Young Adult Literature

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  inversed on Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:59 am

Oh no, not tears!! I picked up my copy yesterday and barely got into it due to a migraine. Beka is one of my favorite characters EVER, I know I am going to be sad to see her go.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  choubetcha on Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:13 pm

whatthedeuce wrote:I tried A Great and Terrible Beauty last year and just couldn't get through it either. I didn't like the characters and nothing about the writing grabbed me. Too bad since I usually love young female heroines stuck in a boarding school setting!

Yeah, I think something just doesn't click with me for Libba Bray's writing. I always think the books sound interesting but then I don't really enjoy them. I read Going Bovine recently, thinking I should give her a second try, and it was okay but..eh. People whose opinions I respect like her so it must just be not for me.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  inversed on Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:42 pm

That's how I feel about China Mieville. I want to like him, I've tried to like him, there's no reason I shouldn't like him, but something about his style just puts me off.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Jasmine on Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:48 pm

molliewollie wrote:The Mysterious Benedict Society, anyone? I love these books so much. Milligan is the DILFiest character in a kid's book since Anne's House of Dreams.

Looooove those books, though I found the third one kind of dull (and it really bothered pedantic me that there was never
Spoiler:
actually a prisoner's dilemma anywhere in the book
. But the first two are awesome. Kate and her BUCKET.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:51 am

inversed wrote:That's how I feel about China Mieville. I want to like him, I've tried to like him, there's no reason I shouldn't like him, but something about his style just puts me off.

So far, I've only tried Embassytown, but I could not get into it AT ALL. I felt so dumb like I must be totally missing something because the premise was amazing, and the work was so atmospheric, and yet...nothing. I gave up so early into it because I just couldn't connect with the narrator or anything about the world depicted in the novel. It all just fell flat to me.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Instant Monkeys on Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:19 pm

EMBASSYTOWN WAS HAAAARRRRRRDDD. I liked it. There was a lot of stuff that was SUPER cool and kinda mindblowing about it. But MAN it was not a fast read. I was confused a lot of the time, and I had to keep going back and rereading stuff to figure out what was going on, and some of the concepts were just mindbenders that to "understand" you had to sort of take a philosophical leap and just accept, like talking about string theory or something. I liked it and I would like to read his other stuff. But in other ways I didn't like it, and I was ready for a break after I read it. And I'm not saying it was COMPLEX BUT FLAWLESS either. There were things about it that were just not well-written, I feel. There was enough in it to keep me going, but yeah, mixed feelings. I would like to try The City and the City next.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:44 am

I think if I'd been the least bit invested in the narrator, I might have managed to push through despite the confusing jargon and scenarios, but as it was, it just didn't feel worth it to me. It's awesome though that the book doesn't let the reader pass through blindly. You erally have to engage with the material and pay close attention to understand it. I can appreciate that aspect of Mieville's work.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  allochthonous on Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:04 am

The only Mieville I've read has been The City and the City, which I loved (although I read a really interesting review - which of course I now can't find - which criticised his worldbuilding and use of Eastern European and ex-Communist stereotypes in that book). I keep meaning to pick up Embassytown and Un Lun Dun but haven't got around to it yet.

I am having a Tamora Pierce blitz at the moment - some of it is a reread and some is new to me. I hadn't read all of the Protector of the Small series (love Kel and hope we see more of her), and I really enjoyed the last two in particular, because they moved on from the "trainee knight defeats bullies" plot which seemed a bit as though it was rehashed from the Alanna books.

The Immortals books were fun but yikes,
Spoiler:
I was squicked out by Daine and Numair's relationship. They meet when she is literally half his age! He's her teacher! OK, so nothing happens until she's eighteen, but it made me really uncomfortable.


I am reading Trickster's Choice right now and
Spoiler:
Aly is annoying the crap out of me. More accurately, I find her character completely implausible - I find it completely impossible to believe that any sixteen-year-old girl, even one raised by George Cooper, would react so calmly to being captured by pirates and sold as a slave, without a moment of panic. I'm not very far in, though, so I'm prepared to change my mind. I do like the acknowledgement that maybe Alanna isn't the world's most awesome mother though.

I have rattled my way through all of the Circle of Magic books, and while they are perfectly entertaining, I don't find them remotely as engrossing as any of the Tortall series; I think the worldbuilding isn't as thorough, and although I enjoy some of the characters (Daja! Triiiis!) I find the plots of each book pretty sameish.

