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review 2017-03-24 22:50
Bridge to Terabithia
Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson

This sweet book is about a friendship between an elementary aged boy and girl. Their imagination runs wild throughout the book and they create a "kingdom." The Lexile level is 810L. I would use this in a 5th grade classroom when we were talking about foreshadowing. The class would be divided into two groups and I would put a giant tic tac toe chart on the board. I would read passages from the book and the teams must identify whether the passage is foreshadowing or a flashback. If they are correct, they can place an “o” or an “x” on the board. The game continues until one of them wins tic-tac-toe.

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review 2016-07-31 18:05
Inception for bad books
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood

...maybe you'll climb out of it at some point but the smart ones drive off the bridge right at the beginning.

 

Oh, wow. That turned out more meta than I intended.

 

Anyhoo. The first chapter is called The Bridge, it's only two pages long and it's the only good chapter in this book of 521 pages. There were a handful of good observations or amusing passages here or there, but nothing resembling a coherent, well written, good story. And I wasted all three weeks of my holiday reading it. So. Boring.

 

I have an itch to read The Handmaid's Tale at some point, so I won't say I won't be reading Atwood ever again. But it's a close thing.

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review 2016-05-12 21:52
AH-MAH-Zing!
Shadow of the Sun - Laura Kreitzer

A fan of Russian roulette? Craving for something more dangerous?

 

FEAR NOT! I have the drinking game for you!

 

You need to buy roughly as much alcohol as you'd normally consume in two years. Then double it and add few bottles extra. Looks better, but you should really make two more trips and you'll be set!

 

Pick a copy of Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer. Audiobook not necessary but Tavia Gilbert's voice will help you along in those short moments between sips.

 

Start drinking.

 

Listen to the first chapter and choose your phrases. As tempting as it might be, I suggest avoiding words "my mind" and "my brain" for your health. You don't want to pass out during chapter two, do you? Also smirking and all instances where Gabriella (B-Ella for those closest to her) is a horrible person or tells a 'cute' factoid of herself should be reserved for advanced players only.

 

Listen to chapter three and call for the ambulance.

 

Drink. Listen and drink.

 

Listen to chapter five and pass out.

 

Regain consciousness, take some hair of the dog and start counting ways this story is really nothing more than a Twilight fanfiction with Angels and worse writing.

 

Put Tavia Gilbert's magical voice on double speed and try to hold your fatty breakfast inside.

 

Keep listening. Your morning migraine will pale in comparison.

 

Drink some more.

 

I assume by this point you're somewhere around chapter ten. Stop and save yourself. I didn't and I'm telling you what comes after isn't worth your time, health or sanity.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-12-11 17:02
There were FEELS but now there are thoughts
Fool's Assassin - Robin Hobb

...a few ranty and rambly at least.

 

And I'm serious about the spoilers. There'll be plenty.

 

If I were to rate the audio narration of Elliot Hill, the stars would be full. I mean, he's the first voice for Fitz whose name I've bothered to learn. His interpretation of cats' voices is the best and blissfully non-nasal and he's the only reason why I could tell the two first person voice narrators of this book apart. There should be a difference between a ten-year-old girl and thirty-something-sixty year-old-man, but damn if I could tell what from Hobb's words.

 

You noticed that, did you. Multiple first person voice narrators. Deduct two stars from the maximum!

 

Speaking of Hobb's other sins, on the meta-level first, I'm furious and frustrated that she's done it again. She spent the last chapter(s) of the Tawny Man trilogy sweeping all issues under the rug to give Fitz a happy ending. Not that he hadn't earned his happiness way back in the Farseer trilogy, but not that particular happy ending and not in Tawny Man.

 

Hobb never showed Fitz actually working to regain Molly's trust or build a relationship with Nettle or accept his other responsibilities at the Buckkeep Castle. Nope, he went into hiding again. With convenient plot-point-tropy Molly.

 

Of course, to add insult to injury, instead of showing how Nettle gets to know Fitz as her father and him earning the right to hear her call that, Hobb does a do-over and gives Fitz another child. A second daughter, who too is at first only close to her mother and only becomes Fitz's when he claims her after Molly's death. And then the plot recycling continues with the cliffhanger kidnapping. Yet another Fitz's child is kidnapped and he has to go after her.

