Saturday, May 19, 2012

So, it's been a while since I posted, but I have plans to get back into it in the near future.  As a sort of spring board, several of my GReeps have gotten together to plan, The Bookish Bucket List Blog Hop.  The idea is to list the top ten things that we would do if we could enter the worlds of our favorite books.  Tomorrow ends the hop, but it has been running all week long, so be sure to check out all the fabulous lists from some of my most favorite people in the GR community.  Without further adieu, here's what I came up with:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
1.  Zero G training with Ender.

"War games.  All the boys are organized into armies. Day after day, in zero gravity, there are mock battles. Nobody gets hurt, but winning and losing matter..."

2.  Run a marathon through the mines of Moria with Gandalf and company.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein
"Only once before have I seen them from afar in waking life, but I know them and their names, for under them lies Khazad-dum, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue."

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
3.  Dawn a MacHalo and do a happy dance with Mac.

"My iPod began playing 'Bad Moon Rising' by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and I did a little dance, giddy with success. I had one more weapon in my arsenal to make me safer, and I'd thought of it myself.

I whirled around the bookstore, miming the epic fighter I was now going to be, armed with my clever MacHalo, no longer afraid of dark alleys in the night. I leapt chairs and darted around bookcases. I pounced sofas, I hurdled ottomans. I stabbed imaginary enemies, immune to Shade-danger by the brilliance of my own invention. There's not much room in my life for good, plain, stupid fun, and there hasn't been much to celebrate lately. I take advantage of both when I can."


A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
4. Drop a water balloon off the Wall with Tyrion, Jon Snow and Ghost

"The largest structure ever built by the hands man, Benjen Stark had told Jon on the kingsroad when they had first caught sight of the Wall in the distance. 'And beyond a doubt the most useless,' Tyrion Lannister had added with a grin, but even the Imp grew silent as they rode closer. You could see it from miles off, a pale blue line across the northern horizon, stretching away to the east and west and vanishing in the far distance, immense and unbroken. This is the end of the world, it seemed to say."

5. Channel my inner Irwin by escaping a zombie horde on a motorcycle with Georgia

Feed by Mira Grant
"The only thing more dangerous than a fresh zombie, is a pack of them, and I counted at least 18 before I realized that it didn't matter and stopped bothering.

I grabbed my helmet and shoved it on without fastening the strap. If the bike went down, dying because my helmet didn't stay on would be one of the better options.  I'd re-animate, but at least I wouldn't be aware of it."

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
6.  Create a tulpa construct with Rachel at Dalliance in the Ever After.

"'Well, When you're done, bring Gally in to separate your construct from your conscious thought. Let him in, Rachel. Ignore the fact that he will see everything. Moment by moment, every little desire and hate you have, your soul sifting through his fingers as he pulls the construct free. What he doesn't see might be left here, so let him entirely in,' she thought, and I had a moment of perfect panic. 'It's rather more intimate than pinning you to the wall for a kiss,' she mocked."                                                                           

7.  Go on a scavenger hunt with Jenny... err... I mean Harry and friends in the room of requirement 

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
"He was standing in a room the size of a large cathedral, whose high windows were sending shafts of light down upon what looked like a city wither towering walls, built of what Harry knew must be objects hidden by generations of Hogwarts inhabitants. There were alleyways and roads bordered by teetering piles of broken and damaged furniture, stowed away, perhaps, to hide the evidence of mishandled magic, or else hidden by castle-proud house-elves."

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
8.  Babe watch with Bob the Skull

"Bob's eyes fluttered from orange to red. 'Oooooo,' he leered. 'Is she pretty?'

'Dark skin,' I said. 'Dark hair, dark eyes. Legs to die for. Smart, sexy as hell.'

Bob chortled. 'Think she'd like to see the lab?'

'Get you mind out of the gutter.'

'No seriously,' Bob said. 'If she's so great, what's she doing with you? You aren't exactly Sir Gawain, you know.'"

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
9.  See Lestat live in Concert

"Right now I am what America calls a Rock Superstar. My first album has sold 4 million copies. I'm going to San Francisco for the first spot on a nationwide concert tour that will take my band from coast to coast. MTV, the rock music cable channel, has been playing my video clips night and day for two weeks. They're also being shown in England on 'Top of the Pops' and on the Continent, probably in some parts of Asia, and in Japan. Video cassettes of the whole series of clips are selling worldwide."

