Jun 05, 2012
Jun 05, 2012
did not like it
It was possible that Sahalia hadn’t realized she was pretty much sticking her butt in our faces. And maybe she hadn’t known just how sheer that shirt
It was possible that Sahalia hadn’t realized she was pretty much sticking her butt in our faces. And maybe she hadn’t known just how sheer that shirt would get.Just by the weakness of the storyline and the nonexistent/unexplained setting alone and the extremely feminine and unconvincingly male narrator, this book is pretty fucking bad and best described as a "clusterfuck." When you add in slut shaming of a 13-year old girl, who almost gets raped because her would-be-rapist thought she was asking for it, that's when I fucking see red. But it's ok when the entire group, which has been slut-shaming her for her provocative dress for the entire fucking book suddenly tell her "it's not your fault you were almost raped."
No, that's not forgivable. It doesn't justify drawing the poor girl as a character to be reviled for the entire fucking book. Fuck that shit.
There is so much female hate in this book. It is a survival scenario in which the competent females in the book are portrayed as maternal nurturers instead of people who can actually hold their own.
Josie was a natural.The girls are meek. They do what they're told. It doesn't fucking matter if they're competent. A girl is going to be a babysitter while the boys take care of business.
“Alex, help Jake. Figure it out. Astrid, keep the little kids out of the way.”The girliest boy in the group, naturally, is relegated to the role of cook, no matter how atrocious he is at it. The leadership roles are taken over by those who happen to have an Y in their chromosome, no matter if they're jealous, drunk, high, or future rapists.
And then there's the slut shaming of the 13-year old girl, Sahalia.
Sahalia is a 13-going on 30-year old, who dresses like a "hooker."
She had on a giant pair of men’s overalls, cut off at the knee. Under them she was wearing very little. A lace bra and matching lace panties. You could see the bra through them because the sides of overalls are totally open. You could also see the lace cutting over her hip. You could almost see where it connected with the thong part in the back.It doesn't matter if the entire world is collapsing.
Sahalia was wearing what I can best describe as a costume. A sexy carpenter costume. Maybe a sexy farmer.Sahalia will always manage to find the skimpiest possible outfit to wear.
Now her behind is facing us, and they are short shorts she is wearing. So we can see … too much. We can see skin under the leg of her shorts. The creamy skin of her inner, inner thigh.Sahalia has an attitude. She doesn't like authority until a guy yells at her and tells her what to do.
“I can carry a stupid sledgehammer,” she sassed.Other girls slut shame her because to them, Sahalia is a little slut who dresses the way she does so she can attract male attention.
“Enough!” Josie said. “We get it, okay? You’re sexy and you want to have sex with these guys. We get it. But, honey, it’s not going to happen because you are thirteen. Thir. Teen. Do you understand what I’m saying?”So it's just the final fucking straw that Sahalia almost gets raped, and her would-be rapist tries to blame her for it.
“She’s crazy, that girl,” Robbie said. “She kept talking about how none of you think she’s a grown-up but how she is, and she wanted to prove it to you, and honestly, I was trying to get her to put back her nightgown on when that other crazy girl came with the gun.”In the end, Sahalia's group believes her and supports her, but that support feels entirely forced when the entire fucking book, they've been criticizing her behavior, her dress, her desperation, and her rampant flirtation.
Fuck that shit.
Now for the actual plot. It's fucking horrible. This book is a YA novel with characters straight out of a Middle Grade book, and that's actually an insult to Middle Grade books because of how fucking poorly-drawn, clichéd, and one-dimensional the characters are.
The Premise: Let's take all the fucking apocalyptic scenarios in the entire fucking world and throw them together. Hail the size of a bucket? Yep!
Hail in all different sizes from little to that-can’t-be-hail was pelting the street.An earthquake? Sure! A foreshock, even!
And here’s the hilarious part—it was a FORESHOCK. Apparently, that’s what happens when you’re about to experience an 8.2. It’s an earthquake so big it sends messengers ahead.A volcano?! Yeah! A superfuckingvolcano that would make Mt. Krakatoa tremble (no pun intended).
The western face of the entire island had exploded with the eruption of the volcano. Five hundred billion tons of rock and lava had avalanched into the ocean.Five hundred billion tons! How the fuck did they measure that, I wonder?
A tsunami? You got it!
The explosion had created a “megatsunami.”A chemical mushroom cloud? Sure, why not!
We have breaking news. There are reports coming in of a leak. A chemical leak. Chemical warfare compounds.And while we're at it, let's just throw in some pseudo-science paranormal shit, too.
“The compounds attack based on blood type. People with blood type A will develop severe blisters on all exposed skin. After prolonged exposure, the internal organs will begin to hemorrhage, leading to organ failure and death.”What the fuck is this? That's just...not plausible at all. Blood types have played a minor role in disease, but it's mostly concerning diseases like malaria and dengue fever...it's not that far in the future. Concerning all the clusterfuck of disasters that have been thrown at us, this seems to be too much of a stretch.
The entire premise is pretty unbelievable, too. It's 2024. Some years in the future. I know we can't prevent volcanic explosions, or earthquakes, but wouldn't we have an inclination if such a massively disastrous event would be happening? In this book, it all happened out of the blue, and everyone is shocked. The background is completely unexplained, and for some reason the government runs the internet airwaves. We have enough trouble getting people to use Microsoft and Apple Cloud technologies, and enough trouble getting all the internet providers to participate. The idea of a state-run internet is completely absurd, so close to the present.
Super Wal-Mart: The kids are trapped in the book's equivalent of a Super Wal-Mart, which is a store in which you can buy baby diapers, drugs, clothing, guns, and tractor parts all in one store. It's massive. It's the size of a football stadium, and really, a bunch of kids can live there in years if electricity holds up. And that's the problem, the power seems to work. The store has everything, and the kids are just a bunch of stupid brats running around inside a store, arguing with each other, getting drunk, and holding largely pointless elections.
“Guys, I am the QB,” he said. “That means quarterback! The quarterback is the guy on the team who calls the shots and makes sure everyone plays their best. And I’m gonna be a great QB for this team. Us. That’s why you should elect me the leader!”Lord of the Flies, this ain't. It's such a juvenile story, slapdashed together, without a sense of urgency and danger, despite the millions and billions of death happening outside.
There is hardly any mourning for the dead, hardly any thoughts to parents and siblings and dead loved ones, or maybe living loved ones who may be suffering. The narrator is only focused on the present, and the present involves romance and sex, the apocalypse is just a convenient event to get close to a crush.
The Characters: Oh, the fucking tropes. The main character is a guy, Dean, but nicknamed "Geraldine" by his bullies. I can see why they did, Dean is one of the most unconvinging male narrators I've ever read, I mean what kind of teenaged boy worries about a CNN reporter's makeup when she's reporting about a volcano destroying the world?
Her eye makeup was all smeared around her eyes and I wondered why nobody fixed her makeup. It was CNN, for God’s sake.There's the jock, Jake. The All-American girl and object of desire, Astrid, bad-boy jock Brayden, boy-scout and survivalist, Niko.
They hunted for their own food and had no electricity and used wild mushrooms for toilet paper. That kind of thing. People called Niko “Brave Hunter ManThe whore, Saharia, the Sainted-Mary Josie, the dull as hell "good guy" main character, Dean, his all-book-smarts and no common sense little brother, Alex, and a bunch of the most unbelievable, annoying little grade school fuckers that I've ever met. I've never been a fan of children in survival scenarios, and this book is no exception.
There's the 7-year old evangelist, Batista, who never, ever stops preaching the word of God.
I had already overheard him reprimand Brayden for cursing (“Taking the Lord’s name in vain is a sin!”), tattle on Chloe for pushing Ulysses (“Shoving is a sin!”), and inform the other little kids that not saying grace before eating was a sin (“Before we eat, God wants us sinners to give thanks!”).5-year old Chloe, who never fucking stops whining.
“Turn it to Tabi-Teens,” Chloe whined. “This is bo-ring!”And 5-year old Max, that fucking Max can recite passages from any fucking conversation he's overheard.
“My mom once took me in the ladies’ room,” Max volunteered. “And there was this lady in there crying and she had a ice cube and she was rubbing it on her eye and she said, ‘If Harry hits me one more time, I don’t know what I’ll do,’ and then this other lady came out of a stall and she said, ‘If Harry hits you one more time, you give him the end of this to suck on!’ And she puts a real, actual gun down on the sink. Made of metal, I am not even kidding. And then my momma turns to me and goes, ‘Tell your daddy to bring you to the men’s room.’”The Romance:
“Oh man, getting laid is so awesome,” Jake said, scratching his head. “It’s just absolutely the best thing ever. Once you get it, all you can think of is getting it again. Sometimes I’m having sex and I’m worried about the next time I’m gonna have sex!”This book reads like a Middle Grade novel, which is why it's so fucking weird when all the sexual content start popping up. There's the episode when Sahalia almost got raped. There's the incident where Astrid takes her top off for a boy. There's all the sexual discussions that would be laughable if it weren't so out of place. And then there's Dean's FEEEEEEEEEELINGS for Astrid. The perfect Astrid. His observations about her are so obsessive and feminine it's like nothing but Astrid exists. Apocalypse? Whatever. Astrid. Kids are freaking out because they were just involved in a bus accident? Astrid's hair!
Astrid looked beautiful talking to them, hearing about their favorite kinds of pizza, with the wind picking up the tendrils of her hair and bringing a flush to her cheeks.He dreams about Astrid in his darkest moments.
What I wanted was Astrid. She looked so good to me I wanted to take her, in a dark and terrible way.He stalked her and watches her while she undressed.
Astrid’s body was so beautiful my throat closed up.She's hurt? Doesn't matter! Still beautiful!
And there she was. So beautiful, laid out on my knees. She had her eyes closed, and for a moment, I just looked at her. Dirty face. Lips drawn together, chapped and rosy. Eyes red rimmed. The rise of her cheekbones. Eyebrows and lashes golden honey–colored. Some brown, dried freckle-dots that could be blood on her jawline.*gag* You expect me to LIKE a main character who stalks his crush, who watches her undressing without her knowledge, who gives little thought to anyone BUT the beauteous Astrid as the world explodes in flames?
Fuck this book. ...more
Notes are private!
May 29, 2014
May 29, 2014
Sep 27, 2012
Feb 11, 2014
really liked it
I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last 31 days.
I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last 31 days.If you think about it, Robinson Crusoe is kind of a whiny pussy, I say, while sitting in my plush computer chair, with a bar of 72% dark chocolate resting atop my glass of port. Surviving on a deserted island? Easy shit. Crusoe's got all that fucking water, plenty of good carbon-based animals for the eatin', and all those coconuts growing on tree. And here I am, having to actually go to Whole Foods to buy my fresh, young coconuts and having to pay for extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil!
Look at all the motherfucking trees! See all the moist, fertile soil?! What kind of a survival scenario is that, anyway?!
Surviving on a deserted island? That's easy shit. Try surviving on another planet. Namely, Mars. I love a survival premise...but one on another planet? A science fiction book, no less? Um. I don't know about this.
As it turned out, all my fears were wrong. This book was fan-fucking-tastic.
It is filled with humor, it's got a adequate depiction of science that wouldn't confuse a layman like me (not sure how technically correct it is, but it sounds adequate to me, and while I'm not a scientist, neither am I a moron), it's got diversity and female scientists, the narrator is this brilliant genius while having the humor of a 17-year old DotA gamer/frat boy. I absolutely loved him. I wanted to marry him.
I'm fairly good-looking. I'm single. Can someone send this type of engineer my way, please?
The not-so-good: character development (the MC is altogether too optimistic and cheerful), the scientific details can be too much, and this book is really, really fucking long. It's realistic, because it takes a long fucking time to get shit solved, but it lost my attention sometimes.
I’m pretty much fucked.Yep. That he is. Mark Watney, botanist, mechanical engineer, participant in the fledgling Ares program to send humans to Mars, is royally screwed. Shortly upon his arrival to Mars with his crew, his "MAV" ("Mars Ascent Vehicle") got blasted with Category 5 hurricane winds, and with no other choice, the crew had to hightail it out of there.
Sounds like a plan. Except Mark didn't get out when he should have.
It was a ridiculous sequence of events that led to me almost dying. Then an even more ridiculous sequence that led to me surviving.There was an accident involving lots of blood and a punctured suit (fuck), and long story short, the crew left without Mark, believing him dead (fuck).
Mark isn't dead, but he's stranded on Mars and everyone thinks he's dead. So that means he's as good as dead himself. The good thing is that he's not an idiot. Mark's been given medical training (boom, stitches for his injury) by NASA. They don't send untrained idiots on board a mission to Mars. He's also trained in mechanical engineering, and he got his undergraduate degree in Botany. Pretty stupid, when it's like, a fucking mission to Mars, right? I mean, who the fuck would need to plant anything on a hostile planet? As it turns out, botany is more useful for his survival than you would think.
Because now that he's alive and back in the Martian Habitat (the "Hab"), Mark's got to set out a plan for survival. He's realistic about his situation. He's really, really fucked. But all is not lost, he's still got the Hab. Inside the Hab is a good quantity of food, it's an enclosed environment. Mark can stay alive for some time. He's got enough food to last him about a year.
We were six days in when all hell broke loose, so that leaves enough food to feed six people for 50 days. I’m just one guy, so it’ll last me 300 days. And that’s if I don’t ration it. So I’ve got a fair bit of time.He's got enough air from the Oxygenator. He's got power cells. He's got enough water from the Water Reclaimer. The trouble is that the next mission to Mars isn't coming until four years. Mark's got to stay alive until a) they come or b) he manages to communicate with Earth. Clearly, it's a better idea to try and communicate with Earth so they can come get him.
But if I could communicate, I might be able to get a rescue. Not sure how they’d manage that with the resources on hand, but NASA has a lot of smart people.Priority right now: get enough food to last four years. That's a whole lot of calories to generate from nothing. But hey, here's where his botany degree comes in handy!
Mark needs to do a lot of things, but priority #1: grow some potatoes in his Hab.
Remember those old math questions you had in Algebra class? Well, that concept is critical to the “Mark Watney doesn’t die” project I’m working on.It's not a foolproof plan.
I have an idiotically dangerous plan for getting the water I need. And boy do I mean *dangerous*. But I don’t have much choice.In fact, it's downright fucking dangerous at times.
As you can see, this plan provides many opportunities for me to die in a fiery explosion.
And thus we watch the Mark Watney show as he struggles to grow potatoes on Mars and create water out of thin air. And it's really, really thin air, BECAUSE IT'S MOTHERFUCKING MARS.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, all is not lost! A glorified photo technician (ok, she's got a master's in Mechanical Engineering, but all she's doing for NASA is looking at pictures) finds some odd signs on Mars. Shit's there that wasn't there before. It's not Martians, so it's gotta be Mark. He's alive! Sound the bells! Hallelujah! Well, shit, now how do they get him out of there? How do they communicate when there's no way of communicating? Will Mark be able to survive before NASA comes to rescue him? Will NASA be able to find a way to communicate with Mark?
“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?”The Setting: Well, it's Mars. What did you expect? There's um, craters, dry dust, and more craters and more dry dust. Just kidding. We spend most of our time within a contained environment, and to be honest, it's not that important. What makes the setting believable is the science that's presented to us, in entirely layman's terms. There's a lot of concepts to understand, and Mark does a fantastic job of breaking science in a way that makes it feel real while making it credible and easy to comprehend.
I’m going to use the RTG.I'm a fan of science, but I avoid the hard shit when I can. I'm not the smartest person in the world, and technicalities beyond the basic grasps of physics, chemistry, and biology hurts my head. I can understand science. I just choose not to sometimes, and I avoid the cold, hard technical stuff when I can. I can break down most of the basics (like a truly laughable dystopian global-warming scenario) but anything more than that taxes me. Look down upon me if you will. I had no problems understanding and believing any of the scientific concepts in this book. This book may use science extensively, but it is so well-described and so well-drawn and explained that it doesn't feel like a science-fiction book at all.
I'm turning my pee into rocket fuel. It's easier than you'd think.The humor:
I chipped his sacred religious item into long splinters using a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. I figure if there’s a God, He won’t mind, considering the situation I’m in.Mark is a damned funny narrator. This may be projection, but I see a lot of my own personality and humor in him. I'm such a humble person, aren't I? He's just like me, only wittier, funnier, smarter, and 1000x more brilliant. But I'm prettier, so I'm sure that makes us just about even.
There's a lot of geeky jokes, involving NASA's tendency to overspend on, well, just about everything.
One thing I have in abundance here is bags. They’re not much different than kitchen trash bags, though I’m sure they cost $50,000 because NASA.And computer-related jokes that might go over the heads of people who don't fuck around with computers for fun.
"We updated Pathfinder’s OS without any problems. We sent the rover patch, which Pathfinder rebroadcast. Once Watney executes the patch and reboots the rover, we should get a connection.”The Character Development: This is one of my few complaints. Mark is incredibly cheerful, and this is very hard to believe. He is fucked, but he makes a joke out of it. This might work, except that for almost the length of the entire novel, he is constantly funny and optimistic about it. He jokes about his own death. He jokes about the fact that he might end up a a handful of dust on Mars. Everything is humorous, and I like it, because I love his humor, but it doesn't make him a believable character.
I wanted to see his despair. I wanted to feel his loneliness. I wanted to see him suffer, to FEEL him suffer because it's a really, really fucking screwed up situation. Mark's attitude makes him a fun character to read, but it doesn't make him feel realistic.
[12:04]JPL: We’ll get botanists in to ask detailed questions and double-check your work. Your life is at stake, so we want to be sure. Also, please watch your language. Everything you type is being broadcast live all over the world....more
Notes are private!
May 09, 2014
May 10, 2014
May 09, 2014
Jan 11, 2012
Jan 11, 2012
really liked it
This is ridiculous, she thought. I’m possessed of terrifying powers. Why am I relying on a ridiculous little gun that I picked because I thought it w
This is ridiculous, she thought. I’m possessed of terrifying powers. Why am I relying on a ridiculous little gun that I picked because I thought it was cute? I don’t need this thing. She threw it contemptuously over her shoulder.This book is X-Men meets X-Files meets The Bourne Identity meets Johnny English. And that may sound like a clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks, but somehow it works, or maybe my mind is just trying to make it better than it is because I'm coming off a massive chain of horrible books. Whatever. I loved it.
If this book were made into a movie, I can totally see Tina Fey in the lead role.
- Witty, dry, humorous writing
- A female assassin/secret agent not afraid to kill- A fun and interesting secret agency, think "paranormal MI5"
- A well-executed amnesia premise
- A racially diverse and fun suporting cast of characters
- NO ROMANCE. CAN I GET A FUCK, YEAH?!
The not so good:
- Questionable character development
- The length: it's a good book, but it could stand to be cut by a good 100 pages
- The infodump: It's a fun infodump, but it's still an infodump
Dear You,A woman stood shivering in the rain, surrounded by a circle of dead bodies. She has no idea who she is. A letter inside her pocket informed her that she is a Myfanwy Thomas, pronounced miff-UN-nee . The letter gives her instructions, where to go, what to do. She checks herself into a hotel, as instructed, finds more letters. The next morning, she leaves the hotel, and is promptly attacked by four people, one of them the receptionist.
Myfanwy's reaction is a little unexpected. She almost kills them.
When she opened her eyes and took a breath, she realized that there was no one holding her. Instead, the four people were lying on the ground, twitching uncontrollably.Interesting.
These letters will continue for the rest of the book. They tell Myfanwy who she was, how she grew up, most importantly, they tell her that Myfanwy now works for a secret agency known as the Checquy Group. They've been in existence for hundreds of years, and Myfanwy is a Rook. One of the highest ranking members of the group. Once you're in the Checquy Group, you don't get out.
I’ve only ever heard of three people who tried to leave the Checquy, and I know the history inside and out.The Checquy Agency employs normal, loyal people, but the epistle of its powers lies in those with special powers, such as Myfanwy.
I gained the power to touch people and possess instant control of their bodies. I could make them move however I pleased. I could read their physical condition, detect pregnancy, cancer, a full bladder.Only, instead of being a super secret special agent, the old Myfanwy appears to be nothing more than a "glorified paper pusher," albeit a very powerful one. So what happened? How did she lose her memories? Why did the old Myfanwy plan so carefully for such a scenario?
Lots of questions. Few answers. But for now, Myfanwy's still got a job to go to. She has to step into her former life without a beat, while avoiding her colleague's questions.
“Yes?” said Myfanwy. What, do these guys keep tabs on my comings and goings? “Well, I...had an appointment.” They regarded her with expectant eyes, and she was suddenly filled with a desire to shake up those proprietary stares. “A gynecologist appointment.” She smiled triumphantly at the twins. “To have my vagina checked.”And it has to be confessed that Myfanwy isn't altogether convincing at times.
“I’m sorry, Rook Thomas, but your car is here,” she said.There's a lot of weird crap thrown at her, including horrifying colleagues who wouldn't hesitate to literally rip someone's face off, and acquaintances who have been alive for thousands of years.
“… past century she is notable for having kneed Joseph Stalin in the groin during a drinks reception, and she played a large part in the South African diamond industry,” Ingrid went on. “She also cured one member of our royal family of cancer in the 1950s, and infected another with syphilis in the 1960s.”On her quest to find the truth about her memory loss, Myfanwy will face terrifying danger, manipulative colleagues, plagues, vampires, werewolves, mold monsters, and company parties.
I can’t wear this!” Myfanwy exclaimed in horror.The Setting: This book is an infodump. I usually hate infodumping, but it was done exceedingly well in this book. Through a series of letters, the old Myfanwy explained the inner workings, the history, and the stories surrounding the infernal Checquy Agency. It's a pretty typical paranormal agency, but it is so well-presented, from the internal politics, to the ranking, to the little-known details only an insider would know. It's an old agency, it is resistant to change. Paranormal or not, some things remain the same.
Occasionally, someone will point out these flaws and attempt to institute a change, but that person is slapped down. The reasons for this down-slappage are:The premise of the superpowers are similar to that of the X-Men. While most of them lack the extent of the full mutant appearance, the players within the Checquy Agency are quite dangerous and abnormal. Like the fabulously Children-of-the-Corn Rook Gestalt.
Three boys and one girl. Two of the boys were identical. That’s not the weirdest thing, however. The weirdest thing was that when all four pairs of eyes opened, only one mind was looking out from behind them. This was Gestalt.f you wanted people with freakishly awesome powers who aren't afraid to use said power to maim, torture, and kill, you won't do much better than this book.
- She is hilariously average. She is quite plain in appearance (and no, nobody falls in love with her), her body is nothing special. She has terrible taste in clothing. She likes bunnies. She loves Toblerone chocolate. She has a tendency to stumble. While the old Myfanwy was a wallflower, the new Myfanwy is more apt to put her foot in her mouth, with a preference to run and hide rather than do anything heroic. But she can't, because she's a powerful person without being able to remember it. Crap.
She is jealous sometimes while never, ever slut shaming or hating another female for her appearance. In fact, one of the women with whom she works.
Please let her have slept her way to the top, thought Myfanwy. No one deserves to be this beautiful and clever too.Turns out to be not only beautiful, but awesome, nice, and a great friend.
- She is super super super deadly, and is kind of a special snowflake at times.
My God, you were the most exciting find in decades! All of us knew about your potential. The tutors at the Estate were babbling about you to everyone!”But it doesn't piss me off because she doesn't really give a fuck. The old Myfanwy is scared, she chokes, she hates using her powers to harm. The new Myfanwy doesn't have those reservations, but she's still not inclined to get into dangerous situations because 1. She doesn't want to, and 2. She really doesn't have a clue what's going on most of the time.
- Blending in: When you're an amnesiac, trying to get back into the swing of things at your paranormal MI5 workplace is kind of hard, especially when you have multiple-body-psychic-colleagues. I mean, what are you supposed to do when they're mentally killing something in front of you?
Finally, after a high-pitched kiYAA!, they settled back, breathing heavily, and explained that Eliza had just broken the neck of the leader of the antler cult, and that the complex was secured.The Not-So-Good: Really, there's only one thing. Her personality change. She has amnesia, and as mentioned, Myfanwy has trouble trying to get back into things and appearing normal. She's clumsy, but sometimes, she is far, far too competent and take-charge very early on when she largely hasn't a fucking clue of what's going on. Like during her first meeting, when things get out of hand, Myfanwy decides to take charge.
“Gentlemen!” she finally shouted, and her voice cut through the noise like a scythe through a poodle. There was dead silence, and everyone stared at her, stunned. “You all need to shut up and stay focused on the task at hand. Dr. Crisp, if you will turn your eyes back toward the interrogation, I wonder if you could revive the subject and question him.”This is entirely too confident, too much for me to believe. I can understand a personality change, but I can't accept that Myfanwy can be so utterly silly and incompetent-sounding on one page, while being competely take-charge in the next.
It was an old room in an old building and was decorated in a very specific style that showed the decorators were lacking both imagination and a second X chromosome.It's hilarious, but it's not like ha-ha hilarious. The author is American, but he does a damn fine job of replicating dry, deprecating British wit.
The Romance: THERE IS NONE! HALLELUJAH! ...more
Notes are private!
May 06, 2014
May 07, 2014
Apr 23, 2014
Oct 07, 2014
Oct 07, 2014
This is a well-written YA mystery, but from the blurb, I expected more darkness and more excitement. I enjoyed it, but I found it lacking on the promi This is a well-written YA mystery, but from the blurb, I expected more darkness and more excitement. I enjoyed it, but I found it lacking on the promised darkness and suspense.
1. A well-developed group of best friends, male and female
2. A realistic amount of romance
3. Psychologically complex characters
4. Great small-town atmosphere
5. A well-written love triangle based on friendship, and a light amount of romance
6. A male narrator who is neither an asshole, nor a girl in disguise. He has a crush on a girl, but he never sings odes of unrealistic poetry about the color of her eyes or her hair
1. The mystery---from the premise, I expected more of a paranormal twist; this is more of a Monkey's Paw sort of premise. There is only one "strange" element in this book. If you read this, be warned that this is not much more than a well-written psychological mystery
2. The pacing: it is a slow book
3. It's still a love triangle
4. The binoculars: even when explained, it's a pretty flimsy premise that felt pieced together from bits and pieces of pseudo-science
“I saw my dad,” she said shakily. “In our house. There was blood everywhere.” Natalie stopped, breathed quickly, like she could barely suck in the air. “I think he was dead.”It all started with their last trip into the Vermont woods. Riley and his friends are taking one last trip to their favorite part of the Vermont woods before winter---and the stress of senior year hits. With him are Natalie, Tannis, Trip, and Trip's girlfriend, Sarah. Sarah, whom Riley adores, unrequited. During a game of Truth or Dare, Sarah and Riley go into a cave...instead of sharing a secret, they find a box containing a pair of binoculars that are anything but ordinary. Instead of magnifying what's in front of them, they show Riley a vision...
There was someone beside me in that bed.Riley is not alone, his friends see visions as well. They're not sure what the visions represent, or if they're, in fact, visions at all? Was it a mass hallucination? A psychotropic drug transplanted on the binoculars? Do the binoculars show visions of the future? Or is it something else?
“Maybe it was, like, our hidden thoughts,” I said, watching her reaction. “Our deepest wishes or worst fears or some thing.”Whatever it is, not all the visions are as benign as Riley's. His friend Natalie sees her father's bloody death.
And it's a death that actually happens. Natalie's father is killed, and she is a suspect. Natalie's father is a troubled man, and all her friends know it. They can't help but think that maybe Natalie had something to do with it, and apparently, so do the police. And what is the binocular's role in all this?
“What if this is like that and somehow it changed Natalie?” I said, then added, “We have no idea what we’re dealing with.”The Mystery: The premise of the binocular is more of a slightly-paranormal force that drives the plot along, rather than anything paranormal or malicious itself. The binoculars are psychological mindfuck, as the teenagers in this book try to determine the visions and what they mean. In that sense, it works quite well. Think about it, if you were to have a vision of yourself lying dead on the floor, what would you think? How would you try to change it? Would you try to change your life while thinking that it's a vision of the future? Would you try to change the paths that would remove you furthest from that future? Or would you do nothing, thinking that it's your mind playing tricks on you?
In that sense, it works well, but for me, I guess I wanted more than that. I wanted more meaning, I wanted more darkness, I wanted to be scared and thrilled. This book did neither for me.
It was one of the things I hated about Buford. Everyone knew too much about everyone else.Small-town Vermont. A dead-end town. Growing up in Buford, Vermont, you have two choices. Get the fuck out, or have no future. It's not a big industrial town, it is a small town of 1200, that depends on the winter and the skiing tourists. Like any backwaters location, there is a drug problem. The police force isn't that great. You will likely have known your classmates since kindergarten.
The townspeople each have distinct, authentic character, however little they appear in the book. From the relaxed police officer...
Some guys probably were excited by the idea of “real” police work, but Bob wouldn’t be one of them. He had a little girl and a pretty wife and seemed content to shoot the shit with the townies and write the occasional parking ticket....to the wonderful AP Physics teacher who instills passion in learning despite his four-person class.
The Characters: I really loved the teenagers in this book, they each had complex psychological profiles, and I didn't feel like they were tropes at all. From Natalie, the champion skiier with a trailer trash family she wants to protect, to car-loving tough-girl Tannis, with an unexpected amount of passion and reason for her steely exterior.
