When comparing the books within the series, this one rates low for me - maybe my second leat favorite.
Of course,**spoiler alert** Last read 12/1-3/10
When comparing the books within the series, this one rates low for me - maybe my second leat favorite.
Of course, #6 out of 7 of a great series is still a good read. It's just it seemed a bit sluggish in places.
It does have some great little bits, though, which set up for future installments, not the least of which being the discussion between Harry and Dumbledore at the end, and the pensieve-like qualities of the diary.
And I do love old Gilderoy - he's just so annoying smarmy, it can't help being funny. :>...more
After the fourth re-read I've noticed some hiccups and glitches that I hadn't noticed before, but I still thoroughly enjoy the characters, their interAfter the fourth re-read I've noticed some hiccups and glitches that I hadn't noticed before, but I still thoroughly enjoy the characters, their interaction, and the wit and humor of the dialogue.
Oct. 13, 2008
A pseudo-medieval adventure, sort of along the lines of Robin Hood, but following the life of a young apprentice Ranger...
I admit, the thing that first attracted me to this series was because I love the concept of Rangers thanks for Stryder in LotR. (Note I say Stryder. I always thought that character was so much more interesting before the truth of his lineage comes out.)
I was not disappointed. I ended up really loving this book, and most of the series thus far (only up to book 4 in paperback here in the States.) The characters are relatable and likable, the action is nicely paced but also matched up with some nice character moments, and a lot of dry wit. (I read a reviewer that said they didn't laugh once - but I found myself grinning wryling through most of it. Humor is so subjective, but I think if you like yours on the dry side you'll be like me and truly appreciate those subtle touches in this book.)
It's also a quick, easy read... nothing taxing, and quite enjoyable. ...more
So - despite my tough girl exterior, I'm rather a romantic at heart. I'm also a sucker for all things Fae, and this was one of the first books I readSo - despite my tough girl exterior, I'm rather a romantic at heart. I'm also a sucker for all things Fae, and this was one of the first books I read that presented the Fae in the various, and often nasty, guises they are said to have been, and not the Victorian butterfly thing.
I liked Kaye - I, personally, found her mostly believable and rather relatable. She was, in turns, fragile and brave, needy and independent. And I sort of go swoon for Roiben, but, then, I have a penchant for falling for the darkly mysterious and brooding types.
I liked the romance of the story, and how it was handled - but, then, I'm a "fade to black" kind of girl. I like my romance to be romantic - butterflies in the stomach, that swoop in your chest, weak kneed, giddy romance... But I'm also not someone who seeks out just romance stories. It's the blending of the romance with the self-discovery/quest-adventure story, set in the marvelously unique world of Faerie with its endless variations.
I also love some of the expressions of the story. The visual imagery - the random weird thoughts that Kaye has, like the sun's slit wrists and the murderous moon. They both remind me of my own sometimes outre thoughts, but also left me envious for the turn of phrase. I loved the description of Kaye going from blithe, empowered by the sea and the air, to drained and exhausted. I've had these moments... I know them well... and it's often we see something like it in stories.
I loved some of the notions of magic, the idea that the twilight - the mysteries of blood and bone - are just as real and valid as the other, nicer ones. I liked how it showed the deceit of the Seelie - leaving both courts, and solitary, in some ways, morally grey.
I don't understand what some people found so hard to follow. Yes, the attraction happens rather quickly - though that happens a lot in stories and movies, so I guess I just accepted it. I understood Kaye's infatuation, her anger, her desire and longing...
There were some parts were the dialogue was a little clunky, and where the poetic language seemed to stumble a little bit - but considering my overall enjoyment of this book, and it's compulsive readability, these moments are few and far between, and not nearly enough to impede my enjoyment.
As a caution - I will say that I would recommend this for older teenagers, probably 16 and up. I remember at 16 I did smoke, and curse, and I wasn't quite unicorn pure, either. The only thing I didn't do much of in the book at 16 was drink - but I knew people who did. And that was 14 years ago - from what I've seen kids have gotten less conservative, not more. Of course there are exceptions who don't do those things, but that doesn't make the behavior in the book unbelievable. (I never got the big thing with cursing, anyway. It's part of my everyday vernacular, and it was 'back then', too. *shrugs*)
But if you think that some teenagers drinking, cursing, smoking and talking about sex is "too dark and freaky", then you'll really hate when you get to visit the Unseelie court - so this book is not for you.
