If you are looking to journey to a mystical and magical world with beautiful and lyrical directions, then you need to please procure yourself a copy o...moreIf you are looking to journey to a mystical and magical world with beautiful and lyrical directions, then you need to please procure yourself a copy of this novel, pronto. I promise you, this novel is worth reading.
Looking at The Night Circus' story-line, it is slow-developing. But I do NOT mean this in its usual negative connotation. Rather, I mean it slowly develops this magical world of "The Circus of Dreams" to intricately describe every minute detail with a deliberate delicacy, causing this novel to just envelop the reader into the majesty and mystery that this novel contains. As I read this novel, I can honestly say I did not have a single question or concern for what was going on [at present] in the story (that is not taking into account the obvious mysterious plot-developments that any novel would have). Yet this storyline is not in any way, shape, or form predictable outside of what the book jacket tells you. Now, how Erin Morgenstern can do all of this in her first novel is beyond me! But she is a BRILLIANT story-teller.
The novel itself is composed of two parallel stories. The first story is about the development of the game, and subsequently the creation and story of the circus itself, all from the conspirators and the "insider" views and experiences from within the black and white. The second story is one that occurs in more present time with a boy named Bailey and his experiences with the circus, from the outsider point of view. These two stories interweave each other, adding to the mystery quality, not knowing how the two stories will intertwine.
The characters in this novel are intriguing, interesting, and very well-developed. Each and every character has a mysterious quality and fits into the story in a very perfect way. I really loved getting to know more about each and every character--there was not one character that I did not love, which is quite unusual for me. Every character plays a role in the development of the circus, and you learn more as you read.
I just really cannot convey how absolutely lovely and fantastic this novel truly is. If you do believe me, then go out and get it! And if you don't believe me, go out and get it and prove me wrong. I dare you. =P
There really are no words to describe this book and this story other than absolutely BRILLIANT story-telling. An intricate and beautiful story, told with mystery and intrigue. A must read for fans of the fantastical and the mysterious and the romantic.
Go get this book and enter the Circus of Dreams. (less)
Percy Jackson is your ordinary kid, except for the fact that he can't seem to stay in the same school for more than a year because weird things keep h...morePercy Jackson is your ordinary kid, except for the fact that he can't seem to stay in the same school for more than a year because weird things keep happening to him. Oh, and his father is actually Poseidon, the King of the Sea and one of the Big Three Olympian gods. And he kind of accidentally vaporizes his algebra teacher. And his best friend is really a half goat. But otherwise, he's just your normal middle school boy.
I loved this book. Having Percy Jackson as a first person narrator adds a sense of quirky 12-year-old boy to this "serious and true" story, which adds humor and excitement to his adventure. And as it has been a very long time sense I have read or studied Greek Mythology, I was learning things, too! The story and plotline themselves are very simplistic and somewhat predictable, but that is perhaps because I am a 23 year old reading a novel written for a 10-12 year old. So that might account for it. But despite the simplicity, this novel is not simple, bland, or boring. It is full of intriguing excitement and a compelling storyline filled with fantastical and mythological enemies and friends.
Rick Riordan brings the 3000+ year old stories to life in a modern setting, making them more graspable in the mind of the 21st century child, and bringing to life the mystery and magic that is Greek Mythology. What kind of beings are lurcking in your own classroom? Are you best friends with a satyr? Who knows? ;-)
A very intriguing and different kind of world. Jodi Meadows builds her world in a way that just adds uniqueness and beauty to the story. This part fan...moreA very intriguing and different kind of world. Jodi Meadows builds her world in a way that just adds uniqueness and beauty to the story. This part fantasy, part science-fiction debut novel brings a very good start to the New Souls series. Though the romance part of this novel could have been written better, this series opener definitely leaves you wanting more. Plus, there are dragons. =)
If you want to be whisked away into a fantastical world filled with intrigue and scientific elements, then open up this beautiful book and be whisked away! Jodi Meadows' debut novel takes readers on a different kind of journey, filled with incarnation, a million souls, and dragons.
Ana's birth is an anomaly: she is not a reincarnated soul, but a new soul, one not ever recorded before. She has no memories of previous lives because she has never been born before. And because of this, she becomes an outcast to society. She lives in a remote cabin outside of the city of Heart, where most of the million reincarnating souls live. Her mother, Li, hates the mere existance of Ana and does nothing but abuse her for 18 years. Finally, Ana sets off on her own journey to Heart to figure out who she is and where she comes from. Along the way she is attacked by the vicious and shadowlike creatures called sylph, only to be rescued by Sam, a boy her own age. Despite that Ana is a "nosoul", Sam decides to help her get to Heart and find out why she exists.
