I think the last time I read this book, I was about 12 years old. And now I realize that I didn't understand it. At all. The problem with reading clas...moreI think the last time I read this book, I was about 12 years old. And now I realize that I didn't understand it. At all. The problem with reading classics as a child, or even as a student. Especially when you're forced to read something, you might memorize the understanding that the teacher wants you to get... but I never gained a true appreciation until I reviewed those same books by choice.
Now, Wuthering Heights wasn't a scholastic book for me growing up, but one I read in the era I was obsessed with classic women's literature... Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Mary Shelley... And I probably never gleaned as much from these experiences as I assumed.
The prose isn't as nice and flowing by today's standard, but other then occasionally forgetting who was talking in the middle of a 10 page long diatribe (it usually was Heathcliff)... I had no trouble. I knew how it ended (obviously, since you learn most of the ending in the first chapter), but I didn't know how it developed to there (and clearly didn't remember the finer points)... and wanting to know kept me reading.
I really enjoyed it. Delving into how a good deed turned into a sick and twisted reality... And the portrayal of Heathcliff as a tragic romantic? He was tragic to be sure...
Anyways, I'm glad I revisited this book as an adult... I wish all my forays into old classics were this enjoyable.(less)
The writing is decent and the ending makes it clearly set up for the concluding book in the trilogy. It definitely reads as youth fantasy, as opposed...moreThe writing is decent and the ending makes it clearly set up for the concluding book in the trilogy. It definitely reads as youth fantasy, as opposed to epic fantasy. Some scenes are touching... It's captivating, I just can't seem to rave about it. Maybe I'm just cynical because it was definitely over-hyped to me. It has nothing to do with it not being a good book, but because I can see how it could possibly be a great book. And it doesn't quite make that distinction yet. But it can't be that bad if I finish it in the matter of eight hours. (less)
I'm honestly surprised it took me this long to read this book (and longer to review it) because it really was well done. Some things were predictable...moreI'm honestly surprised it took me this long to read this book (and longer to review it) because it really was well done. Some things were predictable and unrealistic... other things just blew me away. I understand now why it's a classic, and regret my decision to skip this one while growing up.(less)
It had a great concept and started off well. The character of Lucy was troubled and struggling with growing up and a lack of purpose in her life. And...moreIt had a great concept and started off well. The character of Lucy was troubled and struggling with growing up and a lack of purpose in her life. And while her journey has merit, some things just went outside of the suspension of disbelief.
In particular, her relationships are never actually built, but they change and develop. Occasionally they act as if they had a serious conversation without repeating text (since you know all about Lucy's feeling, so a text that "Lucy and Anne talked for hours about her feelings" is sufficient to some extent)... but overall, the development is harsh and unrealistic.
I didn't like the character of Katie, she was rather shallow and again, her interactions with everyone where false.. Same with other characters.
Basically it was a great concept, but never full delivered for me. (less)
This book gave me chills. Touching upon a point in history that I had absolutely no knowledge of - which is surprising to me because it deals with int...moreThis book gave me chills. Touching upon a point in history that I had absolutely no knowledge of - which is surprising to me because it deals with internment camps during WW2, but also understandable for reasons you get when you read the book....
It misses five stars on a few points. Particularly characters acting in an uncharacteristic way. Each person you interact with as a reader is fairly efficiently described, but then don't always act in a manner that is consistent with the description. One notable exception to this is the father-in-law, whose change in behaviour is accounted for, in my opinion.
Otherwise, the novel starts with alternating perspective (on different timelines) and I like how engaging that is. However, about the halfway mark it switches to exclusively the "present" (set in approx. 2002)... While it's understandable from the story point of view, I really missed the "past" timeline and hated having to hear it revealed much more slowly.
And without getting into anything horribly spoilerific, I hated how there were no real happy endings. There was contentment in the end for part of it, but it wasn't really happy. Which I guess is reality, but damn, reality sucks!(less)
Just like "Sarah's Key", this book has two alternating perspectives, 1942 and 1986... the difference is in this case, it's the same person at differen...moreJust like "Sarah's Key", this book has two alternating perspectives, 1942 and 1986... the difference is in this case, it's the same person at different ages. While the story is heartwarming (and heartbreaking), I can't rate the book super highly, mostly because certain anachronisms distracted me. They weren't major but it was enough to distract me.
