I think I went into this with much higher expectations for how I'd like Callie (Caliandra). Our first scene with her however left me feeling irritatedI think I went into this with much higher expectations for how I'd like Callie (Caliandra). Our first scene with her however left me feeling irritated and thst persisted til closer to the end. She's judgmental, argumentative and clueless much of the time. Other characters give her sound advice, but she's ok with ignoring it, or claiming its too hard or wanting others to change instead. She's young, though that's hardly an excuse when her younger sister is more level headed.
I was also kind of uncertain why Royth, the Seer, didn't just tell everyone about his vision. He was the SEER, they already trusted him and turned to him explicitly for his guidance. He was literally the one person who could have said "Look I saw bad shit go down." and he'd have support. Hell between his declaration and the proof from Kells, Callie would have had time to focus on the important parts of the plot. Like Minister Usurper....more
Okay folks first full disclosure, I'm friendly with the author. We talk non-book stuff and in the past hung out at various events. She's awesome and bOkay folks first full disclosure, I'm friendly with the author. We talk non-book stuff and in the past hung out at various events. She's awesome and before being an author was a book blogger I admired. This in no way influenced my rating.
Previous to this book I've had 2ish brushes with the Four Horsemen. In Highlander, with my one time all consuming crush Methos, Charmed where Apocalypse = Capitalism (no seriously it did) and in a Vertigo comic series I remember vaguely only because it had nudity and I read it at like 13. I barely have religious understanding of them.
Corwin's take humanizes (ahahaha you have no idea how funny that is considering the main character's intro) them while running them through the cosmic ringer. Fate, life, love...at the end of the day (end of times?) none of that matters if you refuse to speak up and do what needs to be done. Watch as they learn the hard way!
Two things stopped me from enjoying this book as much as I wanted to:
1) I did not like Laura, or her friends. Not a single one of them. 2) This book hTwo things stopped me from enjoying this book as much as I wanted to:
1) I did not like Laura, or her friends. Not a single one of them. 2) This book has atmosphere aplenty and that's about it.
There is no common sense to be heard of from these kids. None. Not a single iota. A volcano erupts and instead of staying inside they run around Rome (sometimes with a teacher, most of the time not). Weird shit constantly (and I do mean constantly) happens around our main character Laura and she just sort of freaks out silently, but tells no one.
An entire hostel worth of people are getting deathly ill so Laura and her friends decide to run off into Rome.
Morris describes Rome in wonderful detail (at least insofar as I can see, it sounds like what I see of Rome in pictures and videos) and she sets the mood for this epic war of the Gods...but at the end of the day its all teenage hormones all the time. Laura spent just as much time worrying if Dan (a classmate she sort of finds cute) found her cute as she did about the birds dive bombing her head.
Part of the problem is that I've read so many stories at this point which feature teens/young adults who find out they are an important piece of an age old battle between ancient Gods/Goddesses. I'm not entirely sure what was important about Laura beyond her nifty stone from her grandfather who apparently picked it up after World War II.
Compare her against Percy Jackson or Ashline Wilde or Gwen Frost or ANY of the recent Medusa-related books I've read and quite frankly Laura is lacklustre. She was ineffectual. I thought Maia was more useful and reliable, but she didn't have main character charisma/personality.
Unlike with Ruined, THE ETERNAL CITY doesn't offer me enough to find interesting in the characters as well as the city itself. And that's a damn shame because I had high hopes for this.
Realistically this is more of a 3.5 for me....but as someone who has always been suspicious of Peter Pan, I appreciate Jensen agreeing with me so thatRealistically this is more of a 3.5 for me....but as someone who has always been suspicious of Peter Pan, I appreciate Jensen agreeing with me so that earns it another half star.
There has been a lot of different renditions of Hook in my life time--the move HOOK with Dustin Hoffman, PETER PAN with Jason Issacs, PETER PAN with Christopher Walken, PAN with Hugh Jackman, Disney's animated Hook, WENDY AND THE NEVERLAND PIRATES' animated Hook, Syfy's NEVERLAND's Hook, ABC's ONCE UPON A TIME's Killian Jones/Hook...
