Search

haphazardlyreading

A Review of Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

There are a few spoilers, but I have the paragraphs marked.  

 

I read this in early June and didn’t get around to reviewing it until now.  Somewhere I have detailed notes on what I wanted to write about, but I don’t know where they’ve gotten to.  We’ll see how this goes.  

It seems like everyone loves this book.  I can vaguely recall overhearing people talking about it, I’ve seen it at several bookstores, and most of the goodreads ratings are positive.  I don’t know how many positive, glowing reviews I’ve read about this book.  

This isn’t going to be one of those reviews.  

In an effort to avoid being to negative, not everything was bad about this book.  

I liked how the different perspectives were handled.  For a lot of the book it only had two different perspectives, and I expected it to continue to have just those two perspectives for the entire book.  About one hundred fifty pages into it, there started to occasionally be chapters from other character’s perspectives.  I liked that their perspectives didn’t come in until later, and then, after they did come in, didn’t come in a lot.  It just gave you a tiny bit of backstory for each of the characters, a little view into how and what they think.  I had already formed opinions of the characters, but, after seeing how they thought and some of the reasoning behind how and what they thought, my opinions kind of changed.  It didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t like Sean.  I didn’t think he was nice enough to Finn because an older sibling’s job is to take care of their little sibling and make sure that nothing bad every happens to them.  I know that part of the reason I feel this way is because of the things I mentioned about my sister in my last review.  I know that a lot of older siblings probably don’t feel this way, but I can’t not think this, so, fair or not, I judged him.  I don’t want to give spoilers because I feel like you probably need to go into this not knowing much, but his chapter made me dislike him slightly less.  

I thought that this book was going to have a lot more magic in it.  The description I read online seemed somewhat magical, but when I actually got the book I started to wonder if it wasn’t going to be some dark contemporary.  There were some parts that were magical, but even the magic parts read like a contemporary.  Maybe the author’s goal was to write a magical realism novel for contemporary fans?  I don’t know.  It felt more like a coming of age romance than anything else.  If you normally read contemporaries, and you want to try magical realism, this would be a good book to start with; however, if you normally read fantasy, this will seem lacking.  

A lot of the praise I’m seeing for this book is how relatable the characters are and how easy it is to connect to them.  I didn’t relate or connect to any of them.  I was able to understand some of them better after reading the chapters from their perspective, but understanding them and connecting to them are two totally different things.  I didn’t feel their pain.  I didn’t think that the relationships were cute and shippable.  Honestly, I thought the characters were kind of flat, and I was surprised to find that so many people related to them.  The characters didn’t really show any emotion, and, being the overly emotional person that I am, I can’t relate to someone like that.  

The characters made choices that didn’t make sense.  Like when Petey decides to sleep with Finn AND THEN, AFTER THEY SLEEP TOGETHER, she asks him if he’s only dating her because she looks weird.  You’d think you’d want to get that dealt with before you sleep with someone because, if you genuinely think that someone might like you only for some shallow reason and if you’re actually right, you probably don’t want to sleep with them.  Is this supposed to make them more relatable because they make poor relationship decisions?  Also, as a side note, they slept together in a literal field.  They have ticks in places no one wants ticks.  Not ever.  Whether Finn is with Petey just for her looks is the least of their issues now.  This is your Lyme PSA for today.  

I felt like the plot twist with Finn was anticlimactic.  I don’t want to get into spoilers, but I don’t know how to avoid it here, so if you want to avoid this spoiler, skip the rest of this paragraph.  Finn can’t recognize faces.  I guess there were vague hints to this throughout the rest of the book but not in the way that you can figure it out before the big reveal.  I mean, I guess it makes sense with the book, but the way it was revealed was so weird.  I feel like the author could have done more.  

If you’re really sensitive about spoilers, skip the next paragraph, too.  Even if you’re only somewhat sensitive about spoilers, you should probably avoid the next paragraph.  

I wanted there to be more backstory on the man who kidnapped Rosa and his motives.  I love villains.  I want to know all their reasoning, what inspired them to become villains, and every single little bit of their backstory.  There can never be too much backstory for a good villain.  Why did he kidnap her?  Yeah, because he wanted to marry her, but go deeper than that.  Why her?  Where did he get his powers?  How does he use them?  He was interesting, but he could have been so much more interesting.  Maybe give a short chapter of backstory for him at the end?  I don’t know.  

On goodreads I gave this two and a half stars.  I guess I still kind of feel like 2-2.5 stars is reasonable.  

Advertisements

A Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

Spoilers.

 

For years I’ve seen things on tumblr, instagram, and pinterest about that relatable moment when you want to throw a book across the room.  I never really found those things that relatable.  Books have made me sob hysterically or made me go on hour long angry rants, but I had never been so frustrated with a book that I wanted to throw it across the room.  

