sake, this is getting really tiring!
I get it: he's 'somewhat' exotic. He's a traveler. Ooooh. How sexy! What have these two done, though, that really brings out these feelings from him? Hm? From all I could remember, it was talking and... more talking and... er... leaving her... okay... then... and getting Teagan's dad back. So. Well.
Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Aspirations? Goals?
Really? Nothing? You got nothing, Finn? Maybe that's why I don't remember you.
That and no one had any character development. As far as I remember, no one really changed much from reading between the front to back covers. Static characters, through and through. All of them. (view spoiler)[You would think the mom's death would be the perfect eye-opener for anyone, but I can recall nothing much changed from that. Also, despite Finn fighting goblins and creatures close to them, which Teagan is revealed to having goblin blood, he still says that he will love her despite that tiny detail. There might have been a part where he doesn't talk to her; but, I think that was about it. He just goes back to saying that he will love her no matter what. How heinously unimportant that was. (hide spoiler)]
Also, I believe there was a lot of info-dumping for Irish myth. Come on now. I know that not everyone knows these myths and there will be needing some explanation, but you could imply what powers the creatures have without having to discuss what they are. Showing! How I miss you and your subtleties.
Under this book's word that there would be rarely explored mythology in fictional literature, the novel entices people to read it; however, it still holds things that have grown to spread to most paranormal romance lit: love interest with barely a pulse, info-dumping, lacking character development, and overall a... dissappointing taste in my mouth for what should have been awesome. Goblins! Although I'm not particularly a fan of goblins or Irish mythology, it least it was different!
I liked the book for its... passing potential. There's not enough like to read the second book right now, though.(less)
Three hundred pages later: I don't know what I was expecting.
This book has a HUGE build-up towards the daughter (Suiko) of the first protagonist to p...moreThree hundred pages later: I don't know what I was expecting.
This book has a HUGE build-up towards the daughter (Suiko) of the first protagonist to possibly be rejected from her mission. The mother character (Shoko) keeps repeating fear that her brother would turn away Suiko at the door while she, herself, is on her sickbed, unable to go. Throughout the book, we're shown many flashbacks about how the brother character (Taro) was so spiteful towards Americans during World War II, specifically picking derogatory terms for the group even when the Americans won the war, going as far as hate his beloved sister because she married one of them - to their father's urging.
I think I was quite disappointed because it was a perfect opportunity for a real climax and the chance was ruined by the pacing.
The problem I have is that the book is riddled with a lot of flashbacks and no balance in the present progression of the story we have: where Suiko goes to Japan to search out for Taro. Yes, the flashbacks do give background on the characters (view spoiler)[(because we don't see Taro until later, the events showcasing his hatred, his protectiveness, and how he got to go to school riding off of his sister's efforts, I will say, were essential) (hide spoiler)]; however, I feel a good portion could have been taken out and replaced with a mention rather than a full-blown description of events.
Though, mind you, I'm looking at this from a fictional book perspective. Most of How to Be an American Housewife is fictional, as said by the author on the backflap of the copy I had (or how I interpreted it right, I hope). It could have been better with more balanced pacing instead of being bogged down by all these flashbacks that had no heavy bearing on the current plot.
Again, the tension being brought up also didn't fit what happened. It was like building up the excitement for someone you've been waiting and saving months to purchase. You've waited a whole period for this thing to happen... but then when you actually get it, it kind of let you down in many areas. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't to your expectations and dreams. [To be explained in below spoiler:]
(view spoiler)[Shoko kept laying it on to us that Taro was probably still too hurt from his sister marrying a man that helped decimate Japan and their pride. "Oh, he might turn away Suiko. I know that if I had let Mike (Suiko's brother) go, he would have given up right away. No spirit. No backbone. Suiko has to go. She is stubborn enough to take Taro on." What happens, though? Like maybe five pages of Taro grumbling about having to spend time with Suiko and her daughter Helena before warming up to them. We got maybe 200+ pages of Shoko telling us about Taro; I would have expected Taro to put up a better fight than this. I understand that people that used to hate on others might eventually give up their spite somewhat, but this was disappointingly so. (hide spoiler)]
I don't think it helped matters that Suiko was on the same boat with Taro when it came to her relationship with Shoko. We also had this build-up that Suiko and Shoko weren't on the best of terms due to stuff with Suiko's ex-husband; but, that also got resolved in such a short span of time that it was a bit disorientating.
