Brilliant first novel. The Geek got this early last year but I have only got around to reading it now.
The thing I loved, (other than the obvious hauntBrilliant first novel. The Geek got this early last year but I have only got around to reading it now.
The thing I loved, (other than the obvious haunting and emotive illustrations working alongside the strong character development) was how well the inevitable underlying idea of life is brought out.
You have hoards and cities full of zombies, not truly dead but not really living. Or at least only living for what they are not. I think it was clever how Kirkman brought out this strand of the living characters having to figure out exactly what makes the zombies tick. This is a concept that is usually taken for granted in zombie-lore. We know what zombies want! Brains, brains, brains! But is this all that makes them tick? It was the moving scenes where they left Jim to turn that really rang home for me. They left him there, because despite this hopeless situation, despite the probability that he was just going to turn into another one of the desperate mass, there was the idea that he might be reunited with this family. This humanising concept of hope within all situations is later highlighted in Shane's character. Just as it is Jim's hope that ultimately allows himself to become a zombie, it is Shane's hope that drives him crazy. The idea of believing that help is just around the corner, when it never appears to be, is his ultimate downfall. (Along with the fact he wants to bone his partners wife again. Bastard.)
The question is, if this is what hope does, what is there to live for? Do you create new rules to live by? Do we become identified in our humanity by greater concepts? What are we fighting to survive for if there is no hope?
Well really this has all the things that I should love about a book. *Dystopian setting. *Zombies (who technically aren't zombies, but whatever, they aWell really this has all the things that I should love about a book. *Dystopian setting. *Zombies (who technically aren't zombies, but whatever, they are.) *A potential kick ass female protagonist.
But it only managed two stars, and here are three reasons why.
1. I wanted more from the world. Granted it got there a little bit towards the end, but overall there are too many questions for me. Why did the powers that be allow the radio's to work for 3 years? Only cutting them off 2 weeks previous to the action we witness? Were the flashbacks at the beginning of each chapter supposed to be random? Or were we supposed to find hidden meaning within them? Was that one particular flashback in which Sherry was really sick a foreshadowing? Is she actually immune from the rabies?
Am I reading too much into her chewing on her pen and ending up with a black mouth? Is this a metaphorical jibe at how death and disease will haunt and follow her everywhere? I THINK I AM!
2. Lord have mercy, there are grotesque, inhumane monsters chasing you but we still have time for romancin'. Which, I know, I know. This is YA. This is what YA does. Don't complain about a genre that is very open and honest about what it is. But really? If we are going to have some romancin' can it at least be a little heart fluttering? Because Joshua cupping Sherry's face multiple times kind of doesn't do it for me. Not only that. Where did it come from?! She kissed him on the cheek once and all of a sudden he likes her like that? It felt contrived and too easy. I can cope with it only because it's not a triangle. But so help me God, if that dude from her past happens to saunter back in and cause havoc for the romancin', I might choke.
(As a side note. I really liked Joshua's character. I think he was the better developed of the bunch, showing a range of emotions and reactions over the course of the novel. Sure, he was clunky at times, and some of the time we were told how he was feeling because Sherry amazingly read it on his face. But I think he was interesting. Sue me.)
3. Sherry herself. I'm actually waiting for the follow up novels before I fully decide. But right now it feels as though Winnacker is trying too hard at making her the kick ass female she wants her to be. Sherry didn't play with dolls growing up, she preferred building blocks! She was a bit of a fighter in her past life, beating up bullies and learning to shoot! She takes care of her parents, because she is so mature! I just don't know. I need to be shown this stuff, not told it. And what I was shown was a female character, who despite hoards of Weepers wanting to kill her, was still concerned about killing these things that had once been human. Her constant moralising on whether it was wrong or right to kill the insane beasts chasing you down, just didn't cut it for me. These aren't ducks we're talking about! You're not out shooting for sport with your father! You're trying to rescue your father! Get with the programme and shoot some zombies in the head already! That would have made her a little more bad ass for me.
Overall I think the biggest twist was left till the end, where it was info dumped on us by the previously voiceless character. It is this twist alone that will keep me reading the series. It won't be because I found anything deep and meaningful and clever in this novel. Because in general, I think it was zombie killing interspersed with romancin'.