10. Ride Shai-Hulud with Chani and Paul "Muad Dib" Atreides

Dune by Frank Herbert
"He had not ridden the maker.

Oh, he'd gone up with the others for training trips and raids, but he had not made his own voyage. Until he did, his world was bounded by the abilities of others. No true Fremen could permit this."

And now a little lagniappe.  Seems my oldest didn't want to be left out of the fun. She prepared a list of her own!  Thanx, Kay.  So glad you put this together for us :)

1)  Participate in the Tri-Wizard Tournament with Harry Potter
    - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

2)  Solve a mystery with Harry Dresden
    - The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

3)  Go hunting with Katniss and Gale
    - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

4)  Easter egg hunt with Parzival and Art3mis
    - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

5)  Attend school with Tavi
    - Academe's Fury (The Codex Alera) by Jim Butcher

6)  Ride polar bears with Lyra
    - The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) by Phillip Pullman

7)  Visit the Circus of the Damned with Jean Claude
    - Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake) by Laurel K. Hamilton

8)  Attend one of Gandalf's fire works shows
    - The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

9)  Hunt vampires with Magiere and Chap
    - The Noble Dead Saga by Barb and J.C. Hendee

10)  Fight alongside Aragorn against the forces of mordor
      - The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

As I said above, don't forget to check out the other stops on the hop!!

May 14

May 15
Tiffany @ A Purrfect Read
May 16
Alison & Daphne @ Winged Reviews
May 17
Kayleigh @ K-Books
Guest Post by Renée on A Purrfect Read
May 18
Sonnie @ Lit Girl
Guest Post by Lindsey on Epic Chocolate Fantasy
May 19
Guest Post by Wendy on Winged Reviews
May 20
Jen @ At Random

Friday, October 21, 2011

Horton Hears a Who

Alas, they have dared me, double dog too.
They want me to write a poem review.
Iambic pentameter would you not know?
They ask. I deliver. So, here we go.

The doctor is funny, he rhymes quite well.
Don't think its iambic but hard to tell.
The meter shifts sometimes but that's all good.
He rhymes where he's s'posed too... rhymes where he should 

Developing characters is hard to do,
But Seuss is a master, using but few
words to convey traits that we have all seen,
people near us can be kind and/or mean

Horton is careing, but not kangaroo.
Monkeys are meanies they can't hear the Who.
Pete Townsend's not in this, don't get confused.
These Who are from Whoville they feel abused.

Horton can hear them, so he tries to help.
Will all of the meanies hear, when Whos yelp?
You will have to read it if you would know
I am not telling cuz that spoils the show.

Teaching life lessons is what Seuss books do
I recommend them from upward of two.
Youngsters will love them, of this I am sure.
Some books are passing, but this ain't du jour.

This book is timeless, it's fun and it's fine.
Parents will like it right to the last line.
Read it tonight, you're kids will be happy.
I'm sure they'll love it, the rhymes are snappy.

Okay, so I did it, now it's your turn.
Kate, you started this, it's now your concern.
Write me a rhyming review, if you dare
iambic or not, i do not really care

Jen, I see you. You have not got away.
I challenge you too, dear, do it today.
I'm sure it will be great, please don't you fret.
Know you can do it, your best write up yet!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Unabridged, Audible File
 -9 hrs 50 min
Narrator: Joyce Bean

*Amazon: 3.8 out of 5 Stars (351 reviews)
*GoodReads: 4.31 out of 5 Stars (12,550 Ratings; 1,207 Reviews)
Reading is Fundamental-



*Note- Ratings and statistics current at the time of writing.

I've been told on countless occasions, that whether you liked the first two books or not, here is where the Fever series really begins to shine. I mostly agree with this assessment but it’s difficult to pin down why. Faefever is a "middle" book in every sense of the word. Third of five, it spends a great deal of time on exposition. As was true of the first two books, Karen has not really attempted to set up much of an independent story for this installment, but I think the first two had more focus than this one. Each of those culminated in a climax, that events native to the particular book, were tied to. To an extent that’s also true here, BUT Mac’s attention is spread across multiple players. The connections between her discoveries and the closing of Faefever is more tenuous than in the first two.