Until now.  

I got second-hand cringe and second-hand embarrassment from these characters.  Which is a good thing-I was obviously relating to and connecting to the characters, but oh my god, it made it kind of hard to read sometimes.  While reading this book, I would get up to make extra tea, wander aimlessly around my house, or even do laundry.  I literally got up to do laundry to get away from the cringe.  Just admit that the two of you are in love.  Come on.  

Obviously, like I said, this just means that I was connecting to the characters, even though I didn’t realize I was.  I don’t necessarily relate to any of the characters, but they were written in a way that made them easy to connect to, and their emotions were very real.  That’s obviously great.  I’ve praised books in the past for having characters you can connect to without relating to, but I’ve never had a book that’s given me such horrible second-hand cringe.  

The foreshadowing seemed a bit heavy in some parts.  I suspected that Cinder was a lunar before they revealed it, and then I suspected that she was the lost lunar princess before they revealed that, too.  Maybe I just know what to look for because I read a lot?  Or maybe the foreshadowing was just that heavy.  

I just read some other reviews and a lot of them are saying that it was incredibly predictable, so I think it’s just kind of heavy on the foreshadowing.  

To be fair, I didn’t figure out everything before it happened.  I thought it was going to end like a normal Cinderella retelling-with a happy ending and people falling in love. Did I mention the expected happy ending?  I did really want them to have a happy ending.  For the entire book I thought they would, so it was a surprise when it ended the way it did, but I’m not unhappy about it.  Most Cinderella retellings end the same way the original did, and this is different, but not in a weird or forced way.  I don’t know what other way it could have been done.  

Even though the ending was good, and surprising, I’m not very motivated to finish the series.  For the first half of the book, I was ready to binge read the entire series.  I think I actually looked up how much the other books would cost, so I could figure out when I could order the rest of the series.  If I didn’t order the books, I would have at least gotten them from the library.  I was very serious about finishing this series as quickly as possible.  I don’t remember exactly what was happening when I decided that I didn’t want to binge read the series, but around two hundred pages in I lost a lot of my desire to finish the series.  I even lost most of my desire to finish the book.  

Maybe I started thinking this around the time that Peony died?  I don’t like it when the sweet, kind, lovable little siblings die.  When I was seven, my little sister almost died, and that’s made me really overprotective of her. It’s also made me really sensitive about anything where a little sibling dies or almost dies.  I’m literally almost in tears just writing about it.  I was only seven when it happened, so I don’t really remember what I was like before it happened, but I do think that it’s completely changed who I am as a person.  I don’t know if I would be as serious as I am now if this hadn’t happened.  

Obviously that’s something that’s very specific to me, so it won’t bother everyone who reads this, but it bothered me a lot.  If I had known that this was in the book, I’m not sure if I would have picked it up.  I mean, I probably would have because, other than that, it was a good story, but I relate way too much to these things, and it brings back memories I really do not want to think about.  

I like how all the information about cyborgs and the world building was handled.  None of it felt like an information dump, and the world building was detailed and interesting without being excessive.  It’s weird to be praising world building because normally I’m complaining that there was too much of it or that there was none, but this was a good balance.  I guess that since it was a four hundred page book, there was plenty of space for world building, and the author didn’t have to fit all the information about this futuristic society into a short story or a novella, so maybe that helped?  I don’t know.  I liked the world building.  Which still feels weird to say, but there it is.  

I don’t know if I plan on finishing the rest of the series.  On one hand, I think I should.  It seems like it would be good, and I’ve heard so many amazing things about this series, so why not?  But, on the other hand, I have a lot of other books I want to read, and I don’t know if I loved it enough to finish the series.  

All of that said, it was a good book, and it is a book I would recommend to people who are into dystopian novels or fairy tale retellings.  

3.75 stars out of five.  

Reviews of the memoirs/nonfiction I’ve read over the summer

This is more along the lines of my book recommendations post than the reviews I do, but I want to call them reviews, so I am.  

 

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

 

I know I’ve mentioned this book before, but I reread it for the fifth or sixth time in August.  Even though this is one of my most reread books, it hasn’t gotten boring.  Actually, over the years it’s only gotten more relatable, which probably says something not good about me, but I’m going to ignore that.  Anyway, I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t like this book, and if you haven’t read it you’re missing out.  

Five stars.   

 

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

I’ve mentioned this before, too, but I reread it, so here we are again.  This one was also more relatable than it was last time, but whatever.  I didn’t realize that I had forgotten probably half of the stories in this.  I remembered the dead squirrel in the cereal box and the bit about fighting off the birds who were trying to eat the dead pug.  Other than that, I didn’t really remember that much.  I’d only read this once before, so I obviously didn’t expect to remember it as well as Hyperbole and a Half (which I know so well I could probably recite parts of it by heart), but I thought I knew it a lot better than I did.  I think I’ll be able to obsessively reread this for the next six years, at least.  

