Archive for October, 2012

Matched – Ally Condie

Matched (Matched, #1)Welcome to Weishi-totally-forgetting-to-review-a-book-ages-ago-and-now-not-remembering-anything-that-happened part 1. Part 1? I’m not sure. This happens a lot, I can’t really call it part 1. But it’s definitely not going to be the last time this happens.

Ok, I’m going to be honest with you. I like romance in books. When it’s done well, I will love the romance in a book. However, a book with just romance, and nothing else? Not really my type.

If you want to read this, then go ahead, it’s great. Just not for me.

That did not detract from it’s greatness, though.

Summary

Cassia lives in a society where they basically have arranged marriages and stuff. She meets this guy and falls in love.

Cons

I didn’t really see the romance

Sure, Cassia did seem to really like Ky. But I saw no difference between liking him and falling in love with him. Maybe it’s just me, but the romantic scenes did not show me any head-over-heels in love with Ky happening.

Predictable

Yep, you can tell what’s going to happen from the beginning. Apart from the pills thing at the very end. Less predictable, but not really a major twist.

Pros

Characters

Pretty awesome. I loved Xander from the get go, which was a nice change. I usually don’t like the third point of the love triangle. I think I liked him at least, I can’t remember.

Writing Style

Ok, here’s a little insight on the people who run this blog.

Yanni – She really likes fast, writing styles where it’s constant action and everything moves at a breakneck pace, so it’s constantly moving. Short sentences, really snappy, constantly not knowing what’s going to happen next and never letting you go. (E.g. Virals, Ender’s Game)

Me (Weishi) – While I do like those types of actiony styles, I am completely in love with good descriptive writing. Writing that is simple, yet paints vivid, beautiful and almost haunting images. Not overused, either, and not so long winded that it becomes ridiculous and you’re sitting there waiting for the plot. (E.g. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak has one of the most beautiful writing styles I’ve seen).

  • “Our time together feels like a storm, like wild wind and rain, like something too big to handle but too powerful to escape. It blows around me and tangles my hair, leaves water on my face, makes me know that I am alive, alive, alive. There are moments of calm and pause as there are in every storm, and moments when our words fork lightening, at least for each other.” – Matched

Ally Condie has this way with words that is so thoughtful, and beautiful. There are images that linger from the book that I love. Ky with tears on his face in the middle of the cinema, is the first one that comes to mind. It’s been so long since I read this book, that I can barely remember it, but I remember loving her way with words.

Plot

Was pretty good. Still can’t really remember what happened.

I should review books straight after I’ve read them. This is why.

Oh, I do like how mysterious Ky was. That was cool. And I loved all the drawings he made for Cassia. They were so beautiful, and so cleverly done by Ally Condie.

Wow, this has been an in depth review (sarcasm, honestly).

Quotes

  • “Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes part of theirs.”
  • “Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?”
  • “We could have been happy. I know that, and it is perhaps the hardest thing to know.”
  • “That’s how I know they are dreams. Because the simple and plain and everyday things are the ones that we can never have.”

Overall

I will give this… Hmmm…

I don’t know. I did think it was good, it just wasn’t my type of book. I don’t like romances that much, but I did love the writing style.

Hmmm.

3 1/2 shuriken stars. I might change my mind about that, but for now it is what it is.

Read it if you want! Even if it is just to absorb that gorgeous writing.

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I Am the Messenger – Markus Zusak

I Am the Messenger(Also known as just “The Messenger” in… Australia? I think so.)

I hate Markus Zusak. Want to know why?

Because he is so so so so so talented, to the point where it is so annoying with how much talent he has, compared to the rest of us. He can write books and characters and dialogue and description and plot to utter perfection. He already proved that to me once in The Book Thief, and now he’s done it again.

I thought that maybe his other books might not live up to the legend that is The Book Thief, since… well…

Yanni is going to kill me for saying this, but I think it’s probably my favourite book in the entire world.

Anyway. I Am the Messenger does not disappoint. It’s beautiful and thoughtful and funny and everything you would expect from Markus Zusak.

Summary

Ed is a normal 19 year old who feels like he’s getting nowhere in life. After he accidently stops a bank robbery, he starts receiving cards in the mail, and becomes the messenger.

Cons

I don’t know if I have any.

Do I really have anything bad to say about an amazing book?

Oh!

I wanted to find out more about Alice the prostitute. I was interested in her, and then she disappeared :(. I guess that does make it more realistic and so on but I missed her.

