If only all of life could be spent reading this book! For anyone who enjoys P.G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, fun being poked at...moreIf only all of life could be spent reading this book! For anyone who enjoys P.G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, fun being poked at many of the Victorian-era excesses, time-travel, humour, or, oh, anything, really.
(My user-name did indeed come from this book, but it's a joke with myself, as the real Lady Schrapnell is ... not like me at all.)(less)
This was a solid entry in the series, with a lot of really great stuff. I'm hopeful that Susan will be gone from the books now - not that there's anyt...moreThis was a solid entry in the series, with a lot of really great stuff. I'm hopeful that Susan will be gone from the books now - not that there's anything wrong with her as a character, but that it brings out all the 'male gaze' crap that nearly bounced me out after the first book. And seriously - the sex scene in this one? One of the stupidest, most eyeroll-inducing I've read in some time. But I continue to love Michael, who is perfect for his role, and I quite enjoy the wisecracking bits (mostly), and don't care much that the ante is upped from already ridiculously stacked-against-Harry odds.
Probably the best single thing in this book was the Archive. Those who've read it will know why, and those who haven't shouldn't get the surprise spoiled. Very funny-creepy, and very unexpected. And the twist about a certain vicious Chicago crime boss was lovely.
Could it possibly be the case that from now on there'll just be Harry and his buddies, trying to survive in a wonderfully built fantasy world? Or - oh, I shouldn't even dare to hope for this - but his friendship with Murphy has so much potential. [No need to burst my tiny little bubble there if I'm blowing it up the wrong tree...](less)
I was intrigued by what Hirondelle and Emmaco said about this/The Virtu, and knew that I was likely to feel...morePhew. *flaps hand weakly* What they said...
I was intrigued by what Hirondelle and Emmaco said about this/The Virtu, and knew that I was likely to feel frustrated by the fascinating but insufficiently presented world's magic system(s), history and politics. Which I did!
I also expected to like Mildmay more than Felix, based on Hirondelle's comments, and that was certainly the case, but more because I started to feel the anguish heaped on him was overdone by about page 20 than because he was arrogant and perfect. (I didn't see that until the very end.) Also, I felt a desire to smack someone at the number of times his sections (or sections of sections) ended with darkness descending. Or rising, for a change. Not to mention wanting to smack him when he'd done the "I know it's crucially important but I CANNOT TELL what happened to me" routine for the umpteenth time. (Not counting the times when he literally couldn't, 'natch.)
But Mildmay was lovely, and the world was fantastic, and there were so many brilliant side characters and -- uh, creatures (Mr. and Mrs. Kalliphorne), and sub-settings within the setting (like the Bone-whatsit graveyard, though I'm still confused about all the people and ex-people involved in that!). I'm well addicted and definitely want to read The Virtu. (less)
There was a lot about this I really loved - the characters were engaging, even if Kaylin's "grown up and away from terrible childhood alone in the har...moreThere was a lot about this I really loved - the characters were engaging, even if Kaylin's "grown up and away from terrible childhood alone in the harsh slums of fantasy city" is a fairly common set-up. I also liked the setting and the different peoples and politics among them - once I figured them out. I did think there could have been a bit clearer setting out of the various races and what they were at the beginning, and even as the book went on, there seemed to be some lines of dialogue that were needlessly opaque. (It also occurred to me that I hadn't read an adult book for a while, but I cheered myself up with thought of having followed the plot of All Clear with only the expected amount of confusion!)
I'm very grateful for the recommendation from Katie, although I had to keep strict control on thinking about the fact that it came up during the littl...moreI'm very grateful for the recommendation from Katie, although I had to keep strict control on thinking about the fact that it came up during the little Julia Spencer-Fleming almost-read-along/obsession/seminars here a few months ago. The relationship between Patrick and Angie is NOT that between Russ and Clare, although it has similarities, and expecting the same type of emotional reward from this wouldn't have been a good thing. For once, though, I managed to succeed at this self-control and as a result, was able to -- enjoy isn't quite the right word -- appreciate the book for what it was, anyway.
It is a tough book, both because it's quite violent, and some very gruesome things happen to people, and also because it's depicting racism in very overt and extreme forms. It was published 20 years ago, and I've no idea whether or not some ways of showing that racism would have been done differently today, but I do know that the racist language was pretty bad. The n-word is the one thing I can't read without flinching and there's one scene in which Patrick himself uses it repeatedly. He *does* acknowledge the wrongness, but it's still awful to read. I wouldn't call the book racist though, as one of the points of the story is that the white politicians - mostly Irish-Americans - in Boston are just as dirty, as culpable, as the (largely black) gangs, though they don't do any of the dirty work themselves, and live their lives respected, wealthy and very powerful. Not a new story, but a deeply depressing one all the same.
I'm looking forward to seeing how things go for Patrick and Angie in subsequent books (I just might have spoiled myself inadvertently), now that a certain necessary event has taken place. Also (view spoiler)[ I thought Lehane did a sadly good job of showing a tough-everywhere-but-in-her-marriage abused wife in Angie, and could see the end of Patrick's story of beating the crap out of him from about the first word. At least he learned, and waited till Angie had finally had enough. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is how historical fiction for teens should be done, as far as I'm concerned. Wonderfully entertaining read, full of details which give a feel for...moreThis is how historical fiction for teens should be done, as far as I'm concerned. Wonderfully entertaining read, full of details which give a feel for how it might have been to live at the time, and a witty, sarcastic narrator. Cushman does a really impressive job of making her characters accessible and sympathetic without their being 21st century characters in a bit of an historical costume. (less)
Not sure if this should go on the 'Guilty Pleasures' shelf, but I enjoyed it a lot nonetheless. I liked all the characters, liked Claire's nerdiness,...moreNot sure if this should go on the 'Guilty Pleasures' shelf, but I enjoyed it a lot nonetheless. I liked all the characters, liked Claire's nerdiness, wasn't bothered much by the feeling that she should have cut and run after being pushed down the stairs at the beginning, and wasn't even annoyed by the non-ending ending. Perfect read for a headachey day and am planning to read at least the next one too, not expecting a staggering work of etc or a Life Enhancing read, but well-done entertainment.
One thing that really struck me though was how different the attitude towards underage drinking must have become since I lived in the States last. It must relate to the universal 21 drinking age, but it's just so odd to read about parents flipping out entirely on finding a couple of beers in the fridge of the house in which two 18 year olds are living (along with their 'nearly 17' year old daughter and another girl whose age I can't remember). (less)
Went straight into this after Getting Rid of Bradley, and found it quite disappointing. I never bought the relationship between these opposites, and d...moreWent straight into this after Getting Rid of Bradley, and found it quite disappointing. I never bought the relationship between these opposites, and didn't particularly like either of them. But it was part of a bundle, and it certainly passed a lot of hospital waiting time fairly painlessly.(less)