Honestly, I'd been putting off reading the rest of this book series for ages. The first book was such a heavy read that I wasn't sure I could face theHonestly, I'd been putting off reading the rest of this book series for ages. The first book was such a heavy read that I wasn't sure I could face the other books in the series, certainly not in tandem, not if they were going to deal with subject matter like that scene with her Guardian. A couple years have passed since I read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and when I found myself frustrated by what I'd been reading (in that I wasn't feeling engaged or was aggravated by the prose/characters) I thought, what the heck. I've read some uncomfortably gritty crime novels these last couple years, I can do this (even if it may deal heavily in the one sort of crime I'm not too keen on reading about), at least I know that these books are well-written.
And what do you know, I enjoyed it immensely. Yes the grit is still there, the infuriating chauvinism is still present and Lisbeth Salander is still amazingly gratifying.
Now the book did start off a little slow like the first one, more-or-less picking up where the last book left off then transporting us a few years ahead in time. I had no idea where the meandering plot (and meandering characters) were going. I thought to myself, "uh oh, here we go, another slow boil with a lot of background to set the stage for the action".... and yet that wasn't quite the case. The action, so to speak, starts a lot sooner and I definitely felt invested in the protagonists' plight. There are also some introductions to some new great (female!) characters that I truly enjoyed.
I'm trying not to write any spoilers so as usual, I'm leaving off on writing a summary. All I will say is that this is more along the lines of a real gratifying action-Thriller than the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo's Slow-Boil-Mystery-Murder-Thriller-Gone-Haywire. It deals a lot more with politics which usually is a huge turn off for me but somehow it works; it kept me intrigued--perhaps because I'm not at all familiar with Sweden's history or politics (beyond what I've read in these books anyway). I had a hard time putting it down and to anyone who got through the first book, I would definitely recommend reading it's sequel....more
Knocked a star off for some parts being a little too obvious but otherwise this was an incredibly enjoyable read. Fast-paced, the suspense and tensionKnocked a star off for some parts being a little too obvious but otherwise this was an incredibly enjoyable read. Fast-paced, the suspense and tension remained pretty high until just before the end (as I felt it then delved into the expected after that). I quite like Katrine Bratt as a character (especially as I feel some of the sexism she faced can really be seen as relevant to women in the any workforce) and can only hope she'll tread the pages of future books. ...more
**spoiler alert** For me, the ending was both expected and unexpected. Expected in that I expected the series (or at least that arc) couldn't have end**spoiler alert** For me, the ending was both expected and unexpected. Expected in that I expected the series (or at least that arc) couldn't have ended any other way. I say unexpected as I felt the main conflict (Joel) was too quickly (and in some ways unsatisfactorily) resolved. He seemed to serve little purpose beyond being the next Grandmother/Malcolm/John Amos figure--and really, does every book need to have the same villain constantly repeated? Joel seemed planted there to fan the flames on Bart's insecurities and questionable sanity but beyond that we weren't really given any answers as to his true intentions--only hints given to us through Cathy's very prejudiced eyes. Also, the general ending of the book felt a little rushed to me, as though the author found she was writing herself into a corner and needed to make a hurried ditch exit. Or maybe that was her idea of a surprise ending?
So why 3.5 (which I rounded to 4 ) stars? I enjoyed Jory's section of the book (as Cathy notes, he is so much like Chris, whom I favor as a character, though I liked this incarnation of him least of all) and I felt he had an interesting journey to undertake. I wondered, while reading, if a lot of Jory's experiences or feelings were felt by the author after her own accident. I also have to applaud Cathy for forever trying to stand by her son Bart, despite his appalling and shocking behavior. Though Cindy, your claims that all your friends were "doing it" at 11, 12 and 13 once again makes me think of the Mayfair Witches (and harkens me back to Cathy's encounters with Paul) and in general just makes me sad and uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I'm older now but wow, no matter how "grown-up" one may feel at the lofty age of 11, you are still a child! ...more
**spoiler alert** I don't think this is as good as it's predecessors, Petals on the Wind and Flowers in the Attic but it does have some strengths. Bar**spoiler alert** I don't think this is as good as it's predecessors, Petals on the Wind and Flowers in the Attic but it does have some strengths. Bart is a frustrating character and so hateful (for me anyway) that he makes an interesting antagonist. If I was meant to feel any sympathy for him, well, I didn't. Jory was an interesting read as it answers the question of how Julian might have been, had he been raised differently. (I'm still of the opinion Julian probably would never have been a nice, happy-go-lucky person no mater the upbringing however). It will be interesting to see how Lifetime deals with this in their upcoming (?) TV movie. ...more
This book is a trainwreck that one can't look away from. Having seen the recent TV movie that came out first I had expectations for certain events...This book is a trainwreck that one can't look away from. Having seen the recent TV movie that came out first I had expectations for certain events... and was warned by a friend that the book was vastly different.
She wasn't kidding.
