This book has been on my to-read list for ages. I had heard of this series as being "Harry Potter for adults", a term which is applied to practicallyThis book has been on my to-read list for ages. I had heard of this series as being "Harry Potter for adults", a term which is applied to practically every fantasy book nowadays. I had read The Magicians Trilogy based on the same recommendation, and loved those books. So I thought I wouldn't be risking much by trying these books. I'm glad to say I was proved right.
I immediately felt comfortable in the world of PC Peter Grant, as I watch tons of British procedural shows. I did like that we meet Peter when he's still in his probationary period as a copper on the beat. Too often police officers in shows I watch and books I read are detectives. Certainly that means we get to see a lot more detecting and action, but it was nice to see Grant having to deal with unreasonable superiors and the politics of the Met. I immediately like Peter as a character, and I felt like his background from a mixed-race family informed his character and gave him a greater dimension than other characters in similar books I've read. His relationship with his partner Leslie, was also lovely. At the beginning he clearly has a crush on her, but he never pushes his advances too far, and she keeps him totally in line.
The supernatural element was also superbly interwoven into the story. I loved the idea that the Met has a supernatural division and it's headed and staffed by one older gentleman who carries a silver-tipped cane everywhere. The rules of magic appealed to me and reminded me of the rules from The Magicians, wherein magic only works if you really practice it, using the right hand motions, saying the right words, and in the case of this book, remembering the feel of the forma perfectly. Another refreshing change was the addition of river spirits who guard the Thames. First there's Mama Thames, a former Nigerian immigrant who was about to plunge to her death before becoming the guardian of the river inside the city limits. She has many daughters, named after the various tributaries branching from the mighty river. One daughter is Beverley Brook, who becomes Peter's liaison amongst the spirits. Outside of the city, the river is ruled by Father Thames, and he and his sons have started a war against Mama Thames and her folk. It becomes Peter's job to mediate the conflict. Meanwhile, strange and unnatural murders are occurring all around the city, the first of which introduces Peter to the supernatural side of the city. While guarding a body, he meets a ghost, and from there, falls straight in the path of a dark and twisted magic.
I really enjoyed this first book in the series, and I loved Kobna Hold-brook Smith's reading. His accent and timbre were perfect for the part, and he imparted a great sense of liveliness and sarcasm into the reading. I am greatly looking forward to the next few novels in the series. ...more
I've been loving the Phryne Fisher mystery series, but this one left me a little disappointed. For one, the story takes Phryne away from Melbourne andI've been loving the Phryne Fisher mystery series, but this one left me a little disappointed. For one, the story takes Phryne away from Melbourne and all of her delightful family and companions except for Dot. The lack of those fun characters really took something away from this book. It was interesting to read about her going to Sydney, but I'm sure it would have been even better had I known a bit more about the city. Also I hated every dull passage about cricket, which is a completely incomprehensible sport to me. I'm sure Greenwood knew what she was talking about, but I did not enjoy reading about it.
As for the mystery, it was a bit of a mess. There were just too many side plots and red herrings and strange motives. I kept getting the university students and professors mixed up, and Greenwood didn't do an amazing job of keeping everyone distinctive. I would much have preferred if she had focused on the search for Dot's sister. Instead, there was some bizarre foray into the world of mysticism and possession. I really wasn't a fan of the strange Isis worship.
I'll keep going with the Phryne series, but I'll definitely say this one wasn't my favorite....more
Finally I can say I have read all of Jane Austen's long novels! I still haven't read Lady Susan, but I've hit the big six. I've long loved Pride and PFinally I can say I have read all of Jane Austen's long novels! I still haven't read Lady Susan, but I've hit the big six. I've long loved Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey, but only had exposure to Mansfield Park through the rather good ITV adaptation that showed in 2007, starring Billie Piper, of Doctor Who fame.
This novel isn't really talked about or read by people who aren't die-hard English literature lovers, and I can kind of see why. The main character, Fanny, is not witty and strong-willed like Elizabeth Bennett, or romantic and dramatic like Marianne Dashwood, or vivacious and charming like Emma Woodhouse. Instead, she is rather prudish and retiring, suffers from ill health, and defers to her domineering relatives in every way. This is because she has been taught from a young age that her opinions don't matter, and her desires and feelings must always come last in the family. She is a poor relation of a very wealthy family, and she knows her place. Therefore, her inner thoughts usually revolve around disapproving of someone else's impropriety or bad behavior, and chastising herself for being critical or acting above her station.
