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The Carls #2

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor

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April May and the Carls are back in the much-anticipated sequel to Hank Green's #1 New York Times bestselling debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.

The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Part of their maelstrom was the sudden viral fame and untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into Carl’s path, giving them their name, becoming their advocate, and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.

Months later, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April’s mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carl; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone’s comprehension.

As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive—mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers; unexplained internet outages; and more—which seem to suggest April may be very much alive. In the midst of the gang's possible reunion is a growing force, something that wants to capture our consciousness and even control our reality.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor is the bold and brilliant follow-up to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It’s a fast-paced adventure that is also a biting social commentary, asking hard, urgent questions. How will we live online? What powers over our lives are we giving away for free? Who has the right to change the world forever? And how do we find comfort in an increasingly isolated world?

452 pages, Hardcover

First published July 7, 2020

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About the author

Hank Green

6 books10.3k followers
Hank Green started making YouTube videos in 2007 with his brother, John. They thought it was a dumb idea, but it turned out well. He is now the CEO of Complexly, which produces SciShow, Crash Course and nearly a dozen other educational YouTube channels, prompting The Washington Post to name him "one of America's most popular science teachers." Green co-founded a number of other businesses, including DFTBA.com, which helps online creators make money by selling cool stuff to their communities; and VidCon, the world's largest conference for the online video community. Hank and John, also started the Project for Awesome, which raised more than two million dollars for charities last year. He has written for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Scientific American, and Mental Floss Magazine prior to his first published novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, due out on Sept 25, 2018.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,493 reviews
Profile Image for Tiernan.
114 reviews1,741 followers
July 13, 2020
Okay - um? One of the best sequels ever?

How was this NOT written during the pandemic! The themes are so relevant to so many societal thoughts today.

If you've read the first one, you're gonna want to read this ASAP. And if you haven't read AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING yet...do it!
Profile Image for Camille.
41 reviews633 followers
July 2, 2020
5/5 WOW WOW WOW! I was ever so lucky to get an advanced pdf of this book from Hank (coolest moment of my life ngl) Anywho, this was a great continuation and conclusion to this story. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire book! It was action packed and hard hitting. All in all this book was really good, and I may even like it more than the first. It was great being able to see into other characters perspectives and learn more about them. Now can everyone pleeeaase read it asap so i we can talk about it!!!
Profile Image for Deborah.
605 reviews54 followers
July 16, 2022
AART was one of my favorite books last year, so I was really looking forwards to this sequel. On the whole I mostly enjoyed ABFE and found parts of it thought-provoking, funny, or just downright entertaining. The main characters go through a LOT of development and I found each of their arcs fairly well-written, and I love them all as in team working together; I feel like that's when they're all at their best. Maya in particular I felt invested in: she's a really interesting character and I'm so glad she got more spotlight this time around! The cycle of POVs felt right for this book, too- it was nice to be able to be inside multiple heads.

The main downside was for me was that, in some fairly significant ways, the novel felt kinda sloppy? I can't fully figure out my words for this, but the first half felt seemed like it was going in one direction and setting certain things up (the Fish app, Maya's rocks, the strange occurrences, the books) that were later either dropped or given, in my opinion, weak answers. Along this same line, it felt like Green was just yanking around the plot/characters when it was convenient without actually giving them reason to be how they were. One example is Robin, who just kinda stops being mentioned around the 70% mark after essentially just being a minor plot device (this is a SHAME and I so badly want a standalone Robin book, or even a novella!) The explanation behind The Thread also felt too easy, almost gimmicky. Actually, one of the only things in the book that shocked me was the big reveal with Miranda later in the story. I just would have liked more genuine surprise or delight like what was in AART. Basically: questions were given weak answers or Green seemed to throw stuff in that didn't really stick or make an impact.

There's also the fact that this book is just much more "preachy" and info-dumpy than its predecessor. I'm putting "preachy" in quotes because it's just the best word I can find right now that describes how I felt. There is a lot of talk in the book about the distribution of power and wealth, the use of power and wealth, capitalism, the economy, how people succumb to other forces, politics, the question of could VS should...the list goes on. It's just a very HEAVY book in some ways, and that's not inherently a bad thing- these are important topics! Green brought up some good questions and I stopped reading at times to consider what he was asking. It felt like a pretty big shift in tone from AART and I wasn't really expecting it, and it just made for a more tedious read.
The info-dump side of this is the bad part; there are certain chapters or moments (like Carl's) that just seem to DRAGGGGGG as the reader get lengthy explanations for things that I'm not convinced we needed to know. Literally every time Andy started talking about money or investments or shares my eyes would glaze over and I'd struggle to understand what was happening. Not gonna lie, the fact that Andy's arc was so finance/money heavy and had him talk so much about it made him hate him just a little bit. Oops.