Five stars.  

 

Me Talk Pretty One Day and When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

 

I don’t know what to say about these books.  I have nothing I could criticize about them, I just don’t know what I could say.  The author has the ability to talk about literally anything and make it interesting.  He writes in a really engaging way that makes you want to see what else he’s published.  I went after When You Are Engulfed in Flames shortly after Me Talk Pretty One Day.  It’s that sort of writing.  You want more.  If you’re looking for good memoirs, read these.  

Five stars.  

 

People I Want to Punch in the Throat:  Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

This was probably my least favorite of the five I read.  Not that it was bad in any way, I just didn’t find it relatable like the first two or just strangely intriguing like the other two.  I think I just might not be the target audience for this book.  There was far too much on parenting for someone who is only raising a cat.  It was still funny and definitely still worth reading if you’re into these kinds of books, I would just read the other books on this list first.  

Four stars.  

A Review of The Curiosities and The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton

I decided to review both of these together because I don’t think I could get a full, four page review for them individually, and I care far too much about word counts and numbers of pages.  I know that there’s nothing wrong with having a short review, but for some reason, in my mind, if a review is under four pages, what’s the point?  

Anyway.  

This is the second time I read The Curiosities.  I read it last December, too.  Apparently, it’s so good that I couldn’t resist picking it up eight months after I read it last.  Even though I read it eight months ago, it didn’t feel weird or boring, and, honestly, I think I liked it a lot more this time.  Out of the two books, this one is definitely my favorite.  

I do prefer the Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff stories to the ones by Tessa Gratton, but her stories aren’t bad.  I didn’t really like the one about the ghost ship, but I’m sure there were some of hers that I did really like.  Her stories do have good world building, but I prefer stories with detailed characters or interesting ideas.  I do think that world building is important, obviously, and reading a book without world building is awkward and weird, but, like I said, there are things I prefer to read about than just world building.  No matter how good that world building is.  This is likely why I have not read The Lord of the Rings.   

After reading more of Brenna Yovanoff’s stories (or rereading them, I guess), I’ve decided that the way I feel about her writing is the same way I feel about Arctic Monkeys songs.  This sounds weird, but to me it makes perfect sense.  Let me explain.  I love Arctic Monkeys.  I fell in love with their music when I listened to the entirety of Humbug last January.  Since then I’ve listened to their music all the time, and I’ve obsessively learned their songs on guitar and bass.  The thing is, I don’t relate to their music at all.  Okay, a few of their songs are relatable.  The idea of “Do Me A Favour” is relatable on some level because that’s how I felt after leaving the band I was in.  But most of their songs are about relationships and love, and since I’ve never been in a relationship, or even had a serious crush, I can’t relate my own experiences to these songs.  But the lyrics are beautiful, and all the instruments fit together so well, and the songs have such an atmosphere to them.  Not to mention Alex Turner’s voice, which I think is one of the best voices in indie-rock music.  Also, the way the songs are written and performed, you can connect with them if you’ve experienced the things they’re talking about or not.  

In Brenna Yovanoff’s books, I can’t relate to most of the characters, I don’t really share any experiences with the characters, but I can connect to them.  They’re just such good stories, it doesn’t matter if you relate or not.  

Out of all the stories, I probably relate to Maggie Stiefvater’s characters most.  My personality could probably be describes as a mainly a mix of Adam Parrish and Ronan Lynch, but with a few of Noah Czerny’s sulkier traits thrown in for good measure (if I have the opportunity to bring The Raven Cycle into a review, I will.  Even if it has nothing to do with the book I’m reviewing).  That being said, so many of her characters have relatable personalities, and I can see myself in them easily.  

Every time I’ve read the story “Heart Shaped Box” I think it’s a Nirvana reference.  I know that it’s a reference to the boxes with the hearts in them.  But the story is about a band, which I assume is a rock band, because that’s the only good type of music, and there’s a Nirvana song called “Heart Shaped Box”.  What else would it be referencing?  Even though it doesn’t appear to be a Nirvana reference, I still really like this story, and I could probably say that it’s my favorite.  

In my review of The Poison Eaters, I talked about how I remembered it having a certain atmosphere and aesthetic, and how I wanted my instagram to have the aesthetic of those short stories.  I also talked about how I realized that I had imagined the entire atmosphere.  This short story collection actually has that aesthetic.  I want my instagram to look like “Heart Shaped Box”, or any of Brenna Yovanoff’s short stories.  It probably says something about me that I want my instagram to look like the dark, sad world of “Heart Shaped Box”, but I still want my instagram to look like that.  

