The good: I liked the setup of this imaginative dystopia, especially the idea of the Clockwork Angels. I found The Watchmaker and the Anarchist to beThe good: I liked the setup of this imaginative dystopia, especially the idea of the Clockwork Angels. I found The Watchmaker and the Anarchist to be interesting characters, but the main character, Owen Hardy, is your cliche, typical sheltered hero who goes out adventuring, yet by the end of the book, still seems pretty sheltered. I personally enjoyed the Watchmaker's chapters the most, and I felt like the writing became sharper during these chapters as well. I wish there was more of him in the book.
The bad: I felt like the Watchmaker's story, and the Anarchist's story, were abandoned. The ending lacked a sense of conclusion. Early in the book, it talks about The Watchmaker creating "spiritual machinery" to keep his Clockwork Angels alive, which were created from real human volunteers. At one point, the author hints that the Clockwork Angels might actually hate the Watchmaker, and might be more sinister than first thought. Yet after introducing such an enticing subplot, it's never revisited. Anderson abandons the Watchmaker's story arc, and the Anarchist's, without ever reaching a solid conclusion for either character. It feels like Anderson got tired of writing the book, so he came up with a quick cop-out ending, then added an Epilogue to tie up all the loose ends (and there are MANY loose ends once you reach the last chapter.) This was very disappointing, as the Watchmaker was a fascinating character!
Overall: It was an easy read, if boring at times, and the author's message gets repetitive. Lots of repetition in this book, with an ending that lacks conclusion. The descriptions are great and the dystopian world fresh and interesting, filled with alchemical machines and imaginative locales. 3/5 stars, not bad, but I wouldn't read it again....more
I am not the kind of reader who can force myself to finish a book once I lose interest. I'm aware of my bad habit, so I gave this book 3-stars, whichI am not the kind of reader who can force myself to finish a book once I lose interest. I'm aware of my bad habit, so I gave this book 3-stars, which I thought was fair, considering I couldn't finish it.
The positive: imaginative world and interesting concept. Cyborg cinderella? Pure gold. Love it. I enjoyed Cinder's world and loved reading about her cyborg-ness. That was the best part of the book for me. I actually wish we could have seen more of her day-to-day life as a mechanic working in a small stall. Gave me Star Wars flashbacks. I found the narration strong and funny at times.
The Negative: Most of the characters fell flat. The Lunar Queen was a vicious villain, but not very intriguing. Her motives were pretty transparent from the get-go, though all the other world leaders seemed confused and indecisive. Prince Kai was also very wooden. He didn't seem to have much of a personality and I really couldn't get into his character at all.
The book lost me about 75% of the way through when a bunch of political blah blah started taking place. First, the political conflict in the book was cute but not real enough for me. I couldn't figure out if Beijing was a world power or more of a third-world country where the Lunar queen was trying to get her foot in the door. I get that she wanted to marry a prince...but with her voodoo mind control powers that can waylay an entire mob, why not just brainwash some 50-year-old sugardaddy politician and take it from there? Yeah.
Also, Ms. Meyer needs to work on subtlety. The foreshadowing was so in-your-face I figured out Cinder's real identity, the lunar queen's motives and Prince Kai's hang ups at about 50% through the book. Once I figured all that out, the rest felt like a waiting game for the characters to catch up. Eventually I lost the need to keep reading.
I think I'm getting too old for the YA genre, which saddens me. I really wanted to like Cinder. I hope some day, someone rewrites this idea for an older audience. It would be spectacular....more
I couldn't finish this book for a few reasons. It didn't really pull me in, the "hook" wasn't there and I didn't feel a connection to any of the charaI couldn't finish this book for a few reasons. It didn't really pull me in, the "hook" wasn't there and I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters. After reading 100 pages, I still didn't know what the conflict was. Also, very slow forward-moving action. Mieville tries to make the conflict mysterious but for me, I didn't really care enough about the characters to find out why they went to Un Lun Dun or what they were doing there. I enjoyed the world Mieville created but again, couldn't really get into it, the details were there but not the pull.... It just wasn't for me. I read about 100 pages and couldn't believe it was a 400+ page book. It seemed a little too long for the premise?
