I know this book isn't for everybody -- it's fantasy, with a leisurely pace, not all that much *happens* -- but it was such a pleasure to read! I coulI know this book isn't for everybody -- it's fantasy, with a leisurely pace, not all that much *happens* -- but it was such a pleasure to read! I couldn't wait to pick it up again, I didn't want it to end, and I'm so glad there are two earlier books for me to read. ...more
Well. I really wanted to like Bleeding Violet, but it just had too many holes. I've read several interviews with the author -- smart, awesome, thoughtWell. I really wanted to like Bleeding Violet, but it just had too many holes. I've read several interviews with the author -- smart, awesome, thoughtful -- and totally looked forward to this story.
I'm sure that Dia Reeves spent lots of time world-building while she planned and wrote the book, but it just wasn't laid out for the reader at all. I don't need to know why the town is a Hellmouth, but I would like to know the internal order of it. A little explication isn't bad.
Also, the "bipolar" diagnosis just didn't make sense. Either 1) she really was bipolar or had another mental illness that dovetailed nicely with the Hellmouth town, or
2) she has a genetic predisposition to the town's magical elements, and all of the differing mental diagnoses were inadequate because she was really dealing with this other thing entirely.
The author seems to continually stress the former, but then why did her conversations with her father have real-life consequences and give her information that she wouldn't have had otherwise? (Not to mention, why did her mental processes have little to no similarity to actual bipolar disorder?) The latter is more predictable, sure, but makes more sense. If it really is meant to be a mental illness that dovetails -- I have a hard time believing this is what the author really intended -- then it's a pretty problematic representation of mental illness. But if it's the latter, why not say so?
I'm rarely critical of sex in a YA book, but I was seriously squicked out by the intersections of gore and sex in this one. Mom finds teen boy skinnydipping in the lake, daughter coaxes him out of the river, mom strips and starts seducing him, and then starts cutting him up with a knife while she's on top of him. Daughter watches and thinks, well, if he can have an erection while he's being tortured, I guess I can love my mom even when she's doing bad things. I just... ugh. If the book had really caught me and made me believe in the characters rather than kept me skimming the surface plot, maybe I would have at least have had complicated feelings of disgust and compassion?
I think that fans of Diana Peterfreund's Rampant would enjoy this one: it's similarly gory, fresh, and starring a ballsy, unapologetic, not particularly likeable heroine. Also the complicatedly unsympathetic mom element. ...more
Finally, old-school McKinley! Pegasus felt so... familiar, and comfortable, and lovely, and I know that doesn't mean it was a great book, but I wouldFinally, old-school McKinley! Pegasus felt so... familiar, and comfortable, and lovely, and I know that doesn't mean it was a great book, but I would immediately hand it to any reader who loves The Blue Sword. With the warning that the cliffhanger freaking killed me. (**2012** for the next one?!? How can we wait?)
Conversely, I wouldn't recommend this to anybody who wasn't a (potential at least) McKinley fan. ...more
Meh. I'd say this was like the Hunger Games in that they share a post-apocalyptic genre and a female protagonist... otherwise, not so much. The plot wMeh. I'd say this was like the Hunger Games in that they share a post-apocalyptic genre and a female protagonist... otherwise, not so much. The plot was unconvincingly transparent, the characters flat, and the motivations uncompelling. I'd recommend it to younger teens who like Westerfeld's Uglies/Pretties series or other messagey dystopias -- it has the same vibe, though it's not really as well done.
In good news, it really made me appreciate The Hunger Games, which I've always liked but considered to be kind of a guilty pleasure: the flatness of this book made me recognize how Katniss's dilemmas are genuinely urgent and difficult. ...more
ETA, four years later: this book still makes me angry and upset, more so because it won the Stonewall. And I find that I never, ever, ever want to recETA, four years later: this book still makes me angry and upset, more so because it won the Stonewall. And I find that I never, ever, ever want to recommend it ton anyone.
Ok. Mixed feelings on this one.
I don't think this has ever been done before! The plot was new, powerful, and very compelling to read... unfortunately also made me feel sick. As a queer reader, the tension between identifying with Logan (fairly likeable, pretty well-developed, sheltered, first-person narrator) and identifying with Sage ("spoiler": she's trans) was seriously enough to give me a stomachache, literally. I had a really strong reaction to this, especially to Logan's disgusted, horrified responses to Sage. Intense. I assume this will be the case for many readers -- it says right on the flap what's going to happen, so I feel like it's more than likely that a queer reader will pick it up expecting something less jarring. I agree with reviewers who suggest exercising caution before handing this one to a trans teen, especially a trans girl or one who is beginning their transition or feeling vulnerable.
NAY: The writing was kind of awful, and got worse as the book went on. I kept getting pulled out of the story by how bad the writing was... and I'm not picky with prose. Clunky, tedious, and ultimately a slog in terms of writing. But the plot and the characters overcame those flaws with moments of acute tension -- at points, this was a real page-turner.
HUH: I really found myself wanting to know more about the author. Why did he write this, and write it this way? Cause Julie Anne Peters he isn't. Apparently it was an idea he had, a fictional germ of a story not based on or inspired by anyone in particular. He did do a lot of interviews, apparently. Interesting. Not enough to convince me it was a good idea for him to write. ...more
What a masterpiece. The scope of the Matter of Britain is just so epic, so full of tragedy and love, and T.H. White gives it more meaning than almostWhat a masterpiece. The scope of the Matter of Britain is just so epic, so full of tragedy and love, and T.H. White gives it more meaning than almost any other author who's tackled it. Plus it has humor and adventure and authorial asides! If you haven't read this since childhood, pick it up and read it again. It's worth it. ...more
I really, really liked this one. Not being a teenage boy, I can't speak to the authenticity of Blake's voice, but it felt realistic, fresh, and very cI really, really liked this one. Not being a teenage boy, I can't speak to the authenticity of Blake's voice, but it felt realistic, fresh, and very consistent. Although the plot was compelling, I think the voices and the characters carried the novel. I loved that the angst was tempered by ambiguity and real dilemmas (omg hormones and decisions!) and a realistically imperfect main character. I didn't mind the subplots at all.
Also, hey, great parents! I love good parents in YA, and I totally think there are more of them than ever. Yes, there was obvs a bad one too, but she was more than balanced out by the Keith Mars school of parenting.
Flash Burnout doesn't feel very gritty (despite the subject matter) and it's more like Sarah Dessen or Dana Reinhardt in tone than, say, Sara Zarr. I really do think girls (esp Dessen fans) will like this one a lot - I'm curious to see about boys. ...more
This is really four and a half stars. It just needed more Gen: by which I mean it needed more gut-churning complexity and ambiguity, more moments wherThis is really four and a half stars. It just needed more Gen: by which I mean it needed more gut-churning complexity and ambiguity, more moments where the reader just can't trust herself or the narrator because there's so much going on emotionally and politically. I disagree with the opinion that any of the books past the first one are stand-alones; I think they all lean heavily on the characterizations developed in the other books, and this one is no exception.
Sophos is a likable character, and the plot is respectable even if I wasn't totally invested in it. It wasn't a page turner. I think what makes all of these books so delightful and intriguing to read isn't the plots but the way the author undermines the reader's perceptions of the plots... and the relationships between the characters. Attolia-Eugenides is such a dark and compelling storyline; this book didn't have anything in it that was quite as powerful or substantial. Still, it was a good story that felt like revisiting old friends. Recommended for people who have read the other books in the series already, and who liked the first book the best. ...more