And that has nothing on the LITERARY versions...
So Hook has gotten a lot of play in the last 30 years or so okay? This however was an intriguing take as it focuses more on the man who was Hook before, during and after being Pan's "foe" Captain Hook. and that peaked my interest like you wouldn't believe....more
My love of the EMPOWERED comic series compelled me to buy this, a compilation of the specials released for various reasons. Interestingly some a goodMy love of the EMPOWERED comic series compelled me to buy this, a compilation of the specials released for various reasons. Interestingly some a good amount were in full color and many were drawn by Guest artists.
I was pleasantly surprised by this comic. That may sound odd, as why would I be wasting time on a book that I don't think I'd enjoy, but much like theI was pleasantly surprised by this comic. That may sound odd, as why would I be wasting time on a book that I don't think I'd enjoy, but much like the Zack Davisson (who wrote the forward to this volume) I've read too many comics (or novels) where the appropriation of the foreign culture is off putting.
Also historically my track record with IMAGE Comics has not been stellar as of late.
So I went into WAYWARD a little hesitant, but willing to try. I'm glad I did because it was enjoyable.
Its not for everyone though - there's some topics dealt with that aren't perhaps dealt with as well as they could be (namely Rori's coping mechanism) and some which won't make sense to the reader without the helpful back notes. Zub tosses you into what life is like for Rori--a half Japanese/Half-Irish teenager who's research doesn't prepare her well enough for life in Tokyo.
Rori, who's used to being "cool" in Ireland for her mixed heritage is suddenly pretty much a social outcast because she isn't on the level of her peers. She's struggling to keep up with what their teacher is saying only to have him privately warn her that her natural hair color was disruptive so maybe she should dye it dark.
That's pretty simple stuff for her to deal with next to the supernatural crazy that erupts around her though.
By the end of the 5 issues contained in the volume I was kind of feeling at odds with the pacing and the development. A lot of things HAPPEN with little context or reason, much of it left to the reader to discern why Rori suddenly can see these red threads (of fate).
I am interested in seeing how the secret(s) her mother hid from her will play out, and I generally found the characters to be interesting (though a little broadly written in terms of personality, they fit certain stereotypes initially and grow only a fraction by the end).
I'll warn for violence and for something that is personal to Rori (view spoiler)[she cuts "alone" into her arm, though we're shown this only once and its not made clear why no one can see the marks on her arm when she wears short sleeved shirts often enough (hide spoiler)]. and language, though that's not a big issue.
Insofar as cultural appropriation goes...its hard to tell since Rori had a certain perception of the culture via her mother and Zub tries to convey that in how the reader experiences Tokyo. Whether or not this will change as the series goes on I can't say however.
**spoiler alert** So I didn't hate this but I didn't love this either. This was told in a manner I enjoy quite a bit (Meg Cabot has 4 chicklit/romance**spoiler alert** So I didn't hate this but I didn't love this either. This was told in a manner I enjoy quite a bit (Meg Cabot has 4 chicklit/romance novels out in this format)--letters, texts, notes, etc. That was cool.
Also they play with style and empty space, images and poetry and such.
I just...when I'm more interested in how the page is formatted and not so much the content that's not a great sign.
A long, long, long time ago I read a book called Boy Meets Girl. It was not only my first foray into "chicklit", but also my first time reading something that was not in the traditional novel prose format. It was told instead by inter-office emails, early form text messages, post-it notes, company memos, chat rooms and instant messenger. This is before stuff like Facebook or Twitter existed, before smart phones--when Blackberrys and Palm Pilots were the hottest tech to own for the business person--or tablets. Before phones could do more then the simple 160 character SMS texts.
