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Week 1: pages 1-53 (week 8: 19th - 25th of February)

Taake

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So, when the first 50 or so pages done... here are some questions to start off conversation:

  • Did you like the opening? Did it make you curious about the story?
  • Did you like the introduction to Lyse's character? What do you think of her so far?
  • Is Benson setting a good "mood" for the book? Do you feel like there is depth to the writing? (is there foreshadowing? Was the break-in just a break in?)
  • What do you Think of Lyse's meeting with Weir?
  • What do you think about the Writing and the tempo of the book?

Also, how do you guys pronounce Lyse?
Lys? Lycée? Lise? Just curious :)

Feel free to add any thoughts or questions to this list.
 

Taake

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First of all I would just like to say that I think writing lengthier portions of books all in cursive should be a punishable offense! I get it, it's a flashback and you want to distinguish it, but it is very very annoying. So I was slighty distracted by this during the opening sequence and can't say that it made me curious about the story.

The introduction to Lyse's character is kind of fine, she seems like a scattered young lady. I didn't really feel like she was properly described though (in fact, until the entrance of Weir and Lizbeth I felt like no characters were really properly described so it was hard to get an image of them. I just kind of picture Lyse as Amber Benson), and because I've no idea how to pronounce Lyse I wish there would've been an explanation to the name. Like "Oh everyone misspronounces it as X but really it's Y". But maybe it's a generic name elsewhere and totally obvious how to pronounce? Lol.

There are a few nice pieces of writing in there, like

"There she spied a single droplet of glistening liquid, suspended from the cuff's edge like a translucent red jewel. Dev watched as it grew in size, liquid from the sodden jacket sluicing down like dozens of small tributaries heading toward the ocean, feeding the droplet until it was so heavy that gravity couldn't hold it anymore, and it plumeted to Earth."

Nice.
However, overall, there are just far too many similes and it really drags the prose and tempo down. Everything is "like" or "as" something else and it kind of makes me feel like Benson had a word count she had to hit but not enough plot to get it there, so she padded the language instead. All of these pages, to me, just felt like one big "set up" for the story, which is fine, but I wish there was... something more. Like, I can't really get a feel for who Lyse and Eleanora are. Lyse's emotions seem to be all over the place and I don't quite understand her, and Eleanora just seems designed to be "mysterious" but it's not really translating...

As for the meeting with Weir... I thought it was very forced and unnatural. There was just a really odd quality to the way they talked to each other, and how she drifted off and was a "million miles away" (no she wasn't, c'mon) but just imagine that in practice. You meet a guy for the first time, then suddenly zone out and stand slacked jawed and incommunicable until he snaps you out of it... that doesn't exactly scream "charming" so much as "challenged", in my opinion.

The highlight so far is Lizbeth, she made me curious about what's coming.
 

Mr Trick

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First of all I would just like to say that I think writing lengthier portions of books all in cursive should be a punishable offense! I get it, it's a flashback and you want to distinguish it, but it is very very annoying. So I was slighty distracted by this during the opening sequence and can't say that it made me curious about the story.

The introduction to Lyse's character is kind of fine, she seems like a scattered young lady. I didn't really feel like she was properly described though (in fact, until the entrance of Weir and Lizbeth I felt like no characters were really properly described so it was hard to get an image of them. I just kind of picture Lyse as Amber Benson), and because I've no idea how to pronounce Lyse I wish there would've been an explanation to the name. Like "Oh everyone misspronounces it as X but really it's Y". But maybe it's a generic name elsewhere and totally obvious how to pronounce? Lol.

There are a few nice pieces of writing in there, like

"There she spied a single droplet of glistening liquid, suspended from the cuff's edge like a translucent red jewel. Dev watched as it grew in size, liquid from the sodden jacket sluicing down like dozens of small tributaries heading toward the ocean, feeding the droplet until it was so heavy that gravity couldn't hold it anymore, and it plumeted to Earth."

