Staff book club pick. I'm curious to see what the discussion points are, and how it all rolls out.
For now, while it's still fresh, I have mixed feelinStaff book club pick. I'm curious to see what the discussion points are, and how it all rolls out.
For now, while it's still fresh, I have mixed feelings. I can't say it's a book I loved and will recommend to everyone, or that I'll re-read it some day, but I still thoroughly enjoyed a leisurely afternoon reading it. This is strange, since the first chunk of the book seems like it should have been a depressing turn off, and yet it wasn't. Maybe it was the setting, as I'd forgotten about the swampiness in Ohio and what that was like. We lived in NE Ohio, nowhere near the Black Swamp area, but there were still swampy areas that stunk of skunk cabbage and were full of murky black mud, algae, rotted wood, snakes, frogs, salamanders and green, wet things. I used to love the lushness of it, while finding it dark and creepy at the same time. I cannot imagine trying to carve out a farm or homestead in the middle of it, back in the 1830's.
It was total coincidence that I happened to have an apple handy as a snack to eat while reading. Glad I did, given the focus on apples, or I'd have soon been craving one.
The book flips back and forth between James/Sadie and their brittle, dysfunctional, abusive, feuding relationship, and Robert, their youngest son, who leaves home at a young age and can't make himself return. I liked both story lines, though the end to one of them was like a movie scene thrown into the middle of an otherwise good book. (view spoiler)[ I could see the axe accident and James dying from his wound. But shoving Sadie in such a way that she impales herself on a fence post and dies... those two events together made it seem like a blood splurting horror movie scene. (hide spoiler)]
The alcoholism portrayed in the book is hard to read, but yet the character was - for all her disaster and darkness - compelling. She's one of those frighteningly crafty people that is both predictable in her spite and pettiness, and sometimes unpredictable and deadly in how she deploys it. It made her interesting and sad - and made later events that set Robert on his path much more disappointing.
I enjoyed the tidbits on Johnny Appleseed, the setting (NW Ohio and California), the bits of information about the Black Swamp, apple trees and grafting, as well as the information about Redwoods and Sequoias (the "dance floor" and "bowling alley" - I realized, reading this, that I can stop beating myself up for my lack of foresight over the years, when clearly it is human nature to be short-sighted - and idiotic - as a general rule).
It did seem that both story lines ended a bit abruptly. I'm not sure if that is just me or if others get that impression as well. If it were a sweater, I'd feel like it needed to be unraveled a little and re-knit to smooth over the bumpy edge and add an inch or two of length to each sleeve.
That said, the stories up to that point were well worth the read for me. Good historical fiction with simply drawn - yet complex - characters. Great for people with an interest in NW Ohio and California Gold Rush era history (and trees...and apples). ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I liked it - I love reading about the Emperor's Edge characters.
I did have a little trouble placing where the stories are in the timeline of the otheI liked it - I love reading about the Emperor's Edge characters.
I did have a little trouble placing where the stories are in the timeline of the other books. The first one is a year after they've been working together, but the others seem earlier along the timeline. I don't know if I just missed details (always possible) or if it wasn't entirely clear.
Fun light read - action, adventure, a bit of romance, some creepy things, geekery, and a splash of Sicarius thrown in. Main character is a geek girl d Fun light read - action, adventure, a bit of romance, some creepy things, geekery, and a splash of Sicarius thrown in. Main character is a geek girl dragged into the fray for her cryptography skills.