It was a quick, mostly enjoyable read. It didn't annoy me greatly and I think there are even a few glimpses of greatness in some of the flashbacks to Sherry's literal other life. But I was kinda' hoping for more....more
Epic fantasy? Epic in length maybe! BOOM. I couldn't help but be reminded of The Pillars of the Earth whilst reading. I know it's not historical fictiEpic fantasy? Epic in length maybe! BOOM. I couldn't help but be reminded of The Pillars of the Earth whilst reading. I know it's not historical fiction, but it was the scope and detail and blah blah blah that put me in mind of it.
Now. Because the novel is so fracking long, the shortest review possible:
*It took 53 pages for the pronunciation of Kvothe's name to be explained. This is 53 pages too long. *I enjoyed the first part of the university period. Boy Wonder makes everyone fall for him because he is just.so.epic. *I hated the university period. Boy Wonder makes everyone fall for him because he is.just.so.epic. UGH.
I'm bored of writing this review just as I became bored of reading the novel. Yet at the same time all I can think about is all the things I liked/hated about said novel. It's in my head and I can't get it out. DAMN YOU, ROTHFUSS. I fear I will be drawn to the second book for this reason only. ...more
From my review of the first book, we all know I kinda loved it and kinda really like Maureen Johnson.
Why does this have lower stars? I can't quite putFrom my review of the first book, we all know I kinda loved it and kinda really like Maureen Johnson.
Why does this have lower stars? I can't quite put my finger on it. Because don't get me wrong. This is another great read.
Oh book, oh you clever clever book. You see, it's almost like a reverse of 13LB. She travels with a group of people this time! She has already come to terms with her aunt's death, she has, at least she thought she has, said her goodbye's.
So it soon becomes clear, that actually, maybe you can never really say goodbye, and maybe our goodbye is instead replaced with the heavy question of 'why?' And this novel, handles that question in places with the grace and poise of a graceful and poised thing.
Like the first novel was lacking in its goodbye, this novel is lacking in its why. The new male character, Oliver, is never truly questioned. (Until the very end.) It's almost like she can't bring herself to ask what everyone else is screaming, 'why are you doing this!?' To ask that question would be to unleash 'why?' on the world in general. And there is too much stuff that Ginny can never know the answer to in this novel to allow herself to ask why.
What I kind of love the most about this book, is despite there being two male characters, it is always Ginny I am most interested in. I'm not too bothered that Keith has seemingly turned into a bit of a douche over night. Sure I'm intrigued by Oliver, but never really as much as I am intrigued by what Ginny is going to do next; how she is going to respond and react.
Perhaps the reason I have given this one star lower than the first book is because it could never have been as new and fresh as it. It is a second instalment. A second instalment that even visits most of the same places over again. Perhaps Ginny says it best with, "You can never visit the same place twice... By the very act of coming back, you wipe out what came before." Oh clever, clever book. This is why it was always inevitable it was never going to be Keith. Why she was always going to end up planning to come back to Britain by the end. Why the last little blue envelope had to cut off with no conclusion.
Because of all the whys? and inevitableness of life.
What is there to say? I truly don't think there is another story out there like this! What a breath of fresh air amidst a market that feels saturatedWhat is there to say? I truly don't think there is another story out there like this! What a breath of fresh air amidst a market that feels saturated with vampires and werewolves!
I read this on a short trip back to London. My home town. In fact, I grew up in Jack the Ripper land, I am cockney through and through, and am just so pleased that somebody has finally written a really good YA novel set in my stomping ground.
I think Johnson describes place and scenery with an almost magic touch. You feel as though you are there. From The Underground details to the colloquial Britishisms - she deserves 5 stars.
For her female protagonist, who I really love. Babbling incoherence and really funny humour included - she deserves 5 stars.
I love that it always feels like Maureen Johnson's female characters have more to concern their selves with than boys. Don't get me wrong, she likes a certain boy. She definitely likes to make out with a certain boy. But it never feels like it takes over her life or becomes her life. There is a balance there that still allows the female character to be her own character, aside from romantic interest.
Where this loses that all important star for me was the info drop at the end. It was exposition like never seen before. Page after page of 'evil ghost' character explaining, explaining, explaining.
