83, 84

Jul. 3rd, 2010 03:47 pm
fiveforsilver: (Cats [We're watching you!])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
83. *White Cat by Holly Black
Young Adult, Fantasy, 320 pages

When I first sat down to read White Cat, two hours passed before I realized it. It turned out to be an enthralling story. I wasn't sure about it at first, though, because the main character, Cassel, is almost completely unlikeable. Once you get used to his self-absorption and casual disregard for other people, and also once you start understanding why he is the way he is, the story moves along steadily, with clever hints leading toward various plot points. I liked it. I liked that the end was not what I expected, and yet fit the story and characters perfectly.

I think I wish it wasn't first in a series, though, unless the other books are set in the same world with different characters. It's a self-contained story that doesn't need to be continued.

84. *Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
Young Adult, Fantasy, 292 pages

Definitely not my favorite of DWJ's books, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. Enchanted Glass has a complex plot with many secondary characters that can be difficult to keep straight, but the main characters were relatable and fun to read about. I will definitely reread this (especially to better understand what all happened).

84 / 160 books (53%)
47 / 80 *new books (59%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
20792 / 48000 pages. (43%)
Audiobooks: 46h29m

146-150

Dec. 21st, 2009 12:04 pm
fiveforsilver: (Firefly [stick])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
146. *Fire by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 461 pages
Companion to Graceling

Fire is a monster - an unnaturally beautiful creature who can control the minds of people and animals around her. Fire is also human. As a human monster, she is mistrusted, hated, feared, and desired. Her father was a monster and also a moster, cruel, controlling, and indiscriminate in the use of his abilities, but Fire was raised with human morals.

It's not easy to describe this book, because the story is less about people running around doing things then about the various characters learning about each other and themselves. And yet the story moves quickly and there is certainly action, since Fire's country is at war. Fire is a wonderful book.

147. *Makers by Cory Doctorow
Adult, Science Fiction, 416 pages

I liked the idea of this book and I would have enjoyed the main story and the geekery of it, but there is an odd obsession with weight and obesity starting on the first page that I found very off-putting. I suppose the idea is not inappropriate in a "near-future fable", given current political and social views, but the way it's handled made me cringe. Frequently. Fat people are (ironically) 2-dimensional characters, called "the obese" or, later "the fatkins", no matter who's talking. Doctorow assumes that all fat people want the same thing (to be thin) and will do any idiotic, untested thing to get it. And to assume that being thin will make people happy is just plain stupid. But of course they get what they deserve in the end, right?

I think I would have liked this book without that (unnecessary and cringe-inducing) subplot but it was so annoying and distracting that it overwhelmed many of the good aspects. I won't be reading it again and I don't recommend it.

148. *Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
YA/Adult, Fantasy, Short Stories, 297 pages

Of the five stories in this anthology, I quite liked Phoenix by Peter Dickinson, absolutely loved Hellhound and First Flight by Robin McKinley, and didn't particularly care for Fireworm or Salamander Man by Peter Dickinson.

149. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction (humorous), 396 pages

150. *The poison eaters & other stories by Holly Black
YA, Fantasy, short stories, 158 pages
Early Reviewer

It was like reading a book of fables, but I couldn't work out what the morals were supposed to be (which may be a plus, actually). There was a real mixture of stores I liked and stories I didn't care for but regardless, it was a fun little book and a quick read.



150 / 150 books. 100% done!


78 / 75 *new books. 104% done!


5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!


43383 / 45000 pages. 96% done!

92-97

Dec. 14th, 2009 12:46 pm
blue_ant: (mickey [not a tin dog])
[personal profile] blue_ant
92. Little Brother Cory Doctorow
I own this book, but had put off reading it for reasons I can't remember now. Eventually I picked it up and I just couldn't stop. Doctorow weaves a brilliant story that takes place in a world that's somewhat like our own, while at the same time, being completely different. I want him to write more YA, because I enjoyed his style.

