I couldn t predict a thing This story stuck with me for days I literally felt like I needed to take a shower The Marbury Lens was beyond twisted If you can t tell by now, I loved it I can t even compare it to another book It was absolutely disturbing in a fantastic way I hope this book reels some older boys who hate to read I hope this book will find it s way to you too.
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Well this book was just a complete train wreck Honestly OUCHIE WOWCHI.
I had loads of problems with the book but here are the top three 1 The plot was POINTLESS It had no direction of any kind.
I never knew what we were trying to accomplish and it made me feel disconnected to the story and perpetually bored.
2 The writing was all over the place We had third person, first person, random characters, too too too much repetition, over the top vulgarity and gore for no reason, plot holes, soooo many plot holes It was just such a pile of bad.
3 No real redeeming qualities I was thinking This friendship is kind of nice This side story is interesting The very beginning was good But really, when I talked it over with Raeleen whom I read this with we realized that those parts only seemed good in comparison to the other nonsense.
That really, when compared to other books it just isn t good enough It just isn t good.
I am sorely disappointed I had extremely high hopes for this book, I was really excited for it, and it let me down.
MY BRAIN MY POOR BRAIN Okay, this is basically me reading this book Except, that s not actually me in that picture And I read this in an overheating car on a long car trip, squashed between two of my sisters So I had no desk to headdesk with I only had the book itself Which made my family very concerned My sister kept being like, Uh, is that book really that bad And I m like, NO NO IT S GOOD IT S JUST AAAAHHHH If you ve read it, you know what I mean.
Now, I found this book very hard to digest When I finished reading it, I felt as if I d been hit by a train I d never seen it coming and then I had no idea what had just happened And my brain had exploded into little pieces.
At first, I didn t know how I felt about it I definitely liked it, I just couldn t for the life of me figure out why I initially gave it 4 stars, but after thinking about it for a few days, I m giving it 5 even though it d probably belike a 4.
5 for me But, you get the idea This book is good.
SO WHAT S THIS BOOK ABOUT, YOU ASK I ll attempt to tell you without spoilers.
Well, it s about a boy named Jack who gets drunk one night, wanders out into the street, and gets kidnapped by a creeper named Freddie Horvath Freddie tortures and attempts to rape Jack, but Jack narrowly escapes The next night, Jack and his friend Conner commit a horrible crime Soon afterward, they go off on a trip to England and try to pretend it never happened But as soon as he arrives in England, Jack meets a mysterious stranger who hands him a pair of glasses glasses which transport him to a horrific, post apocalyptic world called Marbury, where he is responsible for keeping two younger boys alive Conner can also go to Marbury But in this alternate universe, the two best friends find that they are caught in a war and that they re on opposite sides.
This book is fantasy realism at its finest I know it s not a genre that appeals to everyone, but personally I love books that confuse the crap out of me as long as they do it in an interesting way This book forces the reader to question reality What s real What isn t Does it matter What does it mean One thing is for certain this book is one hell of a ride As perplexing as it is, it s very exciting It s hard to put down and dangerously addictive As Jack and Conner become increasingly addicted to Marbury, you ll find yourself just as caught in Marbury s terrifying clutches.
The emotions in this book are very strong and believable I could feel everything Jack was feeling guilt, insecurity, paranoia, terror, insanity I actually felt as if I were living this story, and DANG was it the most scary ass feeling Even thinking about it, I m tempted to look under my couch to make sure nothing s hiding under there I ve also become terrified of my glasses And mind you, I typically hate horror But I didn t think this was just a horror story, despite all the graphic imagery it contained Sure, it was horrific, but it s a psychological thriller as well I can t stop thinking about it The main question is, What is Marbury I think that s something for every reader to decide for himself, because I don t think there s a concrete answer.
