**spoiler alert** (view spoiler)[So I mostly noted how I think this will turn out as an adaptation, because the book wasn't really holding my interest...more**spoiler alert** (view spoiler)[So I mostly noted how I think this will turn out as an adaptation, because the book wasn't really holding my interest so much.
Notes While Reading: Camille is sickly. Therese is an orphan, strong but treated the same. She knows how to hide the energy exploding beneath. He is very ego-centric and doesn’t really think about others. I’m thinking Madame Bovary, or maybe more like that Wharton or James one with the sickly wife. Ethan Frome? Therese seems to be completely compliant. She’s kinda crazy and super critical. Laurent wants to do nothing exc be happy & do art. So far this is well-written and not dull. Okay, Laurent’s internal dialogue sounds like…not a human being’s. Also, Elizabeth Olsen isn’t ugly, but I suppose that’s Hollywood. Okay now she’s beautiful; all right then. So that’s a very melodramatic monologue for Olsen, and kinda abruptly thrown in there.
So Olsen will be icily frigid balanced with bursting passion. Well MMMM showed that she could do the first. Okay now here’s another soap-tastic scene. Here’s Jessica Lange’s scene: crying and breaking down at her beloved’s death; based on Smoldering Children and Afterbirth, shouldn’t be too hard. I guess Olsen’s crying should work well too.
Is Laurent the main character now? Guilty people are boring. So after she can no longer talk will Lange have most of her baity moments? Morality tale. Olsen’s crying again. “Contemplated the opposite houses on which the sun threw sheets of gold.” “But he will bury us all. People who are at their last breath, never die." – How cynical.
“Developing in him the nerves of a woman, along with keen, delicate sensations.” – Uh wtf? So killing makes you a good artist then? And womanly apparently. Very limited cast. Okay I cannot see Lange being lead, at all. And while disability is baity, she can’t talk or move. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I read the excerpt. It's...okay so far. Zhang does have writing talent, though nothing really stands out to me as that quotable. Eva...moreRating: 2.5 stars
I read the excerpt. It's...okay so far. Zhang does have writing talent, though nothing really stands out to me as that quotable. Eva is relatively likable, Addie less so. The world-building is super sketchy and I can't tell if we're supposed to take this as a future America or an alternate history America; it doesn't seem very futuristic. And the central conceit also comes off less dystopian and more fantasy - dystopian fiction generally revolves around a society that could happen thanks to issues in our current society, but I don't see a future in which 2 souls are born in each body.
Tonally and character-wise I'm reminded of Delirium, complete with a predictably different friend who already seems more interesting than the protagonist, but with a twist that makes me think of the daemons from His Dark Materials. Both of those series started out great and fell a lot after the first installment, and I don't think this book will reach greatness at all. I plan to finish it, though, hoping that it gets better. That happens sometimes...though at least usually after dozens of pages I have a good gauge of whether I'll love a book (i.e. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Gone Girl recently).
ETA: Okay, I've read the rest now. Mostly I just noted the similarities it has with other books/series as I went along, which isn't a stellar recommendation for it. I suppose it's relatively engaging, though not enough happens and/or what happens is so predictable that it just feels like there isn't that much plot. The writing is pretty enough I suppose, with occasional phrases that evoke strong emotions in me, though I don't know if that's strong craftsmanship or Zhang wringing out emotion from the kind of easy plot points/moments that are obviously made to evoke emotion. Characterization - eh, world-building - poor, ending - eh. Maybe I'll read another Zhang book a few years from now when she comes up with a more original storyline and gets a stronger grasp on elements aside from her prose and storytelling, which are the ones good enough that they're not detrimental to the book.
Notes While Reading: I guess this is more Divergent than Delirium, since people who catch the delirium while highly frowned upon are not that rare, while divergents/hybrids are abominations for some vague reason. Better written than Divergent so far though not as emotionally moving as Delirium (even if Pandemonium fails). Though the slow process of mentally un-conditioning crossed with physical training is a bit of both. The (view spoiler)[plan to run – Delirium. 2nd plan to run – Golden Compass. (hide spoiler)]
Treated as a disease to be cured – Delirium. That was a nice poignant moment.
Review board – Golden Compass-y. The bold girl turns out to be less “badass” than the protag – Delirium. Oh, that makes sense, and more Delirium again. I guess it’s not very Divergent actually. You gotta give them hope. – Okay, this book is nothing like Milk, but that’s my favorite hope quote.