I'm really looking forward to reading the next in the series. I think it is going to be interesting seeing the balance between Rory's new non seer friends, and the team. It feels like there is a lot of foreshadowing in this novel to suggest it is just not going to be possible for her to go back to that 'old' life. So it will sure be interesting to see how that plays out! ...more
I must be clear from the beginning. This is perhaps the most personal review I have written. My choice of stars was difficult for this. I am a self coI must be clear from the beginning. This is perhaps the most personal review I have written. My choice of stars was difficult for this. I am a self confessed John Green fan, I believe he is amongst the best of, not only YA, but fiction writers out there in general. This is a beautifully written book. There is very little to complain about in terms of style, plot, character, etc. However I couldn't, in all good conscience, give this any higher because it sits so badly with me. I have let this novel marinate for a couple of days now before writing this, and I just keep coming back to the same issues. Namely:
Was this John Green's story to tell?
It is the human condition to attempt to find hope in hopeless situations. But let me attempt to explain how watching a 17 year old fade away truly feels. Because when the wit and words are stripped away I am not sure John did that.
It is endless. It is an unavoidable and uncontrollable and an all encompassing darkness where no hope or life or explanations exist.
There are absolutely no life lessons to be gained from watching a 17 year old cease to exist. There is no comfort. The lessons that some may claim you can achieve through the darkest night of the soul reveal most of humanity for the selfish, narcissistic beings we are.
I have come to believe there is a special kind of cruelty behind the perfectly cross stitched 'encouragement'. Those things are for the ones left over trying to make sense of the senseless.
Whilst I believe this novel acknowledges that. It tries not to, as the main protagonists claimed theirselves, set the victims of disease up as typical heroic, worldly wise characters, it still reads like a novel attempting to bring equilibrium out of disaster. The victims ultimately still are wise beyond their years. This, it seems, is an assumed side effect of a teenager coming to terms with their mortality. They use metaphors and pretentious poetry and a sharp wit and are wholly unbelievable as real life teenagers. They are constructs of an ideal. They are the literary version of Dawson's Creek, using SAT vocabulary and existential navel gazing, whilst simultaneously slamming the typical genre for using its characters to do the same.
Having lived this first hand; once with a brother who ceases to exist at 17 and a second time with a brother who is currently 2 years NEC. I am all too familiar with the need for light hearted humour at what may feel like the most inappropriate of times. But what differs from that and attempting to write a disease ridden novel that attempts to make you laugh, is apparently personal experience.
I have the right to sit around a Christmas table laughing somewhat hysterically at nothing. My living brother has the right to crack UNO-ball jokes whenever the opportunity arises. But none of the readers of this novel who have not experienced the kind of loss depicted here have a right to laugh at any of it. You can not claim it as your own unless it is yours, and in my mind that is what humour does. It is not appropriate for me to laugh along with eye jokes and blind jokes, because they are not my jokes. I am merely a voyeur in another persons tragedy, I lay no claim to having the understanding of the experience necessary to allow for laughter.
Again, let me make clear. I can not approach this book outside of my personal experience. Of course in reality I do not believe you have to have experienced everything to laugh at a joke. But in terms of purposefully trying to create humour in a novel that is fundamentally tragic, for an audience that is mostly YA, I struggle with. I struggle with it because the empty platitudes that are trying so hard to be subverted in this novel, are still being created. It is still suggesting there can be lightness and humour within the terminally dark - and it is suggesting it to people who have never experienced the terminally dark.
This read like a novel where the author has truly witnessed the emptiness of teenage terminal illness, and thankfully appears to have become more considerate and thoughtful for it. As opposed to erring on the side of platitudes. But it still read as a novel attempting to explain where the hope in hopeless situations are.
Perhaps because it is too raw a subject for me, or perhaps because the novel really is sentimental and gratuitous (granted in a different way from the norm of this genre) but this is not a book I would recommend. For sufferers, for family members of sufferers, or for well meaning people seeking to understand the hopelessness of some situations. I would recommend it for none....more
Um, ah... what... okay, so um ah, well. Um. What the eff just happened???
I can't, in all conscience, give this book 1 star. I read it and read it andUm, ah... what... okay, so um ah, well. Um. What the eff just happened???
I can't, in all conscience, give this book 1 star. I read it and read it and read it until it was all done. That, in my mind, deserves at least a two. In general I didn't mind the characters either. In fact, I might actually have loved some of them. I have no problem with Clare portraying Clary's independence through her not accepting hands/help/and slapping copious people. Whatever dude, if that is what a modern self sufficient young female is made of... okay. I really rather enjoyed Jace's cynicism and detachment. Simon was necessary and for the most part I was hoping he would have a bigger role in the next novels. Luke was lovely. The twins were bearable. Hodge was predictable.