So I spent my time reading wishing Cathy would and could make different choices than the ones she made. I felt sorry for Chris because he is such a good person and therefore I want him to get what he wants... Even though I really shouldn't. I was equally repulsed by the way in which all Julian, Bart and Paul (especially you Paul--between you and Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches novels I'm starting to wonder about the gentlemen of the South) went about wooing (or being wooed by) Cathy. Where I want to almost say I feel the books gave the gents a few more "redeemable" qualities, I still don't think any of them were very good people. (Well, Paul, you do still get points for taking them in off the streets and supporting them I guess...) But I still can't help feeling I just read a book on the extreme repercussions of child abuse. (Thanks Mo Hayder, your books have made me hypersensitive to any spot of pedophilia)
The book itself is an easy, quick read. VC Andrews writes very fluidly and while some "I-Novels" can bother me, this one (like the last) did not. I think of this like a modern gothic tale and I'll probably finish reading the series, if only to have something else to discuss with my friend who read these books when she was growing up....more
Boy, this was a tough read in terms of subject matter. This author takes a crime scenario (this time pedophilia which is terrible in and of itself) anBoy, this was a tough read in terms of subject matter. This author takes a crime scenario (this time pedophilia which is terrible in and of itself) and then manages to turn the knife and make a bad situation much, much worse. Not only does she write physical cruelty and brutality but also psychological brutality--there is no dressing up or sugar coating the awful situations. The author seems to like getting across that the worst part may not be the murder itself but usually is the terror and suffering inflicted beforehand.
Leading man Jack Caffery is a bit of a hard pill to swallow as well as he has more faults than he does redeeming qualities.... I find I want to like him but then he'll say/do something that has me becoming that irate individual shaking the book. I felt more frustrated with him this time around than I did in the first.
I don't really know that, for me, this is the sort of series I could recommend around as it seems this author is trying to keep this as "realistic" as possible--there are no white knight shining moments, no happy endings. I feel I'm left frowning at the end of the book, feeling uncomfortable and largely unsatisfied with a bitter taste in my mouth.
However, I do want to read the 6th installment which means I'll have to get through the rest of the books. Yikes. Wish me luck....more
When I try to think about how I would like to describe this book, the first word that pops into my mind is "cute". I feel like the author had a very iWhen I try to think about how I would like to describe this book, the first word that pops into my mind is "cute". I feel like the author had a very intriguing premise and her take on magic in the early years of the French Revolution and I wish she had taken more time to go deeper. It could be that this is aimed at children and I was hoping for something with the finesse of a historical/fantasy aimed for an older audience... As I was reading this I felt that the potential was there but that she somehow missed going that extra step to make it truly engaging and in-depth. ...more
The term "historical novel" should be used extremely loosely in the case of this book.
I should also note it was no small miracle of will (compulsion)The term "historical novel" should be used extremely loosely in the case of this book.
I should also note it was no small miracle of will (compulsion) on my part that I was able to grit my teeth and finish this book.
I don't bother with summaries in my reviews as there's always the back/inside cover/sometimes-helpful-blurb-in-the-description-section-on-websites that will likely detail it better. Allow me instead to inform you what this novel is not.
1.) This is not a mystery. We are informed of the killer fairly early on and are dogged with his insipid presence throughout the book through italicized passages. For emphasis, presumably. Being Whitechapel in the year 1889 it should not surprise the reader to find that there is actually more than one murderer afoot. I'll try not to spoil anything (how could I though when they author does it himself so well?) Basically I can only believe that the asinine connection to the Ripper presence was the author's misguided attempt to ride on the Ripper's notorious laurels. It's certainly what drew me in initially when I glanced at the summary of the book.
2.) This ultimately has nothing to do with the Jack the Ripper though boy does the author try. Too hard in my opinion. Why did the author bother? The information he utilized was cursory at best. Maybe he presumed we already knew enough facts about the Ripper (or Saucy Jack as he insisted on calling him, which is fine except it was used like a given name for the Ripper) Except, I'm sorry, I've seen those photographs, I've read the reports, in fact the Ripper interests me greatly so I find I'm unable to suspend my sense of disbelief when you have not one but two characters that have managed to survive (well for a period of time in one case) having their throats slit to the bone. I'll be delving well and deep into the spoiler-y sort of zone if I get too much into it but how does that even make sense? There is so much muscle and sinewy, not to mention, you know, a major artery or two. I understand it is possible to survive having one's throat slit if the cut isn't deep, or isn't both of the major arteries and if the circumstances are right, if help is immediate and stellar. Shall we look at the date again? Shall we look at the district of London this little tale takes place in?
3.) This will not show an accurate picture of Victorian London in 1889. I mean, at this point why even bother setting this in England? I think the author became a little geographically confused, thought himself in New York for all the abundance of brownstones that made their startling appearance. This story, beyond the echoes of the Ripper failure, had no need to be set in London. In fact, I would've been a lot more forgiving if this had been set in say, New York or Boston or Chicago. Certainly the London geography was.... bizarre at best. Not to mention Inspector's wife's obsession with preparing mock turtle soup. Let's not forget the killer commenting on he prefers to abstain from electricity. On his salary it seems unlikely he would ever be able to afford it. Gas lighting I will give.
I think I've warn myself out with all of this griping but I'm sure my point has come across.
As of this moment, I think this will stand as one of the worst, if not the worst books I have read this year. If I could give this a negative 5 star rating I would. A dreary 1-star don't-bother-using-this-book-for-anything-other-than-fire-fodder. Though I only have myself to blame for slogging through this disaster, I hope you will take my advice and read something else....more