Best. Book. Ever. Seriously, please click over to amazon and BUY THIS BOOK. Brilliant, fun, witty, insightful, delightful. It helps if you know a litt...moreBest. Book. Ever. Seriously, please click over to amazon and BUY THIS BOOK. Brilliant, fun, witty, insightful, delightful. It helps if you know a little bit about story games, particularly MMORPGs (like World of Warcraft or EverQuest), but the story doesn't depend upon prior knowledge.(less)
Great but little-known dystopian YA lit. As children reach maturity, they must let go of pieces of their individuality so that the society maintains i...moreGreat but little-known dystopian YA lit. As children reach maturity, they must let go of pieces of their individuality so that the society maintains its harmonious unity. There's a bit of irony there... you'll understand it better if you read the book.(less)
After being unexpectedly caught by the authorities for a bit of creative anarchy, Ghost is rescued by a cheerfully callous stranger named Cindella Dra...moreAfter being unexpectedly caught by the authorities for a bit of creative anarchy, Ghost is rescued by a cheerfully callous stranger named Cindella Dragonslayer. Later, she finds out from her friends that other mysterious foreigners have begun to show up in town - apparently out of thin air. Where are they coming from? Why do they behave so oddly?
Another fantastic alternate-society book from Kostick. This book picks up after Epic ended, but it follows a new set of principal characters. The main characters from Epic are part of the supporting cast.
I think this story relies more on the reader's understanding/experience of computer RPGs than Epic did. Likewise, the author's use of names from classical mythology drew me away from the story as I found myself wondering how and why he chose the names he did.(less)
Okay, first of all, to fend off any rabid fans, let me say that I think I tend to be stingier with stars than most people are. I really enjoyed this b...moreOkay, first of all, to fend off any rabid fans, let me say that I think I tend to be stingier with stars than most people are. I really enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it. I was surprised by how much I liked it, but I think that has more to do with my incredibly low expectations (despite - or perhaps partly because of - the incredible buzz around the book; I didn't like any of the Twilight books, after all).
And I'm hearing Newberry buzz and hoping to goodness it's wrong. The book's just not that meaningful. It's a great story - fast paced, description in sharp, vivid strokes, intriguing characters - but IMO, not a lot of depth as far as connection to real life.
So I actually own Battle Royale on DVD, and it's about a group of teenagers who get rounded up to participate in a nationally televised battle to the death. I love it. It's distressing, creepy, bleak, horrifying, and beautifully tragic. And it's a lot more tense - not only does it not follow the principal characters as closely as Hunger Games follows Katniss, I've learned through experience that Western storytellers tend to be a bit nicer to their protagonists, at least when it comes to, y'know, SURVIVAL. ;)
But Hunger Games lives up to (most of) the hype. You get a lot more introductory exposition - this is NOT a dystopian story, I don't care what anyone else tells you. In no way is this society presented as ideal. It is, however, post-apocalyptic; in the distant past, there was some sort of calamity (or series thereof) that eventually led to the current setup of Panem: the Capitol plus twelve "districts" that are subordinate to it (previously thirteen, but one was [supposedly] obliterated in a revolution generations ago).
So anyway, you get to know the main character and what life is like out in the Outer Rim ahem, districts, before she goes to fight in the Games. And then there's this whole setup - training and interviewing and whatnot - which was very well done, slowly building the tone for the battle.
A lot of people have groused about Katniss' seeming obliviousness, but I don't have a problem with it - before the story really starts, she hasn't thought about Peeta much, and then when they're both tributes, she has every reason NOT to trust anything he says or does.
But upon reflection, what I like the most about this book is the classical awareness. First of all, you've got the story as a whole: King Minos demanding tributes for the Labyrinth. Second, there are the names, and this is where it really starts to get interesting for me. Everyone from the Capitol has Roman-style names; those from the districts tend to have "common" names (Katniss, Prim, and Rue are named for plants - although 'rue' also means 'regret').
There are two exceptions. One is a reflection back to a previous Game - Titus, from District 6. (Look for a synopsis of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus.) The other is Cato. I doubt that either is a mistake.
The other name that attracted my attention was Cinna. Now, all I know of this is from Julius Caesar (so I guess it's a good thing I started teaching it this year, or I likely wouldn't've remembered it from back in high school), but in the play, there are actually TWO characters named Cinna. Hm. Hmmmm indeed...
Finally, literary convention demands that the first eligible member of the appropriate sex with enough 'face time' is the intended Special Someone. After being pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this first book, I will be annoyed to no end if this series follows the predictable in that regard.(less)
I think I would've enjoyed this more as a novella. Once it started going meta, my interest went downhill fast. The dialogue was clever and fun, and it...moreI think I would've enjoyed this more as a novella. Once it started going meta, my interest went downhill fast. The dialogue was clever and fun, and it was an enjoyably fast read until it started gazing at its own navel.
If I'd kept reading instead of skipping until the end, it might have gone down another star, but as it was, I still had a good experience.(less)
So I finally got around to reading this after picking up an ARC last summer. Or maybe the summer before last. Or ... holy crap, this came out in 2011?...moreSo I finally got around to reading this after picking up an ARC last summer. Or maybe the summer before last. Or ... holy crap, this came out in 2011? Where has my life gone?!
It took me a bit to get into it, but with short, punchy chapters I was able to go for little pieces at a time until I hit a nice groove. The writing is great and the concept is fantastic (that's what hooked me) but overall I ended up 'meh' on the whole thing because the concept isn't developed well. There were some glaring inconsistencies, like (view spoiler)[London waking up somewhere different and freaking out because she can't remember how she got there; but if that's the case, since she doesn't have ANY memory of her past, why doesn't she have a similar episode every single morning?(hide spoiler)].
However, for me, the biggest problem was that there was ZERO resolution to the main question. (view spoiler)[Why/how did London's brain rewire to remember the future? I would be fine with a "we don't know," as long as London accepts that. Or even if the story ends with her deciding to DO something to find out. But it doesn't. (hide spoiler)] The ending feels like a teaser for book 2, but I'm still waiting for an ACTUAL ending to this one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Perhaps if I hadn't been discussing rape culture before I sat down to read the bulk of this book I would've enjoyed it more; as it is I feel I'm being...morePerhaps if I hadn't been discussing rape culture before I sat down to read the bulk of this book I would've enjoyed it more; as it is I feel I'm being generous with my stars, because I really didn't enjoy it.
Apparently it isn't just Americans who're susceptible to tokenism. The three female characters get minimal screen time and serve to illustrate how much more competent the male characters are, and don't get me started on how very white the rest of the cast is.
Also - can anybody tell me what happened to Kiwi? I lost him in the last 25 pages or so. I actually went back and looked for some clue about what happened to him twice but couldn't figure it out, and by that point I was annoyed enough that I didn't feel like working at it anymore.
Finally, for computer sci-fi, and especially with a hack for the intro, there were an awful lot of sloppy mistakes. I gave up hoping for clever realism and put my brain in Harlequin mode just to get through the rest of the book.(less)
Not really my cuppa. It seemed to be trying to be a character-driven story, but the characters didn't have much to do with each other. I liked the pre...moreNot really my cuppa. It seemed to be trying to be a character-driven story, but the characters didn't have much to do with each other. I liked the premise, but the more I read, the less I cared.(less)