In chapter 1, as Mycroft is showing Kim's amulet (recently secreted out of India) to Sherlock, Mary Russell says: "This doesn't have anything to do witIn chapter 1, as Mycroft is showing Kim's amulet (recently secreted out of India) to Sherlock, Mary Russell says: "This doesn't have anything to do with Kim, does it? The Kipling book?" and "He's real then? Kipling's boy?" "As real as i am" said Sherlock Holmes.
Thus starts this entry in the Mary Russell series. I saw this book mentioned in a GR review during my mild obsession with Kipling's Kim. I didn't feel like I was missing much by not having read previous books in the series, although a familiarity with Kim was helpful. I enjoyed it - it has an interesting mix of characters, with a smattering of Indian culture, travel, and intrigue. Plot twists. Suspicions borne out (e.g. Bindra, the guy from Chicago).
Not all loose ends are tied up. For example, the woman from Savannah: what was her significance? Will she appear again in a later book? And will they ever find the mole in the Survey Office?
Enjoyable enough, but I don't feel a need to read anything else in the series. Gretel (of Hansel and Gretel fame) is a detective now that she is grownEnjoyable enough, but I don't feel a need to read anything else in the series. Gretel (of Hansel and Gretel fame) is a detective now that she is grown up, and has been hired by a "cruise ship" captain to solve a couple of mysteries. I'm not sure why the mermaid is characterized as "fickle" in the title, unless there's a fairy tale I'm not familiar with.
I honestly don't remember why I brought this home from the library. I certainly didn't realize it was the third in a series, but for the most part that didn't matter....more
I know I've read this before (perhaps more than once), but I did not remember a thing. Of the original "Time" trilogy, I like this the best. The storyI know I've read this before (perhaps more than once), but I did not remember a thing. Of the original "Time" trilogy, I like this the best. The story is complex and multi-layered, and the writing lovely.
On the other hand, at times it felt too complicated for a bedtime read-aloud. I think the 12yo had a hard time keeping track of how the various threads and times tied together - in part b/c he sometimes fell asleep as I read (and I wouldn't be sure how much to re-read the next night!), but also because the character names from the different times are so similar, that seeing would probably work better than hearing. He enjoyed it enough that once we finished he asked if there were more books - I remember being majorly disappointed with the 5th so I'm not sure whether to track down the 4th. I'd rather let the enjoyment of this one linger.
Edited to add: was just reading some other reviews and saw complaints about the similarities of names "across generations." One thing the complainants missed is that these aren't succeeding generations in a family - we have pre-Columbian, then Salem witch trial era, then Civil War, then 'modern'. Repeated immigration a as well, not direct descendants. Only the last two are even aware of their tenuous connection, and there isn't name overlap there iirc. Plus Chuck and Charles Wallace are not related. ...more
I don't think this book is what I was expecting - there's much more of Kim's interactions with his Lama than a focus on "the great game" (intrigue andI don't think this book is what I was expecting - there's much more of Kim's interactions with his Lama than a focus on "the great game" (intrigue and spying). And quite a lot about identity ("I am Kim. I am Kim. I am Kim"), friendship, and culture.
And as I mentioned in my updates, I did not really like the narrator of this BOCD (the Blackstone Audio version): he did not change cadence or accent for the various characters, which sometimes made it hard to follow. Also, I personally benefit from seeing names of people and places; it helps me keep them straight. (Example: the horse trader Mahbub Ali, a name I found in someone's review - I thought it was Mahkbubali or maybe Mark Bubali for at least 75% of the book, until my brain clicked on the Muslim / Ali connection.) So now I think I need to read this in print to get a richer sense of the subtexts. Ideally, I'd read it with a map of the Indian subcontinent nearby. I wonder if there's an x-ray enabled Kindle version that also analyzes characters, cultural references, and religious symbolism for me? So much that I missed, I'm sure.
I realized that this series has an interesting way to avoid the why "so many murders in such a small town?" problem of many cozies: the crimes are froI realized that this series has an interesting way to avoid the why "so many murders in such a small town?" problem of many cozies: the crimes are from the past. In this case, 45 years in the past. (In book 1, it was ~18 years.) On the other hand, the culprits are still around, so is it really that different?
Anyway, I enjoyed the story. I got drawn in enough that I actively started writing down my predictions so I could refer back to them when the book drew to a close. My initial ideas were off base, but my refinement was much closer to the reveal. (view spoiler)[But I'm still confused about why someone would take action against Skye at the party/sale, because Angie hadn't even started her investigations at that point, had she? (hide spoiler)]
Minor quibble: there are a couple of pages where one character (Carole) is referred to by the wrong name (Cindy). I was very confused for a few minutes while I tried to figure out how this new person fit in! 3.5 stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Fun book to listen to on a family road trip - my boys repeatedly asked me to pause the story so they could make predictions about how matters might reFun book to listen to on a family road trip - my boys repeatedly asked me to pause the story so they could make predictions about how matters might resolve. There was just enough of a twist on familiar tales that allowed for a combination of anticipation and insight. ...more
Cyrus is off visiting his daughter and newly arrived grandchild while Emily is suffering a case of January blahs. Just as she begins to dwell on a creCyrus is off visiting his daughter and newly arrived grandchild while Emily is suffering a case of January blahs. Just as she begins to dwell on a creeping suspicion that Carstairs might consider her too old, Bishop calls and she commits to do a 'simple' mission in Morocco. As usual, the simple mission turns out to be much more treacherous than anticipated.