Despite its internally disjointed structure, this book moves the meta plot in a major way. Mac spends a great deal of time confronting the various camps searching for the Big Bad Book ("BBB") and learning new and important things. I know that doesn’t sound all that exciting, but Karen imbues each situation with just the right amount of tension to keep it interesting. We learn a lot about what have heretofore been periphery players and the more information we are given, the more questions that information seems to generate.

Interpersonal relations become considerably more defined in this book as Mac spends more time interacting with a multitude of characters. Dani, Rowena, Christian, and Jayne all get more face to face time with Mac. Barrons, of course, makes more than a couple appearances, but he is not the presence he has been in the previous books. Instead it is V’Lane that gets the lion’s share of development. Given the title of the book, I doubt that will surprise anyone.

I once again must praise Karen’s character development. I have rarely read, in ANY genre, more realistic growth of character. In this volume, Mac continues her steady evolution from pink Barbie girl to pragmatic predator. She and Barrons are two of the best rendered characters I have EVER come across.

I was somewhat shocked by the direction Faefever took as the page count wound down and I’m somewhat frustrated that I can’t expound upon that in even a general way without using a spoiler because I think it’s a tremendous selling point of this book. For those of you who have not read it yet, suffice it to say that Faefever has an element that is germaine to many of the best urban fantasy series, but I’ve never seen it depicted this way before. For the rest of you, click the link!

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

These books are dark from beginning to end and this one has absolutely the bleakest ending I have yet read in the genre. The only thing I can say about it without spoilers is that this is the quintessential cliff hanger. The book really only comes to an end in the sense that there is a final page after which you have to pick up the next book in order to go on. The internal plot of Faefever itself can only loosely be described as having been resolved. I’d have been pretty frustrated by this had I read it at the time it was originally published.

There’s NO WAY I can close this review without talking about the ending, even though some of you won’t be able to read it, but I’m going to get to that in just a second. First, I have to take Karen to task. I’ve said it in my previous reviews. Girlfriend, you were seriously brave to tell this story the way you did. I give you props for that. The cliff hanger I’m about to talk about? Again Karen, big time ballsy. Your little author’s address at the end of the book? Not so much.

Have the courage of your convictions, Karen, don’t temper the darkness with a half ass attempt at a night light. Trust your readers to trust you without having to ask them for it. I would be very surprised if you kept a single reader from walking who was inclined to do so after finishing Faefever. If they left the series here, I guarantee it wasn’t for lack of hope or faith. If they left here, it was because you offended their sensibilities and there was no way your author’s address was going to rectify the problem.

Now if THAT doesn’t make you wanna read Faefever just to find out what I’m talking about, nothing else I could say will. For those of you that have read it my personal take on the end is this...

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

A word about the narration of Faefever.  Joyce does a fantastic job with this story.  I have Faefever on my Kindle as well.  There were some periods while I was listening to the book that I had an opportunity to read along.  It was interesting to notice that Joyce made some (extreamly) minor changes to the text as she would read to make things flow more naturally.  Her pacing was excellent.

Dramatically, her southern accent is very good and worked pretty well for Mac. My only real complaint is that Joyce's voice is a little more richly sophisticated than I imagined Mac to be, but that's really a triviality.  She doesn't try to over sell her male voices so I didn't find them jarring in the least.

In closing, despite not having a clear focus, Faefever was an exciting read full of dark tension from beginning to end. I strongly recommend you have a copy of Dreamfever on hand before you come anywhere near finishing the book, because the ending is a doozy.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Amazon Audible
Format: Unabridged - 11 hrs 59 min
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang

*Amazon: 4.2 out of 5 Stars (103 reviews)
*GoodReads: 3.95 out of 5 Stars (2,683 Ratings; 463 Reviews)
Reading is Fundamental-

*Note- Ratings and statistics current at the time of writing.

Every now and then I read a book where it seems that the story was written for Hollywood.  You know, not a script, but told in such a way that lends itself to adaptation.  Almost as if the writer's focus is more about selling movie rights than leveraging the advanatages of print media.  Think comic book only with more words and fewer pictures (I listened to the audio, but even it has a cover picture). I've noticed a trend in the U/F genre lately where many books are being converted into graphic novels (i.e. Mercy Thompson, the Dresden Files, etc.).  Spider's Bite would make an exceptional graphic novel.

