Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beautiful Redemption - Garcia/Stohl

Garcia & Stohl

Ethan Wate is dead and the place he's in clearly isn't heaven. Now he needs to find a way back to earth, back to Lena and Gatlin. Lucky for him all of his Caster companions want him back as well.

Beautiful Redemption is the last book of The Caster Chronicles. Unfortunately Redemption resets the tone of the entire series. If you'll remember, Creatures, Darkness and Chaos all had their flaws but regardless I was enamored with the world that the authors had created but half of Redemption is set in the "other" world. The one where all the dead people are. It's not a very interesting place to be and it makes Ethan so single minded that he has less dimension than a paper doll. Of course Ethan's death send's Lena into one of her manic mourning spells.

Even though Ethan goes through a very literal, by the book, hero's journey his highs and lows weren't big enough to strike a chord. Even the two big "fight" scenes at the end of the novel were a letdown.

In short: I loved The Caster Chronicles as a series. Really, I enjoyed these books so much more than I had ever expected to, or would have dared to admit this past January as I was making snarky comments through Beautiful Creatures. I just felt that Beautiful Redemption wasn't on par with the rest of the series, and to be honest, I would have rather seen things end after Beautiful Chaos than have to remember Ethan & Friends journey through the underworld as canon.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Books I HAD to buy

Top Ten Books that I just HAD to buy and are now sitting sadly on my shelves.

The Painted  Girls - I just bought this last month while I was reading at a pace of 2 books a week. I couldn't get past the first few pages and moved onto a spirited reread of Pride & Prejudice. I'll go back one day, unless I forget about it.
Wise Children - This came in the same package as The Painted Girls. Wise Children was on a flavorwire list a few weeks ago and piqued my interest. It's obviously still in my unread pile. If anyone is interested my new City in Sim City is thriving, though. These facts may be related.

Never Let Me Go - I was on a Keira Knightly kick and couldn't find a copy of the DVD, so I got the book instead. I ended up watching the heart-wrenching film before starting the more emotionally damaging book. I really want to read it but I don't want to be that depressed for a while.

Mists of Avalon - I really love Arthurian mythology.  Wait, let me amend that - I really love the Arthurian Mythology that I can find on Wikipedia. Which is why when I saw Mists of Avalon at a thrift store I picked it up. I love Morgan La Fey, or what the Internet's most used and often sketchy encyclopedia tells me of her, but Avalon is LONG and I'm afraid of bookish commitments.

Atonement/Saturday/Amsterdam - I have so many Ian McEwan novels that sound amazing. Like new favorite book amazing. Only I can't get through the first fifty pages. I actually finished my first McEwan novel this year and was not satisfied, so they'll probably be on my unread shelf a little longer.

White Teeth/On Beauty - Pretty much the same as McEwan, probably because amazon recommends both to people who like Foer and Krauss. I just can't get into her prose despite how awesome her plots sound .

Infinite Jest - I'LL GET TO IT, JUST GIVE ME THREE MONTHS WITH NOTHING TO DO.

The Last Runaway - Then new Tracy Chevalier novel, which I found out about after it was published and promptly bought only to forget about it immediately.

War & Peace - Last year I finally dredged  through Anna Karenina. My pristine copy of War & Peace will probably remain unread for some time.

The Forgotten Garden/ Distant Hours - Both are books that I should really enjoy, only they've been on my shelf for years and are getting a little dusty.

Neverwhere - I love Neil Gaiman, I really really do. I just haven't gotten around to reading one of his more famous works. That doesn't make me a bad fan, right? No you're right, it kind of does.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Fowler

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Therese Anne Fowler
There are usually two sides to every story, but in the case of the Fitzgerald the world only knows the very public third. We all know F. Scott Fitzgerald and his flapper wife Zelda. Their parties and fights have stood the test of time and their jealous love is the stuff mythology is made of. Z presents a refreshing take on the Fitzgeralds lives from the point of view of Zelda. Starting with her at 17 year old and anxiously waiting for her real life to begin Fowler takes her readers through the twists and turns of Scott and Zelda's relationship, eventually ending with the broken women the world remembers today. 

In 384 short pages Therese Anne Fowler was able to depict a fully developed Zelda. Zelda's characterization is what makes Z such a compelling novel, she is both flawed and sympathetic. She comes across as much wiser than I would have ever though of her previous to finishing Z. In other works, like The Paris Wife or Midnight in Paris (I know, two different mediums, we'll deal) Zelda is portrayed as the "crazy wife" of the great F. Scott, but the only instability here is of her very real bi polar disorder (which she was never officially diagnosed with in life). 

One of my favorite quotes, and one I was very glad to see make an early appearance in Z, is "Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy." That's what Fowler did. Scott may be the hero that took Zelda away from Alabama, but their love is to strong and toxic for them to continue their party lifestyle with no consequences. 

Guys, when this comes out next month pick it up. It is definitely worth a read.