I devoured this book, as I’ve done for all of Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” novels. The plotline followed the same g...moreOh Robert Langdon, I’d missed you.
I devoured this book, as I’ve done for all of Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” novels. The plotline followed the same general pattern. In a race against time, in the midst of a dire crisis, Langdon and his attractive new cohort dash around some of the world’s most historically loaded cities and are guided to the climactic finale by history’s greatest masters of art, literature and politics. Of course we also meet his classic villain, who is on a morally twisted enterprise that can only be thwarted by Langdon’s superheroesque photographic memory and superfluous knowledge of art history and symbolism.
What can readers expect from this new Langdon cocktail? For the featured masterpiece, we have a literary work: Dante’s Inferno. Readers can expect to learn about some of the history surrounding the epic poem as well as the impressive body of artwork it inspired. The plot ties into Dante’s famous work as it unfolds in the museums, gardens, churches and palaces of Florence, Venice and Istanbul. Please allow for a touch of historical dramatization accompanied by completely unrealistic scenarios.
Along with the same old recipe, Brown’s novel brought that refreshing rush of gripping moments and plot twists that keep me coming back to his novels. That Dan Brown; just when I think I’ve got him all figured out, he still manages to surprise me. Another famous feature of the “Langdon” novels is the frank discussion of an intriguing, disturbing or even controversial idea. In this respect Inferno certainly will not disappoint. Quite like the last time, readers will find themselves googling the facts and waiting for the next history channel special to lift the veil separating fact from fiction.
To Dan Brown’s critics, I say ‘relax’! I don’t think that Brown has ever tried to be a master of narrative, historical accuracy or even character development. At the end of the day, millions of people pre-order his novels because of his story lines filled with never-ending cliffhangers and mesmerizing images. If you want to read literary masterpiece, go pick up some Dostoyevsky, or Dante’s Divine Comedy, for that matter! (less)
The Secret Garden is one of my all time favorite novels. I have several copies including an old Barnes & Noble Classics paperback that is highligh...moreThe Secret Garden is one of my all time favorite novels. I have several copies including an old Barnes & Noble Classics paperback that is highlighted, dog-eared, bent, and beaten from being carried with me throughout April or May each year. I just love the way it transitions my mindset as the season changes. The story is simple and sweet. It is a book about rebirth and redemption, and points out the real magic in the miracle of life. Everything from the detailed setting to the characters is exquisitely charming and I always find myself smiling at the pages as I revisit The Garden each year. If you have not read this delightful book, I strongly encourage you to go pick it up right away, while spring flowers are still blooming!(less)
**spoiler alert** George R. Martin’s epic plateaus in the lengthy fourth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. The plot is mainly transitional and se...more**spoiler alert** George R. Martin’s epic plateaus in the lengthy fourth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. The plot is mainly transitional and serves to develop the characters and storyline for what we can only hope will be the climactic final events of the 6th and 7th novels. The 5th novel is expected to have a similar feel to it since there are so many characters involved it took Martin two novels to narrate the events of a single period of time for all of them.
I should preface my review by stating that I am not an avid fantasy reader, and so I may not appreciate certain characteristics of the novels that are coveted by more dedicated fans of the genre. I found that the intense detail slowed the story to a tedious pace. Martin is a master of imagery and shapes his world so artfully that he leaves little need for imagination. By the time this series is finished GOT enthusiasts could write their own books on the religions, folklore, fashion, even eating habits of the many different cultures of Westeros and Essos, not to mention the physical features of the numerous regions on the continents themselves.
I can see why these enthusiasts would enjoy knowing details such as what a random squire in a melee looks like, how he was born, and what he is wearing, but I personally found it extremely unnecessary and tiresome. At times I felt that I could skim through pages of text to reach a catalytic conversation or meaningful piece of stone-cold plot. Not only that, but there are an unmanageable number of main characters. As I previously explained, Book #4 only features half of the characters that are involved in the main plot. Secondary and tertiary characters you will never meet again are given multiple pages of back-story. Martin even brings back characters he’s already killed off! It’s no wonder these books are so monstrous!
With that said, the plot itself, once you get to it, is captivating. Although Martin’s writing is far from my favorite style, the world he has created is enchanting, as are his characters. All of the tedious detail makes you know them better. Over the course of the books the characters I've once despised have evolved in my eyes and garnered my sympathy. I reached the end of the 4th book thinking that I’d had enough of Westeros for a little while, and it only took a few days before I was buying Book #5. It’s easy to invest in the characters and their interests, which is one of the most important things to me in a novel.
