July 6, 2019

I Am the Messenger: A Rambling Review

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

This was not the right book for me. I didn't particularly like Ed -- he made some very poor choices, and the way he just went right along with the "messages" demonstrated a certain lack of independent thinking. Plus, he tended to "intuit" a lot based on nothing, which seemed pretty ridiculous to me. I also felt like his inner thoughts and realizations were quite dramatic and pretentious, and that he and his friends sometimes talked in a much more poetic, "deep" sort of way than people would in real life.

The ending was a real cop-out, honestly. I kept reading (skimming, really) because the mystery was really what was keeping me from DNF-ing it. And after all that, the reveal was not worth it. Spoilers, highlight to read: If I interpreted it correctly, it was a "meta" sort of concept where the author was inserted into the story and he was the one sending Ed all the messages. Which, what? *shakes head* I did not read that whole book for that kind of an ending, sorry.
I mean, sure, the message about reaching out to others and helping them was good, I can't argue with that. (I can certainly argue with Ed's method about doing that in some instances, however.) But it doesn't make up for the other issues I had with the story.

2 shooting stars.


The Scorpion Rules: A Rambling Review

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

I thought the premise of this one sounded really cool, and I enjoyed the first part of it, but ultimately it didn't end up working that well for me. A lot of it was pretty slow-paced for a dystopian book (with the exception of a chunk in the middle where a whole lot happens), and it just went so *dark*. I know with a dystopian you can't expect all rainbows and butterflies, but a little more levity in some places might have helped. I also started to dislike most of the characters as the book went on — I found Greta's voice melodramatic in parts, I wasn't big on either of the romantic relationships she is involved in, and for some reason I really found Talis irritating (although maybe we're supposed to?). I would have liked to have seen more of Greta's relationship with her mother — we are only given a glimpse of that, and yet the premise of the novel hinges on a parent's love for their child. 

Admittedly, I took a break from reading it towards the end, and when I picked it back up again I just wasn't really feeling it. If I hadn't gotten most of the way through it already, and felt like I should finish it and write some thoughts on it, I'm not sure I would have. The last few chapters are definitely more interesting, since Greta undergoes a very important change (spoiler, highlight to read: she is transformed into an AI... weirdly, I think I liked her better with her AI personality/voice versus her human one), so my curiosity is mildly piqued for the sequel... but I'm not sure it's really enough to keep me going with the series. I'll have to check out the general reaction to book 2 and see how other readers respond. 

2.5 shooting stars.


*Note: I received this book as an ARC from the publisher for review.


Short & Sweet: Blackwood

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

This was such a weird story. I liked some aspects of it — Miranda and Phillips were likeable characters with a cute romance, and the set-up of the mystery was kinda creepy — but I feel like it became more of a muddled slog towards the middle. Some of it just got too over-the-top in what seemed almost like a parody of horror elements, and then one part of the villainous plot was just foiled so easily. Also, everybody who learned about the existence of magic/alchemy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it accepted it too quickly. Where were the modern-day skeptics to be found?

2.5 shooting stars.


July 4, 2019

Short & Sweet: The Light-Keeper's Daughters

The Light-Keeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol

Seriously, so good. The storytelling style really reminded me of Kate Morton's books (which is a huge compliment), complete with tragic storylines that are dramatic but grounded in characters that feel real. I did find some of the events/connections rather convenient, and the explanation for the mystery at the end a bit of a stretch that raised some questions (spoiler, highlight to read: Emily and Elizabeth were old enough to talk by the time the illness came along; wouldn't Emily have been super confused when she was suddenly being called "Elizabeth" instead?), but overall, I was just captivated by this slow unraveling of a mystery set by the icy waters of Lake Superior. This is the kind of story that just hurts your heart.

4.5 shooting stars. 

July 3, 2019

Short & Sweet: Mistborn

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

A very solid high fantasy read, with a thoroughly realized world. Sanderson pays attention to the characters he crafts and the world he creates, making both feel real and detailed and distinct. If I were to pick on something, it would be the pacing -- a lot of this book felt slow to me, with a good deal of scenes involving strategizing and dialogue when I wanted some action! Right at the end there are some exciting reveals, but I do think it didn't need to be quite so drawn out. 

I want to talk about a certain element of the plot, but I can't because of massive spoilers! Highlight to read: Kelsier actually died???? WHY???? He was one of my favourite characters! I loved his bravado and leadership and overconfidence and loyalty. NOT HAPPY with that development.

I liked the character development we see in Vin (although sometimes I thought it was too obviously broadcast to the reader) and hoping to see her continue to grow in the next book.

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