Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Conversation about Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angels

We had a little chat about the novel:

Katastrofekat: any thoughts?

Kiwie: Plenty, just, hard to sort out, there is some good and some bad in this novel. I read it really really fast considering how long it was.

Katastrofekat: Yeah, I think I read it in two days, so not the most complex book, but a lot of action. I liked that there wasn't much wasted time

Kiwie: True. A good light entertaining read, but not much more is sort of what I'm thinking.

Katastrofekat: Yes, I was thinking along those lines. Not my favourite main character though

Kiwie: No, Tessa was not interesting, nor developed enough I think. She just came over from New York, got kidnapped and it didn't seem to affect her much at all, other than that shes thought she looked bad after. Which is never a good place to start with a character. She is distraught over her brother, but oh, she knew all along what he was like and didn't do anything about it till the end. I wanted to slap her so many times.

Katastrofekat: Haha, maybe it would have done her some good! And she said she was distraught over her brother, but to me it seemed a bit like she forgot him whenever Will was in the same room as her. Also, I don't like the constant pining that seems to be in all young adult books theses days!

Kiwie: Yes! She kept forgetting about her brother, who according to her was all she had left, you wouldn't do that would you? Especially not when you don't know if he's a live or not, and then it took her ages to catch onto him in the end. Not a very good mind on her. Ugh. Pining, don't get me started. Fancying someone is alright, but do you really have to be so dramatic about it? I knows she's only, what sixteen, but come on. Just because someone is pretty and stuff you don't have to swoon and fall for them in a heartbeat.

Katastrofekat: If someone is all you have in the world, you damn well don't forget them! I might have found it more believable if she cared about her brother but had her doubts about him before she left New York. Yeah. Sure, you might fall for someone, but that doesn't mean you change your entire person. Also, if you live with your crush, fucking talk to him, instead of just thinking about it!

Kiwie: She just seems so emotionally unreal, and then there is the whole "proper lady do's and don'ts" that crop up, most of it from Jessamine, but some from Tessa, and she's supposed to change and she becomes more kick-ass throughout, but I didn't feel as if a lot changed inside her before she slightly broke at the end.
The shadowhunters were interesting though, I liked them, though perhaps not all their personalities. Herondale was just too obvious, and ugh, I hate too obvious. Charlotte and Jem were more interesting I think. It's just that Tessa seemed to trust them because they were pretty, which brings us back to how annoying she was, ha-ha.

Katastrofekat: Yeah. I actually kind of liked Jessamine better, at least she knew what she wanted and acted accordingly.
The shadowhunters fascinated me and I really want to know more about the downworlders and their underground world! I liked Charlotte and Jem as well, and I wish we got to know them a bit better. Since all Tessa could think about was her brother and Will, I felt like a big part of the world was left out of the picture.

Kiwie: True, but at least her brother was plot related, the whole "I think I'm in love with Will, maybe that other angel-boy who is dying is also totally hot though?" = COMPLETELY UNINTERESTING. I understand characters falling in love and having a love life, or just wanting sex, but this isn't that. It's something else I think, maybe. Actually, I'm not sure what the plot was. Was it her missing brother and her mystic ability, was it her relationships with people or was it just something bad is stirring among the mundanes and downworlders hate shadowhunters?

Katastrofekat: Yes, true. And she didn't really get to know any of them, she just thought they were pretty, and that kind of gets to me. She might have an underdeveloped personality, but because of that, everyone else seemed kind of one dimensional as well.  I felt like the author wasn't too sure about what the plot was either, and maybe she tried to make it character driven instead, but didn't quite make it? The book felt very much like an introduction to the world the whole way through

Kiwie: "Oh, they're pretty," *swoon* was it. Will could quite poetry, and that was basically why she liked him in addition to the pretty. Then he was mean and cruel (which we understand as it is spelled out for us on multiple occasions is a defence mechanism) to her, teasing her and things. One would think that would give her a reality check.
If this was supposed to be character driven if failed, it also felt like an introduction to a potentially interesting world, and I've read that this is her second series in the same one, and I don't know, shouldn't it be more developed and more quickly explained? Tessa was reading that damn Codex throughout! It went very slow even though she got thrown into it and should have gotten some education by the Shadowhunters first thing, not just Will throwing a book at her, and a few bits of information from the others, yet she learnt all about Sophie and Jem for instance.