It was AWESOME. The coolest thing I had ever read. It was like I was back in school and had stumbled upon someone else's notes to their friends or their diary. While it didn't offer the same level of "content" as a traditional prose novel, it offered me something better--made the characters seem real.
Cabot wrote several novels in this format and while I'm sure she wasn't the first, she was the one I know the best.
Kaufman and Kristoff (here on out they're K2) do something similar, though for anyone who has ever played a RPG via chat rooms, message boards or emails you may see shades of that in the pacing. I didn't look into it, but my base assumption is that they each took one main character to write as after creating the world/plot together. Essentially building off what the other said, expanding as needed and revising as needed. Interviews, journal entries, web board posts, messenger, poetry, art...this is all used to rather cool effect. Much of the (rather long, over 600 pages) novel is spent in a sort of he said/she said game. While the experiences/stories match up, they don't match perfectly in terms of feelings or motivations, giving the novel a more "realistic" feel.
(as a digression I don't really like this "found footage style" tagline...its writing. Its written. It does not count as "footage" if its written. This is still voyeuristic, but come on guys we have to have a better term out there for the style of this)
Its with some disappointment I will admit that I wasn't that interested in the plight of the characters themselves. K2 give us a lot of information about the world/universe/time. Whether through stuff mentioned during the interviews, to clues in speech patterns, to the "look" of things, we get a lot of information. I like this. I like world building. I wanted to like Kady & Ezra however. Like, I wanted to like them a lot. Except I cared more about how the information was being conveyed to me then the actual content.
And this is where most reader's mileage will vary a lot from mine. I read graphic novels/comics much differently then I read prose-novels. GNs/comics I spend more time staring at the pictures then I do the words themselves, often leading to me losing the thread of plot. Which when there's MAYBE six sentences total per page isn't such a big deal. Much of the "plot" is being shown in the images. But when its a book, with almost as much information embedded in the images as in the very important to read and remember text, it becomes a problem.
I had less of this problem in the Cabot books, because they are set on Earth, in a (mostly) corporate environment referencing every day things I know firsthand/can understand. K2's book is set five and a half centuries from now, on distant planets, in SPACE on SPACE SHIPS. The core issues are easily relateable, but this is how my brain worked:
Oh hey this character is in a dangerous situation I--OMG ALL THE INFORMATION TELL ME MORE ABOUT WEAPONS AND TRAVEL AND POLITICS AND oh...wait. Did someone just get shot? Okay let me go back and OMG SPACE POLITICS!!!!
Can you see where I would be having problems? In prose novels its words words words on the page. My brain follows the train of thought well enough 98% of the time. I could NOT get my brain to focus for very long while reading this novel.
As I said that's a problem that I have. Its likely NOT an issue most readers have to worry about. I greatly enjoy Kaufman's books in general--and her scifi books with Meagan Spooner in specific. I like her writing style. I really like Kady who didn't let anyone tell her she couldn't do something. Kristoff...I have mixed feelings on as his writing is well enough, but I wasn't happy with the Lotus War books for other reasons. Ezra was enjoyable to read and I found his humor to be especially in line with what I like.
But seriously. So many issues staying focused. I wonder if this will come out in audiobook and if, much like Blood Red Road will be a better audiobook for me to listen to (I could stare at the pages while listening to the novel itself. That would solved so many issues I think for me)....more
**spoiler alert** The idea of the book, or of Anomalies in general, was great. The execution not so much.
Here's the thing--I have certain expectati**spoiler alert** The idea of the book, or of Anomalies in general, was great. The execution not so much.
Here's the thing--I have certain expectations when you toss around words like "Time Thief" or "stealing time" in a book. Like Xanatos stealing a year from everyone in New York City in order to become immortal expectations (and if you don't get that reference shame on you, that man is utterly brilliant). If you have a hardened, gone through hell military type who's ready to cut a bloody swath through his enemy's foot soldiers to get to him...I, well expect him to cut a bloody swath through his enemy's foot soldiers before then cutting said enemy into tiny tiny pieces.
