Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nevermore, the Final Maximum Ride Novel

A somewhat spoiler-ish and very emotional review just a mere twenty minutes after I finished the book, by yours truly.

After having been reading the series for five years, it's over. James Patterson seemed to write as much of a suspenseful, thrilling novel as he could to close out the saga. Sometimes, all I can say was, as a reader, I felt like he was REALLY pushing it. There's only so much you can throw at a reader in the last book.

Overall, I was satisfied with the ending in the Max-love-triangle way. Really, I think what bothered me the most was that I wished this one, final novel was more about the core flock together again, ready to take on the world. Instead, it was a lot about Dylan, who I did like, but I think if the previous book dealt with the outcome of the love triangle, this book would have been infinitely better to me. In respect to a few other important characters, there was little closure. James Patterson could have ended this book with a lot more meaning if he devoted just one more chapter to every other character who had featured so prominently in the series. If I were to pick up any book in the series to read again, it probably wouldn't be this one. It was just too much.

Although certain aspects of the ending weren't what I wanted, the ending and the new world that arises is something beautiful. It's something that I wish would be continued in another book. It's almost as if we waited for this moment, and once you get a taste of it, it's gone.

That being said, the whole, eight book story was incredibly well told. I love Maximum Ride. There is something so uniquely personal about the way the entire series has been told; you feel as if Max is your friend as she narrates. She lets you in on everything, and as a reader you're by her side- through the good and the bad. I've felt more apart of her journey than I ever expected. To me, it's so sad that it's over, it really, really is.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Spiritual Journey: 3/5 Stars

My Spiritual Journey by Dalai Lama XIVI'd first like to clarify that I found very much of this book interesting and I came away having learned very much about Tibet and Buddhism. This being said, I still really had to push myself to finish this book. I came into reading it with very high expectations, I thought it would be the exact type of book I would be enthralled in. However, I reserved a few problems with it.

First, I, personally, did not feel a great sense of continuity or organization within the book. I learned and enjoyed the most from Part Three of the book, where the primary focus was on the situation between the Tibetans and the Chinese. In the first two sections, it was more difficult for me to see clear lines between the chapters and divisions, and the occasional breaks in the book that felt random didn't help.

I also felt like a lot in this book was either restated too often, or established too late. I probably would have been able to grasp a lot more from the first two sections had I been as informed on the Chinese and Tibet situation as I came to be after it was greatly discussed in the third section. There were also many things I just felt were said and then repeated a few pages later. This ties in with the organization, also.

Overall, although I did not enjoy this book as much as I wished to, I still learned from
it and found much of what the Dalai Lama had to say very inspiring and insightful. Three out of five stars was given, however, for the issues I experienced along the way.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater today and I can honestly not recommend it more. It was an incredibly beautiful story with complex and endearing characters that captivate until the very end. Taking place on a small island where mythical water horses arise from the sea once per year, the story centers itself around a deadly race of the wild horses, of some riders who want to race and some who wish they didn’t have to. The Scorpio Races is a novel that explores the price of happiness, and deals with recognizing who we are to the very core of our being and discovering what we want from life. Sean and Puck in this novel learn what it means to have to understand yourself fully before you can understand others, and this is translated in the beautifully written novel.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I think it's finally time that I go back to Annabelle, the novel I wrote in November for NaNoWriMo. offered to participants who completed the 50,000 word goal to give five copies of the novel they had written in like real book form. Awhile back I made the cover design for it all - the question is, should I order it (it' free, just pay for shipping)? My only hesitation is that it is a super rough first draft and that I will no doubt be embarrassed of so much of it. Do you think I should go for it?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why I Enjoyed As I Lay Dying More than The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the FuryAfter powering through the second half of The Sound and the Fury, I finished somewhat confused and unsettled. Benjy and Quentin had incredibly difficult sections to work through, and it was pretty difficult to know what was going on through most of it. After reading some helpful summaries online after I finished each section, the missing pieces were filled in, luckily. Jason's narrative, although a welcome relief from the disjointed streams of consciousness of Benjy and Quentin, was unnerving. When you read, it is a time to embody another character's worldview: to see themselves and the world around them in the unique way that they do. Jason was an awful man, and seeing his hateful views on the family members I liked was unsettling when it came to the end. Jason goes on a hunt to kill Miss Quentin, and hurts Luster and Benjy in the process, completely absorbed in his own selfishness. Yet, nothing really happens to Jason in the end, there is no justice served for how terribly he treats his family, unless you count the tragedy of his life beforehand.

Dilsey was a fantastic character, she is the antithesis of Jason in that she is loving and selfless; she is the only mother that Benjy and the Compson children truly have. My favorite part of the book, in fact, is when she proudly takes Benjy to church with her and states that God loves him as much as anyone else in the world. I enjoyed Caddy's character probably as much as Jason despised it, and I also was fascinated by Quentin- I had never read a character like his before.

The family dynamics in both The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying are what I enjoyed the most about both novels. It was interesting to see the similarities- each book about three brothers, both mother's in the novels had a special love for the son that treated them the worst, and each of their daughters were promiscuous and had an unwanted pregnancy. I also love how Faulkner sets his characters in the same town, so when I first read Anse's character in The Sound and the Fury I was sort of mind-blown.

Overall, I liked As I Lay Dying more because I thought the relationships in this novel were more interesting and intricate; I felt like there was more to each one of their stories. The Sound and the Fury primarily dealt with each sibling's relationship with their sister- Benjy's longing, Quentin's distress and possibly incestuous desire, and Jason's raging hatred. As I Lay Dying explored the ideas and ethics of Darl's insane actions and state of mind, if he was truly insane at all. The novel shed light on Jewel's character, who was seen as spiteful and harsh but in actuality cared deeply for his family. Cash, well, he is just my favorite character ever, so I'm very biased on him. All of these reasons and intricacies Faulkner laid out in As I Lay Dying, along with Addie's unique, mothering figure that touched each of her family members lives in an enormous way, were just something that I found unmatched in The Sound and the Fury. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Perfect Graduation Gift

Even though my bookshelf is at maximum capacity, I can't help but to want to begin a collection of these beautiful books. Scrolling through tumblr, I found this blog of an amazing designer who created these Penguin classics. The books are cloth, hardcovers with gorgeous color and designs of so many of my favorite novels. I'm hardcore dropping hints for a few of these as a graduation present; I found an Amazon listing of the Dickens' novels for significantly less than the expensive list price, so it's looking up!