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.
Two parallel stories with the barest hint of interconnection between them. At least that’s how it seemed to me. One thing though, it did get me to wiki ‘orphan train’. I only read this story because it reminded me vaguely of an article that I read about children being shipped to Australia and I thought it would be interesting. It was but not in the way I thought it would be: full immersion in historical details. I got distracted from the history because of the modern day plot.
I got this anthology free from Amazon. I don’t usually read things like this but I decided to give it a try. I was bored and was looking for a new series to read. Since this anthology consisted of Book 1’s from at least nine different series, I figured there would be something to catch my interest. Here are my reviews for each book in the anthology:
Rae of Hope:
The story is interesting. However, there were some weak points in the writing. Sometimes, it wasn’t clear to whom the narrator was referring. Another thing is the fact that the students are supposed to be British but they don’t sound like they are. Yet, the author tried to add some Britishisms here and there but they just fell flat. At least for me. Also, in this edition, there were a lot of typos especially coming down to the end of the book. One thing I absolutely did not like was the insta-love. It seemed forced. The first boy she meets and she’s in love? I don’t mind insta-love but I expect it to be more romantic. For this book, I will give it 2 stars. I may try the second book in the series, though.
This is a nice story. It involves inter-dimensional travel. It is interesting enough for me to search out more of the series. However, for some inexplicable (to me) reason, there seems to be a love triangle. Anyway, I will give this book 3 stars.
The Golden Cage:
This is actually a novella rather than a novel. I found it quite excellently written. I give it 4 stars.
I did not like how this story kept switching back and forth through different timelines. It was extremely confusing. However, if not for that, I might have enjoyed the story more. I will give this book 2 stars.
This book gave off a horror vibe until the end when it was revealed that the first ‘villain’ had fallen in ‘love’ with the narrator. Yes, this is a spoiler but I don’t really care because the rest of the book is not about that. It was actually quite suspenseful seeing the plot moving along through the narrator’s eyes. The plot twist at the end came at quite a surprise. I give this book 3 stars.
Jin in Time:
This is actually a novella. It is Part I of a novel in fact. It was an enjoyable read nonetheless. I give it 3 stars.
I was so bored reading this book. In the beginning, I got a vague sense of Twilight déjà vu- the new girl, the mysterious boy. However, the paranormal aspects of this book were extremely understated in the first half. If not for the plot in the second half, this novel could’ve been a simple contemporary teen romance. I give this book only 2 stars.
Very enjoyable read. The plot moved along quite nicely. The dialogue, however seemed a bit stilted and not very conversational. Also, there were many typos in the book. There were words missing or even extra words added that made sentences hard to understand. All in all, though I liked it- 3 stars.
Well, this turned out to be a novella in the middle of the series but that did not take away from the plot. There were no hints that made you want to have read the previous books. In fact, it worked perfectly as a standalone. It was a good story nonetheless. I will give it 3 stars. Goodreads ratings says that means ‘I liked it’ and that’s all I can really say about it.
I hate zombies. In fact, that is usually a reason for me not reading books or watching movies. However, I loved this book!
I still have two points of concern, though.
1. Was it intentional or coincidental that most of the viewpoints were male?
2. Twice, this author (narrator/compiler?) focussed on the West Indies region and he didn’t meet a single native West Indian to interview? Cuba doesn’t count.
Anyway, besides those points, I still enjoyed this book. It got me thinking. I know there is a movie for this book but I’m afraid my tolerance wouldn’t go for watching zombies in the flesh so I’ll stick with the book for now.
I enjoyed the Terry Pratchett story even though it was the second time I was reading it. I took a very long time to start the first story because I do not like horror and Stephen King’s story was the first one in the book. (I confess I have a slight complex about books. I start at the beginning and go to the end. If I cannot finish the beginning, I do not finish the book. This goes for anthologies as well. This is why I like when authors release their novellas in separate editions rather than part of an anthology but I digress.) The stories were all interesting in their own way but other than Terry Pratchett, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King and Orson Scott Card, I’d never read anything by the other authors. For Stephen King and Orson Scott Card, I’d not read the series that the stories in the book was based on. Therefore, the best feature for me in this book was the summary of each series at the beginning of each story.
I’d read the Chaos Walking trilogy and I was just blown away. However, I have been dithering about reading Patrick Ness’ other books based on their synopses. Now that I’ve read this one, I think I may have been right to dither. The synopsis of this book led me to believe that I would be reading about normal people with superhumans in the background. That was not the case. Maybe, it is just me but I disliked the protagonist. I may just be some horrible unsympathetic person but I had no sympathy for that protagonist and that coloured my whole perception of the book.