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Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

The Raven Boys

In YA Book Reviews on May 28, 2014 at 12:42 am

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by Maggie Stiefvater

YA Fantasy/©2012/408 Pages/First in a Trilogy

Publisher Info (Goodreads):

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.  Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

My Thoughts:

Truly an intriguing story line, but the stand out feature of this book for me are the characters. Maggie Stiefvater is a great storyteller, but she is an absolute master of character development. She does take her time establishing the story line and introducing the characters, but I did not find myself losing interest or getting bored. There is an interesting pace to it, and it sucked me right in. There are several twists and turns and so many unanswered questions as this first of a trilogy comes to an end. I will definitely be reading the next two!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Other Books in The Raven Cycle Trilogy: The Dream Thieves (©2013) and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (©October 21, 2014)

Other Thoughts:

Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

 

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The Goldfinch

In My Favorites on May 12, 2014 at 2:30 am

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 by Donna Tartt

©2013/771 pages/Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014

Publisher Summary (Goodreads):

“The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind….Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.”–Stephen King,

The New York Times Book Review Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

My Thoughts: This a serious read and truly requires a commitment, but, in my opinion, it is well worth the read. As more than one reviewer has stated, “The Goldfinch” is a brilliantly written, compelling book. My thoughts exactly! The writing was truly incredible. I found myself stopping frequently to reread a sentence or passage just because it was so well written.  The plot chronicles how Theo’s life progressed after the death of his mother in a terrorist attack and how he worked through his grief. Though there were parts in the plot that were so depressing and detailed (especially the drug scenes) and parts that just seemed not really credible, I never once thought of just stopping mid-book. There were many secondary characters throughout the book that also added depth and interest to the plot,  and the author masterfully developed each one, especially Hobie and Boris.  Without giving anything away, the ending was well thought out and will stay with me for a long time. It is one of those books that you almost want to re-read because you know you will continue to get more out of it each time you read it. It is one of those books that you want to find out who else has read it so you can talk to them about it. It is just one of those books that you won’t soon forget.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Other Thoughtful Reviews That Could Serve Well as Stimulating Book Club Discussion  (because this is a book that you need to talk about!)

http://thebookshelfofemilyj.com/2014/05/21/the-goldfinch-what-does-it-mean-to-keep-a-secret/

https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/greg-cwik-on-donna-tartts-the-goldfinch

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/books/review/donna-tartts-goldfinch.html?_r=0

http://www.npr.org/2013/10/31/242105656/dickensian-ambition-and-emotion-make-goldfinch-worth-the-wait