Nice.
However, overall, there are just far too many similes and it really drags the prose and tempo down. Everything is "like" or "as" something else and it kind of makes me feel like Benson had a word count she had to hit but not enough plot to get it there, so she padded the language instead. All of these pages, to me, just felt like one big "set up" for the story, which is fine, but I wish there was... something more. Like, I can't really get a feel for who Lyse and Eleanora are. Lyse's emotions seem to be all over the place and I don't quite understand her, and Eleanora just seems designed to be "mysterious" but it's not really translating...

As for the meeting with Weir... I thought it was very forced and unnatural. There was just a really odd quality to the way they talked to each other, and how she drifted off and was a "million miles away" (no she wasn't, c'mon) but just imagine that in practice. You meet a guy for the first time, then suddenly zone out and stand slacked jawed and incommunicable until he snaps you out of it... that doesn't exactly scream "charming" so much as "challenged", in my opinion.

The highlight so far is Lizbeth, she made me curious about what's coming.

In defence of Benson, I think the point of having a story where each chapter is character focus is that you reveal small bits at a time. The point I think is more than you're in that character's head at certain moments, rather than defining what that character is as a person.

I think this is probably fair. I see you're point more with Eleanora than I do Lyse. To me Lyse's out of control emotions are consistent with a young women with extreme things happening around her. But then I got into Lyse's character almost straight away so I probably didn't have the same issues with you.

The opening couple of chapters did peak my interest. I like some of Benson's metaphors and description language. I also think she did a good job in distinguishing the characters. I like the contrast between Eleanora and Lyse. The calmer nature of the first chapter compared with the more punky, youthful mind set of Lyse. I enjoyed some of the black comedy of Lyse's first chapter, like her thoughts on the kid on the flight. Some of the writing has been rougher since then. Wasn't so keen on the Devandra chapter.

I'm not sure there is much depth to the writing, but that remains to be seen. The story as a whole feels a bit "been there done that." That is maybe why Lyse as a character is grabbing me a bit more than the others so far because she could become the less tradition character. There's enough in the writing so far to make it a solid page turner, which will probably live and die more on the characters than the actual story.

My first reaction to the break-in was that it had to be something related to the plot and that they will return to it. I don't see the point in Benson just dropping it in otherwise as it doesn't tie into anything thematically.

The writing works well enough because its a character driven novel instead of a plot driven one. I'm uncertain of the tempo. So far it does seem a bit uneven.
 

Taake

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In defence of Benson, I think the point of having a story where each chapter is character focus is that you reveal small bits at a time. The point I think is more than you're in that character's head at certain moments, rather than defining what that character is as a person.

Fair enough, I suppose I just wanted more from the opening as Lyse's character didn't "grab me" so to speak. I wanted something more that made me feel like I could picture her and see where she was coming from. It might fix itself as the story goes on though, as you mention it is a multiple character story so full focus hasn't been on Lyse. I still wish she had given more of a description of what she looked like though, especially as later characters are more thoroughly described.


The writing works well enough because its a character driven novel instead of a plot driven one. I'm uncertain of the tempo. So far it does seem a bit uneven.

Agree, on the tempo being a bit uneven so far. I get the feeling that Benson is still "finding her feet" as an author so to speak, which makes sense, it's hard to write after all, but it's a craft you get better at. :)

I liked the break-in and Lizbeth the most because both felt like things that were part of the major story, and not just the introduction to the characters, and they gave me hope of more interesting things to come.
 

Buffy Summers

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Did you like the opening? Did it make you curious about the story?

It did make me curious, but I think it took a bit for me to realize it was in the past lol

Did you like the introduction to Lyse's character? What do you think of her so far?

I'm not sure I really liked her. And I felt she was kind of young to be passing out in her kitchen like that lol

Is Benson setting a good "mood" for the book? Do you feel like there is depth to the writing? (is there foreshadowing? Was the break-in just a break in?)

So far I think the foreshadowing has been kind of obvious, but it's hard to really tell this early in the book.

