Friday, June 11, 2010

On Timing & Novels (A Shiver review)

I just read Shiver, a pretty popular paranormal YA novel. I didn't like it. Part of me realizes that this probably is not my ideal genre. I enjoy romance in fantasy novels, but it always needs to be secondary to the rest of the story. Take Tamora Pierce's Tortall novels, the characters almost always fall in love. I relish the romance, but the rest of the story leads to the romance not the other way around.


Another reason I think that I didn't like Shiver is timing. Anyone who knows me or follows me realizes the last month has been…well rather horrible. My Papaw who I was very very close to passed away suddenly and I'm still grieving every single day. There may be some strain & frustration in other relationships that I'm not going to go into details are.


Maybe now is not the time to read a slow, sad, kinda sappy romance/paranormal. Recently I've read books like Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and even more recently Soulless & Changless by Gail Carriger. Soulless is probably the epitome of what works for me right now. It's so much fun - really fun characters, intriguing world, interesting plot, and it makes me blush with complete embarrassment sometimes.


Shiver has around 100 pages where there are two teenagers just being "oh so in love" and melodramatic. I just want to smack them through most of these ooey-gooey encounter. Especially when random people like clerks at shops comment on how cute they are together (when I first started dating my boyfriend we were very ooey-gooey & I'm fairly certain no one thought we were cute, but rather found us obnoxious. I apologize to any clerks I encountered during this period). I do think some of this was probably unnecessary, but even if it fit perfectly I was never going to like reading that. Not now. (Maybe not ever, but thats taste).


There were some redeeming qualities in Shiver. I really enjoyed the ending when the plot really started pushing everything forward. The pace quickened and things aside from canoodling started happening. For that reason alone I'll consider a library copy of "Linger." But sometimes the teenage characters spoke and behaved in ways that just weren't….teenager at all. At a pivotal moment in the story they made a quiche. I'm not sure how this fit into the plot at all. Maybe I'm missing something, but at that point I could have done without the quiche.


For people who really like Shiver, who knows maybe I'll come back to this book (with its beautiful cover art - the real reason I read the book) someday with a happy perspective and enjoy the love story. The book isn't horrible. I'm listening to Witch & Wizard by James Patterson on CD and that book is horrid. No redemption for it. I'm finishing it because I spent 20 bucks & don't have another book on CD right now but under serious duress. I was disappointed by Shiver, but at least its not complete disdain and hatred. I think there were some beautiful passages (language wise) and when there was action I liked that. Just the mush was too mush for me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reviews: Soulless & Changeless

Posting 2 reviews at once (read books right after the other. Now much wait for 3rd book in September). Posting the reviews from my goodreads here. There are spoilers for Changeless (though I'm not sure you'll understand them unless you've read the book. But its better safe than sorry).

Soulless by Gail Carriger
I'd probably give it 4.5 stars if I had the option. Not even sure where it loses points.

It took me awhile to get used to the voice (which is very distinctive & I spoke to my dog in the style for a few days) but once I did I flew through this book. It's a mish-mash of a lot of genres so I can see people who think "I don't read fantasy" or "I don't read chic-lit" somehow both agreeing to like this book. It's my first steampunk novel (at least that I am aware is steampunk).

The novel had oodles of wit. The main character was wonderfully well-written and developed, and even more importantly believable. There are parts of this book that made me blush and rather mortified me reading. I'm a little bit of a prude by most people's standards. Nonetheless I enjoyed this book and even found THOSE scenes amusing. (They also rang very very true. Almost a year ago met first real boyfriend and with through first kiss, butterflies in your stomach and all that romantic excitement. The book made me remember the start of my current relationship and really, it's just spot on as far as describing some of those feelings. I have to give the writer credit here even though I'm delving too deep into my personal life for a review).

Would recommend, but maybe not to a friend who blushes easy. Though these things embarrass me and I loved the book enough to buy the sequel already.

Changeless by Gail Carriger
I truly honestly loved Soulless. I made me feel both embarrassed and guilty, but I couldn't put it down. Changeless has the same incomparable Alexia, sadly a little less Lord Maccon, and all the supernaturals a girl can handle. I loved the fact that there was more Ivy (and more of secondary characters in general).

Overall I enjoyed the book, but maybe not as much as Soulless. Soulless was shocking and scandalous in a way that Changeless couldn't be (because I've read Soulless & they are properly married down). Changeless had a good mystery story, as I already said more of the secondary characters, oodles of Alexia and with all that it can't be a bad book.

At the moment I just can't get over the ending. Lord Maccons reaction seems COMPLETELY unmerited especially considering a preternatural and a supernatural have never been married before (as far as anyone knows). I know he is a passionate man but I have trouble believing his reaction (well initial reaction, but he's an intelligent man surely he thinks better of it quickly). What kind of marriage cannot have trust? if I were Alexia I wouldn't take him back after his awful reaction.

Nonetheless I want Blameless (now) even though I'm not sure how it will solve the problems presented by the last few pages of Changeless. Maybe I'm a tad sensitive & prideful, but I'm not sure how Alexia can take him back but I'm not sure how to be satisfied without that romantic element of the story.
I feel that I should mention that my boyfriend just left town for Indiana right before I finished this book so that might contribute to my frustration with the ending. No worries, his kayaks are my hostages so he will return.