This book has a good prologue, it's intriguing, which is why I purchased this book. After the prologue however... let's just say I rolled my eyes a lo...moreThis book has a good prologue, it's intriguing, which is why I purchased this book. After the prologue however... let's just say I rolled my eyes a lot (I'll get into the reasons why later). When I was approximately one-fourth of the way through Beautiful Creatures I gave up on trying to read it, even contemplated taking it back to the store.
I never got around to returning it, and about a month or two later I picked it up again out of sheer boredom. And having just finished Fallen by Lauren Kate--which was abysmal, by the way--I could certainly get through Beautiful Creatures. You know what? I was right.
After reading past the initial cheesiness/ridiculousness I didn't mind the story so much. I would have given this book more stars were it not for all the eye-rolling moments, most of which are at the beginning.
What I didn't like: starting in the first chapter unusual things are happening to Ethan, our main character who has never had contact with anything paranormal/supernatural--unless you count his housekeeper, who dabbles in card reading and the like. So, I'm sorry, it's insanely unrealistic for Ethan to just shrug off the fact that he's been waking up slathered in mud on several occasions.
And Lena, the new/hot/misunderstood at school? Has a birthmark on her cheekbone in the shape of a half-moon. A HALF-MOON!!! Now if that doesn't scream tired cliche I don't know what does. Why do all these supernatural/paranormal characters have to have unusual, yet incredibly tasteful, markings on their bodies? (I've had it with characters who are superspecialawesomeunique as indicated by their superspecialawesomeunique birthmark, eye color, or whatever) And of course, Lena dresses in bohemian (read:superspecialawesomeunique) clothing, further proving how different (read:special) she is.
The most awesome element? (not) Lena and Ethan can speak to each other through some special mind-melding link and the reason why is never explained. Let's get things straight: it's not the mind-meld that bothers me--actually that's not so bad--it's the fact that Ethan can suddenly hear the new girl in his head and he's not weirded out about. He's kind of like, "We can talk to eachother telepathically? Huh. That's not weird at all. And this is really convenient--you know, in case there's some emergency and our cellphones aren't working. Anyway, you're hot. And even though we've never met before I'm pretty sure you're the girl who's been starring in my recurring, mud-soaked dreams--you know, normal stuff. So....wanna go out sometime?".
I'm sorry, no one is that good with weirdness, especially some kid who's never had contact with the paranormal.
The I-don't-know-you-but-I'm-mysteriously-drawn-to-you-and-I'm-pretty-sure-I'm-in-love-with-you element in this book. Dear Authors Everywhere: STOP DOING THIS! It's tired. It's stupid. It takes the excitement out of your story. What's wrong with having characters fall in love like normal people? What's wrong with an initial attraction developing into friendship developing into something more? Sure, you can pretend that's what happened in this novel but it's not. It was clear from the beginning they're together even though they didn't say as much.
There are other things about this novel that bothered me, but since this is the first novel by these authors I'm willing to forgive most of it.
What I liked: the fresh ideas contained in this story--you have no idea how grateful I am that this story isn't another Twilight knock-off. I'm not going to go into these new/fresh ideas here since that would give too much away. Let's just say Lena is powerful and her powers kind of cool.
Ethan's friend Link is awesome. He's pretty much my favorite character in this book. I also quite like Ridley, Lena's cousin. I like her because she's quite flawed but not irrevocably--she has the potential to grow and be a better person. Plus, she's entertaining. Another character I really liked is Amma, Ethan's mouthy housekeeper/stand-in mom.
This book isn't what I was expecting but that's a good thing. The story gets more interesting and unique the further you get into it. By the way, Beautiful Creatures is incredibly long. However the story wraps-up nicely: all my questions were answered, no major loose ends, and a sequel is indicated.
Even though I only gave this book two stars, I may just read the next book in the Beautiful Creatures series. We'll have to see.
UPDATE 01/14/11: Loses more stars because I finally found a YA paranormal romance about angels that is, quite frankly, a bazillion times better then a...moreUPDATE 01/14/11: Loses more stars because I finally found a YA paranormal romance about angels that is, quite frankly, a bazillion times better then any other YA angel book out on the market. It's called Unearthly. You should read Unearthly. (You're welcome.)
