**spoiler alert** I'm sort of divided on this book. Part of that is just that I keep having to allow for historical sensibilities, and part of that is**spoiler alert** I'm sort of divided on this book. Part of that is just that I keep having to allow for historical sensibilities, and part of that is that romance just isn't to my taste and therefore I spent large sections of this book waiting patiently for something interesting to happen.
I liked Jane's character as a child very much and could really relate to her at that point. She became much more subdued as an adult, and while I can understand how that would happen, it made her less interesting. I feel bad about being so down on her lack of strong will since I know she was portrayed as extremely daring and strong willed for her time period, but it mostly just makes me depressed that this is an independent, strong-willed woman for the time.
I liked that Rochester wasn't handsome, but was discomfited by the fact that he had to be disfigured and maimed to become Jane's equal. In fact, that's pretty much how I viewed the book - anything I liked was balanced out by things I didn't enjoy like the underlying racism or the contrived plot (not that she's the only author of the time guilty of this), and some of the things C. Bronte did were so new that they weren't the cliches they were now so I'll give her that. On the other hand, even a cursory check of C. Bronte's background reveals that Jane is a Mary Sue and while that's not necessarily a crime in original fiction, it does explain the more stupid parts of the plot.
There are some brilliant moments to this book. I loved that both Jane and Rochester pretty much viewed each other as supernatural creatures. It was a great metaphor and the mirroring of their views spoke of like minds. I was impressed by just how much of a cad Rochester was, and the overwrought gothic scenes were hilarious. I'm left wondering if I would have figured it out about Rochester's first wife if I had read the book without being spoiled. Oh, and Rochester and Jane had some good scenes for flirting. If only they hadn't been interspersed with dull parlor scenes or boring visits to childhood abodes.
I'm giving this three stars because that seems to balance out how uneven the book was. I enjoyed it, not always for the reasons the author would have wished, and also disliked parts of it as well. So it goes. ...more
As I was shelving this book, I was looking over my categories and hesitated long and hard over whether I should put it in the Western category becauseAs I was shelving this book, I was looking over my categories and hesitated long and hard over whether I should put it in the Western category because that is what this book most reminded me of - the long, harsh, but always filled with a natural beauty journeys you find in many a Zane Grey novel. Such journeys are for characters to develop and change, and since I like how Temeraire (and to a lesser extent Lawrence) evolved here, I have little to quarrel with even though the long journey did get dull in places. As someone with an interest in history and a passing fascination with trade companies and their influence on the east, it was great to see a whole new interest insert itself into the picture. These books are one long argument against imperialism sometimes.
(As a whole, the series doesn't make sense since the author treats each area of the world as if it were independent of each other, when in fact most areas interacted through trade for years (China was in trade contact with the Romans for example) and Europe would therefore never have developed the same way it did in our world, a fact which becomes increasingly clear as each huge new difference in non-European areas of the world is revealed. It was enough to stop me reading for quite awhile, but I've since resigned myself to it.)
I was not disappointed in this book. It was a great improvement on the angst of the last book, and I have read enough fantasy novels to know that the ending does not mean anything in the long run. Now if only I could decide if I should put it on my Western shelves or not......more
I wanted to like this book. It was about Vikings, early British kings, and even the fair folk for goodness sake! But time and again, whenever I was fiI wanted to like this book. It was about Vikings, early British kings, and even the fair folk for goodness sake! But time and again, whenever I was finally getting into the story or bonding with a character, GGK would pull you out of the story with either a seemingly unrelated until pages later historical aside, or comments about really obvious things like how one small choice can make a difference. Regarding the historical asides, I felt an awful lot like I was reading GGK's version of Les Miserables unabridged since there'd be ten pages on something only tangentially related to the main story line before he'd deign to let you see the main characters again. (To be fair, in Les Mis, it was more like 50-100 pages;)
Having just read Under Heaven recently (and having read the Sarantium ones years before), I can safely say that GGK makes history strangely boring. I admire that he really does his research and gets his culture right, but he often drains the life out of it as well. This book, less so than others since his fight scenes, especially the first raid, were excellent to read. I'd have been content with just that if I hadn't had to read about the life of some random miller/farmer etc right after that. Pure boredom. (I've seen authors make random asides to other people's lives work, like in American Gods, but it destroyed The Last Light of the Sun).
I liked some of the characters well enough, but I knew GGK well enough to know exactly what would happen to all of them. Down to and including the inexplicable woman who falls in love with the man she met only once. Meh. I'm not letting anyone talk me into reading another GGK book. He's had enough chances from me. ...more
**spoiler alert** My theory as to why Elizabeth was blonde in this story is that it was so you could identify her from the other five Bennett sisters**spoiler alert** My theory as to why Elizabeth was blonde in this story is that it was so you could identify her from the other five Bennett sisters since they were almost impossible to distinguish from each other. This is a shame since otherwise, I enjoyed the art and loved all the gory bits (even if I could identify a lot of Buffy in it... it comes as no surprise to me that the artist illustrated the Buffy comic). Plot wise, I didn't really go into it expecting much, nor am I a big fan of Pride and Prejudice so it was amusing to see all the boring scenes livened up with zombie attacks or fight scenes, and I'm glad the humour was kept. I think that other than the weirdness of seeing Elizabeth eat a ninja's heart (uh, they are all human, right? Or did Regency Britain pick up a habit of eating human hearts along with their ninja training?... possibly the novel explains this, but I don't care enough to read it), it was a fun, quick read. ...more
If you've never read Journey to the West or the Water Margin, you might be forgiven in thinking that most of the plot in this book was original. UnforIf you've never read Journey to the West or the Water Margin, you might be forgiven in thinking that most of the plot in this book was original. Unfortunately, if you had read those books, then you were probably as bored with the story as I was. Those plots that weren't cribbed from various ancient Chinese novels were not very good, and the character development... well, there wasn't much development. I didn't even like Monkey much and that's just depressing.
I've been stalling for well over a year now on dropping this book, but every time I think of finishing it, I think of much better books I could be reading. Like the unabridged Journey to the West... So, I am officially declaring my reading of this book over.
If you want amazing original tales steeped in Chinese legend, go read the Bridge of Bird series by Barry Hughart. ...more
This book ended up being a lot more historical in tone than I expected and I appreciate that the author put in some research time at least. I would haThis book ended up being a lot more historical in tone than I expected and I appreciate that the author put in some research time at least. I would have preferred better photoshop skills though. That being said, I don't really get why the book has an introduction section (which reads like any first author's first self-insertion) which is never referenced again. The title of the book served as a better introduction than the actual intro.
All the personal tragedies Lincoln suffered often kept the book from tipping over into pure cheese, but I think in many ways, adding vampires to the mix sort of diminished Lincoln's accomplishments. I have to admit, the ending was silly and made me laugh, but all this book has really done is made me want to go read an actual book about Lincoln. ...more