Reviews

Signal to Noise, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

lindseystock's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional medium-paced

3.75

lizzie_bobbins's review against another edition

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3.0

So I only picked up this book (metaphorically, as its on my kindle) because of the font and the 'For fans of Stranger Things' right there at the top of the front cover. And I wasn't impressed, and even put it on my 'could not finish' shelf at 6%. But after reading two of the author's more recent books, I was like, yeah nah nah yeah, (Ozzy Man style) and decided to pick this up again because, well, music and magic, innit?

I'm glad I finished reading it, it wasn't bad, and I actually liked the unlikeable characters. But it is definitely clear this author has developed in her writing now, and that in itself is a rewarding reading experience.

kla06's review against another edition

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adventurous hopeful mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

I really appreciate how the music described parallels the story and what the characters are feeling. I also have a love for music and how it can impact different points throughout our lives, and can even heighten certain emotions and memories. I even found a playlist on Spotify (that's pretty accurate), so reading and listening to the songs mentioned created such a cinematic experience for me. 

I also felt the exchange between past and present in the chapters helps with the pacing of the story. I've also read other books by this author and it feels like she values setting up the story as best as possible, so it might feel a bit slow at first. Though when it picks up, there's no confusion about what's going on and it's hard not to breeze through and finish. 

Would love to see this story adapted into a film someday...I mean the soundtrack is pretty much set. 

goblinhipster's review against another edition

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inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

virago7's review against another edition

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emotional reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

adelaidebijou's review

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slow-paced
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

burnthemidnight's review against another edition

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emotional funny hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

feartheknuckles's review against another edition

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5.0

Beautiful prose and a story that packs a punch. Signal to Noise is a truly breathtaking tale of young love and loss. Silvia Moreno-Garcia somehow manages to weave together plenty of magical and fantastical elements, while maintaining the grounded nature of the story. Plenty of times throughout this book, you could take the witchcraft out completely and the story would still be understandable, completely relatable, and 100% magical.

I could argue that the “magical” elements in the story aren’t real at all. It could largely be the young characters finding a way to deal with the trials of growing up, falling in love, and finding their way through loss. I could argue that....but I won’t. The “magic” adds a bond to our characters that isn’t needed, but makes the reality of the things that they experience pack much more of an emotional punch. Also, it's more fun when it's actual witchcraft.

herwitchiness's review against another edition

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5.0

short & sweet summary and review:
Looking for a standalone fantasy novel set in Mexico? Look no further! This book focuses on three best friends and is set both in their senior year of high school in 1988 as well as more current with them reunited the first time in 20 years in 2009. It features the most realistic magic I’ve seen in realistic fantasy books as well as extremely relatable characters & is one I originally thought I wouldn’t finish but after another 30 minutes, I was hooked (1hr30m is exactly where I was drawn in) & I can’t recommend this novel enough. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a really brilliant writer & I’m excited to get her newest book on Audible next week!

longer, more in depth thoughts:

With all the dehumanizing of Mexico by the current US government, it’s important, I think, to read novels & stories & memoirs that are by and about Mexico & the culture and many many people that call her home. It fights back against propaganda in a very effective way & I think this will be the first book of many I focus on the rest of the year. Reading fosters empathy and compassion even when the news or government tries to strip you of those things.

I really enjoyed the story & characters. Honestly, the characters are the most vivid aspect of this novel & usually I prefer more plot-focused fantasy however this worked better for this particular book & I really loved reading it. I’m glad I went with the audiobook version (available only on Audible, unfortunately but Ana Bayat does a wonderful job) because the characters felt more real & like Meche was sitting next to me telling me her coming of age story. The magic is perhaps the most realistic form of magic I’ve seen in fantasy realism. Definitely a book worth checking out!

archergal's review against another edition

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3.0

I wanted to like this book more than I did. It's a tale about music, teen love and angst, and how your life can look different 20 years later.

Spoilery stuff from here on out.

First off, I don't really listen to music that much. The mix-tape generation was largely after my time. And I don't know anything of the Mexican/Hispanic artists referenced (I'm sure that's my loss), so all that part went over my head. :(

And I didn't like Meche, the main female character. I thought she was petty and honestly kinda toxic. She found out she could work some magic when properly stimulated by music. And, in Terry Pratchett terms, just *just missed* the cackling phase of witchcraft, the kind where you start building gingerbread houses, stuffing children in ovens, and trying to kill your best friend. O.o She probably would have succeeded in the last item if her grandmother hadn't deus-ex-machina'd her own magic into the story and saved Sebastian's life.

Sebastian's a little more self-aware. Honestly, he grew up to be a better person, because he wasn't nursing a 20 YEAR GRUDGE like Meche did. In spite of the "happy ending", I had sad visions of Sebastian turning out like Meche's father did, years after falling in love with Meche's mother. He slowly got sadder and more beaten down by his faults, real and perceived-by-his-wife. Based on Meche's attitude, I don't think Sebastian would fare much better in the long run.

Heh, I guess the book made me think more about the people and relationships in it than I thought!
I did have to work to finish it though. I suspect I'm not the target audience for this book. YMMV.