Basic plot: Emma is a young, wealthy woman who has nothing better to do than meddle in other people's lives and love affairs.
Considering how much I lo...moreBasic plot: Emma is a young, wealthy woman who has nothing better to do than meddle in other people's lives and love affairs.
Considering how much I loved Pride and Prejudice, and how much I also enjoyed Sense and Sensibility, I was ready to love Emma. After reading it, my firm opinion is this: Watch the movie instead (I liked the Gwyneth Paltrow version). It takes all of the best elements of the novel, the humor and intrigues, and condenses them into a fun package that does justice to what the author seemed to be trying to accomplish. If you feel the need to read it in order to complete your quest of reading the entire literary canon, by all means, go ahead. Remember, though, that I warned you.
To be completely fair, the book wasn't bad. Really, it wasn't. The character of Emma and her interference in other people's lives very much reflected real people and situations I've seen in modern life. Some of the other characters and their behavior was also still very relevant (the woman who never shuts up, the man who tries to get a girl completely out of his league, the clueless friend who is easily led). However, the story just seemed to endlessly drag on with nothing really happening. I started to actually have problems remembering the names of the characters, how they were related, and the names of their frelling estates (which were constantly being mentioned). It all started to turn into a blur after awhile. I know there was some serious tongue-in-cheek humor here where Austen was making fun of her own character's meddling and prejudices, but it got old long before the book was over. The ending felt rather forced to me, as if Austen felt she HAD to have some kind of good marriage for her main character or the book wouldn't be complete.
I'm noting that pacing seems to be a common complaint of mine regarding literature lately. I also find it amusing I've made this same complaint about authors living 200 years apart. Maybe it's just me? I don't know. I'm not giving up on Austen, but I'm glad I've gotten through the popular ones so that I can read ones I haven't seen the movie versions of. The preconceived notions may be getting in the way of my really enjoying her novels.(less)
Ah, the Shadow, old school radio superhero, how do I love thee?
This novelization of the movie covers the Shadow's heroic rescue of the city from the w...moreAh, the Shadow, old school radio superhero, how do I love thee?
This novelization of the movie covers the Shadow's heroic rescue of the city from the world's first nuclear bomb. Cheesy, wonderfully cheesy, with all of the pulp flair of the old radio show. Shadow purists may have problems with some small inconsistencies from canon (Margot has ESP), but it's a decent enough read. I've read much worse.(less)
I stumbled across this strange gem of a book when I was in high school. Being involved with the school radio station, I was looking for something to d...moreI stumbled across this strange gem of a book when I was in high school. Being involved with the school radio station, I was looking for something to do as a project for a radio cmpetition and found this book. Previous to this discovery, I hadn't known that Adams had originally created The Hitchhiker's Guide as a radio series before it was a novel. It blew my mind. There are some significant differences between the novels and the scripts, but that comes from this technically being the "first draft." I never did get to record any of the scripts for my competition, but a part of me still wants to take a stab at it someday.(less)
I collect the Batman comic (just the main title), and as a result, was more than a little confused by the storytelling. I don't know how much is told...moreI collect the Batman comic (just the main title), and as a result, was more than a little confused by the storytelling. I don't know how much is told in the other books, so this story was a bit confusing for me. Good- with lots of interesting layers to the story that made it much more of a mystery than a traditional "superhero" story- but a tad confusing for a person who doesn't know the entirely of the history and doesn't read/collect every single book.(less)
Basic premise: mystery + magic = awesome short stories!!!
This was one of the best collections of short stories I've read in a long time. Nothing made...moreBasic premise: mystery + magic = awesome short stories!!!
This was one of the best collections of short stories I've read in a long time. Nothing made my jaw completely drop (likewise no tears or laughing out loud), but all had quality writing, interesting plots, well-constructed characters, and in general worked well. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite from the book, it's hard for me to even give a few highlights, as the stories were all (I'm serious, here) very consistently solid. However, there are a few things I can say about most of the stories:
"Lucky" by Charlaine Harris: Sookie Stackhouse solves a mystery involving the luck of the clients of various insurance agents.
"Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas: Interesting world, where movie characters "live" as CinSims.
"Looks are Deceiving" by Michael Stackpole: A bit hard to follow, with worldbuilding that was skimmed over as this is apparently part of a series, but interesting.
"The House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn: Haunted house mystery with some interesting characters.
"Glamour" by Mike Doogan: Probably my favorite from the whole bunch. The first person narrator's cluelessness as to what was really going on around him was highly amusing.
"Spellbound" by Donna Andrews: Another really good one. Interesting characters, part of a world I'd be interested in reading more about.
