I like this book well enough, but can't really recommend it. It has numerous flaws that I found myself overlooking simply because it was pushing so ma...moreI like this book well enough, but can't really recommend it. It has numerous flaws that I found myself overlooking simply because it was pushing so many geek buttons. To begin with, the novel fails utterly to set the right tone for a horror story, and after page 50 or so its more like a slapstick comedy with an occasional gruesome murder. Also, the book has more techno-babble than an entire season of Star Trek: TNG. It's the worst case I've ever encountered in all of my years reading science fiction. Also, there are numerous references that can only be appreciated by someone with an intimate knowledge of Lovecraft's works, but all too often these references seem to be little more than random name dropping. In some cases, the reference didn't even fit. So, on one hand, if you haven't read the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, then the amount of what will appear to be random techno-babble you have to wade through doubles. And on the other hand, if you have, then you'll be wondering why the cultist invokes the name of his god's most hated enemy when making a metaphor about contacting his god. Also, the more you think about the plot (and, not to give too much away but the meta-plot as well), the less the story makes sense. Ultimately, the twist comes from such far left field and is so poorly executed that it simply seems to be a bad trick by the author on the reader who has been in good faith reading the story. In the best plotted novels, when the twist comes, it makes scenes in the story make more sense and you get the sense you missed things. In this case, it made the story make less sense and muddled more prior scenes than it clarified.
Still, for all that, I found I couldn't help but enjoy a story about a guy whose job is to hack into the mainframes of necromancers with his shoelaces and cast spells of contagious data corruption on thier operating systems.(less)
I was enjoying this book far more than I wanted to, given the fact that ultimately it was a murder mystery that failed to satisfy in any fashion. Fort...moreI was enjoying this book far more than I wanted to, given the fact that ultimately it was a murder mystery that failed to satisfy in any fashion. Fortunately, the story let go of me before I got to the end.
The reason I was enjoying this book so much is that I'm a sucker for history, and even such well picked over carrion as the final days of the Roman Republic managed to be pretty gripping and interesting for me in the author's hand.
But at the same time, one of my pet peeves in historical fiction is a story which would not be particularly gripping or be deemed particularly well told were it not for the luminous names that the author liberally sprinkles the tale with. In this case, those names are Cicero, Marc Anthony, Julius Caesar, Pompey, and the like - a cast of characters that have already lent themselves to every sort of story good or bad like stock character actors always vying for the best supporting role.
In some cases in this story, the name dropping was particularly bad. I won't actually say which characters were mere name dropping, because I'm striving to give a spoiler free review, but a couple struck me as written into the story for no reason at all. There is to me a certain basic dishonesty in this which is only justifiable if the story is good enough as a story on its own and doesn't lean too heavily on its pretensions of historicity.
The basic problem I had with the story is that it was a murder mystery without a compelling mystery, compelling detective, or compelling villain. The few small twists introduced by the author were entirely predictable and well foreseen, and I was forced to endure following along the trail of sleuth who seems to be of rather less than average cleverness. I find this pretty much unforgivable in a mystery novel.
Still, Saylor is good historian that manages to make his history come alive while resorting to comparitively few anachronisms. So, even though its not that great of a story, I must in honesty confess my weakness and bump my rating up from 'It's ok' to 'I liked it'.(less)
This is one of many books for which I wish there was some greater degree of granularity by which I could rate them. Some comprimise position would be...moreThis is one of many books for which I wish there was some greater degree of granularity by which I could rate them. Some comprimise position would be welcome.
I spent the better part of this book thinking that I would give it two stars, and a portion nearer the end it sank nearly to one star in my estimation. But Hambly is a clever writer, and she avoided all the worst flaws a mystery can have and gave something of a satisfying ending, so I have to say that I liked it with some qualifications.
The setting of the story is New Orleans, circa 1833. Naturally then, most of the book is about the setting, and one feels dragged along to various vista like a tourist in a tour group. Hambly lives in New Orleans part of the year, and she's done her research - though its hard to be convincing when relating out of the ordinary situations. The pacing of the history tour is leisurely, almost sleepy, like tea colored bayou, a summer afternoon, or molasses in January. After a while, I found this tended to put me to sleep (literally, hense the long time reading a short book) and the situation wasn't helped by the great cavalcade of names that steam by. But my biggest worry through this portion, was that the author's somewhat understandable desire to portray the worst of the times was going to subvert the story. For the long time, the only hint of a twist was a wholly unwelcome one, and I found myself thinking, "Please no. Anything would be better than that. A 'Scooby Doo' ending would be better than that."
I was rather much relieved. Granted, the peices of the puzzle fell into place in a most unconvincing manner, one particular twist was simply outrageous, and nothing that the protagonist did and struggled to do really served to solve the mystery until the right theory fell into his lap, but all in all it was fairly satisfying with a sufficient number of clues to leave you thinking, 'Yes, I should have seen that.' Ben January is likable, as broadly talented as one could want and then some, but ultimately hardly the master slueth that earns our admiration.
So, yes, I enjoyed the novel, but with all the qualifications unless I get a recommendation that the series gets better once the setting and character exposition is out of the way, I probably won't pursue it further.(less)
'Fool Moon' is the third Harry Dresden book I've read.
I can't really decide if I want to like The Dresden Files more than I do, or if I want to not l...more'Fool Moon' is the third Harry Dresden book I've read.
I can't really decide if I want to like The Dresden Files more than I do, or if I want to not like them more than I do.
I like them page by page more than I like them book by book. While they make good page turners, there is still something which is on the net very unsatisfying about them.
The more I encounter Harry, the more annoying, whiney, and immature he seems. Despite seeming at times to be directly inspired by role playing games, the action of the story greatly suffers by the fact that the protagonist seems to have the power of plot. The whole book is one long Rocky movie, sans the training scenes. Harry is always completely tapped out, exhausted, beaten half to death, and always manages to dig up phenomenal cosmic power for one more big show down. He's then completely tapped out and exhausted again, only to repeat the performance as needed ad infinitum.
The action scenes are often stirring nonetheless, but they read often like the still panels from a comic boook. Harry's enemies are always described as supernaturally fast and strong, but always move in bursts of motion followed by long pauses to allow the hero to do his thing. It's a turn based world.
Anyway, maybe because I'm getting used to the author's style, 'Fool Moon' was the first book where I figured out ahead of time the 'twists' in the whodoneit part of the story. Since The Dresden Files are written in the gumshoe detective style, it is somewhat annoying to find yourself more on top of things than the protagonist. I always prefer in my detective fiction, that the protagonist is always smarter than I am and that even when I think that they don't know, it turns out later that they do.
In short, this was another fun little read but my interest in the series is definately waning.(less)