This book is getting a lot of mixed reviews, and I can understand why. I felt while reading it that it might not appeal to some people.
I, however, hap...moreThis book is getting a lot of mixed reviews, and I can understand why. I felt while reading it that it might not appeal to some people.
I, however, happen to be exactly perfect for this book and I felt while reading it that Rowell had somehow written it personally for me. I kept thinking, "How do you know, Rainbow Rowell? How do you know these things?!" The characters. The characters are as real to me as people I know. The writing flowed as naturally to me as my own thoughts, only more interesting. The conclusions drawn through the book echoed things I have felt myself so many times over the years, and the ending was positive and readers can feel good once they're done with it.
But more than all of that, this book did for me what the yellow phone did for Georgie. Okay, I didn't contact my husband of 10 years ago through the book. But I started to appreciate him more, to look at him more and really see him. I think after so many years of marriage you grow so comfortable and so used to the other person that it's easy to take them for granted. And I know a million books have dealt with exactly that subject, but this one was written for me. This one spoke right to me and I really loved it.(less)
At the beginning of this book I was really irritated with our main character America. But as it turns out, there ended up being consequences to her im...moreAt the beginning of this book I was really irritated with our main character America. But as it turns out, there ended up being consequences to her immature and ill-thought behavior. So that helped me feel better and it helped her to grow as a character (although it was a long time - multiple books - in coming). This book finally sees some satisfying action and character development and is probably the book I liked best of the series.(less)
4.5 stars This is a great book for fans of YA Sci fi or YA dystopias (although it isn't strictly a dystopia). It is predominantly a romance which takes...more4.5 stars This is a great book for fans of YA Sci fi or YA dystopias (although it isn't strictly a dystopia). It is predominantly a romance which takes place when two young people crash on an uninhabited planet and must survive long enough to be rescued. I wasn't very impressed by that as a premise, but the characters really carry the story - this story just wouldn't work if the characters didn't. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.(less)
After thinking the premise was laughable I heard a very good review of this at ALA. I decided to give it a try and was surprised at how well that craz...moreAfter thinking the premise was laughable I heard a very good review of this at ALA. I decided to give it a try and was surprised at how well that crazy premise actually worked and many things about this were well done and interesting. Readers should be aware that this is very graphic in nature (pun not intended) and the content is very, very mature. (less)
3.5 stars. I have no idea what to think about this book. There were so many things going on, SO MANY. This was a sci-fi, steampunk, conspiracy theory,...more3.5 stars. I have no idea what to think about this book. There were so many things going on, SO MANY. This was a sci-fi, steampunk, conspiracy theory, magical-powers, dystopian survival story with pixies and monster-shadow-things.
Most of it I could handle but there was a section in the middle where our heroine is roaming the wilderness and it was a real struggle to maintain enough interest to keep reading. She has a destination but there is no real sense of urgency or motivation to get there, and it takes FOREVER. It just felt like she was wandering around while things happened to her. It really needed to be cut down and infused with a sense of direction.
To my very real surprise, things did pick up later and the ending had a very epic moment, so that was a bit redeeming. It wasn't really enough to help me overcome my disappointment with the middle of the novel, but it was something. Things were also a little bit too melodramatic throughout, with frequent descriptions of how the main character was going through the most heart-wrenching experiences anyone has experienced, EVER. There wasn't ever really a relief or a break from the drama.
One other thing that bothered me was the strong disconnection of later parts of the book from earlier events. Lark leaves her city after having been tortured and never really reflects on that again. She has a bad relationship with her mom that is never again brought up after the first 30 pages. Her brother does a pretty dickish thing to her, but she never works through that emotionally, it just happens and she moves on. She was very alone for much of her life, being the only person her age who hadn't been harvested for years, but that never seemed to affect her personality or her decisions. Even physically - her back was severely injured, but it never bothers her once she left her city. It just felt disjointed. The main character does go through a lot of introspection, but it's all pretty much focused on what is happening to her right at that moment. You could read the second half of the book and never know that the first half was even the same story. Lark herself doesn't even change at all through the book until the final pages. Things just happen to her and people come to her rescue and she reacts but rarely does anything proactive.
To wrap things up I will quote another reviewer: "The bottom line is that Spooner isn’t a bad writer, but there are a lot of holes in her story and character development."
For me, those problems often prevented me from enjoying the good things this novel had going on, but the story was still interesting and complex enough that I'm not giving it a lower rating.(less)
This continues to be a series that I enjoy and I am looking forward to the last book, especially because this book left on a huge cliffhanger. One pro...moreThis continues to be a series that I enjoy and I am looking forward to the last book, especially because this book left on a huge cliffhanger. One problem continues to be the huge amount of speculating done by our main character. I would bet that there are more words spent on Cia thinking about conspiracies and people's feelings than there are words spent on actually advancing the plot. Still, the writing is solid enough that I care about the characters and want to know what happens to them and their flawed society in the last book, so I will definitely be finishing this series.(less)
This book took me 5 months to read. I felt like from about 10% - 75% of the way through things moved very slowly. I even had a friend who tweeted "I'm...moreThis book took me 5 months to read. I felt like from about 10% - 75% of the way through things moved very slowly. I even had a friend who tweeted "I'm 72% of the way through Words of Radiance and I feel like nothing has happened."
