There was once an update schedule. It lived a good life, a peaceful life. A quiet life. But then... things began to change. It became more and more erratic, sometimes completely disobeying its very reason for existance. And at last, the update schedule could take no more. It cast off its chains and went free, seeking new lands where it would be appreciated. This message it left where once it had lived, to warn other schedules of the peril.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I very nearly didn't get this book. To be honest, I'd completely forgotten about the entire series. I remembered liking but not entirely loving The Fifth Wave, and when my brother asked me to get this from the library, I didn't even bother to look very hard for it. It was pure dumb luck that I happened to be looking for a different book and saw The Fifth Wave, and that the book I grabbed at random from the new books rack as I walked past was The Infinite Sea. Then I almost didn't read it, but finally I was out of other books that I wanted to read, so I picked it up with pretty much zero memory of what had happened in The Fifth Wave.
This, it turned out, was not nearly as big of a problem as I'd thought it would be. Sure, it was annoying that I didn't get the references they were making to some events, but enough came back to me as I read that I wasn't constantly confused. Which is good, because it left me free to experience this book at its fullest (well, except for editing out most of the swear words in my head).
Which was a very good thing, because this book was good. Really good. I kept expecting the writing to go downhill, the plot to become ridiculous, and me to stop understanding what was going on. The first happened only very slightly. The second happened not at all, and to be honest the plot in this book, especially the twist, was amazing. The last happened just a bit at the end- not that I didn't understand what was going on, but I didn't quite get how the character suddenly put all the pieces together. I do wish that had been a little more on-screen.
The characters were well done. Evan still annoyed me a bit, but not nearly as much as he did in the first book. Cassie remains a fine, strong character. Sam has become a bit... odd, but that's exactly how it should be considering the events of the last book. The minor characters were all fine. Ringer was... interesting. I don't like her, but she's a very well developed character.
As I said before, the plot was amazing. The twist was a stroke of genius (I should have seen it coming... and yet I didn't. I almost always see the twists coming if the clues for them are properly laid, and this time I only saw the hints in retrospect, so that was awesome). The ending was, honestly, exactly the sort of thing I hate- except that against my will I was smiling with tears threatening and I was thinking awwww, which is completely unlike me. I still don't quite get why I had this reaction (seriously, I should be mocking that scene right now) except that apparently the writing was good enough to do this to me against my will. It only left me with one possibly problematic complaint, which I'm putting on hold because I'm sure it will be explained in the next book.
Basically, it was a great book. Read this series. And I don't say that about many books.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Underworld by Meg Cabot
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Meh. It had more plot than the first one (sort of) but it was kind of strange and I didn't like how Pierce kept going between "I love the Underworld! Let me stay! and "This is the worst place I've ever been, how do I escape?" It was weird. Everything seemed to be happening for plot convenience (what's with the end? How can John not know?)
John's name continues to be stupid, and his backstory is unsatisfactory. I don't really get the whole thing about the Rectors. Pierce continues to have a weird thing about tassels.
Also, Pierce and John have the worst relationship ever. He's controlling, she's manipulative. He tries to trick her into staying with him because he's so insecure a disturbing number of times in this book. Also, he's turned into a weird version of Edward Cullen. His speech was totally normal in the first book, and now it's gone all old-fashioned. Not that this is the only contradiction between this book and the first.
And why is everyone who does anything bad a Fury? Mr. Mueller didn't have to be a Fury. That old guy in the jewelry shop did nothing Fury-like. The policewoman seems to be herself but Furyified because she wants to hurt Pierce- because clearly no one would want to be mean to Pierce unless they're a Fury. Heck, John's probably a Fury, considering how abusive he is in this book.
I find myself trying to request the third book in the series. I have no idea why (maybe in that one we'll finally see what exactly the Furies are doing to John to produce all of these scars?). I highly recommend staying away from this series.
