Coming into this after having read the first seven TPB's of Fables, I was a little disappointed. I'd heard people rave about 1001 Nights of Snowfall,Coming into this after having read the first seven TPB's of Fables, I was a little disappointed. I'd heard people rave about 1001 Nights of Snowfall, but I was honestly a little unimpressed. This is likely because I'm used to the formulaic story type of the main series, where each story leads right into another, rather than a series of disjointed vignettes. The mini detours in the actual series (The Last Castle, War Stories) were more entertaining for me, and gave me better insight into the characters and plot, than 1001 Nights. Still, for those who aren't familiar with the series, or are looking for a way to just wet their feet without having to get into the whole of it, 1001 Nights is good. It's entertaining and a lovely showcase of Bill Willingham's writing; a few of the stories are completely charming (the one about King Cole sticks out in my mind here), while others I was disenchanted with (such as the first about the Dwarves). I wouldn't say it's on par with the series proper, but it's an nice little read for a rainy day....more
Midway through the series, and I'm still hooked. BKV's writing is engaging, humorous in all the right places without losing the sense of seriousness aMidway through the series, and I'm still hooked. BKV's writing is engaging, humorous in all the right places without losing the sense of seriousness and intensity of the overall plot. His dialogue is, for the most part, natural and effective; where it does get stilted or contrived, it still far outstrips other contemporary comic book authors. Pia Guerra's art is simple and clean. Personally, I enjoy that his women look like women and his men (man) look like men, which is something other artists can often have difficulty with. Definitely recommend it....more
A little slow to get into, but once it hits its stride, it really takes off. Fascinatingly detailed, almost to the point of excess in some places, butA little slow to get into, but once it hits its stride, it really takes off. Fascinatingly detailed, almost to the point of excess in some places, but a completely gorgeous read. Would definitely reccommend to any fans of history, Dracula, or just a lush, elaborate narrative.
(07/08) Just finished this book for the second time, and I have to say as a repeat read, I was unimpressed. The narrative felt longer and more tedious than I remember, although this is likely due to my knowing all the mysteries before Kostova reveals them. Kostova's writing is good--not great, but good; hampered by her love of purple prose (or attempts to emulate Victorian gothic literature), but ultimately readable. Her strength lies in her fact-finding and ability to create an elaborate, interconnected web of mysteries, and her timing in revealing pieces of the puzzle. That's what kept me going the first time I read it, among a few minor characters I was enchanted with (oddly enough, it was her minor characters, rather than her major ones, I felt more drawn to). Once I knew all the mysteries and hints, the book became more of a chore than anything to read, and I found myself focusing on technical and creative errors rather than the narrative itself. Verdict: extremely enjoyable first read, but I wouldn't pick it up again after that. At least not for another 5 years....more
Surprisingly engaging. The book starts off a little difficult, the detached and simplistic (rather uneducated, even) voice of the narrator hard to conSurprisingly engaging. The book starts off a little difficult, the detached and simplistic (rather uneducated, even) voice of the narrator hard to connect with; but in the end, it's the detachment of Morvern that becomes a primary part of her characterisation, and Warner manages to emphasize his protagonist's humanity by completely subverting it. The ending seemed a little contrived and ~circle of life~, but overall it was an interesting (if somewhat difficult at times) read. Dark and twisted. Recommended if you've got a week and can stomach it....more
By all rights, I should have loved this book. It was recommended to me as a fan of subtle, witty humor (check), literary allusions (check), intriguingBy all rights, I should have loved this book. It was recommended to me as a fan of subtle, witty humor (check), literary allusions (check), intriguing lead heroines (check), and a whimsical alternate universe (double check). When I started reading, I found it a little bland and rocky to get into -- but I hadn't heard a bad review yet, so I figured it got better.
