WiB Summer Edition, Week 15
[Note: This post will probably contain vague-ish spoilers about The Forest of Hands and Teeth, because I don’t know how I’ll get through discussing it without hitting on some important details.]
I’ve really gotta get a better way of tracking my books since I started reading off the shelf. I mean, if there’s a way to organize them in Goodreads so that the to-reads don’t end up in the midst of the read pile, confusing the heck out of me, I don’t know what it is–possibly because I’m lazy. I think the simplest way to do it is to leave the to-reads next to my bed until the end of the week. Or all my reads, I guess.
The worst book I read all week was a Harlequin called Trapped by Margaret Mayo. It was, sadly, The Fiftieth Book off my to-read case and therefore a terrible disappointment. It even disappointed me when I threw it across the room AND IT LANDED ON A SHELF ON THE TO-READ BOOKCASE. I’m not even going to detail what it’s about. Let’s just sum it up with: painful, stupid, and sexist.
The other two book I read off the case were the novelization of Space Camp, which I hadn’t read in for-ev-er and I don’t even think I ever got to watch the movie, even though it has Leaf Phoenix in it and he was right up there on my list of favorite ’80s actors (behind his brother, but still); and a Silhouette (Harlequin) called Surprise Partners by Gina Wilkins. Wilkins let me down once, so I was pleased to find that I enjoyed this book. It’s nothing special, but romances don’t have to be. Sometimes all it takes is nice people who find what they’re looking for–or what they deserve.
I have another of her books on the case, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Still, I won’t be seeking out her NASCAR books or anything. Because they’re NASCAR books.
Let’s see, what else did I read?
Well, I finally got my hands on The Walking Dead. I read the first three hardcovers and was both more and less impressed than I thought I was going to be. I mean, I expected to utterly love the book right off the bat because of the hype, but even with my limited zombie experience I realized immediately that the series was breaking no new ground. When I read that it was ongoing, I thought to myself, “Ugh, they’ll never be able to keep this up” and I felt like it was going to be horribly repetitive. By the middle of the second book, I found myself getting depressed for something…that never ended up happening, actually. The author did the opposite of what I expected, and I appreciated it. Most ongoing comics don’t look for the big picture and paint themselves into corners. In three trades, you could see how that could easily happen in this series, and yet it doesn’t. I’m happy, and looking forward to grabbing the next trade out of the library this week.
I also read the third Scott Pilgrim volume because my daughter bought it for herself despite disliking Scott as a character as much as I do. I grow less fond of the series with every book (so I’m not even going to bother to link it), although I still think I’d enjoy the movie if I could see it (health issues; have to wait for the DVD or whatever we do now).
Oh, and I read Small Favor, the next Dresden book. It had that earlier feel–not quite up to the best ones, but still solid. I have the rest of the published short stories coming to me through the library, so hopefully I’ll be able to get them soon.
Finally, I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. This was another book I expected to love, and yet it fell short. This one fell far shorter than The Walking Dead, however. I’ve heard this book described by the author and others as a coming-of-age/romance that happens to have zombies in it. I don’t believe this to be true. The zombies are ever present in the book; they are the constant (horror). It’s a zombie book that has a weak romance in it.
Ryan’s attempt at writing romance reminded me of this video about Kristen Stewart’s acting. It’s all panting and breathing, panting and breathing. Ryan also vagues it up when she should be detailing, probably for the sake of pace–but if you’re saying that your book is a romance, those moments are the key moments. Does the main couple have sex? I couldn’t tell you, although by that part of the book I was a little zoned out. There are times when Ryan seems to be skirting the edges of a juvenile book rather than a young adult one, but when you have zombies, you’re already in R-rated territory. I’m not saying HEY THIS BOOK NEEDS SEX; what I am saying is that Ryan’s romance story is not on the same level as her action sequences, and the book flounders as a result. She could have pulled it off by having the characters more innocent, but the entire story is about a loss of innocence that could’ve artfully been reflected in the relationships presented. I found that to be very much not the case in this book.
Also, if any of the characters were clear with one another, I think my head would’ve exploded from shock.
The other thing she does is write sentence fragments at least once every two paragraphs. It’s all “I wanted to go home. Where it was safe. Where things were normal” and the like. I made this complaint to Sarah in Facebook chat today and she said that she read it in Shatner’s voice. And 1) hilarious but 2) yes! It’s AWKWARD.
Also, it appears to be the first in a series. Sigh. I am so sick of series. Not everything has to be a series.
JUST WRITE A BIG BOOK, people. We can handle it.
I reallllly want to pick up my copy of Mockingjay but it’s far and I’m in a lot of pain. (I don’t travel well when I’m in pain, especially pain that comes as a direct result of travel. Heh.) I think I’ll just whine about it a lot.