When I saw that one of my favorite goodreaders, Tatiana, gave this book four stars I thought she'd gone insane. I mean, it's a YA book featuring angel...moreWhen I saw that one of my favorite goodreaders, Tatiana, gave this book four stars I thought she'd gone insane. I mean, it's a YA book featuring angels for crying out loud! Surely it can't be good let alone worthy of four whole stars from Tatiana, so clearly she lost her mind. But I purchased the audiobook anyway because it was January 13th and I was anxiously awaiting the release of Shadowfever which was still five days away at the time. Plus it didn't hurt that this audiobook was reasonably priced.
Initially I was a little irritated with Unearthly. It starts out with a dream/vision that the main character has--is it just me or do too many of these books start out the exact same way? But I kept with it because I paid for it, dangit! Fortunately it didn't take too long for my initial irritation to wear off--I'd say no longer then the first few chapters.
For the next several chapters I didn't have much of an opinion. Not that the book was bad, because it wasn't. The writing was fine, good even, but I refused to make an official judgment call. Too many times I've fallen in love with a book only, in the end, to hate it more than poison. I wasn't going to get burned. Nope. Not me. Not again.
Now all is said and done I'm going to go ahead and say Tatiana isn't crazy. This book is good. In fact I'm going to go ahead and give this book four stars because I really like it. Though, in my heart, it will always be a five-star read because it's one of few YA paranormal romances that doesn't make me want to go on a stabbing spree. Also? Unearthly is the only published YA novel featuring angels that doesn't make me want to hunt down the author so I can punch him/her in the face repeatedly.
I know the last few sentences make me seem violent beyond all reason, but believe me I have plenty of reason. Just read every other YA paranormal romance featuring angels and you'll agree. And anyway, when I say 'stabbing spree' I really mean 'write a scathing review and/or weep for all the trees destroyed in order to publish such atrocities'. And when I say: 'hunt down the author so I can punch him/her in the face'? ...well, I actually mean that*.
Seeing as most publishers have been saturating the market with badly written, ill-plotted out, basically retarded series about some supernatural something falling in love--twuuuuu wuvvvvv--with a vapid human I'd begun to believe there was no such thing as a good, or even great, YA paranormal romance. Especially when angels are involved. But Cynthia Hand changed my mind with her debut novel, Unearthly.
It's funny, but Unearthly doesn't contain some magical new concept or some amazing innovative plot twist that will make your head explode. It's just good. That's it. Turns out Cynthia Hand's "secret" is actually no secret at all. She employs the method of showing her audience, not telling. That's right, Cynthia Hand doesn't assume her audience is mentally-challenged. Also? Her main character, Clara Gardener, doesn't have the mental capacity of a boy-crazed, unmedicated ADHD 'tween hopped up on pixie stix. She's normal. And by normal I mean Clara's just a regular, well-adjusted, non-angry, non-emo, non-cutting teen. Although, yeah, she has angel blood pumping through her veins, but she's incredibly easy to relate to nonetheless.
What I love: Clara doesn't do what every other protagonist in this genre does: inform you she's super intelligent "'cuz she likes calculus-n-stuff", only to prove otherwise as she dithers about like a blind slack-jawed yokel the duration of the novel. She's better than that. Also? She has a healthy yet realistic relationship with her mother. They actually talk to each other and are, for the most part, honest with one another. It's quite refreshing actually.
Clara isn't the the world's only, most speshul angel-blood evuh. She's actually one of many, though at first she doesn't know of any others beside her mother and her younger brother. She also isn't super good at everything she does. Clara doesn't have every boy falling for her, at least no more then your average teenage girl. And like all teenagers she manages to make a fool of herself every once in a while. Like I said: refreshing.
What I really love (skip this if you plan on reading this book as it is sort of spoiler-y, albeit hardly): (view spoiler)[the romance. It's a real (more importantly healthy) teenage romance wherein the characters actually talk to one another, get to know one another before falling in love, or even liking each other for that matter.
The guy in this book? Is normal. He acts like a normal teenage guy. He's not unintentionally feminine or too-good-to-be-true. But he's not over-the-top alpha male either. He's just that one guy you went to school with. You know, the guy everyone liked not because he was the hottest or richest, in fact he probably wasn't, but because he was funny, charismatic and just overall likable despite his flaws (though, yeah, it didn't hurt that he was good looking). Yeah. That guy.
