Plot Sketch: A wakes up in a different body every day. Bodies of teenaged people his own age, sometimes female, sometimes male. Sometimes gay, sometimPlot Sketch: A wakes up in a different body every day. Bodies of teenaged people his own age, sometimes female, sometimes male. Sometimes gay, sometimes straight. Sometimes fat, sometimes depressed, sometimes a jock, sometimes a nerd. Because A has no body, A has no family. This is the story of a couple of month's of A's journey and how love can drive humanity to things and people, even without the most basic of human possession's: one's own body.
Verdict: In listening to this novel, I pictured A in my head as a boy. After all, I'm straight, and A had a crush on a girl, Rhiannon. So naturally, when it dawned on me that A had no gender identity, it threw me for a minute. Also throwing me, was how to describe A with a pronoun. "Him" doesn't seem to fit, nor does "Her." "It," seems too inhuman a pronoun to assign when this character has done nothing but experience humanity through every single facet available while bouncing through life, one body to the next. But, in describing this story to Monster, that's exactly what I ended up using.
While this book had no shortage of effect on me, making me angry, making me relate, making me cry (yes, me. cry.), I couldn't help but notice the slow plot. I kept having to remind myself that plot was not used in the traditional way. This is more of an experience with social commentary than it was a traditional coming-of-age, high-drama, high-conflict plot. Coming-of-age? Sort of. A is wise beyond (its) years. High-drama? Certainly. High-conflict? Meh. Lots of internal conflict and time spent in A's consciousness. But honestly, Levithan couldn't have told it any other way.
Ultimately, when you combine the excellent writing, the wakening themes and the unique characters, you get one heck of a book. Absolutely worth the time to listen or read. You get something that make you think, which to me has value, especially under the Young Adult umbrella which is too often too fluffy. But this book isn't for all teens. I wish I could say it was. This book isn't for all adults. I really really wish it was. I wish that we all had open enough minds that we could all experience this story together and have a conversation about it and reflect on how we could learn from it and improve ourselves. But in reality, humanity has a LONG way to go to catch up with A. If you're not ready to open your mind and appreciate courage in many forms without judgement, then you're not ready for this book.
Narration: Alex McKenna was the perfect narrator for this story. My inability to assign a gender without looking at the box says it all, right? Only note I'd have is that it moved rather slowly on audio, which always moves slower than print I realize, but this felt especially slow. Not an audiobook for the gym or chores, but definitely one for the road....more
Plot Sketch: You know how adamant I am that I not spoil things for you? This picks up six months after The Goddess Test ends. And it's a lot bigger onPlot Sketch: You know how adamant I am that I not spoil things for you? This picks up six months after The Goddess Test ends. And it's a lot bigger on the adventure path than The Goddess Test was. It's still about Kate and James and Ava and how they have a problem that they have to solve alone. It's a continuation of the story and if I tell you much more, I'll spoil The Goddess Test.
Verdict: As far as a second-in-a-series book goes, Goddess Interrupted was a pleasant surprise. While I still have some of the same reservations about the character development and writing style, I saw a lot more growth and flaws this time around. The first volume was largely a romance novel, however this one is action-packed and adventuresome. It's packed full of conflicts both interpersonal and physical, but it still spends a lot lot lot of time inside Kate's head. Don't get me wrong, I like Kate. But we spend what seems as much time in her thoughts as in action in the story and that gets a little exhausting.
Despite my criticisms of the works, I did enjoy both books, and would recommend them if you're interested in the premise. The ending of GI is cliffhangerish enough to make me want to read the next novel, but not too cliffhangerish where I'm beating my head against the wall in anticipation. I appreciate that. Carter's take on the gods and how they interact with mortals and their creators is definitely fresh, and worth a try if you're so enclined...more
Plot Sketch: Kate Winters has not had normal teenage years. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer and was supposed to die four years ago. But she's helPlot Sketch: Kate Winters has not had normal teenage years. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer and was supposed to die four years ago. But she's held on. Now that she's pushed on, she's asked Kate to drive her from their home in New York City to Michigan. To the UP. To a small town called Eden. And she's asked Kate, who deferred her last year of high school to be with her mother, to go back to school. So Kate does. And there, she meets James, an outcast, who quickly befriends her. And Ava, the hottest girl in school, who decides it's best to keep her enemies close and invites her to a party in the woods near Eden Manor where her mother once stayed. Kate follows Ava to the party reluctantly, tragedy ensues, and Kate makes a bargain to save a life other than her own or her mothers, not understanding the consequences of her agreement. The rest is the tale of how Kate deals with that deal she's made, the benefits, the costs, and the dangers of agreeing to give a god anything if he'll just save someone's life.
