Mina by Marie Kiraly bends genre in fun & curious ways. Not quite historical fiction, not quite erotica, not quite a feminist reinterpretation ofMina by Marie Kiraly bends genre in fun & curious ways. Not quite historical fiction, not quite erotica, not quite a feminist reinterpretation of high literature, Kiraly instead takes the most interesting aspects of all three genres & gives readers a story about coming back to "normal life" after having brushed up against something strange. I've read many of the other comments on GoodReads about this book & many people seem disappointed that the novel isn't easily categorized. Honestly, I think Mina falls into a certain type of storytelling that gives authors space to play & reinterpret their favorite types of literature.
The scale I used to compare Mina included books like Mistress of the Art of Death & The Poe Shadow on the poor side of the scale, The Diary of Elizabeth Frankenstein and Dragonwyck in the middle, and Passion & The Mists of Avalon at the top. Mina would come in above average on this scale. All of these books rely on a specific literary touchstone or author to give them life & try to create a fantasy that other fascinated readers can relate to. I totally picked up Mina because I had always dreamed up interesting futures for Mina Harker after the story of Dracula ended. (One included her running off with a Russian violinist & seeing the Revolution in action.)
Kiraly is a writer who not only knows the Dracula text inside & out, but has clearly done some serious research on Victorian society & the parts of Eastern Europe her characters travel through. Her prose is natural, approachable & competently structured. My only quibble is that the details of the England landscape were often overlooked in favor of the wilds of Carpathia, but who can blame the author wanting to hang out there? Kiraly also has fun integrating or hinting at other influences. One of the main characters is an exercise in Byronic excess. Russia romantically beckons from just off-stage. The social novels of the era are also alluded to as Mina volunteers at or is confined to various hospitals. In short, Mina was a great book for an English major like me because it mixed both critical thought & pure fantasy in equally pleasing measures....more
I enjoyed _Lost In A Good Book_ more than _The Eyre Affair_. Fforde's writing has developed from the awkward, screenplay-ish rendering in the first boI enjoyed _Lost In A Good Book_ more than _The Eyre Affair_. Fforde's writing has developed from the awkward, screenplay-ish rendering in the first book to a style & tone better suited to a novel. There are still some awkward passages, like one where Thursday is watching a news story on TV. It's something that passes more quickly visually, not textually & I found myself skimming the paragraphs, going, "Really? Why is this here? Is it important?" Some of his tricks make me smile, like the test of unattributed dialogue but the punned names got old. Real. Fast. Looking forward to _The Well of Lost Plots_....more
3.5 instead of 3. I really wanted to be blown away by this book; I think my expectations were too high. It was a skillful mystery & I enjoyed tryi3.5 instead of 3. I really wanted to be blown away by this book; I think my expectations were too high. It was a skillful mystery & I enjoyed trying to figure out the ins & outs of our main mystery girl. & I think Lippman navigated the different landscapes & times well. I loved learning more & more about the background of the characters & how it shaped them. But, something didn't just click with me. I wanted to be in love with the novel, but only achieved a very serious like....more
A quickie horror book that explores the supernatural otherworld lurking beneath a bland corporate façade. Moodwise, think the closing scenes of Army oA quickie horror book that explores the supernatural otherworld lurking beneath a bland corporate façade. Moodwise, think the closing scenes of Army of Darkness mashed with the 90s remake of The House on Haunted Hill. Hendrix's concept is bolstered by the excellent parody of an Ikea-like catalog with detail diagrams of the "furnishings" looking meme-ready for the Internet. The story itself, however, is uneven. The story's strengths lie in creating good atmosphere and tension for his characters to bounce off of. In fact, the first half of the book might lull readers into thinking they know where the story is going. Also, some of the tortures that emerge are very unsettling.
But despite these strengths, the story in the second half hits the same beats we are all familiar with from horror movies. Once the characters get into the thick of the action, they fall into clichéd roles, with readers not discovering much more about them that one would care what happens to them outside of what the plot demands. This wasn't really my kind of book, but it did keep my attention for a few hours, so there is something compelling about the writing. Might make a good gift for All Hallows' Read!...more