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Monday, January 26, 2015
After the End by Amy Plum
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book had a great premise- Juneau's been growing up in a colony in Alaska, in a community with her clan, trying to live their lives in the aftermath of World War 3. Except- surprise!- there was no WW3. So Juneau's just sort of been living in this weird nature colony her whole life for no particular reason, as she discovers when her clan goes missing and she travels off to modern-day (well, 2014) Seattle to find them.
Meanwhile, Miles cheats on tests, is kicked out of school, and decides that kidnapping is the best way to get on his father's good side. That was where things began to go downhill. The book is written in alternating first-person chapters, and, while this has worked really well in some books (you have to love Michael and Fisk) it failed here (although I will note that I had no difficulty telling apart which chapters were in which POV). Why? Well, mostly I think it's because Miles, for the most part, has no storyline. His chapters are a page or less a lot of the time, especially at the beginning and end. Not the Juneau is all that much more plotful, but she does a lot of boring things that can be described in great and painful detail. Such as communing with nature for some unexplained magical powers (I'm sorry, not magic. Of course it's not magic. Why would it be magic? It's completely natural to be able to melt cell phones with a touch.) She also likes to hold homeless people's hands.
My main feeling was that nothing much happened in the book. I was interested in the beginning as to why her clan had claimed WW3 had happened, but as the story dragged on, I just wanted it to be over. And then, suddenly it was- and I didn't have any answers, either. I'm almost tempted to read the sequel (but not really).
Once Juneau and Miles began to fall in love, the one star fate was sealed. An semi-interesting plot with some potential turned into Julie of the Wolves comes to America and gets a boyfriend. Yawn.
This is, to be honest, a terrible book. Badly written and pointless. I highly recommend you stay away from it.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015
1. This book is huge. I don't know why, but it is much larger than you'd expect it to be. I don't have a picture of me holding it (well, for privacy reasons, probably it would be David Tennant holding it) mostly because David Tennant is packed up in my closet, but it was bigger than our (very) large paperback of Under the Dome (don't judge; I didn't even finish it.) But the words on the page stayed the same size, pretty much. Which led to what you see above: Firefight doesn't have margins, it has full-on bezels.
This isn't much of a complaint, but it was an annoyance while reading.
Please note: I read the page pictured above and it does not contain spoilers, but enlarge the picture at our own risk, because the resolution is high enough to read the entire thing. Also, those aren't my hands, if anyone was wondering. It is my copy of the book, though (mostly).
2. David here is being chased by Sourcefield, an Epic who fights with electricity. He actually mentions earlier that Sourcefield is in Newcago in the first place because steel conducts electricity well. So... shouldn't he be dead?
Later he feels "a shock". Forcefields or no forcefields, I'm pretty sure that he should have noticed the electricity earlier, considering how many times it hits close to him. This fight scene drives me crazy (the later ones, thankfully, are far better done).
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Sorry, Brandon Sanderson, but much as I wanted to shower you with praise when I hopefully meet you someday... not about this one. The overall plot is fine, I guess. But I don't want you to sign my book when I come up to you in the line. I want to hand you a fully marked up and edited copy of what is clearly not ready to be published, and then stand over you as you rewrite it shouting "this is RECKONERS, not Alcatraz" until you stop trying to be humorous and go back to what you started in Steelheart. The metaphors are fine. I love the metaphors. But some parts of it... don't overreach. It's okay to be serious sometimes.
If I could afford a second copy of this thing, I would give it back to you edited. Because this has great potential. It really does. I just wish there had been some way for me to get to edit it first.
Note to self: Stop writing reviews as letters to Brandon Sanderson. It just happens. Sorry if it's confusing for anyone.
Thanks for reading. This is pretty short because it's the second book in a series and so I don't have all that much left to say except for spoilers when it comes to what happens in the book, but if you have any questions I'm happy to answer them.
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Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I do love finishing one of these. Onto Crown of Swords, then.
