You can divide it in two halves: the story of Vittorio and that of his children. If the first half was wThis book was a surprise but also a deception.
You can divide it in two halves: the story of Vittorio and that of his children. If the first half was well done and revealed itself as a surprise, as I didn't think this book would caught me like it did, the second half became a disappointment.
A train leaves from Salonika, in the beginning of WWII, with documents which, in the bad hands, could endanger de faith of millions and that way be used as a weapon. Such documents were so dangerous that many died to protect them. Between those victims, is the family of Victor Fontine, born Vittorio Fontini-Cristi, the only one to escape alive and who resolves to revenge his family. Not knowing about the box containing the documents so many are looking for, and in the middle of WWII, Victor does what he can to help the Allies destroying the German war machine, which is probably the most interesting part of all book, while gets some information about the train here and there.
30 years later, it's his children, the twins (or Gemini) Andrew and Adrian, the ones left to continue the search for the documents. For characters that gave the title to the book, they're poorly developed as characters, with the author making use of the cliché evil twin/good twin. And you can imagine the end.
Even the secret hid in the documents leaves a bittersweet taste, but is far more interesting and poses more questions about our faith in the Church than the question from The Da Vinci Code, in my opinion....more
One of the critics I've heard, from someone which opinions I usually take, was that this book was very childish. I guess that happens when the main chOne of the critics I've heard, from someone which opinions I usually take, was that this book was very childish. I guess that happens when the main character is a young girl with only 11 years old, but is not so childish as that person seemed to say. And it isn't so phenomenal as other critics. But yes, is interesting.
I wouldn't compare, only having read this book, Philip Pullman to Tolkien. Both created new worlds, but Tolkien as also created a all new mythology, a all new world, new languages, new beings. Pullman seems to take on 19th century England, adds archaic words, so to speak, and creates 'daemons', a genius like being which is the physical manifestation of the human soul. I'm not taking away his credit. The world he created is still very interesting, such as the story.
The book follows Lyra Belacqua, an 11 years old girl, living in Oxford with Scholars, which practice something like experimental theology. You can see where the story is going to... New particles, or Dust, are discovered, which can put in doubt some dogmas of the religion set on Lyra's world, where the Church (supposedly the Protestant Church) holds a great influence. The story follows with a very nice pace, holding us to the book and not losing itself over complicated explanations of physics and theology. In fact, those who don't understand those matters still can understand what is being said (!). There's also very interesting characters.
The worst is really at the end. The last chapters seem somehow precipitate, with characters falling from the sky (almost literally) and some confusion in terms of description, but it leaves some interesting questions to be answered in the second volume....more
I liked the story. Already knew it from the BBC series. It's a great adaptation, but as usual I prefer the book, although I love the wet Mr Darcy on tI liked the story. Already knew it from the BBC series. It's a great adaptation, but as usual I prefer the book, although I love the wet Mr Darcy on the series! :D
Although is a great love story, for me the best thing from this book is really the characters, as they're very well written and it's noticeable how the two main characters grow through the book. The portrait Austen does from the society is also priceless....more
I learned of this book through the BBC series, which I saw some time ago, re-watched now as I read the book (and I'm planning see it again this week :I learned of this book through the BBC series, which I saw some time ago, re-watched now as I read the book (and I'm planning see it again this week :D) and loved it. Along with Persuasion, it is one of those DVD's that I like to watch whenever I'm feeling down. But to pick up the book was a bit more complicated. I've tried it for two or three times but postponed itas I thought those weren't the best occasions to read it, but due to the "18th and 19th Century Women Writers' Reading Challenge", in which I'm much behind if I want to accomplish it, and my commitment to read the piles of TBR books I have on my nightstand, I decided that this was it. Apparently I wasn't wrong and, fortunately, Canochinha entered this adventure with me and we did a mini book club together (link to discussion in Portuguese), which proved to be a spectacular experience. By the way, you can read her opinion about this book, in Portuguese, here.
