Saturday, August 13, 2016

Reread Challenge: The Supernaturalist

WHEN I First Read
I read this right after I finished all available Artemis Fowl books and was desperate for more of Eoin Colfer's writing. It's my second favourite from Eoin Colfer, after the Artemis Fowl series.

WHAT I Remember
I remember the general story, and some vivid memories of specific scenes (the satelite scene, the end scene). I also remember wondering why on Earth we didn't get a sequel. I would still dearly love to revisit this world and it's inhabitants.

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
My library has it available in audiobook. While waiting for the rest of the Artemis Fowl series became available, I listed to this one.

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
I still really like it. It isn't as strong as Artemis Fowl, in my opinion. The plot and action isn't quite as tight. I don't like the dialogue as much, but there's something about Eoin Colfer's science fiction that's really excellent.

The Supernaturalist is also a bit grimmer in my eyes than Artemis Fowl is. Colfer is pretty good at bittersweet endings, but I think the end of The Supernaturalist is darker than the end of Artemis Fowl, not helped by the fact that it doesn't really feel finished. The Supernaturalist reads more like the begining of a series than a standalone. Also I don't think I'm totally over what happened to Stefan... he ends up being a bit of a tragic hero, doesn't he?

Basically the end verdict is "still pretty great, 10/10 would read more of this story."

WOULD I Re-Read Again
Probably at some point. I think I'll always feel a twinge of regret that this book is the only one I'll see with these characters, though.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top Ten Books I Wish I'd Read As A Kid

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi: These were, of course, out when I was a child... they probably would have been right up my alley, if I'd known what my alley was.

2. The Nest by Kenneth Oppel: Granted this wasn't out when I was a kid, but I think it would have been fantastic to read when I was in the fifth or sixth grade.

3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan: I read these when I was in high school. I think I would have liked them... I was fascinated by Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian mythology at the time.

4. The Search for WonderLa by Tony DiTerlizzi: I love Tony DiTerlizzi's art. It was something that drew me to Spiderwick in the first place, and my favourite part of this one.

5. The H.I.V.E. series by Mark Walden: Child and teenage criminal masterminds were something that I was drawn to as a child (not worrying at all, Kelly), and something that I still enjoy reading about now. I think part of it was that I really like heist stories and cleverness.

6. The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larson and Ben Gibson: Again, brilliant kids. Also there was something about how T.S.'s brain worked that I think would have made sense to me.

7. Ungifted by Gordan Korman: I think it's very valuable to see that there are different kinds of intelligence... especially because school systems seem to have a very weird and narrow description "gifted."

8. The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove: It's such an interesting idea. I think it's an idea that I would have liked  as a kid.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Review: The Glittering Court

Title: The Glittering Court
Author: Richelle Mead
Narrator: Kristen Sieh
Series: The Glittering Court
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: April 15, 2016

A Quick Introduction: Elizabeth's family fortune is failing- the only way to save it for her to marry into a family with money. After meeting her fiance, she decides that this is a fate she'd rather avoid and, passing herself off as one of her maids, joins the Glittering Court. The Glittering Court grooms lower class girls for marriages in the colonies across the ocean... and Elizabeth, now going by Adelade hopes that it will give her more choice in her own life.

Out of Ten: 1/10

Review at a Glance: Nothing about the plot, characters, or writing of this book made it interesting or remotely believable to me.

Review: Ugh. No. I started off vaguely unimpressed and progressed to very unimpressed as time went on. The thing with this story is that it's, well, boring. There's nothing about it that draws the attention, and I think Richelle Mead's writing really doesn't work for me. I came so close to DNFing this one.

I think the frustrating part with this story was that so much of it was TELLING rather than showing- something that was exacerbated by the fact that I listened to it as an audiobook. Most often we are told that a character displays a certain personality trait, rather than seeing it. I grew weary of the way descriptions were carried out... for all that telling, the world of the story was barely built and felt drab. It almost read the way a historical fiction novel would, had someone done no research on the era they were writing about, and just vaguely borrowed the aesthetic.

I have never really found myself hoping for a love triangle. That is not what I do. At all. But there were moment while listening that I idly wondered "oh, is this character going to come and be love interest number 2, so that I don't have to deal with her moping about what's his name again?" (Cedric. His name is Cedric, Kelly, at least remember his name.) This was a romance with absoloutely zero chemistry... they were just so boring together. Like, what do they even talk about? How hard it is to be the privileged children of members of the conquering nation? The price of silk? How intensely unexciting their secrets are? I just didn't get why they liked each other- I didn't like either of them, and didn't care about them together.

