After enjoying the first book so much, I had high hopes for the sequel. However, this time, the mystery aspect was not as well-done. It was still bett...moreAfter enjoying the first book so much, I had high hopes for the sequel. However, this time, the mystery aspect was not as well-done. It was still better than average, and the mystery was still pretty clever, but the discovery of that mystery didn't quite ring true to me. Some of Hank's leaps were a little too big, especially near the end. (less)
Wowza. While reading each single part of the three stories, everything seems to make sense, but assembling the context for these stories to make sense...moreWowza. While reading each single part of the three stories, everything seems to make sense, but assembling the context for these stories to make sense of the overall picture is an adventure. Usually I tend to like that sort of experience, but in this case, I felt like a lot of it went over my head, and I finished the book feeling like I missed something important. Despite this, I enjoyed the book overall; I would rather have something go over my head than have the author pander to the lowest common denominator.(less)
Sometimes you like a book, sometimes you don't. Well, I didn't like this one, and I could pick out a bunch of little reasons for it, but I'll spare yo...moreSometimes you like a book, sometimes you don't. Well, I didn't like this one, and I could pick out a bunch of little reasons for it, but I'll spare you my whining, and only mention one: I didn't like the pace.
While reading this story, I felt like I was tied by the wrist to a heavily loaded train car coasting down the tracks in a desert between two cities, at a light jog. It never stops as it pulls us along, but at the same time, I wish we could really speed up to a full sprint sometimes. The story seems to cover every single instant from the first evening until the last. This doesn't degrade into a diary-style story, but in order to avoid that, events in Eva's life seem to just keep coming at her at a very measured pace that would undoubtedly seem frantic in real life. I'm certainly older than the intended audience. Perhaps younger readers will appreciate the straightforward way in which each day is about one chapter long, and there's something important and interesting in each day. However, from a more adult standpoint, this makes the story seem much too linear and simplistic to ever really become engaging.
So, the pace didn't work for me (among other things). Once you have decided that you're not enjoying a book, you can always find more things that you don't like. I'm sure I could fish through and find more and more things that bugged me, but I don't think anyone would enjoy hearing about that.(less)
Winters does a great job of setting a solid mood through the book, without sacrificing the storyline. The mystery was well thought out and nicely done...moreWinters does a great job of setting a solid mood through the book, without sacrificing the storyline. The mystery was well thought out and nicely done, which is a little rare for your average mystery genre blender. Usually if there's some sci-fi or fantasy element to the mystery, the mystery ends up feeling like a tacked-on window dressing that gives us an excuse to use a lot of the props introduced by whatever other genre is blended in. Winters avoids this beautifully, delivering a story that stands with a firm balance between the apocalyptic theme and the classic detective story.(less)
This was exactly the conclusion that was needed after book 2. The overall story arc has the characteristic middle of the trilogy slump, but this oblit...moreThis was exactly the conclusion that was needed after book 2. The overall story arc has the characteristic middle of the trilogy slump, but this obliterates that hint of a decline and finishes the story very well. All the inescapable problems and weird loose ends of Coldest War are nicely sidestepped or tidied up in this book, and the end left me feeling... not exactly 'happy,' but finished, or perhaps satisfied.
I only wish the cover art could have been as unique and interesting as the art for Bitter Seeds. But it would be silly to let that influence my opinion of the book.(less)
I have some advice for the sharp-witted reader. Obviously, you see the huge twist coming. I can't remember if it was in the prologue, or somewhere in...moreI have some advice for the sharp-witted reader. Obviously, you see the huge twist coming. I can't remember if it was in the prologue, or somewhere in the first chapter, but you start to suspect what's up really early. I'm avoiding saying what the twist is in order to not lose the attention of anyone worried about spoilers. I'll just say that it's the one you think it is: so obvious you might not even be sure whether we're supposed to know it or not. Anyway, my advice is this: get over it. You may be tempted to start rolling your eyes, and highlighting passages such as '"We've certainly given you enough clues," said Tansy' or maybe even quit reading. I didn't realize that the hidden twist was a twist. I thought we were supposed to know what was going on right from the start, and as a result, the story was fine. If you treat the obvious things as known instead of merely suspected, and just read the rest of the story, not worrying about when the "big twist" will be unveiled, then you can probably actually enjoy the book. (less)
This was a pretty damn good young adult coming-of-age story. I did roll my eyes a little during some of the romantic introspection, but it never got t...moreThis was a pretty damn good young adult coming-of-age story. I did roll my eyes a little during some of the romantic introspection, but it never got too bad, treading a fine line that never wandered too far into the shiny world of an imaginary perfect relationship. In fact, I noticed a couple little bits of real-world advice and understanding that took a long time for me to discover in my own marriage. Overall, the plot (of the whole trilogy) started out very engaging, slowed a tiny bit in book two, but finished strongly. The ending had some very solid parts and some less than perfect parts, but I will leave things very vague so as not to spoil your reading experience. I started to worry near the end that we were seeing the same conflicts re-hashed over and over, but right about that time, there was a pretty major shift, and we broke into some fertile new ground. I was a little surprised to find how invested I had become by the end of the trilogy. There was a lot going on here, with some interesting sub-plots and some great twists. Basically, this was a young adult series that treated young adults like adults, instead of idiots. Good stuff.
Also, reading the acknowledgements after each book, it's obvious that Roth is highly religious, but I respected the fact that there was no overtly religious agenda to the story, just a good solid exploration of morality from a moral viewpoint. (less)