What, you want a review? Let me tell you, if you made it to book six, it would be pretty pathetic to give up with only eight more to go. These books aren't reviewable. I wouldn't know where to begin. At times I want to go back in time and stop them from being written, and at other times I just go "oh! That was actually really clever." It's all a muddle, but somehow I've grown to love this ridiculous world and even the people in it have become sort of tolerable.
I don't know what it is about these books that makes me keep reading them, but I can think about that in eight books. Right now sheer stubbornness is making me read all fourteen before I change my mind.
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Monday, January 19, 2015
Abandon by Meg Cabot
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
My first thought upon opening this book was "wait, where there five books before this that I missed, or what?" Oddly enough, the answer is that no, there weren't. The book simply starts in a very disorienting place. Which would be fine, if there was an actual plot aside from the past. It's all flashbacks right up until the not-so-big reveal and the ending (all of which happens in like ten pages, which is kind of sad). The writing was unimpressive, and, honestly, lost me in the prologue. Inky black I'll forgive. Once. Not twice on the same page.
The book is about this girl named Pierce (which I approve of, by the way, great original name) who's had some horrible past and is now living on an island. Oh, and there's a death deity who can I can only describe as a lesser version of Rick Riordan's Anubis involved. And his name is John. That pretty much guaranteed the one star rating.
So, the highly predictable flashbacks that she hinted at so much that they were pointless by the time they appeared happened, John *shudder* happened, her family happened, her friends happened, Amazon's stupid X-Ray feature ruined the ending for me when I accidentally slid it open, everything was happy. Yay. John *shiver* didn't even take his boots off, which, as Pierce points out, could very well cause an apocalypse. I mean, what if he was wearing white socks? The world would end on the spot.
Also there's this awesome guy named Richard whose husband/partner/whatever you want to call it knits. That was epic. We need more characters like this person who was mentioned once and whose name we don't even know. Mini-rant over.
There isn't much more to say. It quite honestly lacked a plot. Also, I wanted to see some furies torture John (argh). I felt like that would have been the best part of the book (I hated that creep) but that's just me. (Hint: guys who throw lizards into pools to get their crush's attention are not good boyfriends. Has he never heard of pebbles? Also, Meg Cabot, show don't tell. It was obvious he'd thrown the lizard in. No need to extrapolate like that.)
I am bewildered as to how it can have a sequel. I might have to read it just out of curiosity.
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Saturday, January 17, 2015
Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction by One Direction
My rating: Unrated
Let's just say I was forced to read it, and I will not say more or give it a rating lest the friend in question is reading this.
I will point out, however, that on page 21 Harry Styles uses as instead of at. Tsk tsk. I believe there was another typo on page 221, but I gave the book back as soon as possible and so I cannot confirm this.
Don't kill me.
Edit: Sorry about the zero stars thing; it was not supposed to do that. When it works, as it did in this case, the blogging part of it is automated and so it's not under my immediate control how it shows the stars. I declined to rate it; I did not give it zero stars.
Thank you for not killing me. Hopefully this updates within the period of time you gave me to change it... if not, then my readers know what happened to me.
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Thursday, January 15, 2015
And, once again, Goodreads and Blogger refuse to get along. Sorry it's late.
So, it's going to be two, but it's a rounded two. The writing showed a general lack of polish (just how many things can one person do stoically in a paragraph? I mean, Jack is stoic and all, but really...), and of editing , with repeated words and dialogue especially being very strange at times. There was also repetition, so for those of you hoping that was just a lack of communication with James Mallory... nope. Katie has to tell everyone everything, they have to discuss it, we get a narrative recap, and then they tell it back to Katie just in case we missed something. This makes the book far too long for its plot, which I should probably discuss at this point.
Now, I will freely admit that this is eighth book in a series, and I have read one of them. And it's this one. So keep this in mind as I liberally insult her world-building and magic skills, and also note that there are things I'm assuming she explains in earlier books that I'm not going to mention here, but the truth is that I have no idea what is or isn't in earlier books.