Apparently Fallen Angels are the new Vampires, which is alright by me. I'm tired of vampires, especially the really lame sparkly ones that do little more then stalk, act like jerks and/or brood. I've noticed that there are more and more books on the market about fallen angels, and I've read a few (Fallen by Lauren Kate, Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith and I'm going to go ahead and count The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare even though it's technically about nephilim). This book and The Mortal instruments series actually make the whole angel thing somewhat interesting.
I might have given this book more stars--based on the the mild entertainment factor--if the love interest hadn't been named Patch (Patch? Patch??? Seriously? COME ON!). I hate that no one, throughout the duration of the book asks,"Is Patch really your name? REALLY???". Annoying name aside, I'd say this book is OK. Yeah, it's total paranormal garbage--my guilty pleasure--but I found it somewhat entertaining nonetheless. (less)
First off, I'd have given this book zero stars were it possible, but since it isn't I gave it one star. This book is full of fail, end of story. There...moreFirst off, I'd have given this book zero stars were it possible, but since it isn't I gave it one star. This book is full of fail, end of story. There is no other way to describe this book, really.
That's a lie. There is another way to describe how bad this book is. Take everything that sucked about the Twilight series and multiply that by any number (except zero. Or one. Or any negative number. Aw, crap, you know what I mean). Because really, this book is a bad version of Twilight except with fallen angels instead of vampires. Oh, and, compared to this book, Twilight is a friggin' literary masterpiece. That's how bad this book is.
You think Bella is irritating? Meet Luce Price, the most irritating protagonist ever. She's stupid (yet still somehow incredibly smart, according to her grades), a creepy stalker, and has zero sense of self-worth or shame.
When Daniel, this story's "hero", flips Luce the bird and then proceeds to treat her like garbage--on several occasions--what does Luce do? She instantly becomes obsessed with Daniel and breaks into the school records room to find out more about him. Not once does she think she might be crossing a line by going through someones private records. Obviously, talking to him--like a normal person would--to find out more about him, is out of the question, amirite? Oh, and when a guy treats a girl like garbage that is actually code for TRULUV4EVA.
Look, I could go on and on about how idiotic this book is, but I won't since I have better things to do, like, write hate mail to the publisher of this book. Seriously, I'd be hard pressed to find a book that is worse then this flaming pile of garbage, and had I a time machine I'd use it to go back in time in order to stop myself from ever reading this book.
To sum up my review: Worst. Book. I've. Ever. Read. EVER. (yes, the second 'ever' was entirely necessary) An incredible waste of time and money, and ink, and trees...I could go on (and on and on...). This book makes babies cry.
Edit: As of February 26, 2010 over nine hundred goodreads users think this book is amazing*. Amazing?! Really??? I mean, don't get me wrong, I fully understand really liking a book that has little to no literary value (see my guilty pleasures shelf for proof). But amazing? Come on people! Five stars really should be reserved for the classics--great literary works, or something that really moves you emotionally; makes you think on a deeper level then usual; makes you want to be a better person.
It is beyond me that anyone truly loves this book. Seriously.
I'm sure a lot of you are wondering why, if I hated this book so much, I read the entire thing. Originally, after only reading the first few chapters of this book I hurled it across the room in a fit of anger (and no, I'm not a rageaholic. This book--the fact that it was published and I was duped into wasting money on it--just enraged me that much). But I had to finish it. I just had to. Because I was dumb enough to believe it got better--but it didn't. It just got worse and worse as the book continued. The absolute worst part is this book is 452 pages long, and the first 400 pages contain no plot whatsoever.
Though I already mentioned how much I dislike the protagonist I feel I should add: Luce is an insipid creature (read: TSTL). All she does is think of the most mundane crap--stuff that isn't in the least bit important or interesting--it almost makes you want to take a drill to your own head. At one point she even wonders what size shoe Daniel wears--mind you this is during the same period if time he's sending out strong 'I hate Luce' vibes like nobody's business.
And yeah, for a girl who may or may not have accidentally on purpose killed the last boy she liked, it's truly creepy how easily she gets over it and readily moves on to the next victims boys. Is she that messed up and desensitized? Seems to me Luce is a sociopath and should be in prison, not reform school.