The whole concept of this frustrated me, too. If she was really that desperate to have choice in her own life, surely she could have come up with a better way than essentially putting off being married to someone she doesn't know for another year or so? We are told that she is a very talented artist, surely she could have found a way to do something with that which was less convoluted and fraught with room for error than her plan with the Glittering Court?

The narrator did an alright job. It was nothing fantastic, but I don't think it was her fault I didn't enjoy the book. I think the book wasn't enjoyable in any format.

Overall, I just didn't GET this book. I don't know why anyone thought it was a good idea. The prose lacked any vibrancy, the story had no flow, and the characters and plot appeared to be having a contest to see who could be LEAST interesting.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ten Books You'd Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

These sorts of questions are always a bit odd for me because I don't have that many books that I would only buy if I had a gift card... but at the same time I have a lot of books I have vague plans to purchase at some point in my life. So I kind of have both to few and too many options.

1. The Complete History of Middle Earth box set: I'm slowly working my way though a library copy of The Lost Tales right now... I'd love to eventually invested in the complete collection.

2. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley: I keep meaning to get the paperback, but I just somehow haven't done yet. Its definitely something that's been hanging out on my wishlist.

3. Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund: Another one that I mean to acquire eventually... I have the first book and I was initially just waiting the paperback to come out and then I just... didn't?

4. The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling: My family's copies are rather battered, and there's one set of covers that I'd love to eventually get my hands on.

5. Harry Potter companion books (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard) by J.K. Rowling: I read these a long time ago but never got copies of my own.

6. Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley: Again, I really enjoyed this one, and I'd love to have my own copy someday.

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I read this in ebook about five years ago and was really surprised by how much I liked it.

8. Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine: I'm currently planning to eventually get this series in paperback when it finishes, but I think I'd probably buy the hardcovers, because they're lovely, especially for Paper and Fire.

9. I'd probably buy a hardcover of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I love my paperback, don't get me wrong, but I kind of want it in hardcover eventually. (Much like I'd love to eventually get the first three books of Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott in hardcover).

10. My own copy of The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer. This is my favourite Eoin Colfer book after the Artemis Fowl series, and I keep meaning to get a copy for myself. I'm not huge on the new cover, though, so I might have to find a way to acquire the old one.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: This Savage Song

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: July 5, 2016

A Quick Introduction: Verity is a city divided, and Kate Harker and August Flynn are on opposite sides. Kate's ruthless father rules half the city, making people pay for protection from the monsters that roam the streets. August lives in the other half of the city, and is one of the monsters- though only one of three that are his particular brand of monster. He's been adopted by the family that rules his side of the city, as they attempt to keep all the other monsters under control. When Kate get's kicked out of her sixth boarding school, she is sent back to Verity- where August is assigned to befriend her. They've barely known each other a week when an assassination attempt sends them both running for their lives.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: A fairly enjoyable series started set in an interesting world.

Review: This was my third attempt at Veronica Schwab's writing. I didn't get through The Archived, and, while I did finish A Darker Shade of Magic, I still didn't love it. For me, This Savage Song was better, but it still didn't astonish me. To me, I feel like a lot of it is that I like the concept of these stories, but the execution just misses the mark for me.

Victoria Schwab creates a world where violence literally does breed violence- every violent act spawns monsters- the type depends on the nature of the act. August is a Sunai, a creature generated by the most horrific acts humans can commit, and uses music to feed on the guilty. I loved the idea! I even liked the worldbuilding.

I also liked the characters. I found things that I admire about both of them (August a bit more so, I think), but there was something that I didn't completely connect to about either of them. They just didn't feel quite like real people. It's like there's something missing, and I'm not sure if that will be something that improves in the next book.

I think what kind of fell down for me was the plot. It wasn't that there was anything particularly wrong with it... it just wasn't told in a way that was totally engaging. It kind of lacked momentum, I suppose you could say.

Overall, I found that I preferred this to other pieces of Veroncia Schwab's work that I've picked up. I didn't love it, but it was still an enjoyable read and I quite liked the world, and it is possible that I'll pick up the sequel.