93. Tithe by Holly Black
Though this wasn't the first Holly Black book I read, it was the first of her YA novels (I'd previous read one of her graphic novels). The story was slightly intriguing, the characters interesting and the writing decent. Sometimes it reminded me of Marr's Wicked Lovely series, but it kept me reading enough that I picked up the next two books in the series.

94. Valiant by Holly Black
Black's writing improved dramatically between Tithe and this book. I liked the character of Val much better than Kaye. The story most takes place in the tunnels of New York and I thought Black did a very good job with her descriptions. After finishing this book, I grabbed Ironside almost immediately.

95. Ironside by Holly Black
This is by far and away the best of the series. Not only is Black's writing good, but we get to know Kaye and her best friend Corny much better than in the first book. What I also liked was that Black incorporated characters from Valiant into this book. Again I was reminded of Marr's series, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

96. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
A beautiful, moving story set before, during and after the attacks on September 11, 2009. Levithan brings the the story of three strangers and how their lives are changed by the attacks. Though short, Love Is the Higher Law is packed full of emotion -- from teenage angst to the weight of the world so many people (New Yorkers and non) felt. Though we read this 8 years later, the Levithan's writing reminds us that life is fragile, but always precious.

97. Torchwood: Lost Souls by Joseph Lidster
First off, let me say this was really, really bad. Second, I completely and utterly loved it because it was bad. I started listening to this while folding laundry and I couldn't stop laughing. The acting was bad, the plot was bad, the sound effects were bad. Well, okay, Gareth David-Lloyd was by far and away the best actor of the cast (which included the cast of the TV show). I know that Lidster tried to use the story to sort out the events at the end of season two, but he failed. I couldn't take it seriously. But, in the end, I didn't mind at all because it was really, really fun. Just also, you know, terrible.



97 / 100 books. 97% read!

107-110

Aug. 15th, 2009 06:42 pm
fiveforsilver: (Witchblade [Sarah/computer])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
Final books of July (yeah, I'm a bit behind) :

107. *Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (403) YA/SF-Fan-Fic

Short stories about geeks and nerds of various stripes. Some of them are more-or-less realistic, some of them aren't realistic at all, most of them are hysterically funny. Authors include MT Anderson, John Green, David Levithan, Garth Nix, Cythia Leitch Smith, and Scott Westerfeld.

108. *Fathom by Cherie Priest (384) A/Fan

For an unknown purpose, a sort of earth elemental convinces a man to build a tower in a specific place. In pursuit of a way to awaken her father (Levithan), a kind of water goddes takes a drowning girl and changes her into something new. The girl's cousin is turned into a statue and set in a garden near the shore for reasons which we don't find out until much later.

The book follows a number of different threads and it's not obvious until far into the story how they relate and who is good or bad.

Actually, it's never entirely clear, but if I were a human living in that world, I know who I would want to win.

It's rare to find a book where not having answers is as fascinating as having them would be. But in this book, in which very little has concrete explanations and most of the characters aren't human (even if they once were), the story is more important than the explanations, and I loved it.

109. *Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (320) A/Mys

Hey, more standard Stephanie Plum. Lots of crazy grandma in this one, a little more Morelli than Ranger as I recall, and some amusing computer geeks to add to the weird.

110. *Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop by Simon Guerrier, read by Freema Agyeman (2:20) A/SF

This one was odd (well, they're all odd, aren't they?) but fun.



110 / 150 books. 73% done!


61 / 75 *new books. 81% done!


3 / 10 ^non-fiction. 30% done!


