Friday, September 9, 2011

Princess of the Midnight Ball (Jessica Day George)

If you are thinking about reading this book, don't bother.

This book came highly recommended by acquaintances and professional book reviewers alike. But those acquaintances and reviewers forgot to mention that, while the story is interesting, it isn't really a "retelling" of the 12 Dancing Princesses. It's an immature paraphrase of the fairy tale.

I'll just say this: I watched the Barbie movie version with my 3-year-old niece, and the Barbie version was better.

The character interaction in this book was entirely implausible and unrealistic. For example, a man who disowned his son out of shame randomly decides to welcome him back into the family after 2 paragraphs of reasoning by his wife. None of the emotions or motivations in the book are anything near lifelike.

I should have been tipped off by the fact that the princesses are all named after flowers.

This was my first Jessica Day George book, and it shall be my last. I'm kind of bummed about the whole thing, since she has so many popular books right now. But I have this thing for quality writing, and that is exactly what this author lacks.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Matched (Ally Condie)

When I first heard about this Matched phenomenon, how it was "just like The Hunger Games" with a dystopian society, I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted to scream, "NO! No, it is not like The Hunger Games." I did thoroughly enjoy that series, but did it define a new genre? Absolutely not! Don't people read classics any more? The Hunger Games is like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New WorldMatched also falls in the shadow of these historic tomes. Who are these younglings, unaware of the larger literary world? But I digress.

Matched was delightful. I appreciated the overarching conflict and authenticity of the character response to it. The relationships among Cassia's family members was particularly enjoyable. I did not, however, fully believe her relationships with her two love interests, at least in the beginning. It took a lot of convincing, but by the end, I accepted it, if only for the sake of the rest of the story.

Sometimes Condie's "poetic" feel was forced. In some portions of the book, it seemed that every paragraph ended with a profound metaphorical statement (and an eye roll, on my part). But overall, this page-turner has me anticipating the next installment, coming November 1st!