The best part of this book was the magical world presented. It's an alternate history, set in England iProbably more of a 3.5 stars, but I enjoyed it.
The best part of this book was the magical world presented. It's an alternate history, set in England in a past much like ours. There was a world of elemental mages, with the power to control an element and the magical creatures associated with that sphere, and those with more psychic gifts-- like speaking with the dead as well as various battle related skills.
The characters were also interesting, particularly David Alderscroft. He's a basically good guy being lured by the pull of power, led by a mentor who is much more than she appears.
Isabelle also had an interesting story, linked long ago with David's. After their relationship ended, she went to India, and found her husband. Together they have built a very satisfying life, including a school for children of British citizens living abroad-- particularly those with magical talents of the non-elemental variety.
At the center of the action are two very talented young girls. I had a problem when reading that if their age was given in the first part of the book, I missed it. If I'd been reading a print version I would have gone back to check, but that's much harder when listening. I kept trying to guess, and my estimates ranged from 8/10 to 15/17. I did figure it out, but I think I would have liked the book better if they had been older. As it was, it felt more like events were happening to them, and they weren't mature enough to make good decisions about their involvement.
I'm planning to go back and fill in earlier books in the series. I don't think they are particularly tightly linked, but I'd like to explore this world a little more....more
I've been a fan of fictional forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan since long before the TV show Bones. I likeListening to this book was so cool!
I've been a fan of fictional forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan since long before the TV show Bones. I like what she's able to do with contemporary bodies, but I'm always interested in the asides about her ventures with older, more historic graves.
This book goes into many of the details of this process, using some bodies from colonial Jamestown.
The book goes into details of isotopes, of bone measurements, and of soil composition. It then takes this information as well as details as to how the body is positioned, and what is found nearby, and builds a portrait of the life of this individual. An attempt is made to match this portrait to the historical record, trying to identify who has been located.
The audience clearly is middle grade, but the information isn't so simplified as to be uninteresting. The age of the intended audience is clear when the narrator gives a brief explanation of negative numbers, but it usually is fairly universal.
I came at this book interested in the scientific aspect, but the historical viewpoint also grabbed me. While listening, I kept thinking of the opportunities for a classroom unit featuring a truly integrated curriculum. I'm going to suggest it to the 5th grade teachers at my daughter's school, since they cover Colonial America as well as basic human anatomy that year....more
OK, I just didn't get it. I didn't care about any of the characters or their struggles. If the people had been interesting or even pleasant, then I coOK, I just didn't get it. I didn't care about any of the characters or their struggles. If the people had been interesting or even pleasant, then I could have bought into the search for Jewish identity. If the struggle to define identity as a Jew (or a Jewish wannabee) had seemed more universal, then I could have forgiven the abrasiveness of the characters.
As it was, there was no hook to get me into the story, and I remained uninterested until the end, which made no sense to me.
I enjoy reading an Elizabeth Peters romantic adventure, and this one was no exception. I'm not sure how I managed to miss it until now!
Susan has a pasI enjoy reading an Elizabeth Peters romantic adventure, and this one was no exception. I'm not sure how I managed to miss it until now!
Susan has a passion for Scottish history, (and so I learned a number of tidbits as the story advanced) and this leads to a case of mistaken identity, and gets her embroiled in a nasty affair, with bad guys trying to kill her. Luckily her wits and the resources of the guy that gets dragged into this with her are enough to keep them a step or two ahead.
Bonus points for a brief appearance by an inconvenient and adorable ginger kitten....more
My favorite of the series so far, this one is the first where you really need to have read the previous book, and probably is best appreciated if you'My favorite of the series so far, this one is the first where you really need to have read the previous book, and probably is best appreciated if you've read all the books that precede it....more
Honaria is one of my favorite romance heroines in a while. Often, I feel this way because I feel some kinship with the character. In this case I likeHonaria is one of my favorite romance heroines in a while. Often, I feel this way because I feel some kinship with the character. In this case I like her quite simply for being herself.
She was a sweet, appropriately naive girl that cared about her family. She wasn't perfect (which would be annoying!), but her flaws weren't in my face, either.
The romance actually developed over time, which is my preference. It actually seemed to make sense for both of the parties involved! Their personalities complimented one another, and they had time to know that.
For most of the book, I thought this was going to be one of the most chaste romances I'd read in quite some time. That changed near the end, and if that scene wasn't entirely in character, it was otherwise well done (brief but emotional and intense).
I'm having trouble identifying what made this book work so well for me, other that the vague comment "it was the writing". Really, that's what it is-- a very well written book.
I haven't read a lot of Julia Quinn's books, but I've been very impressed by those I have. I look forward to reading more....more
For die-hard fans of the series only. I'm one, and I enjoyed it, but if any aspect of the books have been bugging you recently, I'm sure this book wilFor die-hard fans of the series only. I'm one, and I enjoyed it, but if any aspect of the books have been bugging you recently, I'm sure this book will trigger that feeling....more
This book did not start out well for me. If I hadn't been reading it for book club, I would not have continued past the first third or so.
The first haThis book did not start out well for me. If I hadn't been reading it for book club, I would not have continued past the first third or so.
The first half of the book takes place when Petra and her friends are young teens, obsessed with David Cassidy, and having the sort of problems that girls in books (and real life) often seem to have-- Bullying, friendship issues, parental problems...
Since the David Cassidy connection didn't speak to me, it just felt like a book I'd read before, with characters that I didn't particularly want to spend time with.
I think this is a book where listening to the audio really got in the way for me.
First, the narrators voice was not that of a young teen (the Petra sections were first person), which isn't a showstopper, but it didn't help, either.
Second, the book moves between Petra's story and that of Bill (a young journalist writing for the David Cassidy magazine that Petra and her friends pour over), and excerpts from the David Cassidy magazine. Looking at the printed book, I think this would have broken up the experience more-- I would have felt the "Bill" sections gave me more of a break if I hadn't still been hearing Petra's voice. The magazine excerpts had a completely different look, which also would have served as a chance to take a breath, away from Petra and her friends.
I don't think I would have loved this first part in print, but I also don't think I would have been longing to stop reading.
Luckily, the second half worked much better for me. I found it a pleasant enough read, and the narrator's voice fit the adult Petra much better (although since it is no longer first person, it isn't such an issue).
I enjoyed Petra's escape from her life as she gets a chance to meet her childhood crush, reconnects with her childhood friend, and gets a chance to move on from her more recent hurts in her life.
Bill was actually my favorite character in both halves of the book, but even he isn't particularly memorable.
I'm glad it improved for me, but it still won't be one of my favorite books of the year....more