This story is a huge classic, and there are a lot of reasons why.
This is a gory and gruesome tale that looks into the role of the government, society, but most of all how we will react under pressure. We follow our lead character as he tries to stay alive and second guess the people around him, some of whom he has grown up with his entire life. Through flashbacks, we find out more about the characters, and the world that they live in.
I really enjoyed a lot of the characters, and I could sympathize with a good portion of them (even the ones that are portrayed as being a little more evil) There is huge amount of believable pressure and fear. Also a huge number of characters, I ended up writing them all down on a piece of paper and crossing them off as they died. The advantage of having so many characters is that we get to see a good number of different reactions to the same horrific set of circumstances. I found myself rooting for everyone and scared for what might happen to them.
Even the girls have some really awesome and/or scary ones in their mist! (Though the main one is a bit of a princess character :/ ) My favorite character in the entire book is the girl Takako Chigusa, and really she may be one of the favorite characters ever.
In conclusion this is a great book. I listened to it because it was a classic, but I would still listen to this again and again. Fair warning though, this is not for the fait of heart, as it does involve a LOT of bloody deaths.
I'll admit, with some stories I feel the need to look up their endings on Wikipedia or some other site before I've finished the book because I just have to know the ending NOW.
I felt that keenly with the Secret Keeper. I will say that a little less than half-way through this Novel, I lost my ability to finish it. I was unsatisfied, I found none of the characters sympathetic enough to listen to, and our main character to be a huge annoyance. I looked up the ending, which I will not tell you, and finding out that spoiler gave me the ability to finish the book. In fact, when I found out the ending, I absolutely loved the book! I find it a really great read, I love the characters and their struggles. I find the lives they live really interesting, and the journey of discovery really enjoyable as I beckon on the characters, hastening them joyfully to the last chapter.
That's the only thing that keeps me from giving this story a 5/5, the fact that the middle of the book was too unbearable to get through without knowing the ending.
I won't tell you anymore, and maybe you, dear reader, will have a stronger convection than I. But I will say this, if you can make it to the end of this book, you will be justly rewarded.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS ONE SPOILER
Just being that everything ends happily. I won't say anymore, but I left the book feeing really happy and satisfied. This is a spoiler because for most of the book you have this looming feeling of everything going wrong and ending poorly. Which is actually a huge compliment to Jess Walter.
You dive through multiple characters stories, bopping back and forth. But what is amazing is Jess' ability to show the reader the same arch and feeling at the same time with each character as you flip chapter to chapter.
All the characters felt real and full of flaws, but also full of redemption. I really enjoyed this novel, and I would highly recommend this to anyone.
This is an excellent listen! Capturing an older era feel, the stories are light hearted and fun! You root for Anita and listen to her exploits with great delight. I really enjoyed the unpretentious, and matter-of-fact manner that Keith Roberts talks about witches in a classic, and playfully distorted way.
I will agree with other reviewers that the amount of strong biblical reinforcement in this novel is far more prominent than the description would indicate. If I had known, I probably wouldn't have listened, as this is not what I am interested in reading. That being said there were a lot of great things to recommend this book.
I really enjoyed a lot of the relationships between the characters. I enjoyed the real feeling of struggle as Solomon overcomes Rehab's past, and learns to love her in her entirety, not just who she has become. I think that Rehab and Miriam's interactions are a great showing of best friends, and really enjoyable!
But story-wise, a lot of things were lacking. I never had the feeling that any of the characters had lives unless Rehab was looking at them. None of the other characters had arches, struggles, or lives. Except for very minor flaws showcased in Solomon, all the the characters were painfully perfect. All of the plot points rotated specifically around God and the realization of him, which started to feel a little repetitive. In the story, God manipulates each of the characters in minute ways, and in the background, he is the master of astounding miracles. Now I'm not saying that he is incapable of this, but in terms of a written Novel, it's surprisingly bland. All the characters feel as though they are on a giant chess board being moved around. Which made me uninterested, and unsympathetic as I felt I couldn't relate with any of them.
This series follows a lot of similar tropes of Urban fantasies out there. There is a brooding main character who is powerful, but in unconventional ways and has a LOT of limitations, and a hilarious bantering side kick. (Dresden Files, The Hollow Series, The Iron Druid Chronicles, ect.)
