A re-read of an old favorite, but the first time I'd listened to the audio version. I'd forgotten some of the details of the story after having watcheA re-read of an old favorite, but the first time I'd listened to the audio version. I'd forgotten some of the details of the story after having watched popular TV shows along similar themes in the intervening years, like Jericho and Revolution, so I was glad to go back and refresh my memory.
I enjoyed it as much this time as I did the first time reading it....more
Overall, I'd give this book something like 3.5 stars. The first half of the book, which told the story of Kunta Kinte, was fantastic. From there, theOverall, I'd give this book something like 3.5 stars. The first half of the book, which told the story of Kunta Kinte, was fantastic. From there, the speed at which the story was told seemed to increase incrementally through each generation, and I found these stories less engaging and the various characters more difficult to keep straight. At times, it felt overly verbose, and certain sections were a real bear to slog through, but it (mostly) held my attention through to the end. There were several places toward the latter half of the book that felt like they would make nice, tidy endings, and yet it kept going. I nearly skipped the last section, after the author got to his own part of the story and started telling how he came to write the book. It felt like an exceptionally long afterward, and it was mostly stuff I already knew. But I plugged away at it and finally finished. I'm glad I read it, but it's not one I'll pick up again for a re-read. ...more
Overall, I liked it. But there was one thing that confused me (though it had no impact on the final rating).
If the transport portal that Henry and MaOverall, I liked it. But there was one thing that confused me (though it had no impact on the final rating).
If the transport portal that Henry and Magnus came up with was so remarkable, how was it that the Shadowhunters from all the institutes around the world were able to convene -- in a matter of, what... days? hours? -- for the Clave meeting the Consul called. How'd they get there so fast if instantaneous translocation was a novel, unprecedented thing for them? Inquiring minds want to know. ...more
I liked it... I think. I certainly enjoyed the characters and the story-telling, and the story itself was interesting. I'm not sure I fully understoodI liked it... I think. I certainly enjoyed the characters and the story-telling, and the story itself was interesting. I'm not sure I fully understood the overall theme, though, or what the ultimate take-home message was supposed to be. Clearly I'm not meant to be in the military, because I thought the crew and the officers were perfectly justified in their mutiny... Even after everyone in the end kept telling them how much they'd screwed up and how wrong they were. But what do I know?...more
Possibly my new favorite Susanna Kearsley novel. I really hope she'll continue with this series, since I grew inordinately fond of Kate Murray in thePossibly my new favorite Susanna Kearsley novel. I really hope she'll continue with this series, since I grew inordinately fond of Kate Murray in the reading of this book....more
Ooh, the deLuce saga is heating up! This is the first novel that we really see some actual movement in as far as the overall story arc goes, and it'sOoh, the deLuce saga is heating up! This is the first novel that we really see some actual movement in as far as the overall story arc goes, and it's got me chomping at the bit for more in a way the others haven't. :)...more
Oh, I liked this. Not at all realistic, and a bit schmaltzy at times, but it was the perfect light read for me right now. It had everything -- romanceOh, I liked this. Not at all realistic, and a bit schmaltzy at times, but it was the perfect light read for me right now. It had everything -- romance, interesting, likeable characters, mystery, time travel...
The audio version was great. January LaVoy did an excellent job with all the different characters' voices, and her speech was natural and easy to listen to. Definitely one of those audiobooks where you forget you're listening to someone narrate a story and just fall into the plot....more
I'd been looking forward to the release of this book from the minute I put down the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, which I devoured in about a dI'd been looking forward to the release of this book from the minute I put down the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, which I devoured in about a day. I did enjoy this one, but not nearly as much as the previous book. As others have noted, I felt like Harkness got bogged down in all the nitty-gritty details of life the late 16th century and the difficulties our 21st-century protagonist, Diana, encountered adapting to life in 1590.
I felt like every time the plot moved forward, it was like a stage hook jerked the story back into focus after getting lost in the minutia. This wasn't nearly so present in the first book, but that's probably because Harkness is an Elizabethan literary scholar and presumably has all this knowledge of the era she wants to write about. I get that. If you're passionate about something, you can sometimes get lost in it. But her editor should have helped her narrow down the focus a bit.
It also seemed like the ending got rushed and some things that we really should have seen were skipped altogether (perhaps the editor/publisher saying "Hurry it up already, we need to get this to the press. Pen down.") The two biggest examples of this for me were (view spoiler)[Emily's death and the fact that Phoebe was important enough to Marcus at the end of the novel to warrant being taken to the family home in France.