I'm not a personal friend or family member of Jennifer's, so I don't know if movie adaptation or graphic novel were first and foremost in her mind, or if she merely thinks in action based, visual terms, but I can tell you I would much rather have seen this story than read it.  That's not to say that the story was bad or that it was poorly written.  I actually enjoyed the book and will likely continue on with the series at some point, but then I "enjoy" most books.  It was a fairly average read that I think would be better suited for the big screen.

Spider's Bite is not premised on an original concept.  We have a child, orphaned by violence, who grows up to channel her pain and grief into vigilantism.  Gin a.k.a the Spider is a stone cold killer.  Except of course she isn't.  Yeah, she knocks off people for a living, but all of them deserve it.  They have to, or most of us wouldn't be able to relate, let alone like the character.  The plot itself is pretty transparent, so much so that I was a little incredulous.  Predictability is one thing, characters ignoring or disregarding things for the sake of allowing the story to move forward is another when these actions are completely out of character.  It wasn't so igregious that it ruined the book for me, but I would have prefered for Jennifer to take a better approach.

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

Jennifer does have an interesting, if odd, take on "elemental" magic.  I found it somewhat strange that ice is considered a major element and water a lesser element, same for stone as opposed to earth in general.  Jennifer doesn't really explain the workings of magic in her world the way that other, better stories, in the genre do.  This is not Kim Harrison's The Hollows, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, or Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, all of which are much more thorough in explaning the inner workings of magic and what it can and can't do. It's much more like Harry Potter in that magic does whatever Jennifer says it does and she's pretty vague about it.  Some of the things she says it can do are a little wierd, but, going back to the strong visual thing, it would make a hell of a movie. 

There is a feminist undercurrent to the book that I think gets in the way of what would otherwise be a better story. Look, I'm all about empowering women, but the men in this book are fairly useless, generally wrong, and have few redeeming qualities outside their "hawtness".

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

The book's pacing is a little strange, particularly near the end where it continued for a good bit after the storyline had resolved itself.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just something that doesn't happen much in modern writing.  Much of the added material was unnecessary or could have been worked into the story prior to the climax.

Lauren Fortgang does a very good job with the narration of the book. She gives Gin a subtle southern accent that I found perfect for the character. As it isn’t overblown, it supports the locale of the story without detracting from the professional nature of Gin’s character. Lauren does gruff or raspy voices effectively without sounding silly or forced. Her male voices are subtly different from each other with no hint of exagerated tone. Obviously, she doesn't sound like a guy, but she doesn't sound like a girl pretending to be a guy either which is something I generally find grating. Instead she subtly deepens her voice so the listener knows a male is speaking.

Overall, Spider’s Bite is not spectacular, but it’s a fun read that was definitely worth my time. A fair start to a series.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee

Publisher: ROC
Format: Kindle
*Amazon: 4.0 out of 5 Stars (110 reviews)
*GoodReads: 3.75 out of 5 Stars (1,952 Ratings; 187 Reviews)
Reading is Fundamental-

*Note- Ratings and statistics current at the time review was written.
** Chris' rating. Not necessarily the rating other members of the club might give.

This was Kayla's pick for our book of the month selection in August, 2011.  She's been trying to get me to read this series forever, and she finally had me over a barrel.  I tried to start reading it about a year ago, but I didn't get more than about two chapters in.  I think there are a couple of reasons for that and they ARE NOT because this is a bad book.  It's not.  I found it pretty average fair.  I will likely read the rest of the series at some point, but I won't be escalating it on my priority list so who knows when that will be.  The list is pretty long.  Since I'm on the topic of book club, let me just do a roll call of sorts. 

Sharon (my mom, not my wife) had read this one already, but agreed to re-read it since Kayla really wanted to make this her selection. Ultimately, I don't believe she got around to it, but she did read Thief of Lives (Dhampir #2) and she had already read Sister of the Dead (Dhampir #3).  There's a story here, but it basically boils down to the fact that she accidentally picked up the books out of order a while back.  She loves these books and intends to finish out the series, but she was somewhat withdrawn from the discussion for fear of spoiling the remaining books for the rest of us.

Kayla, of course thinks these are the greatest things since sliced bread. I love her dearly, so I won't hold it against her (just kidding, Boo, this one was pretty okay and I trust you when you say they get even better).