And when Clara gets together with him, well, they aren't obnoxious. No gazing into one another's eyes talking about how unworthy they feel. No waxing-poetic about perfect Adonis-like bodies and angel-like faces. Their relationship contains actual substance. (hide spoiler)]
What I don't necessarily care for: This book contains a love triangle. Sort of. I mean it's hardly even present. And the protagonist isn't playing both guys for all they're worth. And there isn't any cheating going on, not even in Clara's heart. BUT it's still a love triangle of sorts and I'm afraid it might end badly for all involved because of various reasons I won't go into here.
That said, even if over the course of this series the triangle does play out the way I don't want it to, I think I'll be okay. Clara has free will and I am confident she will take the time to think things through rationally. She can choose between one or the other regardless of the consequences (good and/or bad). In fact she pretty much makes her decision in this book.
So yeah, I recommend Unearthly.
*Disclaimer: I would never actually hunt down and assault any author. No matter how much they deserve it (Smeyer, James Frey, LAUREN KATE, Becca Fitzpatrick... I could go on). There are times in which I am sorely tempted to but I wouldn't. I'm passionate about literature but NOT insane. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm still on vacation with limited access to the internet so I have to make this quick. To be honest, I spent the majority of this book thinking, "thi...moreI'm still on vacation with limited access to the internet so I have to make this quick. To be honest, I spent the majority of this book thinking, "this is a good book, but it's not that good" because I knew exactly what was going on. The "mystery" was never a mystery for me but I kept reading, waiting patiently for this book to blow me away--because I knew it would, eventually, based on all the four and five-star reviews given by trusted Goodreaders (namely Reviewer X, Tatiana and April).
And, yeah, now that I've finished reading Jellicoe Road I can say this book has 'it'. That thing that so few YA books tend to have these days. I don't even know what 'it' is, exactly. But I'll tell you this for free: my cry-holes got leaky during the last fifty pages or so. Yeah, you read that right. I. Cried. And the author didn't have to stoop to throwing some insane manipulative twist at me. She's just that good at writing. Her story came together beautifully for me and I am thoroughly satisfied. This book deserves all sorts of awards.
I will say that I spent the first fifty pages or so wondering what the hell was going on because I was dumb enough to assume the prologue was from the main character's POV. Then I looked back and saw that the incident that happened in the prologue happened twenty-two years before chapter one. Our main character is seventeen years old. So, yeah--not the same person. Just keep that in mind when you pick this book up. Also, you might want to write down the names of the characters mentioned in Hannah's manuscript--who's related to who and whatnot. It makes it much easier to keep track of the story within the story.
Anyway, I love this book. I'm going to start recommending it to anyone who asks. Soooo...read this book. Now.
P.S. I'll probably post a much better review of Jellicoe Road when I get home. Which won't be for a few weeks or so.
I was told it is a modern ghost story. But really, it is so much more then just a ghost story. Yes, the main character, Helen, is dead. And yes, I wil...moreI was told it is a modern ghost story. But really, it is so much more then just a ghost story. Yes, the main character, Helen, is dead. And yes, I will admit Helen haunts people, or rather, attaches herself to certain people. But the people she "haunts" are, for the most part, unaware of her presence. She doesn't go around scaring people. So I want to make it clear, this isn't a spooky ghost story. When all is said and done, this story is about love, self-discovery and forgiveness.
Laura Whitcomb does a fantastic job drawing the reader in right from the beginning. It doesn't take much to like Helen, she's kind, sweet and has a love of literature. However, it is clear that she is stuck on earth and cannot move on for some reason. Helen doesn't even know why because she is only able to remember a few small details of her life here on earth. And, as far as she knows, no one can see her until, one day a young man stares at her and not through her.
This is when things get truly interesting...
Anyway, I highly recommend this book, it's a quite good. Also, even though I'm not a huge fan of romantic story lines, I really like the one in this book. (less)
Typically I choose what I'm going to read based on whether or not I think it will amuse me. So it goes without saying that I wouldn't have picked up t...moreTypically I choose what I'm going to read based on whether or not I think it will amuse me. So it goes without saying that I wouldn't have picked up this book had it not been recommended to me by a good friend.
