This book was entertaining, and not what I expected at all. I loved Isadora's shakiness, and I loved that her relationship with her parents was centra...moreThis book was entertaining, and not what I expected at all. I loved Isadora's shakiness, and I loved that her relationship with her parents was central to the book. I was frustrated, though, in that so many of the other characters seemed flat and lacked real motivation.(less)
This is a good ya romance. I don't think that everyone will love it, as the story moves relatively slowly. But Caymen fairly jumped off the page for m...moreThis is a good ya romance. I don't think that everyone will love it, as the story moves relatively slowly. But Caymen fairly jumped off the page for me, and I'm willing to forgive a lot in a book where the protagonist seems so very real.(less)
I read this book in one sitting, so I can honestly say that I did like it. Unlike Cinder, it has a forward moving plot--the journey to find & save...moreI read this book in one sitting, so I can honestly say that I did like it. Unlike Cinder, it has a forward moving plot--the journey to find & save Grandma. However, also unlike Cinder, it has a bad case of insta-love. I liked both Scarlet and Wolf, and I'm rooting for them.(less)
I tried, but I could not get beyond the first 50 pages. Other people might like this book. The fact that I couldn't finish it probably says less about...moreI tried, but I could not get beyond the first 50 pages. Other people might like this book. The fact that I couldn't finish it probably says less about the book than how I was feeling when I tried to read it. All told, I'm happy it was a library book. I hate buying books only to find out that I'm not that interested in them after all.(less)
I wanted to love this book, really, I did. But it just didn't happen. The novel started strong, it's true. However, at a certain point in the narrativ...moreI wanted to love this book, really, I did. But it just didn't happen. The novel started strong, it's true. However, at a certain point in the narrative, I should have become more invested in the characters and their feelings for one another, but I didn't.
I was prepared to adore this book. I might revise my rating up in the future, but right now it stands at two stars, because the disappointment is still too fresh.(less)
There are times when non-book lovers have wondered why I read so much. At those times, I wish I had a copy of certain books in my hands where I could...moreThere are times when non-book lovers have wondered why I read so much. At those times, I wish I had a copy of certain books in my hands where I could say to them: "Read this. We'll talk again tomorrow." This was one of those books.
At the start of it, I really didn't like Sam, the protagonist. But that was expected, I think. At the end of the first day, she directly addresses readers and says, more or less, 'I made mistakes, but I wasn't that bad a person. Would you have done differently?' As she continues to relive that same day, Sam is offered the chance to reverse some of the choices she's made. Some choices cannot be altered--they were made in years past. All Sam can do is relive the day. By the end of the book, Sam is a far different person, one that I both liked and admired. Her growth is real, and the choices she makes are far different.
This book is an emotional journey, one that touched me deeply. That's what I meant about handing it to a non-reader. This is one of the books that is so well written, so thoughtful, that it touched me deeply. (view spoiler)[I really wish that it hadn't ended the way that it had, that, like Groundhog Day, Sam had found a way out of the loop. However, the loop was based on reliving the day she'd died. Once I think Sam accepted the idea of her own death, she knew that there was no way to change it. Even as she ended the day still alive, she awoke at the beginning of the same day again. Her death, then, was inevitable, but she could chose how and why it happened. The choice Sam makes gives her life more meaning than it otherwise might have had, but I would have liked to see the person Sam (and, by extension, her friends) would have become if Sam had been able to take the lessons of this day into the future. If this had been a horror novel, Sam wouldn't have found her way out of that loop. I'd prefer not to think about that option. (hide spoiler)] I've read Oliver's Pandemonium series, and I liked it. But that series simply could not prepare me for the emotional power of this book. Even non-readers might find that it would touch their souls, if they allowed the book access.
Once, long ago, I read the FAQ on Stuart Woods' website. Apparently, readers like to ask him if he'd ever write another book like Chiefs. In his answer, he tells them no, that he only had one book like that in him. I remember that answer because it seemed there was something so sad and honest about it. Chiefs was the first book Woods wrote. If he'd kept trying to write a story so grand as that one each time, he would have been chasing an impossible goal. Instead, he gave himself smaller goals: I can't repeat that first book, but I can write this one. I don't know if Oliver has another book like this one in her. I kind of hope that she does. I'd like to see more books that touch readers like this one can.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book through the First Reads giveaways at Goodreads.
