This Week, I Read… (#46)

120-succubus-heat

#120 – Succubus Heat, by Richelle Mead

  • Read: 11/2/16 – 11/4/16
  • Provenance: Owned (paperback)
  • Rating: 2/5 stars

Sorry, Georgie, you didn’t stay interesting. Maybe if I had read the first two books instead of starting with #3 last week, I would have been more invested in your grand, epic, heart-wrenching tale of love and woe with Seth; but as it stands, I could barely endure reading about a love quadrangle and cheating lovers, two of my least-favorite romance tropes. And who the villain turned out to be is not strengthening your case. You’ve turned me off this series, but not off Mead entirely–we’ll give one of her YA titles a try sometime in the future.

121-to-the-lighthouse

#121 – To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

It took me a long time–nearly a third of the book–to really absorb the subtleties of Woolf’s writing style. Thus, I didn’t really feel engaged, until all of the sudden in the middle something just clicked for me: one of Lily’s passages about her painting. I’m not sure what it was about it, but everything about the tone fell into place, and the rest of the book flew by without the struggles I’d been having with the language (and sentence structure, man, I thought I had long sentences in my writing!)

So it ended up being good, but I think it will only improve with rereading, when I’ll pick up more from the beginning I didn’t grasp the first time.

122-the-last-time-they-met

#122 – The Last Time They Met, by Anita Shreve

I’ve heard readers talk about books ruining themselves on the last page with a terrible ending, but I’ve never experienced it myself.

Now I have.

Shreve’s writing style is detailed but flowing, easy to fall into, and despite some reservations I had about the middle section switching perspective to a different character (totally unexpected to me based on the first section) I continued on, not thrilled by the story, but enjoying it enough, and intrigued enough by the little mysteries laid out to want resolution.

THE ENDING RUINED EVERYTHING. WHAT WAS THE POINT. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS BOOK.

That being said, from what I’ve seen written about Shreve’s body of work, this particular title is viewed as an aberration. I have two other novels of hers, all obtained at the same library sale (because why not) and both are much higher-rated on Goodreads than this one–I apparently jumped in with the clunker. So there’s hope.

123-armada

#123 – Armada, by Ernest Cline

  • Read: 11/7/16 – 11/10/16
  • Provenance: Borrowed from family
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

Good, but not as good as Ready Player One, which I read last year and adored.

The few bones I had to pick with RPO were even more pronounced here–I got tired of the constant pop-culture references this time, mostly because they were less varied in tone. Also, the side characters here were even less developed, which made it hard for those who died in the war (many but not all of them, certainly) to cause any real emotional impact.

At times, I felt like I was reading an extremely polished Ender’s Game fanfic, and I cringed every time the title was referenced.

Another criticism was that I felt there was no room for reader discovery. I was spoonfed every thought that Zack had, so the repeated questioning of the aliens’ motives got old and made the eventual revelation obvious and underwhelming. I felt like Cline didn’t trust us to figure it out on our own, and while I may decry mysteries when they’re too opaque, this could have used a bit more opacity.

Yet, with all those problems, I’m still giving it four stars. It was a wild ride that I enjoyed despite its flaws, though if I were to pick a Cline novel to own myself, it’s still going to be RPO.

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