It was all fine. Sure I felt a bit sick with all the chopping and changing of narrative viewpoints. And so what if some people read this as an amalgamation of different books/programmes/films? I have no time for that argument. Hello, Harry Potter is not the original, never read Lord of the Rings?(This is a rant for another day.)
This book loses all credibility for me when you have two young adults, 15/16 years of age, begin to engage in a romantic relationship, going so far as to snog their faces off, only to "reveal" at the end they are brother and sister. In what world (that is not Star Wars) does this make for good reading? It doesn't! It's creepy and uncomfortable and those kids would need a lot of therapy dealing with the romantic feelings they now have to attempt to ignore. Ms Clare, I care not that this is all most likely leading up to a grand finale of some Really Important Point, wherein these children probably find out they aren't related at all and are free to explore their growing sexual attraction to one another. But, MAN. NO. I prefer my YA novels to have a little more swoon and a lot less incest. Is this a fantasy novel? Or is it an exploration into the effects of incestuous feelings? I'm not really sure such a heavy and confusing subject belongs in a world where cats can communicate and fairies play in the hedgerows. ...more
I have never, in my life, heard of a penis being referred to as a gherkin. Unless this is some kind of New York youth culture thing that skipped me byI have never, in my life, heard of a penis being referred to as a gherkin. Unless this is some kind of New York youth culture thing that skipped me by as a Londoner. The same can be said for 'biscuits' in reference to BOOBIES.
It gives the Gherkin in London an entirely different image, hey! Although not really, because it always has looked like a penis. It looked like a penis when they were making it and it still looks like a penis now. Maybe all the office workers are sitting around making homophobic jokes, talking about their respective gherkins and establishing their uber-manliness via girl talk/fighting/trash talk.
What we can take from this novel though is the female workers may be doing the same. Only minus the gherkins. Because what e. lockhart is so brilliant at establishing is just how false and unhelpful it is to place certain expectations and behaviours on people based on their gender.
Girls can take as much pleasure in the 'ogling' of boys as vice versa. Boys do not have the claim on lust, and girls do not have the authority on insecurity. People are people are people and as such all people can and do experience the same emotions, feelings and issues as one another. Regardless of gender.
I thought this was a very clever little novel, that just wasn't quite as polished as it could have been. Nothing like the magic and splendour of Frankie , but we can still see the strong and exciting themes that seem to always be prevalent in e. lockhart's work. I love her....more
This should have been so good. It's got everything one (okay...me) requires from a YA novel.
New York City: Check Book loving: Check Hipster characters:This should have been so good. It's got everything one (okay...me) requires from a YA novel.
New York City: Check Book loving: Check Hipster characters: Check A jumble of loveable supporting characters: Check Homosexual brother: Check Interesting 'treasure hunt' concept: Check
But I just don't know, you guys! I found Lily to be as ridiculous as the way her family treated her. Like, was she some kind of mentally unstable girl who needed to be mollycoddled so much, just in case she flipped out and started screeching? Or was she a witty, slightly extrovert character who is still a little naive? Either one was annoying.
I found Dash to be a typical fedora wearing hipster boy, trying so hard to be deep he just comes across as confused and long winded.
The premise was so good. The idea of a romance blossoming between to people that haven't met, in secret, sharing parts of their selves that others don't see. It's like a whole reversal of cyber love. Extended emails through the means of a red moleskine.
And in general there were about a thousand different threads of awesome that could have been coxed from the novel. Perception of self, imagination of others, courage to live, risk that comes with opening up to others... the list goes on. But it somehow all fell a little flat for me. It felt like they left it all by the wayside and the subtext merged into a general attempted stab at discussing how reality differs from expectation. Quite frankly there are farbetterYA novels that deal with that.
Also. Just to note. Martha Stewart... really?!? I just don't think I can suspend disbelief enough for that little (contrived) plot twist. Lily didn't even love baking that much to warrant such a surprise in the first place!
Why have I given this three stars? Because New York is a delight. It is magical, and fanciful, and harsh, and always a character in itself. Because if there is anywhere that will be the back drop for such a over blown and ridiculous storyline as this, it is New York. In all her wind swept, snow covered, Christmas lit, 'fuck off' magic.