Five out of five stars for this book.  I can’t say anything bad about it, and I think everyone should read it.  

 

I didn’t dislike The Anatomy of Curiosity, I just didn’t like it as much as the first one.  In this one, you only get three stories, where in the other you get many.  Plus, I had to sit through a hundred pages of Tessa Gratton’s world building, so there’s that.  

I loved “Ladylike”, and actually cried at the end of it.  “Ladylike” was specifically about characters, so going from an emotional story with very well developed characters to a story that was more about backstory and world building than anything else was weird.  It took me two tries to get through Tessa Gratton’s story, and, even though it was interesting and good, I just didn’t love it.  

I think I actually liked “Drowning Variations” more than I liked “Ladylike”.  It was just so good.  The characters were written like they were actually teenagers, instead of what an adult author thinks a teenager should or would be like.  I liked “The Drowning Place” a lot more than I liked “By Drowning”, but all of it was good, and I really liked how in-depth the stuff about the author’s writing process was.  

Five stars for this one, too.  

A review of the Asylum series by Madeleine Roux

Even though I didn’t like this series, it wasn’t a bad series.  I have an old review of this where I complain for four or five pages about things I didn’t like; however, I did keep coming back to it.  I’ve read the whole series, so I can’t complain too much.  Honestly, if another Asylum book came out, I would read it.  

It’s been awhile since I read the series, so some of my memories of it-especially the earlier books-are a little fuzzy, but this is the general idea of what I thought of it.  If anyone wants me to do an in-depth review for each book, leave a comment and I will gladly re-read and review them.

The novels and novellas in this series don’t all take place in the same time period or with the same characters.  It’s not weird, though, and it’s easy to get into.  Even if it’s been awhile since you read the last book in the series, you can pick up the next book and not feel like you might be missing something.  Even though you can go months between reading these books and won’t miss anything, if you wanted a quick reading series to marathon, this is it.  They read really quickly, and, even though I read each of them whenever they came out, I think it would be nice to be able to read the entire story in a few days.  Be warned, though, if you do this some of the flaws and plot repetitions will become more apparent that if you spaced them out.      

I was a little disappointed in the lack of backstory for the villains.  I say “villains” because I can’t think of a better word.  Villain sounds far too dramatic for these characters.  Just bear with me.  Anyway.  I love a good, well-developed villain, especially if their reason for being horrible isn’t any of the stereotypical reasons for villains being evil.  There wasn’t much backstory for any of the villains in the three main novels.  Since they focused on Daniel, and he didn’t know anything about the villains, I guess it makes sense.  I was very interested to read the novellas when they came out because I had hoped that they would give a lot more backstory for The Scarlets and The Bone Artists (the villains in the second and third books, respectively).  But they didn’t.  It gave a bit more backstory for some of the side characters who had been in other books, but I wanted to know the motives behind what the villains did.  The choices characters make that lead them to do evil deeds are often more interesting than the choices the heroes make.  Call me weird.  I really think I would have liked these stories better with better developed villains and rich backstories.  

It seems like each of these books has the same plot, just in a different place with a different frustratingly under-developed villain.  Literally the same plot points will happen in each novel or novella, and, if you’ve read two of the books, you can probably roughly predict what happens in the third.  Even the novellas are like this.  It’s not even a wild, unique plot to begin with.  It’s a normal young adult horror plot, over and over and over again.  If there had been some significance to the repetition, I would have been okay with it.  If there was some complex thing with the backstory and the villains doing the same thing, I would have loved it.  The least that you can do is have one of the characters mention that this happens to them literally every summer, and that it’s really weird how they always end up in the middle of this kind of thing, but the author doesn’t even do that.  

It’s been awhile since I’ve read these books, so I could be remembering incorrectly, but I think the prequel might have had a slightly different plot?  It still mostly followed the same plot, but there were slight differences.  I do, however, have some complaints about the prequel.  In this book there are two LGBT characters, which is cool, but the author doesn’t develop them much past the fact that they’re LGBT.  The main character was bi, but I don’t remember much development past that.  His love interest was a trans woman, but she isn’t developed much past that.  You can’t just say a character is whatever sexuality or gender they are and then stop their development there.  That doesn’t define their personality, or their interests, unless you assume that your readers will assume that every stereotype about that gender or sexuality applies to them.  Which obviously isn’t true, and a lot of stereotypes are negative.  But if I start talking about this I won’t stop talking about this, so I digress.  Let me just end this thought by saying this sort of writing is insulting to the reader who deserves well-developed characters beyond stereotypes.  

