Hmm, for the first half I was ready to give this one star because of the dullness of the two characters who are the only people in almost every chapte...moreHmm, for the first half I was ready to give this one star because of the dullness of the two characters who are the only people in almost every chapter. But then there’s all this bizarre weirdness that I wouldn’t have expected and I suppose is a sign of originality. It was certainly more interesting, even if I still can’t care for two such boring characters. I guess the blurb from the author of the boring Legend could have tipped me off, but great writers can certainly be admired by not-great ones.
Spoiler: (view spoiler)[Her dad found telepathic aliens who resurrect the dead, and enslaved them by throwing them into an interdimensional rift. When the couple crash-lands on the planet, she dies but returns; the guy uses up the aliens’ life force (which is what they want) to bring her back to full health, and the girl blackmails her dad into letting the couple stay together. (hide spoiler)] Like...WTF?["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Okay, Taylor, you’re an awesome writer, but come on woman, this book could have been like half the length and not lost much if anything. There’s barel...moreOkay, Taylor, you’re an awesome writer, but come on woman, this book could have been like half the length and not lost much if anything. There’s barely any plot (with the most interesting illumination coming in the first chapter), and we don’t really need all that navel-gazing contemplation.
Zuzana is as Zuzana as ever, which is to say funny, clever, and darling in a vicious kind of way. But although Mik only narrates a third of the chapters, that’s way too much; he comes off as a generic Cute Nice Boy being clearly written by a female, without enough spark as a narrator to make Zu’s crush justified. Of course what we see in Days of Blood shows why it is justified, but if you’re gonna show someone’s innermost self, it should make him come off as more interesting, not less. Having just Zu as the narrator would have explained a tilt toward idealization of him, which makes sense given her big crush on him, and make up for him seeming sweet but not terribly interesting.
Hoping for more DoSaB shorts, with less overwriting and perhaps from some brand-new perspectives...like Brimstone’s; such a fascinating world deserves more of a focus.
Some choice quotes, all from Zu’s point of view: 1. When I think about kids (which isn’t often, except to wish them elsewhere and stop just short of deploying them hence with my foot). 2. Hey, look at this fascinating notice on the wall! I must pause here and tear off one of these little phone-number tabs so that I can call and inquire about the life-changing effects of…Treatments for female baldness? Awesome. 3. She handed me her empty coffee cup and, because she doesn’t speak Czech, said in English, with a luxuriant and imperious R roll, ‘Hurrry.’ Oh. I hurried. If anyone has ever filled a coffee cup with cigarette butts faster than I did tonight, I would be very much surprised.(less)
Clary is such an atrocious, hysterical, irritating, idiot chockful of Mary Sue attributes. She bugs me so much. Jace at least has a sense of humor, ev...moreClary is such an atrocious, hysterical, irritating, idiot chockful of Mary Sue attributes. She bugs me so much. Jace at least has a sense of humor, even if he thinks way too highly of it and himself when he’s not too busy mooning and emo-ing about. Most of the other characters are forgettable and boring. But I do like Magnus and Isabelle, even if I could have done with them being snarkier towards the central sucky duo.
The behind the scenes and borrowing hijinks have been covered enough by others, but it is definitely noticeable how unoriginal everything feels.(less)
At first I thought for sure this would be a 1-star read as it took 4 days to get through it, which is quite awhile for something that should be a real...moreAt first I thought for sure this would be a 1-star read as it took 4 days to get through it, which is quite awhile for something that should be a really easy read. The problem was that I was bored and didn’t like any of the characters. However, the pace picks up later and we get some amusing characters (the sphinx, Heph), one who evokes genuine sadness in me (Calypso), and towards the end a few characters who stop being boring and get some depth primarily from their family issues (Rachel, Nico). The problem is that the characters who are most central remain totally uninspired - bland hero Percy, shrewish female sidekick Annabeth, one-note male sidekicks Tyson/Grover, cackling villain Luke, wise mentor Chiron, morally ambiguous mentor Quintus. But I suppose it’s diverting enough to satisfy the target demographic; though I know from experience that that age group has better choices targeting them, few center around gods/monsters which is surely part of the appeal.
