The book is slow to start and it often feels as though Grossman is going through the motions. But the driving second half more than makes up for it. AThe book is slow to start and it often feels as though Grossman is going through the motions. But the driving second half more than makes up for it. And with choice quotes like:
“Look, who’s the talking bear here?” Quentin snapped. “Is it you? Are you the talking f*****g bear? All right. So shut the f**k up.”
The meta-fiction is downright entertaining.
Some might find the book needlessly angsty, and there's some merit to that complaint. But its an interesting alternative look at what it would mean to discover a magical world embedded in our own....more
"You"'s biggest problem is simply that it came after Ready Player One, and so everyone presumes that, just because they both deal with video games, th"You"'s biggest problem is simply that it came after Ready Player One, and so everyone presumes that, just because they both deal with video games, they must be similar.
They're not. At all.
Ready Player One is exactly what I suspect most people would expect of a video game novel: fast paced, fun, full of action and suspense. That it'll get made into a movie I have no doubt.
"You" is something else entirely. "You" is, at it's heart, a character study, a confessional from a man who as a kid felt lost, was found, then in adulthood lost themselves again before rediscovering that kid they were and the man they wanted to be. It's a book about feeling outside and set apart, and then discovering others in the wilderness and taking shelter together.
In this story videogames are, I think, better thought of as a catalyst. They bring these outsiders together and provide them with shared experience and a medium in which to find and express themselves, to, as Grossman writes, "[try] over and over to tell yourself your own story, and get it right".
So it's no great surprise that some might feel disappointed by this book... if you're looking for action and adventure, you won't find it here. Instead here you're find genuine nostalgia (not the kitschy, clever, pop-culture infused kind), a love letter to those of us who grew up on videogames and always felt like a bit of a square peg being pounded into a round hole....more
To say this book isn't in my wheelhouse would probably be an understatement, which probably isn't a surprise as it's very *very* clear that I'm not inTo say this book isn't in my wheelhouse would probably be an understatement, which probably isn't a surprise as it's very *very* clear that I'm not in the target market (ie, women :). But at the urging of my lovely and persistent wife, I decided to give it a shot.
Now, as with so many independent books, this one could probably do with a heavy dose of editing... cliches leak through here and there, the prose is a stilted and forced at times (in particular, there's a few witticisms littered in the text that struck me as strangely out of place), and the dialog often felt awkward and... unvaried? Same-y? I'm not sure how to put it... it seemed to me that all the characters, including Penryn and Raffe, who clearly come from *very* different worlds, spoke with a very similar voice (ie, same slang and colloquialisms, same structure and rhythm, etc). Of course, writing dialog is one of *the* hardest things to do when writing prose, so I sympathize with the author, here.
On top of that, let's face it, I'm a dude, and the book is written with women in mind, so there's definitely a few romance novel cliches thrown in here and there that stood out for me (and as a semi-related aside, my white-night tendencies were incredibly put off when the author assured us that Penryn wouldn't normally eat heavy, fatty foods while understandably wolfing down her first proper meal in days or weeks... as if eating a steak with bernaise is normally a shameful act for our protagonist, only excusable in the direst of circumstances).
All that said, the story was certainly interesting, and the final few chapters were definitely page turners... I just wish we weren't left with such a massive cliffhanger! I power through the end of the book only to be rewarded with a semi-happy ending and very little insight into what was actually going on in the damn world. Of course, this book clearly sets up a sequel, so that's totally understandable, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating!
So, to sum up, my 3 stars, here, are probably more like a 2.5 rounded up, but I give the extra 0.5 for making me not want to put the damn book down until I finished it....more
Granny Weatherwax is one of those characters that, prior to this point, I would describe as a quiet mystery. Old, crotchety, wise, powerful, and wickeGranny Weatherwax is one of those characters that, prior to this point, I would describe as a quiet mystery. Old, crotchety, wise, powerful, and wickedly intelligent, her role in her coven was always important but never a centerpiece, at least in my mind, and she was never a character toward which I would ascribe feelings of sympathy.
But in this book we see Pratchett really explore what makes Granny Granny, and in doing so, shows us why he loves her character so much. Like Captain Vimes, Granny is a creature of honour and duty, willing to do those things others can't or won't do because they are necessary. But as we've seen Vimes, here we see Granny bending beneath the weight of that duty, and in those moments we see the humanity and vulnerability of a character who seems so unbreakable.
To me, this book stacks up with Guards! Guards! as one of Pratchett's best... I'm a guy who loves relating to great characters, and this book delivers in spades....more