School for Psychics is the first book in a series about a top secret university for students who possess psychic abilities. The school is divided into the misfits who had no idea they were psychic and as a result were always in trouble, and the students who come from long lines of psychics. The books seem like they plan to follow the school year format - where the book starts at the beginning of the school year and there are mysteries that do not get solved until the end of the year.
While the book was a fairly interesting read there were obvious plot holes. At one point a character is invited to attend a school saintened event, yet she had to sneak over on a contraband student boat. There were also human behaviors that sent up red flags that were instantly dismissed, only to become important at the end. When someone tries to kill you, you do not just brush it aside.
The book itself is well written. While it could be more polished, there were no major spelling or grammar errors. The writing did not always flow as well as it could though.
The story was interesting and had potential, however I do not think that I will be continuing on reading the rest of books in this series.
I have seen this book around everywhere. It was one of those most read novels just so that you know what everyone is talking about.
Everyone was talking about a heart warming book about a man coming to terms with the death of his dog. The book is that - but only in part.
The book is divided into eight parts - get it an octopus has eight legs. Except the book is really just divided into three parts.
The first part is when a young lonely male notices that his best friend, Lily, has an octopus attached to her head. He goes about his life while struggling to deal with this development. This part of the story is heartwarming. I found it interesting to see how the author walked the line between reality and denying the situation through selective fantasy.
Then came the second part of the book. While reading the second part I knew there was going to be a catch, there is no way that there would not be a catch. The story wasn't written as true insanity. It is fairly evident that the narrator is not having a psychotic breakdown. Except that he is. There is no sense of reality in the second part of the story. This second of the story seemed to be more written because the publisher decided that the book needed to have more pages added. So this crazy part was developed. It was horrible and I felt destroyed the book.
I was honestly done after reading the second section. Only two things kept me going. The first was the excellent writing skills. Steven Rowley can put words together like the best of them. The second was the absolute certainty that the mess of the third second would end. It did end. The narrator gave up his fantasy world completely and went straight into reality. Given the middle second I do not think this was handled all that well. It didn't seem to fit. Had there been a different transition I think it would have done well. The third part of the book was emotionally powerful. I cried - even though I was so frustrated with the book I did not want to cry.
This is a hard book for me to know if I should recommend it or not. On one hand it is a well written emotional narration about the bond between a man and his dog. On the other hand it is a poorly played out fantasy world that just didn't mess with anything. If they had cut out the middle and just made the book shorter this book would have gone down as a great. However, they didn't.
I looked at the ratings (but not reviews) before I bought this book. They were very mixed and I was not sure I wanted to drop the money on a paper version of it. However, I had been on the waitlist at the library for months and I really wanted to read it. So, I bought the book at the bookstore and I am so happy that I did.
I love books that have beautiful writing and strong characters. It is why Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite writers, even though I think he cannot create a plot at all. I put VanderMeer in the category of Bradbury and Dickens. The way his words flowed were beautiful. I actually started underlining in my book. I read out sections to my children. The writing is amazingly beautiful.
While the plot does come behind characterization and writing, I still found it to be an engaging story that had me enthralled until the end. Although, the ending did leave me feeling a little let down. Except that it was also completely appropriate at the exact same time. I think we are so used to everything being tied up so neatly, and the world making sence by the time we leave a book, that we have a hard time when anything else happens. Yet, if Annihilation ended that way it would not be a trilogy, and would not be true to Area X.
I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, and even have ordered it in paper as well.
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