Reading the Wiki, it appears that Nico and Calypso have really nice moments in the most recent book, House of Hades. Pondering whether I should at least read the chapters centered around them...(less)
Only read the authors I’m a fan of, though I skimmed a bit through the authors who I’ve read and not been a fan of.
Shadows for Silence in the Forests...moreOnly read the authors I’m a fan of, though I skimmed a bit through the authors who I’ve read and not been a fan of.
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell - Very vivid title...some could call it purple. Much better than Sanderson’s recent forays despite being much shorter. His use of atmosphere and setting makes a more interesting world than hundreds of pages of Steelheart/Alloy of Law/that one with evil chalk drawings. And it has a more likable, complex cast of characters. Perhaps Sanderson should stick to works that aren’t obviously sequel-baiting or unnecessarily series-extending.
Bombshells - Quite nice. One of the better Dresden short stories/novellas, certainly better than that Bigfoot filler. I like Molly a lot and this piece makes me want to read more from her voice. The writing seemed more accurately Dresden Files-ish than the last full-length book, and we got some information that could possibly matter in the future; Butcher still hasn’t done anything with the stuff in the Thomas novella though. I did find the dialogue to be occasionally *slightly* unrealistic in how Butcher thinks women talk. Strong ending.(less)
Hmm, I’m apparently okay with reading Twilight fanfic sequels but not Twilight sequels. I guess at least their horrific badness tends to be so over th...moreHmm, I’m apparently okay with reading Twilight fanfic sequels but not Twilight sequels. I guess at least their horrific badness tends to be so over the top that it’s sometimes amusing, while Twilight is just so dull. I’m sure you could play a drinking game involving certain re-re-repeated phrases and words like “inner goddess,” “murmur,” and “fifty shades,” though you’d have to read only a bit at a time to not pass out. (less)
Before I started reading, I only had a vague conception that the book was about a group of women "of a certain age" who were friends and had wacky hij...moreBefore I started reading, I only had a vague conception that the book was about a group of women "of a certain age" who were friends and had wacky hijinks, like a 4-tiered It's Complicated or Something's Gotta Give.
But the book made me think of The Joy Luck Club more, even if the JLC women were much more even in page time than here, and they got separate stories rather than the main story being about the group's friendship throughout the years with a central focus on Vivi.
The characters are mostly forgettable, especially Sidda. I suspect I might have actually liked the book better if there wasn't the present-day travails of Sidda who's very similar to the whiny, needy Eat Pray Love protagonist. I could not care for her or her friends who existed merely as props for her instead of coming off as human beings in their own right...much like the friends in EPL.
Nor did I much like the "tap-dancing child abuser" Vivi after she became a mother, who herself was enabled by her codependent best friends who I found nearly indistinguishable from each other as grownups. I mean, I remember that one has a portable breathing tube, and another (I think?) one has a gay ex-husband, but those aren't really personality traits.
However, I DID like the adventures of the Sisterhood when they were girls/young women. It was kinda like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but Southern and historical, plus with the spotlight staying on one of them. Sure, Vivi could be callous and careless when she was young, but it's much more forgivable at that age than when she effs up people all around her as an adult, and Young Vivi makes up for it by having a decent amount of charisma and charm. The best parts of the book are her troubles when she's sent to a private school, and when she gets huge news that also concerns one of her best friends - a lot of deeply felt, genuine emotion comes out.
If the whole book could be at that level, I might even have given it 4 stars. But you can't give, say, a short story collection 4 stars for having 2 great stories amid a bunch which range from decent to bad. And the follow-up to those stories, and the transition from Young Vivi to Grownup Vivi, seems to be riddled with holes. If Wells hadn't spent so much time on skip-worthy stuff, maybe she could have a book that feels more rounded.
