There was a lot I liked about this book, but perhaps my favorite thing was the heroine. She had just enough teenage angst, but she wasn't swallowed by it like so many other YA heroines. She seemed to have a good sense of herself, which was refreshing. I also liked that the plot was totally different than anything I've read in the YA genre.
I had no problem at all with the narration. I found Katie Schorr to be pretty terrific, actually.
The story wasn't perfect. The adults seem placed only to forward the story for the teens, but that is forgivable in a YA book. Overall, there were more good things about the story than bad, and I'm looking forward to the next one.
I suppose I should just resign myself to the fact that I might never be pleased with the final book in a YA series, as this was like Mockingjay from the Hunger Games series all over again for me!
Seriously though, I love Lauren Oliver's writing style and the way she crafts her characters, but I honestly do not think she did them justice here. I was always skeptical of this "love triangle". Lena's jump to Julian at the end of the last book seemed really forced - more a plot device than a natural development. But OK...I knew it was coming and I was prepared. What I wasn't prepared for was how poorly it was executed.
I can't help but wonder what Ms. Oliver's intention was...as I obviously missed it. She gives us the first book and allows us to fall in love with Alex. Then she gives us the second book and enchants us with Julian. In the third book, they are both there, but basically in name only, as they are completely underdeveloped and barely used in the story. Where is the love that these people are fighting so desperately for? It seems to have all but vanished.
The only half way decent scene with Alex is near the beginning...his big fight with Lena. That scene is written so well and narrated beautifully by Sarah Drew (as always!) UNTIL Alex says "I never loved you" and Lena believes him. Are you kidding me?!? Why on earth would Lena buy it? He didn't give her a reason as to why he pretended to love her. He doesn't explain why he is so angry given the fact that he doesn't love her. So why would Lena believe him? It makes no sense other than being a plot device that allowed Lena to put him on the back burner and focus on Julian. So disappointing!
I loved the descriptions of the Wilds. The wandering journey didn't bother me as it seemed to bother others. What did bother me is that there seemed to be no purpose. We meet Coral just to make Lena jealous. Alex is there but says or does nothing. Same can be said about Julian. Then there's Lena's mom...just kinda thrown in at the end for good measure. There seemed to be little point to anything.
I also was not a big fan of the back and forth between Lena and Hana. I thought it might lead to some great interaction between them at the end, but when they finally did meet, it was more of a fizzle than a bang.
All in all, the book seemed rushed. Perhaps they were in a hurry to get it completed because of the TV version airing next season? I loved the first book...liked the second book...but almost wish I hadn't read this one at all. I remain a fan of Oliver's writing style and haven't read Before I Fall, yet, so maybe I'll give it a try.
Sarah Drew's narration was wonderful, though I did feel that even she struggled with the switch from Lena to Hana.
I was hooked on the premise of this one from the start. To tell the story from the perspective of the invading alien in a human's body is SO original. And Stephanie Meyer did not disappoint. She crafted a world where good and evil are sometimes hard to define and sympathy is felt for the most unlikely of beings. I enjoyed that her characters are flawed...sometimes infuriatingly so, but that the flaws seem genuine...rather than built to just drive the plot.
The narration took some getting used to. For me, Kate Reading sounded MUCH older than Melanie is supposed to be...which was distracting because the prose was first person. And in scenes where Wanda or Mel are crying, Ms. Reading's shrills were almost unbearable. But overall, her performance was intoxicating and really held me.
This book definitely crushes any doubts regarding Stephanie Meyer's talent. I hope people do not avoid it because it was written by the same person who wrote the Twilight Series (which I also enjoyed!). Some reviewers said this book wasn't really science fiction, but I disagree. It is well written science fiction, which is why there is so much exploration of the human condition. Science fiction, when done well, is so much more than robots and alternate universes...it shows us how we react in the face of unimaginable circumstances, and the Host certainly takes you on an unimaginable ride!
I would love to have all 13 year old girls read this book just to introduce them to Tory, who is so smart, witty, loyal and strong. I think she makes a fantastic roll model, and this story has a great "Scooby Gang" vibe about it that was really fun.
I really wanted to to like this one but could not get past Mafi's writing style. I love good descriptive prose, but when you overuse it, it totally loses it effectiveness, and that is how I felt about this one. And the flowery descriptions were used for all things big and small. If the main character had gotten a paper cut. Mafi would have described it by saying something like "and the pain shot through my finger tip like a thousand biting fire ants". After a while, I found myself rolling my eyes...over and over again. I don't know if I've EVER actually rolled my eyes at an audio book before!
Mafi built a romance that was fairly believable. She gave the characters a history that made it easy to accept their feelings for each other. What was hard to accept was the obsession the heroine had with her beau's looks. I mean, they are basically in the middle of a war, and all the heroine can think about is how HOT the guy is. She says things like, "his body...built of bricks of desire". Gag! I would have sworn this was a Harlequin Romance!!
As equally annoying was the reaction every male had to the heroine. Every man this girl, who by the way hasn't eaten much in a year and must weigh all of 70 pounds, meets falls for her. I much prefer a more modest heroine, or at least one who seems deserving of such adoration.