This all makes it seem like there was a lot I didn't like, but I did like it - at least, PARTS of it. It was fresh and pretty fun at times, and I was hyped to get more Carl weirdness. I love the way Green writes his characters, and I think the way he imagines plots and concepts is fascinating. I just think this sequel needed another couple rounds of editing and some rewritten plot points here and there. However, ABFE is definitely weaker than the first book; when I reread Carlverse stuff in the future I will only be reading the first one and lowkey pretending I don't know about this one... Personally I'm hoping the next Hank Green novel will be something outside of the Carlverse, because as much as I like it, I think it's best the stays as a duology and isn't dragged out.
Profile Image for Sleepless Dreamer.
847 reviews211 followers
August 3, 2020
In the midst of a severe procrastination session, I opened Google Maps Streetview and randomly began roaming around. I'm sure we've all done that before (and if not, you absolutely should) but somehow especially right now there was something heartwarming and breathtaking about seeing the streets of Nairobi, a family having a picnic next to a river in Brazil, a scenic waterfall in Iceland, a busy street in Seoul, a long and winding road in northern Canada and so much more, all blending together in front of me. It made me realize for a moment just how much our world has in it.  I'm just so awed by everything, it's all so connected, so fragile, so beautiful. We are all so marvelously human. I hope that family in Brazil has a beautiful day today.  

Reading this book felt a little like that. 

This book is a phenomenal representation of 2020. It is so ridiculously contemporary. It's a strong look at everything from global cooperation to capitalism, with a great plot and fantastic characters. It's so reflective of our times that I found myself wondering how this book will be interpreted in 2143. Will Justin Bieber still hold relevance to our great-great grandkids? Will they be able to understand our fear of ruining the world? Of our generation being unable to face a crisis? Will this book be able to speak to them as much as it spoke to me? 

I'm not going to say much about the plot in this review because I do believe the best reading experience for this book is one where you jump in blind. I do want to say that this is a satisfying continuation of the last book. It's even more ambitious by attempting to answer bigger and more complex questions. Hank Green's ideas are fascinating and so well expressed. 

At its core, this book asks, "what does it mean to be human?". What are the impacts of technological advancements? Who is actually in control? Hank Green doesn't stop creating a vibrant and thorough world of ideas and thoughts to support these big questions. 

Among the various topics of this book, we get an interesting look into the world of private equity (ugh, I might have to take a course in finance next year, imagine the horror), technological and scientific advancements and a true discussion about fame and influence. We even have some UX representation here! A conversation about race and technology! There's usage of they/them pronouns! Housing crisis! Evil rich people! Economic crisis! The power of books! I could go on, there's so much in this book and it all works well together! 

Writing too much about the characters will veer too much into the spoilers so I will just say that Andy is my absolute favorite character. However, each character here has a distinct voice. They feel human, it feels like I know these people. My heart was absolutely racing at some points here because I cared quite a bit.  

To conclude, this book is essentially like a lengthy Hank Green video. It's intelligent, a little nerdy, very relevant, very multidisciplinary with some instances of humor. The message is always multilayered but ultimately hopeful. If you liked the first one, this is definitely a must read. I absolutely have to reread this book. 



So I feel like much hasn't been answered. I don't know if another book is in the works (please!) but I want to know more about where Carl comes from. I suppose that's part of the mystery but come on, I have to know. 

I also felt a little skeptical about how quickly the Space became popular. I mean, yes, there was a crisis but even today, we see people being concerned about the limits of technology. Sure, we all use our phones and so much of our information is everywhere but there's this hesitation. I just found it hard to buy that Space would become so popular, especially since the internet took quite a few years to really cement itself as what it is now.

I didn't love our villain. It felt very abstract. Even if they attacked in a very visual way, I'm not a big fan of the bad vs good view. I mean, what I loved about Carl was the ambiguity. This book takes away some of that ambiguity and while I'm happy to delve into Green's ideas, I also miss that sense of mystery about Carl. Knowing there's a vague evil force who wants to force everyone into doing stuff is less philosophically cool.   

