I really went into this book with high hopes; I'd long been bored with the formulaic legal template utilized by greats like Grisham and Lescroart andI really went into this book with high hopes; I'd long been bored with the formulaic legal template utilized by greats like Grisham and Lescroart and thought the perspective of a ball-busting female corporate attorney would be a refreshing twist on the predictable. I was encouraged to look no further than lawyer/author Lisa Scottoline's repertoire. Unfortunately, the novel didn't really live up to the hype.
What Scottoline does better than her contemporaries is handle nuanced characters with focus and realism. In this department, she puts Grisham, et. al. to shame. Scottoline's lead Mary is an absolute delight; she perfectly integrates the character's winsome nature with the expected emotions one would encounter in a bereaved wife still very much in mourning. Secondary characters are also fantastic, from Mary's sassy gay secretary (naturally) Brent to her co-worker, confidante, and best friend Judy, right on down to Mary's irritable cat Alice. The dialogue is amongst some of the best I've ever had the pleasure of reading, sprinkled with authenticity, wit, and earnestness that makes character interactions and interior monologues wildly entertaining.
Unfortunately, Scottoline's adept handling of character is wasted by an absolutely loathsome plot. The predictable twists and turns are thrown in complete with an abominable romantic side plot, but it's all soiled by an absolutely laughable climax that basically ruined the whole experience for me. I was a bit cynical going in, wondering with skepticism how the life of a corporate lawyer could possibly translate into a legal thriller a la Grisham; turns out, my skepticism was founded. I suppose Scottoline does the best she can with what she has to work with, but the result is a juvenile attempt at something bigger - a shame too, because some of the moments interspersed in this teetering narrative are real gems. Better luck next time, Scottoline!...more
I'm only about halfway through this book now, but I think I've read enough to develop an accurate opinion. Basically, I think it's completely lacklustI'm only about halfway through this book now, but I think I've read enough to develop an accurate opinion. Basically, I think it's completely lackluster in every aspect. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the books I've read before this, but to me, this novel - and this genre as a whole, really - seems so wooden, so vapid, so shallow. After reading some of these reviews here, I found myself dumbfounded at what I saw. Patricia Briggs is hardly a "great" writer. In my opinion, Moon Called is an amateurish attempt at writing a thrilling suspense novel, and I honestly believe that, vocabulary-wise, it's written on perhaps a seventh grade reading level. There's nothing adult about this book despite the racy cover; in fact, the "moral code" Mercy holds herself to only seemed to emphasize just how juvenile this novel is. I needed a little bit of sex, a little bit of vulgarity, to remind me that I wasn't reading frickin' Twilight or some other equally vacuous teen novel. Seriously, I've read fan fiction that was written better than this. Moon Called might be a step above Kelley Armstrong's Mary Sue suck-fest Bitten, but just barely...
Which leads me to the protagonist, Mercedes Thompson. I find her completely hollow and empty, without any voice, characteristic, or emotion that distinguishes her from the hodge-podge of two-dimensional, love-stricken beautiful female heroines that currently saturate the urban fantasy landscape. Oh, excuse me - I spoke too soon: she has a tattoo. And, in the vein of Flashdance, she's a mechanic. Unfortunately, Flashdance did the blue-collar double life thing better. In my opinion, Mercy's lack of, well, any exciting quirk or quality or inner voice kept her distant and completely unremarkable. As I said before, I think her bland piety, which could have been quite an interesting plot point which Briggs has all but ignored thus far, further adds to her vanilla, blah personality. Conclusion? She's BORING and offers nothing of value that any other urban fantasy novel can't deliver just as well (which isn't saying much).
The only aspect of the story that I felt was mildly innovative at all was the inclusion of the gay werewolf, a character-type that has been largely ignored by this genre. But, naturally, it's a very miniscule plot point. All-in-all, I think I'm done with this "urban fantasy" nonsense for now. Until someone releases something of substance, not some projected masturbatory fantasy involving a cliched heroine living out some middle-aged author woman's paranormal wet-dream, I'll read elsewhere. Woof. ...more
This is the second time I've tried to finish this novel and the second time I've had to put it down in disgust. It's quite upsetting, because I thinkThis is the second time I've tried to finish this novel and the second time I've had to put it down in disgust. It's quite upsetting, because I think the premise of the series is really interesting - powerful, strong women who just happen to be involved in the paranormal. What's not to love about that? Well, unfortunately the premise gets lost in the translation. I put the book down last night and said to myself: "Self, now I remember why you gave up on this book last time. Because it is TEH SUCK."
