Endsinger

EndsingerEndsinger (The Lotus War Book 3)
by: Jay Kristoff

(Japanese Steampunk)

412 pages [Hardcover]

The lotus war comes to a climax as forces human, machine, feathered, and underworldly collide with devastating consequences, all with Shima’s fate hanging precariously in the balance.

The Lotus War is at an end now that I’ve finally finished Endsinger. This book sat on my shelf for far too long. There are things I love about this series and some things that made me a little reluctant to read it. Let’s start with the good things.

The worldbuilding was great with airships, chainsaw katana, griffons, lightning farms, the destructive blood lotus, a creation myth, demons…I could go on for a while. The plot was interesting, involving twists and turns I didn’t expect and the Lotus Guild’s true motives were quite sinister indeed. It’s written well, the characters are realistic with a dash of bravado and dark humor, and I loved Yukiko’s relationship with Buruu. All things Japanese and Steampunk were awesome.

So if this story was so awesome, why did I always have a tendency to put off picking up the book, only to put it down again not long after? It comes down to one simple thing: loss. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I was about halfway through Endsinger. I was so distracted by the worldbuilding and action that it didn’t occur to me just how much these characters lose. I understand that when you’re in the middle of a bloody revolution that there is going to be some loss, but each character in this story loses so much. Some characters had already lost several people in their lives before the fighting even began. I think this series had the highest body count of everything I’ve read so far. The heaviness that all that loss created made me hesitate to read where I should have been completely absorbed.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole series wasn’t horribly depressing. There were lots of wonderfully positive moments mixed in that had me smiling or cheering on the inside, but it wasn’t enough to completely balance it.

As for Endsinger, the loss really piles up. Not only do we lose characters, but we are constantly reminded of it. Remarkably, though, the ending is rather hopeful, and no one left is truly abandoned. That last page made me very happy. With all of this, I have mixed feelings about the series. If you asked me, I’d say I loved it, I just didn’t always want to read it. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

Snowpiercer

Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige
Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige

I’ve never reviewed a movie on this blog, and it’s not something I plan on doing regularly, but there was something about this one that I just had to share.

I may love books, but what I really love are stories and imagination and that comes in so many forms: books, movies, TV, games, anime, manga, and even in art. So when I come across an amazing story, whatever its form, I’m going to have to talk about it.

The entire movie had a short story feeling to it, the kind of stories that examine the best and the worst in humanity in a new and interesting way. The premise is this: Human intervention in global warming freezes the world and the only people left are on a train that travels around the entire world in one year. The passengers are organized according to class, which leads to the usual tension that brings.

Now this is a seriously violent movie, and normally that’s a bit of a turn off for me, but there was something so captivating about the world building and the characters that I didn’t care. It was quirky and dark with an epic feeling to it. The fight scenes were amazing, but the thing that kept me so interested was the train itself and the journey through it. Each car contained a new surprise, and since my interest in so many things is driven purely by curiosity, I couldn’t wait to see what they would stumble upon next.

It was a really brilliant movie, in my humble opinion, and everything I love about storytelling. Definitely worth seeing.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger GamesCatching FireMockingjay

The Hunger Games Trilogy

By: Suzanne Collins

www.suzannecollinsbooks.com

(Dystopian/YA)

374 – 391 – 390 pages

I finally read The Hunger Games, and now I feel silly for putting it off for so long. I wasn’t expecting much from the series, largely because I have a tendency to be extremely prejudiced against YA books. When the first movie came out I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about, and after a significant period of procrastination, I got around to reading the first one. These books are amazing. I got completely sucked in and that really doesn’t happen often. First person narratives are always more compelling, but there was a simplicity to it that made the words fly by. There were no super fancy phrases or big words to distract from the story. While I had my doubts about Katniss before reading the series, I found that I really loved her character. I feel like our personalities are a bit similar, so I could sympathize with her reactions and decisions. The rest of the characters were no less captivating, my favorites being Cinna and Finnick, and rounded out the story very nicely. You know a book is good when you wish you could somehow spend time with these people in real life.

Part of what made the characters so wonderful, was real emotion. None of the characters were too cool to freak out and fall apart, and given the horrible things they go through their powerful emotions are more than justified. There is some pretty heavy stuff in these books. Truly horrible things happen, and not everyone survives, in fact quite a lot of people die, but their deaths drive home the point of the story. As with most dystopian tales, this story is a warning. Part of what makes it so powerful is how easily our world could become something like this.

The theme of the Games persists throughout the series, and I really liked those parallels. The game never really ends, and that really tied all three books together. I was happy with the balance of the ending. It ended as happily as it could have without diminishing the impact of the tragic events before it.

This is a powerful story and an important one. I couldn’t stop reading, and the books moved quickly. Every chapter ends with some insane turn of events that easily propels you forward. You may want to keep a box of tissues handy with this one, but for every sad moment there is a kind or inspirational one to balance it. I absolutely loved this series, and I think you will too. Until next time…

Happy Reading!