Thursday, April 14, 2011

I hope the movie is better

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Genre: science fiction, YA
Challenge: 100 Book Challenge 2011, 2011 Page to Screen Reading Challenge
Review: I don't generally find that the movie is better than the book. I don't think I've ever suspected that the movie will be better than the book based only on reading the book and before the movie has even been released. But I think (hope) that that's the case here.

The premise of this book is really interesting (which is why I picked it up in the first place), but the execution left something to be desired. The language can be a little stilted, and some of the scenes seemed virtually scripted for a movie. Also, the author's name is clearly a conceit (Pittacus Lore is actually named in the book as a Lorien elder), which is especially annoying because there was no pay-off to it. Maybe that'll come in the rest of the series.

So, I'll probably see this movie when it comes out, and I probably will read the rest of the books in the series as they come out. But I'll do it only out of curiosity to see whether a good story can be made out of this good premise, because it surely hasn't been done yet.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

loses focus

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fiction
Challenge: 100 Book Challenge 2011
Review: It gives away nothing about this book to say that it's about two sisters whose father kills their mother. One of the sisters is also stabbed, but survives, and the other sister runs for help and returns to a very bloody scene. The remainder of the book is the next 30+ years of the sisters' lives, showing us snapshots of how this traumatic event and its aftermath effect the rest of their lives.

This is an excellent premise for a book (one that is loosely based in the author's own life, as it turns out). The father's impending release (either earlier on parole or later when is sentence is up) is supposed to create a lot of tension for the sisters, but very few changes are evident in their lives or relationships as this date grows closer. An improbable and weakly fleshed out encounter shortly before the father's release causes some temporary changes in their thinking, but things soon go back to "normal" and the reader is forced to wonder what the point of it all was.

This book got off to a strong and vivid start, as we live through the sisters' trauma, but as they grow into adults it becomes disorganized. Meyers could have either kept a tight focus on the immediately aftermath of the event (that part of the book was quite good) or given the reader more to chew on as the sisters grew up. She did neither, but instead takes the reader on a ramble through 30 years of the sisters not dealing with what happens. But then it seems she suddenly realizes that the story needs some closure, so Meyers gives them a breakthrough for an ending that neither she nor her characters have earned.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.