I haven't read any of the Beka Cooper books - are they good?
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  punzy on Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:22 pm

The Beka Cooper books are so much better than the Aly ones. I am sorry to tell you, she only gets more annoying as time goes on. I think the Protector of the Small series is my favorite of Pierce's works.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Menshevixen on Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:52 am

I find Aly alternately irritating and cool. I think she can be fun to read, but I do not relate to her at all; Kel and Beka are my favorites.

It's funny, when I read the Circle books as a kid I didn't like them as much as the Tortall books, but I LOVE them as an adult.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  inversed on Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:42 pm

I had the exact same reaction to Aly as you, allochthonus. By the end I actively COULD NOT STAND her, which has never ever happened to me before with a Pierce heroine. Beka Cooper, on the other hand, may be my favorite Pierce character yet. I am so sad that Mastiff is her last book that I am reading it as slowly as I can.

I felt the same way about Daine/Numair too, but I'm really hoping we get some stories about their kids.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  rivki8699 on Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:30 pm

I seem to be in the minority then, because I adored Aly. Not as much as I adored Dove - but a lot.

Kel is still my favorite Pierce heroine though. Hands down.

I pre-ordered Mastiff, but after reading the first page I knew I'd have to go back and reread the first two books. I've clearly forgotten some important plot points. Hopefully I can do that soon.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Crowbridge on Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:15 pm

I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't get through A Great & Terrible Beauty. It seems like the type of book that I would like, but something about the style and the characters made it too...dreamy? Flaky? I don't know, I just couldn't finish it. And word to who ever said it seemed like Libba Bray didn't research enough about Victorian London, because that's exactly what I thought.

Also, who would have been named Gemma back then? I'm not saying it's impossible, but the name struck me as too modern for the time.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Jasmine on Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:20 pm

Huh, that's interesting, because Gemma strikes me as a pretty old fashioned name -- I've only seen it in relatively old books. I didn't love the book either, though. I read the whole thing and it was fine, but I was never tempted to read any of the sequels.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  Crowbridge on Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:53 am

Sweet Jesus. I stumbled upon the first chapter of Modelland by Tyra Banks, and...it's pretty damn bad. Enter at your own risk:

www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/12/sneak-peek-of-tyra-banks-book-modelland_n_925845.html

I made it to the part where three girls fall into a manhole for no reason, and tapped out. *brain explodes*

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:36 pm

molliewollie, I could kiss you for recommending The Mysterious Benedict Society books! I'm already on the third one (I've been reading it during a power outage, which is quite the coincidence for that particular novel), and I can't get enough!

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  particle_person on Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:41 pm

whatthedeuce wrote:molliewollie, I could kiss you for recommending The Mysterious Benedict Society books! I'm already on the third one (I've been reading it during a power outage, which is quite the coincidence for that particular novel), and I can't get enough!
I'm just disappointed he decided to stop it at three books. Although I heard he is writing a prequel.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  mialoubug on Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:12 pm

What age are they aimed for? I'm looking for a good series for a 10 year old nephew and a separate 13 going on 14 nephew.
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  particle_person on Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:20 pm

I think they could work for all of the above. They're reasonably sophisticated books with some politics in them that might go right over the head of a ten-year-old, but the story itself is simple enough that a ten-year-old could understand it and enjoy it. Basically, they're the kind of thing that you could re-read at a later age and you might see something different in them if you were young to start with.

One thing — they are on the lengthy side. If you doubt the attention span of your readers (of either age), that might be an issue to consider.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:13 pm

p_p, you've just killed my night with that new because. I was really hoping the series would continue for years to come. I hope the prequel rumor is true!

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  particle_person on Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:00 pm

whatthedeuce wrote:p_p, you've just killed my night with that new because. I was really hoping the series would continue for years to come. I hope the prequel rumor is true!

Prequel rumor
Amazon page

Something I've been vaguely wondering for a while: Was Trenton Lee Steward a math major or an engineer or something? There are A LOT of math jokes in that series (although most of them are rather subtle, like in Lewis Carroll's books). The most obvious ones are the title and theme of the third book, of course. Also, he has written Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums, a book of puzzles, as a companion.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  whatthedeuce on Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:34 am

I already put the prequel on my To Be Read list at Paperbackswap.com. So excited for it! I'm also hoping to check out the puzzle book, but I bet I'll get frustrated trying to figure out the answers to the riddles and stuff. I am no Reynard Muldoon, that's for sure!