While this book was fun (and I did read it all in one...moreI received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book through the First Reads giveaways at Goodreads.
While this book was fun (and I did read it all in one sitting), I did not find it nearly as engaging as her Perfect Chemistry series. I will say more later, closer to the book's publication date, once I have had a chance to fully process my response to the book.(less)
**spoiler alert** Warning: this review contains spoilers for the end of the book, for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity, and a few song quotes. Yo...more**spoiler alert** Warning: this review contains spoilers for the end of the book, for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity, and a few song quotes. You are warned.
I have chosen to hide this entire review because I really want to talk about the ending of the book.
As much as I enjoyed this series, I hated the end.
Wendy Darling's review of the book is wonderful. I agree with most everything she says when it comes to the way Hand writes about family as well as the pacing of this book. That said, I had some real problems with the conclusion of the trilogy.
Joss Whedon had the courage to kill Wash in Serenity. (Although Joss is a well-known character killer, so maybe he's not the best comparison.) Cynthia Hand should have allowed Tucker to die.
Characters do die in this book. Some of the dark angel-bloods die, Angela's mother dies . . . this is not a book free of tragedy. Hallowed was about the death of Clara's own mother. Death is real in these books. Unfortunately, when Tucker is revived, the book jumps the shark. Hand had the opportunity to show that Clara could win the battle she was fighting and still lose the man she loved. It would have been a more nuanced ending, "more bitter than sweet" perhaps (to quote a Big Head Todd and the Monsters song), but it would have been meaningful.
Instead, in saving Tucker's life, Clara manages to remove all of the obstacles that kept them apart. She pushed so much glory into his body that he became a prophet. Now he won't become sick whenever she feels glory, he has visions, and he has an extended lifespan. In one fell swoop, everything that kept them apart is removed. It's too easy.
I think Tucker should have died. It would have given Hand a chance to show that there is "life after love" (to quote another song,, this time by Cher). Too many YA novels focus on the idea that love cannot change. While the love story with Tucker is well-built in the beginning (as compared to the insa-love trend), it needed to end. Too many YA novels present the idea that you should stay with the first person you fall in love with, that it is not possible to love another person. Tucker's death would have allowed Clara to move on and love again in time. She may never have loved Christian the way that he wanted to love her (okay, so I liked Christian better . . .), and that's okay, too.
Sometimes, I think the ending of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the best solution for a love triangle. Instead of choosing either of her two loves, Buffy realizes that she is not mature enough to make that choice and chooses to stand alone for a time. I liked that ending.
I wish more YA novelists had the courage to stray beyond a happily ever after.(less)
This was the first of the SYNC YA audiobook downloads for summer 2013. I started listening to it today, and I'm stopping today. I won't add this book...moreThis was the first of the SYNC YA audiobook downloads for summer 2013. I started listening to it today, and I'm stopping today. I won't add this book to my reading challenge for the year because it's a solid "did not finish."
At first, it started strong. After the disaster that was the audiobook for Rules of Civility, I was ready for a fast-paced, plot-driven YA audiobook. I thought this one might start off that way, as it opens with a violent death. (I will give the author some props for making the death violent. Too often in YA lit, when a character dies, he or she leaves a good looking corpse and the death is glamorized. There's nothing glamorous about this death.)
That said, even just 12% of the way into the book, I was getting a number of signals that I really didn't like. There seemed to be some murky consent issues with the nature of relationships among the Syrena, and it was ringing a few alarm bells for me. After reading some reviews at Goodreads, I'm going to have to drop this one. While I did find the beginning moderately entertaining, I can clearly see that this book will cause me to lose my temper. Since I listen to audiobooks while driving, I think it's best for all concerned if I stop now rather than drive angry.(less)