The book tells us the story of Margaret Hale who, due to her father's, a minister of the Church of England, crisis of conscience, was forced to move from beautiful, sunny Helstone in the New Forest, to Milton in the suggestive county of Darkshire. Milton is a very industrialized city, with cotton mills that work all day and whose smoke hides the sun. There she meets John Thornton, one of the city's industrial masters, who becomes one of her father's students and with whom she discusses various issues, including trade and social issues that threaten to paralyze the city with a strike. So we have a clash of ideals and two different life styles in this book, the serene life in the south's countryside contrasting to the urbanized North, more frenetic and industrialized, represented by both protagonists.
What impressed me the most in this book was the writing style of the author. I confess I'm not usually aware of writing styles but Elizabeth Gaskell's was just delightful. How she uses the words to describe characters, places, thoughts, actions. How all this affects our perception of the characters, we see them reflected in the space they occupy, in the actions they take, in the way they speak. In this away they come to life and become a part of ours, it is impossible not to feel that we know those people as if they have been our friends for years. It is impossible not to be moved by Mrs. Thornton, the cold and harsh mother of John, who, however, demonstrates an unusually large heart when it comes to her child. For me she was the most spectacular character of the book. But the others are also touching and there's a perceptible growth in all of them: in Thornton and Higgins it is gradually, while it takes Margaret a little longer, but it is notable her growth at the end of the book when we find ourselves in a situation somewhat similar to the beginning.
It seems that some people thought the end to be a little rushed, but in my opinion it was perfect. But speaking of it was perhaps to go into spoilers, so I'll just say that from a certain part on, the reader seems to feel just like Margaret and can only look forward and hope that the story will turn out well. The only fault I can point to this book was the fact of it had to have an end, because I feel as I've lost friends because I would like to continue following the stories of these characters.
A book more than recommended, a true classic. It is one of those books whose last page leaves a huge hole and it seems that no other book will fill it. Very few books made me feel just like this. Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Lions of Al-Rassan (it's true!) were the last ones. It's one of those books that stay with us. It's one of those books to read again and again....more
Actually is more of a 3.5, but I don't like half points so I rounded it up a bit. It is still a good book, even though not exactly what I was hoping fActually is more of a 3.5, but I don't like half points so I rounded it up a bit. It is still a good book, even though not exactly what I was hoping for.
This book was read for a Book Club on a Portuguese message board, where there was a very interesting discussion, even if the participants would comment a bit less while the story in the book would progress. But that can't be only blamed on the readers' as slowly the book seems to lose its enthusiasm and some questions get an answer.
I've always been curious about vampires. I've already seen a lot of movies, including the one of 1992 by Francis Ford Coppola, which unfortunately I do not recall that well, so I had some expectations for this book, considered the one that created the modern vision of vampires, the one who brought this myth to the masses through various cultural means. We get to know Jonathan Harker, who had the mission to go to the castle of count Dracula to set right some businesses with the goal of getting the count to England. However, Jonathan gets aware that things might not be as they seem and fears not being able to see Mina again, his fiancée. She is a great friend of Lucy, a very beautiful woman, so much that she receives 3 proposals on the same day. When Lucy begins to suffer a strange disease, one of her suitors asks for the help of Van Helsing, a Dutch doctor with great knowledge of the supernatural, who reveals what they have to face.
The first half of the book, meaning Jonathan report in the castle and the constant attacks that Lucy suffers, is very interesting, since the way the book is written, through the journals and letters of the many characters, invites us to take part of the action and share the same emotions and doubts. However, in the second half the action is slowed down and the characters seem to get a bit dumb or thick headed, which might lead the reader to think how much he would like to slap them and yell "Hello!!! Vampire in the area!!!" The story turns, at this point, very slow and predictable, only picking up on the last fourth of the book only to end up in an anticlimactic way.
In the discussion of this book, some pointed out some loose ends and some things that didn't seemed right, but I confess I didn't notice any of it. Considering the narrative way, it's obvious that some things would be left out, as the characters don't know everything, but I think that imagination helps here. There were some issues with Reinfeld, for example, a character that raised a lot of doubts, but for me it was the most successful character, actually he might be my favourite character in the whole book.
