For the last three years or so I have heard nothing but rave reviews for this novel. I’ve been reading comics since I was a teenager and I was a majorFor the last three years or so I have heard nothing but rave reviews for this novel. I’ve been reading comics since I was a teenager and I was a major geek/nerd before it was cool. So, I was really excited to read a novel that was said to have a ton of nerd culture references from the 1980s and even 1990s. I should have loved this novel, but I didn’t.
After chapter three I wanted to bail. Movie and television references for the sake of geek references has always bothered me. So, I was more than annoyed at the constant stream of reference after reference after reference. (Most of which aren’t needed or matter.)
Which leads me to my biggest issue with the novel: the references weren’t fun or really needed. They didn’t really provide any kind of major insight. They just were there to be there. It was a bit like: “Hey, watch these people argue over what 80s movies were good and what 80s movies sucked!” or “Hey, remember this thing from childhood? It was cool – right?” Another issue with the references, was that a lot of them were overly explained. For example, a video game would be mentioned and then explained for several paragraphs. It was all a bit much. I’m all for childhood nostalgia, but explaining so much and just throwing references in, isn’t nostalgia.
Also, the exposition is endless. Things are explained repeatedly, in way too much detail. There was a lot of “tell” and very little (if any) show. This sort of goes with the characters – they are rather flat. We are told a lot about their personality, but rarely are we shown who these people really are. To make it worse, the main characters are just not that likable. The characters are just so flat and generic. The writing style is also clucky – again a lot of “tell” and very little “show”. Plus, the dialogue was terrible and just plain bad.
There is also a weird arrogant mean-spiritedness in this novel. It’s hard to explain, but it reeks of that attitude that you get at a comic shop if you enter for the first time and get those stares. You know, the stares that say: “You really don’t know a damn thing about comics. You’re just here because its popular.” The author really beats you over the head with the fact that his characters are so cool and that he knows so much about the 1980s and geek culture. This whole “geekier than thou” is getting old in real life and is really annoying here. ...more
Where do I start with this set of short stories? I didn't mind that a Goddess' name was misspelled or that some facts were wrong. (Loki had an important role in several stories, but he was by no means one of the "Big Three Gods" in Norse Mythology.) What I did mind was the writing style - it just wasn't up to this author's usual standard. The writing was something I could read quickly (I finished the 299 pages in maybe three hours); but, the writing felt very flat and dull. A bit of: "He did this. They went here." It just wasn't as lyrical and fun as the author's other works. It sort of felt like I was reading a middle school or a lower high school textbook or literature book. It wasn't terrible writing by any means, it just lacked what I usually enjoy from this author. I also found the Gods and Goddess and other characters rather lack-luster. There just didn't seem to be any real depth to them.
Overall, this set of stories was just lacking. I'm sadly rather disappointed with this read. ...more
- The writing style is light, breezy, and easy to read. The dialogue was great and felt very natural. The characters of Maddie, Olly, and CarThe Good:
- The writing style is light, breezy, and easy to read. The dialogue was great and felt very natural. The characters of Maddie, Olly, and Carla were likable and relatable. The drawings throughout the novel were really adorable and added a little something extra to the story.
- Some people seem to be annoyed that Maddie starts disobeying her mother, but I loved it. She is 18 years old - a legal adult in the eyes of the law - and it was about time she branched out and try and find herself. The fact that she was 18 and had never fought with her mother felt weird. So, I was actually glad when Maddie started to rebel.
- Maddie is half Japanese-American and half African-American. It's great to half a WOC lead, and I believe the author included it because she is married to a Korean-American. (A little 'girl like you' thing for her daughter and all biracial girls out there.) But, it felt really thrown in. Like, Maddie's and her mother never do or discuss anything remotely Japanese. They never discuss anything that has to do with Maddie's cultures or heritage. I wish they had.
- I could have done with more resolution at the end. A lot of things after the big reveal felt very rushed. I was waiting for a bit more, and it never came.
- The "twist" bothers me, but more of that later.
(view spoiler)[ - The "twist" really bothered me. There were several hints early in the novel, that something wasn't quite right. Mostly - people with SCID usually try and get a bone marrow transplantation. They usually see several doctors and get several opinions. They don't sit around their home reading. It bothered me that apparently Maddie never noticed this was weird. Or that none of the tutors or Carla noticed that something wasn't quite right with Maddie's mother. Maddie has every right to be upset with her mother - the woman basically stole 18 years of her life. Hell, I'm pissed at Maddie's mother. A mental illness and losing family, doesn't give the woman the right to control her daughter the way she did. (hide spoiler)]
The Other Stuff:
- I do wonder if the only reason Maddie felt so intensely for Olly was because he was the first boy her age that she had met. And, I wonder if Olly felt so intensely for Olly, because he had issues at home and she was someone he could take care of - something he may have needed. They didn't always feel like "true love"; they usually felt like "first love" - and I think that isn't what the author wanted. ...more