Book Reviews: The Magician King, Veronica Mars, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, Landline, Slam

Up first: The Magician King by Lev Grossman: This one’s the sequel to The Magicians, which I loved very much. I’m also a huge fan of Lev, so this one has been long and coming. I’ll admit, it was very slow. One of the things I liked so much about the book’s predecessor was the structure and setting of Brakebills. This one does not – predominantly – take place there. Once the book hit about 3/4 of the way through, I feel like it hit its stride. I just wish I didn’t have to wade through the chapters leading up to it. Honestly, until that turning point, I was thinking of putting this one down unfinished. I wasn’t dazzled, but I’ll still probably go in for the third book in the series as well.

Rating: 3/5 Stars
 
 
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham: I just started and finished watching the TV series of VMars over the past two months. Then I watched the movie follow-up, and the next day I rushed out to get this book. One word to describe Veronica’s transition to the printed page: clumsy. I just couldn’t get my mind around the writing style. It was full of fluff, but fluff containing huge cliche metaphors and descriptions. At times I felt like the authors were describing a complex series of camera shots and not writing a book. That being said, the dialogue was the strong point of this one. However, the book was written in third person, which creates an extra voice in the story. Juggling the dialogue, internal monologue, and actions was very confusing and had me flipping back pages trying to sort out what was happening. Veronica’s character was a little bit lost in her transition to print, but the dialogue was definitely trying to poke through that fog. Structurally, the plot was basically consistent with an episode of the tv series. The kind of know-who-did-it-3/4-the-way-through mystery. I felt like the appearances by Logan and Weevil were just put in to appease the fans. They did little to progress the plot and the book could have gone without it. I was still waiting at the end for the Veronica’s Personal Life problem to appear, but nothing on the level I expected ever came up. God damn it though, I wanted to like this book so much. I’m still going to buy the sequel, in hope of it being better, or different.
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
 
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski: God, this book had me up all night reading. It starts out with all the necessary parts for a mind-blowing book. I was SO enthralled. I loooooved it until about three quarters of the way through. (seems to be a common number today, eh?) Then, I kind of realized that the predominant theme was religion and… well, the ending just made me scoff. It came across as very White Christian writing, and I couldn’t make sense of the ending in any other way. It even changed the way I saw the rest of the book too, despite the esteem previously afforded to it. This book turned from magical realism to religious studies way too fast and it was not subtle at all. (Also note, if it wasn’t clear before, I go to a liberal arts college and etc etc)
Rating: 3/5 Stars
 
 
Landline by Rainbow Rowell: Yayyyy another book by Rainbow!! I was devastated when I saw that my amazon pre order came back declined on the day of its release, but it got here soon enough and then of course I couldn’t put it down. I even passed on Harry Potter movie night in favor of this book. This is exactly the kind of book that need to be written right now. RR gets great marks in all aspects of depiction, characterization, and overall plot. Girl had me laughing out loud in the office on my lunch break with her witticisms. The ending though? Really not how I was expecting things to go down, but of course I respect it anyway. This novel in one quote: “Magic Fucking Phone.”
Rating: 4/5 Stars
 
 
 
Slam by Nick Hornby: Alright. So this one’s about a teen kid who gets his teen girlfriend pregnant. Spoiler alert: they decide to keep the baby. The main character was one moody, immature little bastard though. I was worried about the cliches in the protagonist’s narrative for a while, but as I got into the book, his character began to form and I took them as a part of his personality. The thing I loved about this book was that Sam acted in the way I expect most teenagers would. He didn’t go all high and mighty and have an epiphany where he suddenly gets smarter and more mature, like lots of stories in this genre seem to favor. No, he did all the stupid things. He stumbled over words, got into trouble for misspeaking, and said “I dunno” a lot. Sam was the most realistic character I’ve seen in a long time. In the end you have a real sense of his age and mindset compared to the others around him. Hornby messes with the timeline a bit, which I liked because it made the plot more interesting. I’m not sure if the book would have held my attention without those aspects. Oh, and it was published in 2007, so there’s a reference to myspace in it, haha.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Also, I’m super excited to see Lev and Rainbow at LeakyCon next week!!

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