How to Be an American Housewife was not exactly a bad book; it just disappointed me in a lot of areas that it overrode the points I did like, such as my interest of Japanese culture. Take it what you will, I suppose. This was sort of based off of the author's mother's life and a maid's book that existed in real life (not called How to Be an American Housewife, as quoted in the novel) that was supposed to help Japanese women assimilate into American culture. It also can provide insight into the Japanese view of the bombings and WWII but it's not the main focus of the plot; regardless, Asian interest is Asian interest, so I read it with a grain of salt.(less)
First-person present tense, a deadly game that sets 24 kids against each other to come up out alive as their struggles are for televised entertainment...moreFirst-person present tense, a deadly game that sets 24 kids against each other to come up out alive as their struggles are for televised entertainment, and a world gone into hunger and deprivation after years of land-wearing natural disaster strings and events that turned the government into a controlling system make up The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.
As said before, it really resembles Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, and it's somewhat funny how many times one hears that those who have read Hunger Games have not heard of the other despite it being older (though it is foreign).
It starts off with the day of the reaping, that time of the year that randomly selects the participants for the annual Hunger Games. Two 12-18 year old people (two from each District, one boy and one girl) are drawn in a lottery style and must participate in the Games, unless one were to object. As the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year old girl from the poor, broken District 12, replaces her sister, Primrose, and gets paired up with Peeta, one of the baker's sons who happened to help Katniss before. The rest of the book sets up the weeks before the Games (styling, eating, training, etc.) and then jumps into the grizzly action of this fatal 'game'.
The build-up is okay. Basically, the first and second parts of the book are dedicated to informing the reader about this new world they're supposed to submerge themselves in and the preparation towards the Hunger Games. Once the action starts, the book goes fast. It's like walking up a slope, enduring the harsh incline up, and then you find yourself running, not intentionally, as you suddenly hit the downward section. The characters are realistic, and one can get a good message concerning family, in that Katniss sacrifices herself for her sister's life.
The book has a very slow beginning, taking definitely more than 100 pages to get to anything remotely action-related. While it's nice to flesh out how the Games work and Panem, the country that rose after North America was pretty much destroyed, is in terms of the Districts, it still feels empty of detail even after the explanation of the system. It's not that delved into; and, by the end of the series, the reader is still left unknown about a few of the Districts' industries. While the concept of children killing each other is nice and full of possibilities, it was a shame that hardly any background story could be drawn from the other competitors. It really made it hard to feel sorry for any of them; and, with Katniss being the narrator, I could tell she was not interested in knowing who she was going to fight with. (view spoiler)[By the end of the Bloodbath, 11 are dead. Already almost half of the Games cast has died. Perhaps it sounds cruel, but I couldn't feel anything with their deaths. They were just death-fodder. (hide spoiler)]
Speaking of Katniss, I hated her character. She seemed Mary-Sue-ish all the way through the series; and, I know many people like her for being a strong, independent female lead, but I couldn't take how she basically trusted no one but her sister and friend, Gale. While that's not a problem by itself in my book, it was bad that she was played off as using anyone to get her way, survival or not. My opinion, of course. (view spoiler)[To go along with the 'hardly any background info' explanation, I couldn't like Rue, either. I'm not into little kids; so, when Rue died and Katniss was doing the whole funeral-like sequence, it almost pains me to say that I didn't feel anything for it. (hide spoiler)]
Most times, I am a sucker for characters even if plot was minimal; here, it was kind of the opposite. I say 'kind of' because the plot still didn't leave the biggest impression on me. (I still bought all three books, though, so not much to say...) The characters can be likable, but I didn't favor most of them (exception somewhat to Peeta and infinitely more to someone who only appears a short time in Mockingjay).