I will admit that I was more then a little weary of reading a book that dealt with 9/11 on any level, because, clearly the events on 9/11--while very important--aren't something one likes to think about if it can be avoided. That being said, I love this book.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close tells the story of an unusual nine-year-old boy named Oskar--who, in my mind, is an equal combination of the boy from Mark Hadden's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and the main character from John Green's An Abundance of Katherines--and his attempt to come to terms with his father's untimely death.
This book also goes into the melancholy story of Oskar's grandmother and grandfather, their relatively brief time together and the circumstances behind their parting. Their story, told from his grandmother's perspective, is one of my many favorite parts in this book, but I'll get to that later.
Oskar's journey begins when he discovers a vase that was kept on a shelf in his father wardrobe. Unfortunately in an attempt to retrieve the mysterious vase Oskar causes it to fall and break. While cleaning up Oskar discovers an envelope among the shards of glass. On the envelope is written one word: Black. The envelope contains one thing: a key.
Oskar has no way of knowing what the key opens but the mystery behind it, and the connection to his deceased father--who used to send him on scavenger-type hunts around Manhattan--gives him the drive to find out. Oskar figures out that the word Black is a last name so he decides to visit every single Black in the five boroughs of New York City, to ask them if they knew his father, and/or if they know what the key opens.
Throughout his journey Oskar meets a lot of interesting people, has interesting conversations, and unique experiences. Though, it doesn't seem to bring him closer to his father, but it gives him a purpose, and that seems to be enough for a while.
It is obvious from the beginning that he and his mother aren't especially close. According to Oskar, his mother spends too much time with a new friend--a man--and Oskar doesn't like that she's moving on, despite the fact that she's mourned her husband for two years already. What his mother doesn't know is, there is another reason as to why Oskar has been distancing himself from her. He has a secret. A secret which has to do with something he did the same morning his father died. Little by little, Oskar lets the reader know more about his secret, why he's so ashamed of himself and why he is having an extremely difficult time dealing with his father's death.
Oskar is close to his grandmother--his father's mother--or rather, she's incredibly close to him. At first glance their relationship seems more then a little dysfunctional, and even now I can't say that it isn't even now that I know, and understand, the reason behind the dysfunction. She's guilty of loving, and possibly depending on, Oskar a little too much since her own son died.
But like I said earlier, I love her story, the letter she writes to Oskar about his--still unknown to Oskar--grandfather, who abandoned her while she was pregnant with Oskar's father. She writes about how she met and eventually fell in love with his grandfather. She writes about their marriage and how it ended. Her story is a little frustrating at first since it is written with little punctuation, but, it is beautiful!
The way she tells her story is so simplistic, exactly like a grandmother telling a story to her young grandchild. I know, that's what her letter is supposed to be, but you'd be surprised how many books I've read--which are also told by multiple narrators--that failed to do this exact same thing. The author, Jonathan Safran Foer is obviously quite gifted, the evidence is plastered over this whole book. But, in my opinion, he did his best work writing the story from the grandparent's point of view, especially when it comes to the grandmother, how she tells her tale.
I wish I had the words to explain exactly how this book makes me feel. Unfortunately I don't. My vocabulary sucks (as evidenced in my usage of the word 'sucks'). But I'm going to try (I'll try to avoid using lame clichés, but I'm sort of untalented in the writing department so I can't make any promises. Sorry).
This book is beautiful. I felt like I was with Oskar, his grandmother and his grandfather on their journey. I laughed with them, and cried with them. I felt their heartache, and their triumphs. I understood them and their crazy ways. This books is a rollercoaster and I enjoyed every moment of it.
No, this book isn't a life changer, but it is incredibly good--a worthwhile read. I love this book and I'm glad it was recommended to me. I'll read this book again, guaranteed. It's one of my favorite books now and I'm pretty sure I have a new favorite author.