Instead I found myself slogging through a couple hundred pages of dry, uninteresting prose and tossing the book away by page 200. I'm surprised I even managed that long, and if the book weren't periodically redeemed by the promised subtle humor and ingenious literary plots, I would not have gotten that far. Fforde's prose is regrettably plain and lackluster, and I found myself, rather than reading about how characters were feeling by their actions or thoughts, being told how they were feeling -- "I felt chagrined," "Mycroft was upset," etc. The characters were, almost without exception, two-dimensional and bland, especially Thursday, who seemed to be very obviously written by a man. I felt less like I was in her head (which is unfortunate, since the novel was painfully in first-person) than I was simply being told about her. I didn't care about her, her story, or anyone else, and often forgot who characters even were with their simplistic, indistinguishable descriptions. Acheron Hades, similarly, was almost painful to read -- and not because he was supposedly so evil. His manic ~nefarious~ schemes became predictable and boring, and his speeches were like slogging through an unedited Looney Toons script.
The prose was marginally better than The Looking Glass Wars, which I was also extremely disappointed by and could not finish; but while Fforde's techniques and ideas is sound, his execution is far below what I was expecting for a book with such rave reviews. As mentioned earlier, his telling instead of showing (I think that was a first-year creative writing lesson, show-don't-tell?) and constant flipping between Thursday's first person narrative and a sudden unexplained omniscient narrator make slogging through the text extremely laborious -- less out of difficulty than just growing bored.
Definitely disappointed by this, and will not be picking up the rest of the series. ...more
I literally have nothing bad to say about this book. I picked it up while trying to slog through House of Sand and Fog, read 120 pages in one sitting,I literally have nothing bad to say about this book. I picked it up while trying to slog through House of Sand and Fog, read 120 pages in one sitting, and finished it the next day. This is one of the most beautiful, moving pieces of modern fiction I've read in years, and I would happily recommend it to anyone, even those who aren't interested in Islamic fiction, modern fiction, or female protagonists.
Hosseini already proved himself something of a master storyteller with The Kite Runner, which I also tore through once I'd gotten my hands on it. He has a way of capturing Afghani people and the political atmosphere without making his books actually political: the most that could be said for them is they are anti-war, but only in the way that war costs thousands, millions of lives, rather than a particular war being frowned upon. His stories are hopeful even as the situations look bleak, real and honest and genuine in their simple phrasings and carefully laid details. Where Kite Runner was much more gritty and realistic, Splendid Suns has a sort of mythical, romantic feel to it. While the situations are genuinely believable, I felt, in reading it, almost like I was reading some sort of updated 18th century romance (with more of a focus on the female leads, of course). Problem after problem after problem beleaguered them, and though the love story certainly formed a large part, it ultimately became about the women themselves against the backdrop of a crumbling, war-torn nation. Hosseini drops bombs when you're least expecting them--you only see them coming a few moments before, like Laila can only tell where bombs are dropping when the whistling starts nearby.
I could go on and on and still not capture just how amazing this novel was. It was touching and beautiful; definitely one of the best I've ever read....more
Enjoyable for what it is, but not my favorite romance. Anne, thankfully, departs from the colloquial writing and phonetic spellings of her sisters (exEnjoyable for what it is, but not my favorite romance. Anne, thankfully, departs from the colloquial writing and phonetic spellings of her sisters (except by a few servants and other drudging, minor characters), which makes the novel easier to digest; but her constant sermonising and preaching creates a pretty heavy-handed narrative. To be fair, religion is the centre and grounding for Helen Huntingdon, but her constant referral to Bible passages and the grace of God, and devotion almost to a fault sometimes make her difficult to sympathise with. Mr Markham proves similarly unrelatable, though more based in his personality than his religion. I personally found him a bit of a sop, and after a few chapters of laughing at his silliness and pride and noticing little change, wondered what sort of romantic hero he was at all. Helen's diary entries, aside from her preaching, were by far the most entertaining, as even though Arthur Huntingdon and his friends were the "enemy," so to speak, they proved significantly more interesting characters to keep track of, even as I wanted to slap them. Still, despite its length (my copy was nearly 500 pages, in rather small print) and religious weight, I found it a moderately enjoyable, if heavy, read....more