For those of us who were or are the weirdos and freaks, this might be right up your alley....more
The series continues strongly, with Enola solving mysteries, evading her brothers, and longing for her mother. The people around her are getti10/30/10
The series continues strongly, with Enola solving mysteries, evading her brothers, and longing for her mother. The people around her are getting suspicious of who she really is, but all seem to be on her side.
I enjoyed this one a bit better than the last, largely because of the developing interactions and relationship between Enola and Sherlock. I also liked seeing the reappearance of Lady Cecily, though we don't see much of her.
Can't wait for the next adventure. :>
Still enjoyable but, again, my order of preference is changing. I preferred the previous one to this one this time.
I did quite like the interlude, as it were, with Sherlock and Enola in the ha-ha, and watching (view spoiler)[Sherlock grow ever more on Enola's side (hide spoiler)], but, overall, I'd give this one more a 3.5 on this go around.
This book didn't quite have the sense of adventure/excitement, the whimsy, the suspense, or emotional pathos of the first two books - but9/19/10
This book didn't quite have the sense of adventure/excitement, the whimsy, the suspense, or emotional pathos of the first two books - but it was still a fun story. Didn't really develop the characters or progress the individual story, though - it was more about the mystery and less about everything else. Which was fine, but it didn't have quite the same charm.
Still, I enjoyed it, and it was a decent addition to the series. I just hope it doesn't get in a rut, though, and that the next progresses things a bit more.
On the plus side, this book had a lot more of the social commentary - involving both the limited roles of women in Victorian society, as well as the large class divides between the haves and have-nots. These have been touched on in the other stories, but delves into it in some greater depths in this one.
Reading my review from my first read, I didn't like this book as much as the first two. It's a little funny, then, that on this second read, doing a straight read-through of the series, I like this one more than the previous book.
Again, it's not the mystery as much as the character things and the family stuff. In some ways - which sort of goes against what I said last time, but there you have it. I think I'd give it a straight 4-stars this time, or at least a 3.75. :>
Of course, it could just be because I'm in a better mood today than yesterday, and it's kind of amazing how much mood can play into these things. Ah well.
I really enjoyed the ending to the series, even though it's a bit bitter-sweet - both because of some happenstances in the story, bu11/12/11
I really enjoyed the ending to the series, even though it's a bit bitter-sweet - both because of some happenstances in the story, but also just because I like the series so much I'm sort of sad to see it ending. Better than that continuing into perpetuity and getting boring, though.
Anyway - the mystery aspect of the story was ok but, in my opinion, it as heavily overshadowed by all the family drama and developments that were going on. Since the two parts of the story are very intertwined this isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, as I did really enjoy the coming together of Enola with her two brothers for this final tale.
I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say there's a HEA kind of ending which my cheesy-ass self just grinned widely about. Really, despite there being some serious and dark things discussed in the books, they're really a very fun, entertaining and feel-good kind of read, at the end of the day.
I will say that I agree with one reviewer in that I found when Enola was discussing fashion, at times, with a bit of relish seemed a little bit out of character, and I was a bit distracted by it once or twice. That said, as someone who considers herself rather independent minded and certainly not a sufferer for fashion, I am still into my clothes, and I liked the notion that you could be a non-typical female and still be feminine.
One last thing. One thing that intrigued me throughout the series was the depiction of Sherlock, and the debates I had with myself about how accurate the portrayal was. There were times where it seemed dead on, but other times seemed possibly out of character. But, then, we're also seeing him in situations beyond the ken of the Doyle mysteries, really, and I think Springer did a good extrapolation of his character in odd situations.
That said, I did like that while Enola eludes and sometimes out thinks her oh-so-clever brothers, they are never portrayed as being dim or easily fooled or anything - as so many adult characters are in children's books where the child is the hero. Rather, they, Sherlock, in particular, (as he has a much larger presence in the books), are shown to have some blind-spots when it comes to things female - such as the secret language of fans, the meanings of flowers, the arts of beautification, and other things that would've been the purview of women and not something men would interest themselves in.