(To my LDS friends: this book contains swear words. Don't say I didn't warn you. That is all.) (less)
Before I get to the review I just wanted to let everyone know I don't typically write reviews for books I love. The reason being, I'm not good at writ...moreBefore I get to the review I just wanted to let everyone know I don't typically write reviews for books I love. The reason being, I'm not good at writing worth-while and positive reviews (as opposed to my uncanny ability to write crazy rants about books I totally loathe). Or rather, I know I'm not up to the task: writing a review worthy of a book so beautiful, so eloquently written I can't stop thinking about it long after I've finished it.
I know there is nothing I could say that could not be better said by the book itself, or even just a review written by someone who is smarter than me has a way with words.
That said, here I am, attempting to write a review worthy of Before I Fall. If I fail, which is more than likely, please do not hold it against the book--it isn't the book's fault I'm not a talented writer.
So without further ado...
Popular girl Samantha Kingston thinks a lot about the what she's done throughout her seventeen years of life as she relives her last day, February 12th, over and over again. In all Samantha is given seven chances to figure out what went wrong, what chain of events brought about her death, seven opportunities to change and to make things right. Seven days to save herself.
At first glance, Samantha--Sam--doesn't come across as anything special. Sure, she's popular but other than her superior social standing she's basically your average teenager. Her biggest concern is her virginity, which she will be losing to her boyfriend that night--she's freaked out but feels it's time to get it over with. Other than that she's wondering how many roses she'll have by the end of Cupid Day, and if she looks okay considering she didn't shower due to sleeping in.
However, it doesn't take long before we're given a better, more accurate picture of the type of person Samantha Kingston truly is. Over the course of the day she cheats on a test, flirts shamelessly with her calculus teacher, cuts class, gets drunk and treats her classmates like garbage--Sam and her friends are especially cruel to one girl in particular.
All in all it's an average school day for Samantha Kingston.
Clearly I didn't like Samantha Kingston at the beginning of this novel. She's a horrible self-absorbed teenager. What's worse is the fact that she thinks so highly of herself and her friends, saying:
"I'm not going to lie, though. It's nice that everything's easy for us. It's a good feeling knowing you can basically do whatever you want and there won't be any consequences."
And then goes on to say:
"If high school were a game of poker, Lindsey, Ally, Elody and I would be holding 80 percent of the cards."
After Sam finishes recounting her last day--in which she clearly does not come out looking good--she tells us about how she died, then says:
"Before you start pointing fingers, let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that? Is what I did really so much worse than what anybody else does? Is it really so much worse than what you do? Think about it."
Like everyone else I went to high school with girls like Samantha Kingston and her friends. And like most everyone else I haaaaated those girls. So. Much. Who wants to read a story about a bunch of horrible teenagers? No one. But you know what? Turns out when I was seventeen I was not that much better than Samantha Kingston. Sure I wasn't a total A-hole, but the truth is I gossiped, lied, cheated, cut class--the works. And I treated a lot of people badly--peers and adults. But I haven't really spent too much time thinking about the person I was in high school. Not until Sam asks us, the readers, if what she did is so much worse than what we do.
That's why I kept reading.
As Sam relives February 12 we see her grow and change. At first her attempts at being a better person are so half-hearted, or ill-concieved you wonder if she's actually trying. And yeah, as the reader I got frustrated with Sam. I wanted to see her change right away, and she didn't. Then I remembered she's a spoiled teenager that hasn't been made to work for anything in her life. Remember, it was Sam herself who admitted:
"It's nice that everything's easy for us. It's a good feeling knowing you can basically do whatever you want and there won't be any consequences."
That's Sam's mentality at the beginning of this story, her reality, so of course she has no clue how to truly change, to be the better person.
However, not many February 12ths pass when a horrifying turn of events forces Sam to acknowledge the ugly truth. Sam takes a good look at herself, at her friends, and what she sees drives her to an all-time low--when Sam hits bottom she really hits bottom.
Sam needs that low point, the chance to spiral out of control, even if it's just for one day because it is only after she's humbled we see her make any significant changes. She starts to look at all she has (or rather, had) and be grateful for it. She looks at her family in a whole new light, and realizes just how much she truly loves them. She looks at her little sister specifically--a sweet little seven-year-old who is proud of who she is--and realizes she admires her little sister because she embraces the things that make her different from all her peers.
After Sam's low point her thoughts, her ideas become downright beautiful/amazing. There were many times I stopped to reread passages, and even consider them for a bit. Example:
"Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know."
