The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel is the debt novel by Helene Wecker. It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for months. A mixture of romance...moreThe Golem and the Jinni: A Novel is the debt novel by Helene Wecker. It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for months. A mixture of romance, history, and fantasy, the novel tells the story of a golem and a jinni who try and make their ways in the world.
- All the characters felt a little distant, a little passionless. Even a little cliched at times.
- The Jinni narrative in the first third of the novel was much plainer than the Golem’s. He’s kind of a jerk, if I’m totally honest with myself.
- There really should have been an editor (or a better editor) for this book. There are long drawn out passages with straightforward, boringly uncomplicated descriptions of things that . . . might not be needed to understand and enjoy the overall plot.
- There is a rich and dark atmosphere for a lot of the novel. A moody kind of feeling that lets us know everything is not as it seems. I actually really enjoyed the atmosphere for the first third of the novel, especially during the parts dealing with the Golem/Jewish community.
It is a novel that I think people will enjoy. It just wasn't for me. I liked it, but never loved it.
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot is a novel that came to my attention several years ago. Due to one reason or another, it has taken me ages to finally s...moreDaniel Deronda by George Eliot is a novel that came to my attention several years ago. Due to one reason or another, it has taken me ages to finally sit down and read it. Was it worth the wait? Well, it certainly wasn’t a waste of time. I can see why many consider this novel to be a classic and Eliot’s best work.
Characters: Most of the characters are rather likable. It’s a bit rare in these kinds of novels to have a lot of nice people wandering around. While Gwendolen Harleth isn’t all together likable, she’s at least rather fascinating.
Plot: Jewish faith and culture play a large role in the novel, and it’s done respectfully. Actually, a lot of the plots- in Daniel Deronda’s side of things - are rather well done and interesting. They certainly kept my interest. Having only watched the 2002 miniseries before, it was lovely to dive deeper into the past of many of the characters. Suddenly Mirah and her brother had their own lives; the stuff with their father, Mirah’s sad past – it all came alive. I also rather enjoyed seeing Deronda’s inner thoughts in regard to his parentage and his growing love and understanding of the Jewish faith and culture. Even Hans and his lovely family came more alive on the page.
Writing Style: It doesn’t always read like a lot of novels from the same time period – and that’s a good thing. It feels like a mix of social satire (most of Gwendolen’s story) and of morals and people’s places in the world. People, who might not have been seen as sympathetic in other novels, are shown with a sympathetic and understanding eye.
Characters: I can understand why some people have said that Gwendolen Harleth is one of the most complicated and fascinating characters in Victorian literature. I can also understand how some can view her as a naïve, manipulative, selfish, satire of the “modern day heroine”. I’m sure people could (and have) written whole papers on Gwendolen Harleth. On a totally personal note: I found her to be selfish and manipulative and immature; however, I pitied her. Mostly because she kept making terrible choices and didn’t seem to grow until half-way into the story. Though, I suppose that is alright, considering that none of the other characters had much character growth either. And why couldn’t Daniel admit his feelings for Mirah (especially to himself) until after he found out he was a Jew? I get the times, but he had already met a person who had married outside their religion.
Plot: Many people say that the novel is two stories: one that deals with Gwen, her family, her marriage, and those around her; the other deals with Daniel’s parentage and the Jewish community of London, as well as the reunion of Mirah and her brother. It certainly felt that way to me. And I wonder if the novel couldn’t have been two companion novels, each standing on their own, with Daniel being the connection. I know some countries have just punished Daniel’s story.
Plot/Writing Style: While I enjoyed the overall plots and subplots (and they were all written wonderfully) I did think that at 710 pages the novel was a bit long. There were a few scenes that could have been shorter or cut all together.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel more than I thought I would. I give it a 3.3 out of 5 stars. More people should give Daniel Deronda a read. (less)
Oh dear, this book was just not for me. The main characters were just so. . .dumb and googly-eyed at one another. I loved the idea behind the novel, b...moreOh dear, this book was just not for me. The main characters were just so. . .dumb and googly-eyed at one another. I loved the idea behind the novel, but it just didn't work for me. Thank goodness I only paid seven dollars for this instead of the eighteen dollar cover price. (less)
- The writing style can be lyrical and fairy tale-like. The dialogue can be witty at times. - The pacing is fast. - There are some amazing hi...more The Good:
- The writing style can be lyrical and fairy tale-like. The dialogue can be witty at times. - The pacing is fast. - There are some amazing hints that make me believe that this series will be great. - The side characters! Trix, Wednesday, Friday, Monday, Saturday, Thursday, the Pirate King, Erik, Jack Jr, and Velius are all great. I hope to see more of them in the other Woodcutter Sisters novels. - The early scenes with Sunday and Grumble were actually a little adorable and sweet.