I adored the idea of the Thread however. It feels like there are so many ideas here about the role of the media. Andy's fears about his relevancy feel so poignant and needed in our times. Have we ever really had a creative thought? Is it that easy to control the media?  

I'm just procrastinating studying at this point and Miranda would be disappointed with me so I'll wrap this up. 

What I'm Taking With Me
- I can't think about April without thinking about that student house in Berlin. 
- I've got to find a professor like Miranda's professor. 
- Not gonna lie, I would love to hear the inside of a polyglot's mind. Like, I'm bilingual and think in both languages so imagine what it's like with like 9 languages! Imagine being in the mind of someone who's blind or deaf! Or being able to feel what it's like to be good at rock climbing! 

Staying up late last night to finish this book was definitely a beautifully foolish endeavor. Also, this is my 100th book this year! I think this might be the year I finally reach 200 books!

Review to come! I am now both sleepy and way behind my studying schedule.
Profile Image for Mari.
701 reviews4,641 followers
January 1, 2022
This probably isn't necessary, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I once (years ago now) worked for a company that Hank Green owned. However, I obtained a copy of this book with my own money and idk Hank probably will never see this lol.


Why you may not like this book: To get the obvious out of the way, if you didn't like An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, you probably won't like this. Our gang of smart, witty and sometimes messy 20-s0methings are back and in more trouble than ever. While it did feel like this was heavier on the plot than the first entry, it still felt very introspective and the thematic content was on full display. Basically, if your complaint was that AART was "heavy-handed," well this is probably also not for you.

Also, I would not personally call this heavy sci-fi, but we do take occasional beaks to SCIENCE! If you would prefer very little explanations of science in your sci-fi, you might trip up against those moments here. Generally, though, I thought this was accessible.

Why I loved this book: First, I have to say that I don't think I've ever read a more complimentary duology. A lot of the things I had quibbles about in the first book (a narrow point of view, a selfish main character flattening our supporting characters) is immediately addressed in ABFE simply by the way Green chose to deliver the story. I was immediately so excited to hear from more characters. This was always a big world and a big story, and in ABFE, we were now getting a bigger view into the story. AART: character driven and the mystery takes a back seat. ABFE: a time clock to save the world as our characters continue developing or at least reflecting on all they've learned. AART: APRIL MAY, NO. ABFE: April May! Oh no! You get the idea. These two stories don't just feel like one story cut in half. They are different things that work so well together.

One of the real accomplishments of this book is being both fun and fast paced as well as deep and thoughtful. It will be no surprise to anyone that I just absolutely loved all the thematic explorations of humanity, power, influence, capitalism and responsibility. I think that the best part is that while I felt Green's sentiments and arguments clearly defined, we also have many different characters viewing these problems and solutions in different ways and arriving at different parts of the argument. It was never as simple as MUCH POWER BAD, and we see all of our characters struggling their way through "well... how bad?"

I loved the ending. It felt incredibly complete. Well, actually, I felt a little chastised by it because in my heart I wanted more from these characters, so the ending was a beautiful way to send them off and for my heart to come to terms with their story being done. All of the characters had full arcs, which I also appreciated.

One of my favorites of the year, and definitely a series I will read again and again.

[September 2021] Marking for re-read.
Profile Image for Mariah.
1,159 reviews440 followers
August 5, 2020
*Insert coherent sentence about how great and scary and relevant and poignant this book is here*

"Your cruelties and mistakes may look damning to you, but that is not what I see. Every human conversation is more elegant and complex than the entire solar system that contains it. You have no idea how marvelous you are, but I am not only here to protect what you are now, I am here to protect what you will become. I can't tell you what that might be because I don't know. That unknown is a diamond in a universe of dirt. Uncertainty. Unpredictability. It is when you turn your emotions into art. It is BTS and the Sistine Chapel and Rumi's poetry and Ross Geller on the stairs yelling, 'Pivot.' Every creation great and small, they are our diamonds. And what you may be in two hundred years, we can guess with fair accuracy. What you are in two thousand . . . Oh, my friends . . . my best friends, you cannot know.”
Profile Image for Kate.
1,217 reviews2,211 followers
July 12, 2020

I think a lot of other people will like this, but this was vastly inferior to the first book. I hated the multiple POVs, I hated a lot of the tropes, I found it ultimately boring and anticlimactic but I still really love these characters and this world and how much social commentary Hank makes on our current world. Also I know this was written far before COVID but it’s spooky how much commentary it makes on the current state of our world lol
Profile Image for Annemarie.
249 reviews682 followers
August 24, 2020
Actual rating: 3.5 ⭐'s

When An Absolutely Remarkable Thing came out, I was incredibly excited (and I wasn't disappointed). I was still excited for this second book to come out, but I need to be honest: I expected to not it enjoy all too much. It's not like I thought the book would be bad or anything like that, but my reading tastes changed quite a bit in the past two years and I realized that YA really isn't my kind of genre anymore.
So I can't tell you enough how pleasantly surprised I was when I picked up the book and noticed quite quickly that this wasn't like any of the other YA stories that managed to get on my nerves in recent times!