If you still want to try this one, I'd opt for reading it rather than listening to the audio book. The author shows her heroine's true feelings by SCRATCHING out her words and replacing them with a less truthful line, and the audio offers an awful SCRATCH sound when this happens, which is often. Also, the heroine is a bit nuts (which I like and actually wish there was more development of) and in one scene she repeats the same word probably 30 times, and in an audio...that's VERY annoying.
Overall, this is one I cannot recommend. I do applaud Mafi for trying something new with her descriptive voice, and some descriptions were very pretty, but like I said before, by the end of the story, the good ones lost their power because they were sandwiched between dozens of unnecessary ones.
There were several problems with this one, but the main ones are:
1. The entire book really should have been the first act of a story rather than the first book in a series. There was NO substance. Nothing really happened. It was all setup.
2. Sometimes reviews say they hate it when two characters just fall in love for no reason, and I think they are being too hard on the author, but in this story....IT'S TRUE! The girl literally looks at the guy, he's stares at her, and then they are in love.
3. The plot really is a bit hard to follow...and I RARELY say that. The entire setup of the mythology is given to us in one LONG does of dialogue. I don't think there is enough time to really absorb it all before we are moved on to the next thing.
The narration was fine, but while other reviewers were very impressed with the Irish accents, I was distracted by the "American" accents. I think the narrator must be Irish or English because while those accents are lovely, her "American" accent is so stiff...with every consonant being pronounced with exaggeration, that it didn't seem natural at all.
There was a lot of potential in this one, but it just didn't come together in the end. Perhaps the sequels will be better, but I think I'll pass.
After reading the premise of Unwind, I wondered if I could buy into the world Shusterman was sending me to. Would parents really be so cold that they would "unwind" their child for not living up to their potential? I tried resisting, but in the end, I was won over. Shusterman does a great job at showing us how this procedure is justified by society. If you tell a lie long enough, you start to believe it, and that's exactly what seems to have happened here.
The main characters were well developed. They are flawed but good at their core. And although a romance blossomed, it took the entire book to come to fruition, so it was more believable. I found it easy to become emotionally invested in these doomed kids. In one scene, an unwind procedure takes place on an unlikeable character, but it was done so convincingly that it actually brought me to tears.
I give the performance only 3 stars because Daniels' narration was so hard to get used to. His narration of the prose is VERY flat. He sounds just like the automated voice at my pharmacy! But, he is GREAT with dialogue. It took quite a while to get used to his tone, but by the end it was fine.
All in all, I very much enjoyed this one and am looking forward to the next.
First, I have to echo other reviewers and say that I LOVE Sarah Drew's narration. She is by far my favorite female narrator, and she does such a great job of bringing Oliver's wonderful descriptions to life.
That being said, I wasn't completely won over by Pandemonium. Some things just seemed so forced.
The story itself was great, for the most part. The pacing was terrific. I enjoyed the "then" and "now" references and seeing how Lena survived in the Wild. There was a character death that had me weeping while driving. I even liked most of her interaction with Julian - the irony of her arguing with him over things she herself believed in not so long ago, etc.
What I DID NOT like is the set up of a forced love triangle. UGH! Maybe it would have been more believable if Lena's undying love for Julian didn't seem to come out of thin air. I mean...sure she had feelings for him...and that is fine, but the way it ended...with her saying she'd be with him forever, etc. - that seemed so forced...only put there to set up the tension with the reappearance of Alex.
Maybe I would have believed it more if we had more time with Lena and Julian at the end...in the Wild...before Alex's return. If we could see that Lena was trying to make a life with Julian, etc. THEN she would have been faced with the tough decision of her first love who helped open her eyes to the world vs. her new love who helped her learn to live in that new world.
I LOVED Delirium and was so anxious to read this one but am barely looking forward to the next. I will listen to it, though, because I genuinely enjoy Oliver's writing style and Drew's narration.
The Eleventh Plague was, to me, as much about trust and loyalty as the aftermath of an apocalyptic event. The audiobook drew me in immediately...thanks to both Hirsch's writing and Bittner's narration, which was fabulous!
The book raising some great questions: How do you reestablish society after it has fallen? What things do you change? And when rebuilding society is such a precious and delicate process, what mistakes will you tolerate from others?
Baggott does a great job of setting up this future world...where a dome has protected some while others fight to survive. I'm really glad I purchased this as an audiobook rather than reading it myself, as most of the narration was great! The narrator for El Capitain was especially incredible!
My high ratings for this book are based more on potential than in what was delivered...because...while the story held my attention, in the end, it was really just one big setup for the next book - introducing us to the characters and the world they live in. Baggott tries to throw in a little romance, but it seemed really forced to me. That is one thing I wish had been more fleshed out...the relationships that develop between the characters. The never have "moments" in which you see their feelings for each other expressed. Instead, you are just supposed to accept that one character cares for another.
Still, the story was very interesting and I'm looking forward to the next book, but not in a "I can't wait until it comes out!" kind of way.
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