Either plot contrivance, or red herring turning out to be another kind of contrivance? I’m finding Eva whiny and Selfless Sue. This is a lot less exciting/badass than in The Golden Compass. Oh great job, Eva. Slight shades of THG and Divergent here. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Erm, I don’t think this is worth 2 movies, though perhaps this will help Martin Freeman’s career, so good for him. The characters are almost all flat...moreErm, I don’t think this is worth 2 movies, though perhaps this will help Martin Freeman’s career, so good for him. The characters are almost all flat aside from our hero and Gollum. The Gollum chapter’s the best one, as it was largely rewritten to be in line with LOTR. Thorin’s just pompous and greedy, Bard is any fighting hero, Gandalf pops in and out for plot’s convenience/contrivance and doddering, and Smaug is boring. Also, why does Tolkien hate fat people so much? The only dwarf who gets some kind of characterization besides Thorin is Bombur, and the whole of it is his fatness.
Also Bilbo’s a bit extraneous after Smaug’s gone though I do like him. I guess I feel the way I felt about Chronicles of Narnia – the writing and plot is nice enough, but it’s overly episodic to the point that it’s hardly epic or weighty. It’s also on the simplistic side thanks to being obviously for children, but cleverness at times manages to shine through. I’m not sure if I want to read LOTR though; it’s very very long, supposedly has thousands of pages of just walking around, and has very little female representation. Though better than the Hobbit. The word is used literally one time, mentioning his mother in passing. Maybe I’ll check out the Eowyn parts. She gets some stuff to do besides be wise or in love. Oh, and the Gollum bits. And while I liked Bilbo, Frodo is supposedly on the useless side.
Favorite part, amusement: “Have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them…He had decided that he was not quite his sort, and wanted him to go away. But the old man did not move. He stood leaning on his stick and gazing at the hobbit without saying anything, till Bilbo got quite uncomfortable and even a little cross” (14-15).
Favorite part, atmospheric drama: (view spoiler)[“The sound came hissing louder and sharper, and as he looked towards it, to his alarm Bilbo now saw two small points of light peering at him. As suspicion grew in Gollum’s mind, the light of his eyes burned with a pale flame…Such a rage of loss and suspicion was in his heart that no sword had any more terror for him” (72). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Erm, there was a good part of the book. But overall the book was annoying and seemed to be there just as set-up for the novel proper (which was alread...moreErm, there was a good part of the book. But overall the book was annoying and seemed to be there just as set-up for the novel proper (which was already written) so Maas made up contrived stupidity to make it happen. Lame. Well, I’m still reading Throne of Glass, but this novella and to a lesser extent the one before it make me think ToG could be…not great. I’m guessing people like Arobyn, Ansel, and the silent master won’t really show up until later books. Arobyn isn’t particularly well-drawn, but he is important to the plot so dealing with him again should be interesting, I suppose.
Notes While Reading: Celaena is really irritating me. Because I’ve been watching so much Olympics gymnastics lately I’m imagining her as Viktoria Komova. Aside from her stupidity of using luxuries with no money, her romance is lame. Okay, her romantic partner is stupid too. I’m bored. Oh she has a mysterious past. Now I’m thinking Tess of the D’Ubervilles. Except less self-sacrificing and more whiny. Well, as before, Maas is better with relationship-centric (minus romance) moments than exciting action. However, her main character seems to continue devolving in awesomeness. Stop being so STUPID, Celaena. (less)
A summary of my opinion of the series by volume: YAY, yay I suppose, meh, Yay, BOO. What a useless pile of garbage; I fully expected this book to be u...moreA summary of my opinion of the series by volume: YAY, yay I suppose, meh, Yay, BOO. What a useless pile of garbage; I fully expected this book to be useless when it was announced because the series has had 3 logical, well-made endings so far and I knew this was pushing Pike’s luck. At least Thirst 3 was relatively justified by the follow-up and greatness of Thirst 4. But there’s not really setup in this book for more stuff; it’s just like…a mishmash of different stories, and Sita being alternately super-emo and super-philosophically spiritual. I think Pike just got bored and spliced together a few short stories he wrote into this book to make it seem like it had a point/plot; like, there’s A) the Nazi plotline, B) the Veronica stuff, C) the Krishna stuff, and D) stupid freaking (view spoiler)[aliens and time-travelling again. Pike, your aliens are almost always stupid, and Sita’s already encountered two stupid species of aliens. Just leave them alone. Why is he forcing Krishna into a stupid alien plot? (hide spoiler)]
Instead of really following up on the events of the last book, Sita and company kinda flounce around for awhile and do basically nothing but often remember/think about/read about stuff that happened in the past that are meant to be So Super Important, but mostly in the end come off as flimsy flotsam. And the way the flashbacks are parsed out is very awkward structurally. “So, A happened. Now I’m telling my friends about the events of A.” Or occasionally, “A happened. But during A, I was forced to recall the events of B. Oh, and these memories are being transmitted to my friends after/as the reader reads them.” Also, they kinda seem like Pike wants to write a historical fiction novel but realizes he doesn’t really have the skill for it so saddled his most popular property with a big font of nothing.