"I’ve watched how it is for my mom, stuck in the house—every minute she’s not working, that is—washing and cleaning and cooking and then washing and cleaning and cooking again. She’s been doing it for twenty years, and my mom’s awesome, but she’s never done any of the stuff she wanted. Live in a city, fly on an airplane, do a job where she gets to wear a suit. Kids are a straight-up dead-end boring job, and it is definitely not for me.”Outside of the five best friends, there are other side characters who are sympathetic, too. The adults are well-portrayed. They're not flawless, they're not dumb; they are humans who make mistakes, and they are people who have lives outside of their children.
The Romance: There is a love triangle in the book, and it didn't bother me that much. What made the romance bearable is the lightness of it, and the fact that the people involved are friends, first and foremost. They've known each other since they were twelve. Riley wanted to date Sarah...but his friend, Trip, got to her first. Imagine about to tell your best friend that you're about to ask a girl out, only to have your best friend tell you that he's asking the same girl out. Riley played the bigger man, he let Trip date Sarah without ever confessing his feelings...
And the rest, as they say, is history. Trip went with her, I stayed home, and from then on I got to watch the two of them—my sometimes best friend and the girl I’d been crushing on—fall in love. Un-fucking-believable.There's the friendship. Sarah and Riley are friends, they talk to each other, they have their close moments, but it takes awhile for their relationship to develop into romantic potential. And when they do, there's so much guilt involved that I can't hate them at all.
“Oh God, Sarah.” I pulled back, away from her. I kid you not, it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. “I can’t. God knows I want to.”Overall: A solid book, with great characters and good writing. The plot is slow, and the paranormal element very light and somewhat unbelievable. Recommended, with reservations.
Quotes taken from an uncorrected galley subject to change in the final published edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Apr 19, 2014
Apr 20, 2014
Apr 19, 2014
Apr 22, 2014
Apr 22, 2014
did not like it
Over the next hour and a half, twenty more dragon names cross my computer screen. All ignore me.
Over the next hour and a half, twenty more dragon names cross my computer screen. All ignore me.DNF at 58% because there's just no point in continuing. This is the worst book about dragons that I've ever read.
I still have enough to rage about, as it is. This is a book about a girl who --for lack of a better description-- becomes a dragon telemarketer, at least, that's where I stopped.
This book is one of the most plotless, nonsensical books I've ever read. Dragons? DRAGONS? My left shoe has more personality than these dragons. I think I gave this book a fair shot. If there's absolutely crap world building by this point, then why should I continue?
This is a book about dragons vs. the government, sprinkled with reality TV, catfights, whore-name-calling, and a magical makeover. There was no world building, a terrible main character who SCREAMS AND YELLS AND OMG DADDY FUCK YOU I HATE YOU and YOU'RE A STUPID LITTLE SNOT, DUMB FUCKING LITTLE BROTHER with all the signs of being a special chosen snowflake later on for no apparent. It's all telling and no showing and as emotionless as Nicole Kidman's face after a Botox binge. I've been warned that there's slut shaming (thankfully, I didn't get to that part, but I stopped right after a catfight, so I've no doubt there was going to be some unholy feminist rage later on had I continued further).
The writing was unremarkable, so much so that I took almost no notes on this book. There was nothing that stood out. As such, you're going to have to endure a review with remarkably few quotations from the book (for me, that is).
The Summary: 15 years ago, dragons came to earth. They're terrifying, destructive monsters, killing over 80 million people. For some fucking reasons, we conquered them. The dragons, Reds, Blues, Greens in color, are now sent to, like, dragon zoos. No idea what happened to the rest of the world, or the rest of the US, because we're living one military city, Mason-Kline, and it is as if nothing else exists outside of it.
Melissa Callahan is a stupid teenager who does stupid things. When we start the book, she and her friends have broken into a dragon compound (where's the motherfucking guards?!) and taken some stupid Facebook frat boy/douchebag style photo, posing on top of a Blue dragon (respect, yo!). A hot boy appears, says something mysterious to her. She hears a mysterious dragon voice in her head! Boy disappears. Melissa's like "Huh."
Her dad finds the stupid photo of her mounting the poor sleeping dragon. Melissa gets into trouble. She flips her dad off, she yells at her dad, she yells at her brother. Her brother runs off in tears. All of a sudden, there are dragons eeeeeeeveryfucking where, breathing fire and shit on people. The military comes in, they subdue the dragons, but not before the dragons do some major damage. The dragons carry her off to some kind of dragon camp. Hot boy is there. He tells her that dragons are really nice people, they just want to live in peace. They talk a lot. Melissa still thinks the dragons are murderers. They talk some more, and I don't know what the fuck they talk about because I can't remember a single fucking thing about their fucking conversations.
Melissa gets captured somehow. She, for some fucking reason, gets a makeover where she turns into a blond beauty. There was no point to this, because she gets sent to some kind of rehabilitation camp with a bunch of catty girls who call each other "whores," where she pretty much uses her TELEPATHY MAGIC SPARKLY UNICORN POWER to tune in to dragon radio and call dragons to recruit/trick them as needed.
Lester hands me a different call script. A single page with two paragraphs of text. One for introduction, one for rebuttal. Only one fill-in-the-blank (my alias) and one handwritten note (Growl as you speak).
Where's the fucking world building?!: As I said, 15 years ago, dragons came to earth. I don't know what the fuck happened, apparently, neither do the dragons. They're destructive, they killed over 80 million people (that's 1/4 of the current US population) before they were stopped. How were they stopped? They can't see the color black, but how were these dragons stopped? What happened to the rest of the US? Why are the dragons confined? Why aren't they locked up or completely destroyed, instead of being in research zoos. Why are they left completely alone otherwise? Why are they so poorly secured that a bunch of drunk teenagers can break into a dragon holding area?!
These dragons have killed 80 fucking million people! Why aren't we more careful with them?!
80 million people have died! What happened to the rest of the world?! What happened to the government? Why are we living in a military town? Why is the fucking military town so poorly secured that it takes one little dragon attack to demolish the whole town. IT'S A MILITARY TOWN. IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE MORE SECURE.
The dragons breathe fire! They breathe ice! Why are they so fucking docile all of a sudden after HAVING KILLED 80 MILLION PEOPLE? Why are they allowing themselves to be imprisoned with their full powers intact AFTER HAVING KILLED 80 MILLION PEOPLE? Why are we even giving them a chance AFTER THEY KILLED 80 MILLION PEOPLE? How many fucking dragons are left on earth anyway?! We don't know anything! What kind of weapons did we develop that's so special and awesome to defeat the kind of fire-breathing, smoke-spewing dragons THAT KILLED 80 MILLION PEOPLE?
They're like cuddly happy warm little carebears happy to talk to telepathic humans who are on their side. The humans who befriend and talk telepathically to these dragons aren't normal people, they're fucking dragon fanboys. Furthermore, these dragons are tremendously fucking boring. They don't say anything of importance. They don't remember anything. They're pretty much useless, which makes me wonder HOW THE FUCK DID THEY KILL 80 MILLION PEOPLE?!
From what I read, there were no point to the dragon colors. They might as well be like brown or golden puppies, because despite the distinguishing colors, there were little difference between them. There was no dragon lore, since the dragons don't remember anything about where they came from.
Don't get me wrong, I love dragons! I've loved dragons ever since I was a child. If you're going to give me a book about dragons, don't make them boring! Make them destructive, sure. Make them bloodthirsty, cruel, demonic. Awesome! Don't make them boring! Pokémons are cuter and more interesting than these creatures. That's just a fucking travesty.
All of a sudden, we have these reality TV shows where dragons are hunted. The guys who hunt them are celebrities, like those in Dog, the Bounty Hunter. REALITY SHOWS, WHAT THE FUCK?! It's been 5 years since the war against the dragons ended. 80 MILLION PEOPLE DIED. It's like having a reality show about hunting the Taliban after 9/11. It's a fucking dumb idea, and you can't tell me that this sort of shit would fly in an alternate universe.
Where's the mourning? Where's the emotion? All the emotions in this book is ANGER ANGER ANGER ANGER KILL THE DRAGONS UGLY DESTRUCTIVE ASSHOLES versus the insurgent OMG MAGICAL HAPPY BEAUTIFUL LORD MASTER DRAGONS. Where's the wonder? Where's the history? Is there any sort of introspection about the legend of the dragons in our mythology and lore versus the cold, hard reality at all?
The dragons can talk. They might as well have been mute. They're all telling and no showing, because there was nothing to them. They're like lions who have been bred and raised within a zoo. Powerful potential. Interesting to look at. No personality. No complexity. They eat. They breed. They get fawned over. Oohed and aahed by the humans with twinkles in their eyes who have conveniently forgotten that THESE DRAGONS HAVE KILLED 80 MILLION PEOPLE.
Roar about us dragons, roar about your god, roar at yourself if you must, roar as loud and long as you can until there is nothing left to roar about. Send all the badness away.^ Says the dragon. What the FUCK does that even mean? So this is the equivalent of dragony purple prose.
The Makeover: What the fuck?!
I thought I recognized the girl in the mirror before, but this one I’ve never seen. Her hair’s blond and falls in glorious curls around her shoulders. Eyebrows are also dyed, what remains of them. Smoky eye shadow. Enough foundation to fill a grave. Skin a shade between gold and bronze. Midnight-red lipstick to offset the silver circlet nestled in her hair.After Melissa is captured and imprisoned and given crappy food and put into solitary confinement with a single nasty toilet that doesn't flush...all of a sudden, she gets a fucking makeover. And then given some kind of...I want to say Hunger Game-esque pin? Is that where this book is headed? I don't know, I don't care.
I was confused as fuck, and I'm still confused as fuck. Without any ceremony, she's thrown in front of a camera. It's a reality show. They're going to make a documentary out of her. They put her underaged brother on camera. They're filming everything. It's the dumbest fucking thing in the world.
When [my father]’s past the fire pit, I give him the finger, turn around, and march right up Dragon Hill.Melissa is a little snotty, bratty, shrieking, perpetually unhappy and angry bitch. I hate using the word bitch, I really do. I hate a word that specifically targets a girl or a woman as petty, snippy, perpetually angry, ball-breaking for no reason at all, but it is so perfectly fitting for Melissa's personality.
“Strong spirit, fragile mind.” His expression grows serious. “I thought it would be a run-of-the-mill recruiting trip, but when I met her, she absolutely floored me.”
James is a fawning insta-lovey-dovey nitwit of a yelping puppy. There was absolutely no point to the romance whatsoever. There was zero chemistry.
I'm gonna go reread my beloved Dragonriders of Pern series so I can erase this book from my memory. Hell, Puff, the Magic Dragon makes more sense plot-wise than this book. ...more
Notes are private!
May 18, 2014
May 18, 2014
Mar 26, 2014
Apr 08, 2014
Apr 08, 2014
did not like it
Warning: Long science-related rage rant ahead >_<
Putting my trust in James would make me just as dumb. I couldn’t let him get to me no matter hWarning: Long science-related rage rant ahead >_<
Putting my trust in James would make me just as dumb. I couldn’t let him get to me no matter how amazing his abs were. Still, that sadness in his eyes—Look, you fucking moron, a serial killer could have a sad look in his eyes right before he kills you and mounts you. Hopefully mounting in the taxidermy sense and not the sexual sense, but whatever.
I had hoped that a YA sci-fi written by someone with a Ph.D would make sense. I was tragically wrong.
This is probably one of the most outrageously nonsensical dystopian/post-apocalyptic setting I've ever read. The plot is barely worth mentioning, because it stems from one Too-Stupid-To-Live girl's idiotic inability to keep her fucking mouth shut. The book contains pseudo-science that might be believable to a 6th grader. It throws a bunch of abstract scientific bullshit at you in the hopes that something will eventually stick. The setting just doesn't make any sense on top of the inconsistencies. I will go over the setting in excruciating, profanity-filled details in a bit, but let me give you a taste of why this book is so fucking dumb.
It is 300 years in the future. We have almost no oxygen. The oceans have all boiled away. There is no water; water only exists through an artificial system that gathers up water molecules in the air and condenses it into actual drinking water. Because of this, the main character lives on...
"...one cup of water a day."Let me tell you something. That's bullshit. A human cannot live on one cup of water a day. I don't care if you do nothing in your day but lie in bed, you still need a hell of a lot more water than that. Try 3 liters (or roughly 3 quarts) of water a day. One cup is nothing. The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. ONE cup of water (8 ounces) a day doesn't fucking cut it. It's a biological fact.
You lose water through breathing, you lose water through your pores. It's called insensible water loss. You don't necessary see yourself sweating, but rest assured, your pores are constantly breathing water. That's why we wear cotton clothes instead of plastic clothes. Our bodies are constantly losing water and we need to ventilate.
AND YET in the middle of all this water conservation, the people in this book still sweat constantly. Every other chapter is a mention of how someone is drenched in sweat (because Earth's temperature is so hot), and you know, when you're trying to conserve water within your body, you really shouldn't be fucking exercising until you're dripping in sweat.
“Sorry, I thought I’d get a run in before tonight. Did you want to use it?” Although he looked like he’d been running for hours, he barely sounded winded.And I don't know if you've ever ran for 45 minutes at a gym, but one cup of water a day isn't going to fucking cut it, particularly not on a futuristic treadmill.
...forty-five minutes a day on the motion machine.The Summary:
“That’s why he made sure [the guns] wouldn’t work for anyone but me.”This book wouldn't have happened but for Tora's inability to keep her fucking mouth shut.
It is 300 years in the future. The sun's pretty much went boom, or rather, it KEEPS EXPANDING. It's getting bigger and bigger and burning up the Earth. There's no oxygen, no water. And Tora might be...
...the last girl on EarthShe is an orphan, living in a hideout outside of the pod cities. Her father was a brilliant scientist who designed a bunch of dangerous weapons for the government (the Consulate) only to regret it. The thing is that the weapons are pretty much useless because Tora is the only one who can use them. So the future is hopeless, Tora's running out of air, she's thinking of Plan B (killing herself) when a knock on the door comes. It's a baddie, Markus. Markus wants the weapons that her father designed.
Instead of lying to him or telling him the weapons don't work, or SOMETHING, Tora decides to be a motherfucking moron and tell Markus that she's the only one who can use the deadly weapons.
I wanted to kick myself for telling him about being the sole person who could fire them.And now after moping and whining (50% of this book is Tora doing absolutely nothing but moping and whining), Markus has come back. WITH COMPANY.
So Tora hears suspicious noises on her underground bunker's door. Instead of like, fucking shutting herself in like what you should do if you suspect there's an intruder, SHE FUCKING GOES OUTSIDE (into oven-like temperature) TO CHECK!
Something was definitely hitting the door. My heart raced. This could go very badly, but I didn’t make it to seventeen by being an apocawuss. I braced myself, took a deep breath, and pushed the door open.MOTHERFUCKING IDIOT. So now it's a 5 vs one fight, and to make it worse, there's YET another party shooting at them. And NOW instead of running the fuck away back into the house like she should have done in the first fucking place, Tora allows the intruders to break into her bunker for safety.
Markus shrugged and had the nerve to smirk at me. “Guess we’re all on the same side now.”But it's ok, because one of the people trying to kill Tora is James. Dreamy, dreamy James. Who just tried to kill her, but who cares, he's so hot!
His body was solid muscle. Sweat dripped down his face, his chest, his arms … he wasn’t just sort of cute, he was hot.Her stomach goes "fluttering." Her breath catches.
James and Tora get to know each other. She should be angry with him. But the sadness in his eyes...and...
I should be angry with him, yet a small part of me liked the look on his face.They exchange Sad Life Stories (tm) (after he tries to kill her).
“They said that the world didn’t need another worthless child to feed and they shot her, her arms still wrapped around me.”;_;
Tora finds multiple reasons to lift her shirt off for James. Like finding a place to hide a gun.
I turned away and lifted my shirt.And check on the state of her rib injury.
I shifted my satchel over to the other side, and lifted my shirt up a little.And play doctor with each other.
Aside from my panties, the only things under this flimsy excuse of a gown were bandages.Will James and Tora ever find a non-medical excuse to take each other's clothes off?
Both his hands slid down toward my hips and his lips almost touched mine. I was no doctor but this was definitely not part of any medical exam I’d ever seen.Or will Alec, the boy with the puppy, get in the way of their One Twoo Wuv?!
Alec couldn’t die. Somebody as decent as him had to live. He saved the last dog on the planet. Tears welled in my eyes.The Setting: I'm going to try to type this out without laughing. 300 years ago, the sun went boom because an asteroid hit the earth but we deflected it and it hit the sun instead (?! that's a long fucking distance for an asteroid to travel, damn, son!) but the asteroid contained Dark Matter so it made the sun go BOOM and there goes life on Earth as we know it.
Nope. Failed. BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA AHAHAH OH MY DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!
Ok, the "asteroid" was the size of the moon. 300 years ago is OUR PRESENT DAY. You mind telling us how the fuck we got the technology to launch a rocket that could deflect a giant asteroid into the sun? It's a long fucking way. Furthermore, a moon-sized asteroid would probably be predicted like HUNDREDS OF YEARS ahead of time, so why did it suddenly just fucking happen?! Dark matter inside an asteroid? PLEASE! Dark matter is an energy. It's a concept! It's not like a black hole, it doesn't make things explode. Dark matter just a term to explain things that we cannot actually find electromagnetically, like gravity. IT'S NOT GOING TO CAUSE THE SUN TO GO BOOM. NOT LIKE THIS.
An unexpected reaction occurred and the sun kicked into hyperdrive. It began burning hydrogen like crazy, and before anyone could comprehend what had happened, the helium in the core was exhausted.So the sun did went boom, against all fucking odds. And now there's no oxygen on earth (?! OMG THE HEAT TOOK AWAY ALL THE OXYGEN TOO?!) and now there are no water because ALL THE SEAS BOILED AWAY. Fuck evaporation, right? Gee, the water cycle. I WONDER WHERE ALL THE FUCKING WATER MOLECULES WENT WHEN IT EVAPORATED AND DIDN'T GO OFF THE EARTH.
So the earth is hot, and if you go outside, expect to catch fire.
Please don’t let me catch fire.There's no water, but there's a technology designed to harvest motherfucking water molecules from the air. Hmm, WHAT ABOUT THAT WATER CYCLE, HUH?!
When the ponds, lakes, and finally, the oceans had boiled and evaporated, the Consulate scientists came through with technology allowing us to glean the precious water molecules from the atmosphere.And WAR SUCKS, because you can only get enough for one cup of water per person a day. Right. Because the human body can totally live on that.
And now the oceans are gone, the animals and plants are gone, we live on gel foods. There are Pod Houses inside Pod Cities. The United States is now a Sector 5, and we're all ONE BIG HAPPY CONTINENT NOW because the oceans don't exist anymore. We have one common currency. We have one common language (which is English. So sorry, France) but somehow Tora is a rebel because she loves dropping Spanish phrases into her vocabulary.
I was muy caliente, and not in the good way.What do you call a Spanish weabo?
There is hyperdrive speed technology, we can travel to other galaxies, and in fact, we have found a planet that's EXACTLY LIKE OUR OWN. In the solar system Hydrus (Hydro, for water, get it?!?!?!11111). It's exactly like Earth. How very convenient.
Yes, it’s like Earth, minus the astronomical temperatures. Caelia’s sun is where ours was back before the ’roid hit it.” Markus smashed his fist into his palm like I needed a visual. He smirked. “People are already soaking up the rays—right next to the oceans.”But don't get your hopes up, because we don't get to see anything except the inside of a bunker and a very boring ship.
Oh, and The Ultra Secret Weapon? It's powered by some New Agey HUMAN VIBRATIONS stuff. Sorry, but I have to laugh. I know it's possible, but I can't think back to my high school physics class without laughing at the concept of humans vibrating at a frequency to power a weapon.
The Plot: There was essentially no plot. Very little happens in the book besides Tora being a motherfucking idiot and pretending that she's Under The Sea.
I lay down and pretended to be submerged in the cool depths as the waves crashed above me. It was somehow harder to catch my breath down here on the imaginary ocean floor. After another minute, the need for oxygen overwhelmed me. I must have done a better job visualizing than I thought.Or else moping and whining and giving us infodump after infodump on this post-apocalyptic world that doesn't make any fucking sense. The romance is forced, as expected, the writing is underwhelming.
Furthermore: WHY NOT JUST KILL HERSELF?! Sorry, but Tora ALREADY had a plan to kill herself because her world is about to end anyway. So she learns that she is the key to a destructive weapon, nobody can use it but her, and people can use her to destroy people, and her morals won't let her give the weapons away. So why not just kill yourself and save the trouble? Sorry if this sounds callous, but if you're already suicidal and millions of lives could be destroyed by a weapon you can fire, then why not? Ugh.
There's also girl-on-girl hate. There is one other girl in this book, and man, is she portrayed to be a jerk, a slut, a sharp-cheeked, bird-faced bitch who sits on guys' laps and does nothing except make dumb plans that gets overthrown by our beautiful, fantastic Tora.
Skip this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Apr 08, 2014
Apr 09, 2014
Mar 23, 2014
Mar 11, 2013
Apr 25, 2013
did not like it
Get a grip, Jenna, I tell myself furiously. People’s lives depend on you tomorrow, and all you can think about is snogging Max.As a child, I read al
Get a grip, Jenna, I tell myself furiously. People’s lives depend on you tomorrow, and all you can think about is snogging Max.As a child, I read almost the entire Baby Sitter's Club books. Almost 20 years later, I am rather bemused and amused to realize that I've essentially just read another story about babysitting. Sure, the premise is different, there's a dystopian future (and by dystopian, I mean the let's-throw-random-dystopian-element-crap-at-a-wall-and-see-what-sticks), but really, this is a story about a "tough" teenage girl who acts, more or less, as a babysitter to a delicate, fainting, stammering, blushing little boy.
‘Shut up,’ he says. ‘I hate you. I HATE YOU!’Who throws one hell of a tantrum.
You might have noticed I used quotation marks for the word "tough." That's because this girl is a bad-ass, someone who is seriously kick ass. Only she shows no evidence of it in the book. Listen, I don't give a flying fuck if you proclaim yourself to be the biggest, baddest bitch in the whole wide fucking dystopian universe if you don't prove yourself. If you constantly quake in your fucking boots, if you constantly faint, if you're constantly fucking saved by the act of deus ex fucking machina, you ain't shit to me, ok?
If you read nothing else of my review, this is what I want you to know about this book. It is a long fucking book with a long fucking nonsensical plot.
1. The dystopian world is generic dystopian bullshit
2. There is a self-proclaimed tough girl who does nothing to prove it. She takes on three identities in this book. She is Jenna, then "Mia," then "Jessica"
3. There is a horrifying amount of deus ex machina, as in "OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO DIE IN 2 SECONDS. Oh wait, we're suddenly saved for some fucking reason!11!! Thank you God, Allah, Oprah, and that one Jewish dude!" kind of crap
4. There's a boy who does absolutely fucking nothing for the plot but look cute
5. There is no relationship building whatsoever
Part I: Jenna Strong
‘What’re you in here for, anyway?’ he mumbles thickly.And she never shows a single moment of remorse.
It is the year 2113 in England, now known as the IRB, or the Independent Republic of Britain. ACID is the police force that reigns supreme. Two years ago, Jenna Strong was a pampered, spoiled girl living in the Upper part of London, the wealthiest parts. She was to be LifePartnered (married) soon, at age 16. She had everything going for her. Until she killed her parents.
Two years later, Jenna is 16, and sentenced to a maximum security prison for their murder. No longer a spoiled, soft girl, Jenna is now pure steel. She has shaved her head, her body is tight with muscles, and she is one bad bitch. Jenna thinks she's going to rot in prison until a riot breaks out, and her friend, Dr. Fisher died saving her. For such a big, bad-ass girl, Jenna faints.
My head lolls to the side and darkness rolls over my vision like a wave.Part II: Mia Richardson:
The face that stares back at me has brown eyes instead of grey. The nose is smaller, the chin rounder. The cheekbones are more pronounced. And all my scars are gone.Well, isn't that just lovely? Jenna is now rescued from prison, AND given an insta-makeover courtesy of plastic surgery within ONE day. She's even got her gorgeous hair back! In ONE day. Only now Jenna isn't Jenna anymore. She's involved in some kind of Super Secret Plan by the people who rescued her, and they won't tell her what.
The only problem is that Jenna Strong is now wanted by ACID for the murder of Dr. Fisher, the person who helped her escape from prison. Falsely implicated for his death, and still wanted for the murder of her parents, Jenna now has to claim a new face, a new identity. Jenna must now become "Mia".
And her life sucks. And her new pretend LifePartner sucks. Until she sees Max Fisher in the news. Max is the son of the late Dr. Fisher, and he, along with everyone, thinks Jenna murdered his dad. But "Mia" can't help but fantasize about him anyway when she sees his picture in the news despite knowing nothing about him.
He’s not handsome, exactly, but he looks friendly and normal and nice; the sort of guy, if you were lucky enough to get Partnered to him, you could imagine curling up with and talking to until the small hours of the morning, and not even noticing what time it was.D'aww, isn't that just fucking cute. Until ever-so-conveniently, Max runs into her, tries to rob her in the world's most pitiful robbery attempt.
‘I – just – needed – some – stuff,’ he chokes.And promptly faints.
As he lurches towards me his eyes roll back in his head and his legs fold underneath him like a puppet that has just had its strings cut.Apparently, Max is an accidental drug addict. He didn't MEAN to become an addict, he was forced to be one (long story). And now "Mia" is his babysitter. Max is useless, because he's a recovering drug addict.
And he doesn't know that "Mia" is really Jenna, the one who killed his dad. Still, she babysits him, they run away together when ACID comes close. "Mia" mothers Max's weak, sickly ass.
He’s fever-hot. Crap. Maybe he hasn’t just got a cold.Only to have him turn completely against her when he discovers her true identity.
‘You lying, murdering bitch.’ His eyes are shining with fury and hate. ‘All this time, I thought you were helping me. I thought you cared. And it was all lies.’So much for being grateful. And when ACID agents catch up to them, it's "Mia's" ass that Max hands them on a platter.
‘You don’t want me!’ he yells. ‘You want her! She’s a murderer!’Ah, young love! Such loyalty!
Part II: Jessica Stone: And now "Mia" is in prison. Falsely accused of yet another crime she hasn't done. But she's not worried about her impending death.
He’ll never know, now, how much I care about him. I want that moment back where he tried to kiss me. And this time, I want to let him, and I want to kiss him back.Also known as: priorities, Y DO U NOT HAZ THEM?!
But she can't help herself. She can't stop thinking about Max! Poor, poor Max! Poor Max who fucking sold her out! She needs to rescue him from prison! But wait! Alas, her fate is not her own. Apparently the people who rescued her in the beginning (remember them? Like 1000 fucking years ago that was) has a Big Secret Plan all along! (where the FUCK were they?!) They are going to overthrow ACID. They're going to bring freeeeeeedom to the whole fucking Former United Kingdom. And they need
Except...what about Max?
So these Secret Super Special Rescuing Agent People have two choices. They can either:
1. Save the world
2. Save Max
OH, GEE. I WONDER WHICH OPTION OUR BRAVE FUCKING
‘So why can’t they rescue Max, then?’
The Setting: Also known as: WUT? Ok, so it's the year 2113. It's like 100 fucking years in the future. And England is pretty fucking unrecognizable. There's random ass bank collapses and shit and 53 fucking years ago, some people decided to take over England and restore morality to allllllllllll the peepz!
So now we have the Independent Republic of Britain. Where girls are forced to get married at 16. Where marriage is no longer known as marriage but as "LifePartnered." Where there are public "LifePartner" ceremonies with big beautiful frilly fucking pricy dresses like a fucking quinceaneara or whatever they call it---party (I took French, not Spanish, ok?!). You have to apply for and get permission to have a child. There are fucking walls everywhere. There are Outer parts of London, Middle parts of London, and Upper parts, for lower, middle, upper classes.
And why do people get to be in Upper levels of London?
‘Because we deserve it,’ Dad told me.Oh. Makes perfect fucking sense -_-
What the fuck?! How did things change so drastically? I mean, what the fuck is with the no-marriage-LifePartner shit, what's with the getting married---oh, excuse me, LifePartnered at 16?! How the FUCK did that come about? I'm not saying that things can't drastically change in 50 years, I mean, look at Afghanistan. Back in the 60s the women in Afghanistan were wearing miniskirts and going to colleges and partying, and look at them now. But there was an actual basis for change, there were explanations, their country turned to ultra-conservative based on their religion. Are you trying to tell me that a Western country would go for that shit without giving me an adequate explanation?!
Mia/Jenna/Jessica: Idiocy. Jenna is sold to us as a tough chick, but whatever, I don't see it. Throughout the book, Jenna is constantly saved by the act of God, or deus ex machina . She gets into a tough spot with an ACID officer. BAM, someone distracts the officer so that she can escape. She almost gets caught by another team of officers. OH WHOOPS THE OFFICERS JUST WALK RIGHT BY HER HIDING SPOT BECAUSE THEY DON'T THINK SHE COULD POSSIBLY HIDE THERE. Oh, they're about to get caught again! BOOM! Strangers to the rescue. Mia's about to die! AAAAAAAAAAH SHIT oh wait no, someone dies to save her life.
Fucking spare me, please.
All Mia does throughout the book is quiver, shake, quake in her pants, and regret not kissing Max. Her acts of heroism occurs so infrequently and when she finally does pull off some shit, it's so fucking improbable that I can't buy it. It's basically: GIRL PULLS OFF IDIOTIC ACT OF HEROISM IN THE NAME OF LOVE. Girl saves the world by accident.
