Monday, November 6, 2017

Hard Pass on the Crass

Of Jenny and the Aliens, Ryan Gebhart
I requested review copy on this one based on this promise:
"When boy meets girl meets alien. The angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart."
Sadly this was crass, ambiguous in morals, and just...disappointing.   It begins at a sweary party with beer pong, crude "drawings of dicks" and an obsession with a girl the protag barely knows but has heard is promiscuous who approaches him...topless.  It doesn't get better.  Not at all for me.

Review copy received from Walker.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The most hype I've seen for a book as long as I've been reviewing...

The Wonderling, Mira Bartok
GORGEOUS.  Also: slow-moving, derivative and under-edited, which is unfortunate.  That said...I think fans of Wildwood, Dickens and Lemony Snicket's will really like what they find here.  The slow start will cull some younger readers from the target audience, but I think enough adults will pick up this irresistible beauty to compensate.  I couldn't get behind the protag -- who was constantly acted upon instead of taking action -- but I appreciate the love obviously there in the lyrical (albeit slow-moving) prose and beautiful, beautiful art.  Bartok is certainly one to watch, but perhaps for me, not one to reeeeead. 

Review copy received from Walker.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Marissa Meyer does a Graphic Novel
Wires and Nerve, Marissa Meyer
It was fun to see artistic renderings of characters I know and love from The Lunar Chronicles, and even more fun to have Iko be given her own story -- and in a form suitable to her and her humour, I think -- a graphic novel.  I wasn't entirely happy with how everyone was envisioned (it's always hard for an artist to compete with someone else's imagination), but I think the place Meyer chose in the overarching narrative for this story was brilliant. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Marissa Meyer does Wonderland

Heartless, Marissa Meyer
I am a huge fan of The Lunar Chronicles, and so I definitely dove eagerly into another retelling by Meyer.  This was an entirely different flavour of Meyer...and unfortunately, it wasn't for me;
  • This read much younger and sillier than I was used to, from Meyer...and yet...still very dark.  The darkness wasn't the problem.
  • This is what I imagine Caraval's story would have been like had it been set in Wildwood.  That is to say there are reluctant betrothals and carnival-style games and showmanship alongside talking animals.
  • I stuck with it for the love story.  I know you're not even feigning surprise here.  But it wasn't enough, come book's close.  There was love, but it was weird and dark.  I don't want to buy this one (I own her others).
  • It wasn't an utter waste of time, it just wasn't a home run, nor as good as I hoped for.
Heartless was to Meyer as Dangerous was to Shannon Hale -- a book that demonstrates for us all that an author can do other things buuuuut...not as well (interestingly, for Hale I her SF writing less while inversely for Meyer I'd rather that's all she did).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

  • I liked that this heroine was different, and felt put-out when she made changes physically.  I sometimes tired of how privileged she was (even when she thought she wasn't), but #trueoftheperiod.
  • I was intrigued by the tight story, and was even surprised by some things.
  • The world-build was great.
  • I appreciated Carson's tastefulness in her use of language of sensual elements.
Book 2:
  • Tastefulness continues in language and sensuality.  After some longing and infatuation, waiting for intimacy and someone kind are both featured as desirable courses of action (hurrah!).
  • This started well and the narrative has generous amounts of action (I didn't find any scenes slow).  Niggles aside (below), I think this is more compelling than Book 1.
  • I still wasn't comfortable with references to weight persisting so frequently, but I do think Book 2 does a better job of developing themes of coddling, over-protection, indulgence and privilege  to give better context to the weight issue (Book 1 didn't get too deep into this, so it just seemed like the character shed pounds for the sake of being more heroic / attractive.)
  • Even though it is in keeping with the (parallel) period, it is so frustrating to see women in power or advantage due to whom they marry not because women deserve a voice by their own right.  It's hard to read sometimes!
  • Some of it is overdone...but I don't think anyone going into these expected realism.

Book 3:
  • It was great to find the supporting characters have more dimensions in this one.
  • The morals also came out stronger, and I liked that.
  • I did tire of all the journeys...and horses being given a hard rap (who knew I was so equine-protective?  Apparently I am.)
  • The dialogue wanes a little compared to the earlier installments, but it wasn't bad.
  • Relationship-wise: Pleased to see an interplay between caution and intimacy, disappointed that the heroine gave less than I felt she could have to her relationship.  

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