I loved the story, characters and the plot, the plot especially has lots of potential. It's just the format, the graphics and the mixed fonts I don'tI loved the story, characters and the plot, the plot especially has lots of potential. It's just the format, the graphics and the mixed fonts I don't care about, but I can see how a 12-15 year old might fall in love with the thick book in various narrative formats: letters, emails, interviews, restricted files, wikipedia, graphs, drawings, designs...etc. It would be like coming upon a stash of secret files for them. I read the the dead tree book in case anyone wonder, and took a month and the 1/2. I normally read about 3-4 books a week on my Kindle. Maybe I'm just not a kinetic kind of reader and needed structure and white balance. This book just looked - messy. ;)...more
A page-turner. The story happened in 1962-1963, and the author managed to incorporate lots of historical events into the storyline. For example: The CA page-turner. The story happened in 1962-1963, and the author managed to incorporate lots of historical events into the storyline. For example: The Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy's, Giants playing in the World Series, Gone with the Wind, and many books that I've never heard of (after all, she's a bookseller, no?) The reading experience (I couldn't put down the book in the beginning) and the setting are a solid 4, but the plot planning and technique are a 3 - by the middle of the book, everything was a bit forced and predictable. The author carefully used the chapter before to plan what's going to happen in the next. I will still recommend this book to my book-loving friends. Who wouldn't love to read a story about what could have been; would have been? There would always be some regrets and sorrow in whatever life we choose, no?...more
Since I have never read any of his other works, I did not know what to expect...so this book was a genuine surprise, a big one. This guy is great withSince I have never read any of his other works, I did not know what to expect...so this book was a genuine surprise, a big one. This guy is great with words...in fact, he enjoyed himself so much that sometimes he got carried away with the writing, yet he seemed to enjoy his own wits and words tremendously. Not sure if I loved the fantasy subplot, but the characters, the writing, his knowledge of human nature, literature and the world, his humor, the globe trotting, his way with words and sentences, the introspection that this book elicited in me - all worth a solid 5....more
Just realized most people's review on this book is a rant or one star...but the unique heroine herself and her love of reading and books deserve a 4 sJust realized most people's review on this book is a rant or one star...but the unique heroine herself and her love of reading and books deserve a 4 stars already. The world building and characters are quite interesting as well. You'd think the timeline is Medieval in the beginning, but as you read along you'll realize that it's actually post apocalypse in the near future....more
The writing deserves a 5-stars, but I wasn't that impressed with the plot, or the revelation at the end, especially since I'm reading Red Rising rightThe writing deserves a 5-stars, but I wasn't that impressed with the plot, or the revelation at the end, especially since I'm reading Red Rising right after it. Since this is the first of a trilogy. I'll reserve my final review of this book until after I finished the series, to see if this volume carried its weight in the whole story. At the mean time...I'll give it a four....more
The plot: Was there one, or the author just followed her flow as she wrote with no clear direction? Nothing is logicalI waited 7 years for this book.
The plot: Was there one, or the author just followed her flow as she wrote with no clear direction? Nothing is logical except for the business aspects of the shops.
The pace: Slow with lots of repetitive scenes and actions.
The characters: Dicken-ish, an unlovable man and some revengeful rooks (large black raven-like birds).
The setting: Great, if you like business and old time London in a bleak and dark way with lots of deaths.
The writing: Only thing that kept me reading till the end; wonderful use of words, lyrical prose…not without struggle, though.
The story was quite simple. Bellman, as a boy, killed a rook with a catapult while his three friends watched. Bellman later became a very successful businessman, a family-owned mill and a stranger inspired funeral business called Bellman and Black. On the personal side he suffered through lots of deaths of family and friends. The deaths may or may not have something to do with his killing of the rook. He became a bit detached from his human side, ignoring friends and family. Then he died, which, similarly, may or may not has anything to do with the killing of the rook.
I could tell Diane Setterfield spent a great deal of time doing research for this book. Her descriptions and facts of rooks, mills and the funeral business were all spectacular and informative. Although most readers enjoy more plot-driven books, I truly love reading books that also implemented real facts of certain subjects, especially places, customs and history, as long as the facts contribute to the understanding of the story. Case in point: Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and Diane Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches. Although Setterfield wrote extensively about running the business of a mill and a funeral home, and included lots of facts about rooks, and weak plot and character makes these facts overbearing and a waste of time. Her prose was brilliant, as usual. She’s an expert in using the right phrases and arranging her words for the right effect. Her usage of English is excellent and her descriptions evocative. Sometimes orotund and overly wordy in a lifeless way:
“Far from it. The rook is no theatrical conjuror with his top hat full of tricks, deluding your eye into perceiving what is not. He is quite the opposite: a magician of the real. Ask your eyes, What color is light? They cannot tell you. But a rook can. He captures the light, splits it, absorbs some and radiates the rest in a delightful demonstration of optics, showing you the truth about light that your own poor eyes cannot see.”
After reading the above paragraph, one would wonder: are colors and the rook’s perception of colors important to the story? NO.
“His cry is harsh and grating, made for a more ancient world that existed before the innovation of the pipe, the lute and the viol. Before music was invented he was taught to sing by the planet itself. He mimicked the great rumble of the sea, the fearsome eruption of the volcanoes, the creaking of glaciers, and the geological groaning as the world split apart in its agony and remade itself.”
Lots of passages like the above two, plus pages and pages of words describing Bellman running his day-to-day businesses. Prose did not help the story’s lack of luster in this case.
Unless you intend to buy the book to read how beautiful her words are and you are okay without feeling a bit of resonance in your heart for the characters or their situation; or you are one of those more elite readers, skip this and read her first book, The Thirteenth Tale, instead.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance reading copy....more