Showing posts with label twins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label twins. Show all posts

Thursday, February 9, 2017

[Review] A Million Worlds With You (Firebird #3) - Claudia Gray: Parallel Universes and Evil Twins




In A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU, Marguerite's evil parallel universe self is hell-bent on killing every version of Marguerite in every single universe she can so she can't sabotage the plans of Home Office.

What intrigued me: The conclusion to my favorite series of all time. It hurts.

Chasing through universes

A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU picks off right where the sequel left off. And I gotta say - that premise didn't do it for me. While Firebird is and will always remain my favorite book series, I wish it had been a duology. See, this whole Evil Twin coming to destroy the world storyline does feel a little over the top in my opinion and I just didn't enjoy it as much as the other books and found myself wishing for the story to get wrapped up more quickly. This is absolutely subjective.

The universes Gray shows us this time around are interesting, but not explored nearly as much as they could have! But because the premise is so reliant on the chasing part I was a little sad to see Marguerite spend very few time with the individual Pauls or even just in the universes. Where is the fluff! I feel like sometimes along the complicated plot lines and the excellent world building, the romance fluff got lost. Sure, we had Russia. But that was it? 

Arguably the most interesting parts of  A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU are those when Marguerite returns to previously visited universes. I really loved that in TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU already and I just can't get enough of checking in with the other scientists.  But regardless, A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU feels like a wild goose chase, jumping from universe to universe so fast and filled with barely plausible plot conveniences, I didn't like this nearly as much as the other books in the series.

Still grieving my husband

I have a confession to make: I don't think I ship Paul and Marguerite. I don't think I ever did. The problem is that both the reader and Marguerite get to know Paul on a deep emotional level in the Russia!Verse, where he is the Grand Duchess' protector Lieutenant Markov. And I never got over him. 
See, Lieutenant Markov shows the tender side of Paul, the romantic side - and in "real life" he's this grumpy smart-aleck who's angry all the time. The swooniness and the magic all poofed away with Lieutenant Markov's passing. A moment of silence. Anyway. I'm complaining on a high level here and this might not even ring true for you because you probably really loved Paul. I'm just a sad widow because my book husband was taken from me. 

But I'm so happy that we got another cuddly version of Paul with the sweet Father Paul from the Rome!Verse who has to choose between letting himself love Marguerite or staying celibate. Be still my beating heart! I'll definitely go back to TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU and reread the Rome!Verse parts with him, he's such a gentle flower that must be protected and made up a bit for the chronic lack of calm romantic fluff in this series. 

The Firebird books are excellent and just like the predecessors A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU presents an interestesting journey through the universes. It would've wanted more action and a compelling narrative from this than it actually delivered - it very much feels like an unnecessary sequel with a very disappointing and too convenient ending. However, if you've read one, you gotta read them all. I'm sad to say goodbye.




Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A few words to mourn the ending of this series: Despite A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU's lack of my favorite thing about this series, my darling Russia!Verse including my favorite Paul, I loved visiting these different worlds.

I surely wouldn't mind returning to the world of Firebird with a prequel about Conley and Josie's romance from the Home Office!Verse. So if Claudia's up for that, I'll be back.

The rest of the series reviewed
A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU (1) | TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU (2)


Note: A thing that seriously worries and confuses me is that out of ALL the worlds and universes we visit, there isn't a single one where Marguerite/Paul/Theo are lgbt. There is only one universe where one of them is disabled - deaf, actually - though the time spent there is so short that you can barely call this representation. (Well then there's one where a character loses a leg but they don't appear on-screen after that so that doesn't count either.)

While there is an explanation for this lack of marginalizations/diversity in the books ~wishy washy we're meant to be together fate yada yada~, I think it wouldn't have been that hard to even just add -one- universe where they're lgbt. Out of all the decisions they have to make to lead to Marguerite and Paul's epic love 90% of the time, you can't try to tell me that there isn't a single universe where Paul ended up with Theo, or Marguerite decided she liked neither and is a lesbian or is bi and ended up with a girl. [Totally seeing her and Romola. Yes.] What do you guys think?



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 419
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Parallel Worlds
ISBN: 9780062279026

Synopsis:
"A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.

The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.

Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.

So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead."
(Source: Goodreads)


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Saturday, December 17, 2016

[Review] I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson: Twins and Grief

In I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN twins Noah and Jude tell the story of their lives before and after their mother's death.

What intrigued me: I felt like reading some contemporary.

Feels more magical than Contemporary

The biggest problem I had with I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN starts right in the beginning. It's the prose. Nelson has an overly ambitious super flowery writing style that is filled with metaphors so creative that I struggled to understand whether things were literally happening or simply metaphors. It's that apparent. I was a little disappointed to realize that this isn't a Magical Realism novel but a straight up Contemporary that just overdosed on the metaphors. With this writing style Nelson certainly would be able to pull of a magnificent book with magical elements, but I digress.

The main problem I had with I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is the concept. One POV follows thirteen year-old Noah, a gay teen that's struggling with his sexuality and wanting to get into art school. First of all - his voice is way too young for YA. Would this be a Middle Grade Contemporary it would've been way easier to stomach, but combined with having the extremely long chapters alternate between 16-year-old Jude three years later and him, it's just too much of a stretch for my taste. 

POVs don't fit together

I also think that beyond this concept, I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN doesn't have premise or even just a plot. Nothing of importance happens and Nelson very heavily relies on her flowery writing to carry the almost train-of-thought-esque narration. I just couldn't be bothered, the fact that I really disliked Noah's extremely young voice in combination with Jude's that feels more like traditional YA, it threw me off a lot and made reading this equal a chore. I hated Noah's chapters so much that I found myself skimming through them sometimes just to get to Jude. 

