Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Unfinished and Abandoned books [2]

Unfinished/Abandoned books is a semi-regular feature where I attempt to be as brief as I'm able and give mini-reviews for books I haven't technically finished. Sort of like a self-progress-report.

In this case, all of these books are in the 'unfinished' category, because I have every intention of finishing them - someday. I've just had to put these aside and try something different.

The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
Last page read: 146/370 (ARC)

For about 100 pages, I was completely absorbed. Then something happened and I got tired of the story. Not enough action (for a book about Jack the Ripper, there sure was a lot of talking and sneaking out and general 'teens behaving stupidly' and not a lot of plot progression). I just felt like the whole story was floating in stagnate water. Basically the 'teens behaving stupidly' label covers all of the little points I was going to make about this book. I just don't have the patience or the interest to read about kids who do stupid things, like run around London when there's a serial killer on the loose, or a character who has random make-out encounters with a boy with a bordering-on-disturbing fascination with the Ripper murders. It must be the accent, right? Right. Actually, it's more the completely random 'relationship' factor that made me lose interest. And to be honest, I just got tired of waiting around for something to happen.
Anyway, I still want to know what happens, so I have nothing against attempting to pick it up again and skim.

The Carrier of the Mark - Leigh Fallon
Release: October 4, 2011
Last page read: 109/343 (ARC)

I haven't picked this up since August. I don't know why I had such high expectations for this book, but now that I think about it, I believe they were rather unrealistic expectations. Maybe it's because, in a weird way, I hold foreign authors in higher regard, so I expect more out of their books...?
I actually want to give myself credit for trying. I tried harder to stay interested in Carrier than I think I have ever tried for any other book. You know, I like Meghan. I even like Adam. And I have been yearning (yes, *yearning*) for a decent book about elemental forces like air, wind, fire, and water. This seemed like such a winner. But Carrier ended up being a little too 'stereotypical YA' for my taste. And while Meghan isn't an idiot in the obvious way that Rory is in The Name of the Star, she didn't really say 'unique' to me. And I'm one of those pesky readers who is not impressed when characters are 'mysteriously drawn to' the love interest. See, I was the girl who - in my sociology & family studies class - wrote my essay about why Renee Zellweger's character from Jerry Maguire was a codependent mess for that whole 'I love him for the man he almost is' declaration.
So I'm coming out and identifying myself as someone who is NOT impressed by high physical-attraction/inexplicable romances. I want my characters to be fully aware of why they are attracted to the love interest. Girls who are 'inexplicably drawn to' the love interest do not impress me, and neither do romances where the characters spend 80% or more of their time together smooching. Not impressive, either. Were there other meritorious parts to this novel? Definitely. I do want to make it clear that there appears to be more to Carrier of the Mark than a rather formulaic, emotion-based romance. But it got a little hard to me to see the other stuff because I was so distracted by the romance angle.
So basically, Carrier just felt like the kind of novel I've read so many times before.
Does that mean I hated it? No, actually. I still think Carrier is alright, and I think that when the summer rolls around and I have more time at my disposal, I'll pick this up again and finish. I still think Leigh Fallon (and her accent) are grand!
But it was a little slow and familiar.

Weekly HOBBIT video #2

Here is the second production video/making-of documentary originally uploaded by the production team of THE HOBBIT!

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