I wish that the pictures had more to do with the story.  Some of them will have something to do with it, but others are just random, creepy looking pictures.  I love books with creepy pictures, but if you’re going to have creepy pictures, please have a reason for them other than aesthetic.  I do plenty of things just for the aesthetic, so I’m not really someone who can criticize, but still.  Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children is an excellent example of an author using pictures to add to both the plot and the aesthetic of the story.  

There were some parts of the books where the author would bring in some interesting side-ghost and then completely drop it.  If I’m remembering correctly, there’s some ghost who gives them a spare tire in the third book.  They think he’s real until they get back to the diner and realize that he’s not there.  This is one of the few specific scenes that I remember.  Probably because I’m disappointed in it.  There could have been something about that ghost later, but he’s just dropped.  Maybe it’s to show that the world is full of ghosts, but you’d think that if that was the purpose there would be a lot more of them.  You can’t just drop something like that.  It’s bad writing to leave so many loose ends and unanswered questions.

While writing this, I’m realizing that the writing in the series is really forgettable.  I can remember specific parts of books I read around the time I read these books, but I can’t remember much from these.  I remember the one bit that I mentioned in the last paragraph, but not much more.  

These are about on the same level as a lot of the other horror that I’ve read since reading this series.  I’ve heard a lot of people praising it, so if you’re into this kind of thing, give it a try.  Binge read the whole series on Halloween.  I don’t know.  They read pretty quickly, why not give it a try?  

A review of Killer (Pretty Little Liars #6) by Sara Shepard

Again, spoilers.  

 

I’m going to finish the series, but I don’t really want to.  Part of me thinks I should get the rest of them from the library, put on some music I like, and then marathon the rest of the series.  But I don’t really want to marathon eleven books that I don’t really like.  If all I did was read them, I could probably be done with this series in a week.  But I feel like if I did that I would end up in an irritated reading slump.  

I really don’t like how many insignificant details are mentioned repeatedly.  I don’t need to know the brand name of a character’s shirt, or that they seemingly all use Neutrogena sunscreen.  It doesn’t add anything to the plot, and I’m starting to think that it’s not a bizarre form of character development and is, instead, just vapid.  I know that I said before that maybe there were different stereotypes for people who wear different brands, and maybe that’s true, and I’m just completely wrong.  But what kind of character development can you get from Neutrogena sunscreen?  Are there stereotypes for people who use it?  My grandmother loves it, but I doubt the author is trying to imply that the characters are like old women.  Unless she is.  Then I have to reconsider my entire understanding of the series and possibly life.  

I want to know more of the bands that the characters like.  Spencer likes Radiohead, so, according to google autocomplete, she’s pretentious, smart, and the worst (I typed “Radiohead fans are” into google.  These are actually some of the results).  In my opinion, you can tell a lot about someone from the type of music they like.  If you’re going to develop your characters without actually developing your characters, why mention sunscreen brands when you could mention a band or a song and have so much more development?  Emily relates to the Avril Lavigne song “Nobody’s Home”, and I think that that alone says more about her feelings than several books did.  I know that I’m a music snob, and I want everything to have something to do with music, but I think it could work here.  The author could have discussed their favorite books, but then I don’t think they’re readers.  

I wish that there was some other character development other than the brand names and the two mentions of songs/bands.  I can’t relate to any of the characters, and I can’t even really feel their pain.  Maybe if the chapters were done in a first person perspective?  Each chapter is about a different girl from the group, so I think it would be pretty easy to change it to a first person narrative.  I want to be able to get into the characters’ heads and see exactly what they’re feeling or thinking.  

All of the characters also just seem reckless, irresponsible, and impulsive.  Maybe I feel this way because I’ve always been the responsible, good influence in my friend groups?  But I don’t think that’s all of it.  I think these characters are just irresponsible.  

Maybe I can’t get into the characters’ heads because I’m not part of the target audience?  I’ve said this before, and I still think it.  I’m in the target age range, but, as far as my interests go, I don’t think I’m anywhere near the target audience.  

I don’t think there was anything about the flag thing until book five.  Or it might have come in at book six, I don’t know-they all blur together.  The flag thing seems to be such a big deal, and yet it wasn’t mentioned until now?  You’d think if it was such a big deal it would have been brought up much sooner.  

Spencer copying her father’s entire computer hard drive onto a CD is impossible.  A CD has significantly less storage than a computer, unless it’s a really old computer.  I doubt that Spencer’s father has a computer from the early nineties, though.  Also, it’s not like there’s some easy one click function to copy everything from a computer onto a CD.  Even if the CD had enough storage, it would take so long to copy each item and put it on a disk.  Also, why not use an SD card?  Even though they were expensive, you could get a thirty-two gig SD card back then.  

