3.04.2010

Reading Rampage! Rawr!

There's a shiny new story I'm working on, but naturally, I keep getting distracted. Meh. Also, I keep cutting it close with my "at least one blog post a week" resolution. So here's one before Friday hits.

Friends, my "read more" resolution is surprisingly HOLDING strong. I'm a reader who goes through phases. I go on a reading binge and then I get tired and go cold turkey; it's months before I start up again. Well, I forced myself to sustain my reading by biting off more than I could chew - namely, I borrowed roughly 13 books from the library within days of each other, forcing me to read them instead of letting them languish in a corner. I actually returned a few without reading them, renewed a bunch of them multiple times, and incurred some late fees on another. I finally cleared my queue, but I've already checked out 3 new ones. Oy. (Remember, I am a SLOW SLOW reader, so this is impressive for me.)

So, here's a quickie review of some of the books I read. Most I enjoyed, some I loved. All in all, a good set.

1. The Demon's Lexicon: THE GOOD - My friend's recommendation of "since you like Supernatural, you'll probably like this" was pretty spot on. Interesting plot and world-building, fun brothers-who-hunt-demons banter and ass kicking, good characterization.

THE IFFY - Only issues I had with this was the pacing felt a bit off in the beginning but smoothed out. I also felt weirdly distant/wary of one of the characters, though I think that's just how said character IS. It was consistent characterization, and everything made SO MUCH SENSE in the end. So bravo!

2. Fallen: THE GOOD - Okay guys, angels are one of my weaknesses, so I had to take a looksie when I heard there are like 2 in this book. PLUS, my friend is nicknamed Luce, which pretty much guaranteed that we (me, Luce, and Alz) would read this. Pacing was a bit slow, but I liked the way it unfolded, gave me enough to keep me going. Characters were believable (REACTED in a believable fashion to the supernatural too! Awesome!), the setting was moody and pretty, we get some angel-lore. I liked the writing style.

THE IFFY - The book was great until like the last quarter. Fallen is part of a series and it ends in a very open-ended fashion. I'd argue, TOO open-ended because it left me feeling like the book barely stands on its own. Barely. It should be able to stand on its own, regardless of the series thing. Will I read the sequel? Probably, but only because so few questions were answered. (Okay, and I want to know what's the deal with the angels.)

3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth: THE GOOD - Existential angst, coming of age, zombies! I really liked the ideas and themes and concept. I liked how it used the backdrop of post-Apocalypse and zombies to communicate the protagonist's internal struggles. A zombie book not actually about zombies.

THE IFFY - Although it's written in first person, present tense, I felt oddly distant from the main character. I was in her head but didn't really feel connected to her. The other characters felt distant too.

4. Shiver: THE GOOD - In a word, beautiful. The snatches of lyrics, the quoted poetry, the landscape, the imagery, and the bittersweet love story - lovely, all of it. I liked Grace, and I adored Sam. I quite enjoyed this book.

THE IFFY - The absent parents really bothered me, given that we know from the start that Grace was almost killed during her childhood. Her parents seem to care about her and are affectionate, but despite that traumatic experience, they leave her alone and stay out all the time doing their own things. You'd think almost losing her would make them more attentive/grow up? I had a hard time suspending my disbelief. Also, while I thought the love story between Grace and Sam was very sweet and tinged with just the right amount of sadness (I like sad stories), I also have NO IDEA how it happened. I guess it's supposed to be like a "I've loved you all along/from afar" type deal, but it was weird for me. I remember suddenly stopping in the book to wonder, hey, when did they start dating/acting like a couple/get together?!

5. Silver Phoenix: THE GOOD - Lots of fun new folklore thanks to the ancient Chinese setting! The story clipped along, not really many truly dull moments. None of the characters got on my nerves. Twas a leisurely romp.

THE IFFY - While reading this, I described it to my friends as "a Chinese fantasy epic," and that is basically what it is. It's a little predictable because of that, and it felt somewhat like a parade of Famous Mythical Creatures. Nothing inherently wrong with what I've mentioned; the Percy Jackson series does the "quest story" thing AND has its own Who's Who of Mythical Creatures. This just wasn't as engaging, and I had a hard time connecting with the characters as people. In a nutshell, this book felt like the first Narnia movie to me, which felt like Plot Point to Plot Point to Plot Point without time to ever really connect on a deeper level. So enjoyable but not awesome.

6.A Great and Terrible Beauty: THE GOOD - The voice! Gemma was so well-written, as were the other girls. They sounded and acted like real girls - both strong and scared, kind and cruel - and the dynamic of their friendships was also imperfect and good. The plot points and revelations came about at a good pace. Also, the coming of age/friendships/character storyline and the supernatural mystery/PLOT storylines were well-balanced; there was enough of both. I also love the Victorian setting, what can I say.

THE IFFY - I might've liked a little more explanation about the magic/magic-related plot points, but since this is a trilogy, I suppose I shall have to wait. There were also a few plot things I thought were a little obvious, but I didn't feel disappointed when I was right. So yeah, I have very few actually IFFY things to say about this book. I WANT THE NEXT ONE NOW.

This turned out to be much longer than I wanted. Anyway, I'm currently reading Soulless by Gail Carriger and ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor. What are you reading, and which of these books have you read?

Bonus question: Guess which book I paid late fees on because I was almost done and didn't want to wait for it again. :)

5 comments:

Danyelle said...

#6?

Great books, and I love your breakdown. :) The biggest thing that bugged me about the Gemma Doyle series is that I hated all of the characters when I really thought about it. They were all, to me, vapid and shallow. Except for the guy (I forget his name) that falls in love with Gemma.

And yay for keeping those reading goals!

Krispy said...

Dany- Aww, I'm sad you felt that way about the Gemma series. I've only read the 1st book so far, and I sorta see what you mean. I liked it because at the girls' ages and in the context of their society, I could see why they cared about vapid and shallow-type things, but also I felt like their shallow desires were rooted in deeper, real issues, in things that you could sympathize with. Like Felicity is your typical capricious and often cruel Queen Bee, and she craves attention and power, but that stems from her broken family - from the negligence of her parents and her desire for her famous father to acknowledge her. She has her own private, small tragedies that don't excuse her cruel behavior but make her human.

Thanks for your comment though. I always love hearing what people think of books. Also, it was Shiver that I incurred late fees on. Haha. That books was too in demand; I couldn't renew it.

Danyelle said...

I think what drove me the most crazy with Gemma was that she let her friend's manipulate and bully her through the entire series. I would have liked to have seen the characters grow more than they did.

I see what you mean re:issues, but my urge to smack some of the characters was stronger. :p

I liked Shiver. It was a nice read, and I look forward to Linger. :)

Danyelle said...

(On the plus side re: Gemma stories, the writing is so phenomenal that I didn't notice it was present tense until over halfway through the first book. And I hate reading present tense. Libba Bray is an amazing author.)

Krispy said...

re: Present tense Same here! Well, I noticed it was present tense a few pages in and then forgot. It just moved so seamlessly!

I did quite like Shiver, but also I just really love wolves and nice boys like Sam who love books and words. XP Other than my dismay at how their relationship suddenly became a romantic relationship, I had very few issues with it, and I do want to read Linger. :)