The characters in 'Bitten' are two-dimensional Mary Sue/Gary Stu cyphers; the main character is, of course, smart, beautiful, tortured, all the men just LOVE her, and she's *gasp* THE ONLY FEMALE WEREWOLF EVARRRRRRRRRR. The male characters are just as bad. All stunningly beautiful, all have some dark broody event in their past that makes them, well, dark and broody (particularly the awful male lead). This could have been forgivable if the writing hadn't been so juvenile. I found myself rolling my eyes at all the loathsome dialogue interspersed with the chest-thumping butch machismo in the Pack meets. The problem is that Kelley Armstrong tries so desperately to be sharp and witty when she is, unfortunately, neither.
From what I've gathered from casually perusing the other books in this series, the problems in 'Bitten' never get rectified. It's really a shame because the Otherworld stories had the potential to be really fun, enthralling additions to the urban fantasy genre. Alas, all we got was a Harlequin Romance masquerading around as a fantasy novel. Ho hum....more
I'm really distraught that I found this book so abrasive. I wanted to like it, I really did. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to stumble upon an epI'm really distraught that I found this book so abrasive. I wanted to like it, I really did. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to stumble upon an epic fantasy series that I could just fall in love with. I gave this a shot but, unfortunately, I found this first novel to be completely inadequate. Carey's writing, while to some enjoyable and beautiful, I found overbearing, pretentious, and unnecessarily verbose. I wasn't even that enthralled with the setting and environment; perhaps I was just missing something, but to me the idea of masochistic sex as worship of one's god has been done over and over again. To me it was just one giant cliche with little to offer besides salacious details. Besides, the pseudo-Christianity was hardly revolutionary and the S&M angle was, in my opinion, quite hokey.
In a way, the book reminded me of a poor man's George R. R. Martin novel; while the world-building is slightly intriguing, with the scheming lords and ladies, it wasn't enough to save this sinking ship. Perhaps I'll give this another go later when I'm feeling particularly frisky but, for now, I'll get my smut fix elsewhere. ...more
I've loved Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro from the beginning so it was with a heavy heart that I approached this, the last book in this stellar PII've loved Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro from the beginning so it was with a heavy heart that I approached this, the last book in this stellar PI series. Sadly, it wasn't quite the send-off I was hoping for.
Sure, the story was fast-paced and suspenseful, and there were a few things I did enjoy about the novel, mainly Patrick's new flame, sexy defense attorney Vanessa Moore. I found her intelligent and interesting, although I didn't really understand her role; if the antagonist was trying to terrorize Kenzie, why would he pick a casual sex partner like Moore to threaten and not go for someone who was really dear to him, like former lover Grace Cole?
...Which brings me to my first gripe. It seems that Dennis Lehane lacks both a good memory and a fact-checker, because he frequently forgets minor details that he himself came up with. An example would be the color of Grace Cole's hair. In the short scene she has with Kenzie, which provides closure to their romance that started in 'Darkness', she's described as having ash-blonde hair but, in 'Darkness', where her role was much more substanial, her hair is auburn. Sure, these are minor details, but it's still an annoyance. If Lehane is too lazy to do some background research to respect the characters he, himself, came up with, what else can't he be bothered to check? And errors like this run rampant upon the pages. Errors that could have been caught and corrected if anyone had really taken the time to check.
And that's my main gripe with this book - it's lazy and feels rushed. The plot isn't even that labyrinthine, unlike its predecessors, which had at least four or five twists before the climax of the story. Here it's pretty much resolved from the get-go, basically a no brainer, and devoid of any of that three-dimensional emotional conflict and character interaction that was so prevalent in Lehane's other Kenzie/Gennaro novels. He simply glosses over the issues that forced Gennaro to terminate her partnership with Kenzie in the previous book, acting as if said situation is now merely trivial. There's seriously only a three paragraph, half-a-page dialogue between Angie and Patrick and then BOOM, all is forgiven. And Lehane never bothers to clarify the ambiguity surrounding the ill-fated David Wetterau's "accident" crossing the street, and why he was in one place but supposed to be in another. This is a huge plot hole that's left gaping and empty. One of many.