It's at this point that my feelings from this book went from like to love.
And no, Sam still doesn't get things right away. She still struggles, but the important part is she's really trying, really working. She learns from her mistakes, makes corrections. Sam realizes, despite her belief that she can't be fixed, it's never too late to change. Some of Sam's changes don't come about until the 11th hour, but they do come.
And yes, I love how this book ends. I know there are many people who simply didn't like this book because of how it ends, and for the life of me I cannot understand why. Any other ending would have been a complete cop-out (think about it). Plus, I happen to like ambiguous endings because they give me the opportunity to think about what I just read--I can draw my own conclusions. I'm not going to say anything more about the ending, I don't want to spoil it for anyone.
I love this book, it is one of my favorites. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished reading it two weeks ago, and because of that it will always have a home on my bookshelf.
By the way, I've spent an embarrassingly long amount of time trying to cobble together a semi-decent review of this book. Now go purchase a copy of Before I Fall, stat, you won't be sorry.
P.S. this book deserves six stars.
Update April 4, 2010: my husband, who typically doesn't like any of the books I like, just stayed up all night reading Before I Fall. When he finished it he woke me up to thank me for all but shoving this book down his throat (and he wasn't being ironic. Believe me--I checked). He sincerely likes this book. More than anything he loves the way Lauren Oliver writes, but overall he likes the story quite a bit. It was nice talking to him about it this morning, we had a very pleasant discussion. :) (less)
This book really made me think, especially about all the dysfunctional relationships disguised as romance in YA novels and movies.
I had an interestin...moreThis book really made me think, especially about all the dysfunctional relationships disguised as romance in YA novels and movies.
I had an interesting conversation with one of my nieces about this book (she read it during our family reunion). She's twenty-four years old and she felt as conflicted as I did about how this book ended. We were both frustrated with ourselves (or the book--it's hard to tell) because we kept wanting the relationship between Gemma and her kidnapper to develop. How sick is that?
We talked about the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which a group of young women are abducted by a group of well-meaning young men. These girls are upset at first but soon grow to love their kidnappers. We both grew up loving the musical, but now that we've read Stolen, we're disgusted with it.
Since reading Stolen I've spent a lot of time thinking about why I think such creepy behavior by the hero/love interest is not only okay but romantic in some of the books/movies I read/watch. It's funny (read: frightening) how women/teens find abusive/crazy behavior romantic.
I'm glad that I read this book. I'm glad Lucy Christopher wrote it. It's a quick read, but it speaks volumes. I can't stop thinking about it.
I recommend everyone read this book.
P.S. Already, two of my nieces have borrowed this book and two more are waiting to read it. (less)
I'm going to start this review off on a tangent--when do I not? As far as I'm concerned 2011 has been the Year of Meh. Television has been practically...moreI'm going to start this review off on a tangent--when do I not? As far as I'm concerned 2011 has been the Year of Meh. Television has been practically unwatchable. Movies released this year: heinous. The books were, at best, mediocre. Admittedly, there were a few notable exceptions but, for the most part, I'm disappointed.
Over the past six months I've grown weary; struggled to finish most of what I've started, and, by the way, failing more often then not--you should see my pile of abandoned books. Because of this I've been feeling the need to take a step back, maybe not read so much. Maybe spend my money more wisely--it is ridiculous how much I spend on books and audiobooks. You know, take a break.
2011 killed my love of books (and movies and television).
That said, over the past couple of days I've fallen in love with books (and reading) all over again. I'm in love. Love I tell ya. Can't-get-enough-make-everyone-sick-can't-eat-or-sleep-head-over-heels in love. Me and reading? It's like we're on a second honeymoon. I have Stacia Kane and her Downside Ghost series to thank because of it.
I know, I know--none of the books in the Downside Ghost series were published this year. It doesn't matter. What does matter is I love reading. Again.
Funny thing, it's not like Downside Ghosts is The Best Series, Ever. And it has to be said: it's definitely not for everyone. However, as far as I'm concerned, it is compelling and addictive. It's good.