I don't expect a somewhat akward partnership that morphs into an uncomfortable (highly, uncomfortable) romance between two people who can't find pavement if they hit it with their faces.
Let me first point out that I find it extremely hypocritical of Sean to have joined up with a crime lord all in hopes of taking down people like Bay. We'll lay aside the fact it turns out to be the most monumentally DUMBASS thing Sean has likely ever done, and focus instead on the most judgemental attitude of any romantic hero I've come across recently (not including historicals, because that's too easy). Not only does he take an extremist stance against all "Time Thieves" because of the actions of one, but he then proceeds to not bother to do his homework about the guy he works for.
He knows he's a crime lord. He knows he has people killed routinely. He knows he is up to his neck in the shadiest business ever contemplated. NONE OF THAT MATTERS if the crime lord can give him the Time Thief that took out his command unit.
Let me restate that--NONE OF THAT MATTERS to Sean; not the human trafficking, not the drugs, not the prostituition rings, not the murders.
He's a fucking peach isn't he?
I can't really speak for any of the other Time Thieves he may have helped capture (and/or kill, its a bit vague all said), since we don't SEE any but Bay and she's pretty small potatoes. So I don't know if the untold others were all as monstrous as the one that took out Sean's unit. Or if they're like Bay and laying low to live a life. I don't know that I care really. Sean sure as hell didn't. In classic romance fashion he doesn't question his orders until he meets an attractive female.
Meanwhile I wasn't particularly taken by Bay. And I think this is partially because her story is similar to the story of another orphan with special powers who's life is destroyed by a crime lord because of said special powers (Gin from Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin books). Granted Gin had someone to help...mold her as she grew up, but they have very similar set-ups.
Bay wasn't very proactive. Like Sean she wanted revenge, but unlike Sean she was content with smaller petty crimes (stealing a valuable necklace?) to create an impact. She didn't have an endgame though. It wasn't like she was living in the moment until she could enact that endgame, she was just living in the moment because she had no clue. Her vague desire to live a normal life didn't have any support beams.
I mentioned earlier I felt uncomfortable with the romance angle and that's largely because it didn't feel...deserved. On Bay's part it felt, and sounded a lot like, she was attracted to him because he was protecting her. Neither learns a great deal about the other--the timeline is rapid & brief. It was a bit Stockholm. At no point is Bay given the valid ability of walking away from Sean before they start a physical relationship. Oh Sean says she can, but the reality is much further from the words.
In all this never came together for me. The glimpses of the other "Anomalies" (how many different words can authors use to avoid using metahuman, superhuman, mutant...) is just that, glimpses. I'm not terribly interested in revisiting the world to find out more however. Its a shame since I enjoy Hackett's other series (about the Phoenix Brothers), this just fell so short of expectations.The idea of the book, or of Anomalies in general, was great. The execution not so much.
Here's the thing--I have certain expectations when you toss around words like "Time Thief" or "stealing time" in a book. Like Xanatos stealing a year from everyone in New York City in order to become immortal expectations (and if you don't get that reference shame on you, that man is utterly brilliant). ...more
**spoiler alert** Ok this is where I show my gaming snobbery coupled with my intense love of virtual reality stories. Putting aside the comparisons to**spoiler alert** Ok this is where I show my gaming snobbery coupled with my intense love of virtual reality stories. Putting aside the comparisons to READY PLAYER ONE (though I'd argue this has more in common with John Scalzi's LOCK IN or even Erin Kellison's Reveler series) there's some sloppy character development in terms of relationship dynamics. Including between Nixy and those who eventually reveal themselves as the antagonists.
++ THE LEVELLER (which is not the easiest title to trip off the tongue) invites you to believe that parents become so fed up with their kids playing video games for hours on end they'd pay a teen girl a set sum of money to drag that kid's sorry ass out of the game world. While I fully believe parents get sick of watching their kid stare dead-eyed at TV's or scream bloody murder at screens, I can't believe that someone like Nixy would be able to keep from being bullied unto death. In this world its not just "geeks" or "nerds" who play in VRLand (MEEP), its everyone.