Personally, I thought Marbury was a place to find redemption After all, everyone in Marbury had a counterpart living in the real world But the reverse was not true that is, not everyone in the real world has a counterpart in Marbury This leads me to believe that people who commit crimes have a counterpart in Marbury In Marbury, Jack and Conner both seem to be in situations where they have to find a purpose and decide what s they have to do for the greater good Jack, Conner, and Seth a ghost who lives in Marbury, who is also an important part of the story all certainly seemed to have done something they regretted Of course, what I liked about this book is that it s all open to interpretation That said, there were some aspects that were a little too open ended There were things that could have been fleshed out a bitlike if Freddie had any kind of motivation to kidnap Jack besides being a creeper , and how that mysterious dude knew how to find Jack and to give him the glasses I also thought Jack s companions in Marbury besides Seth could have been fleshed out a bitAnother thing that has kept me thinking I saw a lot of reviews for this book bashing it for being homophobic Jack does happen to be molested by two men but I didn t think that was meant to be a stereotype It was to add to the atmosphere of paranoia, to show how Jack felt he could not escape from what Freddie had done to him Also, Jack and Conner toss the word gay around rather carelessly, as most teenage boys do.
However, I didn t interpret this as discriminatory In fact, throughout the book, I thought Jack and Conner were gay They certainly seemed abnormally desperate to have sex and prove that they were straight They also seemed to have quite a close and intense relationship in which they kept saying they loved each other BUT OH NO, NOT IN A GAY WAY At the beginning, Conner even indirectly invited Jack to have sex with him in a threesome, but still Since homosexuality seemed to be a running theme throughout the whole book, I definitely think it was there for a reason And the feelings of denial experienced by Jack and Conner are very realistic Over all, this is quite a thought provoking read This is one of the books unfairly bashed by Wall Street Journal journalist Meghan Cox Gurdon, in her article Darkness Too Visible I m not going to disagree with Gurdon that this book is dark It is This book is full of language, sex, and horribly graphic images It s not for the faint hearted But while Gurdon implies that darkness in YA literature promotes violence and depression, I felt that in the end, this book was actually about hope It s about dealing with the horrors of trauma It s about paranoia and addiction and fear, but it s also about facing all of these things and finding a way through them I ve heard that this book was based on something personal to Andrew Smith I don t know the details, but I could tell he certainly knew what he was writing about Poor guy.
I think he needs something adorable to look at And after reading this, so do I.
OMG LOOK A RED PANDA SO CUTE AND HAPPY.
NOTE I don t know how to hide spoiler reviews, I m not really sure this qualifies anyway, but be warned this MAY contain stuff you d rather not know if you haven t read the book yet Okaaaaay How to review The Marbury Lens I m going to assume the plot points are coveredthan adequately in other reviews, so I m going to skip all that focus on my thoughts on the book instead First of all, I find it extremely difficult to believe anyone older than 10 would find this book frightening and I am NOT a big fan of horror, so I m definitely not a jaded reviewer I ve read other things that I ve found shocking, frightening, or disturbing the first story in Joe Hill s 20th Century Ghosts springs to mind but this didn t even come close to scaring me I didn t even find it particularly disturbing Some of the aspects of Jack s story were well written compelling his kidnapping his apparent emotional psychological breakdown afterwards, in particular, rang true but Jack was already so damaged at the beginning of the book that sympathizing with him was difficult For example, after being raised from birth by his apparently loving grandparents, Jack stresses over over that he has no feelings for them, that the only person he loves is his best friend, Connor Why The author gives absolutely no reason for Jack s lack of attachment to these caring people who raised him from infancy who, seemingly, spoil him rotten I also took issue with the way teens are portrayed here Jack is 16, his girlfriend Nickie is 17, the other kids are around the same age At 16, Jack Connor travel to England without adult supervision Nickie her friend Rachel also seem to come go as they please, without informing anyone of their whereabouts Although, at the end of the book, Nickie can t stay with Jack on his last night in England because she