It's honestly been quite a while since I've read a good fantasy novel--or rather, a fantasy novel that I could completely lose myself in to the pointIt's honestly been quite a while since I've read a good fantasy novel--or rather, a fantasy novel that I could completely lose myself in to the point that I'm willing to neglect all physiological needs and pressing requirements just to sit down and read it. It's fantastically written; every word and phrase is rich with cleverness and wit, yet at the same time, the story is communicated in such simple language that just draws one in.
I admit that the reason why I read this or discovered its existence was because of Hayao Miyazaki's movie. I adored the art and animation, and so, I wanted to read the actual source. (And that want escalated a bit when I found out that the movie took a completely different route from the original. Curiosity, really.) I found the book as enjoyable as the movie (and in retrospect, Miyazaki did well in capturing the overall feel of the book.)
tl;dr of this rambling review: It was awesome and I loved it....more
I became emotionally invested in this book at page 109.
(view spoiler)[I honestly have no idea where to begin because there's so much to say. I actuallI became emotionally invested in this book at page 109.
(view spoiler)[I honestly have no idea where to begin because there's so much to say. I actually prefer keyboard-smashing my love for this book, but I doubt my "asdjalskdadkasjl;d"s would translate well into actual thoughts.
But yes. I like this. I like this a lot--or grew to like it. Whichever.
I admit that I was a bit apprehensive at first, mostly due to it being a YA novel in 1st POV. My personal taste can be quite a snob when it comes to this combination. I'm not exactly a fan of it since sometimes, the character comes across as an obnoxious spazz monster of irrationality and/or angst. Vera, on the other hand, is surprisingly not like that at all. She comes off as, for lack of a better word, rational amidst the sadness and bitterness and other terrible feelings without having the need to yell in your ear all the time. And I think that's really nice. (I'm actually amazed at how the author handled all the issues well. Dealing with the loss of a loved one? The choice to "ignore" the Bad Things because it's the easiest thing to do? Domestic violence? Parental absence? Alcoholism? All handled well.)
After 109 pages, I finally got the hang of the fiction world again. I did mention before that the POV shifts every other chapter was lacking in the voice department, but as I progressed... well, haha. That was just me after all. I think the shifts were good. I especially enjoyed the Pagoda's chapters, and Charlie's. Without those, I probably would have hated him more. He was such a jerk--I mean, who on earth throws dog poop at their best friend? This intense anger of mine was quickly tempered by succeeding chapters of him showing much remorse, and showing how much he loved (and still loves) Vera, and I think that redeems him a little. Or a lot. (The little notes made me almost tear up, and I kind of wish that he wasn't dead. Ugh. What could and should have been, but will never ever be. Ever.)
Jenny Flick is a psychopath. o.m.g.
I also want to say that that Vera's dad is just adorable? sweet? with his constant worrying, self-help-book-hoarding, and parenting attempts. A favorite part of mine featuring the father-daughter tandem was during the doctor's visit when they were roleplaying each other and it suddenly clicked that they were skirting around the mother issue. I think that scene was clever. It was a nice way to get them to finally see what they've been avoiding all along. I loved the ending too, with them going off on a trip and being free and happy and less parsimonious (oh this word), in general.
I have more to say about this book, and I'll possibly come back at a later date to further pick it apart and point out the nice things. Again: I like this. I like this a lot. (hide spoiler)]...more