I did find some of Fanny's mannerisms to be a bit annoying, as it does feel like she complains quite a bit throughout the novel. But she also proves to be incredibly kind and selfless when it comes to her family, especially her Aunt Bertram. She is also deeply in love with her cousin, Edmund, who is himself infatuated with a newcomer. Mary Crawford, in the area to visit her sister, has brought her brother Henry with her. Between the two of them, they almost turn Mansfield Park upside down. In addition to Edmund and Mary's courtship, there's an intrigue between Maria Bertram, Julia Bertram, and Henry Crawford. But before long, Henry decides to make Fanny fall in love with him. This plan pretty much backfires on him, as he falls in love with her, but she has no positive feelings towards him whatsoever. Rejected by Fanny, Henry vows to love her forever, but his true nature comes through and he ends up eloping with Maria, even though she is a married woman.
In terms of plot, this novel really has a lot, but in between exciting events, there's a lot of time devoted to Fanny's inner thoughts, as well as speeches by various characters. Austen really seems to have used this book to espouse some of her thoughts on conservatism versus modernism, preferring the former. I very much enjoyed listening to this novel as narrated by Juliet Stevenson. She did an excellent job, and I loved her soft, even voice giving life to the many vibrant characters. ...more
I started this novel by listening to it on audiobook, but soon decided to switch to reading it as an ebook. This was because I just couldn’t get intoI started this novel by listening to it on audiobook, but soon decided to switch to reading it as an ebook. This was because I just couldn’t get into the story as read by Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman, especially as I found Corrigan’s voice to be rather annoying and difficult to listen to. The action was also hard to follow, as I was unable to “flip back” to previous pages, as it were, and reread confusing passages. For a while, I even contemplated giving up on the book, something which I rarely do.
But, as soon as I switched to reading a physical version, the book grabbed my attention and held it, until I was racing through it, desperate to get to the end. I was thrilled by the way two seemingly disconnected threads of story finally came together. Flashbacks to different points in the story did a great job of connecting the dots, and the end result was gripping.
The sci-fi element of this novel was not based around new technology, but old, possibly the oldest: the spoken word. Instead of high-tech equipment, the Poets (agents named after famous poets like T. S. Eliot and Charlotte Brontë) of the Organization use carefully crafted words to get behind people’s defenses and persuade them to do their bidding. I have had an amateur interest in linguistics in high school and I found some of the subjects the book touched on to be fascinating. I was especially interested in neurolinguistics, and found myself wanting more discussion of the subject.
The greatest surprise in this novel was how well Barry ended up crafting believable characters and a love story out of the chaos of the action. I started out disliking Emily, one of the protagonists, and eventually found that I was really rooting for her. Wil, the other protagonist, was an enigma at the beginning, and I found it difficult to understand him and his motivations, but towards the end, it became clear that Barry made him so deliberately.
I thought this was a strong sci-fi novel, and could not put it down towards the end. I will definitely look to reading more Max Barry in the future. ...more
After listening to this book, I fear I may have to stop listening to Doctor Who New Adventure books. When I first started watching the series, I becamAfter listening to this book, I fear I may have to stop listening to Doctor Who New Adventure books. When I first started watching the series, I became obsessed, and had to get my hands on as many materials as possible. I bought every New Adventure book that came into my neighborhood Borders (the only bookstore which carried them), at least until they went bankrupt. This was before Doctor Who blew up in the States, now you can find the books anywhere.
There were quite a few of the books that I did enjoy, and I always liked listening to the audiobooks, especially if they were read by one of the show’s stars. Arthur Darvill, as Rory, narrated especially well. It was extremely disappointing, therefore, that The King’s Dragon did not capture my interest at all. I found the book to be way too full of useless talking and exposition that led nowhere. Where was the action? Doctor Who is, after all, an action-adventure kind of show, and the books should reflect that fact. In essence, I was bored. ...more