This is a great little story. The writing is current and modern, but at the same time it's also the timeless and true voice of 14 year old girls all tThis is a great little story. The writing is current and modern, but at the same time it's also the timeless and true voice of 14 year old girls all through history. I could certainly recognise the feelings that Clare was having as ones I'd had at that age. Very well done.
I got what was going on straight away (not the exact specifics of how, but certainly the what), but in no way did that lessen the ending for me, or diminish my appreciation of the fact that it is cleverly done. However, I'm not the target audience for this book, so it may well be that someone who is the target audience would be like 'woah' at the end of this.
Very good; heartily recommended! Bonus points for a wonderful cover; I love the shiny red!...more
The story is still 5-star amazing, and I love it, but the reason this gets 4 stars is because I prefer Chris Riddell's illustrations in the UK editionThe story is still 5-star amazing, and I love it, but the reason this gets 4 stars is because I prefer Chris Riddell's illustrations in the UK edition. Skottie Young is an amazing artist, but I feel that Chris' illustrations are more suited to the book. Still, I love the story so much that I had to own both editions, of course!...more
As good as the previous one. I can't quite bring myself to give them four stars, because although I enjoy them well enough and they're easy reads I'mAs good as the previous one. I can't quite bring myself to give them four stars, because although I enjoy them well enough and they're easy reads I'm not sure I'll have a long lasting memory of them, nor do I think I'll be particularly excited for a new one (if I manage to read through all of them that is).
I like the Venetian setting. Having been there, and having loved it, it's nice to be able to visualise some of the places and to have an overall sense of feel for the atmosphere. That adds something to the books I think. I can see how people would go to Venice just to take 'Brunetti tours'.
There is a lot to like in these books. It tends to be the reflective passages that I enjoy more. There's an interesting one in this book, a dialogue between Brunetti and Elettra, that makes you think about work ethics. It was nice to see old characters reappearing, this time central to the plot, and being further developed into fully rounded characters.
Elettra is one of the most interesting characters to me. However, the way Brunetti views her, how we read his thoughts about her, is a little odd. Often he just seems to be appreciating her style, but then he will often think about her beauty and physical attractiveness a lot and it feels a little off. We don't really get to see him having similar thoughts about Paola, so I'm not quite sure where that dynamic is going (or why). He does seem to have a fairly strong appreciation of female beauty though, as he also thinks similarly of Flavia a few times in this book, so perhaps it's just that and as he's often in contact with Elettra we see it more often.
I've got one more out the library to read (Quietly in Their Sleep, or as it's titled here 'The Death of Faith') and then I think I'll be having a break for a while....more
Prior to starting this, I had thought that this might be the last Brunetti book that I'd read for a while. I enjoyed them well enough as a bit of fillPrior to starting this, I had thought that this might be the last Brunetti book that I'd read for a while. I enjoyed them well enough as a bit of filler fiction between books, but the first five hadn't stood out as anything special to me. This one, however, turned a corner. The things I'd always enjoyed best in the previous books were the reflective moments, usually between Brunetti and Paola and sometimes with Chiara too (and it's nice that Raffi appears properly in this book, although he doesn't bring much to the discussion!). This book offers lots of those moments, and really interesting and thoughtful ones too.
The reflections on religion are, of course, a constant theme through this book. They extend to explorations of abuse of power, and sex and religion. There's also an excellent exploration of materialism and ownership that I enjoyed. While I've felt moments of this quality of writing in her previous books, I think it's with this one that she really gets it. Or, so it felt to me. The balance of introspection and action seemed just right.
The 'crime' was interesting too. I like that not every book is going to be a 'solve-the-murder' type whodummit. I like variety, it'd be boring if it was all the former. This was a very enigmatic crime and, therefore, more interesting to me. Plus, with that ending (which felt very 'to be continued...') I'm actually looking forward to reading more in this series now! I feel that it'll only get stronger from here. Exciting....more
Massive step up from previous books. Not quite enough for me to say I really liked it and bump it to four stars, but I solidly enjoyed it and that's lMassive step up from previous books. Not quite enough for me to say I really liked it and bump it to four stars, but I solidly enjoyed it and that's largely because it's a step up in the writing. I find this often happens when you read an author's works in order, you can watch the writing grow and improve as the author continues to learn and hone the craft. It's a really enjoyable thing to experience.
