I was prepared to lose myself in The Vorrh. I was, I really was. I was ready to be entranced by the beautiful, soaring prose (and boy, was I entrancedI was prepared to lose myself in The Vorrh. I was, I really was. I was ready to be entranced by the beautiful, soaring prose (and boy, was I entranced by the lyricism!). I was ready to go on this marvelous, fantastical adventure (and how much more marvelous can it get---The Garden of Eden at the center of a mysterious forest! Magical creatures! Mythical beasts! Dead poets, artists and historical figures galore!). This is literary fantasy, people. This is THE book of 2017. THE book of a new age. The critics couldn't stop their ebullient, effusive praise. In fact, they couldn't control it. They were tripping over each other, trying to get to the front of the line to applaud and compliment this sublime work, this wonderful piece of fiction-that-was-beyond-fiction.
And that should've been my first clue.
Not my cup of tea. And I love tea.
Look, the novel is BEAUTIFULLY written. The language soars. It really does. And I am a lover of beautiful language.
But beautiful language only goes so far.
Because if I can't connect with the characters, if I find myself cringing at every act of violence, if I find myself not caring about anything the author is trying to say, then it's not worth it. You've lost me. The most beautiful prose in the world won't be able to overcome my ennui. My distaste. My lack of engagement.
So, while there are many who will enjoy The Vorrh, and may wonder at my lack of appreciation (or taste), I am not one of them.
And I am okay with that.
Now on to a nice fluffy piece: The Unattractive Vampire, anyone? ...more
It's excessively frustrating to me when a character I loved in the first book of a series ends up becoming completely annoying and aggravating by seriIt's excessively frustrating to me when a character I loved in the first book of a series ends up becoming completely annoying and aggravating by series' end. And by "annoying" and "aggravating", I mean grating, cloying and eye-rollingly irritating that I wish I could jump over that characters' chapters and get on with the rest of the book.
On the other hand, it becomes pleasantly surprising when secondary characters move to the forefront, their characterizations are brighter, tighter; their arcs believable and empowering, their growth wonderful. His handling of the Ben/Zombie and Marika/Ringer narrative arcs was fantastic and their character development superb. Sam's arc was heartbreaking on so many levels, but handled adroitly that he didn't become less-than-human. Like I said, a pleasant surprise.
Rick Yancey did a good job of tying up this series - it was a good ending, a satisfying ending. I thought the pacing was terrific. His constant use of duality? Not so much. It was overdone, a bit heavy-handed in parts. I could see why he did it, especially when he was navigating aspects of The Other (seriously, while not great literature, this book would have made a very good example piece for a Literary Criticism class once you got to the Postmodernism module), the subaltern and liminality. But there's only so many times you can say the same things over and over again without it eventually dragging things down because it's so repetitive.
My biggest complaint really revolves around Cassie. Everything I loved about her in the first book progressively disappeared and her character, her thoughts, her snarkiness became harder to swallow. I don't think she was ever as whiny or as judgmental or as callow---yes, there, I said it: I thought she became more callow as the series progressed, which, in my opinion, is the opposite direction of where you want your main characters headed---as she was in this third installment. Sure, she redeemed herself in the end, and in a HUGE way, at that. But part of me thinks that Yancey wrote her that way specifically so that she could have that big ending, and that's just a bit too manipulative for my liking. After all, even Marika/Ringer said this of Cassie:
I'd known a lot of girls like Cassie Sullivan, shy but arrogant, timid but impulsive, naïve but serious, sensitive but flippant. Feelings matter to her more than facts...
So much like her namesake: crying, punching, demanding, needing. Maybe there is something to the idea of reincarnation. Restless, never satisfied, quick to anger, stubborn, and ruthlessly curious. Cassie called it. She labeled herself long ago. I am humanity.
Sure, I can see why Yancey wrote Cassie this way. He wanted her to be the heroine we would root for from the beginning, and we did (so good job, Yancey!). But he wanted to juxtapose that horrible weight resting on her shoulders against the reality of what and who she was: a teenage girl desperately trying to survive and protect her baby brother, who is still trying to figure out who she was, where she belonged, what she would be. There was a duality in every thought she had, and there was a duality in how she saw others ("Has-Ben" and "Might-Have-Ben") and in how she saw herself. She was always someone else's Cassie (Ben's Cassie, Evan's Cassie, Sam's Cassie) and it wasn't until the end, when she was in Wonderland, was she able to finally see clearly, understand those around her, break through herself to envelop humanity. So yeah, I get it.
Doesn't mean I liked that part of the journey though. ;-)
Look, I liked the book. Honestly, I did. Probably not as much as the first two. Still a good series though. Was happy with the ending. Really couldn't ask for much more.
A couple days ago, on Sunday around 8 pm, when I was around 85% done, I had to set this book down and set it aside.
I'll bet that many peeps who've reaA couple days ago, on Sunday around 8 pm, when I was around 85% done, I had to set this book down and set it aside.
I'll bet that many peeps who've read the book know exactly what I'm talking about and why.
Because I guarantee you, at around the 85% mark, there were people who went "What?!? OMG, no! He didn't! OMG!" followed immediately by "Aaaggghhh!!! No!! Why?!? Why, Pierce Brown, why?!?!" and "No, I can't, I just can't!"
So yeah. I put the book down and walked away.
Not because it was a horrible story. (It's actually the exact opposite).
Not because I was fed up and wanted it to be over and done with. (In fact, I was like a druggie. I wanted it to last forever. I didn't want it to end.)