 

Don't try to tell me Fitz doesn't consider Dutiful as his son. Fitz may have tried to convince himself that Dutiful is Verity's but nowhere in Tawny Man or Fool's Assassin does he act like Verity fathered Dutiful. This goes with the author telling how good an assassin Fitz is when he's not, and now claiming through Riddle and Nettle that he's not a good father when he is—a few questionable parenting choices excluded.

 

Anyhow, this is the story Hobb chose to tell, and ignoring my complaints on all the stories she didn't choose... I'm still not convinced. Or compelled.

 

There's infinitely less rape here, but that's because not much happens for the first half or two thirds of the book–the minutes and hours make the measure a bit fuzzy. Fitz is happy and horny. He's forever young while Molly's not but their sex life is A-OK. And then Molly's pregnancy happens. Listening to it made me realise that even I don't hate Molly as much as Hobb does.

 

While the abnormally long pregnancy after menopause for a White child in itself makes sense, I felt like Hobb was breaking her own canon here. Later, she admits as much through The Fool when he claims that he too was deceived and he was only repeating lies told to him. Which, fair, is believable after the unnecessary nonsense that happened in the Tawny Man to draw parallels between the abuse of The Fool and the Narcheska. Only, I didn't really buy it then I don't definitely buy it now.

 

So I'm going with the "canon creator alternative universe"-label with these books. I'll read or listen to them and then promptly adopt a personal head canon in its multitudes. And in all of those, there's no child hanging on to Fitz's shirt tails when he reunites with his Beloved.

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review 2014-10-11 10:00
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

In ten words or less: It's a horrible, terrible book and you should read it.

 

Ayn Rand's 1168 page behemoth is listed under classics and fiction, though, I fail to understand how it fits under either genre. Atlas Shrugged is a poorly written, illogical propaganda manifesto without even a semblance of character, consistency or plot. Everything is orchestrated to serve Rand's absurd philosophy and to deify her main hero, John Galt, a Christ-like figure who was, in fact, based on a child murderer.

 

Not counting infodumps, and convenient telepathy when a third-person omniscient narrator could have been an option, Rand struggles with basic concepts of good story telling such as showing not telling, foreshadowing, and in-world consistency. More crucially, her basic reading comprehension is in question. For example, I don't think Rand had any idea what logic is.

 

Here a character is explaining why people won't believe Galt:

 

"'It seems to me,' said Chick Morison, his voice tentatively helpful, 'that people of nobler spiritual nature, you know what I mean, people of… of… well, of mystical insight'—he paused, as if waiting to be slapped, but no one moved, so he repeated firmly—'yes, of mystical insight, won't go for that speech. Logic isn't everything after all.'"

 

And here's an excerpt of a dinner conversation:

 

"'If you still want me to explain it, Mother,' he said very quietly, 'if you're still hoping that I won't be cruel enough to name what you're pretending not to know, then here's what's wrong with your idea of forgiveness: You regret that you've hurt me and, as your atonement for it, you ask that I offer myself to total immolation.' 'Logic!' she screamed. 'There you go again with your damn logic! It's pity that we need, pity, not logic!'"

 

Additionally, Rand doesn't seem to know how women work, despite having been one herself. None of her female characters—there's a handful—come across anything more than pawns and men's playthings. Even Dagny Taggart, the supposed heroine, is little more than a Mary Sue Magdalena to Galt's Jesus.

 

Certain prominent American politicians have inhaled her ideals hook, line, and sinker and want to live out Rand's libetarian utopia, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should. They can't make you. Except that they're politicians who set policy, so in a very tangible sense they are making you.Littered with post-its, my library copy of the book.

 

Atlas Shrugged is a prime example of why you shouldn't just go with the flow, and accept what people appearing smarter than you say. You should be fully aware of what you're co-signing by proclaiming the author as one of the great thinkers of recent history. You should read the detailed racism, misogyny, and misandry Rand and her followers preach. You should read, so you can suss out when someone is just repeating what they've heard—or worse—genuinely believes that empathy is the cancer of humanity.

 

So, yes. It's an actively offensive book, and you should read it.

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