At the end of every chapter, there seems to be some surprise or drama that’s there just for shock.  Literally.  Every.  Chapter.  After six books of this, I’ve gotten kind of sick of it.  Sometimes it’s not a huge thing.  It’ll just be something weird someone said, but sometimes it will be entire savings accounts being emptied.  It’s just there to be shocking and to get you to keep reading.  

At some point I will finish the series, but not right now.  I need a break from it.  I’m too irritated with these books right now, and I’d rather be reading sci-fi and listening to Interpol.  

On goodreads, I rated this two stars, because I’ve given every other book in the series so far the same rating.  However, I did honestly consider dropping the rating to one star because I didn’t like it that much.  Unless the books get much better, I will probably give the next one one star.  

A Review of Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5) by Sara Shepard

I think at this point I don’t have to tell you that there will be spoilers.  

 

I’m wondering if I’m getting to the end of liking this series.  

I’m using the word “like” very loosely, because I never really liked the series, it was more just somewhat mindless entertainment.  What I’m about to say could be taken the wrong way, but I mean it in a way that is slightly less horrible than it sounds.  You don’t need to really think to be able to enjoy this series.  There are no big words, or complex plot points, or, really, anything that takes that much brain power to process.  You can completely stop paying attention for several paragraphs, or several pages, and you won’t miss anything.  Even if something did happen in those pages that you didn’t really pay attention to, it’ll be brought up in the next chapter or the next book.  Probably ad nauseam, especially if it’s a small, fairly insignificant detail.  

The exposition that was in the second book mostly involved retelling large pieces of the flashbacks from the first book.  The things that were brought up were important to the plot.  Even though the author would literally retell the entire scene again, these were important plot points, and it’s important to remember them.  Exposition can be very boring to read, but sometimes it is needed.  The exposition in this book (and the two I read before this) involves mentioning random details that have nothing to do with the plot several times per book.  You don’t have to tell me that Emily’s hair is kind of greenish because of the amount of time she spends in the pool.  I got that the first seven times it was mentioned.  You also don’t have to mention that Hannah’s hair is naturally “poop brown” every other chapter.  Also, on a side note about that, in a book in which all the main characters are obsessed with fashion, dating, and other vapid things that won’t matter in two years, you’d think Hannah would use a word other than poop to describe her natural hair color.  I don’t know what color her hair is exactly.  Honestly I’m too scared to google anything about what color “poop brown hair” would be, but I assume that this hair color could be something close to mousy brown?  Which is my natural hair color.  I prefer to call it “that weird shade of light brown that looks gray in certain lights”, which takes a lot longer to say, but if I heard someone say that I wouldn’t judge them nearly as much as I would if they called their hair color “poop brown”.  This isn’t even done in some self-deprecating or sarcastic way.  It’s completely serious.  I’ve also gotten tired of reading about Spencer’s honey colored highlights or Aria’s blue-black hair.  I get it.  You don’t have to mention their hair colors literally several times a book.  

These books keep saying that Ali would hang out with juniors and seniors when she was twelve.  This never happens in real life.  No junior or senior would voluntarily hang out with a twelve year old.  There are twelve year olds who will force themselves into conversations that juniors and seniors are having, but it’s awkward for everyone involved.  It doesn’t matter how cool or pretty the twelve year old is, juniors and seniors won’t want to hang out with them.  Also, being cool at twelve is way different than being cool at seventeen.  Twelve and seventeen year olds probably don’t even share that many interests.  If a twelve year old tries to hang out with a seventeen year old, chances are that the seventeen year old will laugh at them after they leave.  

Ali’s relationship with Ian kind of bothers me, too, because there’s a very specific type of seventeen year old guy who would date a twelve year old girl.  I’m not trying to make blanket statements or be judgemental, but I’ve only seen one seventeen year old guy date a twelve year old girl, and I’m pretty sure that he dated her because he could ask her to do anything and she’d do it.  Honestly, it’s more sad than anything else-she was so desperate for a boyfriend, and she seemed to think that she only had value as a person if she dated someone, so she dated a guy who was probably horrible to her.  I can’t think of any reason, other than this, that a seventeen year old would date a twelve year old.  It’s creepy.  A five year age gap isn’t a big deal when the two people in the relationship are in their thirties or older, but younger than that, I think it’s weird.  

I also couldn’t imagine why a sixteen year old girl would date an immature fifteen year old boy, no matter how tall he is or how nice his eyes are.  Also, if you’re dating someone only for their height and eyes, that’s shallow and horrible.  

I don’t even know what to say about these books anymore.  Most of what I would say would be repeating what I’ve said in my other reviews.  Probably because most of the plot to each and every book is just the author repeating the same things that were said in the last four books.  

I’m going to finish the series.  Even though this is the fifth book and there are seventeen in the series, I am going to finish reading this.  I just don’t know how much longer I’m going to enjoy them.  