Fuck that shit. ...more
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Apr 07, 2014
Apr 07, 2014
Mar 16, 2014
Oct 30, 2012
Dec 18, 2012
it was ok
“Let me make sure I understand—you want me to lie to my dad, turn my back on my species, my people? Do you really expect me to trust an Ancient over
“Let me make sure I understand—you want me to lie to my dad, turn my back on my species, my people? Do you really expect me to trust an Ancient over my own family?”I have no words.
This is your typical teenaged-heroine-saves-the-world book that really doesn't have anything new to add the standard range of YA tropes:
- The main character is really smart (but makes tremendously dumb choices)
- Her love interest is a stalker (but it's ok, because he's just protecting her while she's taking off her clothes)
- There's no point in kicking some ass when you have a boy there to protect you (even if you're more than capable of doing it)
- The human race is full of assholes
- There's going to be a love
- Evolution doesn't work, because futuristic humans are really, really stupid
- Aliens are horrifying dumb despite their supposed age, technology, and sagacity
For example, this is how they disguise themselves:
“But they aren’t like us. If you look closely you can see their skin is neither white nor brown, neither light nor dark. See,” she says, tapping the screen, “it’s almost golden."According to that definition, I'm pretty sure 90% of my Goodreads friends are aliens. Oh, but they have swirly blue/green eyes. WHY NOT JUST UN-SWIRLY THEM THEN? They can make themselves look human but they can't get fucking normal eyes? Maaaaan.
I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to think. All I know is that I’m in trouble, maybe even we’re in trouble, yet all I can think about is the way he just said my name. Ari. He says it like I’m more than just a girl who everyone recognizes but no one sees.Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ari Alexander. One day, she will be your military leader.
Lock your doors. Hide your children. Fear for your lives.
Let's start at the beginning. It's the year 2140, World War IV has passed, and humans are pretty much fucked because everything went BOOM during a nuclear war (always the nuclear war. Always). Thanks to radiation and shit, the earth is pretty much a wasteland; Mother Nature doesn't really have much in her womb anymore. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN. Enter the aliens, or, as we call them, Ancients. The Earth's remaining population is suffering from all sorts of evils like famine, disease, and Justin Bieber (there's one in every generation); instead of letting us rot in our own shit, the Awesome Ancients decide to help us out! They're gonna fix the earth, make it so that we can plant again, give us time and space to grow and rebuild. All we have to do is let them go on top of us for a few hours a night.
Get your mind out of the gutter, it's just a simple exchange of bodily fluids, ok?
OK, LET ME REPHRASE THAT. They're sucking out our antibodies. There's nothing sexual about it. But MAN, their bodily fluids taste awesome!
A single drop of liquid hits my lip, and reflexively I lick it away. My taste buds explode with flavor. A perfect mixture of sweet and sour, warm and cold.ALIEN SEMEN, YUM! I'm just kidding. Really.
Ok, time to get back on track.
Ari Alexander is 17. She is going to be a Commander (military-type thingy) when she grows up. It's a position that will pass onto her through the current Commander, her father. Ari has been raised her entire life to be a fierce combatant, a future leader, one who will serve and protect her country.
And she totally sells out to the aliens in about 5 minutes. One night, Ari couldn't find the Patch that'll make her unconscious before the aliens go on top of her, and as a result, she remains awake. She sees the Alien, only...she knows this alien. He (it?) goes to her school.
It—he—hovers above me as light as air. A bright glow encircles him. His eyes are closed. A sweet smile rests on his perfect face.Jackson goes to her school. This isn't good, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. There are rules about this, the aliens are not supposed to be on Earth without permission. They're sure as fuck not supposed to be in school with her.
This is a HUGE security breach. Ari should notify her dad, the Commander, who will then notify the Prime Minister, who will notify the world's leaders, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. But Jackson's not a bad person (or so he says). He's just trying to prevent war from happening between humans and aliens. In order to do that, he needs to enlist Ari's aid.
What is Ari going to do? Is she going to tell her dad, the experienced military man? Or is she going to take the word of someone who's lied to her all along?
And is she going to be able to save two entire species while falling in love? ;_;?
"Did you completely allow your feelings to overcome your logic?”The Aliens: Also known as: DUMBASSES.
Ok, as I mentioned above, the humans and aliens are at war. Secretly. Neither side knows that the other side is planning to annihilate each other, except for Jackson and Ari, who are trying to be the middleman (it took me awhile to figure out, this book made it really, really confusing). Apparently, the aliens need Earth because it has water, and they need human antibodies in order to go down to Earth and get water, with the caveat that one day they will Coexist with us on earth.
Uh, so why not just kill us earlier, and be done with it. Seriously, why the fuck not?
I don’t know if Jackson overestimates the Ancients or underestimates us, but I do know they have abilities and advanced technology far beyond anything we’ve even considered.The aliens SAVED humans when we were falling apart, why not just, you know, take our antibodies and then KILL EVERYONE. Easier, right? You can't tell me that these aliens developed all this technology, all this intelligence, all these skills while being completely peaceful people. And now they're apparently willing to kill the people of Earth in 2140 because we're rebelling, so why not just save the trouble and kill us off while we were at our weakest? What's the fucking point of allowing us to rebuild and improve our technology, give us back our food, clean our water, etc? You don't want your food putting up a fight, man.
Dumb fucking aliens.
The Humans: Also known as: THE OTHER DUMBASSES. It's 2140. There's hardly any food, you have to eat food pills instead. An actual meal can cost a normal person a month's salary. Yet we've got advanced technology so that we can aspire to Bite The Hands That Feed Us. We don't have countries anymore, we have continents, and a Presidential position for each of the continents. African President, European President, Asian President, etc (no idea how that happened). Forget about States in the US, those are, like, poof!
And apparently we've regressed (somehow) to a hereditary system. We have three major sectors, the Chemists, the Parliament, the Engineers (no idea how that got established), basically the people who make shit, the people who rule over shit, and the people who protect the people who rule over shit. Leadership positions, such as the President and the Commander are hereditary, meaning they're passed on from parent to child (irregardless of sex). Ok, that kinda works, except for...
The Australian Trinity has since been dissolved, thanks to the last leader being unable to have children to continue the legacy of the founding Australian leader.What. The. Fuck?
Are you telling me that we're so fucking stupid in the future that YOU CAN'T JUST ELECT ANOTHER PRESIDENT? Hell, they did it in Medieval times? A king dies without children, EVERYONE FIGHTS FOR THE FUCKING THRONE (so sorry, Joffrey). And a thousand years in the future, WE'RE LETTING AN ENTIRE CONTINENT PRETTY MUCH GO TO PICES BECAUSE WE CAN'T SIMPLY ELECT AN HEIR?
I have no words for this stupidity. PEOPLE OF THE FUTURE, YOU FAIL ME.
Trust a Pretty Face:
"I know you don’t trust me, and I don’t blame you, but at least wait until I can explain.” He bends down in front of me so we’re eye to eye. “Can I count on you to keep this a secret? Just please—”For someone who's been spoonfed military strategy and combat skills with a tough-as-nails dad her entire fucking life, Ari is a fucking moron. Why the fuck does she trust Jackson 5 minutes after she discovers that he's an alien who's been hiding under her nose?! Her dad is the military expert, where's the loyalty? Where's the family trust? Why the fuck are you choosing to believe in someone who's supposed to be your potential enemy, the source of much fear and suspicion? Someone from a species you're been scared of your whole life? Don't be a fucking idiot. In the real world, would you trust a spy? Someone from an enemy nation? Someone you KNOW is capable of killing the entire human race, if not just you? No!
The Characters: Are without character. Really, they're so fucking bland. Jackson's kind of an asshole, except he's not really. He uses his "I'M AN ALIEN" excuse to be in her room all. the. fucking. time. He's kind of a playboy, but not really. He's kind of nice, but not really. Ari is kind of kick-ass, except she falls in love a lot, and then she keeps having these awkward moments with Jackson when they're supposed to be having secret spy meetings. I can't even find much to mock about them because they're both just so insufferably fucking dull.
The Romance: *takes a deep breath* Ari is engaged to Lawrence, who likes Ari a lot, but might have a crush on Gretchen, who's Ari's best friend, who can't really help the way she feels, but Ari is secretly in love with Jackson, who is supposed to be dating MacKenzie, who has loved him but he doesn't return her feelings.
That's a mouthful. I can't even mock the romance because, once again, it is so DULL, like the characters. There's no spark whatsoever. There's a halfhearted hint of a love triangle between Ari and Jackson and Lawrence but I don't give a flying fuck because they were so boring. Honestly, there's more chemistry between me and the 70-year old retiree who hogged my machine at the gym today.
Overall: A book with a questionable settings, really boring characters, and an action-packed second half that somehow manages to bore me out of my mind. ...more
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Apr 26, 2014
Apr 27, 2014
Mar 11, 2014
Mar 18, 2014
Mar 18, 2014
it was ok
The man I shot was named Jason Earhart, dean of the math department. But then, he was only a body.
The man I shot was named Jason Earhart, dean of the math department. But then, he was only a body.I'm sorry, am I supposed to like you?. This is a book about the nature of good and evil, and it completely failed to convince me that any of the criminals within this book deserved a second chance at life. I am not pro-death penalty by any means. This book just failed to be convincing on the grounds of speculative fiction.
This book tries to present the premise that a criminal may be granted a new lease on life if their minds, their genetic makeup is pure. That despite their murderous crime, they could still be goooooooooood inside.
This book is an inconsistent, flashback-filled mess, with an unreliable first-person narrator. We are told that Evalyn is a murderer, and yet there's no attempt at building sympathy for her whatsoever. She shows no remorse; all we got is a self-pity-party, there was nary a mention of the people whom she was purported to have killed. How am I supposed to care about her? There's plenty of guts and blood, but it was purely gratuitous. I was gnawing on a small pork hock while reading a scene where a girl's head exploded, spraying bloody brain matter all over the fucking place without feeling a twinge of nausea. The violence is there only for shock value, because I didn't give a damn about any of the characters and I didn't care whether they lived or got gutted or died. There was no emotion to any of the deaths within this book.
What's the saying, "Do the crime, do the time?" Yeah. It may not be perfect, but our current justice system mostly works. So what the fuck is with this new Compass Room shit? I don't get it! What's the fucking point?!
It's not just the premise, the characters and how they're presented completely failed to back up the idea of inner goodness vs. "evil" acts. I feel that a person should be judged by their actions, not their thoughts. We all have a darkness within us. It's up to us to suppress that evil. This book completely failed to convince me on the concept of the Compass Room, and it didn't convince me that the criminals and killers within deserve to live through the experience.
Fifteen years ago, government scientists manufactured an accurate test for morality—an obstacle course, where the simulations within proved whether a candidate was good or evil. It was named a Compass Room.Evalyn is a mass murderer.
The footage of my crime rolls. Crying families outside Roosevelt College. Students and professors wailing, screaming. FBI, police, bomb squad.She is one of eight who has killed 56 people at her college. She got caught, and now she is most likely going to die.
But not through the death penalty.
She has chosen the trials of the Compass Room. The Compass Room is a technology developed to determine the true morality within a person. It is a moral obstacle course, and it will kill those who are truly evil.
After the law passed, engineers updated the Rooms to kill the wicked. They became the most accurate form of the death penalty ever created.It's not entirely clear how the Compass Room ("CR") works, but Evalyn is one of 10 criminals, all of them murderers, who will enter the CR to be tried. 10 will go in, statistics say that an average of 2.5 will make it out. The guys, girls, all in their teens through their 20s, are all multiple murderers. They are hoping for a chance to prove that their minds are good, that they deserve to live.
They enter the CR, and it's not as they expected. For one thing, it's not a room. It's a vast expanse of space that changes, that moves them from one "Testing" environment in different scenarios. From a plush mountain resort with top-shelf liquors to a wilderness where they have to scrounge for food. The only thing that remains consistent is the nightmares---or rather, the "Tests" that pop up to evaluate their goodness.
She creeps to me, shoulders erect. Her head hangs at an angle, stringy blonde hair falling limply around her shoulders, eyes sunken in their sockets.And the tests can be deadly. There is no trial by jury here. One wrong motion means death.
Clasping her hands on either side of his head, she twists, elbows swinging as she snaps his neck in half.Except when it doesn't. Because it seems that the morality in this book is pretty relative.
Casey hacks and hacks, blood splattering across his face and clothes as he rips the knife away. He doesn’t stop, not when his dad has to be dead—again—his back nothing more than ripped denim and mangled pockets of swelling blood.Aaaand that's pretty much it. They find food. They fall in love. They survive. They make friends. They're all criminals, some of whom are intrinsically good inside? Whatever. I don't care.
Fifteen years ago, government scientists manufactured an accurate test for morality—an obstacle course, where the simulations within proved whether a candidate was good or evil. It was named a Compass Room.Look, I don't give a flying fuck if your DNA is made up of flowers petals and a sprinkling of unicorn dust. If you raped my sister, if you killed my family. If you tortured and killed numerous people, I want you to rot in prison. I don't give a fuck if you're internally good if you've killed someone, intentionally or not. That's why we have a multi-layered justice system. You get tried by a jury of your peers, depending on the severity of your crime.
Involuntary manslaughter and negligence is judged and sentenced differently from murder. That's why you have different charges when a person gets tried for a crime. That's why after you get sentenced, there's yet another system of appeals in place. Your sentence will depend on the severity of your crime. There's a difference between killing someone by accident and getting a few years in prison, versus willfully committing multiple murders. THE JUSTICE SYSTEM! IT WORKS!
So why this book? What's the point, really? Especially when you can kill again and again and not get punished for it in the Compass Room? This book tries to tell us that murder is relative, that murder is ok if it's justified.
But it doesn't exactly work that way. Morals are not relative. You have to have some sort of absolute standard. Murder has to be wrong. Rape has to be wrong. Some things have to remain absolute. If morals are relative, can you give me an argument, that, well, there are some cases in which it's acceptable to rape a child? No. This book plays on the idea that morals are relative, and it doesn't work.
Furthermore, the "tests" in the Compass Room are just unconvincing. Different scenarios are presented, if you pass, you get to live, if you fail, you don't. But for some reason, some people can fucking kill and still be able to get away with it. What the hell?! I don't care if you killed someone who bullied you, that person may be a motherfucking asshat, but you are not judge, jury, and executioner. Someone doesn't deserve to die just because they are a jerk!
The concept of the Compass Room is just vague. The science is almost completely unexplained, and the reasoning behind the use of the Compass room just doesn't make any fucking sense. Yeah, it's supposed to save money, but how exactly does it fucking save money when there's only 10 people allowed inside at a time for a period of 30 fucking days. Why, if we have such advanced technology to manipulate the brain to create mass hallucinations, do we not just run a fucking simulation with one person strapped to a chair? Simple! Gah!
“I bet you’re enjoying this, dying just like her. Like you think you’re some fucking martyr,” he spits.Evalyn is a oh boo fucking hoo poor poor me type of girl. She is a mass murderer. Throughout the book, we know that she's a killer, but we just don't know how.
But here's the thing, throughout the book, she never shows a single fucking sign of remorse. Not once did she ever feel sorry for all the people she has killed. Not once did she think about the countless lives she has destroyed, the countless numbers of wives, daughters, husbands, sons, friends whose lives she has devastated by her acts of murder. She only feels sorry for herself, and the fact that she could not help save the life of her friend, Meghan.
I was the one who kept proving myself to be a killer over and over in the Compass Room.And she's another reason why the Compass Room is so unconvincing.
“Of course you wanted to kill him. We all did.”So why is she still alive?! Clearly, the Compass Room has failed -.-
Final Comments: The writing runs purple prosy at times despite the complete lack of emotion in the book.
The Compass Room is pregnant with sin. Not the ghost of our crimes, but real, pungent sin.And is just plain bad in some parts.
He doesn’t look at peace, more like a baby. A frightened baby.The romance is stupid, but it doesn't bother me, despite the fact that this is a New Adult and the love interest is an honest-to-goodness killer. The flashbacks are completely useless, and serves only to frustrate me, because they contribute so little to the plot besides telling us about Evalyn's perfect life in college, with her wonderful (and completely forgotten) ex-bf Liam "Last Year." ...more
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Apr 04, 2014
Apr 05, 2014
Mar 02, 2014
Feb 06, 2014
Feb 06, 2014
He sighs and slows to a stop. “There are a lot of things about the world we live in that you don’t understand. Things you’ll find out in time.”This
He sighs and slows to a stop. “There are a lot of things about the world we live in that you don’t understand. Things you’ll find out in time.”This is such a strange book. I didn't hate it, but it was just too much, too confusing. This book is like a strange mixture of Gone Girl and The Handmaid's Tale.
For me, this book was so anachronistic. I liked it, and I didn't like it. It was somewhat original while being completely predictable. There was nothing outrageously terrible in this book. There's a love triangle that didn't bother me at all because for the latter 50% of the book, I was like...dafuq am I reading? D:? The last half of the book was a journey into what-the-actual-fucks-ville.
I'm just so utterly confused. This book reads like a contemporary but it turned out to be a dystopian. It started off fantastically. The first 25% held my attention rapt. But sadly, this book didn't live up to its initial promise.
It's a little difficult for me to express my exact feelings on it, so allow me to describe it to you through the use of Digimon.
It starts off interestingly enough. There's an egg! You don't know what it holds! Oh, the possibilities!
The egg is cracking open!! Oh, it's so interesting! How neat! You, the reader, are intrigued. However will it evolve next?!
AND WE'RE ON A MOTHERFUCKING HORSE! YEAH! YEAH! This is going to be a hell of a ride. It's hard to believe that this thing hatched from just a tiny little egg, right?
Wait. What the actual FUCK?! How the hell did we get from a horse to...THIS?!
The Summary: Emma doesn't remember anything. She has been in an accident. Nobody will tell her what happened. She has to relearn everything. Her handsome husband tells her what she needs to know. Emma repeats and believes what she is told. Declan, her husband, is so kind, so loving. She just wants to please him.
“You are my husband, Declan Burke. I am your wife, Emma. We were married in a small ceremony with only our closest friends atop our mountain.”Emma is attracted to her husband, but Declan is strangely reluctant to touch her. He rejects her advances. Emma feels safe in his embrace.
His arms wrap around tight and hold me as if I would run away and he could not bear it. But I will not. Not ever. I want to be with him always.Emma undergoes tests after tests. She doesn't feel like a patient so much as a lab rat. She absolutely hates these tests. Emma has nightmares, she has flashbacks, in which she is someone else. After these nightmares, doctors try to question her about them. Emma always lies; there's a voice inside her head that tells her not to trust these people. This voice is called "her," "she." Emma and her mind are at war.
I told you to lie, She says coolly. You don’t understand yet, but you will.Her days are a litany of tests, medication; for some reason, the doctors feel that Emma needs to be restrained.
When I look down, I find I am bound to the table by Velcro straps. Instinctively, I jerk and the bindings burn and pinch my wrists.Nobody will tell her what happened. What is this accident? Why did Emma lose her memories?
Very soon, we realize that something's rotten. Something's not right. This is not our world, as we know it. There is strange technology.
Those take you out of the building, She tells me. Probably to other floors, too. They’re teleportation units. Teleport. Teleporting. Teleportation. You know, teleporters.Stranger still than the existence of teleporters is the slow buildup of knowledge that something is deeply wrong with this world.
I recognize the acronym from one of my earlier dreams with Toni. “WTC?”There are so many questions here. There are no easy answers. Who is Emma? What is her husband hiding from her? Who is the mysterious people who appears in her dreams? Why is she in danger?
“You know what I am talking about. Why do you insist on keeping my past a secret from me? If you are trying to protect me, stop. I do not need your protection. I need the truth before this gets any worse."The Setting: This is a rather unconvincing dystopian setting. There is absolutely no info-dumping at all, but it doesn't feel entirely convincing. It started off feeling like a contemporary, but we're slowly given the buildup that this world is not what it should be. Slowly, we uncover the details. It's intriguing, it is. Here we are, presumably in the future. We have teleportation technology, we have huge-ass television screens...and we have an issue with female infertility?
“The women who are fertile these days,” he continues while he stands and moves to one of his bookcases, “are only fertile into their late twenties, early thirties at most. It isn’t disease or genetics, just the unfortunate way things have progressed.”This world is extremely vague, and I don't quite understand it. The background is pure telling, not showing. We're expected to believe that this happened, that that happened, without much of an explanation. Part of the frustration comes from the narrator, because of her amnesia, and her innocence and placidity and acceptance of everything as fact.
The world itself is very two-dimensional. We have vague laws tossed out without much of a backdrop.
He slaps his hands to his knees and stands. “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. Birth control is illegal. Abortion is illegal, with a very severe punishment. Emma, pregnancy is not a choice. I’m sorry.”We have inconsistencies in technology and medical advancements. Her finger is healed with lasers...
A couple of nurses arrive, take our vitals, and clean up our scrapes and cuts. One uses some kind of laser to heal my knuckle.While there's still trouble with using blood thinners to fix a hemorrage. We have teleportation technologies, but we're still using phones and tablets and 21st century technology. I mean, these days we're starting to have Google Glass, and etc., don't you think in a future where we can teleport around, telephones would be obsolete?
The Characters: I had a lot of sympathy for Emma in the beginning, because she is so innocent, so trusting, so naive. My sympathy for her had severely diminished before the first half of the book is through. Emma makes everything feel underwhelming. She just doesn't feel like a real person with human emotions, to me. Emma ended the novel like she started, a pretty doll, slightly beaten up.
The Plot: I have a problem with the flashbacks. We are pelted in every single chapter with memories, flashbacks. I get that these are important, but it felt like I was reading two separate books at the same time, without knowing what exactly was going on in either. There was no infodumping regarding the world, but there was a massive amount of infodumping regarding the characters in the flashbacks and dreams.
The story itself became intriguing, to uh-oh, we're not in Kansas anymore, and then quickly turned into a clusterfuck of tremendous proportions. The book completely lost me around the 50% mark.
The Romance: Very unbelievable, since from the very beginning, we are set up to hate and distrust one of the love interests. I didn't have a problem with the romance because it was unconvincing, it had no subtlety. It, like the book itself, is completely predictable. A good love triangle works because the emotions are convincing, the characters are likeable, and the reader is caught holding his or her breath to see who will emerge the victor. There was no question as to who would win in this book, it was that obvious. ...more
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Feb 24, 2014
Feb 25, 2014
Feb 23, 2014
Mar 03, 2014
Apr 14, 2015
it was ok
“I thought we were supposed to use time travel to help people,” I say. “I thought that’s what I did.”
“I thought we were supposed to use time travel to help people,” I say. “I thought that’s what I did.”I guess this is what you would call speculative fiction, because try as I might, I can't really make much sense of this book. There is plenty of time-hopping, as well as a supposedly compelling reason behind it. I couldn't see it. For me, the book's time-traveling premise felt more like a tool to showcase different time periods (and clothes! and parties!), and not the danger-packed events they should have been.
Plot aside, the main character is not a girl I admire. Alex Wayfare is selfish, she is truculent, she is thoughtless. She grew up somewhat during the length of the book, but by then, I had ceased to care.
The Summary: Alex Wayfare uses her "visions" as an excuse to be a horrible person. Ever since she was a child, she has had these "visions," in which she blacks out in real life, then sees herself transported through time to another reality in the past. Like one time, she blacks out and gets visions of herself in the Puritan Jamestown colony, during a long, hard winter.
The Jamestown settlers had to turn to cannibalism. It's not in the class textbook, but Alex saw it. Therefore it must be true. She writes an essay on the Jamestown cannibalism, surprise, surprise, she gets an F because IT WASN'T IN THE FUCKING TEXTBOOK. In revenge for her F, Alex humiliates her teacher in front of the entire school. Sounds totally fair, right?
His phone rings in his pocket. The vibrator motor stings his thigh, and he shrieks into the microphone. He actually shrieks. The ringtone peels thrtough the gym, the rapper rhyming about beating up his cheating girlfriend “because she deserved it” and dropping he F-bomb every other word. The entire student body bursts into howls of laughter.And that's just one of the many bullshit acts she pulls because, you know, she has visions and all. Life is so fucking hard because it's not like everyone thinks she has epilepsy and pities her. Oh wait, they do.
During one of these "blackouts," Alex gets transported to the Roaring Twenties. She looks just like herself, only, you know, hotter, thinner.
Soft, wavy tendrils framed my face, gently brushing my red cheeks in the crisp autumn air. Everything else was the same – my nose, my lips, my chin – only I looked thinner, possibly two sizes smaller beneath that long wool coat.Unlike other visions, Alex actually gets to STAY in this one. And boy, is it worth staying, cause there's "Blue." "Blue's" name's Nick, and he may be a gangster, but he's hot, so you know, who the fuck cares, lol. They nearly get shot. Yeah, you heard me.
It felt like ages before the gunfire stopped and the roadster sped away, but as soon as it did, Blue Eyes pulled me to my feet.Before you know it, she's falling for Blue, because getting nearly shot together is such a "meet cute" moment. It's so sweet, they encounter gangsters together. Pshaw, who's worried about a bunch of Tommy-gun-wielding gangsters, anyway. Certainly not Alex!
Back home, I would’ve run for my life if I’d come face-to-face with a guy like him in an alley. But in this body, I wasn’t scared.So yeah, FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Six to one. I didn’t know a damn thing about fighting, but I knew those weren’t good odds.Uh huh.
Thankfully, she is saved by an act known as deus ex fucking machina in which she blacks out JUST IN TIME to be saved from a gunshot.
Back in the present, Alex receives a cryptic message from an unknown man.
I’m not sure what I’m doing, following a cryptic flyer to meet some old guy I don’t know. I know a hundred different ways this meeting could take a turn for the worse.You don't say? Surprise, surprise, Alex goes to meet him anyway. Thankfully, Alex doesn't end up being the victim of a serial killer, and she actually learns something about her time-traveling condition from a man, Porter.
As it turns out, Alex is rare. Different. Special.
“You’re the only one of your kind,” Porter says, making it sound like an honor. “The only reincarnated Descender. A Transcender."She can travel through lives and past lives. Alex has had 56 previous lives. Before Porter could completely explain the concept of time travel to her, Alex is like lol, fuck it, I'm going to the past to see Blue. She travels back to the Roaring 20s to see her new squeeze.
You know that thing about not making an impact on the past, because it could affect the present? Alex says to that concept: FUCK YOU.
Using her past body, Alex does such compelling, important things as: get dolled up.
When Helena finished my makeup, I looked in her mirror and turned my chin to the left and right. A movie starlet stared back at me.Porter yells at her to come back. She doesn't listen.
Porter’s voice elbowed its way inside my head, just as startling and unsettling as the first time.Forget Porter's warnings, there are more important things to do. Like go to the Chicago Theater!
We stood outside the Chicago Theater, waiting in line under a huge, glittering marquee that read The Jazz Singer. My jaw dropped when I first saw it.Not to mention spending a moonlit night on the rooftops of Chicago!
He helped me onto the roof, and we gazed out at the city, breathing in the night and listening to the distant street sounds. The stars seemed close enough to fog with your breath.And Porter's voice yelling at her in her head? Fuck that shit, IGNORE HIM.
You need to come back now. I didn’t tell you the rules. You have to come back before you–And she would have gone on partying like that until she got forcefully pulled back to the present. And Alex pouted like a little girl when she's told that she has to repair the damage of her presence in the past.
I stare at him like there are marbles spilling from his ears. “You can’t be serious. Everything I went through, everything that happened...You want me to erase it?”Now do you realize why I don't like Alex?
It turns out that there's a bigger plot at hand. There is an evil man out to kill Alex. Will she stop being a belligerent little bitch in time to save her own ass?
The Plot: Rambling. All over the damn place. That whole "Blue" arc was completely irrelevant and useless, and it took up almost half the fucking book. Alex gets to travel through her other past lives, several of them, and those events barely take up any notice in the book because they happen so quickly. This book is not so much the 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare, but more like the 3.25 lives of Alex Wayfare.
There is no danger, because the "past" seems more designed to be presented as a cool setting than anything relevant to the plot. We get to see her looking like "Marilyn Monroe" when she travels back to the 1960s. We get to see her on a cool train robbery in the 1870s. These time-traveling events do not feel like they made much impact on the plot, despite the fact that they are supposed to be crucial.
Alex: Frustratingly childish. She is so self-centered. She has no survival skills. In her everyday life, she uses her "I have visions" excuse to basically fail at life. And by that, I mean, she is failing 11th grade. She is intelligent, brilliant, but she uses her skills for petty revenge instead of anything noble.
“I may have posted a few of Tabitha’s personal text messages on the cafeteria’s scrolling message board...”She is a disappointment to her family, and her family has enough hardships on their plate, like her sister, who is dying of leukemia.
Alex is the type who thinks that all adults are stupid, terrible people.
“Sadly, I haven’t met too many elders worthy of respect outside my family. Adults seem pissed off because of their life choices and take it out on us kids because, unlike them, we still have time; or they’re blind and forgot what it was like to be a kid so they try to put us in a glass box; or they’re jackasses just for the fun of it; or they’re blissfully ignorant of, like, everything."SHe flaunts the rules, and is shocked and angry when she gets caught. She violates the very backbone of time-traveling rules. All for the sake of romance.
We don’t make an impact. But you?” His short laugh is dry and hollow. “You broke just about every rule we have – short of killing someone – on your first run. I think that must be some kind of record.”The Premise: Honestly, it doesn't make much sense. The premise of time travel in this book is half fantasy, half sci-fi. We're just expected to believe that time travel is possible, and two scientists came to achieve it. No explanations given.