Let me repeat: Emily's death. I got to that part about Sarah being all mourful and drunk and pissed off, and I was sure I had accidentally skipped a chapter. And after doing a few searches on my Kindle and finding bubkis, I thought maybe the Kindle edition had accidentally left out a chapter. I did a google search and found out other people were equally befuddled. What the hell happened to Emily? She died off stage? That was extremely poor editing. I can forgive the fact that Marcus apparently fell so head over heels for Phoebe that she's now basically part of the family, despite the fact that the last time we left them, he hadn't even taken her out on a date yet. But Emily being killed? Without any mention of it until we find Sarah drunk and depressed about it later? No explanation of how it even happened? There had to be a chapter accidentally left on the cutting room floor, right? Right? (hide spoiler)]
I felt a little ambivalent about the whole 21st-century-Matthew-displacing-16th-century-Matthew-for-nearly-a-year thing, too. I like the idea in theory, and it sort of makes sense. I can buy that there can't be two of the same person in one timeline. But they made absolutely no effort to stay hidden away from Matthew's life during that time or set up some cover story for when the 16th-century Matthew returned, sans wife and back to his witch-hating ways. What did they expect to have happen when Queen Lizzie -- or anyone they'd interacted with for the past 9 months -- asks him about his wife, and he's like "um, not married, Your Majesty." I felt a little sorry for 16th-century Matthew, having to come back to his life and have absolutely no frickin' idea what had transpired over the past 9 months or how to answer questions about anything that had occurred when 21st-century Matthew was living his life.
(view spoiler)[But seriously, Emily. I could have loved this book and set aside every other misgiving I'd had about it, if only we'd gotten a better explanation about Emily's death. I don't even mind that she died. I just wish we'd actually gotten to read about it instead of hearing about it as an after-thought. (hide spoiler)]
I'm sure I'm not the only one to have had this thought, this seemed like a nice template for a story, but certainly not a very full story in and of itI'm sure I'm not the only one to have had this thought, this seemed like a nice template for a story, but certainly not a very full story in and of itself. There's absolutely no depth. And yes, I understand that it's supposed to be a comedy (of sorts) and that comedic works don't always have to be as deep as more serious works, but... there wasn't really anything to this story.
We're told that Mary is a spoiled aristocratic snob at the beginning of the play, and I suppose that's shown clearly enough. But we're also told that she morphs into a caring woman of some substance after spending 2 years on the island, and we're really not given any evidence of that other than the narrator's word on the matter, and the fact that Crichton has fallen in love with her.
I won't bother going into the others' situations, but it's essentially more of the same. We're just supposed to take for fact that they've changed, and then they're saved, and everything goes back to normal. Other than Mary refusing to bad-mouth Crichton, we're given no evidence that she actually loved him (and maybe she didn't), nor are we given any evidence that Crichton actually loved Mary (other than the fact that he's asked to leave service, but that's not really very substantial.)
What I'd really like is to see a full-length novel of this bare-bones plot -- something that actually digs deep into each of the characters' stories and motivations. A real love story. Not that I'm not fine with the ending -- but let's treat it as something actually tragic rather than just a flippant "oh, we're back in the real world, so ta-ta, it's been nice."
If such a book exists, please someone tell me, because I really would like to read it. It's not that the story doesn't have merit, it's just that this was, well... poorly executed. It's like an abandoned fanfic or something....more
I picked this one up after I'd finished reading Blackout and All Clear, both of which I very much enjoyed, and I figured I might as well go back and rI picked this one up after I'd finished reading Blackout and All Clear, both of which I very much enjoyed, and I figured I might as well go back and read the first novel in the Oxford Time Travel series. I had high hopes for this book, because even those who gave negative reviews to Blackout and All Clear seemed to rave about Doomsday Book. I, however, was not quite as impressed with this one as I was with the later books in the series.
One of the flaws of ALL of Willis's books (at least those I've read to date) are that they seem to drag on and are quite a bit longer than they really need to be. And that's something coming from me, as I LOVE a good long book.
This book is split between two times: 2054/2055, which is the main character's home time, and 1348, which is the time she goes back to (though she believes she has been sent back to 1320). There's an epidemic going on in both times -- some sort of flu in the present day, and the Black Death in the past -- though it takes forever to get to that point. And the entire middle portion of the novel is spent painstakingly going over every detail of who's sick, what they're thinking while they're sick, what everyone ELSE is thinking while they're sick, what's being done about it, what's NOT being done about it, etc. etc. etc. In both time periods. It's drawn out and tedious.
The redeeming factor of the novel is the interpersonal relationships that are formed. Collin (who later appears in Blackout and All Clear is, of course, wonderful. And Father Roche -- a kindhearted, simple country preacher -- is spectacular and heart-warming. Willis seems to be particularly adept at creating wonderful, lovable children in her novels -- I wanted to scoop up Agnes and take her home with me.
Had it not been for these wonderful characters, I doubt I would have made it through the book, so much of it was so tedious to slog through. It's too bad, too, because the story itself was interesting, and it definitely could have benefited from being about 1/3 shorter.
As far as the audiobook production goes, I'd give that a 3.5-star rating. Jenny Sterlin does a passable job at narrating, but it wasn't spectacular. I was always very aware of the fact that I was listening to someone narrating a book. She did voices, but they weren't terribly varied, and it was sometimes confusing trying to figure out who was speaking. There were also the occasional rustling of papers that could be heard, which was a bit distracting.
Overall, I'd say it was a decent read, but not one I'd highly recommend or bother to read again....more
Oh, enjoyed this one. It was just the kind of book I needed right now: light-hearted, funny, and whimsical without tipping over to ridiculous and frivOh, enjoyed this one. It was just the kind of book I needed right now: light-hearted, funny, and whimsical without tipping over to ridiculous and frivolous. It's definitely the lightest of all the Oxford Time Travel books, and I had held off reading it for fear that it would be too silly, but I needn't have feared. It was absolutely delightful. ...more