Katastrofekat: This book was the first one to come out, if I have understood it correctly. The other series, The Mortal Instruments is a prequel series, but this book was the first one.
Kiwie: Oh, okay. I just saw a listing online and TMI were listed first
Kiwie: Nope, just checked, the first TMI came out in 2007, this came out three years later.

Katastrofekat: Okay, right. But you are right. It was an okay read, but didn't quite live up to expectations. I wanted more from the book. Also, the clockwork angel, it was always there, and that one time it was interesting, we didn't get to know what the deal was, and when the action died down, it was forgotten.

Kiwie: Yes! Tessa didn't even seem slightly curious! She got saved by her necklace! Come on! "my angel" was everything she said about it.
The next one better be about her parents, and the angel and other things or this series will be progressing in the wrong direction... I liked the novel as I read it, it was light and enjoyable, but often annoying, however I'll be reading the next one soon I think.

Katastrofekat: Yeah, that is true. I liked the book, but when I think back at it, I see the faults better then when I read it. The book wasn't my favourite, but it was only parts that really annoyed me while reading it and the world have a lot of potential, so I want to keep reading the series.

Kiwie: It seemed alright when I read it, but this whole conversation shows that I liked it less than I thought. Which is how it is with books (and life) some things are better in hindsight and some are worse. I think I'll finish the series, but not continue reading Cassandra Clare after that. I also think that I prefer adult supernatural romance to the teen version, at least there they get laid & kick-ass at the same time...

Katastrofekat: I like that! I think that pretty much concludes it.

Kiwie: Yeah. I could add that the whole "set in London" thing is pointless. That the city air isn't fresh and the Thames is dirty as fuck and some names does not create a setting...

Katastrofekat: Right. The only thing about the setting is that it isn't where Tessa grew up. Besides that, pointless.

Monday, 15 April 2013

May novel: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokof

Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
First Published: 1955

What Goodreads says about the book:
Awe and exhilaration—along with heartbreak and mordant wit—abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love—love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

Why we chose this book and what we expect:
It's a classic and we wanted to read something different this time.

I don't expect much, other than what is probably an interesting story? I just want to read it to have read it so to speak. I feel like there is a Lolita shaped hole in my literary education (many other holes too of course) and I feel like filling it just about now. I already know the story so well, but I haven't got a first hand experience of it, so I thought I should.

I don't have many expectations and don't really know that much about the story other than a few things, so I'm going into this book pretty blank. I have it on my e-reader and thought I should read it some day and this is a very good excuse. Not that I need an excuse to read!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Post-read post: Every Day

What to say about this book? I laughed, I cried, I rolled my eyes and I loved it. That does not mean that this is a book without problems, because there are so-so many. If you like David Levithan, you'll probably like this too, because I think that without that fact I wouldn't.

I love the idea of waking up in a different body every day, and I hate it too. It is a fun thought experiment, but I wonder if this should have been turned into a novel.

Upside: It preaches a lot of tolerance. The genderlessness of A is really awesome, because gender is very much a body thing, if it wasn't for our bodies it would be just a personality thing. This part of the novel I love love love. It is also funny (did I mention that already?).

Downside: A really does not have a lot of insight into things, and a lot of the bodies A wake up in seem unreal. Also: I CANNOT IGNORE THE LACK OF ANSWER TO WHY!!!!!! Seriously. I hate that. There is so much goodness in this concept that just isn't realized.

It has so much great stuff going for it, some of the lives we peer into are awesome, and A falling in love and breaking all their rules. Then there is the stalking of the love interest, stalking is not cute, it is creepy. You do not have to see your loved one every day (intended) okay? Especially not when the person you are in love with wants you to back off. If the feeling is mutual? Go ahead, if it isn't? You're violating some privacy.

So it is an enjoyable novel, it is interesting as a concept, but it fails along the way. The writing is decent enough, but the stalking, the fact that we learn nothing of why A is like that, and very little of the "bad guy" is so fucking annoying. So in the end it comes down to this:
Read it if you liked Levithan & if you can keep yourself from thinking too much. Otherwise? Don't. It is a very quick read though. I finished it in February, it is the writing of the "review" that has been troublesome.

Best Wishes,