"And they were geniuses. But there was more to it than that. They had an upper hand. A secret weapon no one else knew about. They could travel back in time.”...that's it. There are people who can travel back in time. Accept it, because no further explanations are given.
There's a lot of terminology thrown at us: Limbo, Transcenders, Descenders, Newlife, Base Life. It doesn't really make any sense, because there is no credible basis and explanation for the time travel except that, well, some people have it. It's a "maybe she's born it it, maybe it's Maybelline"-type of bullshittery. How did they manage it? Oh. Limbo.
“How did they travel?”...What? Um, ok.
Not recommended. Fuzzy logic, fuzzy concepts, an annoying character who is so self-centered that it takes away from the story. ...more
Notes are private!
Mar 09, 2014
Mar 09, 2014
Jan 13, 2014
Dec 02, 2013
Actual rating: 3.5
This book is part sci-fi, part fantasy, and all hilarity. It is utterly charming. Sure, there's a werewolf, a vampire, and a love tr Actual rating: 3.5
This book is part sci-fi, part fantasy, and all hilarity. It is utterly charming. Sure, there's a werewolf, a vampire, and a love triangle, but Twilight this ain't.
This is my first Ilona Andrews, and while I cannot say that it has converted me into a fan of their writing, I did enjoy this book. My main problem with this book is that it didn't draw me in as much as I had expected. It was a pleasure to read, but it lacked a certain spark that would consistently hold my attention. It took me a long time to actually finish this book because I didn't really feel compelled to actually continue on. There was nothing overtly wrong with the book. There are a lot of things that I felt could be improved, like the characterization, the love triangle, for fuck's sake, and the overall complexity of things, but overall, this completely fulfills the job of thoroughly entertaining me and not aggravating me in any way.
I mean it, guys, there's just no anger here. I'm the most bitter person I know, and I could find nothing that I disliked about this book.
It is light hearted and refreshing. Humor is so pervasive here. For a book with a plot revolving around the bloody mutilation of humans and animals, this book constantly made me smile.
There is magic, murder, mayhem, combined with so much alpha male territorial tension that you could cut it with a knife. A werewolf. A vampire lord. Alien nobilities with a penchant for flesh (the fresher the better). Monsters prowling around the neighborhood killing indiscriminately like the mother of all chupacabras. Intergalactic diplomacy and an alien goblin market. An inn with a life of its own, and an innkeeper determined to hold it all together.
Rest assured, there is plenty of blood, guts, and gore, and a dog-like monster who would make Cujo quiver in his large floppy paws.
It was at least five feet long, maybe five and a half. Spotted black and blue fur grew in patches along its spine; the rest of it was covered with pinkish wrinkled skin. Its skull was almost horselike, if horses could be carnivores. Long jaws, too large for the head, protruded forward, making the wide, flat nose seem ridiculously small. A forest of sharp bloodred fangs sprouted from the jaws, barely hidden by white lips. But the eyes, the eyes were worst of all. Small and sunken deep into the skull, they burned with malevolent intelligence.The writing is delightful and made me chuckle more than once.
Dina is an Innkeeper, the guardian of the magical Inn. Think of the Inn not as a building, but a living, breathing thing. An oversized pet, if you will, controlled by its mistress, the Innkeeper. The Inn is sentient, it has power of its own. Like a fortress, it keeps the unwanted out by any means necessary.
My magic boomed through the inn like the toll of a huge bell. It had no sound, but I heard it all the same. Sean flew out of the house like a fleck of dust caught in the current of a fan and smashed into an apple tree forty feet away. I heard the crunch all the way from where I stood.The Setting: I enjoyed the setting and the world building, but it took some getting used to. I had to stop midway through this book to ask my friend if this book was in fact a part of another series, because at times, I felt like I just walked into a party in the middle of a joke, and missed the punchline. The setting was a little foreign at first, it is not hand-fed to you. This book is set in the present day, but incorporates a lot of fantasy and sci-fi elements, and it took awhile for the entire setting to be explained. The world building is interesting, and funny. Did I mention funny? There's a lot of whimsical word play that made it exceedingly silly at times, while never reached the point of utter absurdity.
"How about Auul? Does that ring a bell?"Heehee!
The Characters: Dina is such an endearing narrator. I loved her voice, I loved her narration, I greatly enjoyed her character. Dina is humorous, she is strong, she has magic, and she knows how to wield it. She is an efficient, rational woman, a hardworking one, intent on keeping the peace and maintaining the integrity of her Inn. It is an important task, Innkeepers are not just housekeepers, they are diplomats, bound by numerous laws of their trade, and they must be well-versed on the workings of interplanetary laws concerning their guests as well. It is a job requiring intelligence, hard work, and Dina has plenty of both. She has to be tactful, she has to be sensitive to her guests when they are in her inn. Even if they are so self-important it's hard to take them seriously.
"House of Krahr!" the vampire with the banner barked quietly.The other characters are a werewolf who looks like one would expect. And by that, I mean a Jacob Black clone.
Did I mention this book has pictures? It has pictures!
So here's the wolf, Sean:
Aaaand his polar opposite, the vampire lord, Arland:
They both have their alpha male moment where they sort of sniff each other and growl at each other and call each other names, but neither of them are ever overwhelmingly bad or cruel. Sean tends to be a little patronizing sometimes. If you asked me whom I prefer, I'd have to say that it's the vampire. Just because he's a vampire, and he's a blond elfin type who looks like he's Legolas' bodybuilder cousin. Also, Arland is a sweetheart ^_^
"When a man takes up arms, he does so for many reasons. Sometimes to punish, sometimes to intimidate or frighten. But when a woman picks up a weapon, she means to kill. So please do not take this as an insult."The Romance: Yeah, there is a love triangle, but it's not to be taken too seriously, because both guys hate each other more than they like Dina. There is a lot of territoriality (a vampire and a werewolf would never walk into a bar together), and little more beyond that. Also, there's a fucking monster on the loose, guys. Ain't nobody got time for romance.
"Why are you helping them?"And that's just the way I like it. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 11, 2014
Jan 11, 2014
Dec 17, 2013
Jan 07, 2014
did not like it
“Why’d you name me Riven? It’s so horrible,” I was wailing. “It’s not even pretty. It’s ugly, like me.”
You are Riven! Like your deadly (and ugly,
“Why’d you name me Riven? It’s so horrible,” I was wailing. “It’s not even pretty. It’s ugly, like me.”
You are Riven! Like your deadly (and ugly, remember?) name, you are an assassin! A deadly Legion General, one of the highest ranking officers in your world. You are smart, tactically brilliant! You are on a covert rescue mission on Earth, trying to masquerade as a high schooler!
Naturally, blending in is of the utmost importance. It is absolutely crucial to look like a normal high schooler, one of the masses, one to whom nobody would give a second look. Do not draw attention to yourself in any way. Keep your hair a dull, common color. Try not to attract the attention of authorities, particularly not the police.
“I mean, you look like me, well, except the hair. Yours has green and blue in it,” he points out. I touch the strands and remember that I’d dyed it four schools before, after the incident with the police.Keep your transportation to something unobtrusive. Like an old car, nothing like a flashy, extremely expensive racing motorcycle. Nothing like...a Ducati.
...I reach the empty parking lot where [my] Ducati is parked...Naturally, you have to get along with your classmates. Not be super super close friends with them or anything, but friendly enough not to attract negative attention.
“I get it. You don’t like being touched, you want to be alone, and you’re not looking for any friends.”
You meet new people at your school. High schoolers. They're normal people, they're not fucking clichéd high school mean-girl tropes or anything like that.
[Sadie] shoots me a look that would incinerate a building. “Well, you should stick to pants. Dresses don’t really suit dykes,” she says nastily.You would never be so petty as to slut shame someone you barely know.
...the girl tosses an icy smile in my direction, her designer white pants like a second skin and a pink shirt unbuttoned enough to show a lacy pink bra, leaving little to the imagination.You're on a secret mission, helped along by deus ex fucking machina because everything falls into your fucking lap. There are no questions asked. There is no suspicion. You are rescued by the boy (Caden) you are intended to save. You are practically INVITED to live with him and his aunt. His aunt, who is a medical doctor. His aunt. Who is a medical doctor who is completely fooled by the bullshit medical excuse you give her. And you're not suspicious at all.
But I know that I owe them both some kind of explanation for my bizarre behavior...and for the injector that looks like it comes from some kind of super advanced robotics lab.You're such a powerful fighter! You move like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
I spring backward to compensate and bang my still-healing ankle into the desk chair next to the bed.You are fierce! You are strong!
I’m faster and fiercer than anyone else. I’m death in a girl’s body.So strong that you just flutter to the ground in a faint.
I can feel myself shutting down. I should have rested today, stayed in bed and given myself a chance to recuperate from the jump, but I’d been stupid, arrogant. My eyes slip shut.And you faint again!
There is nothing but darkness...inexorably closing in.And yet again!
It’s my last thought before I slip into an unwelcome oblivion.You are such a competent fighter. You are always on guard. You never, ever let yourself relax for a single moment. You are the perfect soldier, really.
The cold tip of an electro-rod presses against the soft spot just beneath my ear, and my body freezes.You are so utterly competent as a soldier that you don't have to do any fighting at all. Things just drop dead by deus ex fucking machina just like that! With a single command, the battle is won.
“No!” I scream. “Cease! That is an order.”And yet again.
With a deep breath, I raise the staff I took off Vector Shae and prepare to do battle.Well, isn't that just fucking convenient. You are such a fucking competent, a bloody brilliant general that you hardly have to fucking fight at all. And when you're in a jam, naturally, someone will save your fucking ass, O Legion Fucking General.
I can feel my cells desperately trying to re-engage, when the incongruity of the situation hits me. Caden’s the one protecting me.You are from a country where there's been some vague Tech War. No idea what happened, but the nation has been devastated, but you guys live under a glass dome. Water is a scarcity. You've been living in the United States for years, with our abundance of water. You've presumably showered. You've presumably seen swimming pools. It's been YEARS. YEARS. The use of water shouldn't be a big deal anymore. But you, you're a fucking special one, aren't you? You are impressed by the excessive waste of water used in a WATERBED. A waterbed! Never say so! My god, how did you manage to survive all those showers and go to school with kids who must surely carry water around with them everywhere they go without knocking it out of their hands? Imagine if you saw a fucking sprinkler!
“It’s just a waterbed. They’re supposed to be soggy.”Your nation is so fucking awesome that everyone is trained to fight! Men, women, all are trained in the art of combat at a young age. Riven herself has been a killer since she was a toddler.
I was lightning-fast and held the advantage of having held a sword before the age of two.
Oh man, fuck, man. Here I am at the age of 2.
I'm such a fucking failure at life, never having held a sword before as a toddler. I don't know how I can live with myself.
In your world, since it's like, decimated and all, men and women are all trained to be killers. ALL OF THEM. Trained since they can talk, trained in weaponry, fighting. And for some fucking reason, you guys have...dancers. For entertainment. Wait, what? Weren't all people essential in Neospes? Where the fuck did all the dancers come from?
Danseuses are nothing more than paid female escorts, paid to entertain wealthy citizens of NeospesNaturally, when you go under cover, you have to go in disguise as an exotic dancer, because fulfilling a mission in your ratty soldier uniform is a fucking no-no!
Strange dark-gold extensions have been applied and braided intricately with sweet-smelling blossoms into my own hair. My skin has been oiled to a gilded sheen and colored shimmery dust applied to my eyes and cheeks. The women gesture for me to step into my costume – a filmy white and silver getup that looks like some kind of confection instead of a dress.Naturally, your lover boy Caden gets to wear normal clothes when you're dressed as fucking Princess Leia.
Speaking of Caden. He's such a fucking gentleman, isn't he? I mean, he calls his own girlfriend a bitch.
Your girlfriend isn’t a bitch?”Well, isn't he just the fucking catch of the day. I mean, he would actually hold you close on his bed when he's still with her.
A shiver runs through me, and warm fingers slide against my wrist. The shiver deepens. The waterbed shifts, rolling me upward as Caden turns on his side to face me. I can feel him staring at me, but I keep my eyes glued to the ceiling. His fingers skim downward to cover my closed fist in his hand.And he loves you so much, he's such a goddamned sweetheart that he would play a lovely game of tongue twister and tonsil hockey with you while he's still got a girlfriend. And you're a willing participant in cheating.
My breaths get shorter and shorter, and suddenly his mouth is crushed against my lips.Your romance is beautiful. Earth-shattering. Never mind how it got there. Your love is overwhelming to the point that it compromises a crucial mission to save your people.
“Caden,” I begin.Fuck you both. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 07, 2014
Jan 07, 2014
Jan 02, 2014
Dec 19, 2013
Dec 19, 2013
did not like it
Do you hate having a brain? Do you find that the act of thinking is just so difficult? I mean, fuck analytical processes, really. Well, ladies and gen
Do you hate having a brain? Do you find that the act of thinking is just so difficult? I mean, fuck analytical processes, really. Well, ladies and gentlemen, step right up. Leave your better judgments at the door. Wave a fond farewell to your brain's cerebral cortex. Kiss your rationality and common sense goodbye. Engage your suspension of disbelief, because man oh man, this book is just for you!
No imagination. No creativity. No rationality.
Without a doubt, this is the worst book about aliens and intergalactic travel I have ever read. If you mashed YA dystopia and sci-fi together with a rotten banana and some liver and fed it to a hyena, the hyena would eat it, regurgitate it, then cackle uncontrollably for around 20 minutes afterward. This book is not so much a sci-fi as it is the glorification of the most wonderful, smartest, most perfectest girl in the whole fucking universe ever and how her sheer fucking brilliance saves the fate of humanity in a way that I can't understand myself, except to say that she does it brilliantly because the book tells me so. Somehow.
The most powerful figure on the ship trusts our main character, Hope. She's got a posse of boys who pretty much bend to her beck and will. Female friends? Merely bodies to fluff up the book. Fuck girl friends, really. Who needs girls when you've got one bad, bad, naughty dickschnozzle who's secretly in love with you---but man, does he not show it! I mean, there's teasing a girl you like in 3rd grade, and then there's calling her a bitch.
“You shut your stupid mouth! Stupid bitch who believes these things are our friends! Do you feel friendly now?”There's another boy who loves you and wants to marry you, and yet another one who is permanently friendzoned. It's raining men!
Oh, and adults? They're fucking dumb. For a girl who's so utterly perfect, Hope hasn't got a lot of respect for the wisdom of the elderly, instead constantly calling them "old-erly," Hope's attitude constantly belittles adults who are, naturally, not so wise as the brilliant kids.
Seriously, the elderly that had made it onto the ships had gotten crankier and ruder than I’d ever known them to be on Earth. Like there was some unspoken agreement between all of them that this was all our fault, the young people were to blame, that they deserved better in their twilight years. Lectures from some grouchy, pissed off old-erly hunched over on a cane were not uncommon. ‘Respect your Elders,’ they said. Like they wanted to teach us, to impart their wisdom before it was too late. But in my book it already was too late.This book is juvenile. It is simplistic. It is devoid of imagination and creativity. The writing is sophomoric, filled with errors in punctuation and grammar, like the use of "you're" instead of "your" in the possessive form. The dialogue is childish, filled with exclamation mark that leaned towards histrionics instead of implying drama. Were it not for occasional sprinklings of profanity and some very slightly sexual scenes, this book could easily be a grade school book. But then again, saying this book is grade-school quality might be an insult to some grade school books because there are quite a few exemplary children's books that contains the complexities and the plot and the character development that this book utterly lacked.
Summary: The premise is simple enough, and the book blurb summarized it quite well. Earth is destroyed, the demise happened around 2058. It is some 15-20 years after. There are less than 100,000 survivors on Earth, and 5,000 of those survivors are on a spaceship, the Reflection. They are off on a 5-year voyage to a planet they have called Haven. They land only to encounter a seemingly hostile alien species, on this planet, the humans ARE the aliens. The "aliens" are called "Locals," by the humans, and the Locals have selected 10 of each age group, children, adolescents, adults, elderly (or rather, "old-erly," fuck you, Hope). Hope is one of the adolescents chosen by the Locals, she and her group are put through some tests, used more or less as lab rats by the Locals under certain conditions. And somehow or another, Hope and her brilliant fucking brain turns out to be..."the human race’s last chance for survival."
The premise is simple enough, so what went wrong? Oh, my. Where do I start?
The World Building: Pitiful. Laughable.
1. The naming of children - "Weeks got his name from parents who’d given in to the doomsday thinking on Earth, near the end. Some of the kids had names like his now. Days, Weeks, Hours. People named their kid after the amount of time they thought they had left."
As a result, we have some utterly ludicrous names. Because 90% of parents will want to give their children fucking ludicrous names like Pilgrim, Legacy, Chance, Marseille, Cairo. I'm just glad we didn't actually encounter anyone named Seconds. There's nary a normal name in the book.
2. The demise of Earth - Incredibly vague. Your usual formulaic shit without much sense or explanation. I am so sick of this eco-disaster bullshit. It makes no sense, it is sensationalistic without an iota of truth, and it is even more incredible given the fact that this book takes place so close to the near future.
Most of the Gov officials had died in the cataclysmic failure of Earth that had come suddenly after twelve years on the precipice.Oh, cataclysmic failure. That's sooooooo fucking detailed. Oh wait, there are floods. There are Tsunamis (which, for some fucking reason is capitalized like that in the book. Editor, where are you?) There are volcanic eruptions, lava flows that kill people.
Are you fucking kidding me? Where did all this come from? Did the world fucking implode between the years 2014 and 2058? If so, could we get some fucking explanation besides, "well, the world collapsed?" Tsunamis don't happen out of nowhere. Volcanic eruptions don't happen out of nowhere. How did the remaining people survive? The portrayal of the destruction of earth is poorly portrayed, without an ounce of ingenuity.
3. What fucking spaceship? - Along with an extremely vague past, we have an extremely vague present. If you're going to put humans, and not just one human, five thousand humans on a spaceship in the year 2070 or so, you better give me a good fucking explanation. There was none. Technology? Fuck that shit, because apparently when you are writing to a YA audience, there's no need for an iota of veracity and explanation because your audience is too dumb to care about that, right? Fuck that, seriously.
There is no mention of the development of space technology in the years between 2014 and the book's present. There is no mention of the advances made before we put one man in a spaceship to the point where we can take 5000 people on a journey taking five years to a distant planet.
Was there warp speed? Are we traveling at the speed of light? How distant is the planet? How big is the spaceship? How did that many people survive on that spaceship for all those years? Speaking of which...
4. Fuck Rationing on the Spaceship, Because We Have Motherfucking Cheetos and Chips! Ahoy: Seriously, they have "cheese puffs" and packaged chocolate chip cookies. What, man? What? Are you fucking serious? There is no food manufacturing technology on board, and all we're told is that they have enough food on board for 5000 people to last 5 years. THAT'S A LOT OF FOOD. THAT'S A LONG FUCKING TIME. Was there no greenhouses? Don't we have better use of room on board a motherfucking spaceship than to use it as fucking storage space? I find that absolutely idiotic.
There is an explanation for why the spaceship doesn't need ration. It's fucking stupid.
Rationing had never been necessary because more ships were built and stocked than had actually taken off.WHAT? Ok, let's get one thing straight. When you are up in the motherfucking air, space and weight is of the essence. That's why you get charged so fucking much for carrying on additional bags during flight. It doesn't fucking matter that you have a lot of food on earth left over from other spaceships so that you can overstock yourself. The issue is capacity on board a fucking spaceship. It doesn't make any sense!
5. The Fairy Fucking Fantasy of a Foreign Planet: Hostile space?! Not fucking likely. It's a gloriously Earth-like environment, with twinkling multi-colored stars and a Northern Lights-like sky!?
there were beautiful green, yellow and pink dancing lights waving across the sky and illuminating the land below. It looked like the northern lights back home, but it was everywhere.Fuck you! And news flash, Hope. You lived in fucking Reno, Nevada. There ain't no Northern Lights to be seen there!
Let's get one thing straight. This planet ain't nowhere near our galaxy, since scientists have found no Earth-like environment anywhere near us with our current technology now. Any other galaxies are thousands of lights years ago, so this planet better be fucking far. So how did they get there so fast? Gasp!
There is a complete oversimplification of alien life. Everything is so fucking convenient. There are edible fruits, which are Earth-like but of course, slightly different for vanity's fucking sake. There is water. There is a similar gravitational pull (my assumption, because the book didn't fucking mention anything about it). There are already-grown crops on the planet, ready to be harvested, since aliens plant crop circles on Earth they surely must plant crops on their planet, right? How fucking dumb do you think we are?
Straight lines, different patches, like a quilt.And there are edible animals! Let's just call the animal Steves! Eat the Steves! Eat all of them!
Almost immediately we discovered that our landing site was a nesting spot for animals about the size of a pig, with mud-colored shells, hard as diamond. The kid got to be the first to name something in our new world, and he called them Steves.6. The Oversimplification of Alien Life: Is it just me, or is it really lacking in imagination to make an alien world so completely similar to our own. It is such an over-assumption and a superimposition of our own beliefs towards something of which we do not know. This book is essentially assuming that a distant planet is almost identical to Earth in biology. It has similar crops, similar animals, that are digestible to human beings. There are aliens, but they come straight out of Area 51's little (or rather, large) gray men. Elongated gray men with large heads. There's just no imagination there. They bleed, but they're aaaaaaaliens because they bleed blue. It is a stupid assumption to assume that aliens look like anything we are familiar to, that their method of living is similar to ours, that they are out of a fucking Hollywood movie. This book is so lacking in creativity that it is incredible.
The Mary Sue: Hope is beautiful, well, she's not beautiful, but she supposes that she could be considered good looking. But it's not important, anyway. Really, it's not important.
I supposed I was pretty-ish. Somehow, I’d grown into a girl that some boys might like to look at. But it didn’t matter.Hope is extremely tough, she survived a trek ON FOOT of roughly 150 miles in a country supposedly devastated by fires and volcanoes. At the age of 13. But there's no explanation of how she actually accomplished it.
Hope is so popular, she doesn't even know it.
“Oh, everyone knows me?” I asked, not understanding.Hope is a natural leader, someone with charisma so well-disguised I never would have realized.
People looked at me first. Everyone assumed I was a leader so I went with it.Hope is so fucking special, even the Chief of the spaceship wants her opinion as to what to do regarding life or death situations regarding the new planet. The Chief brings in a few other teenagers, too, but ultimately, it is always Hope to whom the Chief turns for advice. Hope tells the Chief what to do. Adults are fucking idiots who can do nothing without the superiority of Hope.
I whispered into Chief’s ear. “Let Legacy out, bring him to the depository. Resume removal of the weapons.”If she does something wrong, the Chief covers for her. Hope never gets into trouble.
“This girl is providing intel to the creatures after all! Behind your back, Chief!”Hope is so amazing.
“Chance said you were amazing."Yep. He's not the only one who thinks Hope is amazing.
Legacy paused. "The truth is I think you’re amazing."So brilliant. So strong.
“You’re so strong, Hope. How can you be that strong?”Her every intuition is correct. Her spider senses tingle as she looks into an alien's eyes.
I searched its eyes and I thought maybe I saw sadness.Women's intuition ain't got nothing on fucking Hope. Sure, the aliens torture them, they play games with the humans, they almost killed them. But Hope's got feeeeeeelings, man. There's really a kind heart underneath all of the aliens' cruelty. She knows it. How?
I had no answer. We weren’t their enemy. Each session seemed so different, I couldn’t explain it.She doesn't know. She can't explain it. But she can fucking FEEL IT.
Don't take this book with a grain of salt, take it with an entire jar. You might be killed by sodium poisoning, but that might be preferable to reading some parts of this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 11, 2014
Jan 12, 2014
Jan 02, 2014
Mar 04, 2014
Mar 04, 2014
it was ok
He’s dangerous, I reminded myself. And this is not the experience you left home for. You should run away.Let's get one thing straigh
He’s dangerous, I reminded myself. And this is not the experience you left home for. You should run away.Let's get one thing straight, the Dangerous title, as far as I'm concerned, refers to a motherfucking romance. Not the ludicrous plot itself.
Am I too harsh? Was I the only teenager ever who had no interest in romance? Am I wrong for thinking that your life, your family's life, the fate of the world, should take priority over the flutterings of a teenaged girl's heart?
You could go into this book thinking it's a sci-fi. It's not. It's a romance. There is a tremendous amount of insta-love, and there is a love triangle of the do-I-have-feelings-for-my-wonderful-lifelong-best-friend-or-do-I-love-the-motherfucking-asshole-whom-I-just-met sort.
You know the answer to that.
This book feels like a superhero Teen Titans type of book with an overwhelming amount of romance. This is an YA novel that feels solidly middle grade because the writing, the plot, and the characterization were absolutely underwhelming and juvenile. The characterizations is nonexistent. There is no depth to any of the characters. There is a whole lot of action, but none of it held my interest.
The Summary: You might be fooled into thinking this is about the bravery and intelligence of a brilliant one-armed girl, an aspiring astronaut and future astrophysicist. She is pretty smart, but then the first hints of reservation creeps up on you, as this fantastically brilliant girl starts to notice how BUFF her childhood friend is, and how she just can't stop thinking about him.starts 10 page into the book.
That night I thought more about Luther than astronaut boot camp.Astronaut boot camp is Maisie's dream. And how easily she forgets about it when she notices the buffalicious Luther.
You might think, ok, that's acceptable. Maisie's young, she likes a guy. Surely she'll get her head on straight when she gets the the astronaut camp and starts learning more about science, right?
...until she actually gets to camp and starts falling for a beautiful boy the moment she sees him. Jonathan Ingalls Wilder (from Little House in the Prairie), or just "Wilder," catches her eyes from the first moment she lays eyes on him. From that moment on, Maisie's eyes is focused straight on the prize. The prize, that is to say, winning Wilder. The astronaut boot camp thing is just an afterthought.
Wilder is so fucking smooth. His pickup lines are just legendary, heart-poundingly romantic.
“A homeschooled, black-eyed Latina.” He whistled. “You are turning into a very ripe fruit for the plucking.”They meet, they canoodle. They fall deeper and deeper for one another. They recite poetry at one another (and we're barely 10% into the book). Maisie tosses rationality out the window.
[My father told me that teenagers are] not biologically capable of being fully rational. I swore right then that I’d be a smart, cautious teenager.Wilder shows his true colors when the brilliant Maisie and her team wins a prestigious spot to visit an Off-Earth Asteroid. Apparently, he only likes her when she's dumber than he is.
“We’re both going.” Wilder’s words were as heavy as bricks.The space walk didn't turn out the way they had planned. The team discovers that there have been alien contact with Earth, and they have left behind some articles---tokens. So let's get one thing straight. The team is in danger. There are aliens. And Maisie doesn't really fucking care because she is too distressed over Wilder's lack of interest in her.
I wasn’t experiencing any inclination to start taking over the world in advance of an alien army. The only change I felt, beyond the headache, was an increased awareness, I guess, of Wilder.The team is in danger, the alien technology have invaded their bodies. They need to hone their skills. Maisie needs to find Wilder and tell her how much she loves him.
The need to find him became an ache. Maybe if I got there first. Maybe if I found him before the others were near, he might look at me the way he used to—Maisie's friends, family is in danger. Maisie longs for Wilder.
His presence was like coming into an air-conditioned house on a sweltering day. His pull eclipsed worry for my parents, for Mi-sun and Jacques, for anything.Wilder may be a liar, a murderer. It doesn't fucking matter. Maisie still feels drawn to him.
I was going to see Wilder for the first time since I’d heard that he killed [her].It's a motherfucking romance.
The Plot: Ludicrous, full of holes, it requires a tremendous stretch of the imagination to believe that a team of experienced astronauts and physicists would allow a team of 12-18 years old to be sent into space while they're at a fucking Astronaut Boot Camp. There's also the issue of the tracking devices, the technology, the completely inconsistent action and unbelievability of the adults involved. There is a lot of action, but not a whole lot of sense.
The Setting: Whut? It is confusing. I THINK the book is set in present-day. But for some reason, there are astronauts building a small settlement on a fucking asteroid, and there is a pretty unbelievable amount of technology that I haven't even heard of. It feels more Star Trek than present-day. I know NASA is advanced...but not to this extent. The setting is terrible, it does not draw me in, it doesn't add anything to an already uncompelling book.
The Characters: Flat. One-dimensional. Maisie's middle name is literally Danger, and it doesn't work for her at all, because her head is solely connected to her heart and the palpitations of it as she dreams of fucking Lover Boy Wilder.
I was intrigued by the fact that Maisie is born without one arm. It turned out that my excitement was for nothing. The fact that she lacks one arm seems...forgive the pun, to be merely a placeholder. It's there, but it's not there. Her impediment is not an impediment at all, because she magically gets a robotic arm with nanotechnology that is so superior that you can hardly tell. Throughout the book, she's on the receiving end of some snide comments, but other than that, you would not know that Maisie suffers from a disability.
The other characters in the book were so tremendously dull and utter tropes. There's the beautiful mean red-headed girl, the quiet, shy, studious Asian kid, the angry, foul-mouthed black kid, the handsome, rich bad boy. They have no personality other than the stereotypical role they were meant to fill.
Maisie is perfect. She succeeds in everything she does. She achieves everything. She absorbs everything. She is a motherfucking Einstein. I hate her.
The Romance: Speaking of the romance, the last character in the book is a boy named Luther. He is Maisie's childhood best friend. He has no role in the book other than to play back-up in the ridiculous excuse of a love triangle in this book.