While reading (and for a while after I finished), I was trying to figure out if I preferred the first or the second installment in this series. Well, I still haven't made up my mind yet. I guess I could say I enjoyed both books exactly the same amount, but that's not entirely true.
Both books have their strengths and their weaknesses, and I simply can't fully compare them with each other because they both work very well on their own. (This doesn't mean you can read "A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor" on its own - they'd be quite a lot you wouldn't understand - but it still tells its own story.)

I feel like Book One had a lot more social commentary. There were so many lines I underlined and so many pages I marked. I missed this a bit in the sequel. But hey, social commentary obviously is not necessarily needed in every single book. It also definitely fitted the theme of Book One better anyways.
(The critique of social media is simply what stuck out to me the most in the previous book, so I expected it to occur here as well.)

Something that especially stuck out to me again here, was the diverse cast of characters. This time around, I felt a lot more connected to each of them. Their voices were more distinguishable, each of them got a valuable storyline and added something to the overall plot.
It must be noted that Green managed to write out of multiple female perspectives very well - a lot better than some other male authors. It felt natural and believable, without any "creepiness" or unnecessary sexualizing going on (which, unfortunately, is something that often occurs when male authors try to write out of a female perspective.)
I think his writing in general improved since his debut. It feels like Hank now has found his own "voice". The writing style isn't anything unique, but it's easy and comfortable to read.

There were a lot more Sci-Fi elements in here than in the prequel and a lot more than I expected, but that wasn't a bad thing at all. I enjoyed the turns the story took - it really felt like the ideas that were planted previously now came to fruition.
There isn't a lot I can say about the plot, because there's nothing to complain about (also nothing to make me fall of my chair or anything like that, but I thoroughly liked and approved of everything that happened).
As far as realism goes in Sci-Fi, everything felt fairly realistic. Like, nothing felt "unnatural" or over the top. It all made sense somehow.
At the end, I was left with some unanswered questions. But I don't feel bothered by that, after all, not everything desperately needs an explanation (and I'm only talking about minor things anyways).
Profile Image for Abby Russo.
195 reviews10 followers
August 6, 2020
I LOVE Hank Green - I think that he and his brother and his wife put out so much amazing content and are engaged in such wonderful charitable work. I really enjoyed the first book (aside from April's absolutely f*cking brutal death scene) but this book felt so different and disconnected from that foundation that I just did not enjoy it.
First of all, I felt like the first 150 pages and the rest of the book were completely disconnected. (And I have to say, I enjoyed the first part better.) We went from Maya's frankly fascinating hunt for April, Andy's quest for meaning and the mystery of Altus followed by Miranda to too many answers too fast and too many strings left unattached. For example, what the heck happened with Fish?? What even was Fish? What was the white material Maya found at the market and why didn't anyone want her to get her hands on it? Why were there even pieces of it at the market if presumably its something that Carl manufactures for extremely specific purposes? Then, there's the matter of establishing Bex as a character and then completely forgetting about her for most of the book. Even worse, my favorite character from the first novel and an acknowledge member of their best friends chat, Robin, didn't even get a voice with which to tell the story. I was so disappointing and there was absolutely no reason why he wouldn't be in this story.
Second, I understand why Hank did it for the plot, but I didn't love that the characters were all separate for most of the story - I think the strength of the first book came in part from having them all together, so the story felt weaker for me because of that.
Third, I just felt that there were a lot of plot points that didn't make any sense at all. There was Carl becoming a completely different entity from the first book in which he was silent and left everyone to their own devices to solve their problem themselves. Then, here he is, as a MONKEY who TALKS constantly?? It was strange that he had chapters in the story too, which was bizarre - he was entirely different than in the first novel, and if the story was being told after it happened, Carl was already dead. Additionally, the science that Hank was trying to make for Carl didn't work - it seemed like such a convoluted explanation for why he was the way he was. It was unnecessary, dense, and felt like an afterthought to the first novel. I also have no idea what was even happening with Carl having a brother - that just seemed to far fetched to even begin to contemplate.
Related to characterization that made no sense at all, I hated that April felt so entirely different from April in the first novel. Everything that made April April - her impulsiveness, her need for attention - she was completely done with, and felt no temptation to return to those characteristics. She was asleep for six months - how did she undergo this complete 180 in character development? April was also depicted as "the ultimate influencer" at the end of the novel which felt like the opposite of the point that the novel was trying to make - there are no ultimate influencers, no one is chosen or more special than everyone else, even April - what was Hank trying to say with this statement about her character??
There was also the matter of the Book of Good Times which was another plot point I was left totally confused about - why did Carl drop these instead of just interacting with the people he left them for? Why did he chose who he chose? Were the Books truly only existent to help April and Maya bring down Altus? What???
Last, I found that the story took so long to get going and then wound up and wound down way too fast. I was completely confused about the nineteen days and what happened in Val Verde as well as what happened after. Like I said, it didn't feel cohesive to the beginning of the novel or the first book in this series. Then, the closing action happened so fast and tbh, I just don't think Maya and April should have gotten back together. April treated Maya truly horribly in the first book. Maya can be relieved and forgive her, and know that she will always love April without going back into a relationship like this one - it probably helped though, that April was an entirely different person in this novel.
Overall, I felt like there were a ton of interesting elements in this story, but they weren't woven together in a way that felt like a cohesive novel to me, and especially not cohesive to the previous Carls novel. Moreso, I felt like the allegory connecting it to events in the world today were so heavy handed as to beat one over the head with it. I get it, social media is difficult and destructive, and our society is being broken apart by in-fighting - I live in this society every day. To be interesting, I wanted those ideas to be presented in new ways with new solutions but this novel just fell flat with its extolling the virtues of a human race, that quite frankly, would never come to fruition today - 2 billion people donating ten dollars to shut down a corporation? Please.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,599 reviews1,665 followers
July 20, 2020
I give this beautiful eyesore of a book five stars.