So. Unholy Ghosts. Where to start? Twenty-five year old Cesaria "Chess" Putnum is a hot mess, and not in that chick-flick cliche can't-get-my-life-together-because-I'm-so-adorably-clumsy-and-I-wear-glasses-that-make-me-look-unfortunate-until-I-finally-remove-them-during-the-makeover-montage-and-that's-when-everyone-discovers-I'm-super-hot sort of way. I mean the sort of hot mess that's boozy and pops pills all the live-long day.
I'm not going to lie to you. I avoided this series for that exact reason. Boozy pill-poppers just aren't my thing, or so I thought.
Then, other day, I was looking through my Kindle bookshelf and I noticed that I had the sample of Unholy Ghosts--for the life of me, I can't remember when I downloaded it. Curious, figuring I had nothing to lose, I decided to give it a chance before I went ahead and removed it. Imagine my surprise when I realized I couldn't go the rest of my life without reading more. So I purchased it (FYI, the Kindle edition of Unholy Ghosts is just 99 cents).
The thing I like about Chess is, well, I pretty much like everything. Honestly, I don't even mind that she's a drug addict. Of course, most of her problems wouldn't happen if she wasn't addicted to pills, but if that were the case Unholy Ghosts wouldn't be so good.
One of my favorite aspects of Chess's life her employment. She works for the Church of Real Truth as a Debunker, a person who goes around trying to debunk claims of hauntings. If she's able to then she gets a bonus and if she isn't, if the haunting is authentic, the homeowner is compensated by the church and the debunker will rid the home of the ghost.
Sidenote: Did I mention this is a dystopian urban fantasy? Because it is. Basically way back in the year 1997 ghosts escaped wherever it is ghosts go (or actually The City, as it's called in this series) and got all murdery, killing one-third of the world's population. At the time The Church of Truth was just a small organization but they succeeded in capturing all the ghosts. 25 years later The Church of Truth is the only religion. They pretty much run the government too. Worldwide.
The church has vowed to keep people safe from ghosts, which is why homeowners are compensated if their haunting is real. /sidenote
Chess is good at being a Debunker and it's something she's proud of. She also loves the Church of Truth, despite the fact that it reigns supreme. I can't fault her for it because everything else in her life is crap--growing up being passed from abusive foster home to abusive foster home will mess you up, you know? And anyway the Church is the only place she's ever felt safe, the only thing that's ever given her life value.
Anyway, things get really interesting when Chess's drug dealer blackmails her into working for him. <--and I'm stopping right there because I don't want to ruin it for you. Plus, this review is entirely too long.
This isn't my favorite book in the series, there are a few things that didn't exactly work for me, but I still like it. (Just so you know Unholy Magic, the second book in the Downside Ghost series is...um...intense. I'll be reviewing it soon). Three stars.
Kat, fellow Goodreader (and my favorite Australian) summed up this book best: gut-wrenching. This book ripped out my innards, tap danced all over them...moreKat, fellow Goodreader (and my favorite Australian) summed up this book best: gut-wrenching. This book ripped out my innards, tap danced all over them, unceremoniously shoved them back inside me, and sewed me up haphazardly. Sure, in the end, my guts were no longer all over the place but serious damage was done. And I liked it. Sounds like I'm being over-dramatic, I know, but you should see my Unholy Magic status updates.
This book, Stacia Kane's writing, sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride from hell. Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad thing. I mean, I do love roller coasters. I love the sensation of plunging down steep slopes and shooting through loop-de-loops at eleventy-billion miles an hour. I love screaming like a maniac, thinking I might die any second (knowing I won't). But see, that's just a regular roller coaster ride.
Unholy Magic, is more like a terrifying ride on a rickety old roller coaster that may or may not be missing some track. While being stark naked. Halfway through the ride you see that, indeed, there is a section of the track missing, and you realize you're about to die--But, wait! Instead of flying off the track and plummeting to a gruesome death, the roller coaster sails across the gap--Speed style--and lands on the other side, tracks lined up and everything. It's unbelievable.
In the end you're still alive and you feel exhilarated and invincible and you want to do it again. You see that you can because, hey, there aren't many people in line. But as you prepare to get up you vomit in the lap of the stranger sitting next to you. Oh, and hey, you're still mysteriously naked.
It's horrible, but in the best way possible. Does that make sense?