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  EggSpreader on Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:48 am

allochthonous wrote:The only Mieville I've read has been The City and the City, which I loved (although I read a really interesting review - which of course I now can't find - which criticised his worldbuilding and use of Eastern European and ex-Communist stereotypes in that book). I keep meaning to pick up Embassytown and Un Lun Dun but haven't got around to it yet.

A month late, but I LOVED The City and the City; it was definitely one of my favorite books that I read in 2010, but then I tried to read The Kraken, and I was SO BORED. It was long and BORING and holy God, I just couldn't wait for it to be over. And I was really disappointed, and I'm not sure about trying any other China Mieville books. But everyone should read The City and the City! It's great.

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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  allochthonous on Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:21 am

I'm asking for Embassytown for Christmas, as I know several people here have raved about it. I might hold off on The Kraken if that

Also, I finally made my way through Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, and OMG, those of you who said I would still want to strangle Aly by the end, you weren't wrong (spoilery rant follows).

Spoiler:
I think my main issue is that Aly doesn't earn her badassery, the way Alanna and Kel do. We see both the latter struggling to learn the skills required of a knight, overcoming their fears on the way, while any time the plot requires that Aly knows something it's all "Oh, my father taught me that when I was two". Her miraculous ability to run an enormous spy network seems to come out of nowhere, and beyond a bit of moping over crow-dude, she never seems to struggle with anything (I would put "being sold into slavery" as a pretty big obstacle if at any point Aly expressed even a hint of concern about her fate as a result of this), and if all else fails, there's always Kyprioth to pop up as a literal deus ex machina, which he does way too often. Her smug little lectures about racial politics really wound me up, not so much for their own sake as the fact that the Copper Islanders response wasn't to clip her round the ear and tell her to stop talking about things she doesn't know about, but go around proclaiming how wise and cunning she is.

I don't know why I'm getting so worked up by this - I think because the plot in general is really interesting and moves along as quickly as anything Pierce has written, the supporting characters are great (*waves Dove flag*) and the conflicts between Alanna and Aly are good and realistic, and if Aly had been even slightly more fallible, I wouldn've loved it.

Phew, glad I could get that off my chest. Next stop, Beka Cooper books!
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Re: Young Adult Literature

Post  rivki8699 on Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:44 pm

I am an unabashed fan of Aly, which may be in part because she was my first exposure to Tortall (I picked up the book at B&N because it had a pretty cover, and then backtracked and read the rest of them - let me tell you, I got quite a shock when I went back to read the Alanna books).

I get that people don't like that Aly emerges somewhat full-fledged in her talents, but I also think that we don't see her grow as much, or fail as much, because we meet her when she's on the cusp of adulthood, and not the cusp of adolecense. We meet Alanna and Kel at 11, and Dane at 13, and we watch them all train to become the baddasses we love. Aly we meet at 16, with all of her training already completed. Beka we meet at the same age and she's also pretty much unbelievably good at everything, even if she is shy of speaking in public.

Speaking of Beka.
Spoiler:
I just finished Mastiff and I was kinda thrown by it. I liked it. I cried. But I hated that Tunstall turned out to be a traitor - first because I thought he was great and wanted him to have a HEA with Sabine, but second because it just didn't fit right for me. I mean, it just seemed unbelieveable that he would be corrupted three quarters of the way through the search. Above all else, why the heck would he have trusted the conspirators to come through on their promises? He'd seen what they'd done to their other patners. I ended up wondering if all his many head injuries had lead to some personality-changing brain damage.

And I was a bit thrown by Farmer too. Not that he seemed to be a bad match for Beka, rather that it seemed to happen really fast. I kept expecting Farmer to be the bad guy and Beka to end up with Rosto (somehow a Beka/Rosto pairing always seemed inevitable, especially given the fact that George the Rogue is Beka's descendent). The whole trilogy just felt unbalanced to me. I was thrown by the fact that it didn't take place in Corus - the Lower City is such a character in the first book that having the entire book out in the countryside seemed really strange to me. I didn't love that so many awesome characters from the first books just weren't in this one. And I felt like Rosto was just a Chekov's Gun that never went off! What was the point in all the flirting and the attraction for the first two books and then mentioning his jealousy in the first paragraph of Mastiff, if you're not going to have them have some closure!
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Re: Young Adult Literature

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