You know how, while you are sleeping you can dream the weirdest things. Often these are things that make no sense at all...moreThis series read like a dream.
You know how, while you are sleeping you can dream the weirdest things. Often these are things that make no sense at all, they are a string of events that are connected to one another and the contents of them don't necessarily have anything at all to do with what comes after or went before. However, as long as you are still sleeping and dreaming it, everything makes perfect sense.
This is how I imagine it must have been like for the author. As long as he was writing it, it all added up beautifully. For me, reading it? That's a whole other crate of fish.
And that's what I mean about 'reads like a dream.' No, it's not a compliment.
Under the spoiler cut, my problems with this series. In no particular order of priority. (view spoiler)[Waiting until the last fifty pages of the last book is TOO LATE to tell me why the bad guy is the bad guy. If I had known a lot earlier why the bad guy was the bad guy, or even had some hints of it, it would have made a lot more sense. And now that I'm told in which way the bad guy is the bad guy I still don't understand his motives. What the heck are his motives? What the heck is he trying to DO???
In fact the entire world structure here needs some explaining. Gods aren't really real gods and they don't seem to be doing any real god-like things. In fact the lot of them strikes me as rather unpleasant with little to no redeeming qualities what so ever. They're just the sons of the gods and they go around being high and mighty and dragging everyone and everything around them into their own squabbles. Happily killing random people and eating their souls for food as if they were merely picking apples off a tree.
Come to think of it, that's not just the gods. That's pretty much everybody. I can't off the top of my head come up with a single solitary character in this series who have any sort of respect for life what so ever.
I can't off the top of my head come up with any characters that seemed to have any sort of purpose either. Especially with some of the more minor characters. Like the hook-fingered boy. What about him? What did he do to further the plot? Why should I care about him? Or Isla, what's up with her? Apparently quite powerful but why? And in what way? And to what end? Alice Harper. Who's she? Who's her husband? Why should I care about them at all? Carnival? I know where she came from but what's with the whole Rebecca business? What did she do to further the plot? Cospinol? Sitting around on his ship the entire time, wearing out the seat of his trousers while being towed about by some guy who happily ate other people's souls like candy?
And in book two, what was that with the white sword and the whiter sword and the even white sword and the whiter sword still? I mean apart from an excuse to have unimportant characters arbitrarily killing each other? That got ridiculous long before the scene was finsihed and not a single mention of anything at all about a white sword again. "I've written myself into a corner, I'd better kill off some of these minor characters that are so dreadfully in the way."
That same sort of thing happens again in book three, only much much worse. Time travel? SERIOUSLY??? Everything even remotely to do with that is pure gibberish. Apparently all they have to do is run in and out of some rooms in a castle and while they do that there are more and more copies of themselves. I would call it a plot device, but I had already rather lost the plot at that point and was wondering if there ever really had been one in the first place. Perhaps that was just in a parallel timeline!
Then there's the world building. What a mess. I would ask for a map, but I suspect it would be quite impossible to draw and geography doesn't appear to be relevant anyway. There are all these places mentioned, especially in the last two books and not a clue about whether they're far or near from each other. Whether they are just a small part of the world or if the story actually has a global span. It's confusing, when you don't know where something is in relation to anything else. Even more so when it seems characters are just travelling randomly and not always actually doing anything useful at all when they reach their destination.
The supernatural aspect escapes me as well. Mesmerists, icarates, iolites, non morai, witch spheres, penny devils and what have you... what are they? To me, just words. All of Menoa's various creatures and the like all the lumped into one big box in my head: Bad Things. Indeterminate from each other. Just bad things.
Which leads me to the whole issue of life and death. First you are born into the world and you live and then you die and when you die your soul goes to hell. Where apparently you can live again. And can die. Again. Even though you are already dead. Um. Then what happens? What happens when you die in hell? This is never explained. Do you go to a different hell? Do you just cease to be? This has never been explained to my satisfaction.
Especially not when you can apparently travel relatively freely between the world and hell. There are mentions of portals opening the doors to hell for things to come out into the world or not-dead people to go in. Fine, portals. That implies that crossing over between the two is difficult. But then there's this here railway. I just lost track of whether things were taking place in the real world or in hell or what. At one point I was actually confused about whether hell was actually supposed to be some sort of physical place instead.
Souls. The concept of souls have a huge importance in these books. They are either the lifeform, of sorts, a person takes in hell or they can be cooked(!) and turned into soulpearls. Which is god-food. Or person food, apparently, if you can get your hands on some. This whole thing was disturbing to me, and everytime anybody consumed soul pearls or similar, I couldn't help but consider it somewhat cannibalistic. Uh, ew.