Seeing things through Enola's perspective certainly gives you a view of the time period and takes you into situations that would've never been mentioned, perhaps never even thought of, by Doyle and his characters. I really appreciated those aspects of the stories a lot.
Not the strongest opening to a wonderful series, but still a good read.
I had forgotten how much the story and the character develop from the first3.5
Not the strongest opening to a wonderful series, but still a good read.
I had forgotten how much the story and the character develop from the first collection, though. While reading it I kept thinking how odd Dream looked (not the image I have in my head gleaned from later editions), and also how, erm, comic-booky the art was, especially the coloring. It was that weird primary colors type of stuff, without much depth and shadowing and nuance. It gets so much better later on.
It was also a bit jarring the way it was crammed into the DC Universe. It was cool to see John Constantine (whose series I read, though this was my introduction to the character), and I've always like J'onn and that part was pretty cool. But the references to Gotham and Arkham were just sort of awkward (though they did remind me that I really do want to read Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?.)
As I was reading the last part of the book, 'The Sound of Her Wings', I remember thinking that this was my favorite part so far. Part of that is because it's the introduction of Death, who is probably my favorite of the siblings (even though I did kind of have a literary-crush on Dream) - but also because it was the first that felt like the rest of the series.
In the afterword Gaiman, himself, admits that parts of the story are clunky and awkward, and also that 'The Sound of Her Wings' was the first story where he felt he really found his voice.
Unfortunately, I don't have time to continue with the series just now, however rereading this first book did definitely whet my appetite, and I intend to return to it as soon as I can....more
A cute, quick little story that I read in a couple of hours last night. It does have some dark parts that some parents might not like for6/19/2010
A cute, quick little story that I read in a couple of hours last night. It does have some dark parts that some parents might not like for their young children, though - i.e. it references the Ripper murders at one point, talking about a prostitute who was slit open.
Enola, the scandalously younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, sets out to unravel her own mystery when her mother disappears. She also has to deal with the prospect of going to boarding school, the horrors of which are told in some detail. She gets side-tracked with another mystery, and adventure ensues.
Littered through-out the story, also, are the trials and travails of a girl growing up in that time period. The barbaric undergarments, and societal restrictions of the upper-class, but also the more day-to-day horrors of the lower-classes. Very interesting historical tidbits for younger children to appreciate, I think.
I liked the character of Enola, and how she out-witted her two older brothers. I found myself chuckling at the depiction of Sherlock - both kind of accurate to his own stories, and yet from an interesting perspective, as the story is told in first person. Mycroft, who I really only know by name from the other stories, I didn't like in this one.
I'll definitely be seeking out more of this fun little series.
(As a side-note, I found this series when a friend of mine posted a list of female authors in sci-fi and fantasy. Nancy Springer was one of several names I'd never heard of before, and I put her name, like the others, into the amazon search to see what came up. I was delighted by the possibilities of this series, so snatched up the first book. The rest, as they say, is history... or, at least, reviewed above. :> )
Wasn't planning on re-reading the series, but I was stalled out on the other book I was reading and needed something light and fun - and since the last two books are finally coming out in paperback (yay!) I picked this up.
I will say that mystery stories, in general, lose a little bit when you know the twists and turns and how everything comes out. That said, the characters and characterizations and little bits and bobs from the time period continue to delight.
This is, I believe, the third time I've read the book.
I remember the first time I read it, and generally being blown away by the ideas and concepts4.5
This is, I believe, the third time I've read the book.
I remember the first time I read it, and generally being blown away by the ideas and concepts and philosophies. Philosophies which I'm only mildly embarrassed to admit have gone into my own theories of how the universe works.
It is a dark story. I know some people have commented on that, and some never get past the first Bilquis scene - which is a shame. The mythologies of the world are sometimes dark stories. You can't expect to read a good story about the gods and have all light and sunshine, as it were.
It is also, in places, a slow story. You could say that the interludes and side stories are unnecessary. But - and it's such a but - they give it such a flavor that it would lack otherwise. Different perspectives, different journies, aside from our main story. Not to mention the fact that they often get referenced later in the story, too.
And Shadow is sometimes hard to relate to, because he's so passive. I do like it, though, that he sort of goes with the flow instead of fighting against it. I'm tired of reading stories where people are put into these incredible situations, and spend the whole time either whining about it or else going "I don't believe this is happening". Ugh. But despite his passiveness, he's still very likable.