Christine also enjoyed the book but she too found it pretty average, giving it three stars.  I intended to get ratings from all of them, but somehow I got distracted and she was the only one I got.  I apparently hit the page button two fast at one point while I was reading Dhampir, and wouldn't you know that the portion I missed became relevant to my evaluation of the book.  When I brought up my issue, Christine remembered the necessary information and was able to locate it for me.

Alas, in the crush of beginning the fall semester at Nicholls, moving into the dorm, and working, Courtney didn't finish the book and elected not to stay for the meeting.  We all love you anyway Sweet heart, and will overlook your transgression, just this once.  I know you've already finished reading September's selection ;)

I should have taken better notes at the meeting, because I can't, for the life of me remember what Brandi thought of this book.  I don't think any of us actively disliked it, but I don't recall her singing it's praises either.  Sorry, Sis, I'm getting old and senile and my memory isn't nearly as good as it should be.  I do remember that you weren't a big fan of Magiere in the beginning of the book, but I can't remember if she grew enough for you to like her or not.  Now, Perks of Being a Wallflower? I remember EXACTLY where you stand on that book.

Sam, my brother-in-law (Brandi's husband) and new club member, loved the book.  In fact, after reading it, he went out and bought the rest of the series and was a fair way through it by the time we held the meeting.  Like, Sharon, he was cautious about contributing do to the spoiler factor, but he raised an excellent point about denial and human nature with regard to a criticism I had.  Honestly, the remark was so insightful that I have reevaluated that particular point and have come to the conclusion that he's right.

Okay! So on with my review.  Please note that unless otherwise indicated, the opinions I will express from this point forward are mine and might not be shared by the rest of the members of our book club.

As I've already stated, I had difficulty getting into Dhampir, which is a bit odd because it could easily be categorized as Urban Fantasy.  The thing is, it has more of a high fantasy feel with it's feudal society and focus on medieval weaponry.  I've also become accustomed to books written in the first person, which I prefer, and this one is not.

To a lesser degree, I think who the characters are at the beginning of the book (as opposed to who they evolve into) also kept me from completely committing at first.  I tend to be pretty patient when it comes to character development, so I really don't think this played a major role, BUT the protagonists ARE difficult to like at first.  I believe this was intentional on the part of the writers as it allows for a broader growth over the course of the book.

This book is written by a husband and wife team.  Unlike, Ilona Andrews, however, I don't think they manage a seamless amalgam.  Rather than character growth, portions of the book made me feel like I was reading about completely different people than at other times.  They were both teachers possibly both professors (Barb definitely was. English, go figure;) and I think this shows in their writing.  It felt somewhat stiff to me.  I'll acknowledge, however, that this COULD be due to the fact that I've been reading so much first person narrative lately.

The writers' also made an interesting choice with regard to the antagonists.  All (and there are several of them) were given a detailed back story that made them fairly sympathetic.  I can't really decide if this was a good or a bad move.  Going about it this way gave the bad guys a depth of character that is rarely developed in books these days.  At the same time, it made me want a better solution than the one that it is (predictably) implemented.

Finally, the writers intended this to be the first in a series of books (the remainder of which have long since published) so, obviously there are alot of questions that go unanswered.  Some people, might call the very end a cliff hanger, although I wouldn't.  It definitely announces that another book will follow, but it doesn't leave you in any real suspense. Overall, this is a very descent book and I do recommend it.  


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Format: Unabridged - Audible Audio / 11 hours 17 min
Narrators: Tavia Gilbert
*Amazon: 4.4 out of 5 Stars (332 reviews)
*GoodReads: 4.3 out of 5 Stars (14,203 Ratings; 1,932 Reviews)
Reading is Fundamental-


*Note- Ratings and statistics current at the time review was written.

This was my first Jeaniene Frost book, and it certainly won't be my last.  Original characters? Nope.  Twisty turny plot line? Uh uh. High tension story telling? Your joking right? Beautiful prose? You can't see, but I'm smirking at you. Well then, what was so great about this book, Chris?!

I'll say this, it might be a bit early to make this comparison, having read only one of her books, but I think that Jeaniene may be the Nora Roberts of the PnR genre.  I don't know if she intended to write camp here, or if it just worked out that way, but the ride from start to finish was a blast.  This book was pure supernatural candy and I loved every minute of it.  Alright, not EVERY minute of it, I didn't give it 5 stars, after all, but it was well worth my time.