It is a nice read, even if it delivers little, as since it's one of those books so well known, a person can't help but imagine how the story is even before reading the book. You can't help building expectations that then end up not being fulfilled. But considering the time in which it was written, it might be noticeable how it might have affected the society, so filled with moral convictions, conventions and etiquette....more
These books are starting to seem like Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell, but if that follows a soldier, in these we follow a dragon and his aviator whoThese books are starting to seem like Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell, but if that follows a soldier, in these we follow a dragon and his aviator whom, in each book, are demanded to fulfill some order for His Majesty. I wasn't really expecting this, when I started reading this series, but I love it none the less.
This time our characters, still in China, are demanded to go to Istanbul and retrieve three eggs bought by the British government. We follow their journey, guided by Tharkay, a mysterious man, and get to know other dragons (as feral ones). Arriving at Istanbul, they're confronted by intrigues fomented by Lien. But this dragon doesn't stop here and lets her true intentions be known: join Napoleon to carry on with her vengeance.
Once again I loved the dragons, namely Temeraire. I like how he's influenced by what he sees and discusses what concerns him with Laurence, letting the latter know his doubts and ideas. Laurence, who until he met the dragon never questioned what he did for a living, also gets influenced by Temeraire's ideals, so we can see both characters growing. I liked when Laurence comments with Temeraire the way Napoleon sees and uses dragons, holding them on great account, almost as Temeraire's own ideas. That's why, in my opinion, this books once again resemble Sharpe's. The main character by Cornwell also wonders about the ideas Napoleon spreads, such as the ascension by merit which goes as his own ideal.
I liked Lien, although we see little of her, and Tharkay, whom I hope to see in the sequels. Little Iskierka also was nice and it seems it will be tough to handle her. I hope to see more of these characters....more
The first book I've read by this author was Postmortem and, just like it, only with the progress of the investigation we're able to get to the killer.The first book I've read by this author was Postmortem and, just like it, only with the progress of the investigation we're able to get to the killer. This book also has great descriptions of the deaths but it didn't make me feel on the edge of my seat, although at some point even Dr. Scarpetta is in danger... just like what happens in the first book. Actually, this one seems to be almost a copy of the first book, only different in the death circumstances, what turned the reading less enthusiastic....more
This was one of those books I was sorry to read in such a stressed time and in english (not my native language), as I feel that I missed some detailsThis was one of those books I was sorry to read in such a stressed time and in english (not my native language), as I feel that I missed some details that would made me love this reading even more, if that's possible since I feel I've already surrendered to this author.
We follow the destinies of Daniel Deronda and Gwendolen Harleth, who come to meet by chance in Leubronn, Germany, a place known by its gambling. Then we go back in time to see what lead both to that place. The first, brought up by Sir Hugo Mallinger without knowing his true origin, we know as having a tendency to help others without caring about himself. On the other hand, Gwendolen is presented as a spoiled girl, incapable of truly loving other people, with the exception of her mother. The meeting of these two souls will have an impact on both lives to the future, and we have the chance to follow them and see how their destinies intertwine.
This is a very descriptive book, namely in what concerns the characters, their inner fights and thoughts. I confess I didn't love the major characters; however their change, their growth is perceptible, especially when it comes to Gwendolen. But the same descriptive detail was put on the secondary characters and let me point out the strength of the female characters that, even facing adversity, do not give up and get to declare themselves against the role society had set for them. We even get to know a female character who confesses herself in love with the stage, that refuses her role as a mother for not having love to give as that love was given to the stage, to her career. In the 19th century, in the Victorian period, this must have been controversial, as must have happened with the strong Judaic theme of this novel.
This is a romance not to be taken lightly. It criticizes the society of the 19th century, namely the marriages by convenience, but it also thrives on the Judaic movement that at that time was getting some followers and demanded the existence of a Judaic state (the state of Israel) in the Palestine, which was granted in the 20th century, after the World War II, and where even today conflicts are part of the world news.
