Pro: - lots of action, the scenes of which I may have read more uncritically than usual because I was so happy to have lots of excit3.5, bumped up to 4
Pro: - lots of action, the scenes of which I may have read more uncritically than usual because I was so happy to have lots of excitement going on (the book I was reading concurrently was the polar opposite of active or exciting) - liked what took place between K/C/J at end - really liked the short story with Julie as protagonist at end
Con: - somehow expected more of father/daughter face to face meeting, after the buildup of so many books ...more
Pro: -As in the author's debut novel, in this follow-up ghost story I continued to enjoy the author's period voice. I am the kind of person who watchesPro: -As in the author's debut novel, in this follow-up ghost story I continued to enjoy the author's period voice. I am the kind of person who watches the BBC "Poirot" television series not so much for murder unravelling but to enjoy the early 20th centrury fashions, architecture, and settings. I loved how it was evoked here, and portrayed on the very pretty cover. - as with the first novel, the writing is again atmospheric and engrossing, and i appreciated how the stakes for the protagnist became more complex as the tale went on - the protagonists the author writes are particularly appealing to me as young women in a time of accelerating social change between world wars in Europe. In the debut novel, the heroine is a young working woman away from her family and hometown who must rely on herself, financially and emotionally, and here we have a young woman whose attendance at the elite university of Oxford is cause for much comment among the villagers where the haunting portion of the story is set. She is in some ways more naive and sheltered than the heroine of 'Maddy Clare', but due to more privileged upbringing she drives around in her own car - very cool, and something which causes as much comment from the villagers as her desire for advanced learning. The teaser for the third, as yet unpublished novel, seems to promise yet another intriguing heroine, desperate to get away from something in her past and with the gritty personality necessary for the hardships of disappearance. - In terms of the romantic element, I loved it that the heroine did not allow herself to be figuratively pushed around, that she made her own choices and decisions even when these were in conflict with what the other person thought best for her. - I loved the off-page cameo mention of some characters from the first novel.
Con: - there were some occasions when actions of various characters did not quite make sense to me, or seemed to go against the persona that had been established for them (a hotel landlady who takes pride in her establishment giving personal messages of a guest to a stranger, the hard-boiled inspector sharing personal matters with a civilian soon after meeting, a dog-lover taking no steps to ensure his animal's welfare on leaving his home). These were not major problems, though, just occasional pebbles tossed into the smooth road of overall reader enjoyment. - more puzzling was an instance when I did not understand the reasoning behind a major development. It is possible I missed a clue or information between the lines, so I'll put it to other readers to clue me in in a non-spoilerish way (if the object was no longer in the old vicarage, why put the person visiting there at risk? Or else: if the object was still in the old vicarage, why put the object at just as much risk with the person who was perceived as posing a threat? but that didn't make sense either because the person was there by appointment, so the object could easily have been moved ahead of time). Any explanations appreciated.
Overall, an enjoyable follow-up to the author's debut book. The different ways that war lingers on in the psychology of those who came in the line of fire has become on ongoing theme, and I look forward to how this will be handled in the next installment. ...more
Liked it, but didn't feel blown away like I'd been hoping. Maybe the trouble lies with me, in case I've become too used to the Weird/Edge/Broken worldLiked it, but didn't feel blown away like I'd been hoping. Maybe the trouble lies with me, in case I've become too used to the Weird/Edge/Broken world I'd been so fascinated with at Book 1 of the series? This is very possible, as the story elements themselves - interesting heroine dilemma, unusual talent, villanous villains - are all good. Perhaps I need a spell away from urban fantasy for awhile, so that it will become fresh to me again....more
Pro: - really liked all the species of cryptids with which the author populated her alternate New York - was fasc3.5 bumped up to 4 for creative premise
Pro: - really liked all the species of cryptids with which the author populated her alternate New York - was fascinated by concept of "saving the world through ballroom dance" - loved the epigraphs of pithy quotes from the protag's female ancestors - story was good fun - even liked the mice despite IRL mild rodent phobia - unlike October Daye, this heroine actually eats on occasion
Con: - wished the protag had demonstrated more smarts/logic sometimes, e.g. why not enlist assistance from those cryptids? why wait for a tragedy before warning at risk cryptids? why encourage an ally to go into the sewers alone to a place known to be guarded by hostile agents from whom she had only escaped with help from someone with special abilities? why did not she give not a single thought to trying to track down the dwelling of a potentially hostile agent after that same agent had himself tracked down both her residence and her alias? why in the world did she not realize her staggering negotiation advantage when speaking with the Nest and utilize it?
All in all, looking forward to stories involving protag's siblings
Pro: I love how I can rely on Stephanie to make me smile and feel refreshed after reading more "heavy" type stories
Loved the relationship between DiesPro: I love how I can rely on Stephanie to make me smile and feel refreshed after reading more "heavy" type stories
Loved the relationship between Diesel and Steph
Love how she describes things: "I feel like a bran muffin in a bakery case filled with eclairs."
