It's taken me a long time to get around to reviewing this book. It took me a long time to finish reading this book. I often see Un Lun Dun classifiedIt's taken me a long time to get around to reviewing this book. It took me a long time to finish reading this book. I often see Un Lun Dun classified as a young adult novel. If you go by length, it is. However, the content seemed to me made it a children's book. Now, I missed reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a child and just read them recently, in my mid-forties. I didn't like either one. Un Lun Dun is very much like these two children's classics. The first 100 pages bored me to death.
After page 100, the pace of the story picks up and there's a big twist that makes the story more interesting. Once I got to the twist, I finished it pretty fast. That first quarter of the book just took too long. I can't help but wonder if kids would persevere through it or if I'm too old and jaded to be charmed by silly, juvenile fantasy. ...more
Michael Flynn's Eifelheim is one of my favorite science fiction novels. It takes SF in a direction I'd never seen SF go before. So, when I heard aboutMichael Flynn's Eifelheim is one of my favorite science fiction novels. It takes SF in a direction I'd never seen SF go before. So, when I heard about The January Dancer, I was very anxious to read it and delighted when I found it on the shelves at my library. I thought The January Dancer was a beautifully written, very creative story. I really enjoyed the way Flynn created a future that involved humans from different planets talking in different dialects. I like how he brought the different planets and their citizens to life. I liked how he framed the novel as a man telling a harpist the story of the pursuit of a pre-human artifact so she can create a piece of music about it.
As much as I liked Flynn's creation though, I couldn't give it more than three stars because I just didn't know what the heck was going on most of the time. I lost track of the narrative threads more times than I can count and the characters all had so many names that I couldn't keep them straight.
Because of the extensive use of dialect and made-up slang, I think I might have enjoyed (and understood) this book far better in audio than in print. That's saying something because I am a much better reader than listener....more
Like Tana French's first novel, In the Woods, The Likeness A Novel is a mystery that focuses on the psychology of the detective more than the mysteryLike Tana French's first novel, In the Woods, The Likeness A Novel is a mystery that focuses on the psychology of the detective more than the mystery itself. It's about the way the detective's personal history can influence how he or she approaches a case. In this particular book, it's about how one person can come close to losing herself to another, more appealing identity.
As much as I enjoyed this book, it seemed more than improbable. A professional would never have done some of the things Cassie did in her undercover investigation. In fact, she never would have been able to go undercover anyway.
One of the complaints that people had about In the Woods was that one of the mysteries was never solved. I liked that about it. In The Likeness A Novel, French ties up the ends almost too neatly. One aspect of it should have remained a mystery and it didn't. I probably should have given the book 3 stars, but it did keep me turning the pages....more
I really don't know what to say about A Fine and Private Place. It's a sweet, touching ghost story about love, life, death and homelessness. There's aI really don't know what to say about A Fine and Private Place. It's a sweet, touching ghost story about love, life, death and homelessness. There's a man who's run away from live and spent 19 years living in a graveyard. There's a widow who meets him while visiting her husband's grave. There's a young man ghost who has allegedly been poisoned by his wife. There's a beautiful young woman ghost who was hit by a truck. Add a raven and a really bad night guard (bad as in he doesn't guard well) and you have the cast of characters for this charming piece.