ETA: Oh, she wrote 2 more Yaya books, where presumably Vivi gets more fleshed out. But I don't care enough to read more, and this book on its own ought to at least give a *sense* that there isn't a knowledge gap.(less)
Whatever. I give up. I started reading this as soon as it won the Pulitzer because of the prize and because it's set in Asia, an unusual combination.
B...moreWhatever. I give up. I started reading this as soon as it won the Pulitzer because of the prize and because it's set in Asia, an unusual combination.
But through November, I'd only gotten to page 50 on account of the mind-numbingly boring writing and plot. Today I decided to hunker down and just get it over with, and it felt like I'd been reading a huge amount of text in ebook form. Thus surely I had to have made good headway despite each page being a little writing headache. But after looking up and seeing that I was still hundreds (!) of pages away from the finish line, I cannot continue on. I have no idea why people like this. There is nothing to recommend. I did skim part of the stuff I didn't read and thought that it seemed slightly different in form, but still incredibly dull but simply annoying in brand-new ways.
At least *certain* authors who've been as aggravating had the decency to make their books short enough that their pieces of trash could be finished even by readers who hated them. (less)
Comparisons in which Hunger Games has the advantage: 1. More pages so people have to shell out for 3 books 2. More fame 3. More Jennifer Lawrence The end....moreComparisons in which Hunger Games has the advantage: 1. More pages so people have to shell out for 3 books 2. More fame 3. More Jennifer Lawrence The end.
How Battle Royale is better: 1. The writing. It's exciting and action-packed, instead of Katniss mostly doing nothing except when she's like, "Oh, oops, I killed someone, but for contrived reasons it's not 100% my fault so the reader can stay sympathetic with me, tee hee." Or "Oh I'm walking around 'empowering' people which mostly means whining incessantly and thinking about boys, while most of the Actual revolutionary actions are done somewhere offscreen." 2. I guess related to the above, the protagonist while not particularly compelling isn't rage-inducing esp when people are like "But she's the main character of an action franchise which OBVS means she's a feminist! And anyone who doesn't like her is anti-feminist!" 3. The side characters while *mostly* being introduced in the same chapter in which they die get very good characterization and humanizing such that the reader cares about them, when presences in Hunger Games who loom throughout a book or even the whole series are still kinda vague and forgettable. Esp if they seem to exist only to Symbolize Something for Katniss. 4. Certain plot things happen here, and then happen years later in THG. I mean, I suppose they're not omg so original that it took a genius to come up with them, but some are very specific such that I can see the cries of "rip-off!" 5. The ending. Compared to any of the HG endings, really. Not 100% definitive, quite exciting, not eye-rolling. 6. Emotions are captured a lot better here. I mean, I suppose people say Katniss is cold because of her upbringing/environment, but I can totally embrace an arguably sociopathic heroine if she gets stuff done. Instead of my being very dubious about whether she has agency. 7. The central premise is more horrifying. Killing your classmates as opposed to killing a bunch of strangers...plus that boy who you hate because of bread. 8. A vaguely more realistic dystopia. Not *much* more, but still. 9. The connection between the male and female leads is a lot more understandable than "ur so hot, JLaw" and "bread." 10. No stupid berries or mockingjays to be seen.
I would have my fave Mitsuko as an advantage, but THG does have redemptive character Johanna calling Katniss out on all her annoying BS, so that's even-ish.
Now I just wish the author would write more books (BR-related or not, as the ending isn't as sequel-begging as THG).(less)
Well, before I started reading I thought it would be wildly boring, like Grapes of Wrath. It certainly beat that expectation.
I was also confused about...moreWell, before I started reading I thought it would be wildly boring, like Grapes of Wrath. It certainly beat that expectation.
I was also confused about how Jennifer Lawrence would be playing the mother of two Katniss-aged boys, but then I found out that the original film adaptation was only of the later part of the book, and for now she’s supposed to star in the first half of a duology as young Cathy/Kate.
