This book is kissing cousins to The Magicians series by Lev Grossman and The Secret History by Donna Tartt, both of which I particularly enjoy. It is a lovely mix of the isolation/coming of age story that boarding school stories often lend themselves to, and a sort of mythological, almost scientific magical realism. In The Raven Boys, the "magic" involves psychic premonition (Blue comes from an entire family of psychics), a very unusual ghost story, and the physical search for a lay line energy source which may conceal the resting place of an ancient Welsh king. This book is erudite, dense, and captivating. It's surprisingly emotional, tackling topics like the parent/child relationship and loyalty among friends. It has a quiet, almost grotesque or Gothic feel to it, yet it feels modern and uses clear prose rather than emotive, flowery language. It is similar to Stiefvater's other book The Scorpio Races in this spare, almost bleak, matter-of-fact style. Luckily, it does not repeat the faults of her Shiver series (which I found to be trite, cliched, and sappy) despite the somewhat tired "poor little rich boy" character trope that she indulges in here. I'm so happy this is the beginning of a series, and look very much forward to the next installment.
I liked Will Patton's delivery. I wasn't sure since his voice is nothing like an 18 year old rich boy's but he provided a voice that sounds reasonable and sober even when fantastical magical events are occurring and helps you "believe" the story.
What an enjoyable tale! 11 year old oddball Sebastien is put on a Greyhound train by his no-account mother to go across the country alone to live with his grandparents. On the way he meets Marcus, a thirty-something black man returning home after a prison sentence, who acts as a sort of father figure and protects him on his journey. Lots of strange things happen on the journey, and they become true friends, each other's experiences and perspective enriching the other's in their three days together. It's a little bit sad, often funny, and overall heartwarming. Set in the late 70's, complete with cassette tapes and payphones.
This was definitely not my favorite mercy Thompson novel. I loved the Coyote bits and Gary Laughingdog but the Christy storyline irked me. Mercy was a bit of a Mary Sue being so patient with Christy, and Adam was appallingly insensitive and weak inthe face of Christy's manipulations. He never stood up for Mercy or Jessie and allowed Christy to play housewife and trick him into being nostalgic with her in front of the pack and Mercy. He was romantic in private with Mercy but not much of an Alpha when Christy was there. I also thought that the Volcano God was a bit of an improbable stretch for a new bad guy, though the resulting revelations about Stefan and Tad were interesting and hopefully will be featured in upcoming books. I hope Briggs keeps the action closer to home from now on instead of bringing new mythologies to the TriCities.
I hated the new narrator - bring Barbara Rosenblatt back!
The subject matter of this book - child prostitution with graphic description - was far too much for me to handle.
This is a four star book for readers who have been following the series. While it has all the typical earmarks of the series: solid writing, fast plotting, good characterizations, snappy banter, and a particularly great magic system, this particular book's big payoff is in the resolution of Joanne's family background. She faces her past figuratively and literally as she has to come home to the Cherokee reservation that she spent her teenage years on. She discovered her mother's story in the last book, and in this book she learns her history on her father's side and faces the child she gave up for adoption. The book also has a lot of Morrison and their romance, which goes from budding to fully-realized. There is a lot of humor in the book as well as battle against evil and emotional reunions. I enjoyed this one mightily. The Cherokee history and lore was interesting as well.
A satisfying twist on the vampire tale. The setting is what I'd call "high fantasy" - horses, swords, castles, inns, tankards of ale, etc. The vampires in question are the Svistra, a race that lives alongside humans geographically, and a war is in progress over the disputed lands. The story is more of a civil war between hated enemies than human versus monster or supernatural beast, as the Svistra are intelligent and not so gifted that they are unbeatable. I liked the main character Selia. She was practical, stubborn, plucky, and moral but not overly gorgeous, sexy, or emotional. She stands up for herself and those she cares about, buckles on a sword, and takes care of business. While there is some cliche in her finding and nursing the one Svistra "prince" that would try to stop war with the humans and falling in love with him despite the racial taboos, the storyline was handled in a mostly believable and deft way. The romance was mostly understated and PG-13. There is violence and blood in the battle scenes, but in a fantasy way not a horror way. The book seemed YA age appropriate, and was a welcome relief from the overt emotional angst of most YA romances. It works as a romance as well as a parable of racial intolerance. It was also satisfying in that it wrapped up the story in one book without leaving you looking for the next book in a series. This book reminded me of Clay & Susan Griffith's Vampire Empire series and Neil Gaiman's Stardust. The narration was well paced and well edited.
