Monthly Archives: January 2012
First up on the 2012 review list is a book which I actually read in 2011, but didn’t get around to reviewing. I don’t know why, it’s not like I had anything else to do, but in any case…
ULTRAVIOLET by RJ AndersonThis is a book which Sinéad picked up because Easons were running a 3for2 offer and she was buying the second and third Hunger Games books and she liked the look of this one. SO! I picked it up, as she was happily reading Mockingjay, and got stuck into Ultraviolet. Now, for the nitty gritty.
The Good: The cover. You can see it above, but what you can’t see is that it’s metallic and shiny and eye-catching and quite appealing.
The blurb. In its entirety:
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.
It does draw you in, I’ll admit that. I liked it a lot, and it was pretty much the entire reason why Sinéad bought the book so kudos to the publishers on the combination of those two things.
Third good point is the synaesthesia of the protagonist. It’s unusual, and it adds a new dimension to the book which moves it beyond your general “supernatural teen fiction” (a genre with which I am all too enamoured) because it is an actual condition, and therefore this could totally happen in real life.
The Bad: The main character is, well… She’s sort of a Mary-Sue. Not only does she have synaesthesia which, to the best of my knowledge, generally presents in one condition (i.e. seeing numbers with colours, seeing sounds, tasting emotions), but she has ALL the synaesthesia. Seriously. Everything you could think of, she has. And then some.
Secondly, the blurb of the book made me think I was gonna get some sort of psychological thriller in which we get deep insight into the mind of a maniac, a remorseless killer who knows exactly what she did, and the book explores her motivations for such a heinous crime. But instead what we got was a sort of a wishy-washy main character who isn’t sure what happened, or why, and is definitely not the sort of homicidal maniac the blurb suggests.
My last point as to why I didn’t like the book is a masso spoiler, but part of why I didn’t like it was that it was, well, kind of obvious. I had it figured out as soon as the “mysterious” whatshisface appeared. Faraday.
That’s another point, actually. It really wasn’t captivating. I forgot the names of half the characters by the time I was finished it a day or two.
Overall opinion? It started out promisingly but deteriorated, sadly. It wasn’t what I thought it would be, and sadly didn’t live up to the excitement the blurb promised.
The Ugly: 3 Stars out of 5
I’ve posted a couple of times before about the books in my house. There are millions of them.
Well, not literally millions. But a good few.
In any case, I’m not talking about ALL the books in my house, but specifically my books. And, actually, my sisters’ books as well.
I have too many books to fit in my bookcase. Those that will fit in my bookcase are organised alphabetically, but when I tried to fit them all into the bookcase, I was sadly deterred by the fact that, well, I have too many books.
So I’ve separated out those series of books which can reasonably be displayed on the top of my bookcase, leaving space for single books, etc.
Some of the series are easy to display – the Chronicles of Narnia, which I got in a box-set, are seven perfectly matched books which sit, all at the same height and roughly the same width, looking perfect, as they should. As well as that, I have the full Keys to the Kingdom series, all seven of which are the same height, roughly the same width and the same edition for all seven.
Similarly, I have the first 43 Animorphs books piled up on top of my bookcase. This annoys me a little bit, because numbers 1 and 2-17 are a different edition to number 2, 3 and 18-43. BUT, luckily, they are hidden by the fact that the Chronicles of Narnia are displayed in front of them, so you can’t see the non-matching books. It’s all good. Besides which, they’re all the same size, so that’s some consolation. It means they stack nicely, so that’s okay.
And furthermore, as my beloved baby sister has pointed out to me, I was actually given a present of all the animorphs books (bar numbers 2-5) by my cousin, so I can’t actually take any responsibility for them. Thank you, cousin.
Similarly, my copy of the Guardians of Time Trilogy doesn’t match perfectly. When I first bought The Named, I didn’t realise that it was a part of a trilogy. It wasn’t until a few years later that I found The Dark and The Key. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to finding and buying them, the editions had changed.