"The Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong: Interesting world, story ok.
"Weight of the World" by John Straley: Santa Claus and a murder mystery!
"Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman: Decent story, interesting world, good ending.
"The House" by Laurie R. King: Kids and a haunted house, predictable ending.
"Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green: Night Side story with a bit of a twist.
"A Woman's Work" by Dana Stabenow: Probably the longest story in the collection and the hardest to get into due to the amount of info-dumping needed for the audience to understand the context and setting. Decent story, though, with a satisfying end.(less)
Basic plot: Valentine is after the third mortal instrument and both Downworlders and Shadowhunters must work together to save Alicante and Shadowhunte...moreBasic plot: Valentine is after the third mortal instrument and both Downworlders and Shadowhunters must work together to save Alicante and Shadowhunter society from destruction by Valentine’s demon army.
If I could sum this book up in a word, it would be “frustration.” If I were allowed a phrase, it would probably be “endless f-ing frustration.” Why so much frustration? Foreshadowing. Somewhere in book 2 of this trilogy I figured out what was truly up with Jace and Clary’s backgrounds. This is not a spoiler, as anyone with a few neurons left with which to form a synapse could have spotted the hints and clues miles away. Of course, the characters don’t see these things until they are TOLD DIRECTLY somewhere in the last hundred pages of this book. So for roughly 500 pages (or more) of reading, I’ve been wanting to slap a few characters right across the face because they don’t see what I do. Now, to be fair, they aren’t fully privy to the same information I the reader am. However, a lot of the foreshadowing takes the place of things that happen to these characters. I grant that the characters are teens and that when one is in the middle of a situation the clues aren’t always as obvious, but still.
Normally, my saying I was barely able to put a book down is a great sign that the author is doing something right. She must have been doing something right because I didn’t give up, but a lot of why I couldn’t put is down was my thinking that she would clue the characters in soon. Any time now. Come on, you can do it! Really, nothing? ARGHHHHHH!!!!!!
While I’m complaining, let me talk a bit about characterization and perspective. This book is written in third person, so there’s really no reason why the author can’t give the reader a good sketch of each character and their personality. However, the only characters that really get fleshed out are Clary and Jace. Mostly Clary. Simon gets some traits, but Alec’s most identifiable trait is that he’s gay. I’m not against gay characters, but when that’s the only defining thing known about a character, that’s really kind of sad. Gay isn’t a personality trait. Magnus Bane isn’t much better- he’s flamboyantly gay and a warlock. He actually has more personality than Alec, who should theoretically be counted as a more important character to the series. Isabelle tap dances on the line between 2 stereotypes, girly-girl & Amazon warrior, but she gets more page time so she seems more fleshed out. What really annoyed me was the “absent parent” routine. Here we have these kids running around, doing crazy, dangerous things, and there’s not an adult to be found asking where they’re going and what the hell they think they’re doing, or enforcing any kind of rules/order. The adults also are barely described. Some of them, Robert Lightwood for example (who took Jace in and was his father figure for 7 years), should be pretty important, but we know next to nothing about them. Clary’s mother, who spends most of the trilogy UNCONSCIOUS, has more personality.
So, now I’ve given this rant of a review and given the book 4 stars. Theoretically, the two things don’t go together. I would have given the book 3 stars due to all of the rants except for the couldn’t-stop-reading factor. Despite my irritation, I kept finding excuses to pick up the book and read it. I never felt like I had to put it down and walk away for a bit. To me, this means the author had me invested in the characters and the story despite every flaw the writing had. I probably ought to walk away for a bit and read something else, but I’m diving into book 4 right away. This book was fairly obviously the end of a trilogy: the big bad from the first 2 books was defeated, there were some losses (but nothing major), the heroes saved the day, and the whole thing ended with a big celebration. I kept thinking of the original Star Wars trilogy as I read these first 3 books, and for many reasons… I’m curious to see how she continues the series. (less)
This is undoubtedly the best book in the Dresden Files series to date. The thickening overplot is becoming a serious factor, and it ties together myst...moreThis is undoubtedly the best book in the Dresden Files series to date. The thickening overplot is becoming a serious factor, and it ties together mysterious events from a lot of, if not all, of the previous books, letting readers know that Butcher has a lot more in mind than we previously knew about. There were moments in this book that really affected me, as I'm getting really attached to some of the characters. I'm already insane that I have no idea when the next book will come out. One of the lingering feelings I have from this reading, though, is that I really feel the need to reread the other books and solidify in my mind all of the connecting events/details of the overplot. I want to be ready for the next book!(less)