Two stars.  Because I’ve given all the rest of them two stars, and I didn’t tear any of my hair out while reading this.  

A Review of Tithe by Holly Black

Spoilers?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I don’t give specifics, but I do talk vaguely about events, and I do mention that there’s a character death.  If you’re sensitive about spoilers, I would avoid this.  

 

Remember when I said in my kind of review of The Poison Eaters that I had no plan to read any other books by Holly Black because I didn’t want to risk ruining them?  Yeah.  And yet, here I am.  

To be honest, I was never really into this series.  I think these were the first Holly Black books I bought, so, if I hadn’t been interested in them, I never would have picked up The Poison Eaters or White Cat.  I probably read the entire first book at some point, but, before rereading it, I didn’t remember the second half of it at all.  I know that I got about halfway through it several times, but, for whatever reason, I would put it down, and I was never motivated to pick up the next book of the series.  

I’m actually pleasantly surprised.  This was much better than The Poison Eaters.  There was more world building in this than I expected there to be.  I didn’t have very high hopes for the world building, so I went into this not expecting that much, but it had an atmosphere that fit very well with the story.  The descriptions of things were kind of reminiscent of a thirteen year old’s tumblr, but I can see what I saw in it when I was thirteen and had some kind of weird almost fascination with tumblr.  Although this wasn’t the dark, beautiful, grungy aesthetic I thought I remembered from The Poison Eaters, it still had a nice feel and I did enjoy the world building.  

Some parts of rereading this were weird.  I didn’t realize that some lines had stuck with me more than others.  I would be reading and get to a line that made me stop.  There would just be something about that line that triggered my memory.  Then I would remember that when I read it the first time I stopped at that line, and, for whatever reason, thought about it more than the other lines.  There was some line about Kaye’s dolls and their tea party being interrupted.  Apparently, something about that line caught my eye the first time I read the book because I actually have it liked on goodreads.  It’s not like I’ve thought about that line since I read this book last time.  It’s not like I’ve been searching for it to find what it was from, but it was kind of weird to come across it when I wasn’t expecting it.  Also, like with The Poison Eaters, it was weird to read these lines when they mean nothing to me now.  I don’t remember exactly what they meant to me back then-most of the lines were pretty random, or just particularly aesthetic, but I wouldn’t have remembered them in particular years later if they hadn’t meant a lot to me the first time through.  I wish I remember what I thought then and why the lines were important.  

I didn’t connect to or relate to any of the characters I did the first time reading this, but I did relate to the character I didn’t like last time, so that’s weird.  I’m not going to say which character I related to, but I know exactly why I related to them, and I guess I have a newfound appreciation of them.  These characters were not poorly written, but I’ve read a lot of books that had better, more developed characters, and the characters from this book would pale in comparison to any character by Brenna Yovanoff.  

The ending seemed a bit too easy, in my opinion.  I expected it to be harder, or at least more tragic.  There was one character death that I didn’t expect, but I expected there to be so much more.  I’m not going to go into detail because I don’t want to spoil anything, and I don’t consider just saying that there’s a character death is necessarily a spoiler.  (There are actually four deaths of characters who have names, and several deaths of unnamed characters, I think, but if I don’t tell you who it is, are they really spoilers?  Some people would probably say yes.  I say no.)  Anyway, in the end of the book, one of the characters gets a plan to fix everything, and then it somehow works out perfectly and everything’s okay.  That is so not realistic.  I know that stuff did go wrong before that point, and that some people did die, but, like I said, I expected it to be more tragic with a lot of death.  

Everything said that this was going to a very dark faerie story, and this just wasn’t that dark.  Sure, some bits were a little gory, but that alone does not make it dark.  You have to do more than have a fairy stab another fairy in the eye to make a book dark.  Yes, it was senseless violence, and senseless violence is horrible, but to make something dark it has to be more than that.  If one fairy was stabbing another fairy for some other dark purpose, it could be considered dark.  But this was just stabbing for the sake of stabbing.  Gross and violent, yes.  Dark and sinister, not so much.  The intention just isn’t there.

I liked this book, and I will read the rest of the series, but, just like being emo, fangirling over Holly Black’s books was a phase-not who I am.  Three stars.  

A review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Spoilers

 

There were good and bad things about this book.  I’m not sure if the good outweigh the bad or the bad outweigh the good.  I didn’t give it an incredibly high rating, so I’d probably lean more towards the bad outweighing the good, but there were some positive things.  