- Even if it is a series, there are several large plot holes and dangling plots at the end. I'm sure the other six planned books will sort most of these out. However, as this was originally sold as a stand alone. . .I can see how this could annoy some. - Sunday and her love interest don't really feel like a real and true love. Then again, most fairy tales are a bit shallow in the love department. - Sorrow, Joy, and their story line is just odd. - The ending - defeating the 'bad guy stuff' felt rather rushed. I spent the last fifty pages or so thinking: "Wait, what? Okay, I guess."
- As much as I did like Sunday and Rumbold, they are probably the more boring of the characters. (less)
I believe the characters had more potential, but they all (more or less) ended up falling into cliches. The world building was poor. I wish I could ha...moreI believe the characters had more potential, but they all (more or less) ended up falling into cliches. The world building was poor. I wish I could have liked it better than I did. (less)
For ages now Legend has been hyped by everyone I know. People have told me it is one of the best books they've read in years. Maybe the hype was just...moreFor ages now Legend has been hyped by everyone I know. People have told me it is one of the best books they've read in years. Maybe the hype was just too much, because I really didn't care for the novel at all. I found the world building to be lacking. I thought June and Day were dull, naive, and stupid. I figured out major plot points and twists about 50 pages into the story. Overall, I just didn't care for it. It wasn't for me, sadly. (less)
This novel had some good points, but overall it felt cliched. The story started slow, than was rushed at the end. The characters - especially the side...moreThis novel had some good points, but overall it felt cliched. The story started slow, than was rushed at the end. The characters - especially the side characters - also didn't have much depth. I honestly had a bit of trouble, at times, telling Ben's friends apart. I thought Janelle bordered on being annoying at times and I just didn't care that much for Ben.
All that aside, it was a quick read that was addicting; I finished in a day. I would give it a solid 3 and I'm interested in the second book. (less)
The Last Apprentice (or the Spook's Apprentice as it was originally called) tells the story of young Tom Ward, who becomes the apprentice to a Spook....moreThe Last Apprentice (or the Spook's Apprentice as it was originally called) tells the story of young Tom Ward, who becomes the apprentice to a Spook. Spooks have the job of protecting people from things like witches and ghosts.
The first book in this series is called Revenge of the Witch and deals with, well. . .witches. What I find rather interesting about this book (and the series as a whole) is that it is written and marketed as a story for middle grade children. The vocabulary and sentence structure is very simple. However, there are some scary moments and the overall story line probably fits better with young adult/high school students. At the end of the day, the series is probably a cousin to Harry Potter.
But, what really matters is: is the book worth your time. The answer is yes. Revenge of the Witch does read like an outline or a 343 page prologue. It feels like a television pilot and reads like one too. And that's okay. It's all set up for a larger and darker story that I cannot wait to get into. (less)
I know the Meg Cabot is considered on the better (and older; longer lasting) YA authors. I remember reading many of her novels/series when I was young...moreI know the Meg Cabot is considered on the better (and older; longer lasting) YA authors. I remember reading many of her novels/series when I was younger. And to a younger me, her books were really well written and had fun characters/plots/romances. But, I'm older now. I understand that my being older doesn't mean I cannot enjoy YA novels. . .it just means I have less time/interest in mediocre novels.
I fully admit that I picked up this series because I've always had a fondness for the Hades and Persephone myth. The first novel sort of gave us a similar story and the second novel continues on with the 'it's more based on than a retelling' plot. The thing about this novel is that it isn't horrid or terribly written. It's just middle of the road. I'd expect more from Meg Cabot. But, she seems to have given into the popular paranormal cliched fad that is taking hold of YA novels.
John is supposed to be cool and dangerous and misunderstood - a woobie: destroyer of worlds, if you will. In reality, it comes off as a jerkass who won't tell his girlfriend valuable info because he's trying to protect her. Well, she'd be better off if she knew the truth about everything. Our heroine is a whole different matter. There were times when I liked her, but there were times when her motives and desires seemed confused. That's find for a seventeen year old whose been through a lot. . .however, there was something about her 'voice' that didn't sit well with me. The side characters are all more or less the usual fare of paranormal YA side characters, and though they do do things and are somewhat interesting, it's not enough to keep me interested. As for the story line, it didn't really get going until about 100 or so pages into the 318 page novel. And it was rather lackluster. I expected more. Maybe Meg Cabot is saving it all for the thrilling conclusion?
