Entranced by family history myself, I was in love with the focus this novel had on the main character's questions regarding her own past. Few people gEntranced by family history myself, I was in love with the focus this novel had on the main character's questions regarding her own past. Few people get the kinds of immediate results that she had when she ventured to France and began her search for answers. I found myself jealous of the resources she uncovered.
I cared less for the side-story love-affair, however it did help the reader connect with the reader and the flash-back to Isabelle's story in the 1500's especially since their stories were so connected.
All-in-all, if you are a Chevalier bookworm, I doubt you would be disappointed in this story. This having been my first foray into her realm, I felt as if my expectations were met. Not overjoyed by a new-found favorite author, but definitely something I could pick up in the airport for a weekend vacation, and I would not be disappointed....more
I am in the absolute minority in my review and it saddens me that I didn't appreciate this book as I had high hopes for a new fantasy series. I even bI am in the absolute minority in my review and it saddens me that I didn't appreciate this book as I had high hopes for a new fantasy series. I even bought this book - ah well. But my reasons for my DNF are this...
1) I was going to put this as #2 but it made more sense as #1. This is not my first fantasy novel and I realize that delving into this genre, you deal with new names, new places and slogging through this new material can be challenging (sometimes to the point where you're just not feeling like putting forth the effort). Based on the reviews, I decided this time it was worth it. And then it began...name after name after name after name. And the way in which they were introduced with very little context just made it so confusing! These names are repeated throughout the book but since they were never given much context in the beginning, it's just irritating throughout the book to come upon what should be familiar but continues to just be confusing. And even if the names were somewhat connected, the book hurries on to someone else's perspective and that connection is forgotten in the myriad of new names/unfamiliar names/places thrown at you in the next section. After 75% of the book, still feeling consistently confused by names/locations/events, I just gave up. And, for the love of all things holy, why in the world does Tad Williams need to make every single name so bloody hard to pronounce? Why all the consonants and Norwegian sounding words that no one can hope to pronounce? At least give a pronunciation guide so that I'm not stumbling in my mind over every single word. That is REALLY annoying and not just a little self-indulgent of the author in my opinion.
2) Of the many characters we are introduced to, only one of them provokes any sort of delight in me and that's Binibik. However, even his character is so poorly developed that at 75% into the book, we still know next to nothing about him. I find nothing redeeming about Simon whatsoever. He's lazy, petulant, rude, ungrateful, whiny, and basically poor fodder for a hero. If somehow he evolves into a hero, it will be an miraculous transition and utterly unbelievable considering from where he came.
I think that if I had liked Simon at all, I could have eventually put up with the difficulty of the names because there would have been something I was interested in. Yes, I got a little caught up in where all of the Swords are, but the quest to find them would no doubt just turn up more names and locations that all blur together in a big, fat squishy mess that would make me feel like an idiot. And frankly, because the characters hold no interest for me, so does finding the Swords. Who cares?
All in all, at 75% when I'm considering finishing this book, I think...why? After the experience of reading this 1st novel, I wouldn't want to continue along this vein any longer.
To be fair, I just came off re-reading my very favorite series of all times, the nearly 9 book Farseeer Series by Robin Hobb, who is like the GoddessTo be fair, I just came off re-reading my very favorite series of all times, the nearly 9 book Farseeer Series by Robin Hobb, who is like the Goddess of all adventure-epic-fantasy-fiction EVER.
I always do this to myself though...read something beyond amazing and then, having been thrust back down into the "normalcy" of the book-world, find that everything pales in comparison. What's great though is that I have these beacons of amaze-balls in my reading-past that I can look back on with fond memories.
Among Thieves may be a great book, but Douglas Hulick will never, ever be in the same league with Robin Hobb and that's just where this review ends....more