I generally love Christopher Moore's books and I've never found one to date that I just didn't like. Dirty Job, though, is one that falls somewhere onI generally love Christopher Moore's books and I've never found one to date that I just didn't like. Dirty Job, though, is one that falls somewhere on the lower end of the spectrum of his work for me.
It's hard to put a finger on just what was missing in this on that was there in the others, but if I had to pin something down I'd say it was generally that things just didn't 'fit' like they should. Moore's books are humor, definitely, and this one has some great moments. But amid the humor, there's normally a thread of seriousness that keeps them from flying off totally into the ridiculous. A Dirty Job still had some of that, but there were places where the humor elements drowned out the underlying plot and characterization a little too much.
The book is still definitely worth a read if you're a fan of his work, but I just wasn't as blown away by this one as I have been by most of his others. I think things are too cluttered - there are too many things going on that really don't need to be there for the story to progress (squirrel people is the major one that comes to mind - at least in the unnecessarily complicated way they were handled) and that I think end up taking away instead of adding to. Another issue for me was the main characters ignoring answers that were literally right in their faces, when they otherwise seemed to pick up on things easily enough. It felt artificial and somewhat contrived considering I'd think most readers had it figured out within 1/3 of the book or less. With a little more streamlining and some cleaning up and throwing out of things that didn't seem to work, I feel it could've been a better book overall.
That said, there are still things I loved. Like his other works, the characters in this book live in a shared world with the characters from his other books. There are cameos from some familiar faces and larger parts played by others we've seen before, as well as recurring appearances by favorites like the Emperor of San Francisco. It gives a continuity to his books that you don't find very much and I also liked the way Moore tied up some loose ends in the end. The characters are engaging and sympathetic, the plot is interesting enough to hold your attention, and the humor is generally clever and quick witted.
Overall, it's an enjoyable enough read and definitely worth the time. Just don't expect it to live up to some of his more spectacularly well done stories....more
I've had this book, and several others in McGuire's group of fairy tale re-tellings, lying around for a while now. Finally I decided I might as well dI've had this book, and several others in McGuire's group of fairy tale re-tellings, lying around for a while now. Finally I decided I might as well dive in and give them a read, so I chose Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister first, since there have been several books by other authors that retold the tale of Cinderella that I liked quite a bit.
Unfortunately, at the end, I'm not able to add this one to that group. Though McGuire seems to have a way with a clever turn of phrase and some tendency toward florid writing, there's something missing. I should have liked at least some of the main characters, but really didn't. I should've cared about their fates, after following them through the many trials and tribulations laid out in the book, but in the end I really couldn't. I didn't feel any real connection to them - be it from lack of depth in characterization or lack of any real insight into what made most of them tick, it's something I can't quite put my finger on but was definitely there. Some almost made it there, but then failed at the last to really give me any reason to care very much what happened to them.
Characters don't always have to be likable to be sympathetic, but they do have to have something that makes us invest in them and either want them to come out in one piece or get their just desserts. There was quite enough going on in the lives of most of these characters, and in the plot itself, for that to happen, but somehow it didn't and the end result was simple apathy.
The concept and setting were very interesting and there was a lot of potential with the plot of this story. Sadly, most of that potential went unrealized and fell flat in the execution. I tend to agree with what another reviewer on this site said, in that McGuire seems to have wonderful, intriguing ideas, but isn't as good at putting them down on paper and getting it all to work as he is thinking them up.
In the epilogue, we get an interesting twist on something we thought we knew about the story, but ultimately it's not one that really affects very much. Mostly, what I'm sure is supposed to be a shocking plot twist just sort of made me go, "Huh. Well, ok." and then move on. There are too many inconsequential things emphasized for no apparent reason. Too many important points and events were glossed over and only given cursory attention. I think this book is a prime example that all the technically well-done writing in the world can't make a good book if there's no heart in it. And that is, ultimately, what I took away from this. It's a prettily made up body, but with nothing to pump life into it....more
I did not think I was going to like this book. After reading the Joe Pitt series, I was interested in what Sleepless was going to be all about and I'dI did not think I was going to like this book. After reading the Joe Pitt series, I was interested in what Sleepless was going to be all about and I'd heard good things. The first couple of chapters, though, left me with a vague confusion and also a vague dislike for the main character, the unbendingly good cop trying to keep being good in a system that is obviously failing in the wake of what amounts to the coming of the apocalypse.
All that, however, cleared up a couple more chapters in and I was totally sucked in to the dystopian world that was slowly being revealed, bit by horrifying bit. As with the Pitt series, I really didn't much like most of the characters, but I still ended up caring about them and sympathizing with them none the less, which to me is quite a feat for most any writer. You get why the main character, LAPD cop Parker Haas, is determined to stick to his own morality codes and views of the world, even when the world is literally collapsing around him and you know he's doomed to failure. And you feel bad for him, even when you think he's just being stupid and pig-headed and needs a smack upside the head.
There's also a good deal of science-y type plot things going on here and Huston seems to have mostly done his homework on that. Not that it's perfect, since it's a fictional scenario, but it makes it much more believable, having a detail base in things that actually exist. And, like the Pitt series, it's unapologetically gritty and pulls no punches when bad things happen, and bad things tend to happen a lot here. But, considering the setting, it wouldn't make sense if they didn't.
Now that I'm done, I almost want to go back and read it over again, just to pick up on the details I know I missed on the crazy ride to the end....more
I stumbled on this series by total accident. One chapter in and I was hooked. I'm not sure I can even tell you exactly why, but I was.
This is one of tI stumbled on this series by total accident. One chapter in and I was hooked. I'm not sure I can even tell you exactly why, but I was.
This is one of those series that I think most people will either really like, or really loathe, without a whole lot in between. The plot, and the world in general, is complicated and sometimes hard to follow. The characters aren't always, or even often, likable, including the main character, and there are twists, turns, and mounds of frustration around every corner. Still, the whole thing works and you care about what happens anyway, even when you want to throw the book at the wall and then rip it in half.
It's a very dark world, very much noir, and populated with vampires, zombies, and other assorted things generally categorized as supernatural. Huston manages to make them believable without changing the 'normal' world all that much to accommodate them and does, in fact, manage to make the weirdness natural, too. Nothing's going to sparkle here and no one's a 'vegetarian'. It's gritty and political and rolling around in all the muck that goes along with living day to day even if you weren't a vampire. Good times, in other words.
Everything isn't perfect, of course. Some situations and occurrences seem to repeat a bit much and the main character could actually be a little more savvy than he actually comes across now and then. The overall plot, however, is amazing. More amazing than this first book in the series actually lets on and if you are a fan of vampires, noir, and a writer who can seed plot twists from the start and pull them off at the end without telegraphing his every move long before the final resolution, this is for you....more
Not the best horror/thriller I've ever read, but it definitely had it's good points. The characters are easy to care about and sympathize with. The chNot the best horror/thriller I've ever read, but it definitely had it's good points. The characters are easy to care about and sympathize with. The chilling moments are pretty definitely chilling and tension-filled, even if I was sometimes confused as to why things were happening as they did.
The relationship between the main character and his decidedly odd love interest was a little fast, but ultimately believable enough. There were clever plot twists and an enjoyable writing style that kept the flaws from ultimately mattering too much and made the whole thing a good, entertaining read overall and a nice diversion....more