**spoiler alert** I didn't know that books could be this bad until I read book one of the Frey. I really wanted to like this book because:
1. It was fr**spoiler alert** I didn't know that books could be this bad until I read book one of the Frey. I really wanted to like this book because:
1. It was free. 2. I had seen so many positive reviews of it on Goodreads as well as Amazon.
For me, this book was basically unreadable. I kept going in hopes that it would get better, but it was so boring that I couldn't push far past the 1/3 mark. How should I explain? The best way that I can put it is that this is a book where nothing happens.
At the start of the book, the main character does not seem to have a life, any interests, or even a personality. Because she can't use magic properly, she's considered an outcast in her village. She spends her time studying with her tutor, who is the only person in town who is truly kind to her. Despite the tutor being introduced as an important character, and despite how much time the main character spends thinking of her, tutor-lady barely gets any page-time. No time is spent elaborating on their relationship and it is neither mentioned nor questioned why Tutor is so nice to her when everyone else hates her. Nor is it explained why she has a private tutor in the first place. Most of the characters, including the main one, are like this. They're supposed to be important, but they get almost no time in the story, functionally zero charicterization, and they don't seem to do anything important or interesting either. The person with the most characterization was probably the bully who appeared for only 2-3 pages to pick on Elfreda when she was in the woods.
The main character spends the majority of the early chapters wandering around aimlessly, with no clear objectives. At time it felt like the author was adding events and musings in just to fill pages. It was all or nothing with these scenes. They were either totally pointless and irrelevant or they ONLY existed to advance the plot in the sense that the character had no reason to do them other than to get to the next scene. Elfreda seems to have no real goals or emotional investment in anything around her.
Some of the typical scenes you will see in this book include:
- Elfreda using spells to sort through paper work - Elfreda going to see her tutor, and her tutor isn't there so she has to come back later - Elfreda eating berries - Elfreda sleeping inside of a bush - Elfreda sitting in the woods and literally trying to make grass grow
These tasks are all completed with the same dispassion with which one wipes a booger onto the underside of a shoe.
Eventually, Elfreda meets Male Love Interest #1. Because she has no life or anything else important to do, her main motivation/purpose as a character becomes researching this guy and his family tree. No real reason-- just saw him in the street, thought* he was cute, and decided to spend all her free time researching him. She risks life and limb to sneak into the library to read books about his boring family. You also learn that even though she's doing all this research on him, she doesn't know much about her own family, or even what her tutor is doing. She and Love Interest #1 start talking, and he becomes her tutor after her original Tutor is put on a bus. He easily teaches her fire magic despite the story establishing that she's supposed to be seriously terrible at spells.
*The main character gives no real indication of human thought or strong personal opinion.
When she gets angry, she tends to "accidentally" use magic in a way that hurts people. She kills a bird and almost kills a person who is bullying her. The way these scenes are handled is ridiculous. Elfreda doesn't even seem to care about or understand what she is doing unless she's worried she'll get in trouble. She killed an innocent animal and almost killed a person and never seems to give a shit. She always uses strong dark magic at the most opportune times, but it's never made clear that she can understand what she's doing...But the idea of her not understanding makes no sense since everything is being told from her first person.
Eventually the council gets sick of her bullshit and she gets put on trial ex machina. There's almost nothing going on in the story, and then in the next scene she's randomly in a courtroom. There was almost no buildup or transition to speak of.
She then flees town and starts more aimless wandering. She also sees Love Interest #1 and starts following him around even though at this point in the story she's supposed to be trying to avoid getting caught. He catches her following him easily but she doesn't join up with him because she's pretending she's capable of feeling anger and runs away.
She meets Love Interest #2 and he seems to have some vaguely interesting traits. Love Interest #1 strikes me as someone who was written to fill the Edward Cullen role, while LI#2 is more the Jacob-- a little more dangerous and with a little more "personality" (scare quotes because I hesitate to use this term in reference to any of the characters in this book).
This is where I gave up reading. This book is so boring that I don't understand why the writer felt the need to put it down on paper. Maybe she was being held at gunpoint. ...more
This book has one of the worst cases of Idiot Plot that I have ever encountered. It was still an enjoyable read in spite of the head-banging reasoningThis book has one of the worst cases of Idiot Plot that I have ever encountered. It was still an enjoyable read in spite of the head-banging reasoning skills of the main characters and the highly questionable engineering of the technologies that the plot revolves around. ...more
One positive thing I can say about this book is that it genuinely evoked a gamut of human emotions within me- happiness, fear, anger, disillusionment,One positive thing I can say about this book is that it genuinely evoked a gamut of human emotions within me- happiness, fear, anger, disillusionment, and so on. There were many times during this book where I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry. The responses that it evoked in me were just that complex. Probably no for the reasons that Charles de Lint intended though.
My journey with this book began approximately 3 years ago, after I had finished reading my first Holly Black novel. I thought, "Ok, urban fantasy is def the genre for me!" so this was the first book I picked up after finishing her stories. I wish I could go back in time and warn myself.
This book is about Imogene, who is some kind of self-styled emo punk gangster tough girl operating from the comfort of a financially stable middle class home or something. I don't remember exactly. Honestly, I've been trying to repress the details. Charles de Lint wants us to believe that his heroine is hardened, witty, and interesting (At times I feel like she's supposed to give off a Daria vibe...?) but nothing about her conveys this. I've read all up and down the book, but I can't think of a single memorable instance where this character has done anything "tough," "punk," or anything else that distinguishes her, really. Overall, it felt like she could have belonged to any subgroup, been any type of student, and the story would have stayed entirely the same. But this arbitrary and inconsequential identity is the only characterization she seems to have.