Well, 4.5 rounded up.

I kind of don't know what to say about this book! It was a lot! And, honestly, I liked the first book in this duology (3.5 stars worth), but it didn't blow my socks off or anything. This one kind of did. I think there was a huge jump in quality here, but also a huge jump in scale. There was a focus on April in the first one that kept the story more intimate and smaller, not to mention that Carl was still a huge mystery even at the end of that book. Here, we get all of April's friends as narrators, and we find out who and what Carl is, and *why* Carl is. Book one was about examining the ways that the internet and fame can change a person, book two takes that and levels it up. It's about how the internet is changing our world, and how hard it is to be a person in such a complicated time. And it's about power.

It's also a fun adventure story with wacky puzzles to solve, industrial espionage, a talking monkey, a potato plant, a seemingly psychic book, a dangerous Reality Game called Fish, and Googling things with your mind.

The shift away from April as narrator was really smart. She had a very specific voice, and I think it works better when that voice is present in smaller doses. Her friends also had very interesting things to say, and reading from their perspectives was almost more interesting than reading from hers, even though she was at the center of events.

This doesn't get a full five stars, though. As much as I liked it, I thought the ending was a little overexplained. I think it could have been dialed back a little, and had that much more impact. But, Hank is an explainer, so I get it.

With all that said, once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down. I read a little bit before bed on Friday, and when I woke up on Saturday I basically didn't put it down until it was done. It felt eerily relevant to what we're living through now (global events having world-altering affects on culture, the economy, and people's state of minds; you could basically swap post-Carl society with COVID-19 pandemic society, complete with people staying in their houses all the time!) Even without that strange synchronicity, this series engages with internet culture and the way it changes the way we view our own humanity (both positively and negatively, and in all the grey areas in between) in a way I haven't really seen other fictional books try to do. It was fascinating, and kind of freaky, but also reassuring.

If you only just liked the first book, or were iffy about it, I'd pick up this second one just to see. I think it will be worth it.
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews2,847 followers
August 9, 2020
Listen up, readers who are open to audiobooks! This completion of Hank Green’s “The Carls” duology is marvelous on audio. Not only do multiple narrators bring the different characters to life, but there’s a lengthy bonus discussion between Green and Cory Doctorow about writing and the influence of social media on society. (This last bit is the cherry on top, and it’s mind boggling to me that it doesn’t seem to be promoted anywhere.)

