On another book-logging site I also use, part of their rating system involves rating where a book falls on a sliding scale between "Literature" and "EOn another book-logging site I also use, part of their rating system involves rating where a book falls on a sliding scale between "Literature" and "Entertainment". As a fantasy fan, almost all of my reads have been pretty far into the "Entertainment" side of the slider. I short way into this book, I knew that this one would be largely on the "Literature" side. If you're used to reading fantasies for straight-up entertainment - adventures of cool characters fighting evil, and whatnot - this book isn't likely to satisfy on that level. The focus in this is more about evocative prose and exploring thematic material on the role of books and storytelling and the written word, with the story as a conduit for that. All of THAT is done really well, and I appreciate the quality of it when viewed through that lens. I'm leaving this at three stars, though, because while it was an interesting and engaging read, I read more for the "entertainment" side of things, and this simply didn't hit those buttons for me. If you're actually seeking out books on that literary side of things, then bump it up a star or two, for sure....more
I'm giving this the fourth star somewhat on "credit", trusting that there will be more volumes to come, and that they'll build on what this one starteI'm giving this the fourth star somewhat on "credit", trusting that there will be more volumes to come, and that they'll build on what this one started. I found the setting and worldbuilding in this to be quite compelling, starting from the concept of fallen Angels existing on Earth, with no memory of their life in (presumably) Heaven, and having turned Paris into a blasted ruin with their magical conflicts prior to the start of the story, and adding in some intriguing ties to other religious and magical heritages with the inclusion of the Vietnamese Philippe. There's so much tantalizing background here that, if the book were a standalone, I'd feel that the concept had been somewhat wasted in how little it delves into richness and possibilities of the setup. But if I look at it as a first volume, it's actually quite well done... bringing together a likeable and varied cast of characters, letting us get to know them and their immediate surroundings really well, giving a fairly tightly focused, self-contained mystery that gets resolved in most respects, and then leaving the door wide open for broadening of the story from there....more
This series continues to be a really solid entry in the Stargate novels line, and I'm thrilled that it seems like there will have to be at least one mThis series continues to be a really solid entry in the Stargate novels line, and I'm thrilled that it seems like there will have to be at least one more volume. The parallel-ing timelines both had great readability, and the clash of wills between the SG-1 members (especially Jack & Teal'c) was FANTASTIC. You don't often get this sort of a believable split between strong allies where the reader can see both sides in stories like this.
My only gripe was that the way the story was divided between the two timelines felt to me like they were making the sections too short. It ended up being a little pinball-y going back and forth between the timelines in too rapid succession....more
It took me a while to get around to reading this book, despite its popularity, because my initial read of the Kindle sample didn't terribly impress meIt took me a while to get around to reading this book, despite its popularity, because my initial read of the Kindle sample didn't terribly impress me. The opening chapters as they introduce us to Locke Lamora's backstory as a precocious chibi!thief with more flair for over-the-top larceny than is good for him were a little too... self-consciously witty, I guess I'd describe it. Like the author was trying too hard to convince me that I should find this all very amusing.
Happily, once I pushed past the opening on this read, things evened out. I found the book, overall, to be a pleasantly light read from a prose perspective - none of the overly dense prose of several of the other uber-popular fantasy authors around these days - and the storyline had plenty of adventure and twists that kept me guessing. The world-building was also engaging, with the unique vibe of the canals and the sense of history to the city's architecture. I look forward to learning more about the world in future books....more
I always enjoy a fantasy with a good mystery plot, and from the mystery aspect, this had some nice sleight of hand in how it got me second-guessing myI always enjoy a fantasy with a good mystery plot, and from the mystery aspect, this had some nice sleight of hand in how it got me second-guessing my thoughts on who the culprit might be (although I could have done with a villain who was a little less Hannibal Lechter-y).
I also appreciated the way the titular ghosts were incorporated into the story and the way she opted to reveal some elements of the main characters' backstories in drips and drabs throughout the book as a fun way to learn more about them in areas that didn't have direct bearing on the case and thus would've been silly to include in some big info-dump.
I did find that "drips and drabs" approach was a detriment in other ways, though. The setting never really rose above feeling like just some vaguely medieval castle with no sense of the world outside it, and even when a war is threatened at one point, the various players in positions of political power are a complete hodgepodge of names that don't really fit together into a solid picture of the world. I particularly found the description of one neighboring... province? kingdom? country?... so over the top in evilness that I found it hard to keep up my suspension-of-disbelief with regards to one character whose behavior was driven by having grown up there....more
This is a difficult one for me. By the end of the book, I was into it, and I'm curious enough about where they go from here that I'll probably add theThis is a difficult one for me. By the end of the book, I was into it, and I'm curious enough about where they go from here that I'll probably add the next volume to my TBR... but there are a number of things that made this first volume a difficult read for me. I had a difficult time adapting to the bait-and-switch introduction, where the story being set up in the introductory section seemed to have very little to do with the main plot of the book, until she wraps back around to it near the end, and found most of the POV characters fairly dull. The male characters were all various shades of moderate unlikeability (and the way all of their storylines involved some element of turning every woman they crossed paths with as an object of either lust or ownership was really offputting) and while the one female character was nicely sensible... I think I've just read too many sensible-young-girls-in-patriarchal-societies lately or something, because nothing about her really stood out.
So, the characters and general plot were both kinda lackluster for me. I think the thing that kept me reading was the worldbuilding. The book has a fairly neat mix of cultures, and the clash of those cultures, while not the main plot point, makes for some interesting scenarios. And I particularly was engaged with the overall concept of the reeves and their Eagles. I'm not usually one to enjoy books with a focus on magical creatures, but the eagles in this are really cool....more
I enjoyed this quite a lot - probably more than the first one, but that may be that I tend to lean in favor of the 'court intrigue' elements that featI enjoyed this quite a lot - probably more than the first one, but that may be that I tend to lean in favor of the 'court intrigue' elements that feature more prominently in this book than in the first. Either way, the book expands the worldbuilding in some cool, interesting ways, and I appreciated the way the story builds a realistic evolution of Elisa from an inexperienced young woman struggling to live up to her "heroic" image earned in the previous book to a more mature adult who knows her own mind and is willing to trust her own judgment. I also enjoyed the evolution of the related stories with other returning characters and the new characters were also excellent additions. I look forward to seeing what the final volume of the trilogy brings....more
This was fantastic! The reworking of Rumpelstiltskin is done is a truly creative fashion, and just like in her Digger books, Elizabeth Bunce shows greThis was fantastic! The reworking of Rumpelstiltskin is done is a truly creative fashion, and just like in her Digger books, Elizabeth Bunce shows great skill in building a story that is plotted *so* well in how it doles out little pieces of its mystery and ramps up the conflict at just the right pace, while featuring a main character who is an ideal young adult heroine - confident, competent, sensible, but with enough of a character flaw in her pride and stubborn insistence of doing everything on her own that a few kinks in the story's conflict can flow naturally from that. This book was a real joy to read, and has cemented this author as one of my absolute favorites, despite how few books that are available....more