'What should I believe?' 'Believe everything.'
The descriptions of the dreams are awesomely mystical, and it's fun playing spot the god. And, of course, the book is eminently quotable. I mean, there are just so many cool ideas and quips.
And when Shadow becomes his own person, from that point onward, I just don't want to stop reading, because it's so compelling... so believable. For a story which is filled with all manner of believable things, it's all so very human.
Even though I prefer 'Neverwhere' as a pure story, I still believe that this is Gaiman's masterpiece. It and Sandman are probably equal, and incomparable, in my eyes.
And in this, my third reading, I was not disappointed. Some books don't weather well. You love them the first time and then read them again later and wonder why you loved it. This is not one of those. This is one of the great ones, where you find new little quirks you missed the first time and are comforted by the ones you remember.
It's a bit of a mind-bender, this book, which is why I love it. A bit clunky in places but, ultimately, a highly recommended read....more
Oh dear gods, what just happened? I finished this book last night, up to the wee hours, and that ending... I was so upset! I was practically teari3.75
Oh dear gods, what just happened? I finished this book last night, up to the wee hours, and that ending... I was so upset! I was practically tearing up. No, it just can't be...
And angry. Oh so angry at stupid Conall. Argh!
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot, though perhaps a little less than the first. Perhaps it's merely because the first was so novel/ I was glad, however, that Alexia Italian-ness and dark complexion were only mentioned a handful of times, and not constantly.
I liked the additional of Madame Lefoux, the interplay between the newly married couple, the ever charming Lord Akeldama and his interesting involvement in the turn of events.
Ivy and Felicity were annoying, which, granted, they are meant to be, but their comments were just too repetitive. And the bit at the end with Ivy and Tunstell was just a mite predictable.
My main complaints, I suppose, was that I never really felt any sense of urgency in solving the case. And, for the most part, Alexia again seemed to sort of stumble onto answers, until the end, anyway. The mystery part, once again, was the weaker element of the story. But the personal touches were, once again, quite enough to make up for it.
And then the ending where the floor dropped out and everything lovely fell apart. All last night I was tossing and turning, waking up with reprimands and incriminations in my mind. Oh dear, oh dear - when is the next book out?
(Btw, everyone should read Michelle's review because it captures all my thoughts and does a much better job of it.
Finished my reread. Still mad at the ending, even though I knew it was coming.
I still generally liked it. I thought the part on the dirigible seemed a bit slow going, but I thought it picked up once they landed and the stuff between Conall and Alexia picked up again, but then it got a bit draggy figuring out the mystery again.
My biggest impression from the second read was how over-the-top annoying Ivy is in this one. Getting in the way, being entirely dense, and insisting Alexia didn't marry for love, when she was there for the first book. It just seemed out-of-character and was more vexing than amusing.
Weakrer than the first, but still enjoyable....more
This story has the same mix of characterization, action and humor as the first - tho perhaps just not quite on the same scale. I couldn't really put mThis story has the same mix of characterization, action and humor as the first - tho perhaps just not quite on the same scale. I couldn't really put my finger on it, but I just didn't enjoy this book as much as the first... but it's still a good sequel, and I look forward to the rest of the tale.
Oh - but one thing. I do hate cliffhangers... ...more
The story of Roland and his ka-tet continues, but I felt this particular volume is a bit slow in moving the plot forward. There are a lot of digres3.5
The story of Roland and his ka-tet continues, but I felt this particular volume is a bit slow in moving the plot forward. There are a lot of digressions - some of which are interesting, and some less so.
The things I like the best about this story are the character developments. I like seeing how Eddie and Susannah start truly being a part of the quest, the way that Jake is torn by the split time-stream, and the way that Roland is a part of the ka-tet but also apart from it - though like isn't really the right word for that last part, since that's actually kind of sad.
I liked the deepening of Eddie and Susannah's relationship, and the way that Roland notices it. The addition of Oy, and just the general bond that grows between them all.
I also really like the part at River Crossing, as we see a glimpse of Roland's world, and what gunslingers meant to that world, before it "moved on". Ditto with them around the campfire, with Roland talking about fair days.
And those parts are all nice.