What do you Think of Lyse's meeting with Weir?

I don't know, it felt sort of weird. Like, I couldn't help making the comparison to Buffy & Angel lol. The whole interaction was awkward, though. I liked Lizbeth, though.

What do you think about the Writing and the tempo of the book?

Honestly, I'm enjoying it better than I did Ghosts of Albion. But I did feel a little bored while reading.

Also, how do you guys pronounce Lyse?

I struggled with that also, and wish they had picked something that didn't feel awkward when it's read. I pronouse it like the French name Lise (Lees).


First of all I would just like to say that I think writing lengthier portions of books all in cursive should be a punishable offense! I get it, it's a flashback and you want to distinguish it, but it is very very annoying. So I was slighty distracted by this during the opening sequence and can't say that it made me curious about the story.

LOL I liked that :D

Taake said:
I didn't really feel like she was properly described though (in fact, until the entrance of Weir and Lizbeth I felt like no characters were really properly described so it was hard to get an image of them.

Agreed, I don't have a good sense of Lyse either.

I did notice some of the excellent descriptions, mainly because I don't do that well.

All & all, I didn't hate it, but I wasn't jonesing to keep reading after page 53 either.

The thing that annoyed me though is the anachronisms (I felt they were, anyway). The "present" has iPads, but Lyse is what, 23, and in high school she listened to decided late 90s bands. It feels like Amber used her own age as a point of reference of what a high schooler would have decorated her room, etc with, but forget that her character is younger.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Top marks for using Jonseing as a phrase!

Taake

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What do you Think of Lyse's meeting with Weir?

I don't know, it felt sort of weird. Like, I couldn't help making the comparison to Buffy & Angel lol. The whole interaction was awkward, though. I liked Lizbeth, though.

What do you think about the Writing and the tempo of the book?

Honestly, I'm enjoying it better than I did Ghosts of Albion. But I did feel a little bored while reading.

Also, how do you guys pronounce Lyse?

I struggled with that also, and wish they had picked something that didn't feel awkward when it's read. I pronouse it like the French name Lise (Lees).


Ha! As I was reading this I was like "oh right, Ghost of Albion was the book of hers I thought would be a good idea to read! Dammit." But maybe this was a better pick after all then.

Glad I'm not the only one who thought their meeting was weird. It was a stilted conversation, and I can't help but feel that it was because it was obvious that Weir is supposed to be somebody, that this meeting means something. Kind of like Buffy and Angel, lol.

I think I settled on "Lees" after a while too.



The thing that annoyed me though is the anachronisms (I felt they were, anyway). The "present" has iPads, but Lyse is what, 23, and in high school she listened to decided late 90s bands. It feels like Amber used her own age as a point of reference of what a high schooler would have decorated her room, etc with, but forget that her character is younger.

This reminds me of a podcast where they mentioned that in many YA novels e.g. Sweet Valley High, the young people always seem to be from a different era because the author automatically tends to write teenagers from their own time (hence the Wakefield twins are the lamest teens ever for their time ;)) Guess it's hard to let go of our teenage pasts!
 
S
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Like the old adage Lees is moore.

Mr Trick

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Did you like the opening? Did it make you curious about the story?

It did make me curious, but I think it took a bit for me to realize it was in the past lol

Did you like the introduction to Lyse's character? What do you think of her so far?

I'm not sure I really liked her. And I felt she was kind of young to be passing out in her kitchen like that lol

Is Benson setting a good "mood" for the book? Do you feel like there is depth to the writing? (is there foreshadowing? Was the break-in just a break in?)

So far I think the foreshadowing has been kind of obvious, but it's hard to really tell this early in the book.

What do you Think of Lyse's meeting with Weir?

I don't know, it felt sort of weird. Like, I couldn't help making the comparison to Buffy & Angel lol. The whole interaction was awkward, though. I liked Lizbeth, though.

What do you think about the Writing and the tempo of the book?

