Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Wrap Up

I have to admit that it was not as horrifying as I had hoped it would be. My master plan to read spooky Halloween reads was somewhat thwarted by my dislike of being scared. I did however read a bunch of good books this month.

                                       The Historian by Elizabeth Kostove
The Good: The characters. This book is a nonstop parade of interesting secondary characters. During their travels throughout Eastern Europe the main characters meet a host of funny, intelligent, and intriguing academics who help them solve their Dracula conundrums.
The Bad: Nothing. This is my favorite book and is 700 pages of awesomeness. Even the length isn't a deterrent.
The Lovely: The story. I love the mystery, the trills, and the suspense of the hunt for Dracula and his tomb. The reason that even the length isn't a deterrent is that it keeps your interest throughout the whole story.
Rating: 10 out of 10

Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Good: Also the characters. I like a story where it's hard to say who the main character is. The rotating perspectives and journal entries advanced the plot and kept things interesting. I was particularly a fan of Mina who, being virtually the only female, is probably the smartest, and Van Helsing who was compassionate and tough but was also the only one who knew what was going on the whole time.
The Bad: Pretty much the entire middle 250 pages. I'm not a fan of dramatic irony and I do not like being two steps ahead of the characters. It's annoying and makes them seem stupid and unlikeable.
The Lovely: The Ending. The story redeemed itself a lot by having an action-packed ending full of vampire attacks, hypnosis, and anticipation. The last 150 pages made it all worthwhile!
Rating: 8 out of 10

                                        Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Good: The story. I liked the internal struggle of good vs. evil manifested in a teenage witch concept. I also liked that nothing was really black or white even though you really didn't have much of a say as to how things would end up. Many of the Dark Casters had good elements about them and vice versa. 
The Bad: Instaromance. The whole I just met you and I'm going to love you forever cause it's fate makes me roll my eyes and think... Teenagers, ugh! Also the ending was kind of a cop out!
The Lovely: The magic. I loved the authors take on magical powers. There was no "silly wand waving and incantations" and everyone had their own distinctive powers. Lena's powers in particular were pretty badass. 
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
The Good: Wait for it... The characters. I'm noticing a trend here. But seriously folks. I actually really liked the main character Gemma Doyle and that is very rare for me. Including Gemma, most of the characters were very multi-dimensional. It was unclear whether they were good people doing bad things, curious, and downright villainous. Man characters who I viewed originally as one thing made me sympathize with them causing me to change my tune. 
The Bad: Too much world-building. Now don't get me wrong, I loved the world that was built I just felt like there was too much set up and anticipation inducing lulls in the story. It suffered from what I call "first book syndrome." It had to set the stage for future books so this one felt a bit boring at times. 
The Lovely: The Themes. I really loved the deeper meanings that this book made me feel. The idea of friendship, acceptance, loss, and being appreciated for who you truly are and not just who other people want you to be. It was so much more of a coming if age story than I had expected. 
Rating: 8 out of 10

                                       Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Check out my full review here! 
The Good: The World Building. Random Riggs created a really interesting story. I liked the world within a world concept and the peculiar children with their arguably scary powers. 
The Bad: The description. Whoever wrote the synopsis of this book either didn't understand it it didn't want to spoil anything and ended up misleading the reader. It is not the spooky fantasy story you are expecting. It is a good vs. evil superhero time travel novel. My other major problem was the main character, Jacob, and his annoying deductive reasoning skills which a lot of YA heroes and heroines have where they take forever to believe something they should and no time at all believe something they shouldn't. I didn't like him! 
The Lovely: The writing. Random Riggs is an incredible writer. His descriptions were well thought out and poetic. I could see everything in such detail and feel how the characters were feeling. The addition of old fashioned photographs to the story to a completely different, and better level.
Rating: 7 out of 10

Insurget by Veronica Roth
The Good: The world building. I really liked the ability to explore more of the world and the factions in Insurgent. I enjoyed the trips to the headquarters of the other factions and the trips outside of the fence to explore more of Tris' world. The characters are also deep and flawed, which I like. Even those viewed and good do bad things. And the concept of right and wrong because very muddied in this book. The themes of adopting a utopian society and how you should react when that society is falling apart were interesting and thought provoking. 
The Bad: The surprises were not very surprising. It felt a little predictable. There seemed to be almost a forced foreshadowing. It would make you think about something and then shortly thereafter there would be a big reveal about that thing. It was just too formulaic at times.
The Lovely: The action and suspense. Book 1 in the series was a real page-turner and I was a little nervous that this one was going to be a bit slow and suffer from "middle book syndrome" but it really didn't. It had just as much action and thrills as Divergent. And how 'bout that ending.
I'm currently listening to the audiobook for Allegiant, which I hear has a real unexpected ending and will post a full review of the series when I finish, stay tuned

I'd say in the whole it was a good month for reading. I read six books, all of which I enjoyed. If you've read any of these books and have thought, let me know in the comments section and as alway... HAPPY READING! 

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