Verdict: While the first fifty or so pages felt really disjointed, the story was engaging enough for me to push through. It almost felt as if the editing was so heavy in the first part of the story that what was left was not as coherent as it should have been. But I'm really glad I pushed through because as the story grabbed me even more, the writing seemed to improve (or be less edited? I'm not sure). The story took on a flow and I was able to fly through pages in between panels at Phoenix Comicon, which is normally not easy for me to do with people and conversations all around me. I appreciated that the novel was written in past tense because it allowed me some perspective on the characters that I would have lost had it been written in present tense. And while I didn't find this one to be a work of literary wonder, it was good enough.
That said, I felt a lot of the time the characters actions were manufactured to fit the situations and weren't necessarily true to the characters. And though derived from a little bit of Greek mythology, it's more like Greek mythology fanfic. Carter took pieces of the mythology and characters from it and made her own story, even her own names - and did a good job with that aspect of it. But the characters themselves were a little bit dull and stereotypical - even Kate the main character. I would have liked to have seen them bloom a little more and act in a way that wasn't predictable. No one acted in a way that showed more character (not that Kate lacked character, but she was seriously lacking in the flaw department for a teenage girl) than you would have expected from them. Nobody - not even Kate - showed significant growth. And no one reacted to tragedy the way people react to tragedy, which gave away a lot in terms of credibility for the characters.
I'll now admit to throwing this book. And that I think that Aimee Carter is an emotional genius. Near the end, there's a chapter title that confirms a character's actions in the previous chapter and you think you've got it all figured out and me? Well I just got so angry when I read that chapter title confirming my suspicions that I threw the book. And I swore I wouldn't finish the novel. But I couldn't stop thinking about the characters so ten minutes later I walked over, picked the book up, apologized to the poor thing and kept reading. I haven't had my emotions manipulated like that since oh... ever. I'm glad I finished The Goddess Test. It was a treat with an atypical ending.
Fans of Once Upon A Time and Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman are in for a treat. Oh, and dog people. Dog people will like this book....more
Plot Sketch: Fives? They're the artists. Singers, painters, sculptors. Sixes? They're the laborers. Eights? Untouchables. Ones? Royalty. Yeah, in thisPlot Sketch: Fives? They're the artists. Singers, painters, sculptors. Sixes? They're the laborers. Eights? Untouchables. Ones? Royalty. Yeah, in this dystopian story, your main character, America Singer, a five, is in love with Aspen, a six. Sorta forbidden, sorta not. But mostly? Forbidden. Sixes have to work really hard just to put the food on the table. If America marries Aspen, she'll go down a notch to a six. The Selection is announced, where eligible young women fill out a form and are entered in a drawing to become the next princess of Illea, marrying Prince Maxon Schreave. Aspen insists America fill out the form, and the rest is the story of America's journey to and at the palace.
Verdict: Not gonna lie, I bought the book for its delicious cover. Doesn't it make you drool? Thing is, after I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. It's a fast read, an engaging read, well-written and carried me through the story without stumbling. I have no complaints about its content. In fact, for a book that has a degree of hot and heaviness in it, it's remarkably clean. No language. No sex. No drugs. Not really any violence either. Nothing graphic. But everything pulling you in with strong emotion and making you want more. Did I say you? I meant me. (see that was my subliminal attempt to make you read it which I just outed myself by telling you in parentheses, lame)
The narrative and characters came together to give me a great read that I heartily recommend to you. In fact, I'd be happy if this series was the next super-duper-awesome blockbuster series to follow-up Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games if only for the fact that I finished book one and I have no idea if I'm #TeamMaxon or #TeamAspen. NO IDEA! That never happens. I'm firmly on the fence between the two camps and can't make up my mind. Which means... I've been thinking about this book since I put it down! I want to demand that everyone I know read it so that they can squee as much as I did and help talk me off the fence and into one of the camps. Plus, no major technical beefs... a rarity among squeeable fic.
The dystopian element was also pretty awesome because the whole situation is not explained to you. You only know what America, as a five in the caste knows. The reader isn't offered any extra information to help him/her figure out what's really going on with the government or its opponents. So that left me with about seventeen gazillion questions at the end, none of which I even have enough information yet to properly process. Frustrating? You bet, just frustrating enough for me to want to dive right into the next novel... due out sometime in 2013 I'm sure. I have to wait a whole year? Say it ain't so!
There were some scenes that made me think "Hunger Games!" but with a twist. They were similar, but not the same by any means. And the premise is similar, but not the same. I mean, there's a drawing and you go on to assume your fate. The Selection is just much more glamorous, much less violent, about the same amount of starvation, I'd say. Fans of Asian history, dystopian romance, and The Bachelor are bound to enjoy.
Connect with author Kiera Cass on Twitter or YouTube or on her website, and find the hardcover at an Indie store near you. Oh yeah, and last week? It was #9 on NYT Bestsellers. ...more