I would say that I liked this book more, but I wasn't as taken with it as I was with The Graveyard Book. And from what little I've read about the storI would say that I liked this book more, but I wasn't as taken with it as I was with The Graveyard Book. And from what little I've read about the story's genesis, I believe I know the reason. It started off as an idea for a short story. But somehow or other, Gaiman decided to write a full length, albeit only 180 pages, novel. If it is true that it started out as an idea for a short story, then I wish he would have left it that way.
Or I wish he would have written a longer novel. Either way, as a short story or longer novel, I think would have loved it. But as it stood, I wanted more. To me, the story had the makings of something epic--that is a story that goes on to explore this magic and these magical creatures in more depth. As it was, it felt like a story about a bad babysitter when there was so much more that could have been developed.
Don't get me wrong, though. Gaiman might be one of the most beautiful writers of our time, and I rank him five stars for sheer talent. The man knows how to turn a phrase. And I suppose it really is a compliment to his talent that the story left me wanting more. After all, if it wasn't good, I would not, obviously, want more. ...more
Although I like this, I wasn't quite as charmed as I was with the first novel. I suppose it was because it took so long to get to the actually mysteryAlthough I like this, I wasn't quite as charmed as I was with the first novel. I suppose it was because it took so long to get to the actually mystery. I listened to it during my commute, and I was thrilled that Jayne Entwistle was the narrator (and isn't that a fabulous, name?). Ms. Entwistle narrated I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella, and she made that book come alive for me. However, while I love to listen to Ms. Entwistle tell a story, the first half of this was slow. I wanted to get on with the murder and the mayhem, but it plodded its way there.
Of course, I like Flavia so much. She is hilarious and I love her precocious nature. It does require a bit of suspension of disbelief. She is rather smart for someone so young, so at times it's slightly unbelievable. That and I want her to interact with some kids her own age already. Maybe what I really love the most about the stories is that they are mysteries, but they aren't your standard fare. It's nice to see a different take on solving the crime. So even if there were some things I didn't love about this go round, I am still in for trying more of Bradley's stories. ...more
Almost 5 stars...almost. This was exciting. It took a bit for me to really get into it, but not too long. And once I was in, I was in.
This is what IAlmost 5 stars...almost. This was exciting. It took a bit for me to really get into it, but not too long. And once I was in, I was in.
This is what I loved:
1. It's fast paced, engaging, and well written...really great prose. I LOVE it when teen authors don't assume their audience can't handle expanding their vocabularies and dumb down the language.
2. Great family connections, especially between siblings. I love my siblings, and because I have such a soft spot for them, I really appreciated seeing such relationships.
3. I'd heard it was The Passage for teens, and while they are two very different stories, I can understand the comparison. There is something intense and compelling about both books.
4. Good romantic tension that doesn't take over the entire narrative. It isn't necessarily my favorite part of the novel, but I liked that it was there as a side story. It was a nice diversion that didn't hijack the main plot.
My two semi-beefs:
1. I'm tired of whiny teenage girls as protagonists. Maybe I'm just too old to remember if teenage girls are THAT whiny. But it just gets annoying, and I have very little patience for it.
2. Chocolate breath...chocolate eyes...what's the deal with all the chocolateness??? It's just one of those words that the author uses over and over. It was fine at first. But after a while, not so much.
In any case, neither of these was so egregious that it made me want to put the book down. I'm definitely in for the next installment. Oh, and for conservative readers/friends with teens, just know there are some swears. ...more
It took me a while to get into this. Here's why. First, the beginning is disjointed as multiple characters are introduced. It didn't feel organic or nIt took me a while to get into this. Here's why. First, the beginning is disjointed as multiple characters are introduced. It didn't feel organic or natural, and it was a little slow for my taste. Second, there is a lot of period detail. I love the 20s. One of my favorite novels is The Great Gatsby. I sometimes wish we could all dress up like flappers again and bring back the Charleston. But the period descriptions/aspects felt a little heavy handed. A lot of time was spent describing clothing and hair cuts and speakeasies, and there were so many many positutelies and old girls and shebas. At times the voice in my head was reading it like I was in a scene out of Thoroughly Modern Millie, a movies I loved, but a movie built on campiness. I'm not sure Libba Bray was going for campy.
Nonetheless, even if I didn't love the beginning or the use of the 20s vernacular, I loved the creepiness. This was nothing if not creepy. The ending was a 5, as book endings go. I found myself pulled into the story during the last half. The pace picked up, as did the macabre-ness. Naughty John was frightening. I even stayed up late to finish it because I wanted to see how it would end. That and Ms. Bray has a beautiful way with words. The English nerd in me loved her descriptions.
I'll admit that in the beginning I was a reluctant reader. I've read A Great and Terrible Beauty. I liked it enough, but I can't really recall many details about the story, and I remember that I didn't really want to read on in the series. However, this was different. I'm positutely going to read the next installment. (See what I did there??? See?)...more
I would probably give this 2.5 stars. It was...odd. Very odd.
I think what probably bothered me is that it truly is meant for a juvenile audience andI would probably give this 2.5 stars. It was...odd. Very odd.
I think what probably bothered me is that it truly is meant for a juvenile audience and yet some disturbingly dark things are going on here. The premise of the story is a little like Peter Pan's lost boys. Children who are supposed to make it into the after life are knocked off course and sent into the land of Everlost. Nick and Allie are new to Everlost, and they discover it is a strange place where they may be doomed to spend eternity in a life of repeated routines. And then Nick discovers how he can free himself and others. But will he be stopped before he can accomplish his task?
So what troubled me? Some of the disturbingly dark things were treated as you might expect with a juvenile novel. And quite frankly, "skin jacking", i.e., possession, isn't really a juvenile subject. I wasn't afraid while I listened along to the story, but I cringed at the thought of a young person reading about possession in such a light hearted way.
And I guess that's what prevents me from wanting to read more. I admit to some curiousity as to the character arc of two of the main players in the story, but when a book is aimed at what I think are basically children and then treats such subjects like they are everyday/funny/juvenile, I'm a little put off.
I probably would not have read the book had it been an actual "horror" novel. It's rare that I read horror stories, and only mild gothic ones at that. If Shusterman wanted to write that story, that's his perogative. Actually, I wish he wold have done that, and then marketed to the appropriate audience.
There is nothing wrong with Shusterman's story telling ability. There is nothing overtly offensive, I suppose. It just didn't sit quite right with me, and so I don't think I'll be finishing this series. ...more
Chris Crutcher does it again. I don't know how. Terminal illness is a tough sell because it's just far too easy for a story like this to turn into notChris Crutcher does it again. I don't know how. Terminal illness is a tough sell because it's just far too easy for a story like this to turn into nothing but grief-porn. But it isn't. In fact, it isn't sad, really, until the end comes. And then it is sad only because even if you know everything that is coming at the story of the story (and you know some but not all, trust me), Ben Wolf, our hero extraordinaire, is not someone you want to let go. That is really due to the fact that throughout the story he is charming and funny and real. He's someone you'd want to know. He's someone you wouldn't want to lose. ...more