Honestly, I'm enjoying it better than I did Ghosts of Albion. But I did feel a little bored while reading.

Also, how do you guys pronounce Lyse?

I struggled with that also, and wish they had picked something that didn't feel awkward when it's read. I pronouse it like the French name Lise (Lees).




LOL I liked that :D



Agreed, I don't have a good sense of Lyse either.

I did notice some of the excellent descriptions, mainly because I don't do that well.

All & all, I didn't hate it, but I wasn't jonesing to keep reading after page 53 either.

The thing that annoyed me though is the anachronisms (I felt they were, anyway). The "present" has iPads, but Lyse is what, 23, and in high school she listened to decided late 90s bands. It feels like Amber used her own age as a point of reference of what a high schooler would have decorated her room, etc with, but forget that her character is younger.

To be fair I have known people around Lyse's age who actually prefer more retro music to current bands/artists. Part of it is to rebel, but also because they prefer them and are fascinated by music from before their era. Often it works out that people in their 30s, and 40s listen to current music more as a way to try and stay in touch, and because they lived through the more retro past. To me Lyse rings true in that way.

Yeah I can see that link to Buffy and Angel too. Also you think at 23 Lyse is mature enough not to be swept off her feet by a mystery man based purely on looks. But I did think that chapter was quite well written at least.
 

Taake

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Also you think at 23 Lyse is mature enough not to be swept off her feet by a mystery man based purely on looks.

God yes, I know when I was 23... actually, never mind. 23 year old girls are shallow fools. :p
 

DarkLordsHaunt

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Did you like the opening? Did it make you curious about the story?

I was a bit confused at first, but I did end up really liking the opening. It made me very curious!

Did you like the introduction to Lyse's character? What do you think of her so far?

The introduction to her character was fine. I really like her!

Is Benson setting a good "mood" for the book? Do you feel like there is depth to the writing? (is there foreshadowing? Was the break-in just a break in?)

I dunno. Maybe the break in was just a break in, but who knows?

What do you Think of Lyse's meeting with Weir?

A bit odd.

What do you think about the Writing and the tempo of the book?


I really like it!


Also, how do you guys pronounce Lyse?
Lys? Lycée? Lise? Just curious :)

Lys
 

Grace

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Did you like the opening? Did it make you curious about the story?

I didn't love it. I felt like I was getting hit with too many answers before I had the questions, if that makes sense. But it was enough to keep me reading.

Did you like the introduction to Lyse's character? What do you think of her so far?

Yes, I can very much relate to hitting your head really hard. ;) Overall, I like her, though I don't feel like I know that much about her yet. She definitely has that common female protagonist thing where we're told she's not looking great, but then a cute guy is hitting on her, so she must actually not look bad at all.

Is Benson setting a good "mood" for the book? Do you feel like there is depth to the writing? (is there foreshadowing? Was the break-in just a break in?)

I think she's doing a decent job. Lyse's dream was the most intriguing part to me. I like picturing Hessika. I'm assuming it was her spirit showing up during the tarot reading? I like that it seems like she's going to be an ongoing character.

I don't think the break-in was just was break-in. I'm wondering if Eleanora or someone was sending coded messages to Lyse just in case?

What do you think of Lyse's meeting with Weir?


Probably my least favorite part so far. I'm suspicious of him. And it was kind of a jarring change from what had come before.

What do you think about the writing and the tempo of the book?

OK so far. I'm interested in the other girl who has dreams of Hessika, and I'm looking forward to finding out more about her.

Also, how do you guys pronounce Lyse?

I pronounce it "lease," like when you rent an apartment. (I'm terrible at writing things out phonetically.) I have no idea if that's right.

I haven't read the rest of the responses yet, so I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts!
 

Taake

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Did you like the opening? Did it make you curious about the story?

I didn't love it. I felt like I was getting hit with too many answers before I had the questions, if that makes sense. But it was enough to keep me reading.

That's a great description! That's kind of how I felt too, I just didn't have the words for it
 
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