It's fine. I would probably like it if I were younger; I mean, I liked R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, both of whom are less exciting when I've triedIt's fine. I would probably like it if I were younger; I mean, I liked R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, both of whom are less exciting when I've tried rereading them as an adult.
Doesn't bring anything new to the table, both in terms of the zombie genre and the bunch-of-kids'-survival genre. I suppose the total lack of answers is alleviated in sequels. Characterization is sketchy; the two figures I actually enjoy are not prominent enough, but that's understandable cuz they're cleverly sneaky behind-the-scenes types and we're supposed to not know what's going on in their heads.
I will say that the author isn't afraid to kill characters, though I wonder if it's a Heroes type of lack of fear, where after S1 practically every S1 character is given a free pass due to popularity....more
It took a couple weeks to get to this book because I felt bad that I would again be disappointed by Rowling. But I was NOT. After Casual Vacancy/CuckoIt took a couple weeks to get to this book because I felt bad that I would again be disappointed by Rowling. But I was NOT. After Casual Vacancy/Cuckoo’s Calling/Silkworm, I was thinking that maybe adult fiction just isn’t her forte. While still not near the dizzying heights of Harry Potter, this book is legitimately good. With the exciting bits, the funny bits, and the sad bits all. I suppose I could try to think of the first two books of the series as a sluggish pilot and sophomore slump, as Rowling brushed up on her mystery-writing skills and got the rhythms of her characters/relationships down. I mean, she’d so meticulously fleshed out everything in Harry Potter, with countless outlines and such, that maybe she didn’t feel like being so obsessive with this new series. So there were growing pains before hitting her rhythm. She herself says in the acknowledgements of this book that she’s never enjoyed writing a novel more than this one.
Oh right, the book itself. Not revolutionary or strikingly original, but a well-told yarn that definitely deserves to be published. There are certainly very famous mystery (or ‘mystery’) writers with works that so do not.
The main characters are deepened by sharing with each other new knowledge about their backstories, which both make a lot of sense given how they are now and tie into how the plot unfolds. I do kinda wonder if Rowling ever plans to make Matthew an actual person and/or likable; I think it could be cool if we could hear his thoughts, as we already unnecessarily get to see the POV of the killer. The 3 suspects of the central murders are distinguishable enough, and because they all come from Strike’s past and have reasons to hate him, they don’t feel like red herrings placed to pad out the page count. Which is a problem in lower quality mysteries; I think it was one of my main complaints about Cuckoo. One of the villainous men also promises to be a dangling plot thread that could be taken up in a future installment of the series.
The overall story comes off as deliberate and well-paced in a way that feels realistic to the genre/life. I will admit that a few of the minor plot points I expected to somehow tie into the grand scheme of things, but it’s probably more realistic that sometimes the small stuff in your life doesn’t super coincidentally become part of the big stuff.
IIRC, the other books did manage to at least have good beginnings and endings, and this one’s no different. The very first and very last sentence give the reader a feeling of the book being worth it, with one tackling the mystery side and the other the character side of the series. Good balance....more
I don't see much originality in here, and it kinda feels like the name of the series (Fairyland) is not reA lot of ideas, but not completely coherent.
I don't see much originality in here, and it kinda feels like the name of the series (Fairyland) is not really apt as the setting's more like Generic Kid's Fantasy Land than anything resembling a faerie/fae realm.
I do like the villain, even if her background and motivation didn't surprise me at all. But it's easier to make interesting villains cuz they have that whole 'being evil' thing going for them.
And the title is unnecessarily long-winded. Like the book often is, I suppose......more
As far as circus stories with supernatural elements go, I didn’t feel the magic much with this one. There’s a nice if cheesy message. The writing is..As far as circus stories with supernatural elements go, I didn’t feel the magic much with this one. There’s a nice if cheesy message. The writing is...functional. The premise of both the book and the circus itself is on the vague side.
I also found Victoria to be the only interesting character, and was left unsatisfied with the lack of resolution around her.
Gosh. I like fluffy romantic comedies. I’ve enjoyed largely shallow entertainment about people obsessed only with appearances and dating. But this bookGosh. I like fluffy romantic comedies. I’ve enjoyed largely shallow entertainment about people obsessed only with appearances and dating. But this book. Not only does it have no substance or plot or sense, but the only times it made me think were along the lines of “What a disgusting message” and “Are people really this idiotic? How are we supposed to believe they’d find ‘love’?” And it doesn’t even make up for its shortcomings by being amusing....more
I wasn’t sure why Brayden would stare at Niko and thought maybe there was a queer element to the story. I couldn’t tell what was so important about DeaI wasn’t sure why Brayden would stare at Niko and thought maybe there was a queer element to the story. I couldn’t tell what was so important about Dean about a Writer. Or what exactly Niko was lying about regarding his past. Max is funny and clearly the MVP of the book. I mean, the stories he tells, if you think seriously about them, make his parents seem pretty awful at parenting to say the least, but they certainly send a spark into the story. The foreshadowing about some of the characters felt obvious, but the characters don’t know they’re in a book so I can’t fault them for trusting. This bit is disturbing. Some of the characters don’t seem to have much of a personality...well, one could argue that even narrator Dean doesn’t have much of one, so.