“Who is this trog?” Luther asked.Spare me. Skip this book.
Quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 31, 2014
Jan 31, 2014
Dec 29, 2013
Dec 15, 2013
Dec 19, 2013
did not like it
“Kricket,” he grins. “It’s such a powerful name,” he breathes.
If a Kricket cries alone in a forest, does Khanh give a fuck? No. No, she doesn't. W
“Kricket,” he grins. “It’s such a powerful name,” he breathes.
If a Kricket cries alone in a forest, does Khanh give a fuck? No. No, she doesn't. Who is Kricket? What is Kricket? I'll tell you.
Take the loveliest, most statuesque and Amazonian-like model you can find, then multiply her beauty tenfold. Add some killer cheekbones to that vision of loveliness. Give her a brilliant brain whose intelligence is visible because her frontal lobe is all alight when viewed with special X-ray glasses! Have her be so slender that she can't rappel because the rope used for climbing down mountainsides can't support her bird-light weight (that doesn't even fucking make sense!!!!!!). Make her an orphan. Give her a special destiny. Make her so bloody special without knowing it.
That, my dear friends, is a fucking Kricket.
But that's not all, our Kricket's story doesn't end there, no. Her destiny is intertwined with several douchebags romantic leads, insta-love, a love triangle, and fucking aliens straight out of Earth Girls are Easy. There, in a nutshell, you've got Under Different Stars.
Summary: Kricket is *sigh* an orphan. A tough-luck Orphan Annie. She's 17 (soon to be 18). She is hiding under the radar from the Chicago Department of Social Services, because beautiful girls like her can't survive in the foster system without being shanked because other girls hate her beauty so much that they'll hurt her for it (she's got the scars to prove it!).
So Kricket is lying low. A little hard to do when you're 5'10, with platinum blonde hair, and violet eyes, but *sigh* what can a poor girl do? She's working as a janitor despite having test scores good enough for admittance at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, because she can't afford the tuition. She also works at a bar under the table, because naturally, bars are so eager to lose their fucking liquor license by employing an underaged child and paying her under the fucking table.
Kricket is special. She can tell when people lie. Her hair (platinum blonde) grows back immediately after it's been cut.
When most people don't cut their hair ever, they look like this:
While Kricket, with her un-cuttable hair, looks like this:
Did Kricket forget to tell us that her hair is platinum blonde? It's platinum blonde.
She's got a spicy, spicy gay Latino friend and his equally smexy and sassy boyfriend! Life sucks, but she deals. Until douchebags start coming after her for no fucking reason. They try to kidnap her every fucking where she goes (apparently, there are two groups of them) led by two guys: let's call them Asshole and Motherfucking Asshole, respectively. Asshole and Motherfucking Asshole proceed to lead Kricket on a merry motherfucking chase around Chicago, yelling random ass shit "you-will-pay-for-your-crimes!" to Kricket, but naturally, Kricket doesn't have a fucking clue what they're talking about.
And her hair is platinum blonde.
Finally, Asshole #1 (fine, his name is Trey) manages to kidnaps her using chloroform (which is actually a sweet scent that doesn't smell like ammonia, get your facts straight). He tells her jack shit. He looks into her eyes lovingly.
And her hair is platinum blonde.
Trey nearly drowns her. He tells her that a "crike" is fifty years. He hugs her.
He makes her rappel down a cave (smart) when she's hardly climbed more than the rock-climbing walls at her gym. He calls her Kitten. He sniffs her hair.
He takes her to an alien planet! He tells her nothing. He gently caresses her cheeks.
They run from wild animals and man-eating tigers. He tells her the etiquette between males and females. He tells her how brilliant she is.
Kricket almost sniffs a killer flower. Trey tells her not to! They salsa-dance in the forest! (I'm not fucking kidding)
They arrive in the promised land! Oh, finally, some information!!!! Kricket is important because she's the daughter of her mom! Her mom's a priestess! WELL THAT JUST EXPLAINS EVERYTHING. Her mom's like Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships! The woman who started a war! They started a war over her because she's powerful! Because she can, uh...
“What knowledge? Could she predict the future?”Are you fucking kidding me? These dumb as fuck aliens started a war over a woman whose skills are...unknown? It's like starting a war over Iraq because of some random Weapons of Mass Destructions, man. It's fucking dumb.
And then they get to the special Palace where there's a fucking love triangle over the bigger dickwad who also tried to kidnap her! PLOT?! WHAT PLOT!!!!!!!!!
Oh, and Kricket's hair? It's platinum blonde.
The Setting: AHAHAHAHA. AHAHAHAHAH. YOU'RE KIDDING ME, RIGHT? These fucking aliens are the dumbest piece of shit in the world. The world building is fucking silly, man.
I could tell you that I had a bambuzzle for hugglypoo, and then I went to gympilo to mumple my snortificus, in order to frumplefly my tigglebuns. Does that make any fucking sense? I was laughing my ass off because the language, the language! Pick some random fucking ass words, pretend they're alien words with different meanings, and you've got the language of the Etharians!
“I’m heading straight to Sequelle’s and eating an entire venish.”By the way: when a world has LESS gravity, you run slower, not faster. Get your facts straight.
As for the world building of the aliens themselves, standard issue. Nothing imaginative. Nothing extraordinary. The only thing that stands out is how ridiculous and silly the faux-alien language is, and how juvenile the "soldiers" who kidnap Kricket are. They know about the internet. They know how to drive cars. They're aghast at the idea of nail polish! They're stupefied by the idea of a fucking thong.
“Can someone please tell me what that little pink, lacy thing is that I keep catching a glimpse of when she bends down?” Wayra asks.The Sound of a Single Kricket Chirping: Oh, my! Kricket is so special! She's gorgeous (but doesn't know it). She could be a model (if only she were legal).
“Five-ten is not that tall.”Oh, ONLY 5'10. I'm only 5'4. Fuck you, Kricket. She's got platinum hair, which she reminds us at every fucking chance she's got.
while pulling my hat from my head, causing my long, platinum-blond hair to cascade around my shoulders.Oh, and her eyes! HER EYES! They're so freakish! Freakishly lovely!
“My eyes are not freakish!”She's so smart! Soooooooo smart!
“So that means she’s smart?”She's wise beyond her years! These aliens just KNOW this, man!
“You don’t act your age. You ask questions that I’d expect from someone older than you.”She's BRAVE! Because she knows how to run away from a dangerous monster! As if it's not a natural instinct, like what science calls a "fight or flight" reaction or anything.
Kissing my hair near my temple he whispers against it, “You’re so brave.”Kricket is special! SOOOOO SPECIAL!
"It’s like you were a special case from the start.”All because of her special parents!
“You’re a very important member of our clan,”MORE THAN ROYALTY! GAAAAAASP!!!!!
She's so fucking perfect that after days trampling through the fucking forest primeval, she's none the worse for wear except for a slight fucking tan.
I examine my reflection in the mirror for the first time in days. I can’t believe that I look almost the same. Apart from a tan, I can’t even tell that I’ve just been pulled through the universe to another one where I’m the enemy to just about everyone.
The Romance: Let's just overlook the whole love triangle thing. I mean it. The love triangle is the least of this book's troubles when it come to romance. Frankly, the romance comes out of fucking nowhere. Trey fucking kidnaps Kricket. She protests, she yells halfheartedly, she doesn't seem to fucking mind. He takes her to another world. She doesn't give a fuck except to protest halfheartedly about killing him. All of a sudden, he's touching her, caressing her, sniffing her hair, telling her that he's lost his heart to her. AND WE'RE NOT EVEN 25% INTO THE BOOK YET.
“You trying to stop her heart, sir?” Jax asks in a concerned tone, coming to me and checking me for injuries.I don't quite know what to make of Trey, because Trey doesn't know exactly what he wants to be. He's got no personality. He's not quite a nice guy. He's not quite an asshole (although he sure as fuck tries to be one). He is just completely unnotable, absolutely fucking forgettable in every single way. He seems to ascribe specialness to the already special snowflake that is Kricket. He seems to enjoy playing babysitter to her than being her lover and her equal.
Halfway through the book, Kricket and Trey are already familiar enough with each other to simulate having sex to fool people. It's meant to be steamy, I guess? I laughed.
It's a fucking Herbal Essence commercial with all the moans and groans, guys.
Then, I close my eyes, groaning louder than before as water cascades down my hair. “Ohhh, Trey…Trey!” I call out in a raspy tone, like I’ve heard Bridget do in the middle of the night when Eric sleeps over. Finding a dispenser of shampoo, I pour some in my hand, lathering it in my hair. Eliciting what I hope is a sensual sounding gasp, I let my voice strain as I murmur, “Ahhh…” Rinsing my hair, I try the other dispenser that smells like coconut.
That picture isn't accurate. Kricket's hair is platinum blonde. ...more
Notes are private!
Dec 26, 2013
Dec 27, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
Jun 10, 2014
Jun 10, 2014
it was ok
I had a nagging sense of familiarity while reading this book, and it wasn't until the end that I finally realized what it was. This book reminded me o I had a nagging sense of familiarity while reading this book, and it wasn't until the end that I finally realized what it was. This book reminded me of The Bone Season, and if you know me and my history with that book...it's not a good thing. This was such a disappointment to me, because this had been one of my most eagerly anticipated books for 2014.
It is an overhyped book that underdelivered. It was technically perfect while being completely devoid of emotion, with a convoluted, action-packed plot that made largely no sense. The world building is chock full of strange terminology (minus the glossary), and the world itself is without much context, without much sense. The characters are forgettable, they are merely generically likeable and utterly lacking in personality. It is heavy on a completely unnecessary romance, with a tremendous amount of insta-love. And most importantly, however action-packed it was, I just found myself completely, utterly bored.
I wanted to DNF this book at 25%. I trudged on. I wanted to DNF at 75%. I forced myself on. And honestly, I could have DNFed this at 95% because this book just bored me to all hell, and I did not give a single fuck about any of the characters. The book was so incredibly long and dull that I did not really care about what happened in the end.
Here are some of my problems with this book
The Overly Complicated Plot: It is never, ever a good thing when halfway through the book, I have to go look back at the summary because I wasn't sure what I was reading. Judge my intelligence how you will, but I found this book to be a tremendous confusion-packed mess. Very, very briefly, it goes something like this: We have Meadow, a girl, who lives on a steamboat with her dad and siblings. We have Zephyr, an orphan boy who lives with flelow orphans, picking up bodies. For some reason, there are a whole lot of bodies to be picked up. There's a lot of people just dying, and it's no big deal at all. Meadow is trying to get a job. She gets it by killing a girl (and the job is never, ever mentioned again). People kill each other. Again, nobody cares. Zephyr acts really tragic, he speaks mysteriously about his "secret." We have no idea what the secret is. He dreams of a "moonlit girl" with silvery blonde hair (who is *gasp* Meadow). They run into each other several times, purely out of coincidence. They fall in love. They go chill on a boardwalk (because what else are you supposed to do when you're not picking up the corpses on the street).
Zephyr whispers sweet nothings into Meadow's ears. He tries to kill her.
Yeah. And then there's all this running away and lots of killing and lots of blood and lots of conspiracies.
And we're not even 33% into the book yet. Forget the killings in the book, I was about to be killed by boredom. I don't even fucking know what a Murder Complex is until around 50% into the book. The summary lies. Big time.
The Romance: I understand teenaged hormones, I understand attraction, and I don't throw the word insta-love around unless I feel strongly that it exists: this book is so utterly, completely packed with insta-love and unnecessary romance.
My breath sort of stops, right there in my lungs.There is a time and place for love, and it is not in a dystopia, and the words "I LOVE YOU" should not be uttered when you've seen the person all of a few hours, when the book is not even 33% finished.
I should be mad. I should be angry and embarrassed.Take Zephyr. The insta-love is strong with him. He dreams of a girl...
The stars are out tonight. But the stars aren’t what I want to see right now."Moonlit girl." "Silvery-blonde" girl. Moonlit girl. MOONLIT GIRL. It is repeated so many times throughout the book that I was sick of it, and I was sick of Zephyr. For fuck's sakes, you have more things to worry about than a girl who appears in your dreams.
"...maybe there’s a chance she’s been dreaming of me, too."Meadow is no better, for all her claims of being a tough killer.
He is beautiful. Shaggy brown hair sweeps across his face, and I am shocked at how bad I want to touch it.She shouldn't be thinking this while she's watching the guy BLEED TO DEATH.
It is the kind of love that I, with my practical mind, hates the most. Zephyr's love for Meadow is that of infatuation, that of predestination, that of fate. I don't believe in fated love. I believe that love should be based on friendship, trust, it should be worked on, it should be earned. Zephyr's instantaneous love for Meadow is so completely impractical, so completely unbelievable, so utterly girlish in terms of a serious, blood-filled novel such as this. This book aims to be Nikita, if so, it should really just leave out the sudden, inexplicable romance that truly plays no role in the plot at all.
The Big Event: This is not a spoiler, just something that happened in the past that led up to this future. Let's say that you are a researcher at a lab. You just discovered a new drug. Do you get it onto the market right away? No. Fuck no. We have a fucking thing called the Food and Drug Administration. It takes 5-30 years to get a drug onto the market. You need fucking drug trials. You need fucking human trials. You need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is completely safe for human consumption. You don't fucking get approval from the government to pump it through the water system right away for the consumption of some 300-million odd Americans. Americans would never fucking go for that shit. Hell, we have enough complaints about the current water supply being infused with fluoride for the good of our teeth. Fuck that shit. There's a thing called the Drug Approval Process and it doesn't get anywhere as convenient as tings happened in this book. Look it up.
The World Building and Terminology: The Dark Times. The Silent Hour. Nanites. Pins. Leeches. Fluxing this, Chumhead that. The Catalogue Dome. Creds. The Initiative. The Plague. The Pulse. Wards. Placement Tests. My head was spinning. It's not even strange terminogy, but it makes no sense out of context, and there is very little context. You know sometimes in college, you have a brain fart and accidentally wander into a huge lecture hall that's not your own (ok, maybe just me) and you're sitting there sweating buckets, wondering why the fuck nothing makes sense? That's how I felt about this book. I was completely immersed into a well-built world that has very little background.
Ok, so we're in the future, there was an event called a pre-Fall that was never really explained. People are dying. Again, no explanation at all for quite some time. The word Murder Complex isn't even mentioned until we're considerably 25% into the book, and even then, it took a whole lot more book space until we find out what it was, and I was completely lost and all the cares I had for this book had flown out the window by the time I got to this point. There are no food. There is a ruling Initiative. There are tons of orphans. There are gangs. And it's not even 20 years into the future.
WAIT, WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Seriously, the world is well built, but there was so very little explanation for the current society, and the past, and the explanation of the past that I found this version of dystopia to be completely forgettable. There was an absolute lack of historical context that would only bypass the most forgiving of readers.
The Confusion: This book is so action-packed that I had trouble keeping track of where they are, and when they are. I just don't know where things are taking place. Zephyr and Meadow are talking, where are they? Fucked if I know. The setting is poorly built in this matter because I just can't get a clear idea of where things are and what is happening.
The Characters: Are inconsistent, are forgettable, and make choices that make no sense at all. Meadow can't make up her mind who she wants to be. She is supposed to be a killer, and we see that. She kills. I admire that. But then she goes around and falls in love and starts kissing a boy seconds before he tries to kill her. And then she gets mad at him, and then forgives him, and then can't make up her mind whether or not she should kiss him or kill him? Fuck that. Her father trained her to be a killer, and Meadow knows that in order for her to survive, she must be a killer. It makes no sense that she is so utterly wishy-washy in her actions, in her choices.
I honestly had a tough time telling which chapters were Zephyr's and which chapters were Meadow's, towards the end of the first half of the book, because their voices blended together and they felt like a single entity instead of one. I think it's more of the fact that Zephyr's voice felt effeminate, and he is such an utterly pale character that I can't be bothered remembering him.
Other characters in the book are completely nonsensical in their decisions. Take Meadow's take-no-prisoner father. He's been training his children to survive since they were small, understandable, but it doesn't really fucking make sense to tell his kids to do something that almost got them killed NUMEROUS times, in fact, they were seconds away from death as children. There are surely better ways of training your children and not lose them in the attempt. I really can't find any liking for the characters in this book.
Convenient Events: I don't want to say deus ex machina, but there you have it. There are WAY too many convenient coincidences in this book. Accidentally climb onto a yacht only to overhear something important? Accidentally discovering the importance of one's mother? Accidentally discovering MORE SHIT? OH, WE JUST HAPPENED TO FIND A CRATE OF WEAPONS. No. No. No. After the 5th such discovery, I just wanted to scream out in frustration.
Boredom: Ok, this is just entirely subjective, but there we have it. I was bored as fuck, and this book was a tremendously long waste of my time.
Overall: a terrible disappointment. Don't buy the hype.
This book was provided to me as an Advance Reader Copy. Quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley and is subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Dec 29, 2013
Dec 30, 2013
Dec 21, 2013
Apr 08, 2014
Apr 08, 2014
it was ok
I have never read a successful book about time traveling. This book continues that trend. This book is about time travelers from circa 2100, AD, not t I have never read a successful book about time traveling. This book continues that trend. This book is about time travelers from circa 2100, AD, not too far off. The future is plagued with mosquitoes and dangue fever plague runs rampant.
IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE.
This is one of the shorter books I've read this year. It could have been a whole lot shorter, because it was so completely lacking in viable plot. If a butterfly flapped its wings within the pages of the book, would it make me fall asleep? The answer is yes.
This book has:
1. No character development
2. An insta-love who's not so much as a romantic interest as he is a walking, talking, kissing deus ex fucking machina
3. A fucking moron of a heroine
4. One-dimensional villains, extremely weak secondary characters
5. A simultaneously confusing and simplistic plot riddled with (worm) holes
6. A terribly unconvincing time-traveling setting
The Summary: Prenna James is from a terrible nonsensical future. Apparently, ~80 years from now, we have the technology for time travel, among other things, but people are suffering from illness and plagues.
We have no idea how many people died in the plague, but there we have it.
Roughly 1000 people were chosen to return to the past to live in a fairly enclosed community.
We don't know how the people were chosen, we don't know why so few were chosen, but there we have it.
Prenna arrived in New York in 2010, she literally appeared out of thin air. A 14-year old Ethan saw her appear in a pond of water. She is naked. It is love at first sight. Prenna is beautiful. And naked.
She was the kind of girl he would dream up because she was approximately his age, her skin was bare except for the dark wet streamers of hair around her body, and she was supernaturally beautiful, like a mermaid or an elvish princess.Ethan goggles at her for a bit, this girl is clearly out of it. He gives her his jacket (hello, she's naked), and then, you know, just lets the girl-who-appeared-out-of-thin-air wander off to god-knows-where.
He wanted to go with her, but he didn’t. He watched her stumble off through the trees in his blue Giants sweatshirt, looking overwhelmed by the tangled branches and the knotty roots and the mud and the bushes grabbing at her.Because what else could he do...like...I don't know...call the police? All's good, until she reappears in his precalculus classrom in his sophomore year of high school.
Prenna's time-traveling community has 12 rules, all of which revolves around keeping their time-traveling status a secret from the world, isolating themselves from the people of the world because of the danger that the time travelers pose to the current world. The last rule is one that should have kept Prenna and Ethan apart.
12. WE MUST NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, DEVELOP A PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ANY PERSON OUTSIDE THE COMMUNITY.Does it work? HA!
Prenna and Ethan gets some advice from a crazy homeless dude whom Ethan nicknames Ben Kenobi (unrelated to Obi-Wan). Of course, they listen to him.
How can I trust him? Who trusts the homeless, can-collecting man who sings opera to himself? Who does that?Hmmmmmmmmm...Right.
Well, apparently the timeline itself. THE WORLD ITSELF IS IN DANGER. Wormholes and time traveling and shit are really, really dangerous, you know? Remember the episode of The Simpsons when Homer went back in time, stepped on a fish, and then all of a sudden the whole world is ruled by Ned Flanders? Well, we don't want that shit to happen. Prenna and James have got to save everyone! Save the world!
Along the way to save the world, they:
1. Make a detour to go to the beach
“This is perfect,” Ethan says as we watch hordes of people in bathing suits stream by, dragging coolers and umbrellas and small children. “What better place for a couple of folks running for their lives and concerned with the fate of humanity?”2. Do some under-aged drinking
We eat dinner on the patio of a Mexican restaurant spangled with twinkling white lights. Ethan brandishes his fake ID and comes back with a pitcher of sangria.3. Play card games
“And during our downtime, I’m going to teach you Hearts.”Prenna and James: saving the world, one card game at a time!!!!
High IQ, My Ass: Prenna wasn't supposed to have made it to the past, she has asthma. She only made it through because of her extraordinary intelligence.
My mom said it was really incredibly fortunate that somebody with asthma got to make the trip at all. She said something about my “enhanced IQ” making up for it.This book completely failed to convince me that Prenna's IQ is any higher than her shoe size. Prenna is so mind-numbingly dumb.
For instance, Prenna realizes that her glasses are used as surveilance tools.
The leaders and counselors track our movements, everything we see and say and hear. Nobody says so, naturally, but we all know it’s true. I think they do it through our glasses. I think there’s got to be a tiny camera and mic planted in them somewhere.Smart, right? Well, yeah, if she bothered to actually fucking use that fact. She is nearly blind without them. She wears them constantly. Prenna constantly makes fucking idiot plans and talk to people she shouldn't be talking to WHILE WEARING THEM, WHILE KNOWING THAT SHE IS BEING MONITORED.
OH, sure! Reveal your fucking plan and your secret knowledge WHILE KNOWING PEOPLE ARE LISTENING IN. WHAT THE FUCK?!
“There are so many things I have to tell you,” I rush on. I should be more careful—I know that on some level—but I can’t make myself be.”It's not just one instance. Every few pages, she does it. She could have just hidden the fucking glasses, but no, she talks over them, she talks in exaggerated tones thinking people are too stupid to realize that she's lying. She does it over, and over, and over. She takes no caution at all.
“Prenna, stop.” She is terrified. “Please be quiet.”Prenna is such an unconvincing character. She is a 16-year old from a difficult, hard-knock future without an iota of sense, without a single ounce of character. She makes grandiose speeches without anything to back them up. Prenna is an empty character.
Red Flag Behavior: Prenna doesn't act like a fucking 16-year old. There are rules for her community, she gets "red-flagged" whenever she does something stupid that endangers their secrecy.
It happens a lot. Over the dumbest fucking shit. She follows people around because the clothes they wear look similar to what she knew.
I once saw a man in a plaid vest across the street, and I followed him around for an hour thinking he could be my dad. That was red-flag behavior too.Yeah, endanger everyone you know for the sake of a pair of fucking boots.
“According to him, you followed a stranger for four blocks yesterday and asked her about her rain boots.”The Setting: Utterly unconvincing.
1. The Language: In the future, we lost the ability to say the "th" sound?! The FUCK?
I’m trying to write and talk the way they talk here, but it’s not easy. All th-th-th-th-ths. People thalking through their theeth. Mom—I am supposed to call her Mom here, pronounced MAH-AHM—she gives me these worried looks when I mess up, but she can’t really say the “th” sound. She makes this wobbly rubber band shape with her lips.I bet if I were to go back in time 90 years from now, I'd understand what the people of the 1920s said. I really don't get this. It's the same fucking United States.
2. The PLAAAAAAAAAAGUE: The major plague that killed a ton of people in this book? It's dengue fever. Some of you may not know this, but I grew up in Vietnam on a rice farm. I had dengue fever when I was a child, it's a recurrent illness.
See that area behind me? That's mosquito country, people. I was seriously sick to the point of death, and you can probably tell from where I am in that photo that we didn't exactly have excellent medical care in backwater Vietnam. I was treated in a hospital, if you can call a brick house with no electricity a "hospital."
The thing is, we don't have a vaccine for dengue fever. Make no mistake, it's a shitty, shitty illness to have, but if you have adequate medical care (and even when you don't) the disease fucking goes away on its own.
From Wikipedia: Dengue fever epidemiology
Most people with dengue recover without any ongoing problems. The mortality is 1–5% without treatment and less than 1% with adequate treatment.1. Fucking. Percent. So why are we fucking freaking out and traveling to the past?
2. No Treatment for Dengue: This is a credibility problem. In the future, we have so many eadvanced technology. We can eat as much as we fucking want without getting fat. And not to mention the advances in plastic surgery.
“Well, there was a lot of R and D money and scientific genius spent on pills and simple surgeries to let people eat as much as they wanted without getting fat. And there were big advances in plastic surgery technology, so people could shape their bodies exactly how they wanted and look super young, even when they were, like, seventy.And AIDS?, we got rid of that shit.
"AIDS was done with by that point."Oooook. So plastic surgery? Got it. No obesity. Got it. AIDS? BOOM. But dengue fever outbreak? WAAAAAAAAAH.
It doesn't make any fucking sense.
3. Iceberg Flooding No Resource Same Old Bullshit: This book doesn't break any new grounds in painting us a barely-100-year from now nightmare of a future. 100 years isn't really that long. And yet DISASTER ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE.
The ice caps melting, the ice sheets collapsing, the water levels rising. The whole thing changes over about fifteen years. There are droughts and floods and storms that rip the topsoil right off the earth. Once people recover from one thing, there is another. The price of basic stuff like wheat and rice skyrockets, and governments come down because they can’t feed people.”And we don't even have clothes anymore, we recycle clothes. That's pretty much the dumbest thing I've ever heard, considering the advances in technology, we're down to re-using clothes because we can't make new clothes anymore?
There are so many clothes now. But by the 2070s there was almost nothing new being made, and by the 2080s we were all wearing recycled stuff, a lot of it recycled from now. By the early 2090s, by the time we left to come here, most of it was in tatters.Romance: thy name is deus ex fucking machina: Ethan. Gorgeous Ethan. Ethan who can, will, and does everything he can to save Prenna's ass.
The boy exists for no reason other than that: to get Prenna out of a tough spot, and to move the book along.
Prenna appears in a pond, naked? He gives her clothing.
Prenna gets jailed? He breaks her out.
Prenna needs to go off on a quest to save the world? Well, Ethan will just call his family, tell them that he'll be gone for a few days and accompany her and chauffeur her around.
Prenna needs to save someone? ETHAN TO THE RESCUE.
Prenna needs someone to hack into a system! OH ETHAN'S ALSO A BRILLIANT COMPUTER PROGRAMMER AS WELL AS A PHYSICIST.
There is just nothing to this book and the world within this book that's worth saving.
Quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 28, 2014
Dec 17, 2013
Jan 21, 2014
Jan 21, 2014
This is Firefly fanfiction under different names.
Boy, they weren't kidding when the summary of the book said it is "a great match for fans of Joss Whe
This is Firefly fanfiction under different names.
Boy, they weren't kidding when the summary of the book said it is "a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly." There are a tremendous amount of similarities, for one, the plot: a ragtag crew of mercenaries set out into space on a beloved spaceship, only to rescue some siblings on the run---one of whom has a secret. If you have watched the show, you will be able to make a very exact hypothesis regarding the secret. There will be no surprises, and it will render this book almost obsolete, because Firefly holds so much more complexity and so much more enjoyment than this book. The characters are almost exactly the same, only with different ages and names. The plot is action-packed but long-winded, and bored me more than once. Regardless, it is an entertaining book.
This book was not a pain to read, but it was obstructed in parts by the idiocy of the main character, Jeth. Obviously, I cannot help but draw parallels between Jeth and Firefly's captain, Mal. The one major distinction between Mal and Jethro is that Mal is rational, calm, and is not driven by hormones. Simply put: Mal does not think with his dick, which is something I cannot say about Jethro. And Mal is just fucking awesome, man.
There is a lot of action in the book, regardless, the book felt a lot more boring and slower than it should. That is mainly because a lot of the action in the book felt superfluous and repetitive. It is like watching an action movie, sometimes I just want something besides the explosions, you know?
The Characters: Almost every single character is a direct parallel to Firefly. Here is a list of the characters in the book and their Firefly counterpart.
Jethro = Mal.
The unflinching captain. Desperately loves the ship Avalon. Respectful of his crew. A gentleman. A loyal friend. A good heart. There are a few differences between them, mainly Mal is a man. Jethro is a boy. More specifically, Jeth is a teenaged boy whose hormones have not been conquered. Mal would be considerably more focused on the end goal, without being distracted by a pretty face and insta-love despite knowing better.
Don’t be stupid, the voice of reason broke in. You don’t need that kind of distraction.And yet he gets distracted anyway. Mal would NEVER get beaten off-track by a beauty, so much that he would irretrievably compromise his mission. Jethro allows a pretty face to affect the way he thinks about his beloved Avalon, his thoughts are altogether too flowery.
She must think Avalon’s a dump. Jeth resisted an insane urge to start defending his ship to this stranger. It wasn’t like him to give a damn about what other people thought, but something about Sierra seemed to challenge this attitude. He decided it was the regal way she carried herself: not stuckup, exactly, but as if she were a princess who’d recently been forced into poverty.Oh, Jeth, grow the fuck up. Mal would never feel...fuzzy...like a kitten.
To his surprise, her annoyed expression made him want to laugh. It reminded him a bit of Viggo when Jeth had accidentally stepped on the cat’s tail—pissed off but incredibly cute in a fearsome, fuzzy sort of way.Celeste = Zoe
Beautiful. Cunning. Straightforward. She will kick your ass. I absolutely loved Celeste, and I honestly think she would have been the better love interest in this book.