A Fine and Private Place has a lot of promise and charm, but it doesn't live up to the promise. I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it. I don't regret the time I spent reading it, I'm just glad I got it at the library....more
I like Margaret Atwood, really. And, despite a rating of only 3 stars, I did like The Year of the Flood too. However, I was expecting so much more froI like Margaret Atwood, really. And, despite a rating of only 3 stars, I did like The Year of the Flood too. However, I was expecting so much more from it. That's the fault of my expectations, not Atwood's story. Oryx and Crake is one of my favorite science fiction novels. (Sorry, Ms. Atwood. If you have bioengineering and a man-made plague, you have science fiction.) It haunted me. The Year of the Flood is a beautiful book, but it's just not as strong as the parallel story of Oryx and Crake. It just kind of floats along until it picks up at the end. I liked it, but I wasn't wowed by it....more
So Brave, Young and Handsome: A Novel is a very interesting read. It's got so many layers and nuances. Set in 1912,the narrator is a Minnesota postalSo Brave, Young and Handsome: A Novel is a very interesting read. It's got so many layers and nuances. Set in 1912,the narrator is a Minnesota postal worker who wrote a fabulously successful novel, quit his day job, and hasn't been able to write anything since. He befriends with an old guy who builds boats, and leaves his wife and son to spend six weeks helping his new friend find his long-lost love. It quickly becomes apparent that Monte is either a very poor judge of character or that he is the most unreliable of narrators.
Monte's adventure traveling in the West show us an early 20th century that is changing rapidly. His buddy, Glendon turns out to have been part of Butch Cassidy's Hole in the Wall Gang. He's being pursued by a former Pinkerton detective, Charlie Siringo. Both men are clearly from a bygone era. Horses have pretty much been replaced by cars. Wild West extravaganzas are dying out. Even small Western towns are much more civilized than the Old West frontier outposts.
Reading this book was a pleasure. It was so vivid and poignant. However, it had a lot of complexity that would make it a good subject for serious literary analysis. I highly recommend it....more
I thought this was going to be a book about a girl becoming a superhero, and it kind of started out that way. However, along the way it became a boxinI thought this was going to be a book about a girl becoming a superhero, and it kind of started out that way. However, along the way it became a boxing book in the vein of the great boxing movies like "Rocky", "Cinderella Man", and "The Champ". It also had quite a bit of teenage lesbian sex that I didn't find appealing at all. (Gee, can you imagine a Jacqueline Carey novel having sex in it?) I'm not an admirer of sex scenes that don't add anything to the story, and this story really didn't need it after the part where Loup was conceived. Despite the underage sex, I really liked this story. Loup was a very sympathetic character and I loved how her big brother looked out for her. I especially liked the character of Miguel Garza and how he grew from a total jerk into a really good friend to Loup. This book had so much going for it, it really didn't need the sex....more
Before They Are Hanged is undeniably the middle book in a trilogy. Nothing begins and nothing ends. The book just creates a bridge between the first bBefore They Are Hanged is undeniably the middle book in a trilogy. Nothing begins and nothing ends. The book just creates a bridge between the first book and the last. It's a well-built bridge though and the journey across it is quite enjoyable. The most impressive thing about this volume is the character development. Each character changes in ways that are quite believable, even if they are sometimes unexpected.
I do have to give this book brownie points for the most hilarious sex scenes I've ever read. They aren't the stuff of erotica by any stretch of the imagination. Nor are they written awkwardly. They may be some of the most realistic, but least exciting sex scenes to ever appear in literature....more
On Stranger Tides may be the best audiobook I've listened to so far. Bronson Pinchot's narration brought this story to life in a way that my brain nevOn Stranger Tides may be the best audiobook I've listened to so far. Bronson Pinchot's narration brought this story to life in a way that my brain never could have if I had read it it print. He performed it rather than read it and the result was the most fun I've ever had listening to a book.
For a long time, the rumor mill has been saying that On Stranger Tides is to be the basis for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie. While I was listening to this book, I looked on IMDB and found that the next Pirates movie will indeed have this title. It also shares a lot of the plot elements. Having listened to this book, it's not surprising that Disney is using it for the next Pirates movie. Written in 1988, it predates the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie by 15 years. It is so much like that successful movie franchise that it wouldn't surprise me at all if the creators had a group read of this novel.
On Stranger Tides blends pirates, voodoo, a damsel in distress, and the Fountain of Youth into a rollicking good story. It's got a really good creepiness factor that made it a perfect pre-Halloween listen. The gruesome parts aren't any more gruesome that what has already been in those Disney movies.