Closer to a 3.5 than a 4, I think, but definitely still an intriguing and, at times, overwhelming read. Roy's characters are fascinating in their univCloser to a 3.5 than a 4, I think, but definitely still an intriguing and, at times, overwhelming read. Roy's characters are fascinating in their universal flaws and unlikeability; they have faults and failings that are far more evident than their good qualities most of the time, which only serves to make those good qualities shine stronger when they do make an appearance. I was at turns horrified and enchanted by the tangled lives these characters were leading, and even more so by the way they -- intentionally or otherwise -- just picked and picked and picked away at each other. My major qualm was Roy's language: while lyrical and beautiful to read, I often felt bogged down by her obscure allusions, fragmentary sentences, and complex metaphors -- often extended over entire chapters. Still, definitely an incredible read, if one to be taken slowly and carefully....more
updated review (12/14/2014): fourth reread and i still love this book a lot. it's frankly embarrassing how badly i want a contemporary college-set adaupdated review (12/14/2014): fourth reread and i still love this book a lot. it's frankly embarrassing how badly i want a contemporary college-set adaptation. if you can't see charles musgrove as a well intentioned but very stupid fratboy you are WRONG
original review (2010): First Austen I've ever read, and definitely my favorite. The plot is not the usual boy-meets-girl, with the Heroine finding it necessary to hide her felings for her own sake. Anne certainly does keep her feelings hidden--but not for lack of trying. It's an older circle of people Austen focuses on here, giving long-suppressed feelings another go, which is a terribly intriguing premise for that time period. Of course, it's infused with Austen's characteristic wit and charm, and Anne manages to walk a fine line between irritatingly acquiescent and strong-willed with finesse. And who doesn't like the roguish, emotionally fumbling Wentworth?...more
A novel that I found far more enjoyable when read in a scholarly, literary context than an entertainment one. Fanny initially bothered me to no extentA novel that I found far more enjoyable when read in a scholarly, literary context than an entertainment one. Fanny initially bothered me to no extent, but on second reading she seems almost to be a caricature of the retiring, quiet, unassuming heroines of that era, a conscious attempt on Austen's part to poke fun at her contemporaries. The book is a series of failing or failed love affairs, and I personally found it more entertaining when read as a satire than a romance. ...more
Ugh. Overdramatic, far too emotive, and why is it always raining? Rochester unsettled me rather than charmed me, and I found Jane to be irritating andUgh. Overdramatic, far too emotive, and why is it always raining? Rochester unsettled me rather than charmed me, and I found Jane to be irritating and painful to slog through. A painful book to finish. Does not want.
3/2/09: On reading this a second time (still slogging through) I stand by most of my original opinions. I still don't like Rochester, and it would be nice if Jane grew a spine earlier on in the narrative. Enjoyment-wise, I would probably get more use burning this thing for warmth than reading it. But for a literary critique (which is where I find myself again), it's extremely useful. I may not be a fan of Charlotte Bronte, but she is a particularly good source to use for studying English literature....more
Obviously not the definitive proof of the Ripper killer, but a fascinating study nonetheless. Cornwell weaves forensic science and authorial interpretObviously not the definitive proof of the Ripper killer, but a fascinating study nonetheless. Cornwell weaves forensic science and authorial interpretation of events to create both an informative and entertaining narrative. The last few chapters, chronicling the events after Whitechapel, drag a bit, but the majority of the book is very engaging. Definitely a good read for Ripper aficionadoes....more
I think I'm one of like, four people who have read this thing cover to cover. Possibly because I'm a mythology geek, and the origins of the LotR mythoI think I'm one of like, four people who have read this thing cover to cover. Possibly because I'm a mythology geek, and the origins of the LotR mythos interest me almost more than the actual series itself. The stories read like a book of Greek legends or Nordic stories, elegant and simple, with just the right amount of pomp and unexplained mystical circumstances. Certainly a task to get through, but well worth it--if you're into that sort of thing....more