15 June 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416 (not enough)
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads is my rose): When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

My Thoughts: This novel was great. I mean like wanted to reread it right after I finished reading it, which is weird because half the time, I don't even reread novels. 

Even though it was a retelling, and therefore is similar to the original story, it was a fantastically unique story to me. I thought that it was original. Especially the characters. Feyre (whose name is super annoying because I have to think about it to read it) is amazingly strong. I couldn't do 1/4 of what she did, nor would I even pretend to try. There are so many times when I would have given up or lost hope. Sure, she did lose hope a few times, but she always came back swinging harder than ever before. I couldn't have been her. Lucien was the perfect combination of annoying, snappy, and sarcastic. Tamlin was just fascinating. 

The world that was painted for the reader was so beautiful and also terrible that you couldn't help but find it attractive, even when it was scary and you wanted to run away from it. 

There were no instant relationships (yay) and there was a done of action (yay) that was well thought out and carefully laid (double yay). I believed where it was going and how everything happened. I didn't once catch myself wondering when the book would end or what was to come; I was living in the moment, book style. It was great. 

The end (not the actual end) was great. The whole last section had be sitting on the edge of my seat, scheming right along with the characters, trying to understand their motivations and who could be trusted. I swore at this book and argued with the characters and caught my heart beating faster as it went along. 

The vocabulary, the description, the structure were all wonderful and weren't a distraction. They only made me read more quickly since I wasn't stuck tripping over sentence structure or other problems with the writing. I forgot that I was even reading and ended up staying awake until 2am. Clear writing makes me so (so so so so) happy.

My only real (not actually an issue) issue is that this novel doesn't seem to belong in the young adult section. Violence, romance, nasty names, and some horrible thoughts definitely make this novel a new adult. Which is great for me because that section is really growing on me. So much was left for the rest of the series but it also could be read on it's own, I think. 

So: I thought that this was a fanatic retelling of Beauty and the Beast; it helps that I am a huge fan of that story as it is. I want the rest of the series right this moment and might cry because I can't. This novel might be my favourite by Maas. I think you should read it. End of story.

Best novel I've read in a while.

8 June 2015

Review: On Beauty and Being Just

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Elaine Scarry
Format: Paperback
Pages: 134
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads is beautiful): Have we become beauty-blind? For two decades or more in the humanities, various political arguments have been put forward against beauty: that it distracts us from more important issues; that it is the handmaiden of privilege; and that it masks political interests. In "On Beauty and Being Just" Elaine Scarry not only defends beauty from the political arguments against it but also argues that beauty does indeed press us toward a greater concern for justice. Taking inspiration from writers and thinkers as diverse as Homer, Plato, Marcel Proust, Simone Weil, and Iris Murdoch as well as her own experiences, Scarry offers up an elegant, passionate manifesto for the revival of beauty in our intellectual work as well as our homes, museums, and classrooms.
Scarry argues that our responses to beauty are perceptual events of profound significance for the individual and for society. Presenting us with a rare and exceptional opportunity to witness fairness, beauty assists us in our attention to justice. The beautiful object renders fairness, an abstract concept, concrete by making it directly available to our sensory perceptions. With its direct appeal to the senses, beauty stops us, transfixes us, fills us with a "surfeit of aliveness." In so doing, it takes the individual away from the center of his or her self-preoccupation and thus prompts a distribution of attention outward toward others and, ultimately, she contends, toward ethical fairness.
Scarry, author of the landmark "The Body in Pain" and one of our bravest and most creative thinkers, offers us here philosophical critique written with clarity and conviction as well as a passionate plea that we change the way we think about beauty.

Slight disclaimer: I read this book for class...

Thoughts: This novel really succeeded in making me think. It was easy to understand and interesting. This book was my favourite of the five I read for my intro to philosophy class. It examines the ways beauty creates a better world and how it can encourage us to be more moral. I had never considered that beauty was the reason we try to recreate things, including creating children. 

It was short and very educational...ish so there isn't much I can say except that if you are interested in beauty, justice, philosophy as topics to read about, you should check this book out. I am currently looking into another one of Scarry's works for pleasure instead of for school. That is a pretty strong testimony in itself, I suppose.

1 June 2015

Review: Never Never

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Format: ebook
Pages: 159
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Summary (Never forget about Goodreads.com): Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. 
Complete strangers since this morning. 
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget. 

What I think: I have a huge problem with this novel. My problem is that this novel is the opposite of huge. This novel was too short. It's not even really a novel. It's barely a novella. Still, they claim that it can stand on it's own. This is a load of bull. I was enjoying the novel well enough. It was unique, completely different than the usual boring stuff but then it just ended. I loved that it was written by two authors working together. I don't mean that I was rushing through it so fast that I missed that I was coming to the end. I mean that it ended almost mid thought when there was no real reason for the novel to end. Never Never: Part Two was just released last week or something but I almost don't want to read it because I'm worried the same thing would happen. I understand that both authors are extremely busy and that's fine. So wait. Wait until you can tell the full story or, at least, a normal portion of the story. I understand that there was a legal reason for this being a novella but I still think that they could have released the two novellas close or SOMETHING. I don't know...

This novel made me mad. Because of this, I am in no rush to read the next one. I have a funny feeling that I will either not have a single clue what is happening or it will end abruptly like this novel did. 

It could have been so great and that makes me so sad.

Other than that, like I said, this story was unique. I enjoyed the characters and their perspective. I think that both authors are extraordinary (and Kristen can comment on my slightly over the top love for CoHo...). I suppose that, given the length, this novel would be easy for you to get your hands on and would not take all that long to read. Could I just suggest waiting until you have the second before reading the first? 
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