In the end, I think (no, I know) this novel will appeal to a lot of people. It just doesn't work for me. 2/5 a stars, borrow it. (less)
Here's the thing - I watched the film version of this about a month ago. Why? I like the adult cast and really had nothing else going on. The film was...moreHere's the thing - I watched the film version of this about a month ago. Why? I like the adult cast and really had nothing else going on. The film was. . .okay. Though, I must admit that I didn't really get it. I mean I understood the plot. . .but, it felt like things were rushed and a great deal of the plot was missing. There were some interesting ideas with the Casters and the other mythology, and I wanted to know more. (Especially as a lot of people I know adore this series.) So, I picked up the novel. And, I'm still disappointed.
The Good, The Bad, and The Cliched:
- I get the feeling that the side characters like Link and Ridley and the rest of Lena's family could be really interesting characters - if they had half a chance. That's not a major 'good', but at least I know the writers could write somewhat good characters.
- The ideas of the Casters and other mythology was intriguing. It's certainly something that isn't as cliched and overused as other things *coughvampirescough* as other YA/New Adult novels. This is actually something that really bothered me: you had good ideas. Why couldn't you explore it more? Why did it all have to hang on a teenage romance?
- Have either of these authors ever lived in the South? I mean small town South? Because I have. And I'm insulted. Every character (even Ethan, because he's rather stuck up about being different and educated and he reads novels.) is a bad Southern stereotype. They are: overly religious, dislike outsiders, snobs, have a plantation every three feet, no one ever leaves the small town, call the Civil War by different names, I could go on. The students at the school, like Emily and Ethan's teammates, are all horrible people. And their parents are just as bad; they turn on Lena because of her background. They have no proof that she's a bad seed or causing any harm to anyone, but they want to kick her out of school and run her out of town. Why? Don't these 40+ year old people have better things to do than worry about a teenage girl. The glass broke in English class - she did it! (Okay, she did, but the average person wouldn't go straight to thinking a teen made a window burst.)
- This book needs an editor. It was 563 pages and about 200 of those pages could have been cut. The book had me for about 100 pages, than it was dull and repetitive for about 50 pages, than interesting for about 30, than boring and repetitive and drawn out for the next 300 pages or so. Finally, it got somewhat good, but not good enough to keep me totally interested.
- The whole novel is told from Ethan's POV. For me, that was a mistake; a big mistake. Not because he was badly written - I've read worse. No, it was because he was confused and didn't know what was going on half the time. And Lena's family and issues seemed way more readable than Ethan's issues. I wanted to know about other characters and everything really focused on Ethan, his issues, his friendships, and his romance with Lena. You've got a whole world to explore and you put your novel in the hands of a sixteen year old boy? Whatever happened to third person narratives?
- A supernatural romance. Okay. But, this time the supernatural is the girl! Was that unique in 2009/2010? Because it feels dated now. Especially when the supernatural girl, Lena, is a bit of a wet blanket. Now that she doesn't have reasons to be, but she could have been more likable; fresh. All these characters start to seem the same after awhile: "I'm all powerful and I don't want to be. Love Interest, stay away from me. Wait! I love you." - says every supernatural character in these stories. Lena is the same way. It's trying.
- Ethan/Lena may not be as annoying as some other YA/New Adult supernatural couples, but they still fall in fight and fall in love rather quickly. And once they are in love, it takes over nearly every part of their lives. They date for maybe six months and they love each other and would die for one another. Yeah, they are 15/16. . .I get that. But...with all the shit that is going on in Lena's life, you'd think it would be less intense. (Maybe I'm just getting too old for this? Than again. . .there are lots of other well done YA/New Adult romances.)
The back of the novel says this is a story for Twilight and True Blood fans. I cannot stand the Twilight novels and True Blood is campy fun. So, I should be in the middle of this, right? Well, no. This is a novel that suffers from stereotypes and cliches. It's a novel that could have built a fascinating and unique world of magic, but chose to go in another direction. I know this is a series, but I honestly cannot begin to think what would be so important as to write three more 500+ page novels.
Beautiful Creatures isn't a horrible novel. It's just a novel that suffers from YA cliches, bad Southern stereotypes, long drawn out bits of story, and a somewhat dull narrator. I honestly don't even understand hows its marketed audience of 12-17 year olds like it, when there are much better series out there.
A solid 2/5. Borrow it if you must read it. (less)