But there's a lot of what feels like filler to me. Constant little recappings and reminders of events from the last books, repetitive bits - like with Eddie and the key, and Jake and Gasher and that whole sequence. And getting from River Crossing to Lud took forever.
It sets some important things up, but I felt it could've been tighter.
I am unspeakably grateful, however, that I don't have to wait 10 years to read the next book. :>...more
After reading Neverwhere for the second time, it remains one of, if not thee, favorite book of mine by Gaiman. There really aren't many flaws to thisAfter reading Neverwhere for the second time, it remains one of, if not thee, favorite book of mine by Gaiman. There really aren't many flaws to this book. I love the world and the idea that the people who 'slip through the cracks' exist in this other world beneath the world. I even love the slight ambiguity that it could be that Richard is actually just crazy, through I prefer to think of it as real.
I love the way the story unfolds. We are given information piece-meal, receiving it as our protagonist receives it, and, like our protagonist, we just sort of go along for the ride and start taking the craziness for granted, because it's told in such a convincing way that you don't really ever stop to think it couldn't be true.
I love the characters. Richard is a bit dull and gets annoying sometimes. Door is interesting though, in a way, oddly underdeveloped. The Marquis de Carabas is one of my faves, though, and who doesn't love the creepy, funny insanity of Croup and Vandemar?
I love the wording. Gaiman is evocative without being overly desriptive or trite. The story moves along at a good pace, and the words wrap around you, creating the world and the story, with turns of phrases that just linger on the tongue and in the mind.
And, lastly, I love the ending. There are many self-referential nods to Wizard of Oz throughout the story. It's obvious - the journey to the angel to get knowledge, or power, or to go home. Even Croup and Vandemar as a substitute Witch, as they hound the heroes with threats throughout the story. But in this Oz, which I still choose to think of as more than a dream, the theme is that getting what you want, what you think you wanted all along, isn't necessarily the best thing for you. I always thought Dorothy was better off in Oz, just like Richard truly belongs in London Below.
There are few perfect endings to books, but I think this is one... I always sigh happily to myself when it's over...
Ok - I lied, that's not the last thing I'm going to say. I also really like how Richard, our bumbling hero, isn't always the hero. Yes, he passes some ordeals - but he still has to be saved from his encounter with heights. And he doesn't really rescue to damsel, even though it seems that's how it's going to turn out. Rather the damsel rescues them all, through cleverness.
And I also like how it doesn't become a romance between Richard and Door. I don't have anything against romances, as evidence by my reading list, but it's nice that it doesn't have to be that way.
Overall, there's not really much to dislike about this book - unless you're just a big curmudgeon or something ;)...more
I was expecting more of a mystery and a bit less of a PNR, but, even with that said, I quite enjoyed the story and the characters. I quite like strongI was expecting more of a mystery and a bit less of a PNR, but, even with that said, I quite enjoyed the story and the characters. I quite like strong, intelligent, "modern" women but in old time periods when women were under-rated and devalued. The mix of brashness and feminity, of both flouting and adhering to conventions, was quite fun.
The romance was to my taste - titillating without being overly graphic or, worse, uncomfortably voyeuristic, even if there were a few times and places where it was inappropriate. Of course, bonus points for their a) being a logical reason within the story as to why and how it happened that way and b) recognition from the characters that it was bad timing.
A few cons:
Firstly, it grew tiresome to be reminded that Alexia is Italian, tan and had a big nose on every other page. Yes, she did not fit in to the pale, botton nose English society. I get it and do not need to be reminded constantly.
Secondly, I thought the ending wrapped up a bit too quickly and too neatly. I had guessed the perpetrators before our detectives did (though, luckily, not too much sooner where it became ridiculous), but the way it all came together in the end seemed just a bit too pat.
Other than that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the next in the series.
(As a side note, the first book that comes to mind as a comparison is 'Dead Until Dark', the first and, thus far, only Sookie Stackhouse book I've read. I know many people on my list enjoyed the Sookie book more than I did, because I found Sookie vapid and annoying and Bill one-dimensional. I recommend this highly to those who liked the Sookie books because, imo, it has the same elements that makes Sookie fun, but with far fewer of that book's pitfalls.)