In my opinion (though I know others disagree because of so many mixed reviews on Goodreads), Jodi does a fantastic job of building this world of souls. In fact, I warn you that if you are seeking a book with high and constant action then look elsewhere. Jodi spends a lot of time making sure readers get enough of the history of the souls to really understand the world we are reading about but not making the entire novel a history prequel. As Ana is searching for answers, she learns more about the history of Heart, and thus so do the readers. That said, there are still a lot of questions I had at the end of this book in regards to the world and the Temple of Heart, but those are good questions that can be answered in the next book. You are mostly just left wondering and pondering these unanswered questions rather than left confused or lost.
There are a lot of really interesting characters in this world that we are introduced to (other than Ana and Sam) that I was definitely wanting to know more about. And hopefully the next books in this series will focus a little more on them. But this novel was about figuring out who Ana and Sam are as characters and developing their relationship. I must say, I really liked Ana. She has a confidence aura about her, even though her entire life she has been told she is nothing. Her confidence in herself is what drives her to search for knowledge and truths. And she is a very realistic person in terms of her actions towards others, which I really appreciated. Because she suffered abuse her entire life, it was nice to see her as a character less willing to trust people and being wary of people's actions with her. Ana really is a well-developed heroine that I really enjoyed getting to know through these pages.
And then there is Sam, who has so much of a backstory but we hardly get anything at all. He remains mostly a mystery to us, other than the fact that he has his music. And yet Sam is a swoon-worthy guy. Sure, he acts a little daft sometimes, especially in those sexual-tension filled moments with Ana, but a) he is a male, and b) he, too, is trying to understand how Ana fits into Heart as well as his life. It must be a bit weird to meet someone new in a world where you know everyone, over and over. So some hesitancy on his part was acceptable for me, too. But above all, he is a character that truly and deeply cares about the people in his life. You don't just see this with Ana (which is the obvious person you would see this interaction), but also with his friends, too. I am really interested in seeing how Jodi develops his character more in the coming books.
My major hump with this novel had to do with the romance between Sam and Ana. You know from the beginning that this relationship is the dreaded cheesy "instalove." Sam is immediately smitten with Ana, but because of Ana's abusive childhood she was slow to trust and open up, but you knew she would eventually. But the way this instalove romance was written I didn't mind it at all--it was slow-developed enough that it didn't feel dreaded at all, but rather sweet. In fact, one of my favorite scenes in this romance was when they finally kiss for the first time. It was an absolutely beautiful episode that was entrancing and magical. And then, right after that elegantly written scene, they go home and the cheesy instalove conversation insues, which completely took away from the beauty of the moment before. If it would have just been left the way it was, it would have been beautiful. Though I understand that talking after a romantic connection is expected, it just didn't have to be THAT cheesey. It really took away from the development of their relationship and turned it into instalove. Bad choice.
But aside from that, this novel is really all sorts of excellent. If you are a fan of the sci-fi fantasy novel, then this is really a good pick for you. Incarnate tells a new and different kind of story with such a familiarity that you will feel right at home with this book. And yet you will be surprised.
You know that old adage "don't judge a book by it's cover"? THROW IT AWAY. Judge this book by the cover, please!!! The cover is beautiful on the outside, and the story is beautiful on the inside. And definitely worth a read.(less)
Being almost 100 pages shorter than the first in the series, The Sea of Monsters opens up right to the excitement of the life of being a half-blood. Percy Jackson has made it to his last day of a school year without getting in trouble or being expelled, and his mom has promised a huge celebration for him and his new homeless friend Tyson after school. On the way to school, he senses a presence following him, but he doesn't see, hear, or smell anything fishy or monstery, so he continues on to school. However, his luck has run out, for his P.E. dodgeball game gets ruined by a bunch of giant cannibals who throw flaming balls super fast! The entire gym catches on fire, and it looks like everyone is going to die! But in steps Tyson, who defends Percy from the flaming balls, using his body to deflect them. Oh, did I mention that Tyson is a Cyclops? 'Cuz yeah, he is. =)
With the saving grace of Annabell, Percy and Tyson join her in travelling via taxi to Camp Half Blood, which is under attack of monsters. Why? Because someone has poisoned Thalia's tree, so the protective borders are ceasing to keep monsters out. Thus, Percy, Annabell, and Tyson are thrust into another adventure to rescue Grover from the Cyclops lair on an island in the Sea of Monsters and retrieve the Golden Fleece to heal Thalia's tree.