Not because I was annoyed or frustrated or fed up with the story. (Okay, maybe I was a little frustrated, but frustrated in a good way. As in, this book is so good, I don't want it to end, but really Pierce, you had to go there?!? You had to write that??)
No, I had to put Morning Star down because...damn you, Pierce Brown...my insides were all turned inside out.
So yes, I put the book down and walked away, angry at myself, angry at the story, angry at Pierce Brown.
Yes, it was a moment of weakness...but I think it was a good thing, a necessary thing, because I needed to process what had just happened, and I needed to come to terms with the fact that this may not end well. That Darrow or Mustang or any one of half a dozen beloved characters could die.
So yeah, I walked away because I was spent. I needed a break.
I walked away because I couldn't bear to think of what would happen next. Of what other horrors our hapless crew of lovable misfits would or could encounter.
I walked away because I was too emotionally invested and I was scared. That's how invested I was. That's how much I cared for these characters, for their world, for their battle.
Most importantly, I walked away because I didn't want it to end. I loved these characters so much, loved their brutal world, loved all its flaws and strengths and weaknesses, that I think a part of me would've been content to just leave it be. To pause at that place and just remember the journey over the last two years as one epic roller coaster ride, without actually finishing the ride.
Yeah, I could've done that.
For all of two seconds.
What followed was my mind, my subconscious, telling me I was being an idiot, and no, I couldn't just stop there. I had to man up, open my bloodydamn book, get back in there, and just plow through it. The only way to get to the end, whether satisfying or not, was to see Darrow and Mustang and Sevro and Cassius and Victra through to the bitter end.
I had a really restless and dream-filled night, where Darrow haunted me, Mustang was chasing after me, I was having tea with Sevro atop a red mushroom house owned by Sefi. Sevro was mocking me the whole time (rightfully so). Cassius and Kavax were fishing nearby and The Jackal was hanging upside down from a tree, quite simian-like, stealing the fish each time one was reeled in. So no, I couldn't escape them. Even my subconscious was angry with me for putting the book down, for being craven, for being a wuss.
So, damn you Pierce Brown (I mean this in the best possible way), for worming your way into the inner recesses of my mind (you're welcome to drop in at any time...open invitation, for life).
When I got up, all I could think of was finishing the book, but I had a long day of work ahead of me, and I thought, "Ooh, more distance. This'll make things better." But no, I was very antsy and couldn't wait for the day to end, because by then, I was jonesing for it, I wanted to know what happened, and so, less than twenty-four hours later, emotionally and mentally exhausted though I was, I picked Morning Star back up and dug right in.
Oh, there were ups, there were downs. There were gut-busting funny moments and gut-wrenching heartbreaks. There were deaths---oh yeah, but there were deaths!---there was suspense, there was devastation. There was betrayal, there was dread. But at the end...
The end was beautiful. It was pitch perfect. Let me be clear: it wasn't neat, it wasn't tidy, but it ended on as perfect a note as it could have ended on, and for that I was happy. This, despite feeling that even when I was on the last two pages, I was still convinced something was going to happen, someone was going to die. I had tears in the end.
And this humongous, overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.
So thank you Darrow. Thank you Pierce Brown. Thank you for this world you've created and destroyed and fought for and rebuilt. Thank you for taking us on this crazy journey.
I love this book.
I love this series.
I love Pierce Brown and can't wait for whatever comes next from his brilliant mind. ...more
It scares me to think that this was meant to be the first in a series. Because...why? No, seriously. Why???
As someone who does not read a lot of romanIt scares me to think that this was meant to be the first in a series. Because...why? No, seriously. Why???
As someone who does not read a lot of romance lit, I have no qualms admitting that I actually adore Jessica Park. I've enjoyed her other novels, specifically the Flat Out Series and Left Drowning.
This one though...this was a mess. A horrible, stupid mess.
About a fifth of the way in, I thought "Eh. This is pretty messed up, but I don't care, I'm sticking with it. It will probably get better."
About a third of the way through, I thought, "Okay, standard Jessica Park steaminess." But I'm not still not sure what to think.
Shortly thereafter, it lost me. Death tripping, sure. Interesting concept. But if someone kills my boyfriend right in front of me and I start to question my own sanity, and I then engage in utter weirdness with my now-resurrected boyfriend and the guy who killed him?
Not my cup of tea.
The part that bothered me the most was how easily everyone forgives each other. Sure, friends make excuses for their friends' behaviors. Sure, friends give out free passes. Sure, you wanna make out with your best buddy, okay, if you're into it, why not? But dude, if you my boyfriend in front of me, or kill me later on? I'm not so sure that is an easily forgivable offense.
I understand that Jessica Park wanted to try something new. That she wanted to explore the nature of addiction. Of how to heal and be healed after suffering untold psychological traumas. But man, there had to be a better way to deal with it than this. And really, if I had known that something as simple (view spoiler)[as watermelons (hide spoiler)] could be a temporary curative for addiction...
Yeesh, I have no idea what possessed her to think that that would fly? Talk about suspension of disbelief.
So, Jessica Park. You usually entertain me, and I'll even admit it, you turn me a bit gooey on the inside with your inevitable heartbreaking moments. But this one? My disgust level for most of the characters in this novel, as well as the plot, was pretty much hovering somewhere between 8 and 9 for a majority of the time. And that saddens me.
It saddens me, Jessica Park! You owe us another Flat Out or another Left Drowning! But no more Death Tripping!!