"She got so mad when I caught her in the act, she punched me in the face. That’s Celeste.” You had to respect a girl who could hit like that.Lizzie = Kaylee
The youngest of the crew. A brilliant technical whiz with a sky-high IQ, but so young, immature, and blunt. Despite her technical brilliance, she speaks roughly, unrefinedly.
Lizzie laughed. “Now you’re being retarded. That stuff don’t exist.”She has a soft spot for young children, kittens. She is permanently clumsy.
There was a loud bang, followed by the sound of Lizzie groaning. She scooted out from underneath the station and scowled up at him, one hand rubbing her forehead. “Crap, Jeth. You made me jump and hit my head.”Flynn = Wash
The brilliant engineer and mechanic. A bottomless pit with a rather unfortunate sense of humor.
“Crap oh crap oh crap,” said Flynn as he crawled out from underneath the nav station. “We are so screwed. I mean, screwed-screwed. Like, get-into-the-lifeboats-’cause-this-ship-is-going-down-screwed.”Shady = Jayne
The brawn of the group. The thug. The juvie. The shoot-first-ask-questions-later guy.
Of all the crew, Shady was the only one who’d done time in a juvenile detention center.As for the rest of the characters, I could make comparisons, but I don't want to spoil you guys. Not that there's much spoiling, if you've watched Firefly.
The Summary: In the future, Jethro (Jeth) is the unofficial leader of a teenaged mercenary crew, thieves known as the Malleus Shades. They work for an intergalactic crime boss, and career politician (one and the same, some things never change ;) Hammer Dafoe. Jeth is an orphan, he only has an uncle and a younger sister. His parents were brilliant scientists who were mysteriously branded as treasons by the Intergalactic Travel Authority (ITA). The reasons for their execution remains unknown. Their case is sealed.
Jeth's only goal in life is to take care of his sister and his crew, and to win back his parents' ship, the Avalon
They are on a mission to steal a ship, it is business as usual until they run into a mysterious man, Marcus Renford, who offers them a job. He wants them to go into the wild unknowns of the Belgrave Quadrangle and steal a ship.
By the skin of their teeth, they escape Renford, only to return to their boss who coincidentally offers them the same job. Go into Belgrave Quadrangle and bring back the ship Donerail. They are not to board the ship. They are only to tow it back. It is a dangerous mission. In exchange, Hammer will return
The Belgrave Quadrangle is the intergalactic version of the Bermuda Square.
It was known across the galaxy as the Devil’s Boneyard. Lots of ships had disappeared inside of it, never to be seen again. Equipment tended to malfunction within its borders, particularly navigational systems. The ITA had declared it completely off limits; even flying through it was illegal. Some people said the place was haunted or cursed.Jeth's crew is reluctant, but their individual salary is too high for them to resist. They travel into the Belgrave Quadrangle, they find the Donerail there, but something is wrong. The ship is a wreck.
A large hole marred the ship’s lower bow. It wasn’t the kind of hole you’d expect on a ship that’s been in a firefight or suffered a collision. It wasn’t a ragged, chaotic shape but perfectly symmetrical, like it had been carved with a giant hole punch. The sight of it sent ripples of dread skidding over Jeth’s skin. What had made it?It is a floating coffin.
The head, arms, and legs of a man still lay on what remained of the bed, but the torso was missing, cut away from the body with the same precision as the rest of the hole. No blood stained the mattress, as if whatever had done the cutting had cauterized the wounds as it sliced through.But not everyone on board is dead. There are survivors, siblings. A young man, a beautiful girl, a little girl. They hold secrets that a number of powerful people would kill to have. The siblings will endanger Jeth and his crew's life.
The Setting: Vague, but it works. I wish there were some background like in Firefly, because there really was not much history of HOW this current world came to be. I don't know how we ended up in space. I don't know how all the planets and intergalactic systems came to be. I'm not quite sure what happened in the time between NOW and THEN. It is very, very vague, but it does the job of not shooting itself in the foot with inconsistencies.
Overall: Fun, but I'd rather rewatch Firefly.
Notes are private!
Jan 20, 2014
Nov 29, 2013
Sep 10, 2013
Sep 10, 2013
it was ok
"I wish, I wish, I hadn't killed that fish."
No, that's not a quote from this story. That is a quote immemorial from one of my favorite The Simpsons "I wish, I wish, I hadn't killed that fish."
No, that's not a quote from this story. That is a quote immemorial from one of my favorite The Simpsons specials, Time and Punishment. The gist of that episode is that Homer fried a toaster while trying to fix it (naturally the way to fix a toaster is by jamming random stuff in it until it works). That toaster ends up taking him back into the time of the dinosaur, where---crap---Homer's every action in the distant past hilariously changes the course of history. With every attempt, he tries to return home to find it irretrievably changed. Homer keeps going back and forth from the past to the present, searching for that perfect universe, the one closest to that which he originally left, and never quite reaches it. The sad thing is that Homer never realizes that his perfect universe---the one with a perfect family, the one with the huge mansion, the one in which the sky fucking rains donuts, is the one he left before realizing how good it was.
Homer's constant search for his perfect universe is what reminded me of this book. I have to say I prefer the Simpson's version, and not just because I'm a fan of the show. This book started off really well, and the scientific principles are truly well developed and explained, but my enjoyment of the main character grew increasingly slim as the book progressed. I started off sympathizing with Ruby. I ended up with a considerable amount of contempt for her.
Summary: Ruby Wright has a pretty shitty life at the moment. Her father has remarried and moved the two of them from San Francisco, California to smack in the middle of nowhere, Ennis, Ohio. Her stepmother is a good woman, her stepsister is a bomb waiting to explode. Ruby is fascinated by a gigantic oak tree in a field near her home. Legend has it that anyone who tries to chop it down will die. Ruby is drawn to it, and during her exploration around the tree, discovers a door---a wormhole to different parallel universes.
She begins to explore each universe, which is pretty much identical to her original one, and sees how her life could have been different in each. They're pretty nice, she has an older brother, she has a mother, she has different personalities. The trouble comes when Ruby decides to shop around for the universe that best fits her wants.
The Characters & The Romance (you can't have one without the other in this book): I started off feeling really bad for Ruby. Fuck, the girl has been uprooted from everything and everyone she knows in California (an awesome state, I should know, I live there ^_^) to the cornfields of Ohio. She misses her friends, above all, she misses George, her friend's boyfriend, on whom she secretly has a crush. Ruby's got a shitty new high school with crap extracurricular activities, and she's got the stepsister from hell. Kandinsky (who goes by Kandy) is a nightmare in the form of a teenaged girl. She is psychotic, she is violent, she needs to be medicated. Poor, poor Ruby.
And Ruby is really fucking smart. So it started off well: I liked Ruby. I felt bad for her. It's good, right? She can only get better?
Fucking wrong. Let's get one thing straight. I don't expect my heroines to be perfect. I was a bitch of a teenager, and I don't expect complete maturity from my book heroines. I do expect them to learn from their experience, and I do expect them to make reasonable decisions. I expect them to have reasonable priorities, and Ruby, as book smart as she is, turned out to be another stupid, shallow girl, far from my expectations.
She is angry when we first meet her. That's understandable. But then she visits one of her parallel universes and turns into a moron.
Fact #1: Ruby's mom is dead in her original universe, and alive in the other ones. Ruby is desperate to see her mother again, so she takes a chance and goes back to Universe #2 to see her mother. Mom, mom, where are you, I want to see you, I miss you so much, I love you so much, I want so desperately to have you back in my life again----OOH, THE BOY I HAVE A CRUSH ON.
Does he know me? What am I to him here? A friend, a fling, a complete stranger? I want to hug him and tell him how happy I am to see him. Tears rush to my eyes. I miss you! I need you!MOM? FUCK SEEING MY MOM AGAIN. SHE'S BEEN DEAD TO ME FOR THE PAST 11 YEARS. SHE'LL LAST ANOTHER DAY IN THIS UNIVERSE. LET'S GO HAVE LUNCH WITH MY CRUSH FIRST ^_^
And while we're at it, George and I were meant to be!!!!!!!! In every universe! We're destined to be together!!!!!
A Ruby and a George, both living in this small Ohio town, both in the same French class. It makes my heart swell, my hands shake. What are the chances? What could it mean? Is my parallel Ruby destined to be with this parallel George, and they just haven’t clicked yet? Am I fated to be with my George, back in Universe One?Are you fucking kidding me?
She proceeds to go totally obsessive and stalkerish over George, telling him every detail she shouldn't have known about his life.
And instead of being totally creeped out by her behavior, George thinks Ruby's the most adorable thing in the world.
Ruby is a bitch and an idiot. Instead of adapting to her new life in the new universe, she tries to fit the new universe to her own needs. There is no effort at bonding with her new (and really sweet) older brother, Patrick. She is not the least bit inconspicuous. She goes around muttering dumb things, not trying to fit in one bit. And she is a huge, huge asshole to her own father. Ruby fat shames her own dad.
“Your weight!” I say.ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? YOU'RE WEIGHT-SHAMING YOUR OWN FATHER FOR NO FUCKING REASON, YOU BITCH.
Needless to say, after this point, Ruby could go wander off and get permanently lost in another universe and I wouldn't give a fuck. For the rest of the book, she is completely irredeemable. Ruby is a terrible character, and I outright hated her by the end.
The Premise: As with everything in this book, the premise started off well, and ended poorly. I have never read a book about parallel universes and wormholes that ended up being entirely well written; this book came close, but the execution did not reach the scientific premise that it promised, instead relying on typical deus ex machina conventions instead of the awesome scientific background in which the book went into so much detail.
The science goes pretty deep in this one. One of the main reasons why I liked Ruby so much initially is because she is such a smart girl. She loves math, she loves science, and she is brilliant at it. Ruby not only has a deep love for quantum physics, string theory, she has a tremendous understanding of it through her readings of real-life physicists like Brian Greene and Michio Kaku. She book explains string theory in amazing detail, making it easy to understand...but then it all came crashing down when the concept of alternate universes is actually explained because the execution of the parallel universes within this book did not comply with the explanation of it.
I'll try to make this short, since really, it's the holidays, and nobody wants to hear a detailed analysis about string theory. There is an infinite possibility of parallel universes, as explained in the book, and the execution of it is too simplistic, the parallel worlds are too similar to her own to be completely believable. The crux of string theory is that there are multiverses in which anything is possible. It is so unlikely that Ruby wanders into one after the other, whose worlds are so, so completely similar to her own. Out of all the multiverses out there, Ruby happens to travel conveniently through each universe by her own choosing, through a wormhole door located in a tree. The variances between the universes are too similar to our own, too similar to her actual life, to feel real. In several parallel universes, Ruby's mother is alive, and she has a brother. It is just too coincidental, out of all the possible choices out there, that she just happens to wander into such convenient onces.
What became of the other Rubys? Why is everything so relatively normal? Come on, where are the three-legged fish? Where are the people with horns growing out of their heads? Think of The Simpsons, man! As Ruby says herself, every action has a multitudinous effect. A butterfly effect. The parallel universes in this book are just too damn good to be true.
Good theory, poor execution. Michio Kaku would be disappointed. ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 28, 2013
Nov 28, 2013
Mar 18, 2014
Mar 18, 2014
did not like it
Actual rating: 1.5
Even though I have way more important things to be concerned with than a kiss, that moment is replaying itself over and over againActual rating: 1.5
Even though I have way more important things to be concerned with than a kiss, that moment is replaying itself over and over again in my thoughts.Oh, for fuck's sakes, girl. Get your head together.
This was not an outrageously terrible book, but it was completely insipid. At no point in the book did I ever find the main character to be anything other than incompetent and unreasonable. The plot leaves much to be desired, mainly because the main character's actions and thoughts make little sense, the main character has these wild suspicions, and naturally, the book is written in a way to make the events unfold to her advantage, but to the reader, it is completely improbable.
The main character is a girl who is helpless, who gets pulled in easily, who believes in mad conspiracy theories. Regan is a girl who would overthrow a lifetime of friendship and the bonds of family for a handsome stranger. Needless to say, there is insta-love and a love triangle, the most clichéd one in the world, between a handsome, golden-haired best friend and a dark, mysterious stranger whom she is determined to trust against all reason.
Is world building completely optional in YA dystopia these days? Whatever happened to weaving together an interesting, plausible background? You can't just throw terms at me and expect me to know what it is. You can't just tell me that this is how the futuristic US is without telling me how we got to this point. Where's the context?! The "hacking" is completely fucking dumb. The "future" is completely unexplained.
The rest of my fellow travelers are all someplace else—a world with no pain, no concerns, and no stress; an enchanting, make-believe world that exists solely in their minds.The drug of the future is not cocaine, it's not heroin, it's not methamphetamine. It is Elusion. Elusion is a technology invented by Regan Welch's late father, a technology that transports the user to a virtual world, free of pain, full of bliss. Serotonin levels in the brain are enhanced. It creates a feeling of euphoria in an enchantingly beautiful world, all within one's mind. It can create numerous scenarios, from a Thai resort paradise, to outer space.
The planets, moons, and stars—is completely astounding. Luminous yellows, greens, and reds come together like large blotches of oil paint mixing together on a blue-black canvas. Pinpricks of glowing white light are scattered everywhere.It is beautiful...and it is highly addictive.
Regan's childhood best friend, Patrick, is now in charge of developing the technology, and he is now prepared to launch the Elusion app to the entire United States. Not everyone is happy about this. There are rumors of its dangers, an outspoken vlogger has long spouted conspiracy theories about Elusion.
“She said that there’s an object or something inside the program that’s threatening users’ lives.”And this vlogger is not alone. At a party, Regan meets a tall, handsome stranger.
His sandy-colored hair is cut close to his scalp, making his cheekbones stand out as much as his amber-tinted eyes.Josh isn't a stranger to Patrick. They clearly have a bad history together, Josh claims that Patrick is up to something bad. Patrick says Regan can't trust Josh. It's their words against each other.
Something strange is going on with Elusion technology, no doubt about that, and Patrick wants Regan to keep quiet about it until he figures it out.
And don’t tell anyone what happened until I figure things out—not even your mom. You have to promise me.”Josh thinks Patrick is hiding a secret that could help him find his sister. He wants to know the secret.
[Josh] exhales and says, “Tell me everything.”Who can Regan trust?!11!?!one! Is it her best friend, the one with whom she shared entire life, an entire childhood?
When Patrick and I were in elementary school, my father used to spoil us with treats from Mo’s every Friday. After our hands became sticky with frosting or glaze, Patrick would chase me around my house, trying to tickle me.Or will she trust the handsome stranger, the one who almost killed a man?!
“He hit a guy and got sent to military school. I know. He told me.”Hit a guy. Killed someone. Same thing, really. The two words are like right next to each other on the keyboard.
What Setting?: There is absolutely no background in this book. The book takes place in Detroit. For those of you not living in the US, Detroit is like the toilet seat of America. It is a horribly broken city. It is filled with slums, gangs, there is a lot of racial tension. There are skyscrapers, yeah, but what you don't see is that most of the skyscrapers and business buildings are abandoned. The city is bankrupt. It currently looks like this.
So how the fuck did we get from that, to...this.
I gaze through the slight film of mildew covering the glass surface, looking out at Detroit’s industrial skyline on the other side of the channel. I can actually make out all the architectural details of the high-rises—the antiquated neo-Gothic and art deco designs mixed in with more modern cylinder-style layouts; the narrow spires and old Corinthian columns and pilasters.This book takes place in the future. We don't know how far in the future. We don't know how we got here. We don't know what the fuck Florapetro is. Florapetro. Florapetro. Florapetro. The word is constantly mentioned throughout the book, yet there's not an entirely clear explanation to what it actually is. I'm tempted to think it's some kind of biofuel based on how it was presented, but dude, if you're going to constantly refer to something polluting the air and powering cars, I'd like a little fucking background. We have acid rain. The air quality is so bad that people are forced to wear O2 masks whenever they're outside.
It’s a negative ten, which means this area is a currently a red zone, so O2 shields are highly recommended.HOW DID IT GET TO THIS POINT, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME SOME FUCKING BACKGROUND?
The H4X0RS: The futuristic technology is just implausible. So let's see, we have the Elusion technology broadcasted through a visor, which plugs into your brain waves and stimulates your brain chemistry so that you can be wholly immersed into a virtual world...and we still have some ancient-ass computing technology without much explanation on how it's updated? Motherboards, servers, firewalls. Awesome, but we have all that right NOW.
This book's technology is completely unimpressive. For one thing, people still watch movies through AVI files and music through WAVs. That's fine, these technology are like paper. They're essential. What should have made them realistic and feel believable in a futuristic setting such as this needs work. It's like paper, we will always use paper to write on, but 1000 years ago, did we have ballpoint pens with which to write on them? No! Give me some technology update. Make up something! Don't give me some ancient technology and expect me to believe that it's the future!
Oh, and a firewall? It's an actual fucking wall. That eats people.
I watch, helpless, frozen in place as he is taken away from me, sucked into the fuzzy gray wall as though he is being eaten alive by an insidious monster.Hacking? Oh my god. This is the TV version of hacking. The completely unrealistic version of hacking when a few fucking commands of code will get you into a top-secret security system.
-Icon is up.* because 1337 sp34k totally works for HACKING. I don't think so...
Regan: Regan isn't the type of person I want to be a friend, or a family member. For one thing, she has no fucking loyalty. She is fuckle as fuck. She is the type of person who will allow herself to be won over by a pretty face, by the flutterings of her own heart. This is insta-love at its mindless, between Regan and Josh.
I have the exact same stunned yet overstimulated feeling I had after the demonstration at Orexis yesterday. My fingers are hot and tingling, like I just burned them on a boiling kettle. I’m standing here, staring at him again, wondering why I find it so hard to say something, or even move.Unlike the mysterious Josh, Regan has known Patrick her entire life. They grew up together, Patrick was her father's protegé. They have laughed together, they've shared secrets. They are best friends. Regan starts feelings...suspicious towards Patrick, and from then on, it's all downhill. Everything Patrick does is interpreted to be a sign of DOOM, no matter how innocuous. She is determined to find faults with everything Patrick does, she never listens to her instincts about him.
But I plant my feet firmly on the floor, refusing to give in to these feelings of doubt. As much as I care about Patrick I simply don’t think I can trust him to tell me what’s going on.Whereas the beloved Josh, the stranger whom she barely knows, is to be trusted against all reason. His word is her command.
Josh reaches into his pocket and pulls out his tab, holding it firmly in his hand and gazing at me as if he’s standing by for an order. “I think I could track one down in a few hours.”She goes against her own instincts. Everything Josh does is interpreted in a good light. Nothing seems suspicious, Josh can explain away anything, and Regan will buy his word.
“He’s using your father’s computer.” Josh finishes my sentence, his eyes brightening. “A three-panel quantum with touch recognition. Am I right?”Josh could be a killer. Regan refuses to believe it.
He pushes up his sleeves, and I take a nice, long look at his toned forearms and large hands. I see what he’s getting at, but again, it’s hard to picture Josh as a threat, even after what he’s told me about his past.Regan is absolutely determined to paint Patrick in a bad light and I just can't see it. I can't see the evidence to distrust Patrick. Patrick's explanations make perfect sense to me, and yet Regan sees it as an attempt of his to turn her against Josh.
“Yeah, like the second he feels I’m not taking him seriously, he goes and befriends you. Don’t you think that’s a little suspicious?”Everything Patrick does is viewed as a "blatant manipulation." Uh, not to me.
Regan's priorities are just fucked up. She and Josh mess up a mission because they kissed, and Regan is more concerned about his feelings towards the kiss than the fact that their mission failed.
The message of this book: it's fine to trust a stranger if he's good-looking.
Best of all, I have someone by my side. Someone who I really want to trust—and who looks amazing in a thick winter coat....more
Notes are private!
Mar 30, 2014
Mar 30, 2014
Nov 25, 2013
Jan 07, 2014
Jan 07, 2014
really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5
They can shoot me through the bars of this sweatbox or hang me from the flagpole or throw me to the sharks, but they cannot make meActual rating: 3.5
They can shoot me through the bars of this sweatbox or hang me from the flagpole or throw me to the sharks, but they cannot make me cry or beg. I will not show them weakness. I will stay strong. If they kill me, they will remember my strength; I will force them to live with the memory of my strength forever.There is no room for pussies on Phoenix Island.
This book is reminiscent of Lord of the Flies meets Island of Dr. Moreau meets Battle Royale. It's got a bunch of juvenile delinquents, it's got a lot of fighting, a lot of underlying tension that comes with throwing a bunch of kids together. There is a mad scientist doing ungodly things to the human body, battles for survival, duels to the death in a hostile, swampy island. This book is not for everyone, I would more generally recommend it to younger male crowd. It is light on the romance, but the existence of romance at all serves to discombobulate me because it truly had no role at all here.
There is a lot of physical violence and a lot of torture. It left me very uncomfortable and in pain for the main character---which surprised me a bit, because I usually love violence and blood and guts. It is the equivalent of seeing your favorite character get beaten to a bloody pulp; you cannot help feeling tormented on their behalf. The violence was spectacularly done, it is bloody, it is painful, and it agonized me as I was reading about it. More than once, I just wanted to jump into the middle of the book and shield the main character from the pain he was experiencing.
The baton crackled, and two needles of energy plunged into Carl’s forearm. Electricity coursed through him and locked his muscles rigid, filling him with sparking, yellow pain. Parker grinned through his anger. “Not bad for the first one.”I wouldn't feel so defensive about the main character if I didn't like him. I absolutely loved Carl. This book does such an amazing job of building up believable, imperfect, sympathetic characters. All of the teenagers in this book are juvenile delinquents, thieves, murderers. The psychological profiles of the kids in this book were spectacularly well done and absolutely believable.
The Summary: Carl is a good kid, who's gotten into one too many fights. Like many juvenile delinquents, it's not entirely his fault, Carl's troubled youth is a matter of circumstance. Some people were born with silver spoons in their mouths, Carl is not one of them. His mother, dead of cancer. His father, a dead policeman. He is an orphan. Nobody cares about him, so Carl cares for others---too much. A champion boxer, Carl has an innate sense of justice that has him beating up bullies, and this last battle is the last straw for him in the juvenile deliquency system. Carl has only one option: Phoenix Island, a juvenile boot camp until he reaches 18, after which his name will be cleared, and he will be free to live out his dream to be a police officer---or a North Carolina jail, to which there will be no escape.
He has no choice, Carl is sent to Phoenix Island with a load of other juvenile delinquents. It soon becomes obvious that they are all orphans.
You are all orphans. Why had they taken only orphans? He thought of the kick he had received, the rough handling of Davis. Here they were, on Phoenix Island, somewhere outside of the United States and its laws.They are very much outside of US laws. The boot camp is run military-style, but there is an endless routine of beating and torture that would not have been tolerated in an ordinary boot camp. Carl tolerates it just fine. He is in good shape, he just wants to stay under the radar and ride out his time until he is 18 to earn his release, but it is not to be. Amidst the beating, the daily physical and emotional pain, Carl discovers something, a diary that a former inmate has left behind. A diary that hints that there is something more to Phoenix Island than just the boot camp it supposedly is. That Carl's sentence was possibly planned.
That made no sense.Nothing comes of his misgivings until the day a particularly sadistic guard decides he wants to play a game of electrocution with Carl's body. Carl is tortured to the point of breaking. Then he snaps. Then all hell breaks loose. Carl thought he was going to die, but that's just the beginning. He meets a strange man; it is yet to be seen whether he is a savior or a madman. Maybe both, depending on the context.
“If Dr. Vispera had been born in London or Detroit, he would no doubt have risen through the ranks of respected physicians and scientists and established himself in more conventional ways. Unfortunately for him—and even less fortunately for his symphony of victims—he was born in place that valued power over science. Sometimes, the only difference between a Nobel Prize winner and a war criminal is geography. Do you understand?”Like a phoenix, Carl rises, bigger, stronger. Whether his future will be better is yet to be seen.
The Setting: A subtropical, swampy island. Danger lies everywhere. There are bird-eating spiders. There are sharks. There is no escape.
“That jungle will eat you alive. Bad things live out there. Bad, bad things. This fence right here? It’s not to keep you in. It’s to keep them out. You go AWOL here, it’s a death sentence.”The jungle is even more hostile than the people residing on it.
The Characters: The author does a remarkable job of giving us psychological insights within the minds of the characters in the books. Juvenile delinquents they may be, but simple, they are not. It takes a hard life to create a juvenile offender. It takes a rough upbringing to create a sociopath and a bully, whether adult or child. Teenaged delinquents learn early on to be manipulators, to play the system, to play the people.
Girls like Rice, though, didn’t even think about the outside. They had turned inward, had become truly institutionalized. They didn’t get scared; they got interested. They didn’t look for a way out; they looked for ways to manipulate the system, ways to push buttons. There was no reforming them—and certainly not by shouting.It offers a tremendous amount of insights into bullies, their enjoyment of inflicting torture.
Decker just kept staring, a terrible amusement playing across his face. It was a cold humor Carl had seen in other bullies. The toughest ones. The ones with real confidence. Counselors and teachers told you bullies were insecure and cowardly, and, sure, some were. But guys like Decker, guys who got that look in their eyes, were neither insecure nor cowardly, and they weren’t just acting out for attention. Guys like Decker were confident and tough and mean to the core, and they hurt people because they liked causing pain.That is not to say that all of the kids in this book are bad. There are kids who simply were born under a bad sign, the result of a system that failed them. Kids who truly want to do well, but somehow keep ending up in trouble through sheer bad luck. Kids who just want to get better, to start their life over on a clean slate.
Carl is one of the most sympathetic main characters I have encountered in a novel. He is such a good kid, well-meaning at heart, with aspirations to be a future police officer. In a normal family, he might have had a brilliant future. As an orphan, he is shit out of luck. Carl is brave, he stands up for the underdog, he suppresses his pain, he braves things through. He has bad impulses, but he knows better. He feels the urge to do something stupidly brave in the defense of a friend, but he pushes it down, knowing it will get him into trouble, but hating himself for it. He is tortured, he is kind, he is human, and I loved him, for the most part. Carl has such self-awareness.
And all these years, that’s what Carl thought he’d been doing: keeping his promise to his father. Standing up for the weak.Which brings me to where Carl lost my sympathy. And it is so predictable.
The Romance: Yep. Carl pretty much had my eye rolling into the back of my head when he falls into insta-love with the beautiful girl, the sad-looking girl, with gray eyes and a fucking white streak in her hair.She looked frightened and stunned and exhausted, yet still beautiful, with sad-looking eyes the color of wet gravel and long hair as dark as his mother’s had been, though a patch of pure white marked her bangs. White hair. And her, what? Sixteen?For fuck's sakes, give me a fucking break. It is a correctional facitity. A military-style boot camp where kids are duking it out to the death. And you still have the fucking time to make googly eyes at each other and hang out with each other when you are constantly being fucking monitored?
The hints of absolute unnecessary romance and how that insta-love preyed on Carl's mind and make stupid decisions decreased my enjoyment in this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 21, 2014
Jan 21, 2014
Nov 22, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
did not like it
This book is plagued with so many problems, I hardly know where to begin. Ms. de la Cruz is an extremely prolific author, and a successful one, but so
This book is plagued with so many problems, I hardly know where to begin. Ms. de la Cruz is an extremely prolific author, and a successful one, but sometimes I think that there is a problem with quantity over quality.
This book was such an utter mess. The plot is barely held together by the weakest of smear from a grade-school quality glue stick. The world building is slapdash, haphazard, nonsensical, inconsistent. The characters are devoid of personality and emotion.
There are pirates, small child-size ice men "smallmen," sylphs, drau, drakon (dragons), zombies (called "thrillers," after the Michael Jackson song *facepalm*), banshee-like "wailers," "mages," "warlocks." Pretty much the only things missing in this mishmash mess of a quasi-dystopian, pseudo-sci-fi, fucked-up fantasy are vampires, werewolves, and unicorns.
Contrary to popular beliefs, I don't enjoy giving out 1-star-ratings. I absolutely hate writing reviews for books to which I give a "1," because generally, it means there are so many problems that I hardly know where to start. It's hard for me to gather my thoughts and write a coherent review with everything that I find to be lacking. It's a strain on my nerves, it's stressful, and it pisses me off to have to revisit a book that I do not enjoy. I don't give a book a 1-star unless I feel it's truly deserved, and I feel that this book is worthy of my low rating (or unworthy, if you would).
Summary: The world is covered in ice after some random events (the Great Wars, the Black Flood, the Big Freeze). Las Vegas is now one of the last cities left standing. Food is scarce, water is a delicacy. There are creatures of magic that emerged after the ice came. There are child soldiers. Adults are as rare as unicorns because they're all dead. Anyone who lives to be 30 is considered ancient.
Natasha Kestal (Nat) is a 16-year old girl, working as a blackjack dealer. Ryan Wesson (Wes) is a "runner," a mercenary, a wizened old ex-Marine Sergeant at the ripe old age of---wait for it---16. He runs a sought-after mercenary team, composed of a pair of teenaged brothers (Zedric and Daran), Shakes, a "scruffy, goateed beanpole of a soldier," and an idiot kid of 13, Farouk. The KONY of the future.
Natalie randomly acquires a jewel which supposedly contains a map (HOW?!) to the fabled Blue. "Blue" is supposed to be a land where the water is not poisoned, where the sun still shines. She enlists Wes' aid, despite having no reason to trust him, and off they go, across the icy land and uh...sea.