As in Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle, the descriptions of the landscape and people made me want to visit the location - in this case, Morocco. Quite a bit of its recent history is described as well (recent relative to when the book was published, that is!). There are a couple of subtexts in this story. The first is the ravages (?) of age (Mrs P & her doubts, Bishop and his 'mid-life crisis' rental Jaguar, Mornajay and his changed approach to life). The second is the treatment of women. At one point Emily is told that she will be viewed as inferior. Not long after meeting the initial contact, his rudeness is starting to beat her down until she decides she will "not allow his hostility to diminish her sense of self." And later, after their 1st stop on the road and still suffering cutting rudeness from him: "she realized she had encountered one of the more devastating kinds of loneliness in existence -- that of being in close contact with someone to whom she was a non-person and who thereby rendered her invisible, of no consequence." But in the end, her quick thinking and valor -- not to mention the karate skills! -- are acknowledged and valued.
(Although I usually like the reader for this series, I did not like her choice of accent for Max.)...more
I hope Agatha and James eventually get together, but I'm not going to be around to see it. I find her too tiresome. I suspect she'll get more likableI hope Agatha and James eventually get together, but I'm not going to be around to see it. I find her too tiresome. I suspect she'll get more likable as the series progresses. I did laugh out loud a few times as I listened, but I also had a hard time keeping track of minor characters (probably exacerbated by listening instead of reading)....more
Argh, goodreads lost my review when I changed edition!
I am bothered in this tale by the casual regard for the plutonium. Mrs P is warned not to touchArgh, goodreads lost my review when I changed edition!
I am bothered in this tale by the casual regard for the plutonium. Mrs P is warned not to touch it unless she is wearing gloves (e.g. surgical gloves). Really? That would be enough protection? For example, I read at livescience.com: "Plutonium, along with all of the other transuranium elements, is a radiological hazard and must be handled with specialized equipment and precautions. Animal studies have found that a few milligrams of plutonium per kilogram of tissue are lethal." But perhaps brief exposure is not an issue? Whatever, I will grant author Gilman some leniency on this point, since it is a fun book in a fun series. And I enjoy the reader.
[Aside: I listened to this as BOCD and it seems like they were digitized from a set of cassettes. Remember how you could sometimes hear sounds from the other side of a tape if the heads or the tape were misaligned? I would sometimes get that effect while listening. Blast from the past!] ...more
Enjoyable book. A few plot elements are pretty heavily foreshadowed, but not so much that they ruin the reading. I had one major frustration with theEnjoyable book. A few plot elements are pretty heavily foreshadowed, but not so much that they ruin the reading. I had one major frustration with the Shadows Antique Prints series by the same author, and that's when she uses dialog between her characters to teach/preach about the antiques business. It feels really forced and makes me grit my teeth when I encounter it. That didn't happen in this book, so I hold onto the hope that she has rid herself of that trait! ...more
I have complicated reactions to this book. Perhaps it's because I honestly don't know the people who are obsessed with getting their kids into the IvyI have complicated reactions to this book. Perhaps it's because I honestly don't know the people who are obsessed with getting their kids into the Ivy League from the time they are in diapers. I don't get that mindset. Thus, much of the book just annoyed me, it seemed overblown. My frequent reaction was "yeah, but" (and I would have scribbled notes if it weren't a library copy) and then he might raise my objection a page later. So that writing style annoyed me as well.
At the same time, my oldest son is applying to a handful of high-power big-name schools, not because of the name but because they have people doing research in areas that interest him. He's self-directed. But I worry that he might be missing out because he's not looking at the so-called "Schools That Change Lives."
So on the one hand, I feel like Bruni is perhaps saying some important things - but I'm not his primary audience, so maybe I can't feel the full import of his argument. I also feel like he has cherry-picked his examples to support his point. We aren't getting any case studies of those who DON'T do well in the settings he lauds. It's basically saying if you are motivated and a self-starter, you'll do fine anywhere. (For that he needed 200+ pages??) But what about those who are just ordinary?
"It's not necessary to get into a highly selective school in order to be successful," he said. "What's necessary is to understand what you want to do and how to do it well, and to be a self-starter." (Quote of someone whose name I didn't note down, Chapter 9)...more
Wen I was growing up, I read and adored all the Madeleine L'Engle books I could find in my local library. I owned this trilogy (back when it was stillWen I was growing up, I read and adored all the Madeleine L'Engle books I could find in my local library. I owned this trilogy (back when it was still a trilogy) - the copy I just finished reading to my 12yo has my maiden name in my teenage cursive inside the front cover. What appealed to me the most was the palpable sense of love that oozed from all the books, within the Murry family and the grander scheme of the universe. For someone in a family that did not express much affection, it was a soothing balm.
So I have a warm feeling when I think of these books. I know they have sweeping spiritual themes, the power of love, good vs evil -- but I remembered very few details of the plot (except the mitochondria and farandolae - I remember they were central).
And wow, this one has kind of a trippy complex plot, doesn't it? My son asked me to remind him what was going on more than once. But he also asked if we could start the next one, so clearly he enjoyed it. ...more