Totally gripping story. I enjoyed the first book more than the second one though. I did not like the POV character for the second book which brought down my enjoyment of the story particularly because she kept inserting her thoughts. Another thing I didn’t like was not learning the name or sex of the POV character for both books until a few chapters in. If I hadn’t read a synopsis of these books before I wouldn’t even have known that both protagonists were female. However, that was a minor point and didn’t detract from my understanding of the story.
This is a book about an intersexed teenager who prefers to be of the female sex though her parents brought her up as a boy. This is a somewhat uncomfortable topic for me because I know nothing about it. I am totally ignorant. Plus, I am also sheltered and privileged so I couldn’t relate to the situation at all. I have never been bullied nor have I ever seen bullying and I find myself unsympathetic to bullying victims when I read them in books for some reason. However, I liked the book well enough. I’m glad I bought it.
I have finally re-read Harry Potter for the first time since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. When HP mania was at its height I sort of lost interest in these books. It just felt too crowded to enjoy. Now though it’s 20 years old and I am already a quarter century old. It is definitely a children’s book and it feels like that. Also, the perspective of the narrative is strictly in a young boy’s mind and I feel further removed from that because I am, of course a woman. I found myself applauding Hermione whenever she made sensible points about the actions Harry was about to take. Unusually for a series though, I have no burning desire to continue with the next one. I am only re-reading this series so I can take part in the discussions on Twitter as part of the new Pottermore book club.
I did not finish this book. The lack of quotation marks annoyed me to no end. Before I stopped reading this book, I took to using my pencil to put in the missing quotation marks. I just couldn’t continue though. It was too annoying not knowing when Saba was speaking aloud or thinking in her mind. I sometimes couldn’t tell when she was reporting someone’s speech or reporting their actions. Besides all this, the characters were dry, the scenery was dry and the action was non-existent. I couldn’t take it anymore so I moved on to other books and left this one behind.
There was a reason I didn’t look too hard to find the rest of The Outback Stars trilogy. The story did not end satisfactorily in my opinion. The point of the whole story was to name-drop Australian and Aboriginal names and culture but not much else apparently. The story was ostensibly focussed on Aboriginal artefacts but Mighty Whitey was all over the place. Aboriginals were marginal even in their own story.
The story was great. However, there was something wrong with the translation or the editing. There were too many question marks that cannot be explained away as extra punctuation. It was more like a question, like the translator was asking if that was the right word used. Also, in more than two instances, the wrong name was used even though further dialogue revealed the correct person to whom the speaker or the narrative referred. One bone I have to pick with the original author, though, “Why can’t you simply say who is speaking?” Though since this is a translation, you would think that the translator could include it for the benefit of English-speakers.
Scott Westerfeld is one of my go-to authors. When books are being released, I always consider reading his books. That’s why when this book came out in 2014, I got myself a copy to read. Now, almost two years later, I have finally started the book. That’s already a bad sign- waiting over a year to read it. The plot seemed interesting and I read anything that interests me. However, my main interests are science fiction and fantasy and this book disappoints in the fantasy area. I am not exactly a fan of YA paranormal romance. I have to be in a special mood for that. I also do not like the ‘child as an adult’ protagonist. That turned me off the first story. I was willing to go with the second story but I do not like skipping parts of a book. I’d rather leave it unfinished. So I have stopped reading this book at chapter 16 and I will not continue.
Another minor issue is the characterisation of the protagonist. She is apparently Indian-American but this is not apparent until she recounts a tale about her mother coming from India despite the fact that her last name makes multiple appearances in the first chapter. It just did not dawn on me that Patel is an Indian name (despite the fame of Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire). That and another issue which I would not name to avoid political incorrectness firmed my resolve to drop this book and never pick it up again.