Cat is a 22 year old vampire slayer.  She's been knocking off the oversized mosquitoes, with her mother's blessing, since she was about 16.  Then one day... errrr night... she runs into a little more than she can handle.  Cat's life will never be the same, okay, well it won't be ALL THAT different.  She'll still wack blood sucking vermin every chance she gets, she'll just do it with more pizazz. 

As I said already, Jeaniene's characters are by no means original.  Cat is your stereo typical, kick ass vampire slayer and Bones is your run of the mill bad boy love interest.  Her brilliance in constructing them is how over the top she is about it.  I know the comparison has been made about a thousand times, but think Buffy the Vampire Slayer and your pretty much there. 

Thru much of this book Cat is tempered with a believable innocence that makes her seem nearly as vulnerable as she is lethal.  This is a fantastic combination because it creates a necessary place in the story for her would be protector, Bones.  He's not just tacked on as a cosmetic piece to make the ladies all hot and bothered.  Don't get me wrong, Cat is all about girl power, but Bones gets to let his protective instincts out.  Again, think Nora Roberts.

My major complaint in this one is really a fairly minor one.  It is clear going in that Jeaneine intended to write a series, thus there are copious plot threads left dangling at the end of the book.  That wasn't so much a problem for me.  No, my major heartache is that things develope a bit to fast:

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

The danger of this kind of book is if you come in taking it too seriously based on all the positive reviews.  This isn't a very serious book (not that I'm saying it's a comedy, it certainly isn't).  As with all good camp, this book is somewhat tongue in cheek, without beating you over the head with goofiness.  If you read it for what it is, I think you'll come away happier for the experience!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Format: Unabridged - 10 Compact Discs / 12 hours 16 min
Narrators: Jenna Lamia, Pierce Cravens, Dan Bittner, Emma Galvin

*Amazon: 3.8 out of 5 Stars (133 reviews)
*GoodReads: 3.99 out of 5 Stars (7,899 Ratings, 2,252 Reviews)
Reading is Fundamental-


*Note- Ratings and statistics at the time of review was written.

On the whole I think this was an excellent series that I highly recommend, but to me, Forever falls far short of its predecessors both as an individual story and especially as a series finale.

As this is the third and final book in the series, I'm loathe to give a synopsis because it would potentially contain spoilers for the books that come before it.  Thus, this will have to do: Forever is about werewolves, but not your typical werewolves.  I would hazard to guess that you've never seen werewolves like these before (unless of course you've read the first two books!).  The story focuses on three particular werewolves and their various interpersonal relationships.  Pretty lame, huh.  Yeah, well, that's all you get, read the series!

Having read and reviewed the first two installments (my review of Shiver is here and of Linger is here), I don't have anything new to say about Maggie's writing mechanics.  I will reiterate that she is a very good writer who does a masterful job of straddling the line between descriptive narrative and purple prose.  Her style is both fluid and mature (which is great to see out of a YA author).

I will not get into a full discussion of the split narrative here as I spoke about it a little bit in my review of Shiver and at length in my review of Linger, but I will point to Forever, as a prime example of the style's inherent short comings.

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

Things that I have complained about in the other books are still present in this book.  Not the least of which is gender confusion. I think, Maggie did a better job with this aspect in Linger than she did in Shiver, but it returns again in full measure her in Forever. Sam has consistantly been the girlie boy from the get go, but Cole is much more affected in this book than he was in the last.  I am NOT going to cite specific examples at this time because I am plannning an essay which will focus on the difficulties of authors creating convincing characters of the opposing gender.  This series of books will feature heavily in that piece.

If Forever is more of the same, why three stars instead of four? Well, to start, this one dragged a bit more than the others did.  It seems to be a fairly common complaint, that this one was slow to get started, and I appear to be in the majority (for a change) in that I feel the same way.

Where I appear to be in the minority is that, I didn't feel that this book had the same emotional impact as the earlier ones did. Spoilers inbound!

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Another major flaw I had with Forever, was the ending.  Potential ground work for a possible fourth book aside, what happens in the climax doesn't make alot of sense.  Can't say more without spoilers, soooooo...

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In the end, the final event doesn't really resolve the major situation presented in this book, or the culmination of the series as a whole.  Oh well, we at least get a relatively happy ending.