I would say what's different about this series is that the story is a lot darker and less forgiving. The main character is un-liked by a lot of people, and sometimes for good reason. His struggles to fit in really feel awful and believable, and the fantastical elements are cool!
I would say that this series can be a little plodding, you're trying to hurry the character along. But over all I really liked this book, and eagerly listened to the second the third installment!
While the premise of 'steampunk vampires' initially turned me off, it seemed a little gimmicky, I am really thankful that I passed that and actually read the story!
The story is incredibly nuanced while still staying relatively light hearted and fun. This isn't a heavy read (or listen) but it still manages to stay away from tropes and pitfalls. The characters are believable and all as reasonably flawed as they are charming. Characters double-cross for good reasons, make unexpected turns that are still within character, and their interplay is truly delightful.
Another great thing about this series is the use of supernatural/magical powers. This is managed really well, without being over-powering or eye-rolling. It's really gracefully done while keeping the premise fresh and interesting.
In short, I would highly recommend this series to anyone! If you liked this series, I would also recommend The Riyira Revelations. Similar level of fun.
This is a mystery novel. I didn't know that going into it, and I'm probably giving it a lower score because I just don't favor mystery novels. That being said, the book was pretty enjoyable and performed well. Without giving too much away, I'll say it was amazing how the story changes from reality to fantastical.
What I liked about this book: The love interest. Their chemistry is non-conventional, and really refreshing. I really liked all the characters, they were real, likable people that you would want to hang out with later, and you really cared for them. Which is surprising, because it's a large cast for such a small book.
What I didn't like: Now that I've listened to it and the mystery is solved, I don't want to listen to it again. Again, this is my problem with mysteries in general, so I'm probably biased. It was a little slow, and I find the main character the most uninteresting of the lot, though I love the other characters.
Will I listen to it again: No, I don't think so. BUt I am glad to have listened to it in the first place
I love this series. About a quarter of the way through this first audio book, I bought the rest of the trilogy, knowing that I wouldn't be able to stand any waiting between them.
What I loved about this series:
There is a lot of back story and history to this world. Past events are constantly referred to, but don't mean anything to you, until later in the series. It creates a rich environment the encourages re-reads.
The magic is awesome. In this world, magic is common, but not possessed by all. It has many variations that tend to follow bloodlines, or is restricted by rules. The major element of magic here is a thing called land rule, which is sort of akin to kings passing on their crown to the next heir, only that depending on the region, that 'crown' embodies a multitude of magics and powers specific to that kingdom. It turns out to be a rather clever device, and without giving anything away, I found my self more pleased then I could have imagined with the ending.
To stray down a side path, the series has interesting combination of ephemeral (where magic and events happen in vague terms that purposely give the reader strange dual imagery that does and doesn't contradict itself, but instead tells the reader to accept it peacefully) and very specific concrete information. This duality was unexpected, but I must admit that McKillip pulled through in every way.
In short, this was well weaved, and the journey to the conclusion was just as wonderful as the final delight of everything coming together. Listen to this series! I already have over and over again!
Without giving too much away, I will say that this book falls into a lot of standard troupes for pre-teen girl fantasy. The main character is a girl who is thrust out of the normal world into a fantastical one where she is harrowed by magical things she doesn't understand, but later comes to realize she has a power stronger than all. This book also involves dueling love interests, possible betrayals, and a number of sequels.
What I liked:
The idea of a third kingdom, the Iron Kingdom, being the magic of the future. Technology and gremlins, this idea that magic is not dead, just alive in a new way really appeals to me.
What I didn't like:
Having finished the book, I don't really remember any of the characters, just that they fit in the roles of "main girl who is fighting the good fight, but constantly in distress" or "broody super-hot boy whom main girl will eventually fall in love with and melt his frozen betrayed heart" and also "Alternate love interest who is funny and supportive, but will never get any"
In Summary, I just didn't feel engaged at all. If you are looking for something very light, this might be your cup of tea. But for me, it was just a little too light with convient escapes and character flaws. I won't be listening to this again
I would personally recommend Tithe by Holly Black if you are looking for a book with a supernatural girl, faeries, and a hott-sulky-betrayed love interest. I enjoyed it much more!
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