I am writing this review a few weeks after I finished the book itself; I initially gave it a 3, but now I can't think for the life of me why.
The stor...moreI am writing this review a few weeks after I finished the book itself; I initially gave it a 3, but now I can't think for the life of me why.
The story itself sounds good, at least from the blurb on the back. Mysterious assassin hunting down alien refugees hiding on earth: oooo how exciting! However, it doesn't read very well past that point. To begin with, it's written in present tense. I can't explain how much that bugs me. I understand that there is no fast and written rule that states all novels must be written in the past tense, but still, it always irritates me. Furthermore, I don't think a single sentence in the whole book gets over 10 words long. It's took jerky; 1974 by David Peace did that as well, and I didn't like it then. But at least that story had meat to it. I know this is a YA book, but still, teens are capable of complex sentences.
I didn't particularly warm to the main character, John. I couldn't really find anything remarkable about him, even though he is essentially a superhero with wacky abilities. He seemed a bit whiny and obsessive (ok, so maybe a teenager). And the love interest Sarah didn't seem that great either; there wasn't anything to her as a character. The secondary friend (his name escapes me) had a bit of depth to him, and seemed a little sad but likeable. I will say that the villains seemed crazy cool though.
I don't know if knowing that the 'real' author of this book was James Frey, and knowing that he wrote it with someone else who got far less credit, ruined it. I still couldn't get into it. (less)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Given that it is a teen novel, it is an easy read, yet still intelligent, with a point. Before I read or saw the film,...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this book. Given that it is a teen novel, it is an easy read, yet still intelligent, with a point. Before I read or saw the film, I did think that the plot sounded a little wacky and disturbing; however, once I saw the film and then read it (although the film stayed rather true to the book for once), I totally got it. When I worked in a book store, I had a mother tell me she would never let her children read them as they are quite violent and about children killing children; however, I think this would be a good book to give an older, mature child who can understand the point of the story and the social commentary of it. I think it would be a great conversation to have with a youngster.
I hope the remainder of the series is just as good as this one. (less)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though I expected not to. There are many levels to this story: it is a children's book about a kid packed off to a...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this book even though I expected not to. There are many levels to this story: it is a children's book about a kid packed off to a specialized boarding school; it is a sci-fi book set in the future about crazy bug aliens that threaten earth; it is a philosophical treatise on what it is to be human, and how we can go awry.
I enjoyed the story for the sake of the story. Following Ender through his education and the manipulation of the teachers as they isolate him slowly from any friends made for an interesting read, and one that made me want to find out what happened next. The examples of Ender's military genius was a fun read (and made me want to take part in those war games; they sound like fun!)
However, Ender's inner turmoil added depth to the story, a depth that makes it stand out from any other sci fi story about scary aliens in space. As he struggled with his enforced loneliness, his appreciation, understanding and compassion towards his enemies, and his resolve to not break made him a true story book hero, even though he was only 11 by the end of the book.
I struggled between giving this one a 3 or a 4, because really it was a 3.5 . I liked it a lot, but there were points that made me feel that it didn't...moreI struggled between giving this one a 3 or a 4, because really it was a 3.5 . I liked it a lot, but there were points that made me feel that it didn't quite deserve a 4.
I saw another review that stated that this is like I Am Legend crossed with The Road. I agree with that, except maybe with The Stand thrown in there too. I didn't really know what the book was about when I started reading it (didn't pay too much attention to the back), so I was a little surprised to find out that it's about vampires, essentially. Now these aren't your normal sexy, pale faced emo vamps, but are more grotesque, and monster/animal/cyberman like. And of course, they take over the world, and it's up to a ragtag bunch of people to save it. Standard, slightly formulaic story, but I still enjoyed the ride.
The things I liked about this book: even though the story feels a little familiar, it still surprises, and has twists. There were things that I just didn't see coming, which is wonderful in a story. Also, the characters were good; I found myself caring for most of them (some were just too periphery to really warm to). There were points when I definitely cried. There were secondary, emotional stories and plots running concurrent to the main action story, which is very true to life. We can't always turn off our emotions, and I generally like to see them addressed in books.
The things I didn't like about this book: there is a massive jump about 250 pages in, when the story heads 92 years into the future and we are introduced to a whole new set of characters. Now, in terms of how the plot works, it makes sense. But it was an unexpected jump that took me a long time to get used to. I kept thinking about all the other characters I had grown attached to, and now they were all gone. It ties up at the end, but still, it threw me for a loop. Cronin also used a writing device where he leaves you at a suspenseful moment, and then breaks off to go to other characters (ok, that's fine), but when he brings you back to suspenseful moment #1, it's past the point of suspense, and he fills the reader in on what happened through retelling or memory of the character. I found it annoying, and slightly lazy. I like that suspense, and Cronin deflates it. He also would say during a suspenseful scene, when you're not even sure that characters are going to survive, things like "later, when Peter would remember what is happening now, he would think.....". I found this annoying. I like my stories to be linear. Cronin liked to tell the background of the Colonists (future people) in memories, and not in linear order either. I found it confusing and I had a hard time at first keeping all these random events in order.
All in all, I liked this book. I will read the second one when it comes out. I want to find out how they defeat the Twelve. But I know I will be in for eye rolling and telling to book to just get on with it. (less)