The action consisted of Katniss outside of fighting. Literally. Most times, she was not fighting anyone. It was disappointing to see a majority of deaths off-screen; it's acceptable given that it's from Katniss' point-of-view so she may not see every contestant, but it was still disheartening that that 18 or under of them were hacked off without a mention. (But I guess there probably was symbolism in off-screen killing, if Collins' message was for anti-war).
I still will recommend it for anyone that likes dystopian novels and can read children killing each other without cringing or getting upset. I can give kudos for the strong female protagonist despite me hating her. If you can get over the slow pacing in the first half and set-up, then you might like the action in the end.
EDIT I would like to add notes in here where I missed in the previous review, because I know after rereading that I missed some major points I believe others would like to know - and add more personal info.
Realistic characters doesn't mean I liked them - and neither did it mean they had real depth. It feels that this was the intention of Collins with the whole anti-war message. There's that guy on your side of the war-zone that you don't know and don't exactly care about but once they die, well... that's just about it. You may feel sorry; you may feel a bit of regret. Unless you knew him/her personally, though, it's not that much hard to grasp. Same as the deaths for the opposition.
But I do say it made me harder for me to really feel sorry for the children dying when I didn't know them much.
Sure. The feeling that they would not go back to their families is a touch sad - possibly even depressing if one thinks about it further; but, war is war. There isn't much you can do about it.
What I meant by realistic characters was that they didn't trust each other much, didn't exactly want to know each other, and did the job as strong people.
Again: no real depth and time spent to really develop relationships because it's from Katniss' first-person viewpoint.
I must say that the writing itself (I can't believe I badly skipped over this part in the previous review) is legible. I personally didn't like it due to the out-of-place commas, the overload on fragments, and how descriptive-less it could be at moments. I don't mean to say that there wasn't any explanation. Heck, there was a lot of explanation in the first 150 pages (now I remember the exact number it took to get to the actual Hunger Games!) of the book. Looking back at it, it was frustratingly difficult to toil on through the beginning because nothing was happening. Nothing. We're given a couple or so flashbacks that have set up Katniss as a person and how she knew Peeta prior to the events of the story, but I'd rather have the information spread out than all dumped into one section. It's like playing a video game (if you're one of those sidequest/collector-whores like I am): if you keep doing sidequests upon sidequests upon sidequests and not progressing at all with the storyline, the game itself then makes you feel bored, you put it down, play another game, go back to it, try again with the sidequests, get bored, repeat.
Maybe that's just me, but still. It almost felt like that with the first 150 pages.
I mean, dang. From the back of the cover, you would think we would be jumping into the action nearly from the beginning, not make me struggle.
Then again, this habit of spending a good course of the beginning of any story not progressing plot, I feel, is starting to be a trend.
That I hate.
Besides that, maybe some think to themselves why I downright despised Katniss, our ever so strong, feministic protagonist. Though I somewhat explained it earlier, I feel I hated Katniss for the sole reason I felt she was treating the males badly. Used Gale, used Peeta, played previously-mentioned boys in the awful, utterly awful love triangle, and more. I know that she has had a somewhat sucky life (not an intricately detailed past, mind you), but come on! She's angry-angry and had a good portion of the nation love her to bits and pieces. Yeah.
Definitely liked Battle Royale more than the Hunger Games, but I'm not touching the star rating. It is flawed, to me. The author could have improved the story, the character depth, and EXTREMELY on the love triangle. Just because it's YA doesn't excuse it on the writing I thought was... not scrambled, jumbled, or particularly bad yet felt the punctuation was misplaced and the fragments were entirely distracting.
But I guess I can appreciate Hunger Games more than Lord of the Fly's writing - not the plot or intention, but the writing style. Makes my head hurt.(less)
Okay, it's a prison; but, for all I know, there might be a desert in it!
And perhaps it wasn't perfect (I'm lo...moreffffffuuuuuuu
NO BULLSHIT ROMANCE. HUZZAH!