Plot-wise, it’s fine if not all that exciting inside a store during an apocalyptic-y event’s aftermath. The high point is probably the triumphant return of one of the characters. The return with the better ending....more
I like that romance doesn’t overtake the plot, but the author isn’t good enough to manage to develop the relationship in a realistic fashion in the paI like that romance doesn’t overtake the plot, but the author isn’t good enough to manage to develop the relationship in a realistic fashion in the pages which are devoted to it. Very instalove.
I enjoy the overall premise, but the author doesn’t believably sell the path towards the book’s world. Not that she tries very hard.
Violet’s not all that interesting; the few glimpses of Raven made me wonder if it was a situation like His Fair Assassin, with the first protagonist being dull compared to the second. I suppose I could try reading book 1.5 which is Raven-narrated.
My favorite character is probably the Duchess though, who I chose to imagine as Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestley. While generally cold and unpleasant to Violet, she has intriguing moments of humanity and depth, especially in comparison to some other, seemingly even more dark-souled, individuals. The courtly plotting actually interests me more than the inevitable Dystopian Revolution By The Oppressed.
Mmm, also despite what the book copy says, people don’t really call Violet #197 much if at all, just “the surrogate” or “the surrogate for the Duchess of the Lake.” Less objectifying, I suppose....more
The characters: Harry - Pretty annoying. Draco - Reminds me more of Cassie Clare's Draco than the real one. Hermione - Zero depth. Ron-Cho - About as wisThe characters: Harry - Pretty annoying. Draco - Reminds me more of Cassie Clare's Draco than the real one. Hermione - Zero depth. Ron-Cho - About as wishy-washy and weak as they are, but with less development. Dumbledore - Mmm, with a twist, but not one with any creativity. Voldemort - Eh. Kind of stupid.
Plot is far too insular. It feels like practically no one exists aside from important characters, while in HP you always get a rich sense of the whole world and everyone comes off as real and has some kind of sparkle even if they only show up for a coupla scenes.
The magic system is cringeworthy.
The romance feels like both the reason the book came about and kinda beside the point of the actual plot. But for the latter, one could say that about Harry/Ginny and such, so. It’s great that a mainstream writer has a central queer romance though. Like how she had a central interracial romance.
All 3 books of hers I’ve read still remain of average quality despite that....more
Okay, aside from how dumb the book is and how useless the characters are, my main issue is...how could an underage girl be a hugely successful underweOkay, aside from how dumb the book is and how useless the characters are, my main issue is...how could an underage girl be a hugely successful underwear and swimsuit model?
I mean, I know Karlie was 20 when she was the youngest Victoria's Secret Angel and now Taylor Hill is the youngest at 19. Cuz 18 is the age to be legal. The book would be different if it was a college student vs. a high school student, yes, but it still makes no sense....more
Well the concept is certainly not that of your average YA novel. But...much of the book as a whole is.
Like the claustrophobic feeling that the only chWell the concept is certainly not that of your average YA novel. But...much of the book as a whole is.
Like the claustrophobic feeling that the only characters with personalities are those who are the protagonist’s BFFS or else tied directly into the A-plot, and the reader can’t help but wonder about, say, the other 99+% of her classmates. I mean, even Twilight for all its flaws was well-rounded in having a believable cast.
And those few legitimate characters are pretty unmemorable, including the typical (aside from his condition of being dead) deranged killer. The only thing that really stood out to me was how it took several mentions of said killer’s doings before the protagonist noted her reaction - basically “eh, not gonna affect me, not too worried.” What kind of person is like that?
I disagree that the book is any of the following: “gorgeously written, chilling, atmospheric.” But then it’s another example in the super-insular YA world of a more-famous author lauding her friend’s book; like, I feel that if someone is thanked in the acknowledgments as being a great friend, that person’s opinion should not be proudly displayed on the front cover. Clearly there’s bias happening there.
The book’s not bad really; it’s engaging enough and has a good climax, even if the plot as a whole doesn’t cohere all that well. But I feel that a better author could have done much more with the concept. IIRC the book is at least superior to Johnson’s Envelopes book....more