Although this adventure is a lot shorter than trekking cross-country to find the lightning bolt, this novel is full of mythological goodness. Percy and Annabell encounter many more mythological creatures, ghost ships, and, of course, the meat-eating sheep. But their demi-god-ness and quick wits make them successful in their journey, but not without consequences.
What can I say? I am really enjoying this middle grade series. The quirkiness of Percy, the 7th grade boy, makes me laugh out loud because he tells us exactly what he is thinking, which is so middle-school boy. =) And the introduction of new characters (aka. Tyson) only makes you love the story more.
The overall series plot is thickening. What will happen next in this war over Mount Olympus?
And wow, way to end with a DRAMATIC CLIFF HANGER, Rick! I mean, it works. I'm eager to continue the series, and will do so very soon!
Well, I cannot tell a lie--I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the first two. That is not to say that this story wasn't good--in fact, the endi...moreWell, I cannot tell a lie--I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the first two. That is not to say that this story wasn't good--in fact, the ending of this book was the best ending so far. There were just things about this book that annoyed me. (Beware, here comes the three-part argument teehee).
First off, the transition between the end of book two and the beginning of book three just wasn't enough for me. The last line of The Sea of Monsters informed us that the girl who was once a tree--Thalia, the daughter of Zeus--is now alive! And then, the first paragraph of this novel starts out as such:
"The Friday before winter break, my mom packed me an overnight bag and a few deadly weapons and took me to a new boarding school. We picked up my friends Annabeth and Thalia on the way."
His friend Thalia? That he just met in the last sentence of the previous book? And that's all we get?! This just didn't sit well with me, and it started this book off on a bad foot. I don't like that Percy and Thalia are just assumed to be insta-friends, especially with the rival of their respective parents (Zeus and Poseidon) as well as the pressure of the prophecy, which only grew when Thalia recovered from her tree-ness. SO the fact that Rick just ignores this facet of the story irked me, thus making me extremely annoyed as I began this book.
Secondly, Thalia is just SUPER ANNOYING! But maybe it's just me. I just really couldn't stand her. She tried to take charge and live up to her "daughter of Zeus" expectations or whatever, but she was just rude and snippy and pushy. It was almost like she was trying to be Annabeth (a character that I love) but she cannot be, so she just ends up being annoying. She does redeem herself a bit at the end of the novel, but by then I am just exhausted with her and am just glad that it's over.
And thirdly, the first 250 pages. The mission/quest/adventure in this novel is just kind of all over the place, and I just did not like it as much as the first two. It was a little bit more difficult to follow (though that might have had something to do with me listening to the audiobook...but IDK) and kind of sporadic, even for these novels. We do, however, meet more of the 12 gods and goddesses (Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite), and Percy's interactions with each of them I did appreciate. I like that more of them were added to the plotline--it made this book more likeable to me. But in all honesty, the first 250 pages were just kind of bland overall.
To say a little something about the positives (I cannot allow you followers to think this book is AWFUL, because it really isn't): The ending is PHENOMENAL!!! Best ending sequence so far, by far!! I loved the strategy, the fighting, and the wrap up of this all-over-the-place adventure. And you really get a full understanding of where the series, and the adventures of Percy Jackson, are really headed. But to get to the good, you have to suffer through the bland and boring. But, in my opinion, it's still worth it.
I am looking forward to continuing in this series. And, because I am reading this series, I have been inspired to go back and read Edith Hamilton's Mythology to familiarize myself with the myths again. Hooray for Greek Mythology and for learning new things while reading a book!
I just did not enjoy this book as a whole as much as the first two. However, it has a kick-butt ending! And I am still excited for the rest of the series.(less)
Ladies and gents, I have once again stumbled upon a novel of such brilliant proponents that I really cannot describe to you the beauty and amazement of this debut novel by Eowyn Ivey. Based upon a Russian fairytale, The Snow Child will take you on a magical journey through the frigid winters to tell you a heartwarming story of love, family, belief, and strength.
Taking place in the great Alaskan wilderness, The Snow Child is the story of Mabel and Jack creating a life in their new homestead in the desolate Alaskan mountainside. Moving away from Pennsylvania to start a life of quiet farming in an unexplored territory seemed like the perfect remedy for Mabel and Jack's tragic loss of their stillborn baby a few years earlier. They both wanted adventure, they both wanted to be a part of something new, and they both wanted to find something more to life than just what they new back east. But the adventure isn't what they had in mind--preparing the land for farming was hard, and Jack couldn't do it before the snows hit. And just when it all seemed like a lost cause, blessings came in all shapes and sizes, and the magic of the first snow changed Jack and Mabel's lives forever.