Now you're probably thinking I don't like like this book--I mean, "horrible in the best way possible" doesn't sound like high praise, amirite? Well, you couldn't be more wrong. I enjoyed Unholy Magic despite all the feelings--some downright beautiful, some so cringe-worthy I wanted to crawl in a hole and die--it stirred within me.
I don't know, I guess the best way to describe the experience is by saying Kane's writing is such that I felt as though I was there, within the pages of the book, watching everything play out. Not only that but I felt all of the characters emotions and it was amazing and terrifying and overwhelming all at the same time.
It was great.
I'll be reading Unholy Magic again, sooner rather than later, I just need a little time to recover. Four stars.
Before I even picked up this book I knew, since this is the second book in a trilogy, how it was going to end. Obviously, I didn't know exactly how it...moreBefore I even picked up this book I knew, since this is the second book in a trilogy, how it was going to end. Obviously, I didn't know exactly how it would end, because seriously, it would be impossible to anticipate all the plot twists in this novel. But this is what I knew: a) this book would not have any sort of resolution, b) the conflict would, in fact, be much worse then I could ever imagine, and c) I would be left wanting more.
You know what? I was right. Collins does a fantastic job keeping the reader interested in her story. Catching Fire is a wonderful follow-up to The Hunger Games. I feel the plot was much more exciting and much better paced then The Hunger Games, which, I feel, tends to lag a little (I can't believe I just said that).
Sure, I have a few hang-ups with this particular novel--can I just say that I am really, really tired of love triangles? Because, seriously, I always, without fail, root for the underdog and end up bitterly disappointed (though based on the cliff-hanger ending, I'm not sure which guy is the underdog...but, I'm pretty sure my guy is since I feel compelled to root for him)--but I'm still going to read the next book.
Probably even go to a midnight release party or something equally, dare I say, sad for someone my age. Because, I'm hooked. Because, I have to know how this story ends. Because, I can't not know if Katniss has a change of heart.
HUGE SPOILER ALERT!!! Read only if you've already read the book. Seriously, I mean it. You've been warned! SPOILER ALERT:
Gale? Really??? I mean, come on! I suppose I would like him more if we knew more about him. But seriously, what's wrong with Peeta? Okay, so he's sort of a pussy in the arena, and chances are Katniss may never see him alive again (I'm being optimistic and thinking he'll escape or, more realistically, be rescued) and sure President Snow might use Peeta against Katniss or even brainwash him against the resistance, but I could swear Katniss is actually in love with HIM and not Gale. She's not even sure if she's in love with Gale. I sort of think she's picking Gale because of their history. And sure, they have a lot in common...but still.
Great piece of historical fiction. Love it! Love the whole series! Love the whole follow-up series (Hearts of the Children). Dean Hughes is a talented...moreGreat piece of historical fiction. Love it! Love the whole series! Love the whole follow-up series (Hearts of the Children). Dean Hughes is a talented author that does his research. (less)
Wonderful book. I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Very original. I can't wait until my girls are older so that I might read it to them....moreWonderful book. I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Very original. I can't wait until my girls are older so that I might read it to them.
This is the first Scott Westerfeld book I ever picked up. I read Uglies over two years ago, and I remember being pretty impressed with it. I loved the...moreThis is the first Scott Westerfeld book I ever picked up. I read Uglies over two years ago, and I remember being pretty impressed with it. I loved the messages in this book, particularly about how true beauty comes from within.
Scott Westerfeld is a pretty good author, as evidenced by the start of all his standalone novels, or the first books in all his series. His stories are creative and original. He's pretty good at world-building too. But then once I'm invested in one of his stories something happens. It's like he loses control of his characters and the plot goes completely off track, and all the worthwhile messages one could take away from the book/series are contradicted/totally not there anymore. And all of a sudden I'm reading a completely different book/series, thinking WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, the rest of this series is pretty heinous (or should I say, angry-making). I really think Scott Westerfeld should have stopped while he was ahead, or, you know, not taken this series in the direction he chose to take it.
So. I highly recommend this book but I don't endorse the rest of the series. So if you choose to pick up Pretties, Specials and even *shudder* Extras, don't say I didn't warn you.