I highly recommend this as an audiobook. I won't even suggest trying to read this in print. Even for those of you who don't normally listen to audiobooks, give this a shot. It's absolutely wonderful and may just get you hooked on audio. ...more
I am so glad I listened to the audiobook of Black Hills instead of trying to read it. It's so dense and convoluted that I don't think I would have madI am so glad I listened to the audiobook of Black Hills instead of trying to read it. It's so dense and convoluted that I don't think I would have made it through the print version. Plus, it was pretty cool listening to the two readers. The one who narrates all of Paha Sapa's experiences sounds like a Lakota. He does a great job with all the Lakota words and phrases that would have just fouled me up royally if I had been trying to read it. The reader who does Custer's ghost sounds sufficiently 19th century.
The problems I had with this book were also some of the things I liked. Black Hills has a ton of historical information covering 80 years of South Dakota and US history. I learned about the Lakota and how they related to other Plains tribes; I learned about the carving of Mount Rushmore; I learned everything I need to know about dynamite; I learned the history of headlights on Harley Davidson motorcycles; I learned more about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge than was ever covered on Modern Marvels; I learned everything there is to know about the Chicago World's Fair; and I learned that George Armstrong Custer was a horny guy and his wife was the original Cosmo girl. (The scenes where Custer's ghost is reminiscing about his sex life with Libby were extremely uncomfortable. Paha Sapa rightfully calls them pornographic.) There's a lot more history in Black Hills, but I think that's enough for one review.
My biggest issue about this book is that it rambled. It went back and forth between historical periods without much rhyme or reason. Sometimes, a scene in Paha Sapa's early life is told in present tense, other times it's a flashback. Throw into the mix the fact that Paha Sapa sometimes gets people's forward (future) memories when he touches them, and you get a narrative that is more than non-lineal.
As he did with The Terror, Simmons dragged the ending out way too long. There were at least 3 places before the actual end when the book should have and could have ended. As in The Terror, there is an extended dream sequence near the end that really doesn't make much sense and actually detracts from everything that came before. There was also a pointlessly long epilogue and 20 minutes of acknowledgments that I didn't bother to listen to.
There's a lot of great stuff in Black Hills, but it sure would have benefited from some serious editing....more
Wow. I just checked to see when my first status update was on this book and I started it after Christmas. It's been my purse book, the mass market papWow. I just checked to see when my first status update was on this book and I started it after Christmas. It's been my purse book, the mass market paperback I carry around to read in waiting rooms. It took about 200 pages to grab me enough to keep it out of my purse.
I've really been loving The Dresden Files novels, but I have to say that Proven Guilty is probably the weakest installment so far. It seems to be a transitional novel between books 7 & 9. It's clearly setting up some huge plot developments for future books, but the story of this episode pretty much gets lost in that set up.
I have put White Night in my purse for the next round. Hopefully, it won't stay there as long as this one did....more
This was my very first audiobook and it was a long one--three parts totaling over 24 hours. While I thoroughly enjoyed the reading, I strongly suspectThis was my very first audiobook and it was a long one--three parts totaling over 24 hours. While I thoroughly enjoyed the reading, I strongly suspect that I would have interpreted the characters far differently than the narrator did. I don't think I would have heard Tonkfa as Andre the Giant or Lightsong as a stoned surfer dude. I probably also wouldn't have noticed that every character rolled his/her eyes or raised his/her eyebrows or sighed heavily way too often.
Warbreaker was an engaging story. It had a unique, well-conceived magic system and a comprehensible world. It was well-paced and I liked the characters, even the bad ones. There was predictable romance, but I liked that. The story ended with a few great twists that I never saw coming. It was also quite humorous. Romance, action, and laughs. What more can one ask for?
