*Disclaimer*- I read this after the pseudonym was revealed! HOWEVER, I don’t think it altered my perception of the novel-besides making parallels to H*Disclaimer*- I read this after the pseudonym was revealed! HOWEVER, I don’t think it altered my perception of the novel-besides making parallels to HP.
Though brutish and terribly bushy, Coroman Strike is on a short-list for my new favorite hero. I envisioned him as a smaller (but not by much) Hagrid, with the spirit of Harry Potter, and the infallibility of Albus Dumbledore (R.I.P). Now doesn’t that sound like an unreal combination?! Well its real baby – at least on paper.
Private-eye Strike cozily leads us through the pitter-patter of London’s glitterati and their polarized lower-rung counterparts to solve the murder of London’s most beloved model, Lula Landry. And let's not forget his crafty sidekick/secretary Robin Ellacot who sleuths right alongside Strike and even manages to save his ass (pardon my French) from time to time. Rowling introduces a collection of possible suspects, some more suspicious than others, and manages to make them all look devious initially. The suspense snowballed steadily and I ended up devouring the last half of the book in one sitting!
It IS a “who-dun-it” mystery but I found myself enjoying the noise surrounding the case, the side-stories, and sub-context too! Cormoran is a complicated and wounded, quite literally, character and I liked how Rowling slowly fed us information about his mysterious past. I have a feeling we’ll get some more juicy details on him and maybe even Robin in the next installation of the series!
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately depending on how you look at it) my guess at the murderer was not correct. I was in the ballpark though! Rowling sprinkled clues from the VERY get-go but the ending was a little outlandish and psychopathic. I hope this will not be a trend in the upcoming books. So yeah its not a terribly original mystery or anything but it was entertaining without being cheesy, well-written, and worked the brain-cells a bit (which I think is always a good thing ;-D). Having read, and being a fan of many classic detective novels (Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters, etc.) and some modern ones…I’d have to say that Rowling painted a more “modern-day detective novel” that has the same classical, authentic feel to it! Bravooo MR MS Galbraith-Rowling! I think it goes without saying that I will be reading The Silkworm very soon!...more
Components: science [genetics mostly], fantasy [witches, daemons & vampires], romance, history, strong female lead [woo!]
PHEW! It took me three atComponents: science [genetics mostly], fantasy [witches, daemons & vampires], romance, history, strong female lead [woo!]
PHEW! It took me three attempts to finish this book...but not because it wasn’t good mind you. Our relationship was rather…complicated. In summary, Diana Bishop has been supplanted from her home in the states to Oxford University where she is researching ancient Alchemical texts. She is a descendant of not just one—but two powerful blood-lines of witches, the Bishops and the Proctors. Regardless of her strong sorcery genetics, she regularly shuns magic, refusing to use it or, more importantly taint her scholarly pursuits. She pisses off a lot of witches in the process too. And we all know it is not that easy (or healthy might I add) to escape whats in your blood or your past. So when Diana requests the alchemical manuscript Ashmole 782 at Oxford’s Bodleian Library and it actually appears for her—she opens the pandora’s box (so to say) of magic. Vampires, witches, and daemons flock to her vicinity and stalk her continuously in hopes of snatching this manuscript. What’s more Diana has no idea that the manuscript is so special. Enter Matthew Clairmont-vampire extrordinare. Yes, he’s handsome, charming, and british all rolled into one. The typical vampire. He further complicates Diana’s life as vampires and witches mixing are a no no. But, the funny thing is, this story is not really about Ashmole 782 or Matthew’s relationship with Diana. It is really about evolution, segregation, and the basic human need of understanding why we are here in this world. You can enjoy this book for its suspenseful and romance-filled tale OR you can take it one-step further and enjoy the philosophical and scientific ramifications it poses in the underlying text.
From the start, the story envelopes a very cozy atmosphere in the history-rich streets of Oxford. As a graduate student trying to finish my degree in “polymer science,” I needn’t defend my intense love of old prestigious libraries, any and all kinds of science, and esoterica—this book being chalk-filled with all of that. I think this is the first time an author has so succinctly delivered an “explanation” of witches, demons, and vampires in relation to humans—the effect was to make this fantasy world more relatable and palatable to adults I think. And then there was Diana, the epitome of strong female leads. Although unsure of herself, Diana is physically sound—a regular practicer of rowing and yoga (my favorite)! Whats more, she treats all of these activities not as mere physical defenses or vainly but focuses on their spiritual aspects. Diana has a lot of energy-something that a lot of us can relate to. And she has to workout to get rid of it—makes sense to me. Packed with beautiful quotes from past religious texts, poems, and various documents--I frequently put the book down and went on a wild-goose chase to learn more about a certain passage or book that was mentioned.
