Sunday, June 15, 2014

YAck Attack: And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

From Goodreads:

Come for the apocalypse. Stay for cupcakes. Die for love. Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings. None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world - and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind. Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

Sya: Hmmmm. I have started All The Stars. And hmmmmm.

Angie: I'm halfway.

Sya: I'm finding it...under edited.

Sya: But will with hold judgement until the end.

Donna: Well that's not a promising start at all.

Sya: I edit for money - I am, perhaps, a bit of a pedant.

Donna: I'm a writer and have been editing for others since high school. I raise a glass to pedantry in that regard.

Sya: Yeah, I always thought it should be a pre-requisite.

Donna: Editing? Yeah, usually in published works, self or otherwise.

Sya: Pedantry. But yes, editing also.

Angie: So far my main issue is a lack of emotional connection to the characters. But some of that is likely due to Madeleine's emotional disconnect herself. I like the idea of the invasion and the dust, etc. Very cool. Will see how things develop.

Sya: Absolutely agree about the disconnect but I put it down to poor writing. However, I really like the premise and the setting and so am going to persevere.

Chachic: I will keep my fingers crossed that you guys will still enjoy the book even with these problems. Frankly, I didn't have any of those issues when I first read it. Will try to reread it soon! Haven't had much time to read while on vacation.

Angie: Okay. That scene was adorable.

Chachic: What scene?

Angie: I think you know.

Chachic: Oh yes. I totally understand. can't wait for the others to reach that section. I just finished the book that I was in the middle of. Will start rereading And All the Stars soon.

Angie: Finished last night. Many across the board feelings on this one.

Maureen: You know, I'm having a really hard time remembering the details on this one. Read it in December 2012, according to my notes. Also according to my notes, it started out crackerjack, got all tangled up and confused, and then the epilogue was like, "Oh! We won! Yay us!"

Sya: These characters have no chemistry and the dialogue is terrible. I have more thoughts, not all of them bad. But most of them. Half way through and still inclined to finish it. But only just.

Laura: So it is suck?

Sya: I don't know. I AM CONFLICTED. But generally, yes. Although possibly know. But I don't know why. It is a decent and original premise yet the writing

Sya: It's also like she is ticking a Checklist. Ethnic diversity, tick. Religious diversity, tick. Sexual diversity, tick. Awkward and realistic sex, tick. They are all so happy in their diverse melting pot. They can even burn incense while worried that the...See More

Donna: It is sounding more and more likely that I won't be purchasing this one.

Angie: I ended it conflicted as well, Sya. It is not suck. At least, I don't feel it is. There was a point at which things became very exciting indeed. Generally, I really enjoyed the setup and world. She had some good ideas. Really good ones. But yes, yes to Tyler's mystifying existence. Madeleine was supposed to be so very fond of him. Bordering on the only person she cared about. Yet I never felt it. He had no real presence and made little impression on me at all, which is unfortunate for a character who is supposed to be such an icon and cult sensation.

Sya: The writing is pretty clunky. There is a lot of telling instead of showing and when that's not happening she flails about some pretty hyperbolic metaphor and simile. Also, it annoys me that a lot of the major developments are introduced in an almost throw away expository manner, "like, remember when we saw on TV that they are segregating all blues and using them for visual interest in the homes of the rich etc?" Or whatever. Also, what are the greens? Are they actually green. Maybe I missed that particular bit. But I shouldn't have been able to. Also, the alien Olympic thing: REALLY???? I mean...what?

Sya: I finished it. The last few lines were ok. The rest was pretty bad for all the reasons I've mentioned as well as many others but it did have potential and a decent edit might have moved it from frustrating to enjoyable. I hated the acting stuff, the painting became tiresome and I couldn't connect to the protagonist. AND THERE WAS NO ROLE FOR RICHARD ARMITAGE. However, I agree with Angie that there are some decent ideas at play and it did keep me reading. So not entire suck.

Heidi: I'm sorry this one really didn't work for you, Sya! I honestly don't have time to reread, but I'll chime in with what I remember. I really liked this one when I read it. I think what struck me the most was that it was so out of the box of anything I would usually read, but she made it work for me. I like that she was able to surprise me, though I'll admit to aspects being cheesy and I remember being very confused during action scenes.

Laura: If there was no role for our king.....then you know what to do....

Sya: Motion to announce book as fail due to lack of role for King or, indeed, any if the round table of knights. Not even Felicia Day.

Sya: Or Betty White.

Sya: Or Mrs Weasley because the parents in this book are the WORST.

Sya: Apart from Noi's dad.

Laura: I can't be the one to pass that motion because I didn't read the book. IS the law. So someone must.
Chachic: I'm with Heidi on this. I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out for the rest of you. I can see why it wouldn't work for everyone. It would have been nice if I was more invested in the characters but I still really enjoyed it because I felt that the setup was quite unique. And I really liked that it was set in Australia when so many other books are set in either the US or UK. It was an added bonus that Manila was mentioned in the story (yes, the Philippines hasn't been left out of the alien invasion!) I also second what Heidi said that it was great that the author was able to surprise me.

Angie: I wouldn't say it didn't work for me. I just had more conflicted feelings over it than I was hoping. But I was keen to finish it and she definitely surprised me. I had the huge OMG NOOOOOOOOO moment. And I loved that. It was a unique setup and I really enjoyed the Sydney setting and the whole invasion, skins changing, teens banding together to survive, love among the wasteland thing. My main issue was I felt like there was a wall between me and the characters emotionally. Usually when that happens, I put the book down because I don't care about any of them. That wasn't the case here because, in truth, I liked them all. But I never LOVED them or was able to feel as close to them as I wanted to. That extra layer of emotion and intimacy in the writing was missing for me. I will say that the awkward, realistic sex scene completely worked for me. It was the one scene in which I felt the barrier fall. (HAHAHA) Adorable. Because of it I stayed invested in Madeleine and Fisher. But it was still from further afar than I would have liked.

Chachic: I can understand the emotional distance, Angie, and why that was a problem. When that happens, I still try and finish the book but I usually hurry through it just to get things over with. Like you, I wasn't as emotionally attached to the characters as I would have liked and even wondered for a bit why several blogger friends have been raving about this book. But then I got to that surprising bit and had a WAIT WHAT moment and she had me - I couldn't let go of the book until I reached the end. I really enjoyed the slow burn romance between Madeleine and Fisher and yes, loved the awkward love scene as well.

Sya: I warmed to them more after the big reveal - that made them interesting. Before that I felt the relationship lacked any real depth.

Donna: I read the first two chapters in a free preview. I'm intrigued by the plot and the towers and the dust but the writing's a bit heavy-handed and superfluous. Setting the scene was a bit of a mire to get through and I found myself losing focus and getting lost in the words, just not in a good way. I found it difficult to get my bearings and get a good idea of what I was supposed to be seeing. I wasn't too bothered by the less than stellar editing although some oddly placed commas threw me a little. I could probably keep reading but if the writing is this bogged down for the rest of the book then I probably wouldn't like it too much. I don't like it enough now to buy the full book. So I'm not going to. If I had it I'd probably keep reading to see what happens but I'm not going to go out of my way for it. I'm not impressed enough at this point.

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