Inconsistent world building: Absolutely terrible. It is vague, it is inconsistent, it simply makes no sense. I don't even know where to start, because this new icy dystopian world is so poorly built. The background is unbelievably vague. There are wars, there are flooding, there's freezing. No details whatsoever. Everything comes out of fucking nowhere. Las Vegas stands, most other cities have failed. Somehow, California and New York have been washed away, yet the team is able to visit Korea Town...in formerly Los Angeles, California.
There's a horrifying lack of resources. Citizens can't even afford water. Water is a luxury. People drink a mixture called "Nutri" instead. Think of it as Ensure, for the people. It's probably better than Soylent, but not by much. In the middle of all this shortage, in the middle of a fucking frozen wasteland, somehow people still manage to find the time to fucking gamble. In the middle of a starvation crisis, people still have the emergy and power and resource to breed organic cows and Wagyu to feed the privileged few. And it is a FEW, because the vast majority of the people are so fucking poor and deprived that they have to depend on the government for the very basic of food. Which is again, barely food. Think of it as a mixture of chemicals and nutrients, the very basics of what is necessary for the human body to survive. And we have fucking 5-star restaurants catering to the few.
In the past, salt was as expensive as gold. Apparently, it once again becomes a valuable commodity in the future, because in this book, salt (sea salt: fleur de sel) is as rare as diamonds. The fact that the human body requires salt to live? Please, minor details, right? A handful of salt is almost enough to buy a fucking ship.
“This is the real treasure.” Nat placed a small velvet pouch on the table. She pulled the string and showed him what was inside: tiny crystals that sparkled in the light, bright as diamonds.I should start stockpiling salt. Or not, since I probably have enough in my pantry right now to buy all of California and probably some parts of Canada. Actually, most of Canada.
Practically everyone are children. Teenagers. With the world-weary air of ones decades older. Wes' crew, consisting of the various teenagers, have the air of either battle-worn soldiers from WWII and talk like they're in the Italian Mafia of the 1920s. They call Wes "boss."
We are extremely short of resources, yet we have the power and the fuel to have drag races in the streets of Las Vegas. And they travel across the frozen wasteland on a Hummer. Where the fuck are those gas stations, right? OH, THEY DON'T EXIST. Hmm...Hummers of the future must run on fucking air.
A few kids in a truck manage to beat down 4 heavily armored tanks.
For some fucking reason, magical creatures just emerge right the fuck out of nowhere after the ice come. Magical children with light-colored eyes are born. They have the power to make illusions, to mind control.
Zilch. Zero. No explanation whatsoever. In the middle of our adventure, random ass magical creatures appear out of nowhere to interrupt things. We get zombie attacks. We get polar bear attacks. We get wailers. We get dragons. The use of magical beings is just ludicrous. They're a plot device to make things more interesting. The magical aspects of this story never feel like they belong in the book.
Despite the fact that all the kids are somehow workers or soldiers or homeless or mercenaries, Nat has attended school. She's learned about Chernobyl. I don't know how they manage to be in school, or where they find the time, because the world is run by children.
Wes is uneducated. He can't read. But in the next paragraph, he reads the name of an author right off a book Nat is reading. And he's able to identify a label written in French for some reason.
And speaking of reading, the written English language hardly exists anymore, there is only "Textlish".
The latest RBEs, or “Reading-Based Entertainment,” were all composed in textlish, but Nat couldn’t quite get excited by a story called XLNT <3 LULZ.People actually SPEAK textlish.
The slavers’ language sounded brutal to her ear, a corruption, all consonants and no vowels. Then she realized they were actually speaking textlish, a language that was only designed to be written, not spokenAnd rest assured, you will be happy to know there is a thriving industry of pop music, even in the dystopian future when everyone is poor and hungry as fuck. Gooooooo Britney!
Inconsistent plot, inconsistent characters, inconsistent romance: I usually go into details, with very specific supporting examples, but I'm just all worn out by now. I don't have the energy for a detailed analysis of their inconsistencies. Here is a rough version. Nat is stupid as fuck. She meets Wes for the first time in a situation when they both believe the other is tricking them. Then she decides to entrust her life to a bunch of mercenaries to travel across the country to some mythical land despite not knowing them at all, despite their initially distrustful encounter.
Nat's reaction to Wes is so dumb. The second time she meets him, she didn't know "whether she wanted to slap him or kiss him." That just makes no fucking sense to me whatsoever, given the context. Natalie's powers are so completely out of nowhere, so completely random, I don't even know what to make of them. She can move objects. She can make a gust of wind blow. She can push people back. Like everything else in the book, there is just no explanation given for any power of hers.
For a hardened ex-Marine, Wes is really, really soft. His thoughts run along the line of "I shouldn't trust her. But she's so pretty. I need to get the map from her. But she's so lovely! I need to get my team fed and safe. But Nat's hair is so soft!" Literally. He cannot stop thinking about how pretty pretty pretty Nat is.
Despite the fact that the fabled "Anaximander's Map," and the land of the Blue is the driving point of the book and our characters' mission, it plays a surprisingly tiny role in the book overall. Besides a few mention of "WE WANT TO GO TO THE BLUE," the map is not explained at all, and HOW it came to be in Natalie's hands is just so completely random that I cannot believe it. Nat literally has it handed to her.
I'm just so tired of this book, and I don't want to continue writing this review. Screw this book. I wish I could have my 2 hours back. ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 07, 2013
Nov 12, 2013
Nov 07, 2013
Apr 29, 2014
Apr 29, 2014
did not like it
This was Tyler Wahl. Tyler, who looked far too much like his older brother—my seventeen-year-old boyfriend—in looks, in stature...and, most of all, i
This was Tyler Wahl. Tyler, who looked far too much like his older brother—my seventeen-year-old boyfriend—in looks, in stature...and, most of all, in age.
This is the story of a special (and different) girl who got abducted by aliens, only to awaken five years later to fall in love with her boyfriend's 12-year old brother.
Who is now 17. But really, does that make it any less creepy, man?
"They’ve done something different to you—to make you special.”16-year old Kyra has just finished her softball game. She is a brilliant player, being scouted by multiple prestigious universities. Kyra doesn't give a flying fuck about all the other universities. She is in love with her childhood best friend, Austin. They've been in love since they were young teenagers, they're neighbors, they've been dating for years. Kyra wants to spend the rest of her life with Austin. Her dad thinks differently; in an argument with him over Austin, Kyra runs out of the car...and vanishes.
Kyra wakes up behind a gas station. She doesn't know how she got there, but she decides to go home. But it's not home anymore...The man who opens the door is not her dad.
“I don’t know what you’re problem is,” he hissed, trying to keep his voice low. “But this is my house, and you’re scaring my son. If you need help, then call 9-1-1. I can’t do anything for you.”Freaked out, Kyra runs next door, into Austin's arm...or so she thought. Only it's not Austin. It's Tyler. Little baby Tyler...
...pipsqueak Tyler, who used to follow us around the house, intruding on conversations and telling the same annoying jokes that we used to tell when we were his ageAND MAN, IS HE HOT.
I tried not to look at how defined his bare chest was. Tried to keep my gaze from moving lower and noticing his muscled stomach and his navel, which was surrounded by a tuft of dark hair.Austin who?! What's better than your 17-year old boyfriend?! His little brother! Who wants a 21-year old man when you can have a 17-year old boy?! YEAH!
And man, is he primed for seduction!
"You should know I’m glad you’re back.” He flashed me a sheepish smile as he added, “And now that I’m older, I’ll try to be a little more memorable.”Way to usurp your big bro's girlfriend, man!
So now poor wittle Kyra's got a brand new family, she's lost five years of her life, but who cares, when she's got all-grown-up Tyler making googly eyes and staring at her?
We stood there for a moment, our eyes locked. It was too long, and we both knew it, but neither of us looked away, and then it was way, way too long. I’m not sure if it meant something, or nothing, and I hated how badly I wished I could see inside his head, to read his thoughts. But eventually my cheeks got hot, and I blinked first.Austin who?
Who cares about her dad going insane and becoming an alcoholic because of her disappearance, when the consequences mean that Kyra and Tyler can spend heartbeats looking at each other feeling like fainting goats?
I saw a show on Animal Planet once about these fainting goats whose muscles froze up when they were startled, and they passed out. Like, they literally fell over if you scared them.Austin who?
Oh! There's Austin. Only it's been five years, and he's, like, so old now. Not to mention he's got a girlfriend. But it's Tyler who makes her heart go pitter-patter now despite what she tries to tell herself.
Besides, on top of everything else, Tyler was still just Austin’s little brother. Too young to be anything more than a friend.Austin who?
Who cares if there are Men In Black from the National Security Agency following her when she's thinking about Tyler?
His green eyes, his new deeper voice, the way he teased me, his disarming smile. I couldn’t stop thinking about him.Ins't that sweet? She remembers Tyler before his voice broke. Just adorable.
I mean, who's got time to think about the strange guy with copper eyes who's been following Kyra around all over the place when she can't stop comparing how much BETTER Tyler is than Austin. At everything. Even at opening car doors. Who knew there was such a specific way of opening car doors to make it extra-special. Just like Kyra.
He got out and came around to my side, opening my door and waiting for me. No one had ever opened my car door like that, not even Austin.Who cares about the fact that aliens abducted her and returned her, that she's now extra-special? Who the fuck cares about her powers, when it's clear as the light of the hovering UFO that Tyler is the reason she came back. Not anyone else. Not her family. Not her friends. Not Austin (Austin who?). Not the government. Not her new group of friends.
I’d never been so alive, and I knew this was why I’d come back. To be here, right now, in this moment, with Tyler.Austin who?
Bros Before Hos:
“Don’t pretend you didn’t know I had the hugest crush on you, Kyra. It wasn’t my fault I was only in the seventh grade and you barely noticed me.”Also known as THY SHALT NOT COVET THY BROTHER'S CHICK, MOTHERFUCKER. Tyler, you are SO fucked up, man. You're lusting over your big brother's ex-girlfriend, the one to whom you now refer...as a cougar. Such a sweet hit line.
If you’re worried that I think you’re too old for me or something, I’m not.” He directed his gaze back to the road, but he was scowling now. “It’s not a big deal, Kyra. Really.” His lazy smile made a fleeting appearance. “I kinda like the whole cougar thing you’ve got goin’ on.”Dude, I know she's hot, but man, she dated your BROTHER. There's got to be some kind of awkwardness about that. Austin and Kyra were together for years. They were best friends as well as lovers. Kyra snuck into Austin's bedroom every night, Tyler KNEW this. He still covets Kyra knowing what Kyra meant to Austin. What Austin meant to Kyra (apparently not much considering she forgot him 5 minutes after she saw the almost-all-grown-up-Tyler). All the emotional ties. All the secrets, the love. And you expect Kyra to forget about all the years that she had with Austin the instant she sees you?
Well, apparently, she does, but that's not the point!
Tyler is so fucking smooth. He's got this while seduction thing planned out. He draws beautiful artwork for her on the driveway on several mornings.
Tyler had drawn a cobblestone pathway that stretched all the way from one side of our street to the other, bridging our two houses, practically from my front door to his. And running across the top of the pathway was a saying, written in beautiful, scrawling script. It said:He gives her his favorite old books.
My phone buzzed again. "I’m saying I want to share one of my very favorite things in the world with you, Kyra."He pretty much does everything he can, full-stop, to make Kyra his.
“You like that? I like to pull out the big guns when I’m trying to make an impression.”Which is cute, but it really doesn't disguise the creepy level.
PEDOBEAR APPROVES: My little sister is 10 years younger than me. She has a lot of guy friends. I've known her little guy friends from grade school to this day. Some of them have grown up well, tall, handsome, smart, charming, exemplary young men.
Am I ever attracted to any of them? Will I ever be?
HELL TO THE NO. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW. FUCK, MAN, THAT'S SO GROSS.
Yeah. Let's not forget that Kyra's known Tyler since he was practically a toddler.
I’d known Tyler his whole life. I’d been to all of his birthday parties, teased him when he had a lisp because he lost his front teeth, walked him to school on his first day, pushed him on the swing set until he cried mercy because it was too high, and built snowmen with him on snow days.No, thank you. *shudder*
Kyra, the Special Girl: Kyra is very, very teenager. Which is to say she is self-centered, egotistical, and only sees what she wants to see. She is selfish, she cannot comprehend the fact that the fucking world doesn't revolve around her.
Ok, so it's been five years since Kyra disappeared. Did she want the whole fucking world to stay the same? Yes. You heard me. It's one thing to know that teenagers can be so ego-centric, it's another thing to read about one who makes me want to motherfucking punch her every other page.
Kyra expects the world to wait on her hand and foot. She hates the fact that her mother is remarried, to a kind man that Kyra now refers to only as "THE HUSBAND," her new little brother? "The kid." "The brat." That is, when he's not...
...the brat who’d stolen my mom.It's a little baby! A little baby who can't even hold his own spoon and eat in a normal manner, which Kyra goes to mock, naturally. Because god help us if a toddler makes a mess while eating!
I’d already offended her and The Husband that morning when I’d implied that, perhaps, he needed more practice with a spoon as more of the oatmeal had fallen off it than made it to his mouth.Her boyfriend, Austin, has moved on. He is now dating Cat, her best friend. Both former. They didn't mean for it to happen, but five years have passed; they were friends already, and they grew closer after Kyra's disappearance. And they're both trying to be friends with her again, but that's not how Kyra sees it!
The only two people I thought I’d wanted to talk to were now the enemy, camped out together and colluding against me.I know it hurts, but there is a reasonable way for a character to get my sympathy. I want to take my sympathy, freeze it into a brick, and smash it into Kyra's face. Kyra can't really comprehend that people have a right to move on BECAUSE IT'S BEEN FIVE FUCKING YEARS.
So let's see, she came back after five years. Everyone's paying attention to her, pampering her, watching out for her...and still, Kyra feels like...
I bet I could implode, disintegrate into ash on this very spot where I was perched in my hospital gown on the edge of the bed, and no one would even notice.Are you kidding me? You don't think everyone's looking at you and trying to figure you out and trying to get you to open up, bitch? Kyra somehow feeeeeeeeeeels that Tyler, hot Tyler, little Tyler is the only one who cares.
She snaps at everyone. The slightest comment from her ex-boyfriend regarding her ex-best friend Cat asking about her makes her snap.
“Cat misses you,” Austin said at last, clearing his throat loudly.The only one whose actions mean anything to her at all is Tyler. TYYYYYYYYLER.
The fact that he was here, standing outside my window and asking me how my day was, almost made me cry. No one else had bothered to ask how I was. He was the first person who wasn’t pulling me at both ends, like I was a rope in a tug-of-war.Bullshit. Both her attitude and this book.
Disclaimer: I DO NOT ENDORSE PEDOPHILIA ...more
Notes are private!
Apr 30, 2014
Apr 30, 2014
Nov 06, 2013
Jan 28, 2013
Jan 29, 2013
really liked it
"It's impossible to love something you know's made out of wire and metal."
"It's impossible to love something you know's made out of wire and metal."Mind: blown. Preconceptions: dashed to pieces. I cannot say in all honesty that this has converted me to the genre, but my god, what a fabulous read. What a fantastic work of literature. This is going to be such a difficult review to write because my emotions are all over the place. Books rarely make me emotional. I'm not a crier. A friend promised me tears. Thus, I reached for this book. I wanted something that would make me cry.
I didn't cry. But that is not to say that this book did not make an emotional impact upon me. It did, tremendously. I was angry, I was upset, I was infuriated. I felt resentment. I felt hopelessness. I felt an immense sense of doom. I was heartbroken.
No, I didn't cry, but this book left me with an uncomfortable lump in my throat, a painful prickling of tears in my eyes, and a terribly unattractive red nose by the time I finished. And you know what? I'll gladly wear my unseemly red nose as a point of pride, because of how much I loved this book. I will gladly go through my day sniffling like a fool. This is the best book I have read in a long time, in terms of pure artistry, in terms of the raw power of emotional depth it weaves in its characters. I have rarely encountered a book that felt more real.
The writing is spare, simple, evocative, and absolutely impeccable for the tone of this book. If the writing in this book were a man, I would take him to my bedroom (and perhaps the basement afterwards), tie him down with a silk rope, and make violent love to him. The writing is flawless.
This book should be read as a character study, a love story, a tale of human nature and growth. I am not a fan of slow books, I prefer the fantastic, the excitement of livelier genre. This is a change of pace for me, and this is a risk I am so glad I took. I'm not an adventurous reader. I stay away from subjects I don't like, I stay away from things I do not care for. I love technology, I love computers, but robots, androids, mechanical beings do not interest me. I've stayed away from many a beloved series (Cinder, for example), for that reason. I don't like androids.
You know what? Screw the android factor, screw the technology. This book's strength lies beyond that. This book should not be read as science fiction, because the android man within it is far more human, far more real, far more loveable than most of the literary men I have ever known. You know that one friend you take for granted, the one friend who has always been there for you? The one who stays up at 3 AM with you, listening patiently while you are sobbing away your sorrows? The one friend who becomes such a constant in your life that you don't realize their significance until they're gone? This is an ode to that friend, an ode to the good guy, a love song to all who have been there, done that, and never appreciated for the treasure that they are.
Summary: It is America, some time in the future. There has been an event known as the Disaster. Much of the American Midwest is barren. Robots and androids is no longer the stuff of science fiction, but a fixture in everyday life. They have helped to rebuilt the cities after they have been devastated. The setting is rather vague, but the setting is unimportant, much like the backdrops in a play. The people, and one android in particular, are the stars of this book.
Caterina Novak was five years old when she first met Finn. A tall, pale young man. He looks real, but there's something not quite right about him. Something not quite human. She decides that he is a ghost. She tries to get rid of him, bringing him to a cemetary, because she has heard that ghosts will return to their resting place.
Finn doesn't disappear like a recalcitrant spirit. He stays on. He becomes her tutor. Finn becomes her friend, and remains her friend through her carefree childhood, through her bitter adolescent years. He listens to her, he is a silent ally in the face of her brilliant father's loving neglectfulness, in the face of her brilliant mother's disappointment in her unacademic daughter. He is always there for her, silently supportive through it all.
Androids do not have emotions. Androids do not feel. Androids are not people. Cat's father, Daniel Novak, becomes known among the town as "the mad scientist" for his work with androids. A preacher in town rallies against his work.
"A person? No, it's just a machine made to look like a person...So they can steal jobs from us easier. It plain ain't right. That's what my preacher says." His face dropped down. He looked Cat straight on. Her entire body shook. "I mean, your dad made it, right? A human being? Way I see it, any robot that close to a person is an abomination."To many people, androids are wicked, evil, an abomination against God. Cat defends Finn through it all.
They are friends, they are best friends, until one day when their friendship feels like something more.
He was close to her. Cat felt light-headed, and she knew it had nothing to with her inability to understand math. She was on the precipice of something. It coiled inside her like a snake and made her fidgety and distracted.Years pass. A string of boyfriends have come and gone. Oscar. Michael. Richard.
Life passes by, with its devastations and its joys, compended with an impending sense of claustrophobia as you feel the walls closing in.
What is love, if you can't have it, if you avoid it? What is love to one who cannot feel it? Cat and Finn's lives are separated, joined, but their fates are intertwined. Everything will come crashing down in a crescendo
Cat cried harder. She leaned her head against Finn's chest. Water lapped at their bodies. His hands were in her hair. They did not kiss; they did not speak.The Characters: There is not one single character who was not flawless in this book. I don't mean flawless as in likeable, because they are certainly not all likeable. They are sometimes despicable, they are oftentimes cruel, they inspire pity, hate. They are not flawless, but I loved them all, because they all feel so perfectly human. Humans are not perfect. Humans are flawed, destructible. You do not raise a human to a pedestal, because they will inevitably fall.
There are many who will hate Cat. I understand. So do I, at times. I am resentful of her. She starts off as a spoiled little rich girl. She is an only child, left to roam the woods alone with Finn, with little supervision. She is rebellious, hatteful towards her mother, who wants a brilliant child, not one who is inclined towards artistry. Cat is the kind of girl that I hate, someone who seemingly has everything handed to her on a platter. She is beautiful, she attracts the kind of guy a lot of girls would kill to have, with not much effort other than her own looks and careless personality. Cat is the kind of girl of whom I would whisper behind her back "What is he doing with HER?" Admit it, we've all been there.
Cat is selfish, ever so selfish. She goes through life as a cloud, not really caring about anything along the way. She faces problems with the skill of an ostrich: if I stick my head in the sand for long enough, I can pretend that the problem doesn't exist. She is immature, she remains this way, until her life starts to disintegrate.
I loved it when Cat broke. I was devastated with her when her life shattered, however I was indifferent to her before, however I belittled her before.
The world was utterly still, and she was aware of the movement of the inside of her body: the expansion of her lungs and the fluttery pumps of her heart, pushing blood out into her extremities. Her heart, broken a million times over.The thing is, Cat grows up. We see Cat through so much of her life that it feels like observing someone you know grow up. Cat matures. She learns. She realizes her selfishness. She cries for her own cruelty. She recognizes her mistakes. She accepts them.
Cat took a deep breath. She wiped her muddy tears away. "I'm sorry," she said. "I'm sorry I didn't realize."The Romance: Love is an integral part of this novel, and it should be. The love of a mother for her child. The love of a mad scientist, who is not so much a mad scientist as much as he is a bewildered father. The love of friends. Most vitally, the love of a woman who has to grow up before she realizes she is capable of it. The love of an android who could not, who should not be able to feel such a thing as emotions.
"Finn, can you fall in love?" she asked.Can androids fall in love? The answer is yes, yes, they can.
"Desire is simple," he said. "Desire is something even a machine can understand." There was a stillness in the air that mirrored the stillness of his body. "But when I desired you I began to love you. You were the first being I ever loved. I didn't know it, of course. I had no idea what it meant, no idea what I was feeling. Love was never something I was supposed to experience." He laughed against her skin. "Later, I was finally able to understand the complexities of love. Even if I didn't want to. At first."...more
Notes are private!
Jan 04, 2014
Jan 05, 2014
Oct 30, 2013
Dec 17, 2013
Dec 17, 2013
did not like it
THE WORLD HAS BEEN DECIMATED BY A VIRUS. PEOPLE ARE TURNED INTO CANNIBALS. Survival? Fuck that shit. Let's make a new society based on King Arthur's C THE WORLD HAS BEEN DECIMATED BY A VIRUS. PEOPLE ARE TURNED INTO CANNIBALS. Survival? Fuck that shit. Let's make a new society based on King Arthur's Camelot, build ourselves a fucking castle, establish the Knights of the Round Table, and have rousing jousting tournaments!!!!!
I've heard of some comparisons between this book and The Selection. No. It is nothing like it. There was a process in The Selection. There was competition in The Selection. There is nothing competition-like involved in this book because of the immediate selection of Zara to be Prince Sebastian's pretty pretty, yet perfectly pouty and pitiable princess besides the intrinsic fact that Zara is so fucking Super Speshul that she holds a special Key within her ass. The Prince (among others) falls in love with her and selects her to be his chosen bride within the first fucking 10 pages of the book.
I'm just really fucking sick of a dystopian setting that makes no bloody sense. Mother of god, give humanity some fucking credit. I've said it often, and it shall be restated for posterity: humans are not stupid, so why does every other faux-dystopian novels press the futuristic mass of humanity into the same sort of backward-evolution dumb cookie cutter mold? These sort of books make humans to be mindless morons, capable only of groupthink, who are only to willing to accept an idiot of a leader and a pointless new society for no fucking reason at all? Give humanity some fucking credit, people!
I don't understand this book. It doesn't know what it wants to be. This book has an identity crisis bigger than that of Miley Cyrus. It's a fantasy that aspires to be a dystopia, and the result just doesn't make any sense. This book is even worse than most YA dystopians I've read, because those other books at least try to a somewhat reasonable society after the downfall of man, due to whatever reasons. This book just wanted a fantasy premise at heart, and it built the background around what it yearns to be instead of building a premise from the ground up. That is where it completely and utterly fails. It doesn't work that way! You can't build a castle...or rather, Camelot, in this instance, out of thin air.
Feeblewitted fool of a special snowflake + dystopian society that makes no fucking sense + plot that makes no fucking sense + love triangle involving a douche and an even bigger dipshit whose idea of training a girl to fight is to beat the crap out of her until she learns
Summary: It's the future, but it feels like Star Wars in a medieval setting. Camelot, to be exact. Some years ago, a Virus decimated the Earth, and there were like, wars, and stuff, you know? *flips hair* Bad stuff happens, like, soooooooo totally bad. Something called The Final War? Like, totally, yeah. That's what it is. But we're in the future now! And it's utopia! What's an utopia? Is that, like, a dirty word or something? It all started in 2016, too, not too long ago, but that's like, totally ancient history, right, guyse?!!
The future is Camelot, y'all!
Zara is the perfect daughter of a farmer, or rather, an animal cloner. Because for some reason, we can't just breed animals, we need to fucking clone them. Way to overcomplicate things, future. Her father has the dreaded Virus, and so he's pretty much destined to die. Being the loyal daughter that she is, Zara hides his illness, but he gets taken away anyway, and it's somehow all the Prince's fault, that her father is going to die!...of a Virus. Yep. All cause of Prince Sebastian. He must pay for this! Because, um...it's totally Prince Sebastian's fault that her father is dying of a disease known to be fatal? Oh, wait, no. It's his fault that her father, who's dying of the Virus anyway, is going to be taken away...to die and then be cremated. Totally makes sense, yeah. Completely Sebastian's fault. That asshole.
But hark! Today is the day of the selection! The kingdom's golden prince, the 19-year old Prince Sebastian is going to choose his bride, the woman he will elevate above all others! The woman who will rule the kingdom by his side, the woman who will be loved and pampered and spoiled for the rest of her life! Among all the other girls in the kingdom, he selects Zara to be his wife. Because he saw her once and became entranced by her qualities. Not sure what they are, but Zara has quaaaaaaalities, man!
I saw you on a monitor for the first time months ago. When I was being taught about Karm, and how I must know all that is going on in my kingdom, I saw you.”Prince Sebastian is perfect, golden, handsome, skilled in jousting, every slut in
Naturally, Zara wants none of that shit. Because Prince Sebastian as good as killed her father. Because her father was killed because of the Virus.
She hates Sebastian on sight, and keeps on hating him, and then hates him some more, just for posterity's sake, despite Sebastian's claims of love for her. Instead, Zara is attracted to the loyal, darkly handsome Sir Devlan, who becomes her personal bodyguard, who, naturally, falls for her at first sight, too.
“I chose you the first moment I saw you.”What's the real mystery of Karm? Will Zara ever learn to ride a horse? Will she enjoy watching the jousting tournaments? Will Zara ever grow to wear those darned white dresses gracefully? Why else is Zara so speshul?
"I’ve done nothing—am no one.”Will Zara ever grow to be the perfect assassin? How will she ever go through her assassin training while her eyes are gazing soulfully at Sir Devlan? ;_;
What the fuck, man?! Whoever thought it was a good fucking idea to follow some dumbass of a leader in the future when he wants to build a society based off of fucking Camelot?
Camelot.SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK? In the future---and it's not even a fucking distant future. Something happened around 2016, and there are still people alive who remembered life before Karm, so it's not that far in the future at all, maybe 20, 30 years? In that time, the world has been decimated, people are struggling to survive. Mankind has been wiped out by a mysterious Virus. There are fucking mutants and cannibals running rampant outside the electrical Barrier of the Outside of the kingdom of Karm...and instead of focusing on survival, growing food, etc, we spent our fucking time and energy modeling a society from fucking King Arthur's Camelot, complete with a fucking fairy tale of a castle?
Deep blue and silver tapestries drape the walls. Large pillars reach toward the steepled ceiling, and dark veins in the stone walls separate the swirls of gold, silver, and amber. Castle Karm is something constructed right out of one of the antique books my father used to sneak to me.Are you fucking serious?Are you telling me that instead of putting our technology to good use, we spent that time constructing a CASTLE for a fucking KING?! In what was very recently AMERICA, NO LESS?
Let me tell you something about us 'Muricans. We are not exactly open to the idea of monarchy. We don't fucking like authority figures. We hate fucking politicians. We distrust figures of states. We particularly hate the monarchy, becauuse um, well, there was something called the Revolutionary War a little while back. Yeah. A kingdom based on Camelot, with a KING? Not fucking likely.
Women wear pretty pretty dresses. We have jousting tournaments, where it's not really a big fucking deal when an able-bodied man gets killed, because well, people are disposable, apparently, even when A VIRUS HAS DECIMATED THE HUMAN RACE. We have fucking Taser-like V-Batons. We have Eyes (which are security cameras). We have a rebel group who call their headquarter Mordred and have a compound called Morgana...
We have a Round Table. We have The Force. We have Knights, Ladies, Sirs. We have sidesaddles for when women ride horses. Because it's SO FUCKING IMPORTANT WHEN A VIRUS HAS DECIMATED THE WORLD TO RIDE LIKE A PROPER LADY OUGHT!
We have farms that clone animal, because it's just too fucking complicated to have animals fuck each other like, well, animals! Surely breeding is too difficult. Look at the pandas! Won't someone think of the pandas!1!!1
And not even 50 years into the future. Jesus fucking Christ, kill me now.
The Plot: Doesn't make any fucking sense. The crucial plot, the reasoning behind the rebellion is essentially "LET'S DESTROY THE ELECTRICAL BARRIER THAT'S KEEPING US FROM BEING EATEN BY THE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF CANNIBALS AND ZOMBIES AND MUTANT CREATURES SO WE CAN HAZ FREEDOM!"
