I have to admit, I'll read anything George R. R. Martin puts out before The Winds of Winter comes out, I'm that desperate to read more about WesterosI have to admit, I'll read anything George R. R. Martin puts out before The Winds of Winter comes out, I'm that desperate to read more about Westeros and the people who are unlucky enough to live there. So I gobble up preview chapters avidly, and eagerly seek out these pseudo-historical tales about the history of the Targaryens. I really enjoyed the last offering, "The Princess and the Queen", but this one seemed very much like a rehash of the former.
It's not that I don't like the Targaryens, I do! But it is very hard to read about them, since so many of them share the same name, and they marry each other a lot, it gets very confusing. I found myself having to read sentences over and over, trying to determine who was who. I also felt that the short story wasn't really about the titular "Rogue Prince", Daemon Targaryen, it was mostly about the people around him, and once again, a rehash of the story in "The Princess and the Queen", events leading up to the Dance of the Dragons.
I don't mind having read this story, I'd probably read Martin's grocery lists at this point, but I must say I was a little disappointed. On the bright side though, the anthology the story came in also included a great Neverwhere short story by Neil Gaiman, and I really loved that one....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
I really enjoyed this third installment of Phryne Fisher's adventures, in which she and her maid, Dot, are traveling to Ballarat on the overnight traiI really enjoyed this third installment of Phryne Fisher's adventures, in which she and her maid, Dot, are traveling to Ballarat on the overnight train. In the middle of the night, Phryne is awakened by a sharp, cloying smell, which she quickly identifies as chloroform, and discovers that one of the train's passengers, an elderly lady, has been murdered. Soon she becomes embroiled in the strange drama of the family as she stylishly works out who was the culprit. The secondary plot in this novel involved an even more unsavory story than murder: child slavery.
Admittedly, I listened to this book on audio quite a while ago, and quite quickly as well, so I've already forgotten a lot about it. But I do remember enjoying Stephanie Daniels' lovely narration, as well as the antics of Bert and Cec, and that the resolution to the novel was very satisfying....more
As with the first book in the Phryne Fisher series, I enjoyed listening to Flying Too High as narrated by Stephanie Daniel. She does a wonderful job oAs with the first book in the Phryne Fisher series, I enjoyed listening to Flying Too High as narrated by Stephanie Daniel. She does a wonderful job of bringing life to all of the different characters, and there's something decadently lush about her "Phryne" voice. It's at once seductive and comforting, just like Phryne herself.
I thought the story was little lacking in this book. The plot revolves around two cases. In the first, the daughter of a man recently come into money has been abducted for ransom. The culprits are a despicable pedophile, a money-grubbing woman, and her honorable but coerced husband. The little girl is rather precious and clever, managing to sway the husband to her side before his wife and co-conspirator can hurt the girl.
The second case is the death of a local businessman, who, by all accounts, no one liked particularly well. He was emotionally and sexually abusive to both his wife and daughter, and overall a cruel man. His son comes under immediate suspicion, but his mother is adamant he's innocent, and it comes to Phryne to prove it. What ensues is action-packed, including high-speed chases with airplanes!
Though this second in the series was not as attention-grabbing as the first, I will certainly still be continuing with the Phryne Fisher series. As of writing this review, I'm already on the fifth book, with no signs of stopping anytime soon. ...more
Diane Setterfield's debut, The Thirteenth Tale, was one of my favorite reads in the last few years. I recently reread it, in light of the new televisiDiane Setterfield's debut, The Thirteenth Tale, was one of my favorite reads in the last few years. I recently reread it, in light of the new television movie which aired last year, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Sophie Turner. I snagged Bellman & Black at the library, hoping it would live up to the elegant Gothic style of the first, and I do believe it did.
The book is centered on a man named William Bellman, son of a poor and unloved second son. After his father leaves him and his mother Dora, Bellman begins working at the fabric mill of his uncle, and soon makes himself indispensable to the operation. His work ethic and innovations help the mill to become even more successful than it already does, and it's not long before his uncle begins to think of him as another son. Bellman's good fortune continues as he meets and marries a beautiful and kind woman, Rose, who gives him two daughters and two sons in quick succession.
Bellman's life is darkened, however, by the shadow of a careless and cruel act he performed as a young boy. While with his cousin and friends in a field, he picks up a stone and uses his carefully built sling to fire it at a tree where many rooks come to nest. The stone kills a young rook, and Setterfield implies that that action is at the heart of a ripple effect that eventually brings death and destruction to William's life. After undergoing terrible tragedy, Bellman decides to start a new business with a mysterious man he has seen at too many family funerals. Fittingly, that business is named Bellman & Black, and it is a funeral outfitter, providing all services that may be necessary in the wake of someone's death.
Setterfield spends a great deal of time in the novel talking about Bellman's businesses, the mill and the Bellman & Black, delving into great detail on every aspect. I loved reading these sections, as they were engaging and also informative, Setterfield clearly did her research on Victorian era mills and businesses. At the same time, she inserts small interludes about rooks, who are all descended from Thought and Memory, the companions of Odin. I had never known much about the animals, except that they are supposed to be quite clever, even able to use tools. But Setterfield wrote about them in a way which made them seem dark, mysterious, and brilliant.
This novel has cemented Diane Setterfield in my authors to watch list. When her next novel comes out, I will definitely pick it up as soon as I can....more