Also…

Some people might not like this book. It’s got mentions of rape, sex, a ton of swearing… So yeah, if you’re really young or hate that type of stuff, maybe wait a bit before you read it. To the rest of you, what are you waiting for?

And Finally…

I took me half the book before I realised that the yellow thing on the cover was a taxi cab. Because I’m an idiot.

Pros

So. Many. Pros.

Plot

So simple, yet so awesome. Ed starts receiving cards in the mail. He has to deliver messages. Easy, right? What I loved about this was that it was such a simple premise. But everything, big or small, had such a massive impact on the reader.

Want to know when I cried? Because I admit it, I did cry. Not full on weeping, but getting tears forming in my eyes. When Ed visits Edgar Street and meets Angelina outside. The combination of beautiful writing, anticipation, and the sad and lonely situation, just made me so broken up. I can’t describe to you how beautiful Markus Zusak’s writing can be. How elegant and vivid he can make the scenes, his writing is simple and complex at the same time.

  • I don’t move because my cowardice tramples me, even as I try to lift my spirit from its knees. It only keels over. It sways off to the side and hits the earth with a silent, beaten thud. It looks up at the stars. They’re stars that dribble across the sky.

I want to add the entire scene, the entire book. I won’t, don’t worry. You have to read it for yourself.

The other time I could feel myself getting emotional is the scene with Marv at the end. If you’ve read it, you know which scene I’m taking about. The one that brought a smile to your face as you read it.

And by the end you feel so… I don’t even now how to explain it. The book feels so intense with the amount of emotion it brings through people. Seeing how tiny acts of kindness can bring out so much joy. There’s an overwhelming sense of the best and worst of humanity, all bundled into this book.

Characters

Were all so human. So realistically flawed, but still redeeming in their own way.

You know how a lot of YA novels (like hush, hush) all have those characters, that are supposed to be so perfect and nice and funny and clever, so that you route for them, but most of the time you end up either hating their guts, or getting very, very bored? This is not one of them. Think of Nora from hush, hush. She is supposed to be a beautiful, clever, charming, funny character, as we are told through the book. She is not supposed to have any flaws which, ironically, is what makes her a flawed character. She’s supposed to be so perfect that we start seeing how unrealistic she is. How she is unbelievably stupid, unkind to her friends, a pushover…  She starts to not become perfect at all, but a character that we can never relate to.

Everyone in this book, however, has flaws. But because they have flaws, we can see them as real people. And they’re redeeming qualities shine through, making us love them when we’re supposed to, and hate them when we’re supposed to.

Take Ed Kennedy. He never went to university. He’s breaking the law by being an underage cab driver. He failed at school. He’s terrible with girls. He’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, but doesn’t have the courage to tell her. He has no self confidence. He can come off as weird and rude to other people, curses a lot, and is generally a smart ass (his words, not mine). He sees a woman being raped, but is to much of a coward to save her, and tries to delude himself into thinking that it’ll get better when he knows it won’t.

But we can see all the good qualities about him. We empathise with him. He’s kind, clever, self-sacrificing, loyal, and whenever he does something bad, it tears him up inside. Instead of ignoring his flaws, we can see that his good qualities outweigh his bad ones. He is believable, and we become more attached to him. We understand him, because we can relate to him. And that is what makes him a perfect character. Because he’s not perfect at all.

Sorry. Rant over.

But yes, I loved the characters.

Writing Style

GORGEOUS. BEAUTIFUL. AMAZING.

What else did you expect?

Granted, I did like the writing in the Book Thief more, but it was published 3 years after I Am the Messenger, so Markus Zusak’s writing was developing. But seriously, comparing it to average YA fiction, it is the most gorgeous writing style out of them all.

  • His hands appear to be dripping on the wheel. The tears grip his face. They hold on and slide reluctantly for his throat.

It’s clever and strange and beautiful.

  • When her hands reached out and poured the tea, it was as if she also poured something into me while I sat there sweating in my cab. It was like she held a string and pulled on it just slightly to open me up. She got in, put a piece of herself inside me, and left again.

I’m not going to have any quotes left for the quotes section.

Oh well.

  • Our footsteps run, and I don’t want them to end. I want to run and laugh and feel like this forever. I want to avoid any awkward moment when the realness of reality sticks its fork into our flesh, leaving us standing there, together. I want to stay here, in this moment, and never go to other places, where we don’t know what to say or what to do.

