Second read, after almost two decades. I've always been a fan of the epistolary, and Lady Susan, to me, is a perfect example of how well one can tellSecond read, after almost two decades. I've always been a fan of the epistolary, and Lady Susan, to me, is a perfect example of how well one can tell a tale using such a simple (and in this case, short) form. However, this is certainly not one of my Austen favorites. The wittiness, the social manners, the humor--all the trademark Austen standards are present in this novella. I can honestly say I enjoyed it now as much as I did years ago, but in the end, I'm still not a fan of Lady Susan herself. As a character, she is rich and deeply nuanced, and the lady can certainly justify everything she does with no qualms whatsoever.
But where I've loved almost all the other Austen heroines--Fanny Price, Elizabeth Bennett, Elinor Dashwood, Anne Elliot, Emma Woodhouse, heck, even naïve and annoying Catherine Morland had an endearing quality about her--there is something about Susan Vernon that leaves me cold.
Yes, I know she was written to be unlikable and manipulative. Yes, I know she was meant to be unscrupulous, an anti-hero(ine). By today's standards, she'd fit in quite well in certain circles. And I personally believe Austen had tons of fun writing Lady Susan, especially since she goes unpunished at the end.
Still, it is largely because of my reaction to her that I'm giving this 3-stars. I like liking my protagonists. So in the end, it's not her. It's me. ...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.
Good job, Yancey.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more