I really liked that it left room for more adventures in this world, but this story is complete. ...more
I've seen The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society many times and never even picked it up to read the blurb. The cover looks like boring andI've seen The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society many times and never even picked it up to read the blurb. The cover looks like boring and the title is just silly-sounding. I knew that it had sold a gazillion copies, but I had no idea what it was about. When it was recommended to me by a GoodReads friend, I decided to check it out at the library.
I have to say that I'm so glad I read this book. The story is told with a series of letters between a London author, her friends and a group of people on the island of Guernsey in 1946. The book made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me cry and I often smiled and cried at the same time. The epistolary style made it a very quick read and made each of the characters seem real. I learned so much about the German occupation of England's Channel Islands and of England during and after WWII. (I didn't even know that the Germans had occupied English soil.)
Remnant Population is the kind of book that made me fall in love with science fiction in the first place. It's thoughtful, has great characterizationsRemnant Population is the kind of book that made me fall in love with science fiction in the first place. It's thoughtful, has great characterizations, a plausible future, and humans coming to understand aliens. This is the third book I've read by Elizabeth Moon and she's now on my list of favorite authors. She is an amazing storyteller. She is a master at revealing rather than disclosing. She never over-explains and her characters behave exactly like real people would.
I love the Moon uses older female protagonists. In Remnant Population, that protagonist is Ofelia, an elderly colonist whose colony is being relocated. Ofelia is sick and tired of people telling her what to do and having to look after others. She just wants just a bit of peace and quiet. So, she decides to hide out until all the shuttles leave with the other colonists. I can so relate to how she feels and I exhilarated in her new-found freedom. I love that she's not obsessed with aging and that she's strong and capable. She reminds me a lot of my grandmother. Eventually, she finds herself in a role that she never imagined and goes from being a completely insignificant person to someone who is of utmost importance to two intelligent species.
I checked this out of the library, but I may just need to buy a copy to add to my permanent library. ...more
Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories is the latest in my attempt to read through the list of Pulitzer Prize winners. It's also the most recent winnerOlive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories is the latest in my attempt to read through the list of Pulitzer Prize winners. It's also the most recent winner (2009). Frankly, it makes me wonder what the competition was that year. It was okay, but it just didn't seem outstanding to me. I finished it 10 hours ago and have already forgotten most of it. I imagine that not much of it will stick in my brain a year from now. ...more
From the first chapter, you know that something is going on. What the heck is a carer? What are the donors and what are they donating? Why are the teaFrom the first chapter, you know that something is going on. What the heck is a carer? What are the donors and what are they donating? Why are the teachers at Hailsham called "guardians", not teachers? Why don't these kids go home on vacation? Why don't they have last names?
Never Let Me Go has a great science fiction premise. It promises a lot, but it just doesn't deliver. It's an easy read and it did draw me in and keep me reading. However, it kept me reading because I was expecting some big revelation, some enormous act of defiance, some outrage from the characters, some massive societal change. What I got instead was a sweet story of friendship with doomed characters who know that they're doomed, don't see it as being doomed, and don't resist their doom. Add to that the lengthy exposition where everything gets explained by one character to two other characters at the end, and the book ends up being pretty disappointing. It had so much potential that it just didn't live up to.
I would have given this two stars, but added one for the beauty of Ishiguro's prose....more
Cherie Priest has done a wonderful job with this novel. It's fun, exciting, and fun. The pacing is perfect, the dialog is good, and the exposition isCherie Priest has done a wonderful job with this novel. It's fun, exciting, and fun. The pacing is perfect, the dialog is good, and the exposition is well done. Priest is very good at letting the background story unfold via the characters' dialog, the action, and the setting. Even though this story has zombies, I chose to call this steampunk masterpiece science fiction rather than fantasy or horror because it is about the use and misuse of science and technology. I really had a lot of fun reading this book. It's probably only a 4 star book but I gave it 5 because of the enjoyment factor....more
I admit it, I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I think my fascination with the subject has a lot to do with a book I got through one of those ScholasticI admit it, I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I think my fascination with the subject has a lot to do with a book I got through one of those Scholastic Book Club flyers when I was in elementary school. It was Daybreak 2250 A.D. by Andre Norton. I went on to reading Logan's Run and The Masque of the Red Death among other post-apocalyptic fiction that I no longer remember. Growing up in the Sixties and Seventies, apocalypse seemed like a very real possibility.