That being said, it seems like a fun story that will entertain other readers who like weird worlds and young heroes....more
More adventure, more dark gruesomeness, more enigmatic tarot-card personas.... these are the best points of the book. Evie's journey continues at a brMore adventure, more dark gruesomeness, more enigmatic tarot-card personas.... these are the best points of the book. Evie's journey continues at a breakneck pace and we finally see her develop a backbone as she starts to discover her Empress powers. Well done, Evie!
However, despite the deadly, kick-butt, kill-everyone alter-persona of the Empress, Evie becomes infuriatingly wishy-washy at the end of the book. Finally Death has her in his clutches. Death, by the way, is awesome. However, Evie's response to him becomes maddening. First she vows to kill him, then she realizes she needs to seduce him in order to kill him, then she begins to like him, then he saves her life (twice) and she has him at sword-point, but spares him, and a truce is formed... and then... suddenly Evie needs to "work out her feelings" for Jack.
After she's already given up on Jack. Once, twice, three times....
Kresley Cole made Death into a far more interesting, more compelling character than Jack. I really don't know how she's going to save the plot in the next book. After Death and the Empress create their truce and discuss their connection, there is absolutely no reason for Evie to get cold feet and suddenly decide to chase off after Jack. It undid all of her hard-won character building. After Evie builds this intense, undeniable connection to Death, and Death wins the sympathies of the reader, suddenly Evie reverses all of her decisions and reverts to how she was before the apocalypse ever happened. Booo!
The book ends on a cliffhanger, but I wasn't really "maddened" by it, because Evie's change-of-character at the end made me roll my eyes. I'm sure the next book will be full of Evie having a change of heart about 100x. I don't know if I can stand another wishy-washy moronic love story. I will buy the next installment, but I am highly suspect of how it is all going to play out.
I enjoyed the "sick beginnings" of this book. I found Evie to be a fun character, similar to other YA-romance heroines: young, full of doubt, and overI enjoyed the "sick beginnings" of this book. I found Evie to be a fun character, similar to other YA-romance heroines: young, full of doubt, and overwhelmed by mad visions of the apocalypse. The writing is spunky and funny and I appreciated that. Kresley Cole weaves a lot of mystery and unanswered questions into the story and I really enjoyed her use of foreshadowing. It kept me turning the pages, guessing at bits of information, wondering how Evie's journey will transform.
The post-apocalyptic world is also fascinating, wrought with hardship and evil. I liked this glimpse into the nature of humanity as Evie attempts to survive in the post-apocalyptic chaos.
Of course, none of Kresley Cole's male characters really act their age, but I appreciate that because I highly doubt I would find the mind of an 18-year-old boy very interesting. Jack is a rough and rugged hero and, although sometimes he flirts like a chivalrous knight of old, I loved the rising tension between him and Evie. I'll admit that the development of Cole's male characters is lacking, but given that this is a YA romance novel, I can forgive that.
I read this book in one sitting. It is a long book, so that really say something. Very enjoyable read with a dark, new world. 5 stars for entertainment!...more
I can appreciate what Clive Barker has done. This book contains an original world, at once dark and menacing and yet vibrantly beautiful. The first haI can appreciate what Clive Barker has done. This book contains an original world, at once dark and menacing and yet vibrantly beautiful. The first half of the book was especially gripping, as I felt very in-tune with the characters.
The second half of the book seemed to peter out. I felt like Barker lost focus on the plot. What began as strange and fantastical slowly dissolved into absurdity. There weren't enough concrete goals to keep my attention. It's not made clear what Candy's "key" is for, what any of the characters are really plotting, nor what's at stake. These things are mentioned in passing, but not fully explained, so there didn't seem to be any sense of urgency after a while.
At times Barker's descriptions of places and events were confusing, and I had to re-read the descriptions several times to get a feel of a place. I was most gripped by the character of Carrion, and yet we see so little of him. I found myself skimming over the story of Mischief, not truly interested in his struggles. It seemed that after Candy reaches the Abarat, her character begins to fluctuate rapidly, until she feels more like a puppet than a person. First she gives half of her money to a random stranger without asking anything in return. Then the woman kicks her out of her house, yet Candy doesn't seem to have any second thought about being taken advantage of and then discarded. She travels from one island to the next, doing whatever a situation demands with hardly any personal struggle. I wanted to see more emotional turmoil from her--more uncertainty, more doubt, more transformation, but instead she responds to each new situation with unconcerned practicality. Where is her growth as a character? What IS her character? What is she afraid of? What does she want? I really can't say.
