Getting to know Alexia & Connal's daughter I love the <em>Parasol Protectorate</em> books - they were the first steampunk romances I rGetting to know Alexia & Connal's daughter I love the <em>Parasol Protectorate</em> books - they were the first steampunk romances I really got into, and they had me laughing out loud while still caring very much for Gail Carriger's characters.
I didn't really get into the YA <em>Finishing School</em> prequels and got stuck in the middle of the second one, so I wasn't sure whether the magic was gone for good - but luckily, finishing wasn't a problem with this one. I listened to the audiobook, which is excellently read by Moira Quirk, and really enjoyed going on a big adventure along with Prudence Akeldama Maccon.
Rue, an irrepressible young woman who grew up raised by vampires, werewolves and a preternatural mother, is somewhat spoiled and thinks she's cleverer than she is. The latter got somewhat annoying at times (seriously, how can she believe all that spy stuff is about <em>tea</em>?), but mostly she's a rather endearing protagonist who ends up way in over her head in India, of all places, and muddles through the best she can. Just like all of us - except that she has her own airship and can "steal" supernatural abilities, a gift from her preternatural mother and werewolf father.
But as with the Parasol Protectorate, it's the supporting cast that sells this book. Not only do we get to re-visit beloved characters from the previous books, with the added twist of seeing them through Rue's eyes (Biffy, for example is her uncle Rabiffano, who seems sad about being a werewolf sometimes, which Rue doesn't understand), but she has her own posse of quirky friends. Most notably these are Ivy Tunstell's daughter Primrose and Qesnel Lefou. With the former she shares a great friendship, the backbone of her life, and with the latter a teasing flirtation that might tip into something more serious - or not.
All these are good points - however, there's some bad as well. Rue's immaturity, as mentioned, gets a bit annoying, and while it's great to get out of England, there's too much time spent on detailing life aboard the <em>Spotted Custard</em>. And then there's the whole problem of viewing India through the eyes of imperialists. Carriger points out several times how this view colours the perspectives of the British characters, but there is still too much objectification and I felt a bit uncomfortable at times. I'm hoping in future books, with Miss Sekhmet a fixed part of the crew and hopefully a closer look at the mysterious Vanaras, might give us less of a "white people fix everything".
Overall, the story was fun, but it left me a little cold, especially in comparison to the love I have for <em>Soulless</em>. However, I'll definitely be pre-ordering the next one!...more
All You Ever Wanted to Know About Anne Boleyn And possibly more. This biography goes into great detail about everything related to Anne Boleyn's life,All You Ever Wanted to Know About Anne Boleyn And possibly more. This biography goes into great detail about everything related to Anne Boleyn's life, from her relationship with Henry VIII, the luxury items she owned to her views and influence on religion.
At times the momentum of the story gets bogged down in these minutiae, and I have to admit to skimming at times, especially when it came to lists of items owned by Anne and Henry. On the other hand, although naturally everyone knows what was coming, the chapters dealing with Anne's downfall are positively thrilling, events culminating in one week during which she went from Queen and wife to accused adulteress awaiting trial for treason. As for the trial description, it wouldn't be out of place in a Law & Order episode. For this alone the book is worth reading, painting a much more interesting picture than that Henry was simply tired of her and looking for a way to get rid of her.
If I thought in advance that her role in history has been overblown, considering the short while she was Queen (even counting the long years before Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon), this book proved me wrong. Because Ives is always careful to cite his sources, it's hard to find fault with his overall reasonings, and it also makes it easy to see where his personal bias lies.
Considering the centuries separating us from her and the lack of first-hand accounts in the form of diaries or letters, we will never know what Anne Boleyn was really like as a person. Overall, I think this is the best biography we can expect - detailed, relatively balanced, creating a picture not just of her life but of the politics that ruled it. ...more
Oh, Peter Grant... I have such a crush on him! :) This is his fourth adventure, and it was just as enjoyable as the previous ones. I love that he's aOh, Peter Grant... I have such a crush on him! :) This is his fourth adventure, and it was just as enjoyable as the previous ones. I love that he's a regular copper, a geek and a follower of the scientific method, even when it comes to magic. I love that his world is so real (magic and all), the way London jumps off the page, as do the various characters he comes into contact with.
So I was enjoying myself quite a bit already in the first two thirds of the novel - and then suddenly events take off, until they hit you right where it hurts. I'd had my suspicions early on in the book, but hadn't wanted to believe it - so when it happened, I literally stopped in my tracks (I'd been reading while walking, unable to put down my eReader when I had to get off the tram) with a gasp. I can't wait to read Foxglove Summer, the next in the series (released yesterday!), and see what happens next with Peter! ...more