wow, skim the other reviews here: apparently, this is a real love-it-or-loathe-it sort of book. and i can feel that, because a lot of the same things...morewow, skim the other reviews here: apparently, this is a real love-it-or-loathe-it sort of book. and i can feel that, because a lot of the same things that super annoyed the 1-star reviewers bugged me too, just not enough to take off any more than one star.
i ate this book in one day. as in, i bothered to get up and run some errands for a couple of hours this afternoon before sitting back down to finish it. any book that is that compelling, that fun and breezy (especially clocking in at a weighty 500 pages), i just can't dog too badly.
17-year-old bella moves up to a podunk-nowhere town in the pacific NW, and tries to fit in as the new kid in school. gawky and awkward, she gets to stand in as a metaphor for all the self-deprecating things every teenage girl has ever thought about herself. she soon falls deeply in infatuation with a stunningly handsome classmate, who turns out to be a vampire.
the book takes its time getting there - the nature of her crush's inhumanity isn't revealed to her until just over halfway through - but it doesn't feel like it's taking too long. Meyer has a gift for evocative writing; many scenes were playing as a lavishly detailed movie in my head. thought it certainly wouldn't be out of place in most books of this type, the ending is rather abrupt, probably because of the otherwise unusually tranquil pace. the biggest flaw is that the heroine spends far too much time waiting around for the men in her life to rescue or amaze her instead of just going off and being amazing herself. it you're ok with a Tanith Lee style of passivity in your heroines, though, it's worth overlooking to enjoy this way fun read.(less)
not a whole heck of a lot new and original going on in this book. a trio of kids go with their parents and mysterious uncle to a rented house at the s...morenot a whole heck of a lot new and original going on in this book. a trio of kids go with their parents and mysterious uncle to a rented house at the seaside for vacation, and find a crumbling old treasure map in the house. the map leads to a mythical object that the forces of good and evil both want very much. the story never goes much deeper than that: good is assumed to be good because, hey, he's their beloved fun uncle. bad is assumed to be bad because he says they are "the forces of dark." nothing particularly evil happens, other than some non-violent breaking & entering.
the author manages to avoid any of the children's lit condescension that's even more obnoxious to adult readers. i've been told that this first book of the series is more like a prologue than an actual beginning to the tale, so i'll be giving the 2nd book a chance.(less)
picked this up on a very strong recommendation from a friend i trust about such things, so i was expecting a wonderful read. what we get instead is me...morepicked this up on a very strong recommendation from a friend i trust about such things, so i was expecting a wonderful read. what we get instead is merely promising; this first book in the series isn't quite up to speed.
like the blurb up top will tell you, this series focuses on an ordinary teenage high schooler who's suddenly marked to be a "vampyre" and thrust into that strange new world. right from the get-go, vamp high school smacks of derivation from the 'harry potter' universe, from the odd classes to the looser-but-awesome cadre of friends. gratingly, the book is heavily written in teen-speak dialogue, to the point of caricature - our narrator sounds like the modern version of an 80s valley girl. the most annoying flaw, however, is the preachy, guilt-driven attitudes that crop up any time sexuality rears it's apparently ugly head. since this is a *vampire* high school peopled with amazingly beautiful *teenagers*, it comes up a lot. even relatively innocent budding flirtations get smacked down pretty harshly - a kiss from the hottie upperclassman (the cedric diggory character, natch) sends our heroine off into an internal monologue along the lines of 'OMG! i'm such a slut now! no boy will be safe around me!'
and yet, despite the deep flaws, this book ends up being a lot of fun. about halfway through, it really starts to hit its stride and move on into the meat of the plot. at this point, though we're still getting preached at occasionally about the evils of vice, it manages to become un-put-down-able and all kinds of interesting. importantly, don't pick up this book on it's own, as the ending is somewhat unsatisfying. set it down when you're done, and jump right on into the 2nd one.(less)
3.5 stars - it's much better than the first, but still has some issues.
our 2nd foray into zoey's life is a lot better paced and more interestingly wri...more3.5 stars - it's much better than the first, but still has some issues.