I have never felt as instantly emotionally connected to a character in a book as I do to Mabel and Jack, but I found myself smiling, laughing, and crying as they go through the joys and pains of their lives. Readers are introduced to Mabel from the very first line, and within the first 8 pages I found myself to be already a part of her--we know exactly where she is, exactly where she's coming from, exactly how she feels...and we've only known her for 8 pages. That really attributes to Ivey's beautiful writing style, entertwining her readers into the mind and heart of her character from the start. And then there is Jack, who is strong yet so desperate for things to be okay that he is willing to do the unthinkable and head north to the mines for paid work. You can literally feel the pain between them as they struggle to communicate their hurt and sorrow to each other. Ivey showcases her brilliancy by establishing this strong connection between the readers and her characters, pulling readers into her story while simultaneously nestling her characters into the reader's heart. This novel is, quite literally, the in-page/out-of-page experience.
Each and every character in this novel plays an important role in the lives of Mabel and Jack, and through each of them they both go through a beautiful transformation, from living in dispair and pain to finding the joys of life again. And the most important of these characters is Faina. Faina the girl who magically appears in their lives one winter day. Faina, who becomes the center of their life, bringing a beauty and a grace that is indescribable. She brings them hope, she teaches them not only how to fall in love with a child, but also how to fall in love with each other again.
I find that I do not want to tell you any more about this novel because I think it would ruin some of the magic of your first reading if I told you a lot more about it. So I will just tell you that this novel is more than just a book--it truly is a transcedence of the soul. This novel will touch you in ways that other stories could never come close to reaching because this is everyone's story. Everyone needs a Snow Child in their life, something to inspire them, something to encourage them, something to teach them how to love. The Snow Child is not just about reading--it's about experiencing. (less)
To be very frank with you all, I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I JUST READ! But I think I'm okay with that. =) And it is really hard to write a review on this novel while a) keeping spoilers out and b) writing sentences that make sense.
Now that the confession is out in the open and you know where I'm coming from, I can continue on with this review.
As you could probably guess, these 925 pages hold a lot of mystery, intrigue, and magic. And these three elements combine to create this beautiful story full of depth, imagination, and fate. There is a lot of interweaving of stories and ideas and philosophies and fantasy that makes these 925 pages (with minuscule sized print) seemingly fly by. The only reason you know you are reading a really long book is that you are still reading it days and days after you started it, not because it is dragging, but because it is just that long.
The novel centers around two characters: Aoname, a woman who fights for women's rights in a slightly unconventional way, and Tengo, a math genius and aspiring novelist who is given a unique opportunity. Each chapter alternates between these two characters, a technique which served as both a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing because you really get to know each of the characters personally and intimately. A bad things because a lot of times I found myself wanting to continue one story, and then I had to keep switching! (Okay, it's not really a bad bad thing). But in doing this, Murakami is able to build the suspense and the intrigue of the storyline while still keeping the timelines as close together as possible, as both Aoname's story and Tengo's story happen simultaneously. These two seemingly separate characters are somehow connected, and the more you read their stories the more you learn just how connected they really are.
The centerpiece to this novel is the story Air Chrysalis, which is a fantasy story written by a 17 year old dyslexic girl with the pen name "Fuka-Eri." This is the story that Tengo ends up ghost-writing for his editor, Komatsu, with the hopes that it wins one of the yearly literary prizes. But the more that Tengo learns about Fuka-Eri and her story, the more strange (and dangerous) life becomes for everyone in the whole world, it seems. This story affects each and every character introduced in this story. And don't worry, you do, in fact, find out exactly what story Air Chrysalis tells...eventually.
The style and character development in this novel is very similar to Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We have two main characters who take a very long time to meet. We have a lot of extraneous details that are included about their everyday lives that help to counter the serious and weighty subject matter involved in the plotline. There is a lot of sex and coffee/tea drinking (and the sex is described with extreme physiological detail, but it is not erotica by any means). Sometimes it does feel like details about a character or the plotline are repeated, and repeated often. But I really didn't feel like the repetition dragged the story down. Surprisingly, I think it helps build the suspense and the mystery for both the characters in the story and the readers of the story.
