Tag: reviews

I desperately miss books like Max on Earth

I desperately miss books like Max on Earth

★★★★★

(5 stars)

My girlfriend picked this up for me. I think I’ve allured her into the world of buying random pulp books, though I’m the one who ends up eventually reading them. This one was picked up for the cover- delightful, as you can see, even though no good HD versions appear to exist online.

OUT OF THIS WORLD #1: Max on Earth is the tiny, short book from about 1980 when YA fiction was… well, like this I guess. An alien named Max shows up and befriends Randi, a normal teen girl, and that’s it. I honestly used to read a lot of books about this length and style when I was younger, since the library would have them. I think admittedly I was more 12 at that point, but 12 year olds do count as YA, and kids that age and younger read modern YA as well. I can’t quite recall the names, but I remember books about like an alien who interrupted baseball, a mirror that turned a kid invisible, a teacher who was secretly an alien, and a girl who was secretly an alien princess. I guess I read a lot of books on aliens, looking back. These were all MG/YA that I generally read when I was younger, being a Super Advanced Reader in elementary school and all. They rocked.

Ahem. Is this book good? No, not really. Have I given it five stars? Yes. What are you going to do about it?

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Tithe is just the beta version of the rest of Holly Black’s novels

Tithe is just the beta version of the rest of Holly Black’s novels

★★★★☆

(4 stars)

I’ve enjoyed Holly Black to pick up Tithe blind, and I have to say, it was puzzling at first. People swoon over Cruel Prince and Darkest Part, but Tithe and the other Modern Faerie Tales are the awkward teenager stage between those and her beginnings in children’s fiction. Tithe often feels like it was written by a teen who just realized they could do anything they wanted in a book- there’s a lot of swearing, smoking/drinking, and sexual content right off the bat. Still, there’s a lot of likable things in this book, and a lot of the time the grime felt authentic rather than needlessly dark.

What stood out to me most by the end, however, was that this book is pretty much the same book as Darkest Part Of The Forest, which Black published 13 years later. I read and reviewed Darkest a while ago, and found it fine but not too compelling. I liked Tithe more, and there’s enough differences I couldn’t call it self-plagiarism, but the many story elements and plot points are present in both.

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In a past life, maybe Rapture was an okay standalone novel

In a past life, maybe Rapture was an okay standalone novel

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Rapture actually has a lot of things going for it: lovely descriptions, vivid images of international locations, interesting angel lore, neat magical concepts, and a few raised and slightly discussed deeper themes. The problem is that all of these positives are beaten over the head with the fact this is book four, and the final book in a quartet, of an extremely uneven series.

The Fallen quartet is perhaps the most diverse series I’ve read in that every book is decidedly a different genre and story-type to the next, as if the author had a checklist of things she wanted to try and decided to use the same paper thin characters to act each one out.

So, while I enjoyed some aspects of this too-long book, it was always hampered down by the fact it was the last book, and thus needed to provide a conclusion and tie-in to the ones before it. The treasure hunt for ancient angelic relics to solve a mystery about the fall is a fine idea and easily could have been the plot of a different, better novel, which didn’t also have to weave in a whole ton of characters, revelations, and confusing reincarnation gimmicks in as well.

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Can we go back in time and ensure Passion is never written?

Can we go back in time and ensure Passion is never written?

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Frankly, it’s unclear why this book exists.

The Fallen series is a quartet, slightly unusual for an era of para-ro trilogies. Typically this genre of book from the early 2010s has a very formulaic pattern: in book one they meet, fall in love, and learn the supernatural elements. In book two not much happens (this is the worst book of the series). Book three is some apocalyptic showdown event.

Maybe it’s good Fallen drove to break ties to that, offering seemingly an entirely different subgenre for each book: book 1 was incredibly boring romance, book 2 was fun adventure, book 3 is time travel, and book 4 is a fetch quest. Still, narrative wise, Passion does not need to exist. This is a book about time travel. Exclusively about time travel.

Ultimately, I can’t fault much concrete grit: the writing is fine, the settings are diverse and have been researched, there’s some degree of character and world building… but from a story arc point of view, this book could have easily been a chapter or two. It did not need to be over three hundred pages of, broader story speaking, nothing.

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Fallen is a puzzling, prime example of poor YA

Fallen is a puzzling, prime example of poor YA

★☆☆☆☆

(.5 stars)

If you’re new to this blog, or need a reminder, I’m drawn to the following in books:

  1. Angels/Demons
  2. YA from around the early 2010s at the height of the paranormal boom
  3. Bad YA (from around that era, quite often)

I’d actually, however, avoided picking up Fallen for a long time. It’s really, really easy to find in thrift shops and even libraries, and ticks all of the above boxes. However, I never grabbed it because… well, I’d already read it back in 2012. I hit it down as ‘DNF’ because it was boring. I think I got 100 pages in, but on reading the full thing here, I couldn’t tell you where I last stopped- the first 100 pages of this book is exactly the same as the next 350 pages, and it all blends together in a cacophony of bad.

I read it this time in two sittings while at work because I’m an adult now, but this is an extremely frustrating book to contend with. The supernatural revelation takes place 77% through the book, and even then the reader gets very few answers on anything that happened. This is a thick book of absolutely nothing but school life, and I wouldn’t even be able to parse some of the ‘lore’ and ‘story’ if not for the really bad movie made from this which somehow does a far better job delivering exposition.

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Sweet Reckoning means Sweet Release from me having to read this horrifying series

Sweet Reckoning means Sweet Release from me having to read this horrifying series

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

Is ‘horrifying’ the right word? I typed ‘horrible’ at first, but then… this book, and the series as a whole, is so absurdly bad it sounds fake. How else can I discuss a book  with extreme christian themes and yet super horniness, where the bible saves the day, the love interest is a canonical child rapist, and panty-sniffing virginity-sensing demons are a key plot point?

There’s actually a fourth book, a companion to the trilogy from the viewpoint of the love interest, but right now I don’t have interest in reading it.

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I’m stealing the concept for Incarnations of Immortality and I dare you to stop me

I’m stealing the concept for Incarnations of Immortality and I dare you to stop me

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

I’ve owned the final book of this series- book seven- for about four years now. I got it for free out of a library null pile because the cover was bizarre and wonderful. I skim read it then, out of order, and was flummoxed by the scenes I witnessed: three ghosts possessing a teenager, a 15 year old having sex with a 40 year old being okay because they are ‘in love’, a character named Orb, a three page debate on evolution versus creationism… clearly, this book and series were a Wild Fever Dream Mess.

Finally, I acquired this book at a thrift shop a month ago. Book one, at last! I found just as strange a story, but was surprised by two details: one, the premise is exceedingly solid. Two, the world is a ton of fun, full of potential and humor.

Everything else is garbage. So author beware: I will find a way to take this series from you, and actually make it good. The Time Is Coming.

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