No. No. NO. To everything in this book. If you want an interesting love triangle between a destined girl queen, her king, and their guard, read The Fire and Thorns series. If you want a better assassin, for fuck's sakes, even Celaena is more interesting than Zara. (I'm looking at you, Cory). Stay away from this book at all cost, if you value your sanity. ...more
Notes are private!
Dec 17, 2013
Dec 18, 2013
Oct 25, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
did not like it
This is a cheap designer knockoff of the X-Men series, with none of the complexity, none of the compelling social issues, and a completely preposterou
This is a cheap designer knockoff of the X-Men series, with none of the complexity, none of the compelling social issues, and a completely preposterous faux-dystopian world. Instead of the jaw-dropping skills of the X-Men, we have a completely lackluster cast of so-called mutants with the combined powers of lulling me the fuck to sleep. There is rampant girl-on-girl hate and passive-aggressive criticism on provovative dress. There is a special, special girl.
“You’re so much more extraordinary than you give yourself credit for. And I’m not just talking about your mind. Your body too.”There is thinly veiled slut-shaming, even to one's supposedly beloved little sister.
Shaming your 13-year old baby sister for the way she dresses? For her beauty? For the fact that she attracts men? How fucking vile can you get?
Micah gives her a smile and Dyl returns the favor. Like a prize racehorse, she’s even showing teeth in perfect, pearly order. She’s passing with flying colors.Beauty is not a fucking sin. It is not evil to be lovely.
Beauty. Dyl’s worth is no longer in her looks, it’s in this strand of hair. And I’ll use my own, plain, unspectacular self to help her.It is not immoral to attract attention. Beauty should not be looked upon as a curse, a scarlet letter, a girl is not shameful because of her looks. A girl should not be ashamed for the fact that she attracts the attention of others. What I hate about this book is that the fact that beauty is looked down as almost impure. Ugliness, plainness is seen as a virtue within its book, at the price of demeaning the other female characters who happen to be beautiful. The main character, Zelia, constantly highlights her own ordinariness, her own plainness, her own diminutive stature, which is more boyish than Venus de Milo, as the virtuous Puritan ideal---with the underlying, unsaid message that it is better to be righteous and homely than beautiful and innately slutty.
I’m a total embarrassment. My refusal to wear makeup, nice shoes, or tight clothes. My penchant for getting excited over CellTech News, my favorite holo channel. My endless nagging about her flashy dresses and too-shiny lipstick.Sluttiness is, of course, defined by the way you dress. A girl and another girl cannot exist in the same space without cat fighting. Fuck that shit. Seriously, fuck that shit.
I point to myself and silently mouth the words What did I do? to Wilbert.A beautiful girl cannot open her mouth without uttering something completely and unnecessarily sexual and provocative.Fuck slut shaming. I mean, really. You cannot judge a person by the way they look. You cannot judge a girl by the way she dresses.
I’m not shocked by the fact she’s wearing the latest fashion from Hookers-R-Us. It’s her face.Screw anyone who thinks a girl is a bitch, is a slut, is a fucking whore because she dresses provocatively. I live in Southern California. I wear short shorts like they are going out of fashion. I wear the tiniest of miniskirts. I wear crop tops. I'm also college-educated. I'm also fucking smart. I'm also fucking well-read and you better believe that it pisses the bloody hell out of me to read snide comments coming from a book's female narrator on the appearance of a possible female friend, making everything she does sexual.
Vera is on my floor, staring at her crotch.Making everything she wears sexual. And making judgments on---my fucking god---her own BABY SISTER.
There is a baffling romance that comes out of the blue, and a bewildering attempt at a love triangle that has Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops shaking their heads, simultaneously saying "Get the hell out of my face."
There will always be people who choose to dismiss the significance of comics as an art form. There will always be those who will laugh at what they see as a juvenile form of books, they will say that comics are devoid of complexity. They are wrong. The X-Men series addresses so many issues superbly, among them, the moral, social, and ethical implications of the existence of mutants among mankind, the difficulties of growing up as a mutant. This book almost completely ignores the multiple ramifications of the existence of mutants, instead choosing to focus on the yawn-inducing adventures of a TSTL, vapid, judgmental girl.
Summary: Zelia and her younger sister, Dylia, live with their widowed father in a baffling futuristic version of the US that makes absolutely no sense. Zelia had a conditon at birth, known as Ondine's Curse. She cannot breathe subconsciously. She has to make an effort at it. Zelia has to consciously remember how to breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
There is a medical device that Zelia can wear that aids her in breathing. Zelia doesn't fucking wear it most of the time because it makes her feel uncomfortable. You know what also feels uncomfortable? The lack of oxygen to your fucking brain, you dumb twit.
In this version of the future, they have automated cars. Magpods. You can program it. It will drives for you. Zelia take her family out for a drive. She drives manually, because fuck techology, she's fucking hipster like that. She gets into a car accident. Her father dies. Her family falls apart. Zelia and her sister are now subject to the foster system.
Only it doesn't quite work that way. Instead of being assigned to a family, the sisters undergo a Testing. The social worker, Micah, assigned to her case know her and her very very illegal younger sister's bra sizes. Not fucking creepy at all. The next thing you know, Dylia is kidnapped, and the system is telling Zelia that she does not have a sister, that her sister is not registered in the system, that her sister does not exist. Zelia herself gets assigned a foster mom who's Professor X's cousin's sister's half sister twice removed, for all of her effectiveness. She takes Zelia to the Carus House, a home for foster children, where they meet a bunch of mutants who are roughly as threatening as my stuffed spider.
(His name's Webby. He's a really cute stuffed spider)
There's a boy with two heads, a watered-down version of Beast. There's a girl, a really gorgeous girl named Vera, with the body of a Victoria's Secret Model and the sexual thirst of a 14-year old boy left rampant in the Playboy mansion.
She does something with plants. Like grow them or something. So useful. SO USEFUL.
There's a really, really nice boy with 4 arms. That's pretty much all he has. There's a motherfucking douchewaffle named Cy whose only known skill is to regenerate his body so fucking fast that he can have different full body tattoos eeeeeeevery fucking day!
The tattoos. No wonder they keep changing. His body must metabolize the ink so fast that he gets a clean slate every day.Now I ain't saying he's an asshat, but...
Cy’s not done. He spits on the floor again. “She’s damaged goods.”Weeeeeeell. Maybe he's got different sides to his personality. Maybe he has a heightened appreciation for art.
It’s a painting of a dismembered hand, fingers stretching to extremes, but cut off at the wrist, leaning against the wall. The one next to it shows a long bone, still smeared with blood, floating in the same pale blue void the hand is in.Oh, no, that's not creepy at all. I would never dream of imagining that someone with an obsession for excessive piercings, a love of bloody art, and an appreciation for self-mutilation might hurt me in the least. Totally innocent. The fact that Cy has paintings of gore and blood and dismemberment doesn't mean that he's not a secretly sensitive soul at heart. He's sooooooooo not a psychopath or anything.
*singsong* Guess who's the projected love interest!!!!! ^_^ Fucking please.
Zelia is determined to find out what happens to her sister. It's the most fun investigation ever because Zelia gets to go fucking clubbing in the slaughterhouse district, man! Then later on, she gets to drive a Porsche. Then later on she gets to make out with the yummy Cy, and yummy?! I mean yummy! I mean his eyes, his eyes!
It warms his slate eyes just a touch, like cold butter that softens after landing on warm toast.One glance into those deadly attractive eyes and Zelia is toast. ^_^
Oh, Zelia has a sister who's disappeared. Right.
The Setting: The mutants do not play a credible role in the book. Their banishment from the society is not a imminent threat, it doesn't feel real. There is no danger. There is social isolation, not ostracization, because there is almost no example of ostracization in the book regarding the treatment of mutants besides hearsay.
The world building is fucking lazy and completely devoid of imagination and sense. Tell me if this makes any damn sense to you. The United States no longer exists. States have seceded. SERIOUSLY? Let's get one thing straight. It's not fucking easy to secede. Here's an imagined map of what would happen if states had been successful in seceding. The point is that it's fucking incredible, guys. Even more so is the fact that states are combined. We have Neia (Nebraska and Iowa), Okks, Ilmo, Alms. Alaska is its own country, having seceded 4 years ago.
Some States have their own dress codes. Their own DRESS CODES. Some states have mandatory uniforms for men and women.
Seriously, do you? Do you think that in a country where even a school uniform becomes a controversial issue, that somehow magically in the future, we become fucking robots who would agree to a Moral Code and the wearing of adult uniforms? Do you fucking believe that marriage will be abolished, replaced by a term called "legal fusion" when the institution of marriage has been in existence for, I don't know. Like all of humanity? Do you really think our morals, our beliefs, our willingness to lie down and take governmental control on all fucking fours is credible? Really? Do you? If you don't have a problem with the willing suspension of disbelief in order to mindlessly accept a convoluted dystopian future, this book is for you. I cannot accept this.
This futuristic US does not have blue sky. We have no sunshine. We have no skies, because it is all covered up by something called an "agriplane." Because, surely, there is no fucking farmland to be had in the futuristic Kansas and Nebraska, also known as America's Heartland, the main manufacturing and farming region in the United States, at all.
Totally believable. I don't fucking think so.
The Romance: Cy fucking hates Zelia. He belittles her. He calls her names. She faints. He kisses her. She faints into his arms (AGAIN!). They play tonsil hockey.
“Oh, you know. After you passed out, Cy knocked us out of the way to give you mouth-to-mouth. He freaking French-kissed you all the way home, in the name of saving your life. What a goddamned romantic. I had no idea he had it in him.”Out of fucking nowhere, they fall in love.
Boyfriend is too limited a term for what Cy has become to me. Water? Oxygen? That might do.WHAT? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?! And that fucking love triangle. So weak it's not even funny. It shouldn't have existed. Like this book.
I rev the engine afresh, and the char thrusts ahead with a roar. The speed is therapeutic, but does nothing to erase the memory of two very different kisses....more
Notes are private!
Jan 05, 2014
Jan 06, 2014
Oct 19, 2013
Sep 24, 2013
Sep 24, 2013
Actual rating: 3.5
This is a book about superheroes---or rather, antiheroes, that started off wonderfully, but gradually wandered into genericville ter Actual rating: 3.5
This is a book about superheroes---or rather, antiheroes, that started off wonderfully, but gradually wandered into genericville territory. It was still very good, but I'm still left with a sense of disappointment. The characters in this book didn't live up to my expectations, or to their own potential. It was the equivalent of a movie-based comic book adaptation, and granted, there have been pretty amazing ones...but still, this is a book. A book has so much more potential for plot twists, for character development, and ultimately, this book didn't live up to my high expectations of it. The quality of the writing is excellent, the character portrayals very well done, but the narrative style didn't work for me, and I had a lot of issues with how cookie-cutter some things eventually became.
If you had asked me how many stars I would give this book, based on the first 5 or so chapters, I would have said five, no questions about it. The beginning was amazing, the first chapter had hook that pulled me in right from the start. We have people digging up a corpse in the middle of a frigid night. We have a talking, walking girl who just might be dead.
This is the present, and we are rapidly brought back to the past...to Lockland University, 10 years ago, where two young men named Victor Vale and Eli Cardale were best friends. Lockland University is the destination of the best and the brightest, and Victor and Eli are the elite among the elites. They share the same intensity for learning, the same sharp brilliance, and a quiet, unspoken rivalry when it comes to life, education, and love. They are like-minded with their fierce ambition, but of the two, Eli seems to be the more sinister, despite his charming, carefree façade.
...something about Eli was decidedly wrong. He was like one of those pictures full of small errors, the kind you could only pick out by searching the image from every angle, and even then, a few always slipped by. On the surface, Eli seemed perfectly normal, but now and then Victor would catch a crack, a sideways glance, a moment when his roommate’s face and his words, his look and his meaning, would not line up. Those fleeting slices fascinated Victor. It was like watching two people, one hiding in the other’s skin. And their skin was always too dry, on the verge of cracking and showing the color of the thing beneath.For their Comprehensive Science Seminar thesis, Eli unexpectedly chooses the topics of EO: ExtraOrdinary people. People with special abilities, specifically, how science...biology, chemistry, psychology...could explain their existence.
An ambitious topic, a creative topic...one that instills a bitter jealousy within Victor. He feels compelled to push Eli further, as they think of ways in which they can trigger these special abilities and become EOs themselves. Victor and Eli become the guinea pigs in their own science experiments, and their hubris goes too far. It works, albeit disastrously.
10 years later, Victor has broken out of prison. Accompanying him is "a hacker, a half-dead dog, and a child". And he is out for revenge. He slowly tracks Eli down and draws him out, thanks to the help from his ragtag crew, the aforementioned child and a hulking gentle giant of a hacker. Like all superhero movies, everything leads up to a final, grand confrontation.
Victor was out. Victor was free.It took me awhile to realize that this book took place in a pseudo-alternative universe. It's still the current world, as we know it, but it's more like a comic book world, because these EOs are not just theoretical. They're not exactly famous, but it is known that these people exist. It confused me a bit until I realized this fact, because this world seems so similar to our own that it is a little bit of a shock to the system to hear people---specifically, science professors, who are accepting and actually receptive to the idea of a thesis involving people with special powers.
What I loved about this book was the writing and the character portrayals. There are no clear cut, no clear message of goodness versus evil here. Both characters can be termed "bad," respectively, even our main narrator, whom we are presumably expected to root for. Victor is not a good man, he has some redeemable qualities, but throughout the novels, his good deeds are tempered with sparks of inhumanity, of violence. He shoots a man, he inflicts pain, he tortures people when it suits his purposes.
I had a problem with Eli's character development. He is a good "villain," if you can call him that, but I felt like his development was out of character and inconsistent from what we know of him. It felt like a bit of a cop-out, an easy way to pin the donkey's tail on a character designed to be bad, if you will. Eli's evolution was unbelievable, nonsensical. He turned from a brilliant boy, a normal boy with a crack beneath surface into a madman overnight.
“What gives you the right to play judge and jury and executioner?”Eli has always been somewhat religious, it's a contradictory fact about him that Victor finds fascinating, but it is as if he becomes a hypocritical fundamentalist Christian in his rock-solid belief of fulfilling his God-given duty out of nowhere. He did suffer through some traumatic events in the beginning of the novel, but I felt that it was insufficient in explaining his personality changes. It's not enough. It turns Eli from a villain with a potentially complex inner darkness into just another fanatically religious, self-righteous trope.
I had a problem with the constant flashbacks in the narrative. It fluctuates a lot. It goes from the present to 10 years past, to last night, to 2 hours ago, to 2 days ago. The chapters are labeled, so that you know where that particular chapter is taken place, during what time, but honestly, it got to be a little too much. The narrative is from a third-person perspective, and we get it from many characters, Victor, Eli, Sydney, Serena, Mitch. It wasn't so bad, because most of the narrative focused around Sydney, Eli, and Victor, but it didn't mesh together well when combined with all the constant flashbacks.
Overall, I still would highly recommend this. The writing is spectacular, and the characters are mostly well-done, with the exception of Eli. My complaints with this book are subjective, and I still enjoyed the book despite what I felt to be its faults. ...more
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Oct 11, 2013
Oct 14, 2013
Oct 08, 2013
Oct 08, 2013
Oct 08, 2013
it was ok
Parallel universes are a tricky topic in fiction. I've read my share of them, and the majority have been fairly horrible. They tend
Parallel universes are a tricky topic in fiction. I've read my share of them, and the majority have been fairly horrible. They tend to be poorly explained and in the end, I am left with more questions than the answers I was given. The failures stem from the lack of scientific backing, or rather the lack of make-believe-science backing. I can believe either, so long as the "evidence" for such a parallel universe presented makes sense to me, and in that sense, this book's parallel universe was very well described and explained. I had my reservations and I had plenty of questions...and all my concerns about the concept were addressed quite nicely.
The background was well executed, but the characters were considerably less enjoyable. I found no enjoyment in the characters; with the exception of one side character, I felt most of the major characters in the book were unlikeable, idiotic, and inconsistent in their behavior and thought.
16 year old Sasha Lawson is flabbergasted when her longtime crush Grant Davis suddenly asks her out to prom. After a lifetime of looking at him from a distance, of never having had his attention, of being solidly smart but under the radar at school, of resigning herself to the fact that her schoolgirl crush will never come to fruition, Grant suddenly asks her to be his date for Prom on the very same night he notices her for the first time.
Totally not suspicious at all.
The problem is that Grant isn't actually "Grant." "Grant" is actually the analog (read: double) of Thomas Mayhew, from the United Commonwealth of Columbia. A secret agent in an alternate universe. After prom, he kidnaps her, and they travel back to his world, where he needs Sasha to pretty much play a stunt double for the missing Princess Juliana. They have a deal, she is to play Juliana for a week, then Thomas will return her back to her world. Naturally, there are always complications, and Sasha finds herself falling for the boy who has kidnapped her, while trying to solve the mystery of her connection with Juliana and her whereabouts. Who is the person leaking information to the enemy Libertas? What is Juliana's real scheme?
The Setting: Quite well done. The world in which the United Commonwealth of Columbia is set in was identical to our version of Earth, if not for the Last Common Event taking place during the Revolutionary War. Then, the two worlds diverged, and therein lies the difference between the worlds. There were some details that remained unexplained, that bothered me somewhat, but overall, the history and the explanations behind the parallel worlds were adequately covered. I had a lot of questions about the worlds, and what I thought were inconsistencies, but they were eventually explained.
For example, it bothered me that Juliana and Sasha's parents were not the same people on their respective worlds. I mean, what the hell, right? There's such a thing as DNA...we are made from some very, very specific combination of DNA from both our respective parents, so how the fuck is it that Juliana and Sasha can be physically identical, each others' "analogs" not having come from the same parents? To my shock, that was actually addressed in the book.
“I still don’t understand,” I said. “What about DNA? If we look the same, shouldn’t we come from the same parents?”That's good enough for me!
The vocabulary involved with the concept of the parallel world and its people were well explained. An analog is the version of you in the parallel universe. The tandem is the veil that separates the worlds. The problems of analogs meeting, etc., all were exceptionally well explained compared to other books I've read regarding the subject. I have very few complaints when it comes to the world building.
(Although I'm still confused as to why the fuck there's an AURORA present in the sky of the other world when the two are supposed to be the same. And potatoes can't grow in the United Commonwealth? Come on, I can leave a potato in my pantry for a month without water nor soil and it'll start sprouting on its own. Give me a break.)
The characters: Fools. Sasha is not my ideal heroine. She is supposed to be really, really smart, but acts like a scared little girl. Understandable, given the fact that she was kidnapped and all, but the majority of the things that made her cry in the book were just completely stupid and I like for my female MCs to be more respectable and dignified than that. I would understand if Sasha sobs her heart out because she's terrified for her life, but she cries in response to idiotic, minor things, like finding out that Thomas lied to her about his mom. Because that's such an important event. Um, no.
She overreacts, she is inconsistent. She cries far too easily, far too often, and then turns around to too completely competent to be a believably flawed character. She gives a fucking TELEVISED interview within hours of becoming "Juliana," she rarely stumbles at all in fooling people into thinking she is the princess. I don't believe it one bit, and I don't find her a likeable or credible character. Sasha forgives Thomas far too easily for the crimes he has committed against her. It is completely unforgivable what he did to her. Thomas gained her trust, then betrayed it, he threatens her life, he endangers her life, and she develops feelings for him. No, thank you.
I couldn’t figure out what it was about him that made me so angry, and at the same time melted my insides like butter left out to soften.I can tell you what it is about him that makes you so angry, Sasha. HE FUCKING KIDNAPPED YOU.
Because no matter how hard I tried to make myself see reason, all the feelings I’d started to have for Thomas when I thought he was Grant just wouldn’t go away.Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Thomas is a fucking asshole. I'm sorry, there's just no other way to put it. He's manipulative, he is an idiot, and he is a prime example of nepotism. He is 18 year old. Pretty much an infant where law enforcement is concerned, hell, you can hardly find any police officers in our world who are under 20, but at the glorious age of 18, Thomas is a member of the very elite, very skilled King's Secret Service. It's equivalent to the President's Secret Service, and Thomas is the son of the very powerful, very influential General. Did I say nepotism? I mean nepotism. Skills, my ass.
Thomas "seduces and kidnap a sixteen-year-old girl," and then is completely astounded, SHOCKED, I tell you, when he sees that she's mad at him. He doesn't know why it takes her awhile (five minutes, tops, actually) to trust him after having pulled her into his world and demanding that she does whatever he says or never see her home world again.
He literally dangles her off a high rise in order to get Sasha to remember some crucial details. Because scaring the living shit out of a poor girl is the most effective way of getting the information you need from a girl you're slowing coming to love.
The level of stupidity is high with this one. Thomas and Sasha makes the perfect Stockholm Syndrome couple. He kidnaps her. She still likes him anyway.
Oh, and did I say there's a love triangle? There's a love triangle. Insta-love and a love triangle. Yay me!
The alternate character, Juliana, is similarly deplorable. She is a stupid, selfish, spoiled princess, who is too ready to throw away her future and the safety of her nation for the sake of escapism. It is fitting that she is Sasha's analog, and I can only thank the gods that we don't meet any more of their analogs, because I'd have a long list of naming and shaming all the ways I wanted to kick some sense into their silly addle-brained heads.
Read this for the interesting concept of an alternate universe, but don't expect much out of the characters.
This book was provided as an ARC by Netgalley. Quotes used were taken from an uncorrected galley and subject to change in the final edition ...more
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Oct 22, 2013
Oct 23, 2013
Oct 08, 2013
Oct 29, 2013
Oct 29, 2013
it was ok
This book almost became one of those rarest of rare objects: it could have been a really good book about sea creatures. It came so frustratingly, hear
This book almost became one of those rarest of rare objects: it could have been a really good book about sea creatures. It came so frustratingly, heartbreakingly close. I love mermaids. I love sirens. I am always on the lookout for a really good book based on those creatures. To this day, I have yet to come across any such novels, and this book came so close to being one I enjoyed. It had a lot of the elements I search for in a novel: an enjoyably flawed heroine, a compelling plot line, a new spin on a classic mythology. So what ruined it? The romance. Always the fucking romance. My awesome heroine had to fall in love with an idiot boy with a constant smart-ass smirk on his face.
The foolish romance utterly obliterated this book for me. The insta-love and the needless love triangle knocked it from a 4 star book to a 2 star book. In a good book, the romance should play a role the plot, but it turned this book from an potentially intriguing YA political fantasy/thriller into a typical teenaged romantic melodrama and all the jealousy and mind games that entails.
I liked Nerissa so much, she's not perfect, but she's enjoyably so. She may be the heir to a kingdom, but she's in danger, and like a scared teenager, her first instinct is to run away. I do not judge her for it. I like her for it. She admits her flaws, and I admire her for it. But here's what turned her into Ariel for me. You remember Ariel, right? The cool Disney mermaid princess who's got the sweetest fucking life in the world as a pampered princess frolicking around under the sea chilling with the fishes, and then chooses to give it all up (not to mention the voice, and the tail, and possibly her life) for the sake of a human guy? Yeah, Nerissa went from a potentially kick-ass heroine into that kind of stupid. Into Ariel stupid.
From the book's blurb:
Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do.Aaaaaaaaaaand...what does she do? *cues "Kiss the Girl"* You guessed it.
The Summary: Nerissa is an Aquarathi Queen, but an exiled one. Her father has died from a tragic accident some years ago---some say murdered. A rival queen, Ehmora, from the Ruby Court has usurped Nerissa's throne. Before her father died, he warned her of danger, and since then, Nerissa has been living in San Diego in disguise as a normal high school student. Nerissa is completely focused on her studies, she is a brilliant student, she is an amazing athlete; she is, in fact, completely focused on being the perfect student until a human boy (Lo, short for Lotharius Seavon. SEAvon, get it?) catches her eyes.
At the same time, there is imminent danger to her life from the usurper queen, and there are traitors and spies in their midst. Will Nerissa be able to stop gazing lovingly into Lo's amazing bottomless-blue eyes for long enough to avoid the danger to herself and to the entire race of the Aquarathi?
The Mythology: The Aquarathi are a new twist on the age-old mermaid myth. I really like the interesting spin the author puts on the mythology of these creatures. You might think they're mermaids, and you would be wrong. They are a whole new type of sea-dwelling creatures, but they are not what you would typically expect. I made a joke earlier about Nerissa and Ariel. Nerissa is not Ariel. In her real form, she is a sea serpent the size of a small whale.
I’m what most humans would call a sea monster. I’m the sea serpent that historians have written about for years, the fiend that has capsized whole ships and devoured sailors by the mouthful.Nerissa does not have pretty pretty perfect hair and adorable little cute fishy tails. In her true form, Nerissa is not remotely anything resembling human, she is truly a sea monster, and it is wicked awesome. I loved the myth of the Aquarathi. I enjoyed the tale of how they came to this planet, how they adapted, and their history as they evolved. I like the fact that they are not lovely, wondrous sea creatures, I like the fact that they are different, and I so wish the book would have dwelt more on that instead of the utterly insipid romance between Nerissa and Lo.
The Plot: The plot is interesting enough, but it is pretty predictable. There are some twists that were completely unexpected, but there were so many hints given regarding who the traitors would be that I saw that coming from a mile away. The mystery had a lot of potential to be really twisted, the evil queen is capable of doing some horrifying acts...
The scales are a pale bluish-purple color, oozing iridescent fluid along their edges. I recognize them [...] immediately. But it isn’t just her scales in the box, it’s her crown...the same elegant ridge of spikes and fins on her forehead that mark mine—the mark of an Aquarathi queen.The plot had a lot of promise...but again, it was overshadowed by the idiocy of the romance between Nerissa and Lo.
Nerissa: It makes me a little upset to write about Nerissa because I liked her so much. Here's my problem with YA fiction: strong, independent, perfectly flawed heroines are rare enough, but when they appear, inevitably, they fall for someone who is completely unworthy of them. This book falls prey to that same failure. Nerissa is really cool. She is an amazing student, and her athletic skills are second to none because of her heritage as an Aquarathi. She is a hockey player (!), she is an awesome swimmer, but she chooses not to participate in water sports because it would be cheating, given who she is. Nerissa is not perfect by any means, and I liked her all the more for it. She is scared, she is running away from her destiny. Nerissa sticks her head into the sand until her best friend confronts her with the truth.
“But we’ve stayed here and done nothing while so many died, and all you want to do is forget about who you are, to become like these insipid humans. You’re stupid and blind. And selfish.”Nerissa is a wimp, but she admits her faults, and she wants to be better---she wants to be the sort of Queen her people deserves. Nerissa understands her failings. She knows she has been a spoiled princess, she understands her people's lack of trust in her and her ability to assume the throne.
Looking back, I was far more trouble than I was worth. Our people faulted him for being so indulgent and not taking a firmer hand with me, saying that if he couldn’t control his own child, how could he control his people? Put it this way—when I left, no one missed me. After all, as the humans say, no one mourns the wicked.Nerissa is a complex, imperfect heroine that I could relate to. Until she falls in love with Stupid.
Lotharius Seavon is an asshole. He is the kind of smug, self-assured son of a bitch any thinking girl would avoid at all cost when they see him across the hall. He's handsome, of course. He's got eyes like the bottomless sea. It's blue, but it's not just blue. It's blue. Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue.
...the oddest-colored eyes I’ve ever seen—a bottomless blue, as if he’d leached the color straight from the depths of the ocean.And Lotharius's hair. It's...I don't even know what color it is. Every color but blue, it seems.
...the fading sunlight makes his wet hair look like burnished metal. His hair is such an odd color. It’s not reddish-blond like mine, but it’s not gold or silver, either. It’s more of a mix of the two. The only thing I can think of to describe it is wet sand.Lo is wealthy. His parents are dead. What did I say before? It's so fucking dangerous to be a parent in YA literature because the chances that you would die is roughly 90%. He's a teenaged deliquent. Lo ditches class to surf. He makes fun of the principal's accent. He calls the poor man "Borat" because of his misfortune of having an Eastern European accent. He gets Nerissa's phone number from nowhere. He practically stalks Nerissa.
Even Nerissa can recognize an asshole and a loser when she sees one.
She clearly sees his potential for douchery, given his stupid teenage dirtbag antics.
“Jenna, you can’t even imagine how bad,” I seethe. “He honestly thinks he is God’s gift or something. I mean, I swear he has rocks for brains. First of all, who would cut their first day to go surfing and show up not in uniform and make fun of Cano almost to his face? An idiot, that’s who.”OK. SO WHY THE FUCK DID YOU FALL FOR HIM? Jesus Christ, Nerissa SEES Lo's faults, and throughout the book, there is little about Lo that redeems him in my eyes. And so it is with the utmost frustration that I watch my wonderful heroine fall for someone not worthy to lick the bottom of her aquarium clean.
It is their romance that kills the story. It is Nerissa's foolish decision to turn to him for help when she has a host of competent people to help her in the forms of her guardian. She is, after all, still a queen, despite one in exile. I just could not tolerate Nerissa and the multitude of her fallacious love for Lo and her concentration of love games when there is so much more at stake.
It’s not Ehmora that will be the death of me.NO. NO. NO. AN EVIL CRAZY SCALPING BLOODTHIRSTY QUEEN IS OUT TO GET YOU. FOCUS ON HER. NOT ON THE BOY.
Get your head on straight, girl.
So much potential, wasted by a foolish romance. I am so disappointed by this book's potential and eventual letdown of my expectations. ...more
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Nov 04, 2013
Oct 06, 2013