Okay, it's a prison; but, for all I know, there might be a desert in it!
And perhaps it wasn't perfect (I'm looking at you, Claudia), but at least it didn't have much unresolved sexual tension. Thank god. I was getting sick of poorly-executedoverdonenot-interesting-anymorepredicted-right-from-the-start love triangles. Or even the "WE'RE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER" scenarios.
Instead, we have ourselves an adventure to get out from whatever you're doing, being a prisoner, off getting married, or otherwise. Mostly escaping that bitch of a prison, Incarceron. Seriously, what is its deal? What an ass.
So, you're a smartie called a Sapient (yay!). You want to create a prison which won't feel like a prison. Instead, it's its own little world all nice and happy and paradise-like and whatever. Whoo!
But you must have fucked up somewhere, because it is now, like, dark, damp, gritty, and full of crimes inside the prison.
Yeah. You fucked up.
The characters from the prison were likable and realistic. They're all selfish in their own way (view spoiler)[even Finn, Sir Prince (hide spoiler)].--- No, I take that back. Even Claudia was somewhat selfish, with her whole marriage thing. I just found her more annoying - though I did appreciate her intelligence and devotion to her teacher against the queen. You could tell that the prisoners have been ravaged by crime and theft for so long that they can only think of themselves eight times out of ten - with exception of possibly Finn and Attia. I could tell Finn didn't have the capacity to truly hate someone or something, or even show doubt in some cases (especially about Keiro). I would have liked to have read more into development with Attia, as she and Keiro were among my favorites. (Which is a surprise since I'm never on good terms with prideful people.)
I'm more than glad that Fisher did give more description to her characters than other authors without being overbearing. Kudos, man. It was pretty simple writing, not too purple or weak, and does give a clear image of what the key and other objects are supposed to look like.
It's an adventure. A bittersweet adventure, and I can't wait to read Sapphique.
My complaints about the book concerned the pacing and the Outside perspective. Because the story flips between Finn and Claudia, I had to hold back urges to skim through Claudia's portion and head back to Finn's. Her parts were definitely more passive and probably substituted for some downtime between all the action and suspense Finn's had. Hers were dipped in secret information and being confidential; and, I do like that stuff, but I was craving more for Finn's action portion of Incarceron. Along with the pacing, I sometimes got confused about what was happening. (view spoiler)[Does anyone mind explaining to me what happened when they smacked against the wall of Incarceron? I was rereading to make sure what was going on, but I was still puzzled about the 'blocks' they were landing on or something? (hide spoiler)] Either I was reading too fast or the scenes were whizzing by that I couldn't comprehend. Either/or. I understand the pacing was necessary to understand the world of Incarceron better, having Claudia's bits on-hand, but I guess I'll always be partial for the action.
Again, development for Attia. Much appreciated.---
Oh! And overall about the book, there was no definition for the terms they threw about. Yes, since they live in this world, the characters would have no problem understanding each other, but I wish Fisher had put in a glossary or something for those that couldn't pick clearly what each term meant. (Because even the narrator used them in a casual manner, leaving me with many question marks floating above my head.)
P.S. Claudia, not a big fan of you. You seemed too uppity for my tastes. Or pristine. Something. Something about you irked me more than the rest. Thanks for reading.
I'm holding Sapphique at the library and still got four-five more books to read and a couple to return. Yay.(..)(less)
Foreign books are hard to find in bookstore chains; but, when one finds that magical novel, they'll be glad they found it.
I watched the movie years pr...moreForeign books are hard to find in bookstore chains; but, when one finds that magical novel, they'll be glad they found it.
I watched the movie years prior to getting the book, and I loved it all and all. People commented on the film saying it was vastly different from the novel, and I always wanted to read it if I were to ever come across it.
When I found this book in Borders last year around Christmas time, I 'subtly' hinted to my mom about wanting it. I received it on Christmas and finished it before the holiday stay with the cousins was over.