How can you not fall in love with this writing style? It’s impossible.

The End

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how much they hated the ending. It took me a while to figure out who was sending the cards, but when it was revealed, and I finally understood, I loved it. I know a lot of people felt cheated out of the ending, but I loved it. At first, I didn’t want to know who was sending the cards. I thought it was better that way, but when it was finally revealed, I loved it. It was kind of open ended, and kind of not.

I don’t think whoever was behind this was important. It’s not important why he was sending it, and what his intention was, it’s what Ed found that’s important. Showing how ordinary can use their kindness to make the extraordinary happen. Showing something that is so ugly, yet so beautiful. Showing everyone that they have the potential to be extraordinary.

Really, it doesn’t matter who sent the cards, just that they were sent. And that Ed found them. And he found that he does have meaning.

Quotes

Do I have any left? Of course.

  • We both laugh and run and the moment is so thick around me that i feel like dropping into it to let it carry me.
  • My arms are killing me.
    I didn’t know words could be so heavy.
  • …and the night is so deep and dark that I wonder if the sun will ever come up.
  • “My heart applauds inside my ears, first like a roaring crowd, then slows and slows until it’s a solitary person, clapping with unbridled sarcasm.
    Clap. Clap.
    Clap.
    Well done, Ed.
    Well given up.
  • Crowds of questions stream through me like lines of people exiting a soccer ground or a concert. They push and shove and trip. Some make their way around. Some remain in their seats, waiting for their opportunity.

Overall

Markus Zusak seems to have a talent to show the best and worst of humanity. Show us how we can be so beautiful, yet so destructive all at once. He showed that in The Book Thief, and he shows us again. But through it all, he shows us that something so small, and seemingly insignificant, can amount to something bigger than yourself. That one act of kindness that amount to more than you’d think.

What do you think I’m going to give this? Because you can probably guess. 5 shuriken stars. 

PLEASE READ THIS PLEASE.

 

Department 19- Will Hill

Department 19It has been a long time since I read a book about vampires and werewolves. To be honest, I think I was avoiding those types of books ever since Twilight came out (sorry Twilight fans). Note. I have nothing um… proper against Twilight, just the vampire element 😉 ; Vampires are supposed to be all blood sucky, rather than “I sparkle in the sunlight instead of burning into a pile of ashes”… This book was the complete opposite of those sparkly vampires :). So thank you Mr Hill you have restored my faith in Vampires. There was true action, adventure, and even a little bit of romance (but only a little, it NEVER dominated the book). There was nothing else to be asked for. 🙂

Quick Note. Throughout the book I was being stupid, and forgot to look at the names of the chapters. If you haven’t read this book. Don’t do that. The names are important. They say the time zone… So throughout the book I was thinking they were all happening at the same time, and that Jamie’s dad was alive because there was another Carpenter. Yeah… The book also explains how Department 19 started…

Summary!
The main character is this guy called Jamie, whose dad got killed in the first few pages. Then it flicks to two years later, when Jamie’s mum gets kidnapped…
He’s an unlucky guy isn’t he?
Anyway, so he’s all unset and in shock, etc (not only because of his mum, but also because he almost got killed by a vampire- who later on is very important), and this guy called Frankenstein turns up. Yep. The real Frankenstein. (Side note. This is why I love the book so much, it also incorporates other stories, such as Frankenstein or Dracula). And then he goes all crazy and stuff… and soon he kinda joins Department 19 to try to get his mum back. And he meets the vampire who tried to kill him, and kinda falls in love with her… then also tries to kill her 😉
I WANT TO BE IN DEPARTMENT 19!!!

Cons
The Death at the End
I’m not talking about the vampire, I’m talking about the sad one… I just don’t feel it was necessary… and it happened so quickly, that I felt like I had no time to process it… 😦 and I really liked that character…
OR!!! Maybe he isn’t actually dead? And will feature in the next book? (hopefully…)

Pros
THE VAMPIRES WEREN’T SPARKLY!!!
yay!
They were stereotypical vampires!! Who die from getting staked and can be resurrected!!! Without any sort of twist to try it make unique or anything! It was so much easier to understand, rather than going through the book, thinking “huh?” every time a new “fact” about Vampires come up.

Gore
It. Was. Awesome. (with the stabbing through hearts, slitting throats, blood explosions, ripping through throats, you get the picture) So if you hate gore, and have thrown up after reading that, stop reading this review, and don’t pick up this book unless you want to throw up your organs up.