said her parents would be angry because she d stayed out the night before after she d spent a week or so off with her girlfriend, the two boys, alone There are also numerous references to Jack being gay, while he clearly identifies himself as straight Don t take that the wrong way it s irrelevant to me if the character is gay or straight, but the references in the book seemed derogatory to me, especially when there is Jack s near rape by his kidnapper, as well as a man who attempts to fondle Jack on a plane after misconstruing his relationship with Connor What is the author s point Gay predator Men can t be close without there being a homosexual element to the relationship I don t get it, whatever it is, I think 2011 is well past time for relying on these stereotypes There is a lot of swearing doesn t bother me, it s just words plenty of sex, which I think might warrant a discussion if my younger teen read this, and waaaaay too much drinking In fact, alcohol plays a very big part in setting into motion Jack s downward spiral In general, I find Jack confusing disappointing He seems troubled at the outset, like he fully accepts his kidnapping as deserved punishment, but it s never made clear why he believes he deserves this fate I think I would have LOVED this book if we had found out at the end that it had all been in Jack s mind that he was still being held captive, or that it was all delusions caused by the stress of surviving the kidnapping the events immediately following Does anyone remember the Onion article where the little boy tells of his rescue from a predator, only to realize he d only been dreaming about being rescued honestly chilling, which is the exact effect it would have had in this case, too Another interesting option would have been using Jack s compulsion to be in Marbury as an allegory for addiction I kept expecting the book to follow that direction, but it stubbornly stuck to the Marbury is real route I don t have much to say about Marbury itself I didn t find that part of the story all that original or interesting, although, to be fair, I did just recently read The Passage The Road , both of which do the whole post apocalypse surviving attack by monsters cannibals thing soooooo much better In fact, come to think of it, I would recommend either of those if that s the type of story you want to read I can really only recommend this if you re looking for a very open ended YA book illustrating the dangers of drugs or alcohol All in all, I think there were so many really provocative directions this story could have taken, but IMO the author chose the most mundane least interesting option.
Short version This, this, and also, this.
Long version Okay, contrary to popular belief, this book isn t very graphic Personally, I ve been scarred worse that time I accidentally came across some Richie Foley Virgil Hawkins fanart Or that time I decided I wanted to know what a manikini was FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON T GOOGLE THAT Moving on, yeah, I thought that it was going to be terrible and horrible I expected to run screaming away in pure horror In reality, The Marbury Lens is, in all actuality, less graphic than any other YA book I can think of, or even The Color Purple which is a book most people have to read for school.
Maybe this is because I have a thick skin I don t know But I do know I wasn t impressed Sure, sure, you re probably thinking She s got to be shitting me THE MAIN CHARACTER IS KIDNAPPED, ALMOST RAPED TWICE AND SHE ISN T PHASED Yep, sociopath But I m not a sociopath Really It s just that it isn t as bad as people say.
As for the book itself, the whole thing was a big fat MEH Basically, it s sort of like Narnia only you have these goggles instead of a wardrobe Also, for every person in what I ll call the real world, there is a counterpart to them in Marbury land, which is the place you see once you put on the glasses.
Another thing, apparently the glasses are really addictive, so you don t want to come back to the real world Well, you do, but you want to go back to Marbury land after you come back to the real world It s really confusing If you think you re confused right now, imagine how I felt reading the thing.
To be frank, I just didn t care Marbury land was boring to me I just skimmed and ended up skipping the chapters with Marbury in it, and that ended up with me putting down the book How can the fantasy world your book is about be so goddamn boring I don t understand that.
I did like Jack, though Poor kid was a target for danger First, in the beginning of the book, he wanders away from an underage drinking party and gets kidnapped and nearly raped Then, while on the plane to England he gets molested by some creep sitting next to him THEN, he gets stalked by some weirdo who gives him glasses that shape his worst nightmare Kid can t catch a break, for god s sake.