For those familiar with the The Hunger Games series (hope to review soon) by Suzanne Collins, you must know that people often compare the series to this book, in terms of similarities of concept, execution, and focus on the deaths of children. It's a common topic brought up every time the words 'Hunger Games' and 'Battle Royale' are put into the same sentence. But in terms of message and intention, I believe Battle Royale to be better. Also the fact of how the characters are portrayed is believable and wonderfully displayed. Not to say The Hunger Games was bad; I will explain why my love of this book is much higher than for Collins' series.
The story of how a classroom of Japanese middle school students inside a government that fatally punishes those that differ in obedient mentality are put into a - mostly - free-for-all, top-dog-wins scenario was a scary concept at the time of Battle Royale's conception. I can see why it was a cult classic.
While Collin's intention could have been anti-war, I agree to those that say that Takami's could have been his views on the job market. Knowing how the system works in Japan, it can be seen as such in the novel.
The plot is that, in this alternate universe, the Japanese government has turned into a totalitarian state that has claimed east Asia and refuses to have contact with the United States (which has gone under a new name much like Japan in the story). The government takes fatal action to those that deviate the norm, and part of their attempts to destroy any sort of rebellion among the masses is to enact various laws and banning of 'controversial' material (such as rock music). Due to events in the past, a program commonly called 'Battle Royale' pits middle school class students against each other in a secluded location with weapons, minimal food and water, and only the essentials. The protagonist is Shuya Nanahara, a popular guy dense about his fame and standing in women, and his reaction and actions during the course of when his class is picked to fight each other to live and be top dog.
The bloody and graphic telling of the deaths were excellent. No part of it was needless and felt absolutely necessary in the context of how the story is. Sure, those that are squeamish should not pick up this book (else run for the hills screaming); but, the fact of the matter is this is intentional to instill violent horror, that these middle school kids are capable of committing such brutal acts against one other at their age. It's not supposed to be imitated; it's supposed to be avoided. How they feel during their actions is also amazing to read about: few get regretful, some justify their means, and many go bat-shit crazy. Much like The Hunger Games, the living are informed of who has died at certain parts of the day - yet they don't know how they died or who killed them. It only raises the fear among the kids that much more, putting them on edge and giving them incentive or hesitation to partake in the mass murder as well.
I loved how the government was explained and how the message of 'history can be rewritten' was woven in. This is a government that has broken the will of its people and has dominant control over what is past or not (much like Orwell's 1984). The messages about trust being a double-edged sword really gets one to think about that faith in a friend or classmate can turn on you because you say you trust them when their corrupted minds can twist it. Can you really know a person if you can't read their mind? It's such a cruel way of putting that trust can stab you in the back; it's a thing that both parties must be involved in and never falter once, else everything goes lost. Friends? Buddies? Sparring mates? Forget those titles. They won't do crap in a kill-or-be-killed situation.
The characters that were given more time (not necessarily the main characters) were very interesting to read and believable. Shuya seemed to represent American ideals (rebellion, heroic antics, trust); Noriko was a burden at first, but I can see the reason for needing her in the story. Due to the big cast, not everyone could be treated equally, yet I appreciated that Takami tried to give everyone some background story that could explain why they were who they were and explained their actions. They were bare minimum details, but it reflected how classmates that aren't close will know tiny little things about the other.
Of course, no book is without its flaws.
The translation could have been a little better, but it's understandable that translating from Japanese to English is a hard task. The concept of 50 middle school classes fighting each(?) Battle Royale is hard to grasp, considering that no birth rate was given for the book; and, even then, it still would have been hard to wrap around (over 2000 kids dying each time). The antagonist and considered 'villain' standing between Shuya and his group and living were just as explained as the rest of the cast, and I would have loved to know more about them. In fact, I would have loved to know more about the active 'players'. Though there was a good plot twist before the ending, the conclusion could have been guessed easily. It can be hard to tell who is who because quite a few of the characters do have similar names; but, in my edition at least, there was a list of the characters sorted by number and gender just to refer to to keep up. Also stated in the additional info/interview was that the gun knowledge was mixed/messed up, but it wasn't that big of an issue for me because of not being knowledgeable in guns myself.
