Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Eyre Affair

I loved The Eyre Affair. I am totally hooked on Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. I love Thursday. She was amazing. Thursday was a grown-up. Just a couple years older than me. It's been a while since I've read a book with a main character that was my age. Everyone has been in their twenties or a teen lately. I really related to Thursday and was happy to see a woman in her thirties taking charge, fighting the bad guy and dealing with relationships. Thursday was a complex character, like a real person.

I loved all the fun character names Fforde came up with. There were a lot though, and there was a point, while in the middle of the novel, where I couldn't read for a couple days and I kind of forgot who was who with some of the minor characters. Thankfully, Wikipedia helped me out with that... Not that there were too many characters or anything, you just have to pay attention while reading. I loved Thursday's Dad and the whole Next family. I am a little iffy on Landen. I think I liked Bowden better. I think I know what Hades was, I just wish there was more confirmation in the book. I liked Spike and Victory Analogy, Mycroft and Polly. So many wonderful characters. I wonder who we'll see in the next novel.

The alternate 1985 was intriguing. The English war with Russia. Wales having independence. The Battle of Waterloo. Winston Churchill. Literature is revered. People battle over Shakespeare. There is an entire investigate branch of the government devoted to the preservation of literature.  The LiteraTecs are amazing.  I loved Jane Eyre.  I loved everything about her novel and Rochester's involvement in Thursday's life.  I love the idea of entering a piece of literature, whether it is a novel, like Jane Eyre or one of Wordsworth's poems. Everything in Thursday's world is so different from ours, yet still similar.  It's just that priorities changed somewhere in history (or altered by the French Revisionists). I love the tidbits of history and altered history that Thursday's Dad is always talking about.

The Eyre Affair is such and interested, intricate, engaging, fun novel.  I enjoyed every minute of it. I had heard so many good things about Jasper Fforde (especially from over at What Red Read), that when I saw The Eyre Affair I had to pick it up.  I am so glad I did.  I have to read more by Fforde and I am obsessed with getting the rest of the Thursday Next series, which my local bookstore doesn't have in stock.  Time for online shopping. I need to get Lost in a Good Book.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Scorch Trials

There will be some vague spoilers, but I'll try not to give anything away.

The Scorch Trials is the sequel to The Maze Runner (which I watched on Netflix over the summer when I heard that a sequel was going to be released soon). These movies are based on The Maze Runner books by James Dashner. I felt like a lot of stuff was going on in The Scorch Trials. They were saved, then they weren't saved. They were running, finding bits of the old world left behind. Then they thought they were safe, then they weren't.  They met new people. They met monsters.  Is it just me, or were those things basically zombies? I didn't expect that, and I appreciate the unexpected. What I saw coming, was what happened with Teresa.  My Hubby called it too.

I am having a hard time really wrapping my mind around the movie.  It was okay, but like I said, there was a lot going on. The trial was a journey. I like the idea of the journey, some of it was good, but I don't feel like we really got to know a lot of people in the different places.  It's like we were only meant to care about the people we met in the first movie, while maybe being forced to care about Thomas's new friend. The Scorch Trials was entertaining, but I don't think I connected with it the way I did with The Maze Runner.  While they explained why the kids were important, they didn't really explain why they put so many of them in the Maze. Why put them in there and watch them die? It was very much a middle movie too, with an obvious quest set up for a third movie, which I am assuming they will make.

The Scorch Trials was entertaining and I do like the character of Thomas, I like Minho, Newt and Teresa. Though I predicted it, I appreciate the choice to make Teresa do what she did. While it wasn't as exciting as The Maze Runner, I enjoyed The Scorch Trials and I look forward to the third movie in this series.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Can I Give Away Books I Haven't Read Yet?

Instead of talking about the general idea, I'm going to use a couple examples...

There are these two books I own. They are by the same author. I have only read one of them. Honestly, I didn't really like it.  It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't for me. Why do I have two books by the same author when I didn't like the first book I read? I got them at the same time. The author had one of their books turned into a movie and it was released around the time I made this purchase. Neither of the books were the movie book, but I was eager to give them a try.  After reading the first book, I am 99% confident I will not read the second. Why would I, when I have so many (MANY) books that I am eager, itching to read? I have books by authors I love, books by authors I've never read, but I'm excited to. I wrote about wanting to read first books so that I can know if I should buy an author's subsequent books.  This is one of those cases where it would have been a good idea. I would never have bought the second book if I had read the first. But then I let myself wonder, will I ever change my mind?  What if I meet someone who says they've read and loved the book, will I regret giving it away? The idea of that makes me wary.

My second example...

I have a book that was left at my house... around the time I graduated high school.  I won't tell you how many years ago that was. A classmate and I were working on a project and she forgot it. I tried to give it back, but she didn't want it.  Maybe she left it on purpose because she knew I liked books, or maybe she just wanted to get rid of it.  I've read the synopsis. It's a slim little thing. I honestly have no interest in reading it. I've dragged it around with me because of my book hoarding tendencies, but I think it is time I let it go. Though I fee guilty. I've never read anything by this author, but in all this time, if I can't muster enough interest to even eye the first page, I don't think I'll read it. Yet, guilt. How can I give away something I haven't read yet?