Naturally, a short story collection like Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse would pique my interest. John Joseph Adams has done an excellent job of selecting stories for this gem. The stories cover a wide range of plausible world-ending scenarios, none of which involve aliens, zombies or supernatural creatures. The story that really got to me was Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler. The apocalypse here is a world where people have lost the ability to communicate. Some people can't talk at all and others speak jibberish. Nobody can understand anybody else. The result is violence and chaos. The story ends on a surprisingly hopeful note. I also really liked the stories by Gene Wolfe and Jonathan Lethem, two well-known authors that I've never really gotten into.
The Bone Doll's Twin is fantasy at it's finest. It's creepy and thought-provoking. It handles gender issues in a way that isn't at all prurient. My onThe Bone Doll's Twin is fantasy at it's finest. It's creepy and thought-provoking. It handles gender issues in a way that isn't at all prurient. My only complaint is that it ends quite abruptly. It seems to me that the three volumes of this series should probably be one book. Fortunately, I can download the second volume from Audible in about 20 minutes and won't have to wait to start it.
The narration on this particular audiobook is excellent. ...more
I am really waffling between 3 & 4 stars here. The Little Stranger is a gothic romance with a few twists. First, instead of a female protagonist wI am really waffling between 3 & 4 stars here. The Little Stranger is a gothic romance with a few twists. First, instead of a female protagonist who gets caught up in some mystery at a creepy manor house, we have a male protagonist who has a lifelong fascination with a local manor and whose life becomes entwined with the family who owns it. It's a ghost story that doesn't doesn't have a lot of ghostly involvement. It's very well-written and much of it remains ambiguous. I like ambiguity in novels. It reminded me a lot of The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales. I'm not sure if it's just because of the name of the son/brother of the house (Roderick) or if the tone has something to do with it. There are many points of similarity between Poe's work and Waters' novel. Waters does a terrific job of illustrating the transition from a society of landed rich to a more middle-class society in the aftermath of WWII.
If you don't like spoilers, don't read any further.
A few things bothered me about the story. Was Roderick really driven mad by the ghost or was he mad to start with? Was the ghost Susan, or was it something else that was interpreted by Mrs. Ayres as being Susan? Was the manifestation a result of Dr. Faraday's relationship with the family. (There doesn't seem to be a ghost until after he's well-entrenched with the family.) Who was Caroline talking to when she said "You!" before she fell to her death? Was it the ghost? Was someone in the house? Why is Dr. Faraday such a twit? ...more
Horns turned out to be very different from the book I expected. I knew it was about a young man who was the prime suspect in his girlfriend's murder aHorns turned out to be very different from the book I expected. I knew it was about a young man who was the prime suspect in his girlfriend's murder a year earlier. I knew that he woke up one morning to find he had sprouted horns. I knew that those horns could make people reveal their deepest, darkest secrets and that he could compel those people to do things they otherwise wouldn't do. What I didn't expect was that the real murderer would be revealed in the first 50 pages of the story. Of course, it was easy to figure out who it was from the moment the character is introduced. Once that revelation occurs, the book completely transforms. You find that the story is less about Iggy and more about the murderer. However, for most of the book we only see that murderer from Iggy's perspective. Don't worry, there's plenty of story focusing on Iggy and his dilemma, but that doesn't go quite the way you'd expect either.
