A second book that I read because it was a free giveaway on Kindle, I was only aware of the 'suspense' part of the 'Christian romantic suspense' descr...moreA second book that I read because it was a free giveaway on Kindle, I was only aware of the 'suspense' part of the 'Christian romantic suspense' descriptor for its genre when I began reading. The Christian aspects are certainly present, but well-handled (even as a non-Christian reader, I didn't find them overbearing.) The romance, on the other hand, was rather heavy handed, though there was no sex. The main characters were constantly noticing how attractive the other was, and how they'd never felt like this about anyone before. Instant physical attraction and emotional bonds forming between people is something that really shakes my suspension of disbelief in a story -- I prefer to see relationships developing over the course of time, so I found that aspect rather jarring.
The author has clearly done some research, though she still suffers from some errors like three million dollars cash fitting into a backpack (it would not) and referring to Afghanistan as part of the Middle East and Afghans as being of Middle Eastern descent (to be fair, there are definitions of the Greater Middle East that do include Afghanistan, but the typical eastern border of the region is Iran.)
It would also have been nice to see an Afghan who _wasn't_ a terrorist as an actual character -- I believe there's exactly one of those in the book, and he's basically just a name. Combined with bad guys who are essentially cardboard cutouts who are there to be evil, it's probably for the best that there's not a single mention of Islam to be found.
All in all, probably better for the romance fan who likes a little suspense mixed in. (less)
I'm thirty-three years old, and a children's book can still make me cry. I've remembered this book quite fondly since I first read it back in fourth o...moreI'm thirty-three years old, and a children's book can still make me cry. I've remembered this book quite fondly since I first read it back in fourth or fifth grade, and have always considered it to be one of the key books from my childhood, but unlike the others that fall into that category (Narnia, Prydain, The Dark is Rising...) I don't think I've reread Bridge to Terabithia in all that time, though I did go to see the Disney film when it came out a few years ago. I may be old enough to be Jess's father now, rather than his age, but some stories remain just as meaningful, and perhaps moreso, with the passage of time and the changing of perspectives. (less)
By far the weakest of the Hannibal series, and not really an origin story worthy of the character. The mysterious and eerily knowing doctor that we se...moreBy far the weakest of the Hannibal series, and not really an origin story worthy of the character. The mysterious and eerily knowing doctor that we see in Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon is far more compelling; the young Hannibal that we have here is little more than a clever vigilante...the Punisher or Batman gone over the edge. As an origin story for Hannibal Lecter, therefore, it's highly disappointing. It's readable enough as a vigilante justice story, though, I suppose, particularly given the less common backdrop of postwar Europe.(less)
**spoiler alert** While overall not a bad read (I'd give it 2.5 stars if we had halves), this is one of the few cases of me actually liking the way th...more**spoiler alert** While overall not a bad read (I'd give it 2.5 stars if we had halves), this is one of the few cases of me actually liking the way they handled the movie better than the book, at least with regard to the ending. While there was an interesting chemistry between Starling and Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, it wasn't remotely sexual. Even throughout this book, Lecter was essentially trying to recreate his sister up until the very end...and then, boom, Bride of Lecter? That was totally off-putting to me -- it didn't make sense for either of their characters.
This is Daniel Silva's third book, and the first of his Gabriel Allon novels, about an Israeli art restorer / assassin.
From what I've read so far of t...moreThis is Daniel Silva's third book, and the first of his Gabriel Allon novels, about an Israeli art restorer / assassin.
From what I've read so far of the series, it seems like Silva really hits his stride with them later, but this book does a good job of establishing some of the main characters and setting the groundwork for what's to follow.
Silva clearly does his background research on the conflicts and organization he discusses (and, pleasantly, informs the reader in his author's note at the end what several of the main sources were). The lead characters suffer a bit from being both ridiculously attractive and hypercompetent -- the female lead is, quite literally, a supermodel who manages to still be a crack shot and remember all her tradecraft after a twelve year gap since she's last worked with Israeli intelligence, for instance...and who is in love with Gabriel despite only having worked with him for a matter of weeks and not having seen him the past twelve years. Overall, though, I found his style of writing and the story itself enjoyable enough that it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment of the novel. Silva also manages to avoid a typical 'damsel in distress' rescue scenario toward the end, despite what looked to be the setup for it, which proved a pleasant surprise.
An entertaining spy thriller, all in all, though not one to judge the rest of the series on.(less)
I've thought all the Gabriel Allon novels so far (particularly from the second) were very enjoyable reads, and this is the strongest one yet. This is...moreI've thought all the Gabriel Allon novels so far (particularly from the second) were very enjoyable reads, and this is the strongest one yet. This is the third and final book of an arc dealing with unfinished business from the holocaust, and Silva masterfully weaves Gabriel's present-day adventures dealing with the investigation of a bombing in Vienna that has put an old friend in the hospital with the story of his mother's experiences as a survivor (and how being the child of a survivor impacted his own life).
As with the previous Allon novels, Silva did his homework when he wrote this. We get to experience a taste of Austria, of Argentina, of Italy, and of course of Israel. History and fiction blend to make the tale feel particularly real, and Silva is again kind enough to offer a sampling of his sources in his author's note afterward.
This is the second of the Gabriel Allon novels. I'd wondered, after reading The Kill Artist, when Silva really found his stride with the series. I got...moreThis is the second of the Gabriel Allon novels. I'd wondered, after reading The Kill Artist, when Silva really found his stride with the series. I got my answer after reading this book.
Gabriel gets caught up in a conspiracy of silence and greed dating back to World War II. It's much lower-key than the first book, with stakes that are certainly important to the characters (and the dangers to them are very real), but not on a global level, which I think helped to keep the story more believable for me. Silva also moved away from some of the elements of the first novel that annoyed me -- you will find no supermodel/master-spy with a decade-old unrequited love for Gabriel in this book, for instance. The pacing is excellent, with tidbits of history interspersed amid action and introspection.
Silva once again does his homework when reasearching the novel and offers some of the fruit of that research to the reader in his author's note, which is a nice added bonus.
All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better spy thriller. (less)
I did not go into this book expecting the great american novel. I like spy thrillers, and all I really expected was a few hours of relatively mindless...moreI did not go into this book expecting the great american novel. I like spy thrillers, and all I really expected was a few hours of relatively mindless reading.
Well, I'm not _that_ mindless. The writing is mediocre at best, which I could probably have lived with. The characters are both flat and static, and on top of that, both the main character and his love interest are genius-supermodel-triatheletes. Annoying, bug again, I could probably have handled it on its own. The author clearly did no research at all on the NSA prior to doing this book, as shown by numerous minor factual inconsistencies (and I'm not talking about the purely fictional elements, like the supercomputer that could break any code -- I have no problem with those so long as they're not inconsistent with the setting.) Worse than that, he obviously knew NOTHING about computers and networking, which is what the main conflict of the book centers around. The final 'problem' the characters have to face? Completely unrealistic and would not happen in the real world, thus requiring far more suspension of disbelief than I could manage, and that was the last straw for me.
I'd never read any other Dan Brown books prior to Digital Fortress, and after reading it, I never plan to.(less)