Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (Read 3/14 to 3/15)

So I picked up this book because I read the review by Oprah, and it had lots of high rating on Good Reads, it sounded interesting.  And I'm sure it is, I'm invested in the story I want to read it and find out what happens.  The problem is that it is written in this horrible language, like Ebonics.  It is horrid to read and distracts so much from the story that I wouldn't;'t force myself to finish.  I got about through chapter 9 (56 pages) and I decided that I have limited reading time and I couldn't justify torturing myself with this, when reading is my one guilty pleasure.  The reviews all complimented Newman on her language skills and how poetic and touching the writting was.  I couldn't swallow it.  It was torture not poetry to me.  I want to know what happens, it seems fascinating, but until it is translated into normal English I will have to let it go.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Read 2/22 to 2/24)

So because I loved Gone Girl and Dark places so much, I just had to read Sharp Objects and I am so glad I did.  It was true to Gillian's MO, it was great!  The ending wasn't as twisty as I thought, I had the killer figured out, but the murders didn't happen in a way I expected.
The protagonist in this book is a mentally unstable journalist (she is a cutter) and she is sent back to her home town to investigate murders of young girls.  She must stay with and get to know her dysfunctional family, including her never met little sister Amma.  Sadly this trip home brings up new facts and memories regarding her dead sister.
I really like Flynn's writing, she draws you in with these dysfunctional and potentially unlikable characters, but yet you keep returning because you NEED to know what happened.

A Dance with Dragons (Fire and Ice #5) by George R.R. Martin (read 2/12 to 3/3)

So this is the last in the series currently written.  And it is true to Martin's form, he has great writing and an in depth character cast.  The problem is that I lost momentum with A Feast for Crows.  It focused too much on minor characters and was tedious to get through.  And because of that I had no built up momentum to carry me through the start of this book, which felt dull and pointless to me,  it took almost 600 pages to get to the new "combined" timeline.  It was awful, I really had to force myself to read it, I had to twist my own arm.  And there was still no story movement, two books and no closer to resolutions, just more cliff hangers, I hope the next one is good and we actually get movement, because if the story stands still for much longer I may not care enough about the ending to read a 7th book.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (Read 2/6 to 2/18)

This was a BOTM series read, we read one book a week. The  Although it took me much less than a week to read each book.  The Hunger Games (24 hours), Catching Fire (3 days), and Mockingjay ( 3 days).  They were a really easy read and I literally flew through them
So as I am sure almost everyone is familiar with the premise of the books even if they have only seen the movie previews on TV.  So as we know there was a war 74 years ago between the Capitol and 13 outlying districts.  The capitol destroyed a District (District 13) had has since been oppressing the reaming 12 districts, keeping them highly policed, isolated, uber poor and starving.  Then to keep them even more depressed and desperate, they make them send 2 of their children (age 12 to 18) each year to die via a horrible death at a highly televised game show.  Then two contestants come and shake it all up, and start a revolution.  It take all three books to get from the start of the revolution to the end.  Hunger Games is set in District 12, and the random names draws are Peeta Mellark and Prim Everdeen.  Prim however is only 12 and so her 16 year old sister Katniss volunteers to go in her place.  The two contestants find themselves in the world of the Capitol, a place of wealth and overindulgence, the Capitol citizens are materialistic and shallow.  Katniss is only thinking of herself and getting home to her family.  Peeta on the other hand is thinking of how to get Katniss home and starts a lie based on truth that he and Katniss are doomed lovers.  It works, but in the end she pulls it out and saves him too, defeating the Capitol at its own game and giving inspiration to all the districts to fight their own oppression, with the message "if we die in our fight, at least it was our choice and not yours."  My summation not Collins's.
We  surprise, surprise this really pisses the Capitol off, so they decide as retribution that in the special 75th edition of the televised child slaughter that they will spare the current children this year, and contestants will be selected from the previous winners.  Oh damn, Katniss is the only female to have one from District 12, I guess she is going back.  And because Peeta really does love Katniss, he is not about to let her go it alone.  So sequel is a repeat, but nastier.  There is no way the Capitol is going to let Katniss and Peeta cheat them again, their intent is to kill Katniss, hoping it will also kill the revolution that she is unaware of, that also happens to be using her as a symbol.  Oh did I mention the Revolutionaries plan on rescuing Katniss and making her their leader, well image of a leader anyways.  Problem is no one bothers to ask Katniss, or even tell her about these plots within plots. It really comes as no surprise that she doesn't play her part, she doesn't know her lines after all, and throws all sorts of monkey wrenches in things.
Then because they left Katniss out of her own rescue, they screw up and leave Peeta behind, Katniss does actually become the figurehead of the revolution to save him.  But Peeta comes back different, and then Katniss's goal becomes to kill the person who did this to Peeta, but who really is the cause?  Is it the leader of the Capitol President Snow?  The leader of the revolutionaries President Coin?  Is it society that let these awful games come into being?  Or could it be Katniss herself? commentary GO!
Oh wait I almost forgot, Katniss is torn between Peeta and her best friend/potential boyfriend Gale.  Decisions Decisions.
Now I know the synopsis sounds a little off putting, don't be off put I really like these books.  Do they follow the same pattern as many of the YA dystopian society books that are all the rage right now yes.  Does that make them bad no. I was drawn into the story, did I see parts as cookie cutter, yeah but its hard to read any book nowadays that doesn't have something cookie cutter about it.  I think what I liked best about these books was the ending.  I really liked that Collin's didn't give a traditional happy ending, some important characters die unexpectedly right when the reader thinks the win is at hand, spoiler it is not our three main players, Katniss, Peeta or Gale.  What I like is that Katniss, Peeta and Gale come out the other side of this revolution changed, damaged even.  In real life no one who went through what these young people did would come away with no emotional scars to match their physical scars.  And Collins' gives us readers that truth.