Overall, this book was great, and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who won't mind the extreme violence and length of the novel. It's full of nice action and even breaks from it with background info and perspective changes with other characters. The government explanation was pretty in-depth and doesn't leave the reader left in the dark behind its machinations. I utterly loved it.(less)
Is it just me or are modern novels taking on similar writing styles? A simple list turned into multiple, fragmented sentences ("We took out some thing...moreIs it just me or are modern novels taking on similar writing styles? A simple list turned into multiple, fragmented sentences ("We took out some things. Apples. Bananas. Grapes. The works."), little to no description for characters physically ("He had black hair and had the most brilliant eyes you had ever seen. The end."), and innocent (as in romantically dense) protagonists in general, and other things (such as awkward dialogue) peppered in today's literature?
Not to say those are bad things - if executed properly, it adds variation in a novel. This was merely a curious observation.
That being said, I felt Kathy Reich's Virals fell under those things I stated above. The execution was... okay. There were moments that made me smile in a way that said, "Did they just say/do that? Oh gosh." Maybe it's my older thinking, but I can't understand why there are fragmented sentences present in today's literature that could have been done simply in a list.
At least, that is how I remember it. I finished the book a month or two ago and have been in a reading streak due to copious amounts of free time waiting for classes. Some memories are a bit foggy, but I do remember one thing:
I did actually like the story. It was a pleasure reading; and, as long as people can differentiate between that and a thinker book, there should be no qualms. (It's a good thing if people can keep that in mind when they are about to violently defend their books to no end...) From my perspective, there was no take-home message to get out of reading this book; it was just something to have a leisure in. (I mean, I don't see how you're supposed to get some philosophical message at this point in the series).
The main character, Tory Brennan, is a pretty strong female protagonist, though she does fall under being a tomboy and, thus, an outcast to most girl ventures and activities. She is pushed into a debutante ball and is basically forced into a dress, to her chagrin, only hangs around her male friends, and seems to give off this aura that she wouldn't exactly be into 'girly' hobbies and interests. As a character, she was so-so. Not much of the book was given towards character development and establishment, as the main seller was the mystery aspect. In a sense, she felt like a stereotype of both the 'brainy' and 'tomboy' qualities; any further reading into the series has me hopeful that she - and her friends--- especially her friends - will change. Just from this book, she appears to be a 'feminist' type of character - but not one that is potent in the ideal; just that she is emotionally strong and academically up there. This is why I hope for character development: she didn't seem to display anything prominently negative. Sure, she was a bit of a troublemaker - causing panic towards her pals - and secretive, but they were not any big flaws.
Would I call her a Mary-Sue? Eh... not exactly. It could have been worse.
Her friends (Ben, Hiram, and Shelton) probably served as a means to ground her. They had their own talents, yet they definitely showed off fear and hesitation for the shenanigans Tory wanted them to do. Because the story is told in first-person, there wasn't as much character establishment for them as much as Tory (which also was pretty minimal, in my opinion). I would like to see more from them in future installments.
Premise? It's a bit silly; but, if one can let their imagination flow, it's fun.
The execution was what got the book a three stars. While I tolerated the characters, I felt like they could have been delved into more. I understand that the author plans to make a series off of it; I just feel that for one entire book, what made me like the characters was their "normal-kids-turned-supernatural" feel, and the fact they were kind of forced into their situation (all from Tory's intervention, mind you). There was nothing to make me attached from their backgrounds or developed personalities (view spoiler)[though there seems to be something going on between Ben and Tory, those moments where Ben seems kind of irritated when another boy is with Tory (let's not forget that Tory mentioned something about Ben in an earlier part of the book; I'll be keeping my eye out for this) (hide spoiler)]. The catcher is the fact of how the kids are going to use their powers; still looking forward to progression in the characters. (Major buff for characters over plot, nine times out of ten). The plot was smooth, but it did have a slow beginning. The powers weren't a part of the story until later and were typical canine-based abilities; nothing fancy or unique at this stage.