Jamie’s Dad
So complicated… even though we only met him for approximately the first 5 pages… (spoiler alert. He dies… in the first 5 pages). That’s why I love this book! It was filled with action from the very start! Anyway, back to Jamie’s dad. He surprisingly now that I think about it, isn’t actually that complicated… He just turns out to be really complicated, because of all the conspiracies associated with him. To be honest, I still haven’t quite sorted him out in my head… There were some stuff that I thought after reading it “How the hell hadn’t I thought of that” but at other times I was just like “huh? Je suis confused….” which I guess can be taken good and bad. Still. He was awesome. And I sorta hated Jamie for hating him.

Frankenstein. Dracula. 
FRANKENSTEIN WAS THE BEST CHARACTER EVER. And well Dracula… um… yeah… so…
I loved how Will Hill adapted the other stories into his own! It was his own twist to the book, and so easy to understand!

Favourite Quotes

  • “Department 6 is the Army.
    Department 13 is MI5.
    Department 19 is the reason you’re alive.”
  • “Lux E Tenebris: Light Out Of Darkness”

Summary
So after reading this review; Go. Get. The. Book. You know you want to. And if that’s still not convinced you; 5 shuriken stars!

Fed- Mira Grant

Fed(an alternate ending to Feed)
NOTE. Do NOT read this review unless you have read or know what happens in Feed.
I both love and hate this ending at the same time. It makes me want to beat up the book for being so sad, except the part that it’s a e-book (I’ll put the link below). And at the same it satisfies me as an ending.
Note. If you read this book, like me, hoping for a happy ending, where everyone survives, the zombie issue is cured and Tate is put in a imaginary prison, etc. You’ll be disappointed. This is even more heart- wrenching than Feed.

Summary
It’s pretty much the same ending, except the roles are different; not reversed, but different. (Hint/ Spoiler, if you haven’t got it already; Shaun dies instead of Georgia)

This is another way the end of Feed could have gone: it picks up with the events of what would originally have been chapter twenty-five. It is not what happened.

But it could have.

We came very close.

(As Mira Grant puts it)

Since this is a shortish story, in fact ending, I’m just going to ramble my thoughts.

The main thing that is sticking to my mind about this book right now, is the difference between Georgia and Shaun.
“He’ll die first, we both know it, but I don’t know… I really don’t know how long I’ll stay alive without him. That’s the part Shaun doesn’t know. I don’t intend to be an only child for long.” (from Feed)
and since I told you Shaun dies, you can put together the puzzle.
What puzzles me is that Georgia can’t live in a world without Shaun, but Shaun can live in a world without Georgia. But don’t get me wrong, he only dies in Fed, without knowing, to save Georgia. ;(
Their relationship is just so sweet… for example, if my brother died, I would NOT commit suicide. Sure I’ll be sad, and feeling as if something were missing in my life, but it wouldn’t go to the extent of committing suicide.

It’s also amusing to see how differently Georgia and Shaun handle the situation of Tate. I mean, they are both vengeful, but just different… I’m not quite sure how to phrase it… Just different, I guess.

A few details could change anything… That’s what my teachers and parents always say about exams… And yet, reading this book, I can kinda see that. A few little details could be the difference between Life and Death. I’ll remember that in my next exam…

Unlike other books that I have read, it doesn’t show saving the world in a good light. In the thoughts of Shaun and Georgia Mason; was it worth? Nobody should have died for this.

A few favourite quotes

  • “The sound of my gun going off was almost drowned out by the screams of the crowd. Governer Tate stopped laughing, and for an instant almost comically surprised before he slumped onto the table. I kept the gun trained on him, waiting for signs of movement. After several moments had passed without any, I shot him three more times anyway, just to be sure. It never hurts to be sure.”
  • “Let them shout. I was done listening. I don’t need to listen anymore.”
  • “… wishing there was some mercy in the world. That getting the bad guys meant you got your loved ones back; that there had been another way.
    That I could cry.”
  • ‘”And how are you?’
    He meant ‘Are you sober’, and since I was driving I couldn’t fault him for asking the question.”
  • “Even if this wasn’t over, someone else was going to have to save the world next time.
    We were done.
    Rise up while you can.”

5 Shuriken Stars.

Link:
https://www.facebook.com/newsflesh/app_374030709322056