Wednesday, November 30, 2011

all the boxes!

Fire bird by R. Garcia y Robertson
The story was interesting, if largely unidentifiable with the original fairy tale.  I would say this book was on par with the author's other work.  It was ok in nearly all respects, though not spectacular in any.  The romance was pretty good, except for the" romance" (e.g. sex), which was gratuitous and poorly written.

Fire bird by Mercedes Lackey
I think I'm getting a handle on this author's writing style.  She has a lower form of writing which, combined with her fantasy/fairy tale subjects would lead one to believe they are written for a younger audience.  She emphasizes her choice of audience by including sexual references that, actually, take away from the story.  They change it from a well-planned, innocent fairy tale to a piece of fantasy with a pathetically low reading level and unneeded, dirty comments.

The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
This is the third book by her concerning (rewriting) fairy tales that I've read.  In that way, they are really cool  I think it's a good idea, especially since the connections aren't blatantly obvious.
What I don't like is that, about half way through the book, her characters undergo personality changes.  It's like she goes, "Ok, they have to fall in love and she has to have something to hold against him, so let's make her smitten and him, manly and boorish."  These same things could have happened more realistically with a little more work.

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough
Unlike most personal stories, which end with the death of the main character, this left him alive and well, and thus was much less depressing.
There were a small number of things I disliked; I will list three. First, she had a problem with fragments.  Secondly, she overused "and" in lists constantly (one, and two, and three, and four).  Lastly, she started off and later included, in great detail, the lives of others who are only remotely connected to the main character.  I suppose she did this to present a fuller picture of Roman life, in all aspects. She did accomplish this.  However, much of it was not truly relevant to the story. 

Flash Forward by Robert J Sawyer
This book questions free will, fate, and the malleability of the future.  Is foreknowledge such a great thing?  This would be a good topic (and book) for high school classes.  Luther viewpoint (that God knows what will happen and uses it for our good) adds another dimension.

Flight of the Dragon Kyn by Susan Fletcher
I read this book out of order, but it didn't effect the story at all.  This author used alot of fragments, which always bothers me, but they weren't quite as distasteful as some others make them.
Somewhere about half way through the book, it just picked me up; I couldn't put it down, but made it an all-nighter just so I could finish it.  It's a book for younger readers, but still very good.
(I have no memory of this book.)

Forever by Judy Blume
I can understand why this book is banned, but I was very pleased with it.  I thought it was a very realistic presentation of emotion and relationship progression.  I appreciated how the author argued for neither side (abstinence or experimentation), but used adult characters in cautionary roles ("You can never go back to just holding hands").

Foreigner by Robert J. Sawyer
What I often dislike about sci-fi writers is that they think they need to spell everything out.  Humanity is the same, wherever and whenever you go.  We readers are pretty bright.
What I specifically dislike about this author is that he develops bad habits-- a new one for each book or series he writes.  he has some really annoying tendencies.
And although all his stories tend to be similar, they are different enough so that I read the next one anyway.

The Fort at River's Bend by Jack Whyte
During this book and the previous one, something was bothering me that I could not identify.  Now I know what it is.  In the first three books, the men were great.  They led their men to battle, led their people at home, were incredible thinkers and planners, always one step ahead.  They were great men.  In his last two books, Merlyn has been falling apart and his men are being overshadowed by their wives.  He does not form conclusions, constantly changes his mind, and has to have things pointed out and explained to him every step of the way.  He is a sorry leader in deed.
Young Arthur, on the other hand, holds promise.

Fossil Hunter by Robert J. Sawyer
I feel like the writers of Go Fug Yourself.  no matter how many times they give the same advice or criticism, does anyone listen?
That's just like me.  See Far-Seer for my feelings on this series.

The Furies by Suzy McKee Charnas
Similar to the fourth book, this one picks up with a character it abandoned in the first book, 15 years ago.  I didn't like how that was handled wither.
The story is rather gory in places, and rather graphic a good deal as well.  For those reasons, partially, I didn't enjoy it, and partly because it was entirely plot driven.  The first and maybe the second books made statements.  This was more a reiteration.  I only read it because it's a compulsion.  I won't be reading it again.
(I've forgotten not only this book, but this entire series.)

The Game by Laurie R. King
This book was one of the more exciting of the series, with a very gripping plot.

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
This book, like The Giver, presented a futuristic distopian society.  The story was good, not really amazing, but not at all boring.  In the final chapter, there are incredible revelations, and I'm dying to know what happens; unfortunately, there is no next book.  Sequels are for unimaginative writers and readers.
Like her other books, this was marvelously written.  Her characters are believable and lovable.  Lois Lowry has to be one of my top favorite writers.

George Washington Gomez by Americo Paredes
I was assigned this book for a class, but I enjoyed it.  It presents the life of the MexicoTexan in a  historically accurate way, without the stereotypes I had about book like this.  It says, "We had it rough, we were oppressed" without crying, whining, and pointing fingers.
I could not always understand everything, because there was some Spanish in there, but what I did understand, I thoroughly enjoyed-- He is a good writer.  The story wasn't very alive, it didn't make me really feel, but the language was good. 

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
For reasons not entirely clear even to me, I absolutely adored this book.  The reading level was fairly low, even for the target age group (approx. 14-17).  The writing was spectacular-- clear and descriptive, a nice variety of sentence lengths and styles, with no errors or questionable areas.
The story and characters were also emotionally evoking and drew the reader in.  The plot was logical and told a historical-fictional, yet plausible, explanation of an early Renaissance painting.  I don't know how much of it is true, but it was all plausible.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Rather than being one of the most frequently banned books in America, I think this should be on every teacher's must-read list.
To begin, the language was very powerful.  It shows a distopian society in which only one, now two, recognize a problem.  Euthanasia and infanticide are weekly if not daily occurrences.  It is a world of no pain, in exchange for a world without freedoms, choice, color, love, pleasure, and the wisdom and learning that come from pain.  It is a society without history.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
More for entertainment value than anything else, as anticipated.  It was a fun story that gave one the opportunity to reflect on the nature of government jobs and employees, killing people by bits and pieces, and the power of the written word, among other things.  Always fun.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
It was very simple in terms of plot and language.  The only difficult thing was that it didn't explain things right at the beginning-- it felt like you were supposed to know this based on an earlier (nonexistent) book.  But things became more clear as the story went on.
It brings up questions of the soul, among other personal identification and self expression thoughts.  It hides a philosophical side.  A good read.  Now where's that sequel.

Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer
At its core, the story was very good.  It was not, however, developed to its full potential: the plot did not work itself out as it should have.  Information relevant tot he ultimate conclusion was lacking-- from that provided, the reader could not deduce the edning.
Also, the subplot, whcih olds promise as another source of conflict, is not resolved.  Its purpose, I believe, is to cast doubt on the "happy" ending, but it does not come across that way.
The reasoning behind many of the steps taken are not made clear.  And, in the vein of the first paragraph, many elements needed for the reader to see the climax were missing.  This forced the author to spell the whole thing out.  It was not a surprise or a twist, because there was no firm expectation from which to deviate.

The Golden Isle by Frank Slaughter
I would not recommend this book.  The story was unsuspenseful and required no deep thought.  I did not enjoy most of the characters.  For the time it was written, I was very surprised at the content of the book.  For that reason, I would not encourage my high schoolers to read it.  I thought the main character, while likable, was stupid and his decisions angered me.  I thought the ending was kind of lame, too.

1 comment:

Ted Viveiros said...

I hadn't noticed before but are you going through all your books in alphabetical order? Glad you got all you boxes packed. I hope you plan to keep your blog current once you arrive in Pullman.