Between Jack and his friend, Conner, there seemed to be a lot of pent up sexual tension that the author seemed to acknowledge and tried to halfway relieve by making jokes about it We re sharing a bedroom THAT S SO GAY We re sharing a bed THAT S SO GAY The room is so small we have to shower with the door open THAT S SO GAY Jack s never had sex with a girl before THAT S SO GAY I would have thrown the book across the room if it hadn t been for the fact that I as reading the thing on a pdf, and throwing my computer across the room to relieve my stress seemed counterproductive at the time.
It might seem abrupt to end the review here, but I can t think of anything else that was in my mind while reading the book So, farewell my darlings Thank you for your time.
I finished The Marbury Lens so very long ago, and now I am afraid that a review written weeks after having initially read the book simply won t do it justice Let s seeAdmittedly, I was turned off from The Marbury Lens simply because the premise sounds so implausible Jack, a California teenager spends a few weeks of his summer vacation in London with his best friend The first few days Jack is on his own and is pursued by a stranger who gives him a pair of magical purple glasses When Jack puts them on, he is transported to a mythical parallel made up post apocalyptic world called Marbury In Marbury, Jack has a very different existence, personality and friends or does he One of my all time favorite subjects to be approached in novels is the fine line between mental health and magical realism, fantasy, what have you I believe The Marbury Lens does just that so very, very well This story isn t just about Marbury or the mystery behind it Rather, it is about Jack being a hot mess And how refreshing is it to encounter a male protag dealing with issues No whining angst ridden chicks in this story But back to Jack this kid has some problems Personal problems Family problems Sexual problems And these are in addition to the obvious big ball of issues brought on by Jack s abduction and near rape So not a spoiler, happens early on in the novel So, we see a kid who is dealing with some serious issues, in addition to the growing pains all kids deal with their teenage years, and suddenly he is also dealing with Marbury Is it real A figment of his imagination I love the ambiguity in this novel And I love that Andrew Smith managed to present a fantasy world that seems to be remarkably in depth and well thought out, even though very little of it is actually explained Can I say that I didn t find this novel to be nearly as gross or disturbing as some people have mentioned Nor was I appalled by the homophobia displayed Connor s Jack s best friend frequent teasing of Jack by calling him, so gay didn t strike me as, well wrong Politically incorrect Of course As a girl who was raised with brothers in the heart of the midwest a lot of guys talk like that around each other At least my brothers friends brothers did when they were growing up As much as I love the suave and mysterious boy portrayed in so many YA novels, this is one of the few novels I ve read in which the boys seem like real life teenage boys rather than an idealized version At any rate, I can t say enough how much I loved this novel and the questions, ideas, and issues raised in it It is difficult to say too much without spoiling it, but I do hope thatof my GR friends pick this one up so I can read their reactions And I sincerely hope that Andrew Smith writesnovels with a fantasy twist to them.
As teen literature continues to be a huge and growing field of publishing, themainstream its novels become When I published my first novel Pure Sunshine, the genre was basically a dead genre The books that started the new boom were adventurous, daring, and edgy wasn t just a marketing term There was a sense to push the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in YA fiction However, once the genre became an established outlet for bestsellers, there was a reverse pull back totraditional fiction fantasy, flat problem novels, and updated Sweet Valley High books disguised as Chiklet Lit Hats off to Andrew Smith for not standing for it and pushing back.
The Marbury Lens in an unflinching look at good and evil that not only exists in the world, but also within each of us Its uncompromising vision of Hell is some of the best post apocalyptic imagery I ve ever encountered However, it s brutality is not the kind of gore porn we see so often on screen, in this book it s there for a reason and compels and challenges the reader to think, propelling them out of their comfort zone Another aspect that I love about this novel is that it remains somewhat open ended in the conclusions one draws I know from first hand experience to responses from my own writing, that some readers don t appreciate this aspect in a book But I ve always felt this to be one of the great things that makes YA Lit what it is As a teenager, one encounters in order to develop their own ideas A great YA author doesn t dictate to them, but presents them with a vision and allows them to experience it in their own way This is the type of book that YA needs to produce in order to avoid the same fate suffered in the 90s and remain inclusive of teen readers who don t want to read vampire romance.