31248 / 45000 pages. 69% done!
Audiobooks: 26h30m

27-29

Apr. 20th, 2009 11:41 am
blue_ant: (carli [reading])
[personal profile] blue_ant
27. Kin (The Good Neighbors, Book 1) by Holly Black
The back and inside cover of this book, and the fact that it's a YA graphic novel with a female lead, are what drew me to this book. It's short, not a Watchman length book, but that doesn't mean it's not good. In fact, I found it be exceptional. The drawings, while just black and white, don't need to be anything else. They're brilliant, expressive and scary all at once. The story is part mystery and part fantasy, with both genres mixing quite well together. I found myself easily pulled into the story, and once finished, I discovered I wanted the next book immediately (yes, there is a cliff hanger, so readers beware). I will probably check out some of Holly Black's other works as well.

28. The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson
A very nice, clever book about a world close to our own, but not quite. The book is a combination of alternative history (what would life be like, had a crucial moment England's history happened differently?) and science fiction with a twist of the supernatural. Davidson's writing is strong, and while I had a few issues with Sophie's behavior, but nothing that really kept me from finishing and enjoying the book. The story takes place in Scotland and we follow the life of 15-year old Sophie. Unlike a few books I've read recently, though there's a sequel in the works, there's no real cliffhanger here. The Explosionist could be the only book, and it while we'd want more from this world, Davidson ties everything up quite nicely and without making it seem like a ploy. Very clever little book and, in an odd way, reminded me (vaguely) of Stephenson's The Diamond Age. Perhaps young adults who like The Explosionist, will move on to harder sf, like Stephenson.

29. Dreadful Skin by Cherie Priest
Yet another excellent book by Priest. I found the story, told through different perspectives and through different time periods (though not the time traveling sort) to be fascinating. My favorite section was the last, where everything came together for the big fight. Priests storytelling was brilliant and I cannot wait to read more of her books.



29 / 100 words. 29% done!

24-25

Mar. 13th, 2009 02:30 am
fiveforsilver: (Xmen [Angel])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
24. *Tithe by Holly Black (331) YA/Fantasy

Not thrilled with this one. It seemed very cliche to me - the beautiful fey, the good and evil courts, the power of names, and so on and so forth. The writing was fine, but there was very little original in the story.

25. *The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (496) YA/SF

Welcome to Prentisstown. Todd is 12 years, 12 months old on a recently-settled world where there are 13 months in a year and 13 years makes you a man. There are no more women. A disease caused men to generate Noise, a sort of constant telepathy that can't be turned off or blocked except by distance. The same disease killed all the women.

Do not, repeat do not read the final third of this book before bedtime. It is now after 1am, I was supposed to be in bed at 10pm, I have to be awake in not too many hours for work. Lots and lots of things happen in the final third of the book and I just had to keep reading to find out the conclusion and - the end of the book is a huge cliffhanger, so now I'm sitting around waiting for the sequel. Just a little PSA.

Because if you don't like books that do that...you may still like this book, actually. Because I don't like it when books do that. I'm not watching a TV show, I can't just wait a week to find out what happens next. Wrap up a few loose ends! Generally with books with cliffhangers, I would prefer to wait until the series is finished so that I don't have to sit around wondering if _____ is going to happen (or not), when _____ is a HUGE IMPORTANT TIME-SENSITIVE ISSUE.

Ok. Now that that's out of the way.

I really liked this book. The writing reminded me a little bit of Robin McKinley in the slight tendency to ramble off on descriptions of random things that may or may not directly relate to the immediate plot, but are interesting nonetheless (although not, I stress, to the degree that she does it, for those of you who may dislike this trait of McKinley's). The story unfolded in a fantastically careful and subtle way. It slowly became obvious that something wasn't right, then Todd - the main character - slowly discovered more and more clues about what exactly was wrong. It's not until near the end of the book that we (the reader) finally learn everything, though - even Todd, the first-person main character, holds out on us.



25 / 150 books. 17% done!


11 / 75 *new books. 15% done!


0 / 10 ^non-fiction. 0% done!


7191 / 45000 pages. 16% done!

Currently reading:
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (368) A/Fic
Powerlines: Words That Sell Brands, Grip Fans, and Sometimes Change History by Steve Cone (288) A/Non-Fic

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