Well played, Gillian Flynn. Well played. You got me in the end.
Despicable characters. Dangerous games. Astronomical fallout.
It was kind of romantic. Catastrophically romantic.
What's this story about? Okay, here's the deal. A chick goes missing. Her husband is suspected of making her disappear. The story starts with a dual PoV from Amy in the past (diary entries) and Nick in the present. Things go from there. The reader is left to try and figure out how big of a role Nick did or did not play in Amy's disappearance. Is she even dead?
I'm almost laughing at my original status update about Amy. My feelings changed and changed and changed - liking her, disliking her, coming full circle, then moving away again. Where did the wheel stop? I'm not telling.
"I'm the bitch who makes you better, Nick."
Nick. I think it's safe to say that no matter what the outcome was (if he did it or not), he was just gonna be that character you love to hate.
"You two are the most fucked-up people I have ever met, and I specialize in fucked-up people."
That's all I can say without spoiling.
Oh, WAIT...there were lots of random musings which were great. These people were over-thinkers, but I kind of liked it in this story.
Complaints...hmmm...the amount of all-knowing coming from both sides got tiring, but it's obvious that so much of the setup was born from character deficiencies, so I could excuse some of it away.
The ride was one I don't think I'd go on again, but I'm glad I took the trip.
We are one long frightening climax.
Now I can see the movie and annoy my husband because I know what's going to happen and he doesn't. *edit* NM - the movie is changing the ending... WTF?!?
Compare Panic to one sorority/fraternity hazing gone horribly wrong, and you'll know what you're getting into before you pick up the book.
Funny thing is, I started out noting a lot of positives (all of which were turned on their head). I was in love with the refreshing normalcy of the characters' behavior.
1. Having beers out by the water
2. Bumming around at the mall
3. One of the girls got tired of waiting for the guy to kiss her so she asked him straight up if he was going to.
A few pages later... HAH. JOKE'S ON ME. THESE KIDS ARE ALL WHACKED.
I didn't even hate that, though.
This isn't going to be the book for everyone. It's dark. It's contemplative. It explores character behavior outside of the actual game itself. Either you'll kind of appreciate what the author is trying to do, or you'll want to throw your book at the wall. Neither reaction is wrong, me thinks.
I actually didn't mind the characters. I don't even think I minded how it got all wtf-ery up in the place toward the end. Roaming tigers and games of chicken? Ohhhhkaaaayyy. These things will certainly make for a crazy movie version. Is it sad that I'd almost hope the movie is taken off-kilter and done in the style of the cult classic Heathers? I'd almost want the scene at the end with the tiger and the head pat to mirror Winona Ryder pulling out that darn cigarette at the end of Heathers (Yay! Let's Watch it Again! - be prepared for language) No, the book and movie do not have the same ending, so I'm not spoiling anything. You're safe.
That's not to say that there weren't some entertaining (if bizarre) moments, but this was not as entertaining of a book as I'd hoped it would be. Maybe I've watched one too many made-for-t.v. movies where kids jump off water towers, play road chicken, or do one of a thousand other things for the sake of money, notoriety, a sense of belonging, admission into a secret society, etc. Most of those movies were more entertaining than this book was.
Do I think Lauren Oliver had a good idea in exploring the mindset of what drives people to do what they do? Yes. Do I think we could have wrapped this entire story in about 50 less pages? AB-SO-LUTE-LY.
Where Oliver does succeed (as far as I'm concerned) is in creating unusual and interesting characters. I know that some people hated the characters, but I didn't. This is what Oliver does. I saw it in the Delirium series, and I saw it here. My complaints are rarely with her characters, but more about the story they are encased in. It just kind of sucked how things hit the downward spiral and I felt sucked into something almost un-redeemable. By the end, the game was out of control, and I hated that I was questioning everyone's motives and decisions. I didn't want to have to go there, especially after finding the characters so refreshing in the first half. It went dark, but dark had become a parody (which is why I'm rooting for the Heathers-esque twist), which I didn't fully appreciate.
Yet, I think I kind of liked the book. It's just funny how I had to even stop to decide whether or not I liked it in the first place. Usually, you just know one way or the other. This time, I wasn't so sure.