On second read, I still find the story delightful. A bit slower in some places than I remembered, but I was actually less annoyed by some of the things that annoyed me the first time, instead of more annoyed....more
This is a funny book with a lot of little satirical quips - and I think those little witty asides were the best part of the book. The plot, itself, waThis is a funny book with a lot of little satirical quips - and I think those little witty asides were the best part of the book. The plot, itself, was a bit meh, to be honest, and when the book started settling more into the plot and there were less asides I started to lose a little interest in it.
That said, I will mitigate that statement with the fact that this is the second time I've read it, and I've seen both the BBC and more recent movie version of the story (the movie also being rather meh), so the plot may have been more interesting the first time I read it - I do remember liking it better back in high school - but since I knew everything that was coming it just didn't wow me. So I guess it's more fair to say it didn't have a very high reread value for me - though, as I said, I still did like a lot of the humor.
I did find myself wishing that Arthur would sort of get a grip at some point and start being a bit more pro-active, and I also thought Marvin was funnier in the movie (one of the few highlights of the movie, really).
Overall a short, quick, decent read. Not great, nor uproariously funny... but amusing and chuckle-worthy and rather wry in places. 3 to 3 1/2....more
So, in continuing with my Dark Tower re-read, we come to the second in the series. This book, as Chris put it, is when the story shifts from a cool stSo, in continuing with my Dark Tower re-read, we come to the second in the series. This book, as Chris put it, is when the story shifts from a cool story about a gunslinger to something larger and more profound.
I kept putting off the reread. I remembered that I liked the series, up to book 5 especially, but I just couldn't get interested in pulling this one out. That said, once I did start reading it, I was hooked again.
*** I removed the spoiler tag because I don't think there's anything really spoilery in my review, but I do mention new characters so - be warned about the possibility, depending on your sensitivity to such things ***
I find the beginning of the story on the beach a little odd, to be honest - but then we come to Eddie, and I love this part. I love seeing our world through Eddie's eyes, and the various ways that Roland (mis)interprets things. Tooter-fish and the Clearing of the Customs Ritual. I mean, it's just awesome, and I remembered why I enjoyed the book and the series.
But then we came to O/Detta, and, I have to admit, my interest started flagging a bit. Not that the character isn't interesting, but it seemed a bit too drawn out and repetitive. If I had to listen to Detta and her caricatured "Southern darkie" speech for much longer - well, I was seriously starting to drop this book to a three star.
But then we get to the horribleness of Jack, and the story started moving forward quickly again. One again we get to see Roland interrupting our world through an alien interface, and it's at times amusing and at times poignant. This part went, perhaps, a little too quickly and the ending seemed sort of rushed - but, all in all, I decided it defintely rated the 4 stars I had originally given it.
One last note - the dialogue is sometimes clunky and awkward. I mentioned this to hubbie, a King lover, and he said that he doesn't feel dialogue is always King's strongest point. But sometimes, some lines, are just gold - like the line I quoted in my last status update.
But some of the most awkward parts are the whole "I love you, man" sort of moments. People love each other far too quickly - it happened in the first book, and it happened in this book. Maybe it's just me, but I would've been happier if we were left at a point of wary companionship between Eddie and Roland, a sort of friendly and connected desire between Eddie and Susannah, but the depths of care we're meant to believe exist don't just crop up like that - not even in such situations, I don't think....more
Another fun and witty entry, though perhaps not quite as good as the others. Still, couldn't bring myself to give it anything less than 4 stars. I3.5
Another fun and witty entry, though perhaps not quite as good as the others. Still, couldn't bring myself to give it anything less than 4 stars. I did still quite enjoy it - enough to finish it in two days.
I especially liked seeing so much of Professor Lyall and Floote.
Conall was forgiven too easily, but at least he realized how much of an ass he was and went to some lengths to make amends.
And, best of all, this one did not end in a dreadful cliffhanger, though there are quite enough thread to carry into the next book: what will become of Biffy, how will the Fangs react to the goings on, and what is the nature of the infant-inconvenience?
July seems so far away. I can hardly wait! I suppose I must have some tea to calm my nerves. It seems the thing to do. :)
On the re-read, the bits with the Templars seems a bit slow and draggy. The parts with Lyall & Co. where much more interesting. And I do still hope that Alexia gives Conall more grief in the next bok, because he really did get off quite too easily....more