our 2nd foray into zoey's life is a lot better paced and more interestingly written than the first. after the requisite 2 or 3 chapters worth of catching us up on the back story, the plot launches right in. since the world has already been introduced and established in the first book, this one can set to work with an actual problem/mystery/conflict for our intrepid teens to puzzle through. writing is fast-paced & snappy, and was quickly devoured in one night on the couch, so clearly there's something good going on here. the obnoxiously caricatured teen-speak dialogue and the horribly preachy attitudes about sexuality are still here, but thankfully reduced from the first outing.
this book was read immediately back-to-back with the first one, a necessity given the things left hanging at the close of 'marked'. yet again the authors feel the need to end their book with a cliffhanger, this one perhaps even more so than its predecessor, and that alone looses one star worth of positivity. finish your @#$* ideas, people!(less)
17 year old zoey has most of the issues of a typical teenager - school clique politics, hormones, hot teachers - plus that whole thing where she's a f...more17 year old zoey has most of the issues of a typical teenager - school clique politics, hormones, hot teachers - plus that whole thing where she's a fledgling 'vampyre'. which is to say, she has a lot to figure out about the goddess worship she's leading, what happens to the teen body as it goes through "the change", and what on earth she's doing with her 3 hunky boyfriends and her un-dead former best friend. and she actually does come to resolutions of many of these things.
3 books in, the casts get around to completing an idea. many loose ends are tied up, the intros are done, and we've officially moved in to a solid plot. they've really hit their stride by this point, and some of my main gripes - the overuse of both cartoonishly silly teen-lingo and preachy anti-sex attitudes - have been toned down enough to not be such a distraction to enjoying the fun story. the back story from the previous books is rehashed enough that if you haven't picked up the 1st two, you'll be ok starting here.
these books would have been really really good if they'd been edited down a hair, and then combined...3 novels to tell only the first 2 months of a 4-year school's worth bodes for a loooooong trip.
somewhen in the future, north america has become a collection of districts ruled over absolutely by the central capitol. as permanent penance for the...moresomewhen in the future, north america has become a collection of districts ruled over absolutely by the central capitol. as permanent penance for the long-ago lost revolution, each district must send an annual tribute of 2 teenagers to fight to the death in the capitol's arena. when hunter Katniss' sister is chosen as tribute, she takes the younger one's place and is shipped off to be brusquely prepped to kill her peers in the annual hunger games.
though it's tempting to dissect this down to it's constituent ideas (decadent mother Rome harvesting gladiators from everywhere in her scattered empire; the princess stepping up to take everyone's place in 'dragonslayer's lottery, the brutality of 'battle royale'), this is so much more than the sum of these parts. Collins skillfully creates a tale where the emotional stress and moral ambiguity of killing to survive feels horribly real. characters are vividly unique and utterly memorable, each with their own motivations and responses to the pressures to do whatever is necessary to survive. somewhat flawed by an overlong post-climax and soft ending, but more than enough to make you want to immediately snap up the sequel.(less)
3.5 stars - a fun space opera in the school of "one wacky thing after another" serial-adventure. molly fyde is an orphan teen about to wash out of the...more3.5 stars - a fun space opera in the school of "one wacky thing after another" serial-adventure. molly fyde is an orphan teen about to wash out of the naval academy (apparently, they REALLY don't like chicks flying their spaceships). when life kicks her in the pants, she finds out that her long-lost parents' ship has been found, as in hock across the galaxy. setting off with her best buddy (and huge crush) from the academy to pick it up begins a series of big adventures and close scrapes.
it's neither fluffy "everyone has a happy ending" stuff, nor plagued by one-dimensional characters (problems with a lot of y/a literature). characters are complex and conflicted, and there's some real danger here. a fun adventure read. (less)
she certainly didn't invent the love triangle, but she did make the chaste, angsty version of it very fashionable in YA sorta-...morei blame stephanie meyer.
