David has lived through his adolescence with one goal. He eats, sleeps, breaths that one thing. (And no, it is not that one thing.) He has taken meticulous and exhaustive notes. He's made plans and engineered his entire life so that he can put them into action. He spares thought for nothing else. (Well, almost nothing else.) David is bent on revenge. He will see the tyrant Steelheart die.
And just as he is on the cusp of making it happen, a beautiful blond in a red dress saunters by and changes everything.
Well, almost everything.
June's father is dead. She believes that he died disappointed in her. June's father was a great musician, but June's talents were not his. He made art with sound and silence; she didn't. She tried. She tried to live up to the hope in his eyes, she tried to be as great an artist as he was, using her own vision, her own skills. But he died when she was still struggling. And so she believes he died disappointed. She believes that her failure quenched the fire in his soul — that she killed him as surely as if she had taken a knife to his throat.
Like the Summer King.
We Need New Names a portrait of a childhood — a childhood spent on two continents, in two climates, in two vastly different cultures. A childhood divided along the sharp delineation of immigration, the "before I came to American" and the "after I learned it was a one-way ticket". This novel will stand alongside Things Fall Apart as the picture of the hugely small things that make up an African life in this time. We Need New Names is a tale of the heartbreak and wonder, the joy and adventure of being a kid.
I have one complaint against this novel. It is a brilliant portrayal of the Flapper Girl that fueled the Jazz Age writing of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Her health, her worries, her dreams and aspirations, her private dislikes and temptations, everything about her is considered and measured without the false color of celebrity muddying up the portrayal. Reading this book is like reading a soul-searching memoir of a woman who dared to be herself in an age when women were never more than objects — of ridicule, of desire, of ridiculous fantasy — but objects nonetheless.
The Golem and the Jinni is magnificent. In scale and scope, in lush detail and rich flavor, in intricate characterizations and compelling narrative. It is a story that leaves a mark.
This is not for the squeamish. Nor is it one for the heartless. Maggot Moon is a dark tale of a future Britain that feels uncomfortably like Nazi Germany blended with Orwellian Oceania and seasoned with a slight dusting of Pink Floyd and a boy who refuses to be beaten — who believes fervently in hope. Standish Treadwell is a teen who can't read or write the words that jump all over the page though he is quite gifted at understanding and manipulating language.
There is nothing deep or introspective about Cassandra Clare's writing. No higher meaning or hidden truths (though I still think Jewish vampires are a stroke of existential genius). Nope. It's just what it is — the best, most inventive and richly elaborated fun ever put to print!
That and the most addictive books ever written!
I don't usually enjoy books that are as violent, harsh, and full of death in all its forms — from senseless all the way up to voluntary self-sacrifice — as Proxy. I'm too squeamish to read that kind of thing. (Elizabeth is not allowed to read Michael Grant.) I certainly don't call bloody books beautiful. But Proxy is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read — and one of the most bloody. And the ending! Whoa! Might be the best final pages ever written.
And now for the Lord God Book.
You know, it's funny. But I never completely appreciated that nickname as applied to woodpeckers. But not five pages into The 5th Wave the meaning became abundantly clear. This is the Lord God Book!
There are books that are above opinion. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about them. It doesn't matter how well they sell. It doesn't matter because there are books that are just intrinsically good. There are books that are ideal books. And Orleans is one of them.
And sometimes when you encounter those ideal books — not that you do very often, but it does happen — you also find that you hold in your hands a REALLY GOOD READ. And that too is true of Orleans.