I hate to do this but I compare most books against my favorite series, Outlander, written by Diana Gabaldon. Although Diana is great, she is no match for the wiser, wittier, and more amusing Claire (from the Outlander series). What’s more, the slow parts in A Discovery of Witches aren’t as enjoyable as those of Outlander. I mean all books have their slow parts, you just have to deal with them I guess? I definitely got restless at parts and put the book down to finish reading later. But I was very glad that I kept reading because Harkness def. makes it worth your while. Surprises and new pieces to the puzzle are continuously revealed throughout the book till the very end [grin]. I'm excited to start Shadow of Darkness! I picked it up last night. I anticipate it will be even better than Book 1!...more
I am an idiot. I should’ve expected the sole focus of this book to be love from the the title but still I expected a little more diversity in content.I am an idiot. I should’ve expected the sole focus of this book to be love from the the title but still I expected a little more diversity in content. Some may argue that there were undertones of the woman’s plight and classical music..but..even these points were littered with cheesiness and naiveté. Overall, I learned very little from reading this book. I guess my knowledge about classical music may have increased a little? But really it was just abut some chick falling in love. Love that probably did NOT happen often (maybe 1 out of 100 chances) in that day and time. The naiveté of the main characters, Georgiana and Sebastian, was especially irksome. They kept proclaiming that they only felt platonically about each other. Yeah because friendships between an attractive single male and female were so commonplace in those days…gosh!
The template of the plot was very typical…similar to a modern-day chick-flick. Guy and girl like each other. Oh and then theres a twist in the story!-A love triangle…ooooh! Then after waiting a zillion years the boy finally professes his love only to idiotically and irrationally storm off, without waiting for a response from the girl. Then girl tries to reciprocate love and boy has left on some misery trip! But alas! He returns (thanks to divine intervention). [blerg]
Well…needless to say, I’m afraid the intense frown on my face from the last 50 pages or so will be ingrained on my face for weeks to come…just in time for the holidays. I mean I actually felt anger after finishing this book. I wanted those precious moments of my life back. Really the only reason I gave this book two whole stars is because I can’t discount the quality of writing. Although frequently grandiloquent, Lathan really has a knack for the English language. Well this is the end of my rant. Merry Christmas folks!...more
Well, I think its safe to say that Rhys Bowen is no Agatha Christie. Having said that, this book is definitely entertaining! I really wish I could givWell, I think its safe to say that Rhys Bowen is no Agatha Christie. Having said that, this book is definitely entertaining! I really wish I could give it 4 stars but something is nagging at me not to do so. If you're looking for a fun, fast, easy but entertaining read I would give this little book a go. So here's my spiel...
Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (Georgie) is trying to make it on her own in London, during the trying times of the Great Depression. Now she doesn't go all rogue and march out and find her own apartment in the slums and work three different jobs just so she can covet clothes on her back and skin on her bones. No, no...she's still 34th in line to the throne after all, practically a Princess. She does it in her own way, by escaping her half-brother (& wicked half-sister-in-law) and their dreary Highlands, Scottish Castle to their un-staffed (blasphemy!) London "house." Despite her less-than-acceptable situation Georgie is occasionally invited to have tea and toast with Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England, ooooh lalaa. To support herself, Georgie secretly acquires jobs here and there as a pseudo-maid! We've got to give her points for that, I mean royalty dusting, lighting fires, its just crazy-talk. Anywho, upon returning home one-day from a clean-up Georgie finds an evil little Frenchie found dead, drowned actually, in her bathtub she positively freaks! As would I. The mystery of the novel is focused on trying to unearth the real killer of this notoriously hated French man. The most obvious suspect his her dolt half-brother Binky but other suspects lurk around her constantly too. What's more is that some-person begins taking attempts at Georgie's life too.
So I would say that this book is decently written but leaves some-thing to be desired. I mean, its hard time to write as a modern day author and mimic the vernacular of older times. I would give Bowen 3 stars on this. I did find the main character, Georgie, rather loveable and I was smitten with her side-plot love interest, O'Mara. So I guess on characters I would give Bowen 4 stars. But all in all..the mystery was lacking. This wasn't a mystery where a reader could follow along and serve as co-sleuth. A little piece of the puzzle was revealed at the end to reveal the real killer which made it impossible for anyone to accurately guess at it from the beginning. In fact, the real murderer was just too cliché for my liking. I was hoping for it to be someone else the whole time. Now mind you, I usually read Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayer-the real royalty of mystery writing- mysteries so perhaps my standards were unreasonably high. I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in this series though! ...more
Outlander fans will be disappointed-not sorely disappointed-just disappointed.
The only reason why I read The Winter Sea was because it was advertiseOutlander fans will be disappointed-not sorely disappointed-just disappointed.
The only reason why I read The Winter Sea was because it was advertised to Outlander fans-perhaps because of the whole Scotland multiple centuries thing...but NO...nothing like Outlander.
Why the 3 stars? Basically I just had a hard time getting super attached to either storyline because of the constant switching between present day Carrie and 1700s Sophia. I liked/felt interested in Carrie more than Sophia though. Sophia was just your run of the mill average chick. Nothing special about her. Which is why as an Outlander fan I was disappointed (we all know Claire Randall/Frasier was a total spunkster :-D !) The book was written fairly well, albeit a little cheesily in the historical parts. It was cozy and did spark some emotion in me from time to time too. ...more