she certainly didn't invent the love triangle, but she did make the chaste, angsty version of it very fashionable in YA sorta-romance novels, of which this is a disappointing example. there's a lot of really good ideas rushing around this book: a young woman living in a version of m.night shyamalan's "the village" where the danger is real and immediate and dread-inducing instead of merely suggested has a lot of tough choices to make. she's been raised to believe that her fenced-in village is the last bastion of humanity, that the only two options in a woman's life are to marry or become a nun, that her dreams of seeing a small snippet of the world that may or may not lie beyond the deadly forest are traitorous to the mandate to continue the human race. there's a lot to explore here about what it is to be a young woman, coping with overwhelming societal pressures, and the nature of family when faced with the threat of zombie infection. because yeah, these weighty issues are being handled as a horror novel, not as a soapbox.
except that more than half of the book's word count is handed over to the non-tough-choice of deciding between the only two young men of marriageable age, who apparently differ only in that one is fair-haired and the other is dark. instead of searching out more of the crumbs of mystery Ryan has scattered - where did the zombies come from? how did the sisterhood come to control the whole village? who set up the fence system, and what was its original purpose? - we get pages of tortured "oh, when will he come for me?"
the fantastic premise Ryan has come up with deserves a better plot.(less)
a quiet, intimate story that reads like a slower (i.e., somewhat more boring) version of 'twilight', only with werewolves instead of glittery vampires...morea quiet, intimate story that reads like a slower (i.e., somewhat more boring) version of 'twilight', only with werewolves instead of glittery vampires. there's no sense of tension or urgency until near the end, at which point it gets much better than the teen angst that went before. if the 2nd in the series expands off the high point, it will be well worth checking out.(less)
clary is a fairly normal NYC hipster 15 year old (art classes over the summer, single-parent mom) who stumbles headlong into a whole 'nuther world. se...moreclary is a fairly normal NYC hipster 15 year old (art classes over the summer, single-parent mom) who stumbles headlong into a whole 'nuther world. see the back-of-book plot blurb up top: it's fairly accurate, and tells you everything you need to know about whether or not you'd be interested, without giving away all the details.
given the large number of either 1- or 5-star reviews, this tends to be a love-it-or-loathe it type book; i'm solidly in the minority by just finding it to be ok. clare's worldbuilding is quite good - don't read the details in other reviews, discovering the interesting touches is a large part of the fun. our heroine slowly but steadily comes to accept her strange new surroundings & companions in a believable way, rather than with overwrought protests or bizarrely easy acceptance. the story of her awakening in this world, and her potential place in it, is fresh and zippy, and overall a pretty solid tale.
the major flaw, though, is the writing style. every kid in this book thinks and speaks in complex simile and rapier sarcastic wit - it's far too adult a tone for characters we're frequently reminded are all 15. they're all pondering whether the others are going to "go off in the corner and have sex right there" while they're longing for coffee and cigarettes, like all of the above is just so no big deal. it's vaguely unsettling, especially when you remember that the precise reason A Clockwork Orange was so disturbing was that it's sex- and mayhem-fueled protagonists were also 15.(less)
the prettiest blonde in school, self proclaimed queen even before she gets crowned homecoming queen, attracts the attention of a several centuries old...morethe prettiest blonde in school, self proclaimed queen even before she gets crowned homecoming queen, attracts the attention of a several centuries old italian vampire. she thinks his aloof exoticism is hot, he apparently thinks she's pretty (there's no real explanation why she's the only bag of blood attractive to him, and no other girl can catch his eye in true teen angst style). his brother, a far more bad-ass vampire, shows up in town to torment the wussy angsty one, which of course means that he's going to try to steal the vapid shallow high school queen from him.
it's a quick, breezy read that can be done in just a day or two...probably the only reason i finished it. the way the book is written is very very "teenager", but oddly spiked with words that no teenager would ever use in their thoughts or speech, so it's more than a little disjointed.
it gets interesting a literal 2 chapters before the very end - finally amidst all the teen angst Something Happens. perhaps the tv show is better, or perhaps the 2nd compilation is, but this one is pretty darn mediocre. (less)