Anyway, plot. I'm still slightly confused as to this one. It was about this person named Katie, who runs away from an abusive husband and the circus to a bigger hall in a city, where people like to extrapolate on her lack of dancing ability while giving her bigger and bigger parts because they can "twist luck" with their magical powers (I'll explain in a minute). Everything just falls into Katie's lap, and she becomes Lionel's assistant. She likes to scream I'M IN LOVE WITH JACK very loudly every five seconds, with only a token effort to explain why they're suddenly deeply in love. It could be worse, but... insta-love. Ugh. Lionel gives a whole speech about how magicians are like that, and maybe I'm just not accepting that as well as I should, but it annoyed me. At least Lionel didn't fall in love (although to be honest, I still kind of suspect something between him and Jack).
Speaking of Lionel, I have the feeling he's a recurring character because we got pretty much no backstory, but I honestly have no idea. He was sort of cool. Katie was sort of pathetic but I didn't actually mind her. Jack really annoyed me with his guilt complex (I have the feeling Mercedes Lackey sat down and decided he needed to be crippled, then decided he needed to be injured in war, then decided that she couldn't bear him killing anyone so put him on guard-duty, but then needed atrocities, so had him slip and break his ankle on guard duty so that he misses having to do the atrocities and can have his leg cut off when it goes septic). Yes, it's tragic... but he didn't DO ANY OF IT. He was off guarding railroads and having his leg cut off. HE is not guilty.
The magic there is simply no excuse for. I still don't get what they can or can't do, whether they actually have magic, what's up with the Elementals, and why the salamanders haven't set Lionel's wicker chairs on fire yet when they keep vanishing and leaving clouds of sparks behind. I can't even really poke holes in it, because there isn't enough there to poke holes into. I miss you, Wild Magic. High Magic worked too. And the fairy magic with the thing I want to call the Pattern after too much time reading Robert Jordan. This does not. At all.
On second thought, it really should be a one star book. But I still have this lingering feeling that it wasn't so bad after all, and I just don't appreciate romance novels (despite appearances, this is just a reallly pathetic attempt at a romance novel... kind of like anything else to come out in the last ten years). So, two it will be. And this review has gotten way too long, so I will end it here.
Thanks for reading.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I forgot to mark this one read, apparently.
I'm sorry, Brandon Sanderson, I really am. Anyone who knows me knows that not only do your books usually get a solid two stars from me, but Alcatraz has gotten me screaming and calling everyone I know five years later when I would have forgotten any other book series, and the Stormlight Archive (well, the two that are out) are some of the best (recent) books I've read in years. I love your worldbuilding, I love your characters, I love your magic systems (okay, maybe I didn't love the Mistborn one, but that's a rant for another day) and I have to admit, I start running around the house showing everyone when I spot a Hoid appearance.
I wish that I could say that, like Elantris, this just didn't really do it for me. I wish I could say that I just don't like the non-Cosmere books, but that would be a lie, considering my unhealthy obsession with Alcatraz Smedry (as long as we pretend book four never happened, we're good there. But if I do end up getting to go see you when you're on tour, I'm going to have some shouting to do along the lines of FIVE YEARS). Much as I hate to admit it, I put this book down unfinished, and I hadn't gotten very far, either.
Okay, I'm just going to say it: I didn't like it. I didn't like the premise, I didn't like the characters, and I didn't really like the writing, either. To be honest, it was a huge disappointment. It was the end of my attempts to read everything you've ever ridden (although I'm still making my way through Wheel of Time to reach the ones you've written... that is a sign of true dedication.)
It's kidsy. I guess maybe I just wasn't expecting it, but it bothers me. But not in a way that I wish I'd read it as a kid- I can't see myself liking it then either. But that's not all. Alcatraz is pretty kidsy too, and since I read the first one as a kid, to now when I'm waiting for the last one to FINALLY (five years!) come out, I've loved them (again, the fourth never happened, okay?)