This was a difficult book for me to read It deals with a lot of hard hitting issues Issues which are seldom, if ever, addressed in YA fiction At times it made me quite uncomfortable But I continued reading because it was the sort of book one can t easily put down I knew I d never forgive myself if I didn t finish it The Marbury Lens drew me in and spit me out, and I liked it the entire frightening journey I liked it Unfortunately I cannot give this book four or five stars, like many others have At best I can give this book three and a half stars Yes, The Marbury Lens is quite good, but I didn t really like it , nor did I think it was amazing, despite the fact that Smith s Marbury Lens crosses over into as far as I know uncharted territory in YA fiction There are parts of this book which are genuinely amazing, but overall I just like this book, nothingI admire Andrew Smith for daring to go where so many authors have not It is a bold move on his part, and I truly do admire him for making it I hope this book s success inspires other authors and other publishers to consider writing publishing books that delve into this territory someAlso, the whole bro mance angle is quite intriguing Hoping to readbro mances in the future.
The author has obvious issues with both nudity and sexuality, and I think to a less mature mind these ideas could be damaging,so than the violence The constant homophobic comments by Jack s friend are ridiculous, immature, and offensive Jack almost gets raped by a guy in the beginning of the book, and then he gets molested by another guy on a plane, and throughout the whole book we re beaten over the head with being gay is bad This is, to me, the most disgusting part of this whole book And then, just about every character spends some part of the book naked as well, and I m not entirely sure why Plus Jack s friend constantly ribs him for being a virgin, and then they both have copious amount of sex with girls whom they ve just met and confess to love There s also a side story with a completely different character who gets hanged after he has sex with the girl he loves I was just astounded by all of this Every single instance of sex in this book has issues, and there s absolutely nothing healthy about any of it.
Jack is not a character you can like easily he s kind of a dick He has people who love him, yet he pushes them away and acts like a tool most of the time, even before the whole kidnapping thing His best friend, Connor, tries to help him, but by the time he gets there it s already too late Jack s two buddies in Marbury were slightlylikable, but I still didn t think I spent enough time with them to really get attached The girls who were introduced were throwaway characters they could have been hit by a bus and I wouldn t have cared Seth s story was heartbreaking, and the one I enjoyed the most, even though it was so short And Henry was Henry even real I have no idea.
As for the plot, here s the short version Boy gets drunk, gets kidnapped and molested but escapes, boy travels abroad and meets weird guy who gives him strange glasses that allow him to travel to an alternate hell dimension, boy s friend joins him abroad and calls him gay 587 times, boy and friend meet girls whom they have sexual relations with, boy s mental state slowly declines, hilarity ensues.
The opening shows us a terrifying glimpse of what can happen when you trust the wrong person Jack s slow decline into madness after his kidnapping and subsequent use of the glasses could have been used as an allegory for drug use depression ptsd or what have you, but the author never took it that far He kept taking it just to the point where it could be really meaningful, and then he d pull back and ruin the moment This book could have been so muchthan it was, and in the end I was just left disappointed I wouldn t recommend this book to anyone.
Sixteen Year Old Jack Gets Drunk And Is In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time He Is Kidnapped He Escapes, Narrowly The Only Person He Tells Is His Best Friend, Conner When They Arrive In London As Planned For Summer Break, A Stranger Hands Jack A Pair Of Glasses Through The Lenses, He Sees Another World Called MarburyThere Is War In Marbury It Is A Desolate And Murderous Place Where Jack Is Responsible For The Survival Of Two Younger Boys Conner Is There, Too But He S Trying To Kill ThemMeanwhile, Jack Is Falling In Love With An English Girl, And Afraid He S Losing His MindConner Tells Jack It S Going To Be OkayBut It S NotAndrew Smith Has Written His Most Beautiful And Personal Novel Yet, As He Explores The Nightmarish Outer Limits Of What Trauma Can Do To Our Bodies And Our Minds