Carrion is the only other character in the book that seemed to have any depth. Despite the dark dark world he lives in, he shows small moments of confusion, impracticality and a strange propriety that had me smiling at the page. The other characters are all very two-dimensional. Mischief, Malingo, Shape and the myriad of other minor characters don't really have anything unique about them, besides their bizarre appearance.
Candy realizes late in the game that Carrion is after her, yet she doesn't seem particularly afraid of Carrion, even though he is the big bad Lord of Midnight. I think this is where the conflict began to dissolve for me. Random people come to her aid in every situation for apparently no reason or purpose. She is suddenly extremely good at wielding magic and doesn't seem to think twice about it. I realize this is tied into her past somehow, but I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if Candy had more personal struggles and triumphs. About 2/3 of the way through, Candy finds out that word of her has spread throughout the islands and she has become somewhat famous. Her response? "Oh." She doesn't seem particularly overwhelmed, excited or worried about this. I feel like the girl she was in Chickentown is much more interesting than the girl she is becoming in Abarat. We don't see Abarat through her eyes, but through a lens of third-person narration, which somehow makes all the beautiful descriptions and fantastical places less interesting.
I might buy the second book. I don't know yet. But I was very disappointed by the ending of this one. 3 solid stars. ...more
A friend gave me the book and warned me it was "slow-paced" and that I might not like it. Being an English major, when I think "slow pace" I imaginedA friend gave me the book and warned me it was "slow-paced" and that I might not like it. Being an English major, when I think "slow pace" I imagined 800 pages of "Wuthering Heights" or a grueling trudge through Ursela K. LeGuin's "Left Hand of Darkness" (also beautifully written but not what you would call exciting... but I digress....)
Yes, The Name of the Wind is slower paced than what some might be used to, but that pacing is full of astounding detail, gorgeous imagery, and a bit of mystery sewn into every page. I found myself starving to know more about Kvothe, the main character, and became engrossed in his story. The pace became a refreshing change from the rushed action-filled fluff that has polluted the book world. Rothfuss takes his carefully-measured time to tell a good story--and it is very, very good.
As I was reading, I couldn't help but pick out certain nods to Homer and other heroic epics that are the cornerstone of modern fantasy. Kvothe is an Odysseus in his own right. At its heart, The Name of the Wind is a retelling of the classic hero epic, and wow does Rothfuss deliver! This book was not written to be "uniquely original in every way." It was written to embody the classic elements of fantasy in a brand new voice, and it masterfully portrays all the best aspects of the genre: magic, adventure, pride, greed, loss and love.
I was surprised to learn that some readers were turned off by Kvothe, stating that he was "too good at everything." My personal assumption is that these readers might not know what it's like to always be top of one's class, always be a bit smarter than the average bear, a bit more talented, a bit more naturally inclined (at anything.) The Name of the Wind is not the story of an everyday boy who becomes a hero. No, it is the story of an extremely talented protege who goes on to make his mark in the world, and finds that his own pride and over-confidence is his ultimate undoing. There are people in the real world just like Kvothe, who are simply gifted and talented and a step ahead of the rest. I thought Rothfuss did a great job at portraying a gifted young man who is equally rash and flawed. Despite Kvothe's formidable skill, he is still a young boy who makes foolhardy decisions, often landing himself in trouble. The best part of the book is seeing how Kvothe uses his formidable wit to get himself out of his own messes.
I have already bought the next book in the series and can't wait to get started. I recommend this to fans of fantasy who are looking for a change from the usually "action and fluff" that gets passed around. This is a book that you can really sink your teeth into!
Loved the first book. But in the second book, it just dragged on and on. I kept looking for some sort of plot or conflict (other than Ana constantly wLoved the first book. But in the second book, it just dragged on and on. I kept looking for some sort of plot or conflict (other than Ana constantly wondering about whether or not Grey really loves her. Ugh.) Every chance of conflict that happened--her boss at work, crazy lady with a gun, jealous girl at party, etc etc--was resolved with two pages and they're having sex again. And the sex is so vanilla! Nothing hot or kinky. I thought this book would get more into the BDSM stuff (the kinky novelty of the whole series) but it doesn't, it seems to go in the opposite direction. Booooo! I'll read the third book because I bought the set, but I've been skipping pages and pages and pages throughout this entire book trying to find something interesting to read, and there's nothing. nada. zilch. Dear Ms. James, I hope there is some sort of plot in Book 3!...more