It's hard to imagine giving a five star review to a book in which you don't really like the main character. Tartt's novel is dense, painstakingly detailed, and rich. After a tragic beginning, Theo is a lost soul with a secret. He is lonely, melancholy, private, and emotional. The characters around him are all lost or broken in one way or another. There are moments of joy in the novel, particularly in the loving descriptions of the New York City that is so dear to Theo (cabs, museums, doormen, hotels, Central Park). The book's mood shifts through all the aspects of melancholy - from the sadness of grief, the paralysis of fear, the ennui of being young and aimless, the frisson of tension, the dissatisfaction of unfufilling relationships, the quiet calm of fleeting contentment, and the ache of unrequited love. All states are so beautifully shown to us in description and tone,and their strength makes the lovable parts of the characters and plot shine so brightly in comparison. The novel is very wordy, with passages of philosophical observation and introspection that sometimes get tedious.
The novel is powerful and leaves the reader in a reverie. The skill of the author is breathtaking. You end the book feeling as though she has exposed deep parts of herself to you in writing this novel.
Not a guide to living frugally (as I had hoped), this is the memoir of a college student that awakens to his plight of being heavily indebted for student loans but with little tolerance for office jobs. Ken is engaging and interesting but definitely a bit unusual. The length he goes to to get solitary jobs in the great outdoors and in Alaska to pay off his debt show a penchant for isolation and rigid self-control. He talks of living a simpler life but most of us are not willing to live in such isolation, eating only subsistence foods (peanut butter spaghetti stew, anyone?), living without necessities like a winter coat or heat in winter. Ken gets awfully preachy and overly philosophical in between anecdotes, to the point where it sounds like he is trying elevate his choices to a greater philosophical meaning that I am not sure even Ken believes. It loses its edge of truth.
Interesting, sometimes tedious, offbeat memoir, but I don't think his lessons will last in my mind other than his valid warning about not accruing mindless debt.
Very funny urban fantasy in which choosing a religion is done like online dating, and the pantheon of gods are revealed to be just as imperfect, petty, and unique as humans. Fans of fiction like John Scalzi or Tim Robbins' work will enjoy this irreverent romp of a story.
I have long been a fan of the story of Taylor and Turtle Greer and their search for family (this book and Pigs In Heaven, the sequel). I read these in hard copy when I was living abroad, and they made me so nostalgic for home that I cried. They may not be as grand and sweeping a tale as The Poisonwood Bible, but they feel true and real in a tangible way. Taylor is matter of fact, practical, insecure, and wryly funny. I feel a deep connection to her. I thought CJ Critt's narration was perfect for Taylor (despite the lack of a Southern accent) as her tone is perfectly humble, heartfelt, and sarcastic. These books are a great coming of age story and I'll re-listen many more times in my life.
I loved the cast of characters: native American cop with intimacy issues and a chip on her shoulder, her Wise Woman grandmother, black Sheriff that acts as voice of reason, eager young cub of a rookie that rides with the cop, even a reformed computer hacker. Nice details about the North Carolina setting and good setup for the mystery with a mother on the run with her young son from a dangerous father trying to grab the kid. The book opens with a bang - big action. Then inexplicably, the lady cop that supposedly gets all the awards for service and bravery completely loses all sense. She goes against her commanding officer's orders, jeopardizes the investigation, steals evidence from the crime scene, endangers her grandmother, bonds with a obviously untrustworthy ladykiller, and urges her friend to violate his parole. She completely stops communicating witht he few people she trusts, one of my pet peeves in mysteries. I got very exasperated with Inola midway through the book, as her actions made me doubt what he writer had previously told me about her. Luckily, once the plot gets back on track and it is about catching the bad guy, the action is tight and the ending satisfactory. I just wish that the writer hadn't cheapened a potentially great character by turning her into the cliche of a hysterical woman for most of the book.
Nice narration by Christina Cox.
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