I received this book as part of the GoodReads First Reads program.
As the fourth (and longest!) classic novel and monster mash-up from Quirk Books, "A...moreI received this book as part of the GoodReads First Reads program.
As the fourth (and longest!) classic novel and monster mash-up from Quirk Books, "Android Karenina" by Ben H. Winters and Leo Tolstoy had a lot to live up to. I enjoyed "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" by Mr. Winters, and I was hoping this novel would not be a letdown. It wasn't.
"Android Karenina" was a creative and fun update of the classic Russian novel "Anna Karenina." The robotic society of Russia was well-developed and flowed smoothly with the story; Karenin and his Face were a menacing force that kept me turning pages; and the "love" stories were engaging and so very real. However, the novel moved a bit slow in places and seemed to lose sight of the overarching plot in these places. Because of this, the twist ending with Anna seemed to come out of nowhere and it was a rather jarring and dissatisfying way to end her storyline.
Overall, however, I really enjoyed "Android Karenina." I was able to read a classic novel that I probably never would have picked up otherwise, and had a fun time doing it too. (less)
The Friday Society is a prime example of a killer concept being slain by mediocre writing and lazy execution. I desperately wanted what the tagline sa...moreThe Friday Society is a prime example of a killer concept being slain by mediocre writing and lazy execution. I desperately wanted what the tagline said I'd get: "An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns and the heroines who use them all." Instead, The Friday Society turned out to be a snooze filled, exposition fest with dull characters, telegraphed plot twists and an unintelligible plot.
Set in 1900, The Friday Society follows three extraordinary young women - Nellie, Cora, and Michiko - who are all assistants to powerful men in London society. By chance, the girls meet at a party where a murder occurs and become involved with the crime. Soon, they realize the murder is part of a bigger plot that will threaten all of London and that they must use their talents together to stop it.
If you're expecting this book to, you know, actually be set in 1900 and in a steampunk environment, you grabbed the wrong one off the shelf. The first thing I noticed about The Friday Society was the anachronisms. Good Lord, the anachronisms. They were so bad, I almost had to drop the book 30 pages in because it was annoying me so much. I get that this is supposed to be a bit of irreverent look at the steampunk genre, but Adrienne Kress didn't even try with her setting. Everything about this book screamed lazy, lazy, lazy. If you're going to write a period book - even a stupid, silly book - do your research and actually write a period book.
The plot was no winner either. It took 100 pages to even get to the murder mentioned on the jacket and then, when things were looking interesting, the plot went and got itself derailed on an asinine, drunk slumber party between the three mains and didn't pick back up again for another 50 pages. The villain came from a total left field - not in a good way - and got her very own ridiculous monologue section to explain her weak motivations to destroy London. There was a lot of fat in this book that could've been trimmed (the drunk slumber party being my number one choice), subplots that should've been cut entirely (yes, I'm looking at you, Mr. Harris, ughhh), and exposition that should've edited out. The Friday Society lagged when it could've been a breakneck adventure.
And then there were the ladies, who should've been the life of the novel. None of the three stood out to me as characters I should remember at all. I frequently got Cora and Nellie confused, especially in group scenes, and Michiko, who ended up being my favorite, got the shaft when the girls were together. Did no one stop and say, "Hey, d'you think it's problematic that our PoC main character doesn't speak English, speaks about 20 words per group scene, and then is otherwise ignored while the two white girls chat?" during the course of getting this book ready for publication? Blegh.
I had to force myself to finish and I dreaded picking it up during my lunch break. This is not a fun book if you can't look past the info dumping and anachronistic style. If you want a book about a group of ladies being awesome, there are plenty of other, better choices out there besides The Friday Society. (less)