My only real complaint is that it dragged a bit when it switched to first person for some characters to tell their stories. Otherwise it's a super funMy only real complaint is that it dragged a bit when it switched to first person for some characters to tell their stories. Otherwise it's a super fun read, full of interesting sci-fi ideas, and I love the author's sense of humor. Looking forward to continuing the series....more
**spoiler alert** I'm probably not the target audience for this sort of book, but the premise sounded really interesting, so I gave it a try. I've alw**spoiler alert** I'm probably not the target audience for this sort of book, but the premise sounded really interesting, so I gave it a try. I've always loved good portal fantasy stories, and the premise for this story, about kids who have come back from their portal fantasy adventures and are trying to cope with being back in the real world, seemed to hold a lot of possibilities. There's a lot of story potential in terms of playing with the tropes of portal fantasy in a fun and creative way.
Unfortunately it was not really much of a fantasy book. There were maybe two or three magical elements in the story. It was like ordering a cake because the picture on the menu looked delicious, but then finding out it's bland diet sugar-free cake with that nasty whipped-cream frosting and maybe two or three tiny little sprinkles. The story mainly consisted of a bunch of annoying insecure teens with mommy/daddy issues talk about their "portal" problems, which lacked a lot of honest introspection and mostly consisted of blaming others for not understanding/accepting them. It hardly made for interesting or likable characters or conflicts. (And what was with the dirty minds some of these characters had?)
When some characters wind up dead, there's no real loss, because what little time was spent getting to know these characters was time spent disliking them anyway. And then the characters seem to jump to blaming each other out of nowhere. (And they're way too casual about making morbid jokes, which aren't all that funny. How serious am I supposed to take their emotional problems if I'm not even supposed to take death itself all that seriously? The tone was just bizarre.) Anyway, it's not much of a mystery, because there aren't really any compelling clues, there aren't enough characters for there to be any interesting collection of suspects, and the stakes never rise. The "mystery" is soon "solved" in a dull overly-convenient fashion. (Compare this to a great fantasy mystery like "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets".)
So, overall, I thought the book was rather dreadful. But, like I said, I doubt I'm the target audience anyway. "Characters with emotional issues talk about them" is basically a genre, one that's not really my cup of tea.
I still like the idea of a collection of kids getting together after a bunch of different portal fantasy adventures... I may have to write my own take on it someday....more
This short book only took me 3+ years to read... I suppose this classic tale works much better dramatized on stage. The narration, though sometimes chThis short book only took me 3+ years to read... I suppose this classic tale works much better dramatized on stage. The narration, though sometimes charming, often feels old-fashioned and awkward. Story-wise, it's not much different than the numerous adaptations. I suppose the 1954 musical is the most true to the original play....more