Speaking of said reform school: It's laughable how the security is practically non-existent. Did the author do any research on reform schools? I mean, come on! These teens--not counting Penn--are at this reform school because they are more then a little dangerous to themselves and/or others. They are there to be reformed, not kindasorta babysat.
I really could go on about the massive plot holes contained in this novel--of which there are several--but I won't. I'm just going to say one last thing: I'm shocked that something this bad could be published and then--I kid you not--be optioned for a film. Really Disney? You really want to take this horribly written excuse of a novel and make it into a movie? Are you that hard up for script ideas? Really??? Fine, go ahead. Perpetuate the death of all good literature. Celebrate mediocrity. Rape the young minds of our society. I mean, everyone else is doing it, why not join in. As long as you make a buck who cares, amirite???
*Quick review of goodreads rating system: five stars='amazing', four stars='really liked it', three stars='liked it', two stars='it was okay', one star='didn't like it'
UPDATE (06/27/11): Over 300 people like this review. Yay. I WIN THE INTERNET! Or at least I win a medal in the Crazy Rant About A Horrible Book category. I'd like to thank everyone who made this possible: Goodreads friends, followers of my reviews and everyone else who read and voted for my review--I couldn't have done this without any of you. Also, special thanks go out to Al Gore, the creators of Goodreads, Delacorte Press, whoever green-lighted this book, all the trees that selflessly laid down their lives so this book could be put into print and, of course, Lauren Kate. Peace Out.
well i have a thing to tell you and it wont take long well i have a thing to tell you and it wont take long.It starts with a oooo snuggle puppy of min...morewell i have a thing to tell you and it wont take long well i have a thing to tell you and it wont take long.It starts with a oooo snuggle puppy of mine everything is epspeshlly fine(less)
Quick (-ish) story: This book first came to my attention soon after it was released. I was at Borders trying to decide between three books, Strange An...moreQuick (-ish) story: This book first came to my attention soon after it was released. I was at Borders trying to decide between three books, Strange Angels among those selections. I read the first few pages of each book in an attempt to narrow things down. Based on the prologue and the first few pages of the first chapter, Strange Angels was removed from consideration.
Why had I been so quick to eliminate this book from the running? Although the prologue pulled me in from the first sentence it was evident that the protagonist was a "tough girl", not one to be reckoned with. And while I luvz me a tough main character, particularly when said character is a girl, it only really works when written correctly. IMHO, when it comes to this genre the tough girl concept fails more often then not. I'm not sure why, exactly. Lazy and/or unimaginative writing is my best guess. But I digress.
Fast forward to the beginning of December 2009: I had a few audible.com credits. Unfortunately there weren't any audio books I was particularly excited about. But I had a ginormous pile (read: mountain) of laundry to fold and I needed something semi-interesting to listen to while I did so. I stumbled across Strange Angels again, and for whatever reason decided to give it a go (If I remember correctly my decision had everything to do with audio book length more then any other factor, which is kind of sad, but whatever).
Long story short(-ish): I'm glad that I chose this book. Not only was it a worthwhile use of an Audible credit, effectively keeping me entertained while folding a few weeks worth of clean laundry (in one night, might I add). But this book is a really good YA paranormal read, not to be overlooked.
Strange Angels is the first book I've read by Lili St. Crow and it definitely won't be the last. I'm disappointed I didn't give this book a chance back when I first picked it up. I appreciate that St. Crow seemed to have a solid understand of the characters she was writing about--their history/background--before she started to write. What I mean is there are believable reasons behind the way these characters react to each other and to situations that unfold.
Within the last year I've read quite a few books from this exact same genre in which the characters are unrealistic in storylines that are incredibly preposterous, or worse yet, unoriginal, I was under the impression ANYONE can be published these days, so long as they write a story about a supernatural-something falling in love with a really insipid teenage girl. That being said, I can't seem to stop reading YA paranormal books which is kinda sad, I realize. But I feel the need to mention, books like Strange Angels make my addiction to this genre bearable. What I'm trying to say is this book is infinitely better then a large chunk (read: around 85%) of other books from this same genre.