Lehane was obviously more concerned with releasing a half-assed product than hankering down and writing a well fleshed-out finale for two characters the readers have grown to love. I'll still recommend the series to friends because books like 'Darkness, Take My Hand' and 'Gone, Baby, Gone' were so fantastic; those two are models for what this, the curtain call, should have been. But this book just broke my heart - possibly because it means we're now finished with Kenzie and Gennaro but, mostly, because it was just so underwhelming. ...more
This was my first Irving novel and, to be blunt, I wasn't that impressed. I respect where Irving was going with this and what he intended to accomplisThis was my first Irving novel and, to be blunt, I wasn't that impressed. I respect where Irving was going with this and what he intended to accomplish, but in choosing to tell the story through the perspective of a dim-witted wet-noodle of a protagonist, any emotion was lost in the execution. There were fleeting moments of intrigue scattered throughout the (incredibly convoluted, non-linear) narrative but most excitement seemed to happen by happenstance, because none of the characters are really that interesting to begin with. They border on moderately endearing (Billy's delightfully flamboyant Grandpa Harry) to the excruciatingly, unbelievably histrionic (Tom Atkins.) And I also find it incredibly far-fetched that nearly all of the characters were revealed to be, shall we say, "non-conventional" by the end of the book. For instance, I've never encountered a transgendered individual once in my twenty-four years of living but in "In One Person", the town of First Sister seems to be teeming with individuals that don't satisfy societal norms, and this is in the 1960's.
I think my biggest gripe lies with Billy himself. Besides the fact that he is--how do we say--utterly stupid and oblivious, I found his inner turmoil over acceptance of his sexual identity hollow. I think that Billy would have been a more relatable and empathetic main character if he had been purely homosexual. His attractions to women seemed out-of-place and empty--not because he was bisexual, but because his attractions to women seemed to serve little purpose. The author took great lengths to describe Billy's relationships with his male lovers and his integration into the gay community; his female partners were little more than an afterthought. They were just there, without any sort of development. In understanding an individual who is attracted to both genders, I think the author did the character a great disservice in focusing so disparately on Billy's male and female lovers. A man who sleeps with men but also sleeps with women would quite likely encounter a whole boatload of sexual and emotional conflict (even in New York in the 1980s) but, unfortunately, Irving all but ignores this element of Billy's nature.
There were bright moments of humor, but none of that justified the often unbearable amount of back story that culminated in a very anti-climactic, unrewarding ending. ...more
What a dreadful book. When all your characters do is snort cocaine until their sinuses fall out and shrug a lot, your message isn't edgy or provocativWhat a dreadful book. When all your characters do is snort cocaine until their sinuses fall out and shrug a lot, your message isn't edgy or provocative; it's boring. The only thing this book made me feel was immense sympathy that Bret Easton Ellis apparently knows people like this or--worse--that he's one of these mind-numbingly boring drug zombies himself. Despite the fact that this novel is short and the font is large, trudging through this was like the Bataan Death March: slow, plodding, with no rewarding payoff whatsoever. Even Jackie Collis does a better job of writing emotionally and morally bankrupt characters. Garbarge. ...more
For me, this book took a while to get into. There are a few things that really kind of kept me from totally investing in the story, namely the main chFor me, this book took a while to get into. There are a few things that really kind of kept me from totally investing in the story, namely the main character Dominick, who I found completely arrogant, obnoxious, and slightly pretentious. I understand that these character traits are integral to the story but there were moments where I literally wanted to throw the book against the wall at the latest display of Dominick's pig-headed boorishness. These qualities are heavily-fixated upon as well, as the book is told from his perspective and many moments involve him dialoguing with himself and/or facing his own personal demons. Additionally, most (if not all) of the other characters are very much in the background, with little more than a few scenes of actual presence beyond Dominick's own personal anecdotes involving them, leaving the reader with ample opportunity to witness Dominick's abrasive personality in earnest. Fortunately, Dominick's fatal flaw(s) are addressed in detail later on by the brilliant Dr. Patel, a character I appreciated.
The book started to drag me in two-thirds of the way through when, after a series of fortuitous events, Dominick is finally able to address the issue of his ambiguous parentage. The end was a bit brisk, slightly Disney-esque, but enjoyable nonetheless and, yes, as others have touched upon, there are poignant moments in the conclusion that threatened to bring a tear to my eye. There were certainly issues I took with the novel, as I said - the main character's, well, character, and the prevalent depiction of male homosexuals as horribly promiscuous rapists - I understand this was the 90's and AIDS was a hot-button issue, but most of the representations of gays were, in my opinion, contrived and tiresome (Need a deus ex machina to prompt a plot twist? Use the disease-ridden, sexually-deviate pseudo-homosexual character trope!)... But, on the hole, this was an enjoyable and moving work on the subject of forgiveness, personal identity, and the complexities of human relationships. I'd give it a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars! ...more