There are some brilliant, thoughtful sections in this book and I think that's what makes it interesting. I'm not really so interested in the whodunit, or working out the puzzle, but sections like the reflection on morality in chapter 13 are great. The themes of slavery and forced prostitution are done well in this book, they never felt to me like 'Now I'm exploring this hot topic in this book, having previously covered...', and they never felt crass or judgemental. Well handled. Plus, total sympathy with the murderer at the end, which is an interesting and different finish.
Another reason that the books gradually get more interesting is the gradual development of all the central characters. The progression of Elettra was particularly good. I liked her when she was introduced in the previous book, she's an interesting character, and the introduction of early internet and her use of it in this book was great. A real point in history, almost casually captured, and rather entertaining now (though I'm sure it wasn't meant to be in '95, in fact it probably was a bit 'hot topic' then!). Chiara is another great character (and Paola is getting better written too); it'll be interesting to see if there's any lasting effects for her after events in this book.
I've got the next two books from the library to read too (you reserve a book through the library system and there's no telling how long it'll take to turn up - this one took ages, then the other two followed very quickly behind it!), and I'm actually looking forward to them now....more
I enjoyed this more than the previous two. The plot seemed tighter and more engaging, certainly more exciting in places. It was also less confused thaI enjoyed this more than the previous two. The plot seemed tighter and more engaging, certainly more exciting in places. It was also less confused than the 2nd book (which, honestly, I couldn't summarise clearly for you now and I only read it a couple of months ago). I'm more familiar with the principal characters now and so it's more interesting and engaging as gradually more and more of Brunetti's life and colleagues are fleshed out. I think reading Donna Leon's essay 'Suggestions on Writing the Crime Novel' helped too - it is what it is, and thus you must enjoy it for what it is. And for what it is, it's fairly entertaining. I think I've come to the conclusion that the mystery/crime novel is not My Thing necessarily, but I think I'll continue to pick the books in this series up from time to time....more
When I realised there was a 2nd one of these, I got it straight away. Just read it now while I waited for my old tumble drier to be collected by a chaWhen I realised there was a 2nd one of these, I got it straight away. Just read it now while I waited for my old tumble drier to be collected by a chap from freecycle. He came, got the tumble drier and then I finished it off. A good, entertaining way to spend a rainy Saturday! Some of the things that are in here will make you boggle. The stuff from kids is the best, though I don't really feel it can be counted as 'weird' like the stuff that's in here from adults. Would be nice to have a whole book of 'things kids say in bookshops'! ...more
My primary motive for reading this collection of essays was my upcoming trip to Venice. I'd never heard of Donna Leon until a friend, an avid reader oMy primary motive for reading this collection of essays was my upcoming trip to Venice. I'd never heard of Donna Leon until a friend, an avid reader of mysteries, lent me Death at La Fenice. I read the 'My Venice' and 'On Men' sections before I went on my trip. Seeing the rest weren't relevant to the trip, the book went on hold for a couple of months. I found the Venice section overwhelmingly negative and bitter. I often liked what she said to say, and agreed with what she said, but didn't like the manner in which she said it. The 'On Men' section was similar, aside from one. As for the other sections, 'On Music' did little for me as it largely talked about Opera which is something I'm entirely unfamiliar with; however the other three sections 'On Mankind and Animals', 'On America', and 'On Books' were like they came from a different person. The stories in the animal section were witty and entertaining, the America section was bluntly truthful and 'On Books' contains both a brilliant conversation with Ruth Rendell and an excellent essay 'Suggestions on Writing the Crime Novel'. I'll be interested if that has any affect on my reading the next book in her Commisario Brunetti series, as I found the first two rather perfunctory.
Certainly a recommended read, if rather a mixed experience. ...more
Even though I wasn't wildly enthusiastic with the first one, I thought I'd stick with this series for a bit, because I'm enjoying the Venetian settingEven though I wasn't wildly enthusiastic with the first one, I thought I'd stick with this series for a bit, because I'm enjoying the Venetian setting. I loved my visit to Venice and it's nice to have a good vision of the place while reading the book.
However, I do have issues with Donna Leon's writing. I find it a little sloppy a times - for example, in one descriptive sentence Paola has yet to take a roasting pan from the oven and in the next she's back at the table and Guido is cutting the meat (p172-173 in the 2009 Arrow paperback). I'm not expecting every tiny detail to be in the narrative, but that's a little too jumpy for me. It's even worse another time, when Paola apparently leaves to go to a fancy dinner at the casino with wet hair (p128).