I know I haven't said much about it, but I really feel that I cannot say anymore and still keep the integrity of the novel spoiler-free. I will leave you with this: if you are a fan of the bizarre (and slightly creepy), and you aren't afraid to invest in something that might not answer all of your questions, then this book is for you. In my opinion (after I have literally been thinking about this for three days straight), this is a novel worth investing in.
I invested, and I have to say I do not regret it. Despite it's length, despite it's confusing nature, Murakami has written a story that will stay with the reader forever (now, why it stays with the reader can vary heh). He has completely succeeded in creating this beautifully flowing work of literature that, if nothing else, leaves you thinking and guessing and wondering and dreaming. And isn't that what reading is about?(less)
Cute, whimsical story of fairy-tales in real life. Similar to the show Once Upon a Time, but for kids! I like the characters and am interested to see...moreCute, whimsical story of fairy-tales in real life. Similar to the show Once Upon a Time, but for kids! I like the characters and am interested to see how this series progresses.(less)
The beginning pages of this novel open up a dark and mysterious world in which Karou lives. Karou, with her straight blue hair, multiple tattoos, and 92 sketch books completely filled of her beautiful creations, is an high school student attending a prestigeous art school in Prague where she is perfecting her artistic talents. Her sketch books contain hundreds of drawings of fantastical creatures, who all have names as well as a place in Karou's life--and even her friend's lives. But her friends do not know the enigmas that Karou's life really holds--or how real her drawings really are. So real, in fact, that they are the ones who raised her--the chimaera, the monsters, living in the store-front of "elsewhere", where wishes are magic and darkness abides.
A war is brewing--a war that is not of Karou's world, but of her family's world, with the chimaera. Mysterious handprints appear on the portal doors leading to Brimstone's teethshop, and there have been spottings of "beautiful" creatures spotted all over the world. And one of these creatures attacks Karou while she is on an errand in Morocco--the day that life as she knows it changes forever. Her curiousity gets her thrown out of the Shop, and a week later all of the portal doors are burned down, leaving Karou permanently separated from those she calls family. But that is not her only problem--now, someone is following her, the same someone who attacked her. Akiva, the Seraphim, cannot seem to just walk away from Karou's presence. Something is drawing him to her, despite the fact that she has the eyes of the devil tattooed on her palms. They are sworn enemies, so why can he not stay away?
Wow. I just cannot even begin to tell you how completely fantastic (literally and figuratively) this novel is. First of all, this beautiful cover sets the tone for the mysterious and intriguing story that lies within its pages. And the symbolism of the cover's blue mask--well, you'll have to read it to find out. But it is very prominent and a very intricate part of the story. Mystery, Discovery, Mythology, Unmasking. Such a beautiful story and mythology, told through Taylor lyrical writing style, which just makes it that much better.
Each and every detail in this novel is extremely important to the story, and this is why, when I finished reading this book, I sat in utter amazement. Literally, I gasped "wow" outloud because I was just completely overwhelmed by the goodness of the web that this novel spins. It is brilliant and beautiful. I really cannot say much more than that. I am sitting here trying to think of what else to tell you about this novel, and I am just at a loss for words. You will just have to go out, procure yourself a copy, and read it for yourself. And hopefully you will be amazed, too.
This novel is very different from something I would typically read, yet I am very glad that I picked it up. I was completely enamored by the story at hand, and I enjoyed learning about the mythology behind Karou's world. What a fantastic read. Go get it, NOW! (less)
Honestly, I found this story to be Twilight rewritten with aliens. Down to the very similar situations and scenes and characters. Meeeeeh.
I don't find...moreHonestly, I found this story to be Twilight rewritten with aliens. Down to the very similar situations and scenes and characters. Meeeeeh.
I don't find "physically flawless" jerks attractive. I'm sorry. He only has two defining qualities. Hot body and JERK. MEEEHHHHHHH.
I finished this book, so that says something about the flow of story. I just couldn't get over the informal (and sometimes lazy) writing (overuse of words like "hot" and "dick" and "stuff"). I have no real interest in continuing this series, really.
I gave it a try, because EVERYONE loves it. But it's just not all that great to me. I'm just not invested. Sorry.
3.5 stars. It took a while for me to understand all of what this world has to offer, mostly because I was audiobookin' it I think. But then this story...more3.5 stars. It took a while for me to understand all of what this world has to offer, mostly because I was audiobookin' it I think. But then this story just gripped me tight and I was hooked until the end. I finished it in a week. It's really dark and really intriguing.(less)