What else? Characterization: lol, he’s already given the characters development in past books; why do they need any more? Occasionally, Pike will also have an awkward “Hey, events from previous books. Exciting-sounding, eh? Buy them, yes.” No he doesn’t use those words, but that’s pretty much the gist.
Like, seriously, Pike. Stop trying to run your series into the ground. The ending of Thirst 2 mostly made up for the stupidity of the alien ish. I already talked about 3 & 4. Now, technically the ending of this book also is ambiguous (and wholly unoriginal given past events) in a desperate attempt to sequel-bait. But no. Just no. I won’t say it’s the worst Pike ever; at the very least, Witch World is wholly unengaging and nonsensical, and all of its characters suck. But “not his absolute worst” is not a recommendation.
Comparing possible endings to the series:
(view spoiler)[Best: "You came all the way here just to see if I was happy?"/"Yes." His eyes are kind as he looks at me for the last time. "Your happiness is all that matters to me. Remember me, Sita." Then he walks away and I never see him again. But I never forget him. Krishna. Great: “It matters not, Sita. Stay or go, you will always be with me.” His words heal my last shred of doubt. I have faith. It doesn’t matter what I decide. Pretty Good: When the sun is at its peak, I lie down on the copper sheets. The magnets draw out my aura. The magic begins. Ugh: I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do next. (hide spoiler)]
Pre-Reading Thoughts: Hmm...after The Last Vampire 3/Thirst 1 I thought the series could have been properly ended there. Then after The Last Vampire 6/Thirst 2 I thought that would be a perfect ending. Then came Thirst 3 which felt meandering and superfluous, but Thirst 4 justified the former book's existence (though T3 still deserved to be heavily edited) and also had a perfect ending. So...I'm excited I guess? Pike is milking the cow like crazy, but to be fair Thirst as a whole is better than 90+% of his other books. The only other books that come up to its level when it's at its peak are Falling and The Season of Passage. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was expecting a kickass twisted version of The Little Mermaid based on the quite cool-sounding concept and the excerpt of the beginning. I got…anoth...moreI was expecting a kickass twisted version of The Little Mermaid based on the quite cool-sounding concept and the excerpt of the beginning. I got…another in a long line of 2012's meh standard YA dystopias. I guess the plot and prose are okay, if pedestrian, except for sporadic gross gems like this: “It’s sexy and scary at the same time.” The characterization is very flat and one-dimensional, with the most disappointing character being villain Mother who sounds like a teenage girl, throwing out lines like “You know. The basics.” It reminds me of Lisa Simpson trying to fit in with the other kids by saying, “like, you know, whatever.”
The heroine is your typical bland but supposedly “badass” Chosen One Mary Sue, who falls in insta-love with a bland guy who she’s just Not Supposed to Be With. Guess what Gavin Hunter enjoys doing in his spare time? Though to be fair, initially she’s a dazed bland girl and he’s incredibly annoying, so I guess they get better. She really is “selfish, flighty, and foolish” the way Mother says she is, but there are worse YA heroines.
The world-building is very poor. Maybe it’s because the dialogue sounds like it could come from any YA book, and Gavin references “creepy horror movies” and baseball in such a way that it sounds like he lives in 2012 despite some war that apparently ruined most of America so that the few cities left are gated and guarded. I’m guessing it’s down to Souders being lazy. And I’m not sure why the book is in present tense; Souders isn’t nearly a good enough writer to pull it off, and it serves no apparent purpose.
Other things: Vegetarianism is evil is a random message the book sends. Some questions are touched upon but then ignored, I suppose to entice the reader to read the sequel. Everyone is blonde and blue-eyed in Elysium; how unsubtle to announce an Evil City.(less)
Ooh, beautiful title evoking the film that should have won McKellen an Oscar. I wonder if it's a spoiler in any way; we haven't encountered gods in an...moreOoh, beautiful title evoking the film that should have won McKellen an Oscar. I wonder if it's a spoiler in any way; we haven't encountered gods in any way. Or maybe it's just a reference to how the dumb humans will treat the angels like gods. (less)