I recommend it. It's a phenomenal book and was sorry, as I said, of thinking that I didn't get everything it had to offer. There are many subtleties, characters nicely built and a coherent story, with a twist here and there, and very pleasant to follow. Without a doubt, a book to keep and re-read....more
Although it's a very tiny book, it took me a long time to read it. The rhythm is somewhat slow, it doesn't have that many situations, spinning mostlyAlthough it's a very tiny book, it took me a long time to read it. The rhythm is somewhat slow, it doesn't have that many situations, spinning mostly around the question "who is Mr Hyde and how does he have so much power over Dr Jekyll?" This is revealed on the last chapters, the most interesting part of all and which leads us to question the dual nature of Man. The last chapter is really magnificent, showing both natures fighting each other: one part wanting to satiate all his appetites, taking advantage of is 'other half' being a respectable man and, that way, be able to delude the society who pursues him for his crimes; the other, trying to hide (the key word!) those appetites and try to mend the crimes committed by his 'evil side', without having a friend to share the burden exactly for fearing society....more
I loved this book! Yes, its size did frighten me and I didn't really knew what to expect. The first two parts seemed to be all over the plaRating: 4,5
I loved this book! Yes, its size did frighten me and I didn't really knew what to expect. The first two parts seemed to be all over the place, for a long time there seemed to be no clear path for the story to follow and so it was quite easy to put it aside and get distracted. But the last part... so good! Finally it becomes clear, there's a constant build-up right to the end, no more loose stories and everything ties up perfectly. The minute I finished it I felt the urge to read again but alas I have to many books and should pick another. But I do believe this book might gain with some distance and re-reading.
It was funny, I liked how the magic was presented and interwoven with that world, the characters were nicely drawn and their growth as a person was really interesting to follow. It takes some time but yeah, it was a really enjoyable reading and I will definitely pick it up again....more
Adorei! Sinceramente acho melhor que O Código da Vinci (apesar de este me ter prendido mais durante a leitura, só que no fim deixou algum vazio...) eAdorei! Sinceramente acho melhor que O Código da Vinci (apesar de este me ter prendido mais durante a leitura, só que no fim deixou algum vazio...) e que A Regra de Quatro, assemelhando-se em algumas coisas (na minha opinião) a este último. A história está muito bem conseguida, alternando momentos em que o personagem principal se dedica ao Colombo, com outros momentos em que se dedica à sua vida pessoal. Acho que estas partes ajudam-nos a entrar melhor na pele da personagem e, até certo ponto, entender algumas das suas escolhas. Para além de ‘desenjoar’ um pouco da informação histórica dada anteriormente, possibilitando que o leitor ‘respire um pouco’ antes de dar outro mergulho no ensaio.
O livro é, desta maneira, um pouco denso. A muita informação, partilhada e pesquisada pelo autor, tornou um pouco difícil a leitura, de modo a que só conseguia ler um capítulo por noite, devido à quantidade de informação (que é mesmo enorme, parecendo-se o livro com algum tipo de ensaio...) e necessidade de releitura para uma melhor compreensão. Alguns capítulos esgotam mesmo uma pessoa. As descrições dos vários locais onde se desenrola a acção também são muito longas, aborrecendo também por vezes, mas contribuindo sem dúvida para que o leitor tenha uma ideia bastante aproximada do espaço.
I picked up this book a bit by chance, encouraged by reviews that compared this to Jane Austen's works. However, it doesn't seem that similar to me, aI picked up this book a bit by chance, encouraged by reviews that compared this to Jane Austen's works. However, it doesn't seem that similar to me, aside the romantic misunderstandings. As much as I do like a bit of romance, after all I'm a girl, like so many others, who longs to find her own Mr Darcy (actually, I long for a Capt. Wentworth), what I like most in Austen's books is her critic to society, which is practically nonexistent in this book.
This is the story of a brother and sister, who go to America in search of their cousins but also with the secret desire by Eugenia, a intelligent woman married to a German prince who wishes to get rid of her, to find a wealthy man and that way fulfil the separation with the German prince, while still living up to what she was used to in Europe. When they arrived, in Boston, they're received by their cousins, the Wentworths (no relation to Jane Austen's Captain, sadly), a puritan family.
Things presented this way, the story offered a great opportunity to criticize, and compare, both the American society and the European one, which, sadly, barely happens or, when it does, is very superficial. The critic seems to stick itself to 'puritan family vs. liberal foreigners' and even that isn't explored the best way. The characters also didn't appeal that much to me, me being hardly interested in their fates....more
I've read the first book of this trilogy some months ago and have waited impatiently for this volume, but it left a bittersweet taste by the end. I'mI've read the first book of this trilogy some months ago and have waited impatiently for this volume, but it left a bittersweet taste by the end. I'm not saying is bad, it just didn't stand up to my expectations.