I can though, right?  I can give these and other books like these away.  I can.  I should.  I will. Maybe. If I know, really believe, that I am never going to read these books, then I should make some space on my overcrowded shelves. Bah!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Diviners

I'm still wrapping my head around The Diviners. Libba Bray creates a world brimming with interesting characters, intricate settings and complex plots. There was so much history all around New York, prohibition, flappers, inter-racial relationships. I love that Libba Bray explored different relationships in a story set in the twenties. I loved everything about how these people came together. That being said, I couldn't get enough of Evie. As much as I enjoyed the other characters, I found Evie's character complicated, caught between wanting to do the right thing and being a 17-year-old girl wanting to have fun. I was always racing to find out what was going to happen to her or what she was going to do. What she did at the end was unexpected. The very end. Both things. But I was happy about the second thing because, love him.

I mentioned recently that I had a lot of "first books" and that I should start reading them. The sequel to the The Diviners was just released and I wanted to know if I would want to purchase it. The answer is, yes, I would like a copy of Lair of Dreams stat. There are so many unanswered questions. I want to know about Sister Walker, Sam's mother and James. I want to know what Will is trying to protect Evie from. I want to know more about Memphis and Isaiah. I want to know if anyone is going to find out about Blind Bill. Octavia has to know something about those boys, right? If not, I feel like she'll eventually be a casualty. I want to know about the eye and the dreams. I kind of want more back story on Henry too. Also, I'm a little torn between Sam and Jericho. I think I like Jericho better, but I feel like Sam might win in the end. Also, what does that guy want with Mabel?! Though the beginning took its time introducing us to all these characters, it was worth it. I want to know more about all of them. I want to know about their lives and if they survive the oncoming storm.

Libba Bray notes at the end of the novel, the research that she did to come up with this world.  You can tell that the details were all thought through. The streets, the sounds, the people feel concrete, like they were real places, like Bray had been there. I enjoyed the cabs, the car with a crank, the outfits. Each detail made the world of The Diviners more real. It's nice to find a little reality in my fantasy. I'm so happy and excited that I read The Diviners and I'm eager to read not just Lair of Dreams, but more my Bray.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Omnibus

How do you feel about Omnibuses?  I understand why they are created, popular trilogies (or quartets and quintets) are collected into one volume and sold at a good price. People buy, read, it's great. Sometimes they replace the individual novels.

Here is where my question really comes from: Do you read the omnibus as if it were one book? Typically, when I read series, I break them up. I like variety, I like to think and ponder. It's been a long time since I binge read a series. I can't even think of an instance. Maybe when I read Harry Potter when only the first four books were out? I haven't felt the urge to binge-read either. Recently, I read Seed to Harvest and Underwater Love (two completely different books).  Seed to Harvest is the collection of Octavia E. Butler's Patternmaster series. Underwater Love is the collection of MaryJanice Davidson's Fred the Mermaid series. In both cases, I broke up the series, reading each book, then something else, then coming back. Neither omnibus was that long, but I chose this option anyway. Patternmaster is a series of such different books, I don't know if reading them all together would have mattered.

Part of me feels ridiculous for doing this.  Am I ridiculous?  This is just how I've always read series, interspersed with other books.  The omnibuses have just made me think about my choices.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Of Poseidon

I totally predicted the ending.  Not quite everything, of course....and in the middle of the book, I had a bit of a question about the parentage.  But the big reveal.  I knew it.  There were some things thrown out there to make me doubt myself, but I knew it.

I really enjoyed Of Poseidon.  It was fast-paced with a good story. What really hooked me was the beginning. Anna Banks wrote a scene that I did not expect.  It was so sad and violent and changed the way you thought the story was going to go.  It was traumatic for Emma and coloured the way she thought of her first meeting with Galen.

I liked Emma.  She talked about being "that girl". The girl who gives up everything for a boy, who moons over him and changes all her life plans.  She wants to go to college and have the future she has been planning.  Then she calls herself on it when she does become "that girl".  I like Galen too.  He had a struggle, but he was also able to leave Emma when necessary, he didn't feel the need to drag her around everywhere because he had to be with her all the time.

Toraf and Rayna are fun, but I don't know if I liked what Toraf did.  In the end, it was okay, but what if it wasn't.  Would Rayna have been freed, could she have made her own decision?  I don't know, so I'm not totally sold on this storyline.

I also don't know if I like the ending.  It was too cliffhanger-y.  I like novels, including first ones in a series, to feel finished.  I'd rather the cliffhanger be left for book two. There are so many questions left, even though I knew what was going to happen. The questions all have to do with the future of the characters. I want to know what will happen to everyone, where are they going to go, what will the fate of the kingdoms be? I feel unsatisfied with the ending, though I'm not sure what the author could have done differently.  Continue the story?  End it sooner?  It is not going to stop me from reading Of Triton and Of Neptune

One of the reasons I read Of Poseidon was because I had already read Anna Banks' short story, Legacy Lost, which I re-read after finishing Of Poseidon.  I really enjoyed it, so I felt like I would enjoy the novel too. I've always liked reading a short story to try out a new author, before committing time and money to a full novel. I am looking forward to Of Triton and reading more of Banks' work.