Mostly this book made me think. About how two neighbours (both as characters in a city and as the countries their ancestors were born from) can be so different and so similar. I rarely ever consider the cultural differences that existed and how it impacted so much. I always wonder at the absurdity of internment camps and how people can blanket the bad deeds (or just the poor conceptions) of a few onto a much wider population. (less)
Basically it's an attempt to merge The Hunger Games with The Bachelor. Both elements remain under-deve...moreOn one hand, I liked it. It's cute. It's fluff.
Basically it's an attempt to merge The Hunger Games with The Bachelor. Both elements remain under-developed. Illea is referred to as a young country and yet it discusses the Selection as though it's a long-established tradition... How can the royal daughters be traded for alliances, if there haven't been any royal daughters?
By pure logic, a Selection can only be held when a prince comes 'of age' which likely means 18-20... And as birth is not regulated (but can be controlled) that means there can be any where between 1 to 5+ each generation... however the current prince is an only child and as we haven't heard of any of the kings' siblings, we imagine he's an only child as well. So the last selection was 18+ years ago (likely 20-25)... and before that was another 18+ years...
Furthermore, castes were decided by the current generations great-grandparents (though this isn't certain, it was a rather flimsy reference), which would mean there's only been 4 Selections (with perhaps more for families who had more then one son)... It hardly seems like a well establish tradition.
Not to mention other then some few vague references to a schedule, our characters just seem to sit around a lot waiting for the prince... who wines and dines them by the dozen but also does his own things... It's lacking structure and pacing.
While the caste system is a good idea to add a dystopian element, it clearly hasn't been well thought through. What I've gathered is One - Royal family Two - Model/other "pretty" careers and Soldiers - generally well-off Three - Teacher Four - Factory/Farm Five - Artists/Musicians Six - Servants/Clerical Seven - unknown? I may have missed it Eight - Homeless/Vagabonds (obviously there are other careers that fit into here)
The fact that artists have their own caste that is so low is somewhat strange. While obvious the stereotype is a starving artist until you become famous (and fame is hard to achieve)... but art is generally a decadent luxury geared towards the rich. The idea is the lower on the totem you are, the larger the group is (so there would be more fives then twos, for example)... but I think in a post-war society, you would focus on having "good" artists succeed and keep it limited competition by having the unsuccessful ones focus on something else, like factory work.
You belong to the caste you were born into. But as America's brother aspires, you can buy your way higher on the totem pole... And she is also "promoted"... but a promotion means you can no longer do what you have been "raised" to do and need to then acquire a new skill to continue earning a living. So Kato may earn money with his sculptures, but if he buys a "title" as a Two, he would no longer be allowed to continue making his sculptures that made him rich. Yes, he'd be eligible for a new job but that doesn't mean he'd be any good at it.
And how does one ever improve themselves from an Eight? Obviously this is the question... It does nothing for one girl or one boy to improve their caste but the whole system needs to be turned upside down and that's the point of the rebels. Now it's interesting to see things on the inside but for this concept to be successful, the system has to be changed. And obviously there will be more books to do that in.
Other then a caste system being introduced and some vague references to war and history (so far the author has coped out and said history is only told orally and never written down which means it doesn't have to be developed and concrete since oral history is always fluid)... life continues mostly as normal. Boys want to play ball instead of "working"... Teenagers fall in love and break the rules. There are still movies and telephones and airplanes and... More things are normal then are different.
I respect what Cass is trying to do with this novel... The execution could have been better. But if you want an afternoon of light reading, it definitely works. (less)
With all the problems plaguing the previous books in this series still in existence (mainly it's rather pedantic and obnoxious)... it's actually a rat...moreWith all the problems plaguing the previous books in this series still in existence (mainly it's rather pedantic and obnoxious)... it's actually a rather good ending for the series. It's an easy read, has a fun story.... while perhaps there is a tad too much emphasis on who she's kissing, it at least rounds things up fairly well. (less)
This is a book that doesn't know what it wants to be. It's a mystery about framed flowers. No, it's a story about financial corruption. No, it's a sto...moreThis is a book that doesn't know what it wants to be. It's a mystery about framed flowers. No, it's a story about financial corruption. No, it's a story about a private investigator. No, it's a smut story!