I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN would've been so much better as a duology with aged up characters. Had Noah been a little older, only a year or two, and had he gotten his own book this could've been epic. Considering the length of I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN I just couldn't be bothered to stay enthusiastic throughout the whole thing because there is nothing in this book that warrants the length. It severely lacks in plot and therefore just fell absolutely flat for me, despite being the work of an exceptionally talented writer.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is a classic it's not you, it's me novel. I really disliked everything about it, but is hardly an objective judgment of the style and writing. Nelson is a talented writer, but her style just isn't for me.



Additional Info

Published: 21st November 2016
Pages: 480
Publisher: cbt
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 978-3-570-16459-4

Synopsis:
"Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world."
(Source: Goodreads)



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Friday, September 30, 2016

Recommendation: One - Sarah Crossan: Conjoined Twins and Poetry

In ONE, conjoined twins Tippi and Grace have to face an impossible choice.

What intrigued me: I was in the mood for some novels in verse!

Mastering Free Verse

This book. ONE is a gut-wrenching emotional journey that will most definitely grip you and not let you go until the end. In free verse, Crossan tells the story of two conjoined twins. The story is structured very loosely, which in fact absolutely complements the form. Each little chapter has a title and describes a part of their life (doubling as a single poem) and also bringing the story forward. It reads like a regular contemporary, except DOUBLES as a poetry collection.

Crossan masterfully executed this. I was skeptical in the beginning because I had my doubts about the form, but Crossan exceeded my expectations and absolutely and utterly stunned me with this magniloquent masterpiece. 
Tippi and Grace are those kinds of protagonists that you immediately fall in love with. Crossan manages to effortlessly establish their personalities and traits within a couple poems and it's just so gripping. I loved reading about their daily life, it's so strangely addicting while absolutely NOT losing itself in telling the story. The poems in themselves are so incredibly cohesive that you might as well just read them as little short story standalone snippets. I think you'll get the most out of ONE if you take it slow and not gulp it all down in one sitting (which will be hard because it's so addicting). 

Get the Tissues Ready

The thing that ultimately made me absolutely break down and melt into a puddle of tears is that ONE not once leads you on about what it's trying to be. From the first page on, the tone makes it absolutely clear that it goes downhill from there. That the sisters will be facing a tragedy and that you'll slowly but surely should get a box of tissues as you'll go along. You can virtually feel your heart get torn in two as you read more about those lovely sisters, learn more about them and ultimately come closer to the Big Tragedy that you really really really will want to have some tissues ready for.

ONE absolutely surprised, charmed, and stunned me. Crossan created such a profoundly beautiful work of art seemingly so effortlessly. I am in absolute awe and will most certainly pick up more books by her. 


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A clear recommendation for both poetry lovers and skeptics. ONE is a powerfully eloquent and fantastically entertaining work of art that you will most definitely reread and reread and reread. If your heart can take it, that is.



Additional Info

Published: September 15th 2015
Pages: 400
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9780062118752

Synopsis:
"Grace and Tippi. Tippi and Grace. Two sisters. Two hearts. Two dreams. Two lives. But one body.

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy.

But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn’t want to admit it. Not even to Tippi.

How long can they hide from the truth—how long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives?"
(Source: Goodreads)



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Friday, September 2, 2016

[Review] Leave Me - Gayle Forman: Heart Attacks and Leaving Your Family





In LEAVE ME, the overworked mother of twins Maribeth decides to leave her family after she had a stress-induced heart attack.


What intrigued me: I've read other books by Gayle Forman and liked her writing style, so I was eager to try something else by her.

Devastating premise

The premise of LEAVE ME is a very devastating one, which is half of the reason why I wanted to read this. 

Having read other novels by Forman before, I'm confident in her ability to portray strong emotions. She didn't disappoint me. LEAVE ME manages to portray this horrible scenario in a very realistic, emotional way. 

Maribeth is an incredibly relatable character and I did understand her choices, however cruel they are. I'm not really a fan of the perspective, I'm positive I would have enjoyed this even more if Forman had decided to write this in first person instead of third.  This perspective makes it hard to connect to to Maribeth and to really see things the way she does, which is in my opinion crucial to enjoying and understanding LEAVE ME. Forman tried to incorporate little flashback-like scenes to establish relationships, mostly the one between her former best friend and now-boss Elizabeth and Maribeth. I'm not a fan of flashbacks generally and inserting them right into an ongoing scene just confuses me and throws me right out of the story. However, this is really minor criticism. 

The difficult thing about LEAVE ME is that it doesn't follow a straight plot line, there is no real goal that Maribeth is working towards in the story. I was expecting leave me to start with Maribeth's departure, instead we get about 70 pages of what I'd call introduction. I do like that we get an insight view of Maribeth's life and that indeed makes it more easy to understand why she would leave her family just like that. 

Very literary and definitely recommended

At the end of the day, there's no way around saying that LEAVE ME really could have used more structure. I did enjoy following Maribeth into her new life and I read the book fairly quickly, however I just personally like novels to follow a clear storyline. The reason why this novel just worked for me is undeniably because of Forman's uncanny ability to portray emotion. 

Maribeth is relatable, her experiences very real, and it just reads less like fiction, but more like something that might actually happen.

If you don't mind novels that go more into the literary direction and are a fan of Foreman, this is a must read. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

LEAVE ME is an interesting, thought-provoking novel that I enjoyed. However I can only recommend this to you if you don't mind the slow pace and the lack of action.



Additional Info

Published: September 6th 2016
Pages: 352
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Genre: Adult / Drama
ISBN: 9781616206178

Synopsis:
"For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself."(Source: Goodreads)


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