A few ground rules: 1. You really need to have read/listened to the previous book, AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING. 2. You don’t have to be a sci-fi devotee, but it helps if you’re at least open to the genre. 3. Know going in that Green has some deep thoughts about the state of our world and be prepared to either agree with them or just relax and go along for the ride.

And a final bonus for the audiobook? You don’t have to look at that hideous cover the whole time.
Profile Image for Michael.
61 reviews10 followers
July 11, 2020
I liked the story for the most part, but there were a few things that irked me while reading:

1. Most of Hank's female characters feel like they're written by a man.
2. The references to youtube, social media and pop culture feel very current and "now". It feels like it might not hold up in a few years.
3. There was just too much moral exposition for my taste. I wish his editor would have said, "it's okay mate, the readers will figure it out themselves"

All in all, an enjoyable (though sometimes frustrating) sci-fi read. 3/5
Profile Image for Aishwarya (Mindscape in Words).
147 reviews53 followers
July 18, 2020
Contains some spoilers!

After 10 difficult days, I have finally finished reading Hank Green’s ‘A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor'. This book was supposed to take me out of my reading slump, but instead it put me far down below. I have rated it at 1.5/5! First of all, I want you all to know that I love Hank Green. He is the kind of nerd-king I worship. I also immensely loved his first book ‘An Absolutely Remarkable Thing’. This is why I had HIGH HOPES from the second book. But, imagine my pain, when I didn’t like it AT ALL.

Let’s start with how I found this 483-page novel. The first 30% of the book goes in setting up how all the characters felt post Carls’ disappearance. And, also, after that 30%, we get to see April May. I hated that I had to wait THAT LONG to know what happened to her. And the waiting was not at all interesting. It was incredulously boring. Now, for the next part. NOTHING HAPPENS in the book in the first 60% of it! Yes, there are minor things going on in their lives, but those things are not enough to hold the reader’s attention, rather on the contrary. Even after April & Carl enter the story, the chapters somehow become even MORE BORING. I was expecting some brilliant mind-blowing explanation of Carls, but instead it was so purely scientific that it just did not work for me. The thing is that the author was so overworked into setting the right theme for the novel, that he spent the better part of it in that instead of creating even an average story. And, as for the remaining 40%, it was much more JUVENILE than anything I have read. The whole rescuing Miranda by invading Altus plan was just that. I have read Adventure & Sci-Fi & Action, but this was neither of it.

Now, I am going to break down the parts which I found disappointing. When Carl & April came into the story, I was glad. I thought I will finally have some answers. But this only led to Carl explaining everything in such a manner that any average person would not understand. And, this wasn’t like a quick brief, it was LONG! A load of crap about pelagibacter & neuroscience & what not! This was a big BUMMER for me. I liked the vision of Altus Space & also liked how Hank has made its dual impacts clear. It makes you wonder about how it will change everything, but it also makes you wonder about the inequalities, mental health issues & other problems it creates. This book was basically 70% SCI & 30% FI.

Apart from the lengthy scientific explanations which helped me only in dozing off, there were also lengthy non-scientific explanations. These were more about humanity, but they were written as if they belonged in a non-fiction philosophy book. Yes, he has talked about possibly all the problems with humanity, such as climate change, pandemics, bigotry, inequality, wars, data privacy, concentration of power, gun control & so many other things. And, when he connected SOME of these issues with the story, it aligned really well & also the message was clear. But, when he just plainly rambled on about them, that was NOT FUN.

I also want to talk about the 5 Character-wise separated chapters throughout the novel. Maybe the point of doing that was to bring all of them together at the climax, but nothing great happened there either. That’s when I realized how that kind of writing SLOWED the story immensely. So many unnecessary details about all of them because they themselves are telling their own stories connecting those to the one big story. Usually when the chapters are separated with 2 characters, it is a good change, but to separate it in 5, was not really clever. I would have even allowed it if the end was something massive & if the end required that kind of writing, but NOPE.

Check out the full book review here: https://www.mindscapeinwords.com/2020...

Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
618 reviews623 followers
July 24, 2020
“I think part of the point of loving someone is being able to deal with their brokenness.”

HANK GREEN!!!! YOU ARE!!!!!!!!! A GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like this duology is fucking perfect. The Science Fiction aspect perfectly paired with theme of what it means to be human in the 21st century... the commentary on social media... the complexity of ALL THE CHARACTERS and their relationships (also fucking kudos for writing one of my favourite f/f relationships).... I am just so in love. SO IN LOVE!

