[with huge apologies to Katie] I loved the first one, which among other things, had one of the funniest and best kissing scenes ever, liked the second[with huge apologies to Katie] I loved the first one, which among other things, had one of the funniest and best kissing scenes ever, liked the second, though it went too far for me in the direction of teens unrealistically excelling at crime-solving, but this... Not only was there no reason for a love-triangle at this point, but Mycroft got to be so bad that I actually might have rooted for the new guy, Harris, more than for him. His barrelling into the dance and punching Harris was only part of it. I did love the way Rachel got helped with the PTSD she was suffering from by being taught self-defence, but it wasn't Mycroft helping her, was it?
Scott Westerfeld's contribution to the #VeryRealisticYA thread on Twitter comes to mind: 'Teens suspect crime has occurred. Inform parents and police and go back to being teens'. I'm all for a bit of unrealistic drama, but sadly this trilogy ender exceeded my tolerance levels by a lot....more
This one is all thanks to Katie, and it was intense enough an experience that I'm actually feeling smug about following up on the rec before4.5 stars.
This one is all thanks to Katie, and it was intense enough an experience that I'm actually feeling smug about following up on the rec before her other friends did. Also, it's worth mentioning that I'm not actually a big Sherlock Holmes person. I probably read a story or two over the years, and read a few of the recent children's series that relate in one way or another to the originals for the History Book, but that's it for reading. I watched the first film and some of the British series (which I didn't much care for, though it got better after the first ep), but the only thing I've ever loved is Elementary. We've only watched the first season, but that's because A Certain Family Member had too many ALL the emotions and we took a break. All this preamble is in aid of clarifying why Katie's likening the book to Elementary, along with what she said about the relationship stuff, sold me immediately.
With all that roundaboutation, you'd expect an attempt, at least, at a coherent review of the book, right? Or perhaps you wouldn't, if you've read some of my "reviews". That would be sensible, because I don't feel coherent about this one and I'm going to excuse a little of it by either copping out or being insightfully accurate about the book and saying that it's that kind of book.
To get the mystery element out of the way first; I thought it was okay but not great. There were too many things that Mycroft and Rachel (or James and Watts, or any permutation of names you prefer) got to do that they were extremely unlikely to have been allowed to do, and even I pretty much called the villain from early on, which is not good.
BUT. The characters. Just that, okay? Rachel is fantastic - angry and sad and smart and a "good daughter" and fed up and a good friend and strong. Certainly capable of screwing up badly and saying things she wishes she hadn't too. We're in her head all the time, rather than having the POV switches more common in YA, and it works really well. Mycroft is - well, he's perfect for a mostly-Sherlock-alike. Very, very damaged, but brilliant and caring as well as self-destructive, rather than the tortured & utterly self-involved 'bad boy' romantic hero type. As powerful as his history (when we finally get to see it) is, Rachel's family story is unexpected and deeply moving too, and a reminder that some countries are BIG and rural farming in them is quite different from farming in, say, Ireland. Or even in a lot of the northeast of the US, where I've also lived. Of course this is obvious, but the family farm on which Rachel grew up, and which she mourns deeply, is extreme. That aspect of the book was fascinating and never really neatly resolved, because how could it be?
There was one scene though, when Mycroft has gone off after getting in serious trouble, and Rachel thinks: "It's the longest hour of my life. I spend most of it fretting about where Mycroft went after he left, what damage he's inflicting on himself. If he torched a building because of a fight with me, what will he do now?" (About the earlier incident, too it's "It was me who made him feel that way..." Italics hers.) It's almost more disturbing now that I've typed it out, but at the time I was pretty much split in two. Half of me was simply going THEIR LOVE IS SO TRUE. THEY MUST BE TOGETHER. The other half was intensely worried at the idea that Rachel (and readers) was falling into the *classic* trap of thinking that Mycroft's brokenness can be "fixed" by loving him enough. The first drowned this out with THEIR LOVE IS SO TRUE IT DOESN'T MATTER. YOU CAN FIX IT, RACHEL. (Do I have personal experience with this classic error? Oh, yes. Is it one of the most tempting of the faulty thinking traps? Definitely.)
I kept reading, and I loved it, and I'll be reading the second. And the third. (And hoping for more and fast writing and more, please!) The kissing scenes were just awesome, and also thinking about them still makes me laugh, days after reading. And, you know what? Their love really IS so true....more
Jen gave me this lovely book for Christmas, and it was the perfect way to start off the reading year. You're likely to hear the 'timeless children'4.5
Jen gave me this lovely book for Christmas, and it was the perfect way to start off the reading year. You're likely to hear the 'timeless children's book' descriptor a lot, and with good reason. It's timeless in the sense that it's a non-specified date in the past (early 1900s? Later 1800s?) when women were not cellists and were not supposed to wear trousers, but when it also feels perfectly right for a delightful man like Charles to rescue a baby, take her home and raise her, without bothering either of them with stupid things like school. It's also timeless in that same way because it could be a Noel Streatfield if he got in a Nanny to help out.
Mostly, though, it made me think of A Little Princess, with a very different sense of social justice: no romanticizing of the diamond mines into something out of The Arabian Nights; no meek and grateful poor children, and no patient suffering. Sophie is a wonderful character, the rooftoppers she meets are heartbreaking and yet so strong, and I fell head over heels with Charles. It's whimsical and funny, too, which I don't think of A Little Princess as being, and yet ... that rooftop feast, for hungry Matteo (and Sophie, though hers was a voluntary hunger!), had the same emotional payoff as the one from the earlier book.
My only concern was that a bit of me wanted the ending tied up with a series of weatherproof (and not from pigeon fat) bows. (view spoiler)[ So. There is now an epilogue in which Sophie's mother produces her birth cert, thereby clearing Charles, his scholarly work can be done perfectly well in Paris, and they set up a proper home for all the children together - one so free and with such perfect access to the rooftops that even Matteo feels safe there. I will not countenance Charles going back to London alone. (hide spoiler)]...more
Nigel Planer was the narrator I chose for the first Discworld I got on audio (instead of Tony Robinson) and he's now the one. Given that I've very4.5
Nigel Planer was the narrator I chose for the first Discworld I got on audio (instead of Tony Robinson) and he's now the one. Given that I've very little memory of Mort/i> and might not have loved it as much if I'd had preconceptions about how anyone should sound, Death is perfect. ...more
I found this a much harder read than The Long Way as both narratives involved the characters going through rather stroppy adolescent phases. It was unI found this a much harder read than The Long Way as both narratives involved the characters going through rather stroppy adolescent phases. It was understandable, but as Pepper's sections were of her grim childhood (if you can even call it that) and Lovey was mostly lashing out against her for trying to protect them all, it got quite painful at times. Still a wonderful story, and a fantastic job of AI as central character....more
This was broken for me on the basis of girl crashing a car, killing her best friend and seriously hurting herself, being charged with murder. Not vehiThis was broken for me on the basis of girl crashing a car, killing her best friend and seriously hurting herself, being charged with murder. Not vehicular manslaughter, not careless driving (not car theft, which it seems to have been) but murder. How does that make any sense? It would have been hard to recover from that, but this set of characters didn't do it....more
Still too much 'banter', still too much talk about Leonidas's penis, still too many improbably escapes from unbeatable odds. Having read this many booStill too much 'banter', still too much talk about Leonidas's penis, still too many improbably escapes from unbeatable odds. Having read this many books, though, of course I had to get to the end....more