Where was I? Yes, I remember now: I really liked this book. Which is why I gave it four stars. Were I to compare this book to books from YA paranormal alone, it would definitely get five stars.
Warning to my LDS friends: There is quite a bit of swearing in this book, but little to no sex. Actually there is no sex in this book, though there are one or two quite mild--but not exactly sexual--situations. Would I let my teenager read it? I don't know... probably. Because swearing aside, I think it's more worthwhile then any of the Twilight books. Do I think your teens should read it? Not my call. But honestly, I've always felt parents should have firsthand knowledge of what their teens are reading/watching, etc.
Updated! Further thoughts/explanations as to why I gave this book five stars at the end of the original review. Warning: addendum contains some spoile...moreUpdated! Further thoughts/explanations as to why I gave this book five stars at the end of the original review. Warning: addendum contains some spoilers.
I've thought long and hard as to how I should review this book. For starters I feel I need to say upfront, this book is not for everyone. Mockingjay is the darkest book of the Hunger Games trilogy, containing excess violence, brutality, and ugliness. People die. It would be naive to expect otherwise in a book dealing with war.
If you're all about puppies, kittens, rainbows, unicorns, and disgustingly sweet happily-ever-afters don't bother reading this book. Faint of heart need not apply, I mean it.
This story isn't told by Katniss, The Girl Who Was On Fire. It's told by Katniss, the quiet girl from District 12 who unintentionally inspired a revolution through one simple act of defiance. Needless to say Katniss, ever weary of the roles she's been forced to play, is reluctant to officially step up, to be the Mockingjay, to lead the revolution against the Capitol.
President Coin, leader of District 13, makes it clear from the start she is no fan of Katniss, saying they should have saved 'the boy' first. Katniss agrees with President Coin here--Peeta was always better with words, had a way with people--but otherwise Katniss does not trust the woman. Life in District 13 isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
Though Katniss doesn't desire the spotlight and never wanted power she finally agrees to take on the burden of leading a rebellion. Hoping that in doing so she might save Peeta's life and finally put an end to President Snow's. And so, with Haymitch, Gale, Beetee, Finnick, and her old prep team backing her up, Katniss becomes the Mockingjay.
So much happens in this book, so much I didn't expect. That being said, I love this book. I love this series. Mockingjay is a hauntingly-beautiful conclusion to an enjoyable, thought-provoking series. This series will always have a home on my bookshelf, and I hope that one day, when my girls are old enough to read it, they'll appreciate it as much as I do.
P.S. And it needs to be said: even though the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle is very much present in this book, it's not the focal point of the story. It never was. The Hunger Games series is about so much more then teenage angst, or romantic love.
P.P.S. The epilogue is what finally pushed me over the edge, made me cry.
Further explanation/thoughts about why I think this book is amazing (contains some spoilers):
I didn't cry with either of the major deaths in this book, though I felt more when the first one happened, probably because I felt more connected to the first character then I did the second. The second death was tragic and senseless. But I don't think the second death undermines the whole series, like many critics of this book have said. Nor does it make the story pointless.
Many have said that they felt detached from the story while reading this book. I felt that detachment too, but I genuinely feel that is what Suzanne Collins was hoping for. Here's the deal, my father went to Vietnam and experienced a lot of senseless violence, lost a lot of friends and acquaintances. In all my life I've only heard him speak about it, in a candid manner, once. Otherwise he speaks about it in a detached way, as if he read about it or watched some footage of it instead of actually experiencing it himself. I feel it is his way of coping with it, which is kind of sad.
I feel that Katniss, by starting that book about everyone she knew who died, was doing what my father needs to do (although, as far as I know, he probably has done something like that. Like I said, he doesn't ever talk about it). She was finally facing and working through the all the grief and pain. My point is, the reason we felt detached from the story is because Katniss was already so detached. She was so messed up by all the senseless violence that she'd already checked out emotionally. And when reality threatened to take over, she took drugs to make it all better.
Under similar circumstances I think every normal person would shut down emotionally. If Katniss had continued to function normally after going through all that, we'd have a sociopath on our hands. Like Peeta said, when you kill someone you lose a part of yourself, you're killing a part of your soul. Suzanne Collins did a fantastic job illustrating that.