Truly, Hank could easily because one of my favourite authors. I absolutely cannot wait for more books by him.
Also I loved the audiobook of the first one already but this? Incredible. Absolutely incredible.

Hank Green uploaded a recap of the first book on his YouTube channel, for anybody else who needs it 🙈😅

“'It's real,' I said again. 'It is,' she said. And she pulled me into her. 'Your life is written on this body and I love every piece of it.' Somehow she made me feel human and that is, I've learned, one of the very best things to be.”

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Profile Image for Alfredo.
366 reviews499 followers
July 8, 2020
Ainda mais grandioso que "Uma coisa absolutamente fantástica"!

*essa resenha contém SPOILERS do primeiro livro

No primeiro volume dessa duologia, acompanhamos uma jornada sobre fama, internet e poder. É meu livro favorito da vida, porque ele fala sobre coisas que eu preciso lidar diariamente (obviamente num nível muito menor que April May). "Uma coisa absolutamente fantástica" é o começo de uma jornada ainda maior, focado em mostrar como a internet pode fazer grandes coisas, boas e ruins.

"A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor" continua essa jornada, mas agora com cinco pontos de vista. O livro começa num ritmo lento, enquanto precisa (re)introduzir personagens conhecidos, mas que constantemente eram negligenciados pela April May. Green faz um excelente trabalho de desenvolver bem esses personagens antes de seguir com a história, que vai ficando mais frenética a cada página.

Não vou dar detalhes da trama desse livro, porque é muito interessante descobrir o que aconteceu com o mundo aos poucos. Mas posso falar sobre alguns dos temas dele: quem tem o direito de mudar o mundo para sempre? O que fazemos com a concentração de poder? Por que confiamos nossas informações pessoais a grandes empresas? O que a internet está fazendo com nossas vidas? Até que ponto o avanço tecnológico deve ir? Quão urgente é o desenvolvimento de leis a nível global para barrar certos projetos?

Esse livro é muito mais complexo do que eu imaginava, e vai afundo em detalhes específicos de como as coisas aconteceram. Hank Green mostra que sabe claramente o que estava fazendo e não desaponta com essa conclusão. Uma pequena resenha como essa não é suficiente para expor tudo o que pensei sobre o livro, mas depois organizarei melhor meus pensamentos em um texto à parte.

Uma conclusão épica feita por um dos melhores autores da atualidade! Recomendo :)
July 26, 2020
Holy. Fucking. Shit. My mind has been blown, my heart has been filled, my crops have been watered. This is the best thing I have read in ages; I almost feel like I need to go back and reread the whole thing now, because it was just that good. I need some time to gather my thoughts before writing an actual review, but...damn.

I hope my profanity has made it clear just how beyond words I am right now. Hank Green, you brilliant bastard. I love this so much, and the ending was perfect.
Profile Image for Anima Miejska.
335 reviews72 followers
March 18, 2021
I liked it well enough, yet I would recommend to read this one quickly, otherwise it sounds as too much rambling ;)
Profile Image for annelitterarum.
207 reviews1,362 followers
March 9, 2022
Quelques longueurs mais woaaaaaaah!!!! J’adore cette série
Profile Image for Lucy Tonks.
436 reviews703 followers
January 21, 2021
I loved this book! This was so much better than An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and I just had such a great time reading it.

The plot was amazing. I had such a fun time reading this book! I loved seeing how everything that happened in the previous book impacted the world. How people were coping with it. In this book we had more than one POV. And strangely, I never felt like I like one more than the other. Usually when I read a book with two or more POVs, there's usually one that I like more than the other. Here I liked them all equally and I'm so happy that this happened.

I don't think I actually have a favourite character in this book. Wow, that's strange. When I read a book I often thing who my favourite character is, but this time I did not! And I actually don't really want to think about who my favourite character is. I love them all equally and that's that.

If you have not read this duology yet, I highly recommend you do. It's amazing so please, please read it.
Profile Image for Patty Getsla.
283 reviews1 follower
September 19, 2020
I am so disappointed. I LOVED AART and recommended it to so many people. I hoped and prayed for a sequel, and I got it, and I was well beyond let down.

Problem 1: It is boring! This book took me almost a month to read! I slay books! This one though, I could barely get through 15 pages at a time.

Problem 2: Hank, make a decision on what you want this book to be! Is it a Sci-Fi novel, is it a political manifesto, is it a compilation of angry tweets, is it a modern day book on ethics and philosophy, is it your dissertation on Darwinism, is it an economic analysis of the stock markets, or is a poorly written transcript for a presidential debate? Seriously, pick one or two things. You can't have them all!

