I think I enjoyed Harry August more in concept than execution. The idea of a person living his life over and over again, but retaining his memories anI think I enjoyed Harry August more in concept than execution. The idea of a person living his life over and over again, but retaining his memories and knowledge on each go around, is one with a massive amount of scope - I just didn't find the direction the main plot took all that compelling. I would have really liked to have read more about Harry's personal life - his marriages to various linear women, his relationship with his family - than the eventual cat and mouse he got pulled into over quantum mirrors and a twisted bromance. The secondary characters never felt fully fleshed out, which is a shame as I was a lot more interested in some of them and their actions and motivations than Harry's nemesis/object of obsession Vincent. I expected to race through this, but by the time the set-up and Harry's first few lives were through and the overall direction of the plot began to emerge, my interest wavered and it became slower going. Still, a really interesting idea that I have admittedly picked over quite a bit since....more
25-30 March 2012: I think my chief weirdness with this book (and Catching Fire for that matter) is that after the experience of the 74th Hunger Games,25-30 March 2012: I think my chief weirdness with this book (and Catching Fire for that matter) is that after the experience of the 74th Hunger Games, I expected Katniss to want to be a champion for justice, not have to be wheedled and cajoled into it. Still, I really loved seeing more of the other victors in this one, and while neither the propos nor fighting felt very satisfying, I suppose the point is that war isn't very satisfying - and the way Collins ends it (sans epilogue), with Katniss so broken felt raw and honest and brave. I read all three over a few days, so I expect I'll write fuller reviews once I've re-read and taken my time with them....more
21-25 Mar 2012: I think the balance was a bit off kilter in this book. There wasn't really any need for hundreds of pages of 'woe, Peeta and Gale both21-25 Mar 2012: I think the balance was a bit off kilter in this book. There wasn't really any need for hundreds of pages of 'woe, Peeta and Gale both love me' when literally every single other thing about it was amazing. The Quarter Quell revelation literally made me put it down so I could go and rant about the unfairness of it all, but the repetition of the games procedure made it feels a bit formulaic, and the games themselves didn't really last very long. I think after book one, I got an idea in my head about where the series would go from there, and was a bit flummoxed by how wrong I was. A great book by all means, but my favourite is still the first....more
20-21 March 2012: The only reason I've given this a 4 instead of a 5 is because I don't think this is a series that needs romance at all. It's hardly20-21 March 2012: The only reason I've given this a 4 instead of a 5 is because I don't think this is a series that needs romance at all. It's hardly Twilight, but it felt as though they spent about six years in that cave, and the rest of it was just so damn good. So good. This one is definitely my favourite of the trilogy, but I'll probably save a lengthy review for after I've re-read it, which I intend to do pretty soon. I suspect this one will make its way to my all-time favourites shelf before too long....more
This was a stupid book, full of stupid characters. Except Martin.
All right. Days later, after the initial irritation has abated, Her Fearful SymmetryThis was a stupid book, full of stupid characters. Except Martin.
All right. Days later, after the initial irritation has abated, Her Fearful Symmetry wasn't necessarily stupid. It was clearly meticulously researched, but was that really to its merit? I read that Niffenegger spent a year working in Highgate Cemetery before writing, but I honestly found her descriptions of it dry and flat. They had me itching to turn the page and move on. And once I'd finished, I Googled pictures of the Cemetery and wasn't surprised to find that it looks nothing like the images her descriptions conveyed to me.
As for the characters - with the exception of Martin, as noted above - roundly unlikable. Julia wasn't so bad, but given that this book was Valentina Valentina Valentina, that didn't help much. There were hardly any points of merit to cling to, so instead I spent most of the book frustrated with and creeped out by everyone. The third act resolution was painfully obvious from the moment it was first mooted. I also read that Niffenegger's original idea for this novel was just a man afraid to leave his flat. I cannot begin to express how much I wish she'd written a novel about Martin instead of this, admittedly well-written, disappointment.
All that said, after months spent immersed in Stephen Kings and Harry Potters, it was a breath of fresh air (at least to start with) just to read a plot I didn't know in advance. Not much in its credit, but something....more
I enjoyed this much more than I expected to. Vampires aren't really my thing - I'm definitely more of a zombie girl - but I really liked the cascadingI enjoyed this much more than I expected to. Vampires aren't really my thing - I'm definitely more of a zombie girl - but I really liked the cascading way vampirism spread through the sleepy rural village of Jerusalem's Lot. The pacing was well-judged, and while the scope seemed to have overshot the mark at first, it paid off well in the end. I was worried about how King would handle such a vast cast - he essentially created an entire community here - but I think he did a much better job than in "The Langoliers", which I had similar qualms about recently. Although there were dozens of names to remember, he did well with making them distinct and memorable. It didn't always work out, but it was near enough.
My one major niggle was that it was a very male-dominated book. There were no strong female characters; (view spoiler)[the one female lead blundered recklessly into the vampire's base and got herself killed before the end of Act 2. (hide spoiler)] The supporting cast of women were ineffectual, adulteresses, child-abusers... In contrast the leading men were heroic, brave and defiant. Blah. I know this was only King's second novel after Carrie, and he's talked about his struggles with connecting with the female psyche, but I don't think trying to ignore the existence of women is the best workaround.
Still, I zoomed through this one - the audio is 17.5 hours, so I thought it'd take me a couple of weeks to get through, but it actually only took a couple of days. And it deserves some kudos for the very scary origins story of the local haunted house. I listened to that part in the middle of a bright, sunny day, and it was so effective that I was pretty much convinced everyone I walked past was about to kill me. Always fun. I really need to stop using King as my go-to for lazy, no thinking required listening, but I'm pretty sure I'll be on to The Shining by tomorrow. 6/10.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was a quick and enjoyable read. It was nice to see King writing from a POV outside his usual stable of middle-aged men aThe Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was a quick and enjoyable read. It was nice to see King writing from a POV outside his usual stable of middle-aged men and instead bringing to life 9-year-old Trisha. If the sprawling geography of the woods Trisha was lost in was sometimes hard to visualise, then Trisha's response - her actions and emotions - rang very true. (The one time I got really, truly lost in the countryside, I was a crying, babbling mess within an hour, but I can readily believe Trisha would be braver, ha.) If this had solely been a book about a little girl surviving in a desperate situation, it would have been quite excellent. The religious-fantasy subplot muddied the waters though - it just didn't work for me. The ultimate conclusion (view spoiler)[that God saved Trisha in the final innings, rather than her own courage pulling her through (hide spoiler)] left me flat after an otherwise solid read....more