This story takes many different story lines, and makes one novel out of them. The problem is that it's not done smoothly. Each story could have existed on their own and tying them together felt awkward. The bulk of the novel dealt with the flower investigation (after teasing about it at the start and then detracting from it to set up the back story for the other parts)... but then at 80%, that is solved but the book keeps going... Oh right, we're back to the financial story.
And I think perhaps that whole story is a major detractor for me. I don't get the idea that what'shisname actually cared about right or wrong, but he got burned and is pissed off and that is the motivation for the rebuttal. Yes, he is painted as an idealist who's motivation is that this is a big, bad company and needs to be taught a lesson... except wait, we didn't know that until the very end when he's brought down!
Not to mention the brain-child Lisbeth Salander.... Who we are reminded again and again and again is socially messed up. Socially incapable by law. And yet, she manages to interact with our token male regularly and successfully... And at the end, she (without any qualms) pulls off a fraud so spectacularly that she's set for life... And does so without arising any suspicion on her? She's so amazing and so modern because she has NINE tattoos. WOOOOW. I'M SO IMPRESSED.
Yeah, actually I'm not. It's an interesting character but inconsistent and underdeveloped. (less)
This book has a very "Fame" feel to it. Of course, what do you expect from a book set in New York at a high school for performing arts? The characters...moreThis book has a very "Fame" feel to it. Of course, what do you expect from a book set in New York at a high school for performing arts? The characters are cliched... there's the famous child star who doesn't want to be an actor, the self-centered singer who will do anything to be famous, the quiet best friend who is the true talent and the hopeless heart-throb in love with his bandmate...
So, it sounds like a bad book, right? Except it's not. It gives a snapshot of the pressures of success. And while it's predictable, it's also does a very good job at it. At first I didn't recognize the difference between the characters. With a rotating first person perspective, it's hard for each individual character to have their own voice. It took a few chapters, but it was finally with Sophie's second or third appearance that I truly began to see the nuances between the characters.
I could have actually dealt with it being a little longer.. but it covered everything very well. It's not a lot of build up and drama... It's a very real buildup for high school. There is no zombies or vampires or dystopia throw-down... But a pleasant snapshot into the lives of these characters. Certainly not for everyone, but great for a quiet afternoon of entertainment.(less)
As the opening novel of the Ascendance Trilogy, I had my doubts. And if I was disappointed by some of the turns in the plot, I am hooked. The writing...moreAs the opening novel of the Ascendance Trilogy, I had my doubts. And if I was disappointed by some of the turns in the plot, I am hooked. The writing is engaging. The characters are enthralling. The book cover promises deceit and hidden identity and it delivers. The only downfall is now the wait before the next release. (less)
The ending earns it a two star rating. Because by the ending, the things that were happening made sense in the context of the book. Except the actions...moreThe ending earns it a two star rating. Because by the ending, the things that were happening made sense in the context of the book. Except the actions and behaviours had barely changed, you just finally had gotten all of the drawn-out explanations.
The concept is solid. The execution just failed. It's very similar to Twilight in many ways. So similar the author takes pains to make sure you know it's not Twilight.
I am also disgusted enough to say that it left me with just enough interest that I'd actually read the next book. But I like to torture myself.(less)
It was going to have a better rating. And then it ran out of pages. For a book that took so long to develop a plot, it ended without concluding it. I...moreIt was going to have a better rating. And then it ran out of pages. For a book that took so long to develop a plot, it ended without concluding it. I understand way. It was a "cliff hanger" in order to keep you reading the next book. Except I've enjoyed cliff hangers before. But I enjoy a series that has an overarching story (and thus a cliff hanger can continue that over arching story) but each individual novel should have their own plot.
I talked about this with one of my friend's who hasn't read the series... And she suggested that perhaps there is some cultural/language discrepancies because it is set in Sweden and translated (plus with the exception of Salander, the demographic is much older)... So my preconceived notions may be biased. But I had severe issues with the reactions of some of the characters... I understand that Salander is supposed to be abrasive, but the concept that so many of the police/p.i's actively involved in the case have be so homophobic, can have decided the end of the investigation before it really began and employ so much hatred towards a woman they may or may not have ever met before.
There's many other things that I might comment on but I'll just leave it. I am being really harsh because of the ending. I probably should give it 2.5 stars. Honestly, I'm continuing this series not because I feel like I need to (I'm so uninvested in what happens to any of our characters) but mostly because I don't want to face the decision of picking a new novel to read at the moment.(less)