Since I committed myself to getting a blog moving again, rough starts and breaks and all, I’ve been unsure how to go about the “book blog” aspect of the thing. And now it’s nearly May and I’ve only written about two of the books I’ve read this year.
I could pretend that this is why I’m going to give a “Twitterature” type post a try, but the honest awful truth is I’ve been planning to do one of these ever since the end of January or so. Now, in mid April (Ok, fine, late April), I almost expanded this to include March — but decided March could have it’s own soon-to-come post. Fingers crossed I actually spend some time on April’s reads before, say, June.
Twitterature is a link-up from The Modern Mrs. Darcy. The concept is simple: very quick, brief reviews of all your recent reads.
Presumably the idea might also be to keep them within normal, Twitter 140-character bounds, but today (well, and all of the many days I wrote these over) I’m a follower of spirit, rather than law.
Divergent & Insurgent Veronica Roth
I reread these before reading Allegiant (3rd book of trilogy) because it had been quite awhile and Imy memory of the 2nd was minimal at best. I’ve liked them both times quite a bit. I like Tris, I like the atmosphere of Dauntless, and I love the post-apocalyptic Chicago setting. They move well, and the writing is on par with average-to-good YA.
A lot of the plot-disbelief on these two ends of being explained (or, well, replaced by new problems) in the third book, but it seems to have been too little : too late for a lot of readers. I didn’t mind that, generally trusting authors to explain things in his/her own time, but I had my own problems with the final installment…
Allegiant Veronica Roth
Well, I didn’t throw my book across the room like Morgan did, but that was only because I already break electronics too easily and this is my second Kindle.
Let’s start over. Good book. Still on par with average-to-good YA writing and plotting, and the world building here was fascinating, if only roughly explored. The revelations of the concluding book could have been their own series. I like a comment Morgan made, that it seems if Veronica Roth had spent a couple more years with these stories, world-building and learning as a writer, this series could have been phenomenal.
But it wasn’t. And the ending was reader-shattering (not in a good way) and seemingly senseless. The literary choices that it required felt unjustified and shock-factor serving.
Conclusion: Good, solid, average YA; sucky book-throwing ending.
Neverwhere Neil Gaiman
(click through for full review)
The White Umbrella Mary Francis Bowley
This was my first foray into non-fiction this year, and also my first (and so far, only) book read from my team’s recent titles. Short review: I learned. I cried. Slightly longer review: If you have even the slightest inkling of doubt that sex-trafficking is a pretty freaking big issue in the US, pick this up. Stories like this need to be told.
It slowed down for me quite a bit towards the end, but I found it worth finishing regardless. No questions as to why this is one of our better sellers.
The Wednesday Wars Gary D. Schmidt
The concept of wonderful middle-grade fiction like Wednesday Wars has been a happy discovery a couple of times now (The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had was another such). I loved this book, its middle school narrator, Holling, and his relationships with his classmates, his sister, and the wonderful Mrs. Baker. I didn’t read the sequel, and I probably won’t, but that has little to do with this book and more to do with a change of narrator to a character I didn’t care for as much.
Dreamland Sarah Dessen
(click through for
full short review)
& Bitterblue Kristin Cashore
Lovely little YA sort-of trilogy. The first two books take place in entirely different settings, but connected by yet-insurmountable geography. The third ties the two together, but only as a secondary measure after being an entirely great story all it’s own.
Each follows a different young woman in a world where in one land, some individuals are born with graces: various extraordinary (and sometimes odd and unusually specific) skills or talents or gifts — and in a bordering land, there are “monster” versions of different creatures: brightly colored, entrancing versions of each species, including human.
I found these to be good-to-quite-good YA for world-building, of the sort that I can hardly remember what the writing quality was — just that it drew me along perfectly well. I also loved her play on chronology. Bitterblue was the favorite, despite/because of the slightly slower pacing and tone switch to a more political-intrigue dipped plot. I’ll be more than willing to try more Kristin Cashore.
Have you read any of these? Agree, disagree, or thinking of giving any a try?