Con: Diesel described as a big, ubercompetent bounty hunter, but he never really seemed to do anything. Mostly ate and slept. It was Ranger who kept providing practical support when she got in rough spots she couldn't get out of herself, and Ranger who planned ahead to avoid new ones.
Whole lot of talk about Jersey Devil without any appearance. Maybe in another story?...more
Unlike a lot of historical fiction set in Britain (at least, the novels I've come across) the characters do not hail from the aristocracI loved this.
Unlike a lot of historical fiction set in Britain (at least, the novels I've come across) the characters do not hail from the aristocracy or monied classes. They are genuine, recognizable types of people dealing with everyday concerns like gaining adequate employment while also still struggling to come to emotional grips with the Great War's aftermath.
The author has created a highly appealing heroine, and maintains an engaging and authentic-sounding period "voice" throughout. I couldn't tell how the story would turn out (always a plus) and was deeply satisfied with the ending.
I eagerly look forward to reading more from this lovely debut author and hope that Book #2 is not only set in the same world but has an equally gorgeous cover....more
Liked this better than Book 1. Great descriptions of weather and people. Joanne could be Kate Daniels' separted-at-birth twin, in terms of willingnessLiked this better than Book 1. Great descriptions of weather and people. Joanne could be Kate Daniels' separted-at-birth twin, in terms of willingness to throw herself into the thick of things and dry way of looking at life....more
To call the hero conflicted is an understatement, the heroine just a little less so, making for an interesting tension filled story arc. But what realTo call the hero conflicted is an understatement, the heroine just a little less so, making for an interesting tension filled story arc. But what really sets this first installment apart from more typical UF fare is the unusual settings and worldbuilding. I am the kind of reader who will pick up a book for a story set in an unusual country alone - imagine my happiness at finding that not only does the action take place in various "topside" locations (as anyplace in the regular world is called) but multiple underground locations also (namely, the realms of various Egyptian deities), with various kinds of beings to go along with them all.
Promising, opposite-of-boring start to a new series....more
My first novel by this, dare I say, cult favorite author - and I was not disappointed.
4 stars for highly creative premise and for having not been ablMy first novel by this, dare I say, cult favorite author - and I was not disappointed.
4 stars for highly creative premise and for having not been able to guess how things would turn out. Misses out on 5th star due to squeamishness, in terms of filth quotient. I realize that this is somewhat unfair - if you're going to read a story that takes place mostly underground in London, you can't be surprised that there will be some level of unpleasantness, hygiene-wise - but there you have it.
It also took me a little while to readjust my gears after getting a false first impression that protagonist Richard Mayhew was a kind of Arthur Dent character. He is, in terms of fish out of water, but he definitely is not in terms of light & humorous tone.
This story also reminded me how much I love it when authors narrate their own audiobooks.
- can see how this would have influenced a lot of current fairy/UF type stories
- thePro: - some very nice bits of phrasing
- loved the Phouka character
- can see how this would have influenced a lot of current fairy/UF type stories
- the popular culture refrences/clothes/level of technology makes it seem like a nostalgic, almost quaint look back to the 80's, definitely not a story that transcends the time it was written (when they want a new guitarist they hang up flyers! in RECORD STORES! I remember records stores!)
Con: - why didn't the phouka have a name? All the other major and minor fae characters did (except the Queens). It was irritating for him to only be referred to as his type of faekind.
- the musical description bits went beyond simple adding flavour for my taste, such that I started skipping all those parts and frequent song lyrics as I wasn't getting anything out of it. I don't feel it impaired my understanding or overall feeling about the story.
- three "you have GOT to be kidding me moments" that I suspect will stay with me long after other parts have become a blur:
1. early on, a secondary character makes a comment to the Phouka character (who manifests as a black dog and a black man) about being grateful about being given a "cotton pickin job". Since the dividing factor was humans vs. fae rather than humans of different ethnicity, this was made no sense, made even worse by the fact that the protagonist (and for that matter, the Phouka) didn't comment on its offensiveness or illogicality
2. the Fae being immortal and regularly engaging in war was repeated multiple times. Yet somehow, after all those millenia of military experience, they somehow have not managed to figure out that a fighting force should assign at least one individualto guard against attack from the rear. Really?
3. the protagonist is hit in the face by the boyfriend she has just left. She then runs after him to APOLOGIZE TO HIM. This was so wrong I almost stopped reading right there. She then compounds the error by publicly accusing the man who stepped in to stop the boyfriend's assault of being responsible for the battery. There was nothing the protagonist could do after that to recover entirely in this reader's eyes....more
Narrrator Lenny Henry made me laugh at his television series "Chef!" and he made me laugh at the way he brought these characters to life. An entire stNarrrator Lenny Henry made me laugh at his television series "Chef!" and he made me laugh at the way he brought these characters to life. An entire star of the final score is due to his hilarious impersonation of a quartet of elderly Caribbean ladies....more