It's a paragraph that particularly bothered me in the book, and one that also highlights another issue I have with the writing. Guido's internal thoughts tell us that Paola is quick to get ready when going out. She described as showering, having a towel around her post-shower (not drying, hence giving the impression of leaving with wet hair), and then putting on a dress and shoes. That's it. Either Donna Leon is trying to say here that Paola is a natural beauty who doesn't need to spend time making herself up, or she's saying that she's not concerned with outward appearance. I couldn't really get a handle on which one it's meant to be. For a female writer, I find the central female character of her series oddly one dimensional. So far, I get the impression that she's a natural beauty, who's also intelligent and has the patience and tolerance of a saint. Paola feels more like she's been writing by a man as some kind of ideal wife, than a woman at the moment.
Another unfortunate thing in this edition of the book, was that it was riddled with punctuation errors. Doesn't help the readability of a book.
Overall, it did little for me. Not terrible, but not great either. I'm going to try a few more books in this series though, because (as I said) I'm enjoying being able to visualise the locations. If it didn't have a Venetian setting, and had I not been there, then I wouldn't bother....more
And so Season 9 comes to a close. The first half, with the resolution of the epic fight scene, was done well (although (view spoiler)[of course BuffyAnd so Season 9 comes to a close. The first half, with the resolution of the epic fight scene, was done well (although (view spoiler)[of course Buffy was ok, but it felt like a little bit of cheap trick (hide spoiler)]). The resolution of the Dawn storyline felt rushed and anticlimactic in the end. The vamp set-up for S10 at the end was fun though. I'll be very interested to see what the line-up is like for S10 - from the letter col it sounds like we can expect an announcement in about a month!...more
So, Angel & Faith's story ends on a fairly subdued note. Not everything is tied up, several things are left open for next season. Angel is stayingSo, Angel & Faith's story ends on a fairly subdued note. Not everything is tied up, several things are left open for next season. Angel is staying in London, and Faith is back off to the states. So I guess that means there won't be an Angel & Faith title next year. Giles is off to see Buffy - I wonder if that means he'll appear in the last issue of Buffy in a couple of weeks?. There's no real news at the moment about what form Season 10 will take, but at the end of this issue Scott Allie lets us know that Nicholas Brendon and Victor Gischler will be joining the writing team for Season 10. The former should be an interesting addition, can't say I'm impressed with the latter as I found the Spike mini very weak. Eh, maybe if he's given a better, non-redundant, story to work with. We'll see....more
I'd been reading this issue by issue as they came out, having discovered and devoured the first five amazing volumes last year. The final issue isn'tI'd been reading this issue by issue as they came out, having discovered and devoured the first five amazing volumes last year. The final issue isn't actually due out until the 18th Dec, but this evening I had an email in my inbox giving me a round-up of the graphic novels currently available on netgalley. This is one of them - and it's a 'read now' title. If you have netgalley and are a fan - get over there right away! (A note: because of the low-quality of the pdf file, the art does suffer a little. There was one panel near the end where I couldn't even read the text as it was so bad, you may find others. It's a shame.)
The penultimate issue is the dramatic issue; the final issue is the emotional issue. It wraps everything up and ties up the story of the Locke family and their friends. It's moving, and lovely.
I've enjoyed this series immensely. It doesn't dip at any single point; it's tight from start to finish, which is a rare thing. The writing and the art are both outstanding on every single page of every single issue. I've consistently rated every volume 5 stars (also a rarity!). In fact, I'd almost go as far as to say that each volume has consistently been better than the previous - when you've rated the first one 5 stars where do you go from there?!
Seriously. This is the comics story of the decade. Obviously that's hyperbole, as I haven't read everything out there to say that with any accuracy, but I'm pretty confident in that statement.
If you like comics, read it. If you like horror, read it. If you don't like either of those things, have never tried comics or horror before, read it anyway! I can't imagine anyone regretting it....more
Read this for the final part of the Billy story, 'Love vs. Life', which ended in a confusing, unexpected, and also cute, way. I'm really not sure whatRead this for the final part of the Billy story, 'Love vs. Life', which ended in a confusing, unexpected, and also cute, way. I'm really not sure what to make of it (or how I feel about it), but I already know that some people are not going to be happy about this. Hmm....more