I actually really liked the weird scratching sound -- as if she were scratching out her own thoughts with her pencil. It got less and less throughout the book, which seemed appropriate, but might have happened a touch too fast for my taste.
I really enjoyed her initial fixation on the bird in flight. I don't know what the significance is, and I'm a little afraid to find out, but her focus on the bird stuck with me.
I definitely enjoyed her shooting of the bad guy with his own gun. Not enough heroines take advantage of situations like that.
The below is a critique of things I did not like about this book. In spite of that, however, I DID enjoy it all the way through, and I will be getting the second one. POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW!I loved the first third of this book. I was definitely okay with the second third. The final third...devolved into X-Men fanfiction, as far as I can tell. Not that I'm averse to fanfiction -- I write some myself that I hope to make original enough for publication one day. But it seems to me that our heroine is obviously Rogue, and the leader of the resistance moves things with his mind.... Also, if she's spent her whole life not touching people, you'd think that picking up a toddler would NOT be her first instinct. WHY did her parents not arm her with gloves immediately? Why is a zippered jumpsuit in shiny purple fabric necessary, when it seems that a turtleneck and jeans would do? This is a dystopian society -- do they really have the time and resources in the resistance base to make up special jumpsuits for newcomers? Also, it bugs me a bit that we find out so quickly that both her love interest AND her stalker are immune to her. I hope we find that a few other people are immune too -- that would make them less coincidentally special. I guess what bothers me most is that I completely did not see the end of this book coming. I mean, we start out in a dystopian mental institution, and we get a great feel for the brokeness of the society from there. Our heroine, while she might not have been crazy to start, is clearly headed in that direction. Then, all of the sudden, we discover she's wanted as a weapon by this twisted-tin-god-dictator-guy. Okay, fine, she doesn't want to hurt anyone, but she has to play along or her sudden love interest will get hurt. I can roll with this. And the next sequence makes sense too. Heck, even being taken to a rebellion place makes sense from there! But then the whole tone of the book changes, and it's like "Welcome to the school of misfits, where you will feel at home for the first time ever!" I grant that she did resist trusting for a bit, but the whole tone of the book changes, and it left me a little confused and disappointed.All that aside, I still recommend this book. The initial voice is unique and fabulous. The rest of the story is certainly entertaining, and the world setup is relatively convincing. Overall, decent story telling.
I love Georgia, our protagonist. She is funny, self-aware, and demonstrates moments of toughness that even she doesn't expect. A genuinely plus-sized, bullied, insecure heroine who doesn't magically catch the eye of her long-time crush at last is a really nice change. Georgia feels and sounds very real to me. I could have been friends with this girl in high school.
Bishop. I like him anyway, but his vocal inflections were more different from Georgia's than her best friend's were. I enjoyed the ghost voice a lot at the end, too. That really stood out to me.
I pretty much did. It's not very long, so that's entirely do-able. I didn't want to turn it off. The action moved really well, with just enough reflection thrown in to help explain what was happening.
Did have a little trouble with the narration at the beginning. Reader had an initial tendency to over-enunciate the parts that weren't actual conversation. That might have been fine, but the narrative is in first person and therefore seemed like it would have benefited from a more relaxed way of speaking. However, either the reader adjusted her speech pattern or I got used to it, because it no longer bothered me about halfway through.
Full disclosure: I know and love the author/reader personally, and had the opportunity to hear pieces of this story in the making. Some of it came out just as she read it to me, and some of it was entirely new--and better--than what she shared with me before. It was a tremendous pleasure to see her work come to fruition, and especially to HEAR it at last, since I am legally blind. Writing is Lauren's great passion, and you can really hear it in her narrative. If you like YA with a little paranormal spice, if you like plucky heroines who feel like real people, if you like snarky modern idioms sprinkled through your narrative, then I highly recommend you give this little novella a try. It's short, sweet, and satisfying, and if it weren't so very full of story in that time I'd say it ended too soon. I can't wait for the rest of this series!
I would hand this to any young adult or adult who likes fiction--especially if they're into steampunk. It's well written, with a fast moving plot and a cast of vivid, fascinating characters.
I couldn't decide which characters I liked best--they were all incredible and I wanted to get to know them each personally. We get more and deeper insights into the series story arc as well, which is awesome. And, of course, the romantic byplay is highly entertaining. And, of course, seeing the fight between Edison and Tesla in a new context is awesome if you're at all familiar with their real life story. The descriptive quality of the narrative is also worth mentioning--the world is brilliant and alive, but holds also some of the creeping edginess of good horror, with a sort of sepia overtone as the result of its setting in time. REALLY good narrative flavor.
I love Langton's narration of these books! I think I've only heard him do this series, but he does an excellent job with the various accents involved--especially when it comes to a character with their own strong native accent attempting to mimic someone else's! Very nice. Of course, I always want to hear Pip's voice doing Eliza and Tee's doing Wellington. But Mr. Lanton does both of their voices well enough that I am not jarred and can almost hear the voices as I've come to know them through the authors.
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has been described as "Steampunk X-Files". If you're at all familiar with these two things, then you have grasped the flavor of these books. But don't just read them for that delightful combination--read them for the elegance of the narrative, and the complexity of the characters. Make sure you let go of any technological expectations ahead of time--the prevalence of tech in this book threw me a bit until I decided to just go with it. And it ends with a heck of a plot tease! But when it comes to dynamic duos, Books and Braun are at the top of my list, and I can't WAIT to hear more of their story. And actually, I want to read absolutely everything ever written by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, because they are just that awesome.
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