Joe Hill works certain symbols into the book without totally bashing them over our heads. There is the recurrent appearance of pitchforks. Each time a pitchfork is in the story, it stands out but seems natural. Another symbol is horns. The title refers not only to the horns on Iggy's head, but to his father and brother's trumpet playing, which Ig can't do because of asthma. "...by then Ig wasn't interested in mastering an instrument. He was interested in Merrin. Once he was in love with her, he didn't need his family's horns anymore." The relationship between Ig and his brother, Terry, is particularly poignant. Indeed, it is ultimately the one relationship that Ig can count on without doubt. Indeed, this book is less about the battle between good and evil than it is about relationships and how they shape us.
Here's a little non-spoilerish heads up: Look for a mention of Judas Coyne. He was the main character in Hill's first novel Heart-Shaped Box. It's just a little throw-away paragraph in the middle of the book, but it's a bit of fun for Joe Hill fans.
This book kept me up until midnight so I could finish it. I really love/hate a book that does that to me. I think Joe Hill is a wonderful author. I just wish he'd write a little faster....more
Though not quite as good as The Bone Doll's Twin, Hidden Warrior is still engaging. My only complaint is that it went on about two hours longer than iThough not quite as good as The Bone Doll's Twin, Hidden Warrior is still engaging. My only complaint is that it went on about two hours longer than it should have. There was a perfect ending point to this second installment of The Tamir Triad about 10-15 chapters before it actually ended. The ending should have been the beginning of #3.
As with the first installment, the narration is excellent....more
I thought The Tamir Triad was excellent. I must forewarn that the books should be read together because they really do form one story, not three storiI thought The Tamir Triad was excellent. I must forewarn that the books should be read together because they really do form one story, not three stories that tie together.
I really liked the pacing of the story. With the exception of a rather lengthy discussion of the main villain's youth in the third book, it never lets up. Every action leads to the next in a realistic way.
I especially like how Flewelling dealt with the concept of gender identity, sexuality and growing up. Her protagonist is understandably mixed up and Flewelling handles it in a way that is quite believable. How much would it screw with a kid to grow up thinking he's a boy when she's really a girl? The Tamir Triad gives new meaning to "a boy trapped in a girl's body". I thought the issues surrounding Tobin/Tamir's puberty and adolescence were handled particularly well. It rang true and wasn't shocking in the least. The series had some great messages in it about friendship, love, compassion and understanding.
Although this is a series about a child/teen, it is absolutely an adult series, in my opinion. I recommend it for high school and older. ...more
I won this book through the FirstReads program. I love short stories and had high hopes for this collection. However, Everything Ravaged, Everything BI won this book through the FirstReads program. I love short stories and had high hopes for this collection. However, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned: Stories turned out to be a collection of utterly depressing stories about self-indulgent losers. The characters are rich guys with lousy relationships, young teenage girls who want sex with middle-aged men, carnival workers and others living meaningless lives of their own creation. Even the damn Vikings are depressing losers. "I'm so sick of marauding. I don't want to go sacking and pillaging anymore." There's no manliness there. There isn't a single moment of optimism in any of these stories and there is really only one real tragedy. The rest is just whining.
I do give this collection an extra star for being extremely well-written. I disliked it for the same reason I dislike Hemingway, which puts Wells Tower in good company....more
I know I'm giving the impression that I disliked Darwinia, however I don't mean that at all. The story is very intriguing and Robert Charles Wilson creates a very new and unique world. The characterizations are weak, but the story makes up for that. I do recommend Darwinia760961 to science fiction fans....more
Shanghai Girls is a historical novel that covers twenty years in the life of Pearl and her sister, May, as they move from a life of privele(3.5 stars)
Shanghai Girls is a historical novel that covers twenty years in the life of Pearl and her sister, May, as they move from a life of privelege to poverty to escaping Japanese attacks on Shanghai. They are sold in marriage to a couple of Chinese-American brothers and travel to Los Angeles by way of Angel Island in San Francisco. Once in LA, they experience prejudice, poverty and segregation.