For the writing (in first-person), I think it could have been cleaned up more, but that's my opinion. Tory sounded more like an adult than someone who is supposed to be 14, even if she was an extremely intellectual person. Sensory details and description were lacking except in major events - and those were given a paragraph or two at most. The mystery part of the story wasn't anything gripping - going on cliche at the end. High hopes that the difficulty and thinking needed to solve any similar cases will heighten as each book comes out.
I say check it out from the library if you're interested and buy it if you loved it. With how the premise is set up, it very much depends on one's ability to let wild their imagination.(less)
Believe me: I wanted to take this seriously. I considered my only two reviews I have to be professional because I wasn't cracking jokes, wasn't gettin...moreBelieve me: I wanted to take this seriously. I considered my only two reviews I have to be professional because I wasn't cracking jokes, wasn't getting snarky, and tried to incorporate positive/negative qualities about a book in, just to show that the author had some good points, some bad points, of whatever the skew was at. You know, constructive criticism.
This book... wha...
That tag about it having a 'love triangle' is very subtle. In the context of the book, the relationship of Devon/Bryn/Chase has that tingling sensation of a 'love triangle'; but, it's more like 'dominance'.
Oh, how I loath that word - but for a different reason you may be thinking.
Now, just because this book is about domination, control, and leadership doesn't make it disgusting. In fact (and people have every right to disagree with me - especially on a topic like this), I found it quite interesting that the author seemed to take werewolves and made them reflect real-life abusers, of the children, psychological, physical, whatever kind.
Think about it. You have:
1) Packs; basically, there is a head dog wolf that controls the rest and any sign of disobedience is met with physical violence - gender not considered. 2) Hardly any female werewolves; in here, it's 'biological' (as in, 'hardly explained except in unresolved science') that female werewolves are a rarity. They die within the first trimester; something in their chemistry while forming just does not allow many of them to survive. Now, take it into consideration that REPORTED (not necessarily true) cases of abuse usually have male suspects. (view spoiler)[When Sora is beating the living shit out of Bryn, there's an exception. Lake outright raises a gun at some foreign wolf on her territory. Like, HOLY FUCK. Katie is too young to be considered. (hide spoiler)] 3) The villain. There is no way you could not think about it, as Bryn outright says it. 4) Bryn's reaction. (view spoiler)[After getting beaten for disobeying, she thinks it's her fault. That's right. It's her fault. You didn't read that wrong. Now, honestly, I feel like, yes, that's what some abused individuals may feel if they got beaten; it happens, especially if the abuse has gone to break the will of them. At least the author had Ali tell her to shut up about it being her fault. Ali even reasons that Callum downright knew Bryn was going to break the conditions, make him have to beat her, and then have Ali and Bryn flee for a future purpose. Oh, but this is revealed at end-game. (hide spoiler)] 5) Subtle hints about rape. (view spoiler)[It's described as 'losing it' when male werewolves are around female werewolves when Bryn asks Mitch, Lake's father, why Lake ran for the mountain and looked upset. (hide spoiler)] 6) Dominance; "Mine. Mine. Mine." "I am his. He is mine." Notice that since there are hardly any female werewolves, guess who's the dominant one in a relationship nine times out of ten. 7) Werewolves thinking negatively towards humans. Mind you, it's towards Bryn, as she's part of Pack but not a werewolf or a mate to anyone--- Did I forget to mention that humans can be married to werewolves, but they are only considered to be a 'mate'? It's not 'husband and wife', it's 'mate'. I can understand that for male and female werewolves, but not even once did I read Ali (a human mother of werewolf twins; might I add that humans giving birth to one werewolf is already considered extremely hard to do) refer to Casey, husband, as 'husband'. (At least she didn't say 'mate'). If we have "werewolves = abusers," then... 8) Villain's victims. (view spoiler)[They were 'Changed' into werewolves. I lay down these series of equations: werewolf = abuser; abuser + child = scarred for life, and possibility (not always probable) of child becoming abuser; werewolf + child = ? (hide spoiler)] 9) Finally, 'property rights' on other people. Enough said.