I know I’ve complained in the past about religion in books, and I complained a lot about it in my review of Revolver, so, if you’ve followed my blog for more than a few weeks, you’ve probably seen how opinionated I can be about religion.  However, in this book it was handled really well.  Their religion actually plays a big part in the way that these people think, and it wasn’t used as an excuse to get out of wrapping up plot points.  Mary was religious to start, but she lost her faith in God as the plot developed.  I really liked this.  I was worried at first because I just recently read a book that was overwhelmingly religious, and I really didn’t want a repeat of that, but, even though it was a big part of the book, it wasn’t religious just for the sake of religion.  I don’t know how to properly express how much I loved how the way religion was handled.  It was just so good.  I don’t mind religion in books when it’s important to the plot or characters, and in this it was.  Ten out of ten for this part.  

There was something eerie and disturbing about the fast zombie.  If I’m remembering correctly, her name was Gabriella.  I don’t know what it was about her.  Maybe it was that Mary saw her and spoke to her before she turned, or maybe it was that it seems like what happened to her was something the Sisters did.  Maybe it was that the author had already established the type of zombie in this world, and they were the stereotypical slow, shuffling, moaning creatures that are normally in literature and television.  You can power walk away from a normal zombie, or climb a tree, or do any number of things to get away from a normal slow, shuffling zombie.  You can’t seem to escape from the fast zombie, though.  Obviously zombies are just creepy in general.  They’re literally rotting corpses that are all trying to kill you and eat you-that doesn’t really leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside.  Even though they are creepy, being really slow makes them slightly less so, in my opinion.  But if they’re faster than you, you don’t have a chance.  

I also liked that even though they lived in a village that didn’t have technology or seem like anything that would be around today, they were actually in the same time that we’re in.  It just shows how bad the zombies were.  I wanted more parts like this.  

This book also reads pretty quickly, which is a good thing if you’re behind on a reading challenge like I am.  

That’s about it for the positive.  

I’ve seen other people describe Mary as a strong female character, but it’s more strong female character in the tumblr way, which means that she’s not incredibly well developed, but she has an axe, so, you know.  Sure, she fights zombies and made it out of her village alive, but this is a personal narrative, so you’d expect to really be able to get into the character’s head and see what they’re feeling.  You don’t ever really get that sense from the book, though.  Despite what most of tumblr thinks, strong female character doesn’t just mean a female character who fights things.  None of the characters had a lot of a personality, but Mary was the main character, and it was her personal narrative.  She literally had to kill the man she was in love with because he got infected, but she didn’t seem that much more sad than she normally did.  Maybe she was ignoring all of her emotions and trying to be numb, but if that’s the case, make it a little more obvious.  

I also just didn’t like Mary as a person, so, even if she had been more emotional, I still wouldn’t have liked her, I just would have been able to understand her better.  She was so hellbent on seeing the ocean that she didn’t seem to care about anyone else or their needs.  Her brother seems to be dead now because she just had to try to get to the ocean.  Also, it seems like he drowned in the ocean, so…  It feels like it would be wrong to call that ironic since he’s dead, but I definitely thought it.  Also, she abandoned her best friend, the man she was supposed to marry, and a child so she could try to see the ocean.  She seemed to be the only person who could figure out the code for the paths, but she doesn’t think about that before she leaves her friends to figure out the paths on their own.  She just seemed kind of selfish.  Maybe I’m not fair in saying this, and seeing the ocean had been a lifelong dream of hers, but it seems like there are bigger things she should be thinking about.  Also, this kind of selfish thinking is something I’d expect to see from a small child, not a sixteen year old.  

If she hadn’t wanted to go to the ocean just because of a random picture of her ancestor, it would have been more reasonable.  Maybe even symbolic.  Imagine if her ancestor had been a warrior of some sort in her home country.  She defeated all of the monsters there and left to start a new life.  The picture of her at the ocean was taken when she landed in her new land, ready to start a new life.  Mary would fight her way to the ocean, becoming a warrior like her ancestor.  When she got to the ocean she would realize her role in defeating the zombies and go on to help do that.  The ocean would be a symbol of finding a new path and new meaning in life.  Or not.  It could just be a wild goose chase to justify all of those paths.  

I really didn’t like the love triangle in this.  I’ve read some books recently that have love triangles in them, but they didn’t feel like stereotypical love triangles.  This felt exactly like a stereotypical love triangle.  The book was very focussed on the romance aspect of the story, which I found kind of irritating because I would rather have had a lot of zombie backstory.  The love story just seemed entirely unnecessary.  Love stories are great sometimes, but why have love triangles when you can have zombies?  Especially after the fast zombie.  Give me the backstory about that.  Tell me everything about that.  Also, one person from the love triangle is dead, and the other person was left when Mary went to find to ocean, so this seems like this was a one book thing.  

I do own this entire series, so I’ll probably finish the series at some point, but probably not soon.  

Two out of five stars.  

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