She certainly has a great role...I wonder who would play the older version unless they go the route of giving her loads of aging makeup; perhaps Michelle Williams or Kate Winslet? I have a penchant for female characters awesomely getting things done no matter what it takes and who gets destroyed along the way, such that many could label them “evil.” Vanity Fair, Gone with the Wind...I’m sure there are other good examples I can’t think of right now. I mean, I don’t think I would like her if I knew her in real life, but she’s quite fascinating and I can see why the role of just the older Kate scored an Oscar.
I’m not a big fan of how her story ends; she doesn’t really get what she wants, her downfall is kinda stupid, and after she leaves the city her wishes aren’t carried out the way I want them to be. Cuz I guess she’s the snake in the garden for Adam and must be punished?
Alas, unlike Becky or Scarlett, she’s not the lead of the book. That title belongs to her husband Adam for the earlier part, before transitioning to their son Cal. Adam has potential before he joins the army (which happens like a tenth of the way through the book), but is bland for most of the rest of it. His brother Charles is better, but aside from the fact that the Cal/Aron thing is obviously a repeat of the relationship into the next generation, Charles disappears from the book earlier than he should.
Aron is meant to be a self-righteous prig, but he doesn’t do it in an amusing or interesting way. Cal’s edges are overly softened in the last few chapters such that he’s somewhat boring, but even before that, his being the Bad Son isn’t as insightful as it could be thanks to the small number of characters who we see interact with Cal/Aron. Sure, we know from being told that everybody loves Aron and Cal finds it nigh-impossible to find real friends, but their only relationships explored at all are with each /;other, their father, their Chinese servant, and boring love interest Abra. The limited scope make it difficult to deeply sympathize with Cal, though I suppose Lee calls him out on veering into poor misunderstood emo boy territory.
I’m not clear why the Hamiltons get a bunch of chapters devoted to them which have little bearing on the story of the Trasks. Besides, like, Steinbeck propping up his own family as an example of an Awesome, Great Family full of Great People in contrast to the totally messed-up main one. At least Samuel Hamilton being a Yoda means that Lee’s similar role as a Wise Asian Man isn’t offensive the way it could be; they are both boring. There is a tantalizing chapter in which the Hamilton black sheep feels kinship with Cal, but it’s only there in that chapter and has no follow-up, so w/e.
I wouldn’t recommend for or against others reading this, though I will say that I would have gotten the maximum enjoyment out of it if I skipped most of it. It gave the world Cathy Ames, so hurray for that.(less)
Pre-reading: This one I did not watch the movie of first, as Young Hercules and Regina George is one thing, but...Candy Mandy and...actually I don’t k...morePre-reading: This one I did not watch the movie of first, as Young Hercules and Regina George is one thing, but...Candy Mandy and...actually I don’t know what else Shane West did, but I don’t care for him either. I had the hope that this book wouldn’t skim over all the important scenes so as to make this reader not care about anyone or anything that happens. And I actually am Christian, so that aspect in and of itself can’t annoy me, though using religion in a too-cloying manner does. Plus I secretly think the theme song is super catchy.
Post: Erm, it’s definitely better than The Notebook, though here the framing device does absolutely nothing for the narrative except attempt to manipulate just a tad more emotion out of the reader. Like, we don’t even really find out what happens to Landon, though I suppose it’s implied that he’s alone for decades. I don’t particularly like him, and Jamie is way too perfect to the point of not having a recognizably human personality. And the other characters are even flatter. But the book did make me feel the sad, even if it’s mostly inherently from the situation rather than actual good writing.
The pacing is weird, though better than The Notebook, in that they’re barely friends when the book’s more than half over. And the actual romancing is still somewhat glossed over; I don’t really get a sense of why they love each other besides “Hawt” and “Good person.” Certainly not enough for the climax of the book to happen. Sporadically people in the book will act like humans and I get a glimpse of how Sparks could do better quality-wise if he wrote more in the vein of Sarah Dessen rather than constantly try to squeeze tears out of heartbreak-y situations.(less)