Making these observations, I deemed the book to be about abusers. Come talk to me if you think otherwise. No, that's not sarcastic or in a challenging voice; I'm quite curious as to what others have gathered from the text and drew their conclusions.
Instead of the message, I want to talk about the writing, the description, and plot. Even characters, because they're what I love in books.
To be honest, there was no description. None. No imagery or way for me to know who is who among just name and obvious traits. Lake is blond; Chase is dark-haired and blue-eyed; Devon is... uh... nope, don't remember; Bryn is assumed to be the girl on the cover - and she wears a t-shirt and pants, if I recall correctly. Not only does this throw me away from the setting, but I can't get into it so well. Why was there no description for the characters beyond that? Why was there no description for the VILLAIN, of all people? The best we got was when Bryn and Ali go to Lake and Mitch's place. Yeah. How important. Even that was given just a paragraph.
The writing was... so... repetitive. That's the best word I can come up with. It wasn't bad, per se, outside of the parts where Bryn repeats stuff like mad. Common words to look out for: mine, dominance, Pack, SURVIVE, blood-blood-blood-blood, blood, trapped, fight. 'SURVIVE' in caps as such in book; the entries of 'blood-blood-blood-blood' and 'blood' are different. Trust me. Also, in the first bit of the book, Bryn would say, "... to a T." Never have I heard a teenager, let alone a 15-year old girl, use this phrase before. I'll give her credit on the assumption that she is perhaps smart enough to know and use it correctly, yet that doesn't excuse it when it pops up, oh, about four or five times in the span of 50-70 pages. It's not a common enough phrase to use it so willy-nilly. Please, for the love of everything, be more creative than to use repeated words and phrases. Readers get it the first time; Bryn is a girl affected by the past and she can't get rid of its grasp. We get it. Stop drilling it in, please.
Let me add that the author seemed to have something against longer sentences. Now, I'll accept it if it's her writing style (and this review is not trying to be insult on her, her style, or even her book, folks; just to throw that out there first), but damn. I swear this book could have been cut down easily by 30 or so pages just from the line breaks needed for the single repeated word and phrase.
I feel, after reading this book, I'm going to hate repetition as a literary device/technique.
Lastly, the plot. Not only did it take more than 100 pages to get to anything interesting (I see what you did tharrrrr, modern book), but it was full of jumps into Bryn's out-of-werewolf-pack life that were not necessary.
"I learned not to deal with Lake after that time we were 12." "...after Lake stopped streaking when we were 12." "That experience when we were 12. That was a different story"
And...? Go on...? Oh, that's it? (/shameless quoting of fanfictioncritic) Bryn obviously had something interesting to talk about this something with Lake at 12-years old if she referred to it twice. Do we get any resolution on it? Haha, NO. Silly reader. What were you expecting?
Author, more description, less useless detail, more plot progression, less repeated words, plz. I don't need about 420 pages just to get... nothing.
Climax? What climax? The plot went so snail-slow that when we finally had something that should interest us, it was just a dull high. The villain was just a stereotypical villain. No explained reason; no answer. (view spoiler)[His death was SO predictable. The author kept her main pair pure but not killing him themselves. (hide spoiler)]
Sexual tension? What sexual tension? Chase was non-descript, along with Bryn, and the only thing that really connected them was the concept of 'dominance' and 'possession'. If you're going to have a series, how about you establish the two meeting and getting to know each other first book? This left me... no feeling. Nothing. I'm sorry. It was pretty much 'insta-love' from the get-go. No, it wasn't 'I love you, you love me', but I got that feeling when they kept saying, "I am his, and he is mine."
Rant is over. Positives? I did like the concept of how and why a silver bullet did kill werewolves; I did like Ali, Lake, and somewhat of Devon (though his personality certainly felt more like a girl); Callum was okay, in a way.
Might edit this review later. Otherwise...
I finished this review like a boss to a T!
I have a feeling I might read the second book to see if the author got better. See, the writing wasn't THAT bad, except for what I explained above. If I don't read it, though, probably nothing was lost. (less)