This is a wonderful though fairly short children's book, and I treasured it long before I had my son and shared it with him. Parts of it remind me of...moreThis is a wonderful though fairly short children's book, and I treasured it long before I had my son and shared it with him. Parts of it remind me of Baron Von Munchausen, E. Nesbit and other fairytale/tall tale kind of stories. It is written with Tolkien's usual wit and lyricism, has a simple message and is just a fun romp. When I was reading it to my then-five-year-old son, my husband started listening in every night, too. Great family reading!(less)
If you enjoy good old-fashioned children's books like The Secret Garden, you will probably enjoy this one. I definitely did. The story is simple, mayb...moreIf you enjoy good old-fashioned children's books like The Secret Garden, you will probably enjoy this one. I definitely did. The story is simple, maybe even predictable, but the frank, straightforward prose is refreshing, approaching difficult concepts such as illness and death in a way that aren't overwhelming for young children (The protagonist is ten). There is a little bit of a religious element, since the boy lives in a monastery for a while, but it is mostly just a period setting, not preachy. I loved watching Robin progress from an angry child to a responsible and courageous young man. The message of perseverance and courage was plainly put and beautifully illustrated in the action of the story. I would recommend this book for children especially. There is some "old-fashioned" dialogue, but I don't think it's too difficult. Wonderful award winner.(less)
Due to some family crises, I took a break about halfway through this book, and ended up reading a bunch of reviews, including negative ones. Frankly,...moreDue to some family crises, I took a break about halfway through this book, and ended up reading a bunch of reviews, including negative ones. Frankly, I see where they are coming from, but I feel the book is great just the way it is. The romance isn't central, and the real "star" of the book is the circus itself. If anything, the climax of the book is a sort of re-balancing, rather than fixing everything. But it felt right. I for one loved the descriptions and would have enjoyed even more. Some of the things touched on are following your own dreams rather than a parent's, opening your heart to magic/love, and the repercussions of involving others in a selfish competition. While definitely fantasy, and at times reminiscent of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, this story has more of a wide view of all the characters involved, and focuses more on emotions, particularly those invoked and amplified by the circus.
Some readers felt the ending was predictable. I didn't think so at all. Bailey's involvement seemed obvious, but the rest was a surprise to me. And yes, there were questions at the end and some bittersweetness. It was fitting for such a enigmatic and sometimes brutal story.
Okay, so I was expecting something a bit less amateurish, with all the hype. But it is a first book, and started as fan fic, so I'll give it a pass on...moreOkay, so I was expecting something a bit less amateurish, with all the hype. But it is a first book, and started as fan fic, so I'll give it a pass on that. It's origins show in Ana and Christian's physical descriptions, her clumsiness and his piano playing, but that's about it. The girl is a ditz, and I started calling her "Anabelle dumbell" in my head. Anyway, it is totally a fantasy - why would a wealthy, handsome tycoon fall for this girl? But it is a fun story. There is of course, lots of graphic sex. I personally have read better. But the real draw here (for me, anyway) was the psychological study of Grey, and perhaps his unflagging attention to her every thought and emotion. Yeah, right, men are not like that. I wouldn't be able to stand him for a day, but he was so dang interesting, I just have to read the rest. I don't think this will enter my personal library, though. (less)
First things first - I am not going to finish this book. I stuck it out over half way, and it's only getting worse. This may not have been the best bo...moreFirst things first - I am not going to finish this book. I stuck it out over half way, and it's only getting worse. This may not have been the best book to start on, since I've never read this series before, but it's the first one that came my way, and it doesn't bode well. Anita was a bit interesting in spots, like when she talks about guns and her job. But mostly she is just pitiful, confused and snarky. I have read about this series, so I knew there's a lot of graphic erotic scenes in it. But it felt like the multitudinous plot lines were not much more than ploys to set up the next horrifying or dry (or both) sex scene. Seriously, when Anita has violent sex with three men in one day, left bleeding from the first but that's not mentioned again...well, frankly I felt sorry for her and slightly sick. That's not romantic. "I almost died and am on an IV in a hospital gown but must have sex with a guy who I am not really attracted to or I'll die" - that's a real turnoff. Where's the tension, the atmosphere? Not here.
There are too many plots, too many characters, too much rambling dialogue that is badly written and in which the characters barely understand each other - too much being stuck in Anita's self-justifying and defensive mind and too much about her facial expressions. Enough.
I'm glad I read what I did of this book, because I see a few of these tendencies in my own writing - namely spending too much time in my protagonist's mind and on her facial expressions. I'll make sure and correct that.(less)