P.S. I'm currently reading Leviathan, another one of Scott Westerfeld's novels, but I've been told it's really good. Here's to hoping that's true.
I feel like I should be immensely ashamed for admitting this, but even after all these years, after my book tastes have evolved so much, I still don't...moreI feel like I should be immensely ashamed for admitting this, but even after all these years, after my book tastes have evolved so much, I still don't hate this book. Sure, I can no longer say this book deserves 4 stars, and sure, I have issues with with this book, but I can give it no less than 3 stars.
That's right, slags, 3 stars.
I like this book.
Sure, I get it: you no longer respect me. That's fine, I'd feel the same were I in your shoes because, honestly? I'm just as surprised as you. I thought that during this re-read of The Host I'd be doing a whole lot of:
But, alas, I didn't do much of that, and it's completely weirding me out.
You may not know this about me: I spent the last 4+ years hating everything Stephenie Meyer. My incoherent "review" of Breaking Dawn is proof of how much I loathe the woman and everything she stands for. (It's also proof that, much like the rest of the world, I had been drinking the Twilight flavored kool-aid at one point).
But yeah, Breaking Dawn sucked. I noticed and got furious, and--HUZZAH!--the evil witch's curse was broken and I moved on. That's right, I never looked back (except for all the times I had to let everyone know how much I detested Stephenie Meyer), never picked up another SMeyer book, and I discovered that there are much better books to read and I pretty much lived Happily Ever After.
So, why did I pick this book up again? Honestly, I was doing some spring cleaning, getting rid of books, and I was just about to throw this book in my donation box, but then I thought: maybe I shouldn't. I did like it, didn't I? I couldn't remember, so I ran to GoodReads and read my original review, and I thought it would be hilarious to re-read this book and write a snarky review to commemorate the upcoming release of the movie.
But, yeah...not feeling the snark right now.
Don't get me wrong: this book isn't that good. It definitely has it's issues--I swear to Iesha, I will hunt SMeyer down and slap her if she doesn't stop using the following words: 'angelic', 'growl', 'brooding', 'snarl', 'irrevocably'... I could go on...
And yeah, I really don't care for how weak yet simultaneously long-suffering her protagonists are.
Don't even get me started on how much I don't like how she likes to pair young girls with older men. Or that, in this book in particular, a 20-something guy ends up with a (barely) 17-year-old girl who, by the way, is described as looking more like a 13-year-old. It's weird. It's creepy. I think we can all agree SMeyer has major issues in this area. Good thing she has all that Twilight money to pay for all the therapy she needs.
The amount of beatings a particular character receives is disturbing and also pretty ridiculous. She gets slapped, punched, kicked, drowned, strangled, and has her face slammed into walls and floors on numerous occasions. It's like she's Rhianna because she still loves two of the guy(s) who abuse her--although, yeah, they both apologize and that sort of behavior does stop.
Holy crap! I seem to have a lot more issues with this novel than I thought I did. Strangely enough, I still like it. I'll explain myself later when I have time and when I don't have a headache.
Original review, written 05/14/2008 (I originally gave it 4 stars): This is probably one of the more unique novels I have ever read. It's about a Soul named Wanderer and her new host body, which just so happens to (still) contain it's previous owner, Melanie Stryder. In the beginning, Wanderer struggles to rid her new body of the previous occupant's consciousness. Needless to say, Melanie and Wanderer don't like each other.
After months of dreaming about Melanie's past, Wanderer decides to try and find Melanie's loved ones. She is curious and is driven by something she's never really felt before: romantic love--because of Melanie's memories Wanderer discovers that she has feelings for Jared, Melanie's boyfriend. Wanderer is also yearning to know Melanie's little brother, Jamie. Wanda has protective, mother-like, feelings for Jamie.
Anyway, quite a bit more happens but I really don't have time to go into it all. Let me sum it up:
-crazy love quadrangle (not sure if 'quadrangle' is even a word but I don't really care). -Hike through the desert -Death threats -attempted murder -repeated beatings -romantic make out sessions -not so romantic make out sessions -awkwardness -abduction -Love -Hate -theft -gardening -soccer games -amateur surgery
Okay, so I am kind of being silly now. Seriously though, whether or not you like Sci-Fi, you should give this book a try.