The author tried to squeeze far too many controversial topics into one book. The story itself suffers under that. The narration jumps from one charactThe author tried to squeeze far too many controversial topics into one book. The story itself suffers under that. The narration jumps from one character to another and they are all burdened with so many problems and worries and none of them is a child of their time (which in itself isn't bad). None of these topics (to name a few: abuse, domestic violence, racism, homosexuality, addiction, class society, religion, independency of women...) gets any deeper insight. It all stays on the very surface because once touched there is just the next topic around the corner that needs to be in the book too! Despite the variety of themes the story is flat-ish and remains, if not predictable, quite superficial even despite the variety of controversial topics. The characters are likeable but in a way not really able to let me connect with them. The last third of the book has more "flow" than the two thirds before that but nevertheless it's all this little bit too zealous to be convincing. The author also loses a couple of threads in said last third, which may be a sign that a plethora of topics and branches within a story is not always the smartest decision. ...more
I wasn’t really aware of what was ahead of me. I have to admit that I neither read nor heard anything of Liz Moore beforehand. It was a plunge in theI wasn’t really aware of what was ahead of me. I have to admit that I neither read nor heard anything of Liz Moore beforehand. It was a plunge in the deep end. At first I was sceptic. There was a lot about the theory of math and logic in it but never so much to make me sigh or consider skipping pages. On the contrary! I liked the strewn in bits of information and background knowledge about encrypting and deciphering. Adding to that were the characters. Very unique, very themselves right from the start. I met people on those pages and not stereotypes. This is a reoccurring sermon when I write reviews but in my personal opinion a good story and a good novel stands and falls with the characters. At the bottom line the core topics of stories don’t change that much but what makes them a good read are the “actors” and if those are well developed personalities, the story can only benefit. The Unseen World had a gentle start but picked up pace quickly without getting “rushed”. It was gripping and fascinating to follow Ada growing up and her father David decline at the same time as if their developments were going in opposite directions. I had no idea there was so much heartache to come when I started this book. The story of David is so good and so sad and tragic. It is one of those that will stay with me for a long while, always coming back from the memory to dwell on it for a moment or two. I don’t want to give away too much in means of any possible spoilers. Besides the so greatly thought through characters the writing itself is really good. I liked the little twist at the end. It didn’t came as a big surprise but I liked the fact that this other unusual but always floating around protagonist got the opportunity to raise their voice, so to speak. I also appreciate the fact that the book is closed in itself. There is no open ending that suggests a possible prequel, sequel or a volume 2-x in the near future. (I suspect I read too many crime novels which always get serialised – not a complain though!) The Unseen World is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read this year. It has everything a really good book needs (in my opinion)....more
Sehr langatmig zu Beginn und sehr, sehr verliebt in sich selbst. Man muss mir nicht auf jeder fünften Seite unter die Nase reiben, was für eine tolleSehr langatmig zu Beginn und sehr, sehr verliebt in sich selbst. Man muss mir nicht auf jeder fünften Seite unter die Nase reiben, was für eine tolle Kinesik (Körpersprache) Expertin die Protagonistin ist. Der Rest der Charaktere war auch nicht wirklich der Bringer. Zu stereotyp, zu extrem im Sinne von... es wird eine Charaktereigenschaft herausgepickt und auf der wird rumgeritten bis die Horde Pferde tot am Boden liegt. Ich war außerdem sehr verägert über das Tempo der Geschichte. Über fast 400 Seiten wird alles gaaaaanz langsam aufgebaut und dann geht auf einmal alles ganz schnell. Die zahlreichen "Plot twists" können das Ganze dann auch nicht mehr wirklich retten. Es gab ein paar nette Absätze und Informationen aber im Großen und Ganzen hat mich das jetzt nicht wirklich überzeugt. ...more
Brilliant humour, great writing. I was worried about the "written as spoken" parts but if you know how Scottish sounds, it is easy to get your head anBrilliant humour, great writing. I was worried about the "written as spoken" parts but if you know how Scottish sounds, it is easy to get your head and inner voice around it (and then you read the rest in Scottish accent too.) I liked the atmosphere. It didn't need an extended description of the landscape to grasp the "bristling" view. The characters are unique and true to themselves and - as I like to believe - written with a lot of love for them and their quirks and habits. It speaks of a good amount of thorough "people watching" and that is something I really appreciate. Every good story lives through its characters alone. They are the pillars and when those pillars have a solid stand, the story will work and catch the reader's attention.
**spoiler alert** Ian tells the story from his point of view. He introduces us to his life and his friends. Right from the start he might not be a sym**spoiler alert** Ian tells the story from his point of view. He introduces us to his life and his friends. Right from the start he might not be a sympathetic narrator but he appears like an alright guy who has strong opinions we, as reader, might not agree with; he confesses about his bad habits like online poker and sounds weary of his little corner of the world and his place in it but he doesn't have the energy either to do anything to improve his situation. Or so it appears at first. His friendship with Ollie is burdened by a slight jealousy from Ian but he loosens the sharpness of his acrid commentary with lengthy explanations, musings and a joke here and there. And yet something is off, something about him doesn't want to sit right and layer by layer this impression gets explained the further the story goes on. Slowly, with every further page turned, Ian's true personality shines through. He is obsessed with winning, with numbers, with feeling underappreciated, with always finding the grass on the other site of the fence greener, more tempting, more delicious. Ian develops from an average guy into a terrible person, he becomes a narrator we learn to despise and that is what I find extradordinary about the book. Usually the narrator is someone we are supposed to like or identify with (there are exceptions, I know) or build at least a relationship with that we can comprehend their actions, understand their motivations. Ian however grows into a horrible person with every new layer he himself peels back. His entire mask unravels and what remains at the end is a disturbing (as well as disturbed) and ugly person. All his lies - although he never realises or accepts them as such himself - are dismantled and the truth is unfurled. I found myself wondering how I was ever able to feel sympathy for such a nasty piece of work and that makes the novel so interesting and - in my humble opinion - a genius piece of writing. The only thing I didn't like yet I agree was important to get behind the way Ian's brain works, were the extremely lengthy and detailed descriptions of his and Ollie's sportive activities (namely golf and tennis). That's however a personal matter since I have zero knowledge about neither golf nor tennis and was unable to generate an image in my head matching with the description on the page in front of me.
On a sidenote: The television drama - staring Shaun Evans as Ian, Rupert Penry-Jones as Ollie, Claire Keelan as Em and Genevieve O'Reilly as Daisy - is definitely worth a watch, alone for the great acting of Shaun Evans, but the book offers the better story arch and - telling....more