Katniss triumphs in the end because, even though it took time, she confronts the pain, works through it. She lives her life, no longer the actress, the puppet, the victim. I especially love that she does what she vowed to never do. She has children. The best part is, her children, everyone's children for that matter, won't ever know the horrors of Reaping Day and the Hunger Games.
I feel she ended up with with the right man. And no, I don't think she settled for him. I knew she truly loved him when she started fighting for him, not only for his life but for all those lost memories, for his love.
I also feel Katniss is a romantic person, just not in the traditional sense. The girl kept the pearl, would take it out when she was thinking of him! Carried it with her into battle. Didn't even throw it out when he rejected her, tried to kill her (on more then one occasion)! Speaking of, talk about the ultimate rejection. I think my heart broke on Katniss behalf when that happened.
P.S. I might add more thoughts throughout the next few days.
**More like 2.9 stars, so I went ahead and rounded it up.**
If you've been following my reviews you know that I love underdogs. I'm not entirely sure w...more**More like 2.9 stars, so I went ahead and rounded it up.**
If you've been following my reviews you know that I love underdogs. I'm not entirely sure why I love underdogs. I just do. Perhaps it's my belief that underdogs typically have the potential to be top dog if they just try a little harder, put a little more effort into whatever they're trying to accomplish.
So I stand on the sidelines cheering like a maniac for the underdog, despite the odds, despite their performance in the past. Thinking maybe if they have more support, more people that believe in them, they'll finally do it. (BTW, were I into baseball, I'd totally be a Red Sox fan).
What does my love of underdogs have to do with Clockwork Angel? Its author, Cassandra Clare, is an underdog. At least I consider Ms Clare to be underdog material.
I honestly believe Ms Clare has so much untapped potential, and (possibly) the writing talent to wield said potential correctly. If we just give her more time, more opportunities, she'll finally prove herself. I just know she will.
Unfortunately she failed to prove much with Clockwork Angel.
Look, this story isn't horrible. If anything her writing has improved, and I liked this story more then I liked the first three books in her Mortal Instruments series. Cassandra Clare gives us all the paranormal elements from her MI series and then some. To mix things up we get some steampunk elements as well. Clockwork Angel has action, adventure, mystery. A little graphic violence, which I didn't mind (because apparently I'm dead inside). Sexual tension, or at least what passes for sexual tension in early-twentieth century England, aaaaaand the makings for a (possibly) good love-triangle. Plus Magnus Bane is in this book, which is cool.
But there are a few cringe-worthy moments. A few ginormous cringe-worthy moments. Times in which I was thinking "Oh. Oh! Oh noooo! What was that!? Why? WHY!? You were doing so well!"
There was one time in which I was super-duper embarrassed for Ms Clare and/or her editor because a main character says the most ridiculously cheesy thing at an incredibly somber moment. And no, it's not meant to be ironic. It's supposed to be some beautiful moment between comrades. It's so bad I'd say it's up there with Edward Cullen's "Goodbye Jacob, my brother...my son" line. (BTW, *cringe* *dry-heave* *cringe*)
Although, as I mentioned earlier, this book isn't horrible. To be honest, I feel the majority of it is 'good(ish)' and 'better then what I expected'. There were even times in which I was (inwardly) cheering for Ms Clare. I was all "YEAH! I knew you could do it! You go girl!" (yeah, I know. No one says "You go girl!" anymore. Except me, when I'm thinking). (Shut-up).
Here's the deal though: because Cassandra Clare failed to 'bring it' this time around, I'm not necessarily going to recommend this book. I'm not saying you shouldn't read Clockwork Angel, I'm saying do so at your own risk. Don't expect this book to be super awesome. You've been warned.
P.S. I will be reading the next book in this series. And probably the one after that. Yeah, I know--this series has "(possible) massive trainwreck" written all over it. But who doesn't love a literary trainwreck? I know I do. (I'm dead inside, remember?) Horrible books are incredibly fun to review. (less)
I'm not sure this book should be classified as dystopian. It's more sci-fi then anything else. Anyway, I liked this book. Found it entertaining enough...moreI'm not sure this book should be classified as dystopian. It's more sci-fi then anything else. Anyway, I liked this book. Found it entertaining enough. Review to come...(less)