And what is the one thing we can all agree teenagers are good at? Shaming a peer for doing the "right" thing. What Nixy does is tantamount to being the school narc with marijuana. I don't know about anyone else but that kid never made out well at my HS. Kids don't like parents taking away their toys and they like their own PEERS helping to take it away even less.
So that right there had me chewing my lip in exasperation.
Then there's the fact that the world itself is hastily put together feeling. This is a rather short book by today's YA standards (just over 250pgs) and you can feel that in the world development. Things are just a SHADE different from our reality. We're not really shown how this rather large leap in tech came about, nor is it discussed. It just is and we as the reader need to accept that. And that's fine if the main plot of the story didn't leave really big, gaping holes where consequences are concerned.
I don't know if Durango is into video games or not. A quick search on the web didn't bring up much chatter in that regard one way or the other, but what I've always felt drew people to gaming is the fact that there aren't real world consequences to what you do (largely, exceptions do occur when folk take in-game attitude into the real world). Right now my dad, who you'll have to take my word on as being one of the fluffiest people in existence (he gets queasy if he thinks about what he's consuming when he has steak), is playing a game called "The Seed". The entire purpose of which is to be the biggest amoral asshole you can be (its post-apocalyptic). And he's RELISHING this.
The game we're playing together, Dreamfall: Chapters, we're playing through each episode multiple times as "the good guy", "the bitch" and "what we really would do in that situation given those parameters". Pop Culture Site THE MARY SUE has a series about what happens if you play through Dragon Age Inquisition as a Dick. Games give people a way to be something else that would normally conflict with their moral center.
I think that's missing from Durango's book. Nixy points out that most of the kids she drags out are "living their fantasy"--whatever that fantasy is, and in the few months she's done it she hasn't run into any of the truly depraved ones so god bless her luck. However in the larger conceit of the book's universe Durango treats what the terrorists can achieve in the MEEP as small potatoes. A small, personal threat.
This particular group of terrorists had it out against Wyn's father (and his company), but I guarantee you they aren't the only ones who have genius hacking skillz. And while a fair amount will have benign intentions on a larger scale, what about that percent who won't? At no point does anyone think its a good idea to, I don't know, alert national security bureaus of the potential threat. A simple "Mr. President don't let your kid into the MEEP right now, we're dealing with a situation where they could be held hostage against the nation's best interests." phone call seemed like it should have at least been mentioned.
The concern at one point is for the players logged in illegally (circumventing certain controls set in place to avoid people from staying in so long they forget real time) and a couple character mention that if Wyn's father had acceded to their demands it could have all been over. In the real world if say bill Gates' kid is taken hostage somehow, in a manner kind of easily replicated, you can be DAMN sure every major diplomat, figure of power and rich person would freak out about their own kin. Or at the very least be strongly advised to avoid letting Johnny B. Powerhouse do the same thing as Bill Gates' kid.
I quite frankly found that to be difficult to swallow and left a huge gaping plothole in the world building to me. The book takes place over a week or so of time. In that week several real life consequences to some of the terrorists occur. And while the book ends fairly quickly after the Nixy finds a way to work things out, I was still left with a thousand and one questions. Not questions about what will happen the further the series goes on, questions about the general world and why it wasn't treated as a bigger deal.
And that essentially ruined how I felt about the novel itself....more
There was definitely something...sumputuous about this book. Draven is at pains to describe the world and motivations of the primary characters. The 3There was definitely something...sumputuous about this book. Draven is at pains to describe the world and motivations of the primary characters. The 3rd person perspective goes between Martise and Silhara, offering the reader a sometimes unnecessary but often intriguing dichotomy of perception.
I will say while the relationship between the two built nicely it did kind of sideline the plot at times....more