Saturday, March 24, 2012

1Q84 - Part Two

I've made it through part two!!!  Sometimes when I read a book I do not want the story to end.  Other times I cannot wait to finish the chapter. Unfortunately this one is of the latter category.

I like the story, I like the characters, but this is difficult to say without sounding like a middle school kid; it's just too damn long.  The chapters are still alternating between Aomame and Tengo's point of view, but each chapter seems to have less action and more internal dialogue.  I understand why this is important; they're figuring out what it means to be in 1Q84 and learning that what they've expected to be all fiction is actually reality.  Both characters are growing (yay character development) immensely, I would just appreciate it if it happened in less pages.

Part two differed that part one in that it became more of a murder mystery type genre.  "Once a gun is brought in to the story, it must be fired."  So we spend the entirety of part two wondering when and if the gun will be fired, and who will be the victim of said gun.

However, many questions about the little people and the sagikake organization are answered which adds to the creative/sci-fi side of the story.  I still very much appreciate Murakami's imagination and have lost no respect for the author.  His imagination and the time and energy he puts in to creating his characters is impeccable.  In this case, though, I wish he had managed to create this world in fewer words.  I know, a difficult task to complete, I'm sure.

And I'm off to part three!!


Sunday, March 18, 2012


For my third read in March (Yes, you read that right! I've read more books this month than I did last YEAR!), I read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. After reading Catching Fire, I simply had to read Mockingjay right away and finish off the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.

Mockingjay picked up about a month after Catching Fire left off, with Katniss rescued by District 13 and Peeta captured by the capitol. This book is all about the full on war being raged between the Capitol and the rebels and we finally get the resolution as to what happens to Panem, Katniss, Peeta and Gale.

I have to say I didn't love this book as much as the first two. It had a ton of action, the characters we love and was very well written but since it was all about war it had the feeling of despair looming on every page. In the first two books the characters are placed in horrible situations but there is always the hope of a positive outcome. In this book, I didn't feel like there would be a happy ending so to speak. The ending *kind of* gives you what you wanted throughout the series but to me it still felt sad and unsatisfying.

However, I think that perhaps Collins intended the reader to feel unsatisfied at the end of the series. The series does say a lot about what our society is capable of, how desensitization to violence and death could lead us on a path to a society like the one in Panem. How only standing up to the powers that be could save us from such a society. If that was her intention, then she succeeded.

I really enjoyed this series and would recommend it to most but I must admit the final book left me wishing it had ended with less bloodshed and more hope. I will miss the characters I grew so fond of in the nearly 1200 pages we spent together. Thank you to Collins for writing a series that was hard to put down. While Catching Fire was my favorite book in the series, all three had me looking forward to the pages to come. I might look out for more of her books in the future!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Catching Fire

My second read in March was Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. This is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. It picks up a few months after where The Hunger Games left off and we find Katniss back home in District 12 with her and Peeta hardly speaking and things with Gale confused. It is almost time for the Victory Tour, when Katniss learns how her rebellion against the Capitol at the end of the Hunger Games has President Snow out to get her. After the tour comes the Quarter Quell, the seventy-fifth Hunger Games, and Katniss finds herself right in the middle of things. However, this time she is not a bewildered teen but a symbol for something the Capitol is trying to quell.

So, I reviewed The Hunger Games last month and while it was a really good book this one is far better in my opinion. I find myself still annoyed with the "love triangle" which I feel is being too forced by the author in order to keep a certain demographic of readers interested but doesn't really belong in the story. (I felt it was pretty clear in The Hunger Games how Katniss feels about Peeta and found it annoying/distracting that the author made her so lacking in self-awareness). Anyways, this book begins with a bit of that but moves past it and throws us into so much excitement, it really keeps the pages turning!

Katniss' character begins to peel back the layers and we see more sides to her. We also get a whole new slew of characters (as well as reunite with some old ones) and Collins starts taking the series where I wanted it to go, with rebellion against the Capitol. The Hunger Games eludes to it but in this book we finally get the satisfaction of action being taken. This book ends in a place that leaves SO much to look forward to in the final installment of the series, Mockingjay.

I once again found myself daydreaming about where this book was going to go and what was going to happen to Katniss and Peeta. I am absolutely loving this series and can't wait to see what happens to Katniss, Peeta and some new favorite characters in Mockingjay!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Giver

For my first read in March, I read The Giver by Lois Lowry. The story is about a twelve year old boy named Jonas who lives in a "perfect" world. There is no pain, worry or war. Choices are made for the people of his community and precision of language is key. However, Jonas is chosen to be trained as the new Reciever by The Giver. Jonas will learn the truth about the past and the present and his view of the world will change forever.

Somehow I missed this book when in came out, as most people read it in middle school. My sister-in-law told me it was one of her favorite books, so I tucked it away on my "to read" list for several years. I am SO happy she suggested this book. It is truly one of my new faves of all time!

The writing style is perfect (clear, conscise and has "precision of language"). I love a writer who paints a picture for you or relays feelings clearly without getting too wordy and Lowry does that very well. Jonas is a wonderfully written character and I felt protective of him on his journey. There are several passages in this book that will stick with me for a long time.

This book is a very quick read. It's only 180 pages and honestly you could easily get through it in just a few hours. I found myself not wanting to put it down and I'm a little sad that it's over. I'd love to spend some more time with Jonas and The Giver. I would recommend this book to any adult and to any kids around age 12 and up.