A masterful collection of facts jammed into each other to make a slightly above average piece of historical fiction. Donoghue is too good of a writerA masterful collection of facts jammed into each other to make a slightly above average piece of historical fiction. Donoghue is too good of a writer to fall into the info dump trap, but that doesn't stop this story from reading like someone spent too long researching and not long enough with the characters she imagined into life. As a mystery, it's so-so, with the non linear story style not adding anything but high expectations that are never met. ...more
I can't wait until I hear Christmas songs on the radio this year and my heart races, not in a good way. Thank you Joe Hill for writing a scary story tI can't wait until I hear Christmas songs on the radio this year and my heart races, not in a good way. Thank you Joe Hill for writing a scary story that does what a scary story is supposed to do: creep up on you when you long after the story teller has said "the end".
(Yes, the book is too long and there's writer's ego showing through in a few places.)...more
For the first few chapters, I was enthralled with this book. Amazing world building, intriguing theme, and immersion story telling. But something happFor the first few chapters, I was enthralled with this book. Amazing world building, intriguing theme, and immersion story telling. But something happened about a third of the way through - the author seemed to no longer trust the story to tell itself, or maybe she thought her story so deep the readers wouldn't be able to keep up, or maybe her editor started skimming. Whatever the cause, the book bogs down in info dump from a protagonist who deserves every bad thing that comes to her. Fortunately, there are interesting villains and supporting characters who appear often enough to keep the reader interested. Paige's repeated inner dialogues can be skipped, you can read the glossary in the back to understand the invented vocabulary and you'll quickly figure out which character's to watch for to signal actual story development. This is the first of a seven part series that I suspect could have been told in fewer books, but the publisher is out for money, not quality. ...more
Interesting and fun setting, described by an author who obviously knows his subject. That's the end of my positives. In fact, some of the negatives arInteresting and fun setting, described by an author who obviously knows his subject. That's the end of my positives. In fact, some of the negatives are in the positives. If I'm using the word "describes" in a review of a novel, the author has done something wrong. I should be a part of the world he's put his story in, I shouldn't be conscious of the fact that he's telling a story. Also, the authors knowledge of his subject is made clear when he starts putting his personal experiences in the chapter footnotes (which also act as a a lazy way to use native language). Then there's the method of story telling through chapter POV. This works when 1) an author truly stays in that one character's head for the entire chapter and 2) Character's POV are needed for the story and not just because the author had a scene he couldn't bring himself to cut from the book even though it adds nothing but fluff to the book. Kwan fails miserably at this style of story telling. Finally, my largest complaint about this book: shallow characters do not mean shallowly written characters. The people,e of Kwan's book disappear when they aren't on the page you are reading. There's not a hint of life when they aren't actively in the story, they are what we are told they are and from each one's introduction there's nothing to allow you to see them any other way....more