Who I would recommend the book to : People who like watching other people struggle with basic life decisions. You're going to be witnessing each character deal with their own demons, and you might be sitting in the dark with them as the game unfolds.
Who I would not recommend the book to : Anyone who wants non-stop action, anyone who hates when books meander somewhat in the middle for the sake of character exploration, or anyone who needs to love the decisions that their characters make. Not everything is always as it seems upfront.
This book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Marooned in an empty, devastated world.
Cade thought he was alone. His parents had prepared him to live in a world ravaged by a pandemic. He was an uncivilized young man living in the wild. He imagined that only a few survivors remained - until the day Dara wandered into his territory while on a camping trip with her boyfriend and shattered the realm of everything he thought he knew.
What I loved best about this story is how authentic it felt. While there was an undercurrent of attraction between the two main characters, the amount of romanticism was dialed down in favor of two characters being simply curious about one another. After all, they were from different worlds.
"There's some guy living in the middle of nowhere in clothes from the 1800s, fishing with a spear, disappearing and reappearing anywhere he wants to, and the only reason you can come up with that I'm interested is that I might want to do him?"
I mean, yeah, I was rooting for the wild boy and city girl to get together. How could I not be? But what made this story great is that it wasn't just another romance with little to no plot. Most of the fun was in seeing an untamed person adjust to life as the rest of us know it.
Fingers sliding along the surface, he made it bleat and squeal.
Ms. Fourakis popped her head out of the kitchen. "Don't buy anything else from the appstore."
As one could imagine, trying to take a boy from the wild and integrate him into society wasn't going to be easy. Throughout the read, I never really knew if Cade would be able to fit in with his new life. I think most readers are going to struck with a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"It's okay Cade. You're doing fine."
Cade closed his eyes. He was so sick of fine.
Not gonna lie. When I saw Cade described with dark eyes and dark hair in dreads, it wasn't hard to immediately imagine Samuel Larson in my head.
I really have no complaints. It probably wouldn't have hurt for the publishers to cut a few chapters because some of the day-to-day happenings started to meander on there for a moment, but hey, I have no problems admitting to skimming those few chapters. Otherwise, I am happily surprised by what a great gem this turned out to be. I'd love to see what others think of the story! This book had characters I could get behind, a unique twist on the Tarzan theme, and the perfect amount of humor and emotional moments to tie everything together.
...and the ending. Never, have I seen an open ending handled quite this perfectly. When I was a few pages from finishing, I started to panic a little, almost unsure if I could handle this story being over without a book 2 to fall back on. But then, the ending came and I loved exactly how it finished.
Two cultures, both building pyramids to lift them to the heavens. People were beautiful.
This book provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final version.
The all-too-brief moments of storytelling genius which stirred my curiosity were not enough to keep me from the realization that I did not like the main characters which the story revolved around.
Maybe I'm too young to appreciate this coming-of-age tale in the the 1970's. Oh wait; scratch that. I love the idea of mid-to-late century boarding school stories. In fact, I've been trying to seek out anything from this category which looks appealing. It's really too bad that when I find a rare book of this type which shows promise, (see also : The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls) it hasn't been working for me. Sadly, I found more to like (as well as more quotable moments) in Yonahlossee, and so I had to rate this book slightly lower.
One thing which did strangely appeal was the creepy narrator, although I think the author should have gone all-in with the commitment to showcasing his voice. There were points where the voice would switch to a generic third person narrative, and I think the book would have been better served if Bruce's presence had been this tingle on the back of my neck the entire time.
In the end, I only had a mild fascination about where things went wrong with Aviva and Seung. The last couple of chapters served as nothing more than a vehicle to make me think oh...okay, so that's how it is.
One minor observance : what is it with some literary fiction and awkward, unappealing sexual situations? I do appreciate the effort to maintain some sort of realistic version of how things happen. However, I hate reading sentences such as his briefs fill again and again with sticky ejaculate. Some things are probably better left out, accuracy or not.
The writing was strong - the emotional pull was not. If you enjoy literary fiction, I'd suggest looking at some other reviews first before discounting the read. There seems to be quite a bit of praise for this story from the general public. The problem could have squarely been with me.