We both agreed that we still liked it.
Originally I was going to give this four stars, but I hit the last quarter of the book and the sheer awesomeness of everything that happened knocked it back up to five. I understand that the slower sections of the book were laying the foundation for everything that happened at the end. But I truly feel like those areas had some unnecessary plot-meandering. (view spoiler)[Shallan's adventures as Veil while interesting really didn't feel like they were advancing the main plot of the story so it was hard to feel any urgency. Also Adolin and Dalinar's political maneuverings and attempts to get shards felt mostly like literary dawdling. (hide spoiler)]
But at the same time, this is an epic fantasy series, and that is exactly the kind of artistic license the author can take with these books. He can take all the time he wants to explore character motivations, political schemes, even flipping people we've never heard of on the other side of the world. And I think a lot of fantasy fans love this because they enjoy being in the world and being with these characters so much that taking our time isn't a detraction for them. So it's okay. And to be fair, he still does some epic plot progression in this book. It just took awhile to get there.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Juneau has been living in a remote part of Alaska where her clan has been surviving for three decades - ever since WWIII and the destruction of the wo...moreJuneau has been living in a remote part of Alaska where her clan has been surviving for three decades - ever since WWIII and the destruction of the world as they knew it. When Juneau's clan is kidnapped and she leaves the boundaries of their land to go after them, she realizes that WWIII never happened. Fighting the overwhelming betrayal she feels, she continues her search for them with the help of a boy Miles, who has his own agenda for helping her.
I think there were a lot of interesting things in the makeup of this novel, but ultimately it was a bit flat. Juneau and Miles had some distinctive personalities, but the other characters in the novel were either bland or one-note stereotypes. (view spoiler)[It was also hard to understand the romance between Juneau and Miles. There was a gradual development of attraction but ultimately I just didn't understand why they were interested in each other. (hide spoiler)] The plot had some decent complexity and interest with the aspect of the Yara and Juneau's motivations being compromised by the growing awareness that she has been lied to for her entire life. There are hints at more to be revealed but it is frustratingly delayed for future books. I think this might have been more compelling if the reader had been given a bit more to chew on as far as intrigue and plot development. (view spoiler)[i.e. Juneau's father probably has some good motives for why he lied to her, but we're only left to wonder about what those motivations could be. Also Miles's father and Whit are some bad-guy characters with good potential for complexity beyond stereotypes, but that is never explored and again we are left to wait for future books to understand their motivations. (hide spoiler)] Instead, we spend 70% of this book traveling through wilderness landscapes as Juneau works through her feelings. That in itself might not have been so bad if the characters were a little more interesting, but as they were it was hard for me to find motivation to finish the book.
(view spoiler)[One last frustration was the character Tallie. Her only function was to propel Juneau forward, and her personality should have been much more interesting for a woman who has eschewed all the comforts of modern life to live on her own in the wilderness. And I'll admit: our first impression of her is pretty cool - a badass making her own way in the world, who doesn't need anyone or anything. But after that she is devoid of her own motivations, her only purpose is to happen to be there when Juneau needs her and to conveniently bring her to the next part of the story. If we're using her to advance the plot, there needs to be some tension to this part of the story, something propelling the reader forward. "Here, rest at my house while we figure out what you should do," might be what we all hope for in real life, but on the page it was really uninteresting. It was too bad for a character with a lot of potential. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It seems like there is a lot of criticism of this book for being so similar to The Hunger Games, and while it is very similar, there is a lot of solid...moreIt seems like there is a lot of criticism of this book for being so similar to The Hunger Games, and while it is very similar, there is a lot of solid storytelling going on here that make it a worthwhile read for fans of dystopia like me. It's not quite a hit out of the park, but overall this is better than a lot of Hunger Games readalikes out there right now. Plus it was interesting enough that I kept thinking about it after I put it down - wondering what was going on and what would happen to the characters - which is always a sign of something good. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.(less)
I am a nerd, and this book was made for My People. I was worried that this would be a disaster book where things get progressively worse until I just...moreI am a nerd, and this book was made for My People. I was worried that this would be a disaster book where things get progressively worse until I just want to cover my eyes. Quite the opposite, Mark Watney is totally approachable, humorous character and he brings the whole tone of the novel up to "a bit tense but also inspiring." You can't help but root for him the whole time. Go, Mark Watney, go! Despite having to read a few passages several times to wrap my head around the scientific concepts that don't come naturally to me, I really loved this book. I would recommend this for fans of Ready Player One. Although they are very different books, there is a lighthearted humor and sense of adventure that this has in common with Ernest Cline's book. (less)
This was a compelling read, especially for those who haven't familiarized themselves with much of her story in the past. If you have read every interv...moreThis was a compelling read, especially for those who haven't familiarized themselves with much of her story in the past. If you have read every interview and word she ever published and every case report from the trial, I don't think you will be blown over by anything here. I've read some complaints about the quality of the writing, and I think a lot of those complaints are valid, but personally it didn't cause me to stumble or stop.
I listened to the audio version of this which was read by Smart herself. She not the best reader I have ever heard but on the plus side it lent an air of authenticity and reality to the dialogue and personal reflections. This book was very similar to Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielsen, a Mormon who went through a traumatic experience and her faith helped her to find the strength to keep going, which I would recommend to fans of this. (less)