Problem 3: It felt like there was this superficial check-list of statements and phrases to be used in order to make the NY Times best seller list. Just because you make blunt references to racism, gun control, sexual identity, terrorism, the capitalist free market, and every other issues currently facing the US, doesn't mean you actually tackled the issue. All the remarks on literally every social, racial, sexual, political, financial, economical, and religious thing possible were surface level and felt extremely disingenuous. Again, pick one or two and deep dive!

Problem 4: Reading holds a special place in my heart, especially science fiction. It is a away to melt away from everything bad in this world. It is a true escape, but this book felt like a ruse to rant about every single damn thing we hear daily on the news under the guise of a Sci-Fi novel. NOT COOL!

Problem 5: It's just a hot mess. It's like a mash up of the politically correct Terminator meets a bad clone of Ready Player One with poorly timed and lame pop culture references, meets the ethical Borg from Star Trek.

This novel was all over the place. No flow, no harmony, no character development.

Can I unread it?
Profile Image for Jananie (thisstoryaintover).
290 reviews13.2k followers
November 22, 2020
HOLY. my brain hurts from trying to conceptualize everything in this book, but I loved the themes and conversations it had. This instalment was definitely more sprawling than the first but I think Hank really does get to the heart of humanity and beautifully displays the many ways we are flawed. I'm definitely gonna miss Carl and the crew and I'm DEFINITELY going to be thinking about the issues this duology raises for a long time coming.

Also highly recommend the audiobook for the bonus conversation between Hank Green and Cory Doctorow!
August 13, 2020
4.5 stars
You MUST read book one first. If you don't you will be both lost and miss out on the world building.

Awesome book. So many things to think about. Connection. Humanity. It's such a great character journey for all of these characters through both books. They all go through times where you hate them, where you love them, and when they figure out their shortcomings some of them make the decisions to change and others don't. And it's both realistic and still gives me hope for the future. There is so much, like I said in my review for the first book, about the effects of media, social media, and manipulation. It is so absolutely relevant in today's pandemic world. I'm in awe that this book was written before this all came down, because it shows how clearly we can all be sucked into conspiracy theories and the ebb and flow of social media, cancel culture, and everything that goes along with it.

I listened to this on audio (as I did the first book in the series). The narrators are excellent and give gorgeous voices to the characters and help me to imagine them in my mind. If you are going to listen, please don't skip the interview between Hank Green and Cory Doctorow at the end.
Profile Image for Emmy Brett.
34 reviews
July 3, 2020
This is an excellent excellent book, both on its own and for the current moment. You’d think that a piece of fiction that deals with the dangers of capitalism, social media, undersupervised science, and general societal unrest would end up getting bogged down in the process, but Green keeps things moving at such a pace that you never really have a chance to realize how much he’s managed to pack into such a short period of time, or how thoroughly and eloquently he’s managed to address each point. Hank manages the tremendous feat of maneuvering from a compelling action story about aliens to a well developed, often moving argument for the ongoing existence of humans on a planet that we seem incapable of caring for. Both from a writing standpoint and an ideas one, this book blows the first out of the water (and I loved the first one!)

Plus, the *minor, minor spoiler ahead* choice to expand the narrator from just April May to include secondary characters from the first book is a great one that allows us more opportunities to explore perspectives on the issues discussed; it’s also to Hank’s credit that not a single character feels underdeveloped or weakly positioned to take over the narrative.

TLDR: An excellent summer read, at all times and especially at this time, that makes a surprisingly moving argument for why humans should keep it up, even in the midst of all of our messiness and bad decision making.
Profile Image for Kinga.
295 reviews26 followers
April 27, 2021
It's brilliant.

It's rather hard to write a honest-to-god review for a book (duology) written by someone you idolize. I love Hank. I don't know Hank; I follow him and his various endeavors for years and am always in awe. We don't always agree, but it definitely is most of the times and I do enjoy most of his projects.

Yet, this book is awesome. It has both great plot and great characters and is written very nicely. I gasped out loud reading this. I felt stress and fear - or whatever those emotions translate to when you are reading. I was angry at the bad people and I wanted all the best for the good ones.

Seeing as this is only his second book I have high hopes for the future. Although this duology is enough. I would recommend it for everyone. It is science fiction - and this one, the sequel, has more of the science and i love that - but it's mostly about people. Try it!
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