The book starts with the point of view of another character, Will Parry, who on the contrary of The Northern Lights main character, Lyra Belacqua or Lyra Silvertongue, comes from our world and was forced to grow up a bit fast. He joins Lyra after passing through a window in the air and finds out that, just like her, he also has a mission.
And it's basically what happens in the book. If the first one was so we could meet Lyra, this one introduces us to Will and soon we understand that it's these two characters, to whom we might add Mary, also from our world and introduced in this volume, who will have to carry on their backs the Destiny as we learn they must perform another "Fall of Man".
This book is more of a bridge between the first and the last book, so none of them is able to stand alone, since it ends in a cliff-hanger, like the first one....more
Finally the conclusion! And I say this with a bit of relief since, just like the previous volume, it took me some time to read it and, again, it leftFinally the conclusion! And I say this with a bit of relief since, just like the previous volume, it took me some time to read it and, again, it left a bittersweet taste in the end, since it was a bit far from what I was expecting to be.
Like the second volume, this one never reached the first. I don't know what the first has to be so special; maybe some other kind of innocence, but what's certain is that the second and third volumes never got into me as the first. Even the writing seems better done in the first volume, making the battle between the bears greater than the, supposedly, monumental battle in this volume.
However, the end surprised me. I liked how Lyra and Will discovered each other, so to speak, and Mary's role as the serpent. You could see their relationship evolve and Mary's story was a beautiful way to make them discover such feelings. I also liked how Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter sacrificed themselves to give Lyra a chance. For once they acted as parents probably should.
Also, I enjoyed, and on this I give credit to Pullman's mind, how he managed to make the adults so extremists to a point in which the battle between the Church (the Authority) and, let's say, the atheists seemed as a big child's tantrum, each one demanding their right to a sweet. (lousy comparison I know...) On the other hand, the children were the responsible ones, with a great task ahead and the world on their shoulders. A nice exchange of roles. Actually, the characters are, probably, the best thing in this trilogy. Aren't they only appealing, you can see them grow, especially the two main characters as they pass from childhood into adolescence and adulthood.
In all, the trilogy is well done and interesting but I think I've read better....more
Nice good hearing. William Gaminara does a wonderful job. The story is also appealing and the description of the battles is amazing. Bernard CornwellNice good hearing. William Gaminara does a wonderful job. The story is also appealing and the description of the battles is amazing. Bernard Cornwell seems to have a way describing those....more
Tinha-me esquecido que este ainda tem um tom infanto-juvenil, mas é notório a sua perda ao longo do livro. É perceptívA reler pela 4ª vez, salvo erro.
Tinha-me esquecido que este ainda tem um tom infanto-juvenil, mas é notório a sua perda ao longo do livro. É perceptível o avançar das luzes para as trevas, por assim dizer. Para mim é sem dúvida o melhor livro da saga.
A tradução parece melhor que a do volume anterior, ainda assim há coisas que não soam muito bem.
Ai que voltamos à tradução de meter dó... "Clube" em vez de taco ou bastão, "voo" eA reler pela 6ª vez, salvo erro. :P
Lido pela primeira vez em 2000.
Ai que voltamos à tradução de meter dó... "Clube" em vez de taco ou bastão, "voo" em vez de fuga, "pinto" em vez de quartilho, têm teste da Astronomia ao meio-dia em vez de meia-noite, "Há! Há! Há!" quando era suposto ser um riso, um lobisomem é "capaz de voar" em vez de ser um verdadeiro monstro, uma personagem mostra ser capaz de um crime aos 6 anos de idade em vez de 16... enfim...
Parece-me que esta é a primeira vez que a história nãoA reler pela 6ª vez, salvo erro. :P
Lido pela primeira vez em 2000.
Nota: agora daria-lhe um 3,5.
Parece-me que esta é a primeira vez que a história não me entusiasma por aí além, muito se devendo ao facto de conhecer o que acontece. Levanta também algumas questões de coerência... :/ Ainda assim, boa história e é engraçado ver como terá impacto no futuro. :D A tradução parece-me melhor que a do primeiro livro, mas mesmo assim... :/