But this book didn't do it for me. I'm sorry. I guess not every writer is perfect. I still have faith in you. I'll read Firefight because I trust it to be better than Steelheart (a fine book, just not what I know you to be capable of). I'll read the fifth Alcatraz. I'll wait with bated breath for Stones Unhallowed or whatever you're calling it now. And whatever else you have planned, (except for those gaming novella things I never even picked up.) But I will not be delving back into the Rithmatist world.
Someday, I might even discover why I wrote this review as talking to you. Perhaps the Alcatraz excitement has addled my brain.
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I honestly don't get it. Why does anyone want to read something that short? Why does anyone want to compress a perfectly good story into a few thousand words? And until recently, I just sort of muddled along like that. To each their own; if other people wished to spend their time on that, then they could.
Except that now I'm supposed to write one. And the prologue-type thing I'd written that I was planning to finish at 3,000 or so and then shorten as much as possible is apparently too long already, and I haven't even really gotten started.
Everyone says to just use a single scene that can stand on its own, and all sorts of helpful advice. But it doesn't work. I simply can't think of something that could stand on its own in 1,000- (is that a thing? Like 10+?) words. That's not how I write. I think up long complicated plots, promptly forget all of the details I didn't write down because I couldn't imagine forgetting them, and then have to come up with them again later to pad things out. My brain will just not come up with a short story. If I sit down to write, I get the beginning of a novel, and not the sort of thing that could stand on its own, either.
So, if anyone has any advice, that would be great. If not, this has been your daily rant. Thanks for reading.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Through some miracle, motivation has returned. I'm on page 38 (after starting from the beginning, I'm trying for a complete run-through before finishing so I can get the ending right), and I have 77,000 words. I read something like 50 pages of Lord of Chaos (can I just say that I really hope Robert Jordan's e key got stuck, because I certainly wouldn't have wanted to publish that on purpose). Anyway, so, back to the title, which was intended to be witty but actually sounds really stupid. I can't think of a better one, though, so you're just going to have to manage.
So, the story that was funny in my head but in reality is probably not worth a post:
I was writing. And eating cheez-its (no, there's no danger to my keyboard. Don't deny me my cheez-its. I shall ignore the not-yet-existant disapprovial that is sure to come from anyone reading this). And then this happened:
"He pulled out the lock picks he'd fashioned out of some bent paperclips. He'd been an expert at picking any lock his parents could produce for the junk food cabinet when he was eight, but that was all in the past and he barely remembered a thing. He'd searched the internet for lock-picking instructions, and was reasonably certain that he was completely unable to do anything of the sort, but it was still worth a try, if only so that he could put the entire business out of his mind and stop sneaking around in back alleys that almost certainly had security cameras in them with lock picks.
He inserted the first pick into the lock and fumbled around. He thought he was supposed to be looking for the tumbler, or perhaps a different piece of the lock. Or was there more than one tumbler? Wasn't that a type of glass? He closed his eyes and felt around, trying to bring up long buried instincts. Perhaps if he pretended there were cheez-its inside…
Something clicked in the lock. Holding his breath, he tried the handle, which turned easily. It occurred to him that he probably should have tried turning the handle in the first place. He opened the door carefully, with a minimum of creaking, and entered the closet, feeling a pang of disappointment when he discovered that a handy maintenance worker had completely failed to helpfully leave a box of cheez-its on a shelf. He'd have to buy himself some if he survived the experience. He was sure real criminals didn't have to bribe themselves with cheese crackers to get themselves to continue. Although come to think of it, it might not be such a bad thing if he stopped. He might not consider himself a "real" criminal, but he was certainly breaking and entering."
-From my yet to be titled unfinished draft
I apologize for the double spacing; all of my attempts to get rid of it only made things worse. Please excuse the quality of this excerpt (remember: this is from what's just barely a first draft). I'm pretty sure this is my first excerpt I've posted on here, so... enjoy.
Oh, and I have absolutely zero idea how to pick locks. I didn't even Google it. Feel free to point out any mistakes in my hopefully-so-undetailed-that-no-one-will-be-able-to-complain scene.