Finally the ending. Or the new beginning. Or really lack of either. How do we reach a conclusion on a rambling disjointed tale like this? Well, we've already introduced time travel so why not just travel all the way back to the beginning of time, pick up god's mother and start over from the beginning. Because she's grown lonely in the meantime. Do the (supposedly) good guys get any sort of victory? No. Are the bad guys dealt with at all? No. Does that mean the bad guys achieve a victory, then? No. Are all lose ends tied up neatly? No. Does this book actually have an ending at all? Not really. (hide spoiler)]
I give it two stars because at least I managed to finish it. Even if for a large part of it that was through sheer stubbornness.
For the series as a whole, I enjoyed the first book. The second had me confused and the third was even worse. The disjointed rambling nature or the last two makes them feel rushed. As if they try to cover way more content than there is really room for in the pages. I think the first book would have been better off as a standalone.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What. A load. Of manure. 75% plotless descriptions and repetitions followed by 25% pure angst and wallowing in same. Oh and did I mention the repetiti...moreWhat. A load. Of manure. 75% plotless descriptions and repetitions followed by 25% pure angst and wallowing in same. Oh and did I mention the repetitions? I know all of Ayla's names and ties by heart, the Mother's Song did not improve with extensive familiarity and YES, Ayla speaks with an accent. I get it and I do remember the reader telling me about it five hundred times before. I wondered while listening to this if Auel had actually reached an age where she had forgotten what she had already written, or if the series had simply sold so well over the years that by now she could get away with any drivel she wanted.(less)
Full marks for re-readability. I haven't even got the faintest clue of how many times I've read this book now. I remember being sceptical about the se...moreFull marks for re-readability. I haven't even got the faintest clue of how many times I've read this book now. I remember being sceptical about the series but finally gave in to giving it a one day when I was going to the library and saw a girl coming out with a Harry Potter book. She was reading as she walked, not even slightly looking where she was going on the stone stairway in front of the library. I figured if it could override basic safety like that, it had to be good. So I tried it and by the end of chapter one, I was a lost cause.(less)
I rather liked this, much to my own surprise. For a long time I've been avoiding it simply because of all the hype around the series these days, but I...moreI rather liked this, much to my own surprise. For a long time I've been avoiding it simply because of all the hype around the series these days, but I found myself with nothing better to listen to, so I gave it a go. I will have to get the following two books now.
It was a shaky beginning for me. I didn't really like Katniss at first. She was too cynical, too pessimistic, too bitter, too angry. Almost arrogant somehow, wearing her own misery like a costume. Look how terrible my life is. You are all privilidged because you are not me. And perhaps she's right, because it is a truly miserable existance that she grew up in, and I have certainly never had those sorts of problems in my life. And perhaps it reflects badly on me, but I am not the sort of person who can be told that I can't possibly have any problems at all because I don't have her problems, and not be annoyed.
Perhaps, though, this was partly the fault of the reader. Most of the time, she read it well, but sometimes, every once in a while, something that was supposed to be a tone of desperation or bitterness at the regime, came across to me as more mocking than anything else.
As the story progressed, I found I had gradually been changing my mind. I was now much more able to admire Katniss for her bravery and ability to do what had to be done, and as this happened, so did my problems with the reader go away. I think a large part of my shaky beginnings with the story was due to having to get used to the reader.
By the end of the book I would have preferred to move straight to the next one, hyped up or not.(less)
**spoiler alert** There are some predictability issues here.
-When Katniss came home and found a scary guest in the study, I had guessed it would be P...more**spoiler alert** There are some predictability issues here.
-When Katniss came home and found a scary guest in the study, I had guessed it would be President Snow. -When they did the whole marriage proposal thing, I had seen that coming from a mile away as well. -The uprisings in the other districts, I had seen those coming already during the victory tour. -The quadre quell rule of tributes being picked from those who had already won before, I had guessed that already the first time it was mentioned that there would be something extra-special about that. -The mockingjay symbol of the resistance, I guessed that as well at first go.The only surprise about that was exactly how long it took Katniss to realise that the new head gamemaker showed her that very same symbol in secrecy while they were dancing. -The fact that there was a plan to escape the arena instead of playing the game -Peeta's claim that he and Katniss were already married. (I guessed that particular revelation verbatim) -The training scores.
I hadn't, however, guessed Peeta's claim about Katniss expecting, or Cinna's outing himself as a member of resistance movement. I did suspect he was involved or at least disapproved of the Games in general, but I didn't think he would out himself so obviously.
Being able to predict all those things so quickly was a little annoying, but other than that, I liked this book as well. And when it comes to romance, I find myself rooting hard for Peeta, based almost entirely on the fact that I find Gale's character irritating and possessive.