The book was a quick and easy read, but I don't think it benefited from that. It really needed to be twice as long to cover everything that it tried to cover. It was rich in historical detail, but fell a bit flat emotionally. It seemed like I should have felt more horror, sympathy, fear and joy about the things that were happening than I did. I felt like I got a detailed, yet somehow superficial view of the mid-century Chinese experience in LA than I did.
I'm in no way saying that I didn't like the book or that I wouldn't recommend it. I did enjoy it, I learned a few things from it, and I would recommend it. I just felt like it could have been so much more....more
Other than a great first chapter, I had a hard time getting through the first 200 pages of this book. The mysteries (two of them) really seemed to beOther than a great first chapter, I had a hard time getting through the first 200 pages of this book. The mysteries (two of them) really seemed to be going nowhere and didn't seem connected at all. I didn't care about any of the characters. About 200 pages in, when everything starts to get connected, it becomes much more interesting. However, I never grew to care about the characters and a lot of the plot seemed too far-fetched and contrived. I liked how it ended, I just wish the journey had been better....more
There is no way to review The Magicians by Lev Grossman without comparing it to the Harry Potter series. The book itself makes reference to the uber-sThere is no way to review The Magicians by Lev Grossman without comparing it to the Harry Potter series. The book itself makes reference to the uber-successful Rowling opus several times, so you know what it's striving for. The Magicians is about a young man named Quentin Coldwater who finds himself attending a college for magicians in upstate New York. Because they're college students, they get to drink and have sex. All of the students at Brakesbill College seem to be mentally gifted and emotionally stunted. They have all read a series of children's books about a magical land called Fillory that bears more than a passing resemblance to Narnia. Because the inside cover of The Magicians has a map of Fillory, it should come as no surprise that Quentin and some of his friends find their way from the magical setting of Brakesbill to the more magical world of Fillory. Unfortunately, it takes nearly 300 of the book's 400 pages for them to get there. In the meantime, we have to follow Quentin through 4 years of college and an unspecified number of months living a loser life after graduation.
Quentin and his friends are nowhere near as interesting and well-developed as Harry Potter and his friends. Their school does nothing to prepare them for life after college. Instead of growing as people, they regress. There is no magical world for Brakesbill grads to move into, they are thrust back into the real world unprepared for real life.
The Magicians liberally lifts ideas from both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, it lacks the power of either. The text reads very much like a children's book (more Narnia than Potter), but the sex and alcohol abuse prevent it from being a book you could pass to your kids. It lacks the sophistication and depth needed to raise it to the level of a book for an adult audience. For a mature audience, I recommend Harry Potter....more
Tim Powers is not an easy author to read. It took me two tries to get through Declare because it was so densely packed action and ideas. It required wTim Powers is not an easy author to read. It took me two tries to get through Declare because it was so densely packed action and ideas. It required way too much brain power the first time I tried to read it. The Anubis Gates was convoluted and required a bit of knowledge about English Literature (thank goodness I majored) and Egyptian mythology (limited, at best). Both were very good, but required a lot of work out of the reader.
With Three Days to Never, Powers manages to make his fantastically bizarre plot accessible and easy to read. Yeah! It's every bit as creative and weird as Declare and The Anubis Gates, but it's comprehensible without a lot of paging back. I think it's an excellent first choice for someone who is curious about Tim Powers work....more
A great book doesn't necessarily come from the use of new ideas. Sometimes, a great book comes from a writer who can deftly rework and recombine old iA great book doesn't necessarily come from the use of new ideas. Sometimes, a great book comes from a writer who can deftly rework and recombine old ideas in a new way that's fresh and exciting. There is nothing new in The Hunger Games, but Collins puts the elements together so skillfully and creates characters that are so real and so compelling, that the work rises above its sources. It's a great book for all ages, not just young adults. That's why it's not going on my young adult shelf.
In my opinion, The Hunger Games is worthy of the praise it has received. It's one of the best books I've read. I'd much rather have my teen read this than 90% of the books marketed to teens today....more