I think my review soundly illustrates my confusion over my feelings for these novels. If I have to hear one more folktale about a snark or grumpkin in the forest I might throw Book #5 away FOR GOOD, but I’m sure I’ll go pick it up again in a couple of days. After all, I need to know what happens to, well, everyone. (less)
I’m about halfway through the second book in the Game of Thrones trilogy. I had watched the first season of the HBO series before hand so I have to ad...moreI’m about halfway through the second book in the Game of Thrones trilogy. I had watched the first season of the HBO series before hand so I have to admit a preconditioned attachment to the characters. I’m the kind who loves a long, drawn out story with characters I can hang on to for 3,000+ pages, and I don’t have a lot of history reading similar fantasy novels, so this is a series that I am enjoying. The world that Martin creates is somewhat complicated but easy to follow as it unfolds. There is plenty of magic and fantasy but there are some relatable elements to it as well. For example I found the characters to be realistic and complex. There are characters that I root for although I dislike them, and I love that in a book. I’m also such a girl, and I have to admit I’m a sucker for the elements of chivalry and old-world charm. For anyone undecided about whether to try the book after watching the show, I have to say I was extremely impressed by how well-aligned the plot, character development, and even the dialogue was between the book and the show. (less)
Death Comes to Pemberley is a faux sequel to Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. As a huge P&P fan, I enjoyed reading the book just to get a gli...more
Death Comes to Pemberley is a faux sequel to Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. As a huge P&P fan, I enjoyed reading the book just to get a glimpse of the beloved characters' future lives. P.D. James is a good writer, however the book seemed stiff somehow, and especially towards the ending it read more like a fan blog than a novel. The plot is a mystery with a couple of subplots, and although the story is original and the T's all get crossed by the end, the mood is so formal that the reader is never quite gripped with excitement. It took me a while to get through this one, but I'd still recommend it to someone who'd appreciate reviving a little of the magic of Pride & Prejudice. (less)
I really enjoyed this book about Audrey Hepburn. I felt it kept the reader engaged, but the author was very opinionated about the films she made over...moreI really enjoyed this book about Audrey Hepburn. I felt it kept the reader engaged, but the author was very opinionated about the films she made over the course of her career, and unless you're a Hepburn fan and have seen her movies, I feel like readers would become frustrated with the book quickly. (less)
This was a good beach read! It was a quick and sweet story. You don't have to put much thought into it or invest too much time. It's like watching a c...moreThis was a good beach read! It was a quick and sweet story. You don't have to put much thought into it or invest too much time. It's like watching a chick flick! (less)
I would start off by saying that I adore the premise behind this book. It provides insight into the lives of history's most, well, scandalous women. S...moreI would start off by saying that I adore the premise behind this book. It provides insight into the lives of history's most, well, scandalous women. Some of them are more well known than others, but all of the stories are inspirational and humbling. The book will make you think about how much you could accomplish if you only had the nerve.
I enjoyed Mahon's laid-back style. The book is written like a blog; which is fitting since it is based on entries in her blog "Scandalous Women" on blogspot.com. That being said, while I read this book it was clear at times that Mahon is a bit of an amateur writer.
There were several open-ended references to historical events, such as the Restoration in the story of Barbra Palmer or the Act of Succession in the story of Anne Boleyn. I also didn't feel for the slang terms and some of the cultural references Mahon makes. For example, she compares Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald to Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. Another example is in her description of Anne Boleyn's first pregnancy. "To Henry's great joy, she was soon knocked up" (83). Although I understand Mahon's attempt to maintain an easy-going tone to the book in order to attract an audience of modern young women, I felt she could have easily done so without certain off-putting terms and references.
Overall this quick read was worth the short time it took to read it. If for nothing else, for the incredible subject-matter. I will definitely continue to read Mahon's blog! (less)
I thought this was a really important story about a revolution most people in the USA don't really know about; despite the fact that it took place fai...moreI thought this was a really important story about a revolution most people in the USA don't really know about; despite the fact that it took place fairly recently between the 1970-90's. I enjoyed learning about Ethiopia and a little about its history. My only criticism for the story is that the first 3/4 of the book is mostly character development with most of the plot taking place towards the end. I did enjoy it very much and I definitely recommend adding it to your to-read shelf!(less)
This book was a compelling and tragic story. It is definitely a good read if you're interested in the Tudor era and if you are moved by the use of wom...moreThis book was a compelling and tragic story. It is definitely a good read if you're interested in the Tudor era and if you are moved by the use of women of that time as pawns for the advancement of their families. (less)