This bugs me to no end. I don’t know why. They just don’t match. It’s actually so annoying I’m struck occasionally to go out and buy a matching edition of the named. In any case, I prefer the later editions. Check them out! I have the Named from this set:
And then I have the Dark and the Key from the following set of covers. I think they’re prettier, so sometimes I think I want to change my edition of the Named!The whole thing that they’re not matching is sort of my fault, so it’s not like I can complain that much about it. If I really wanted to, I could find and buy a copy of the Named with the red cover, so that it would match the Dark and the Key, and everything would be all fine and dandy. So although it annoys me, I can cope with it.
HOWEVER! There are certain other things about my books, along the same vein, which similarly bug me. Take, for example, my collection (combined with Sinéad) of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The collection as a whole makes me really happy, because there are thirteen novels, plus horseradish, which match PERFECTLY. And this just makes me smile. We also have the Lemony Snicket, the Unauthorised Autobiography, which, although it doesn’t have the same design (i.e. the coloured spine, picture in an tombstone shape on the front, relevant motif along the coloured spine, and the blurb which looks like parchment and so on and so forth) but it’s the same size and whatever, so that’s cool. And that makes me happy too. BUT, we also have the Beatrice Letters. And that’s just off the wall in its different-ness. It’s like, twice as tall and as wide as the other books. It doesn’t match in any way whatsoever! This frustrates me hugely. What’s up with that? They’re all published by the same people! Why would they do that?
You can see here that ASOUE novels reside on the bottom row, whereas the Beatrice Letters is on top, and is markedly different!
In the same vein, I (and by I, I mean Aoife, because it actually belongs to her) have the original British cover of Twilight, with the stupid girl on it.Then I have the matching Atom editions of New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn (seen in the image above) as well as The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and Twilight, The Official Illustrated Guide (don’t judge me, okay, I don’t even like them). And while it annoys me that the Twilight cover doesn’t match, naturally, same as the Named, it annoys me even more that the New Moon edition is like, an inch shorter than the others. What is up with that? They’re all published by the same crowd! They’re all paperback! Why don’t they match???
This, too, bugs me.
Furthermore, my Harry Potter collection, also seen in the image above, bugs me for two reasons. The first is that I have an adult edition of the Order of the Phoenix. As you can see, it doesn’t match at all, and sticks out like a sore thumb when you put them all together. Then I also have paperback editions of The Philosopher’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets (although it was missing when I took that picture). The whole hardback/paperback thing bugs me as well, because it means that the series/trilogy/whatever ends up being a mishmash of different sizes. This upsets me greatly.
The next picture is rather more fuzzy (shaky hands) but you can see roughly what the series on the top of my bookcase are. The one I’m talking about now is the Old Kingdom series, by Garth Nix. You can see that it’s a black and a red hardback next to each other (Lirael and Abhorsen) with a white paperback on the left and a tiny black and a purple one on the right.
This series drives me insane. It was actually so bad that I demoted it from the top of the bookcase, because it was bugging me. The deal is that I bought Sabriel first, and a while after it was published, so that was in paperback. Lirael and Abhorsen, then, I was super excited about, so I bought them as soon as they came out, meaning that they’re hardback. Then Nix released a short story for World Book Day, which I also picked out, because I really like the Old Kingdom series. Lastly, he re-released the World Book Day book in a collection with a few others – that’s Across the Wall, which is the purple one. The hardback/paperback differences between series/trilogies/whatever really annoys me. I don’t know why. I think there’s something wrong with me, in that this kind of thing actually bothers me to the extent that I had to take the Old Kingdom series off the top of my bookcase. I replaced it with the first three of the Fallen Quadrilogy (the last one isn’t out yet) (don’t judge me, I know they’re really bad). I also refuse to put Cornelia Funke’s Ink trilogy on the top of the bookcase because Inkheart is hardback and Inkspell and Inkdeath are paperback. I’m not entirely sure how I managed to get that one the wrong way around. You would think that I’d have a paperback edition of the first in the trilogy, but no, I have the first in hardback and the second and third in paperback.
In any case, matching up series of books makes me incredibly happy, and mismatched series actually frustrate me to no end. It’s some sort of weird foible of mine. But sometimes I wish I was French, then all the books I bought could be livre de poche, and they’d all be the same size and I’d NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS SORT OF THING AGAIN.