I guess that one instance where she could have been seen as being tough is where she beats up one of the kids from school. The speech that she rattles off after doing so comes off less as the epic and heroic "Take That!" Charles wants it to be, and more like a voice-over of a revenge fantasy of some long-suffering and power starved kid. The bully that she beats up just sits there for a 1/3 page long rant without interrupting. His only response at the end of the thing is basically, "BLEORGH! I'll get you next time, Imogene!" and it seems pretty obvious to me that the author simply had nothing at all for this character to say. He can't relate to this character and doesn't care to get inside his head long enough to give him anything beyond the emotional and motivational depth of Dick Dastardly. He's just a prop to be used so that Imogene can look cool. But she doesn't!
None of the characters in this book have a unique voice, and the voice that they're all sharing is boring enough to drive one to coma. There are no clever turns of phrase, no good jokes being cracked, and almost no inflection of emotion or hint of subtext in what the characters have to say. Everyone just indiscriminately and passionlessly dispenses information for the sole purpose of moving the plot along. Because approximately 99.9% of this book consists of nothing but this boring dialogue, you can guess how that works out. I thought a lot of the elements of the story were legitimately interesting- like the ghost boy and his angel guidance counselor, but de Lint's immediate writing and shallow characters totally sucked the life out of any juice his concepts might have had. The Blue Girl reads less like a story and more like a chronological list of things that were said by people that one isn't particularly compelled to like or care about.
All of this might sound harsh, but the truth is that I really wanted to like this book. I paid for this book. I thought this book would be a good idea when I picked it up off of the shelf. I've been trying to finish it on and off for three years. I really want to give it a chance, but each and every time I pick the thing up, I wind up turning away in boredom and disgust. This time I think I'm done for sure. ...more
This book and it's illustrations are adorable and hilarious. The book features cameos from lots of famous fairy tale princesses while doing a great joThis book and it's illustrations are adorable and hilarious. The book features cameos from lots of famous fairy tale princesses while doing a great job of introducing a new one. I think that both adults and kids can get a good chuckle out of this. ...more
Well, the first half of this book is not engaging at all, but once the mystery starts, it's fun to see all the cute little tricks that the main characWell, the first half of this book is not engaging at all, but once the mystery starts, it's fun to see all the cute little tricks that the main character pulls to find out who the tagger is.
As some people have mentioned, the morality of the characters seems a bit iffy. At the end of the day, the main character is an anonymous nerd behind a screen, and the monitoring he does of his classmates does seem a bit...questionable? Nolan is big brother and he is watching you. Even more questionable is the fact the adults around him go along with him putting his classmates' info on the web. But I guess the book isn't necessarily meant to resemble reality.
That aside, the characters are likeable and junk. Some people might go for this book....more
The first half of the book lays down some very simple ground rules for grids that anyone can immediately undersWhoaaaaa, this book is off the chizain.
The first half of the book lays down some very simple ground rules for grids that anyone can immediately understand and benefit from. Unlike a lot of text books, it does an excruciatingly excellent job of explaining its lessons and reasoning. It's concise and extremely informative. The second half of the book gets into more complex grid systems and ways of seeing them.
The book provides lots of great explanations, and the book itself is laid out beautifully as well. Good stuff all over. ...more
**spoiler alert** The artwork is very attractive and well done, but the story doesn't seem to be fleshed out to the same extent. The book starts out w**spoiler alert** The artwork is very attractive and well done, but the story doesn't seem to be fleshed out to the same extent. The book starts out with a fairly interesting bit of dialogue, and for me that's as good as it gets.
There are lots of things throughout the story that SEEMED like they could have been interesting, but none of them are really explained. Why do the lights need human assistance? It's mentioned that they "don't like talking about it," but from what I read, this is never followed up on. What IS the deal with the lights period? If the Sheriff Banks was "tired of the lies" and "wanted the truth to be told" why did he think the best way to accomplish this was to involve some shady, internet conspiracy theorist? Why didn't he go to real reporters or use his clout as an officer of the law? Why use the journal as proof of the conspiracy when there's a cave filled to overflowing with murder victims right on the other side of town? Since when is "Lilim" a Native American thing? What are the character's deeper motivations again? Reading this book made me feel like I was having an out of body experience or something because I had an impossible time keeping track of why everything was happening as it was.
At times I can't tell if this story is trying to be dark, or if it's trying to poke fun at things that are unnecessarily dark. On the one hand, it's filled with over the top imagery. Throughout the story, the main female character dresses kind of like the main character of Underworld. She can frequently be observed crying tears of blood. She has words and phrases like "repent" and "I am wrath" carved into her body, as if by a razor. Her main deal is causing people to spontaneously combust, and at one point during a fight, she randomly starts Frenching the chick she's fighting with and reduces her body to skeletal ash while they're still going at it. Awesome! She has dead parents and Jack Skellington, the High Mayor of Hot Topic, makes a cameo appearance as a decoration in her bedroom. Whoa!
All of this should be amazingly hilarious, but, like, this thing goes out of it's way to be utterly devoid of humor. I don't even think any of the characters crack a joke throughout this whole story. Book wants to be serious, but the plot holes and how cute the art is really take away from how seriously I can take it. Cool stuff happens here and there (The scene with the mayor leading the girl into the cave was kind of intense), but overall, it's not that well put together. I kind of hate to say that because I kind of really wanted to like this book a whole lot but...eh......more