Category Archives: Literary Throwbacks

Most Liked Review

My most liked picture got me thinking about my favorite form of social media: Goodreads. That got me wondering what my most liked book review was. And…I don’t actually know. Goodreads does not apparently feel it incumbent upon themselves to send me random updates about my like stats. But, based on the number of notifications I’ve received, the main contender is my review of Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier with 62 likes and 13 comments. While this number is hardly high for Goodreads…it is for me! 

I reshare the review here with this caveat: I wrote it in 2012. That’s my only excuse. (Also this review is laced with some minor spoilers. And grammar mistakes. And….um. Teenage wrath.)

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier – 2/5 stars

Pre-Review

Oh my gosh, do I really have to wait for OCTOBER for this book to be translated into English???? AHHH! I’m so excited. And I suppose by October I’ll be stuck back in dinky Dayton so I’ll have to wait even longer to get my hands on a copy. 
^.^ 
Maybe I should just re-read Ruby Red…

Finished 12/28/12
*sigh*
So much potential. So, so much potential. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to it.
The plot is still interesting. In fact, its creative and fun and quite enjoyable. 
But the characters!
Oi. 
The characters absolutely ruin this book. 
Lets take our fearless hero, Gideon, for example. He’s a boy toy with no real purpose but to look pretty, be occasionally vexing, and be good at kissing. He is unlikely in the extreme and every high school girls fantasy. Of course, he is also the most misunderstood character around and really in love with the heroine. 
In love. Psha. That brings me to my main problem with Gideon….
His awful, awful declaration of love. It abrupt, random, and dreadful. It sounds like someone on a Jane Austen-high. He’s barely known this girl a few days and he’s “declaring his love”…which, apparently, translates to “when I see you, all I want to do is makeout so obviously I’m head over heels.” 
There is no real conception of what love is in this book. Its all lust and hormones and emotional hype. Gideon’s character is, as I said, a teenage girl’s characterization of the perfect guy. There is nothing wrong with him, his main goal is to protect the girl, oh! yeah, and all he wants to do is kiss.
There is nothing more to him though! Sure, he plays the violin and piano and hates musicals, but is any of that depth? No. Its nonsense to make it appear more attractive to our hormonal town crier…I mean, our heroine. Gwen.
Gwen, Gwen, Gwen! Oi vey. Her main issue in life is Gideon. Its almost sickening. Because here is the deal…he’s all she thinks about. Ever. Even though the entire bloody world is counting on her, even though she can travel in time, even though she has a pet gargoyle, her every waking moment is spent in contemplation of Gideon’s hair.
Or his clothing.
Or how hot he is.
Did I mention the paragraphs upon paragraphs about how attractive he looks at random moments? 
Delete that from the book, and you have an interesting, entertaining story. Its not needed. In fact, it would be so, so much better without it! Because honestly, Gwen has no depth. She’s hormonal in the extreme, dumb on top of that, and makes such obvious blunders in judging poor Gideon’s character that it really is irritating. 
This book is also rather crude. Its crass. Whether its her random (and unneeded) commentary about The Pill with her Grandfather, or the random (and unneeded) groping in the eighteenth century, or the reference to kissing and sex on every page…this book is just not good. Yet it is all somehow “love.” 
On top of our two obnoxious love-birds, the plot has several puzzling inconsistencies. Like, where the heck did Lesley and Gwen find those numbers? Yes, I know, in the library, but when were they looking? Just a randomly added details.
And sentences like “I’ll get to that in a moment” (when explaining why the gargoyle wasn’t there)
Or Gideon’s younger brother conveniently liking Lesley and knowing where the numbers came from? 
I’m looking forward to the next book being translated, and I will read it. I enjoyed a lot of Sapphire Blue Unfortunately, I was also frustrated by it. There is a lot that could have been done with it, but instead all that is left is one hormonal scene fraught with tears and the breaking of hearts after anther.I hope the final installment in the series will prove to be a delightful tye-in to everything but…I don’t have high hopes. We can only pray that it won’t descend lower than falling on the couch.

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#TBT Skulduggery Pleasant

In the spirit of re-reading more, I thought it might be fun to do a few #TBT (Throwback Thursday) posts with books I really enjoyed but never re-read. The first one I chose was Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. Unfortunately, I think I hyped this one up too much to myself over the years. It wasn’t nearly as funny as I remember it being. I originally rated it 3 stars and I think that is fairly accurate. 

Plot: When 12-year-old Stephanie’s uncle dies, she inherits his entire estate and the friendship of the very strange Skulduggery Pleasant. Skulduggery is a skeleton. He should have died centuries ago but he never did so, instead he became a detective. When Stephanie’s new possessions put her in the path of her uncle’s killer, she teams up with the skeleton detective and enters a hidden world of magic to stop an evil maniac bent on destroying the world. 

My thoughts: This is a very creative story with lots of snappy dialogue and unique characters. The action starts right at the beginning and never lets up. Considering that hidden, magical worlds are not exactly new territory, this is book manages to stay fresh and fun even when handling occasionally old tropes.

However…I never found my care-factor fully engaged. Ultimately, I blame the constant action. Someone is always being kidnapped or betrayed or tortured or shot at. There is hardly a moment to catch your breath and actually process what is all going on. The characters are clever and snappy but experience very little character change. It isn’t that I would want this book to be longer, it is already too long, but it needs to be a bit more developed to appeal to a wider audience. Then again, perhaps it has no plans to appeal to a wider audience, and is simply aimed at the Middle School crowd. 

Originally I wanted to re-read this entire series but I don’t think I will. My former reviews and ratings of this series get lower as the books progress and there are other series better worth re-reading. It is a pity, really. I remember this book being so funny. However, I don’t think I laughed out loud once. It merely amused me.