Although in some respects this book is closer to a memoir than pure guidebook, every tale in this ghostly guide to New Orleans made me wish more and m...moreAlthough in some respects this book is closer to a memoir than pure guidebook, every tale in this ghostly guide to New Orleans made me wish more and more that I had plans to get back to the Crescent City. You've been warned.
I've collected up a number of local ghost story collections, but this one stands out because Caskey takes great pains to document the reality behind the stories. In the process, he debunks some of the better-known houses of horrors, especially the LaLaurie Mansion and the Sultan's Palace. His commitment to historical truth makes the spooky things that happen to him personally that much scarier.
I've taken half a star off because the text occasionally becomes more enthusiastic than coherent. (An editor could have smoothed those spots.) Another half a star comes off because Stephen Davis's cartoony illustrations undercut the serious tone of the text. The photographs, when included, are good enough that I wish there had been more of them.
In the beginning, I didn't care for the author's narrative, but it grew on me as I read deeper into the book. In the end, I'm not sure one could separate the teller from the tales. This book is such an enjoyable read that I'm eager to hunt up the author's guides to Savannah and Charleston, two cities I haven't yet had the opportunity to explore. (less)
My 10-year-old loved this series so much that she read it twice, then asked me to read it to her at bedtime. It's got old-fashioned heroes and a truly...moreMy 10-year-old loved this series so much that she read it twice, then asked me to read it to her at bedtime. It's got old-fashioned heroes and a truly evil villain, but she was so caught up in the story that she started naming her stuffed animals after the characters in the book. I have to admit: it's pretty darn good for a book about talking squirrels and otters.
That said, the villainy will be too intense for younger children. As it was, I had to explain what culling is -- it's being used by the bad guy on the slightly misshapen or otherwise out-of-the-ordinary baby animals. My daughter completely missed that the queen was being poisoned by her sinister lady-in-waiting. No one in the book ever identifies the continual application of the special medicine as poisoning, even after the lady-in-waiting is forced to take her own medicine and doesn't survive.
I think the upshot of this is that adults could enjoy the book on one level, while older kids could see something else in it. I'm glad we got the chance to read it together, so we could talk about the bad things that happen.
It also made getting her to bed easy, since she was eager to share the next installment with me.(less)
Wow, I like this one so much more than the first in the series. The structure of the book -- switching back and forth between Quentin and his reasonab...moreWow, I like this one so much more than the first in the series. The structure of the book -- switching back and forth between Quentin and his reasonably straightforward quest and Julia's struggle to learn magic after being rejected from Brakebills -- was perfect. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen next.
I was fascinated by the character of Julia and her attempts to master magic. I loved the sense that she was teaching herself, feeling her way forward blindly. I was relieved that there wasn't an ascended master or gnarly dude in a cave to oversee her education. Her "coming of age" hit me much harder than Quentin's did in the previous book, since her sacrifices were so personal.
When the end came for Quentin's story, it hit me much harder than I expected. I thought, for a moment, that Quentin might survive the multiverse-spanning quest relatively unscathed. He took his sacrifice better than I did.
The first chapter was an endless string of cliches. I left the book in Japan rather than be trapped on the plane home with it. I'm still interested in...moreThe first chapter was an endless string of cliches. I left the book in Japan rather than be trapped on the plane home with it. I'm still interested in seeing the movie, though. Maybe this was a bad translation.(less)
This was better than Magyk, but my daughter is done with the series. It was a struggle for us to finish this volume, because the author blathers on an...moreThis was better than Magyk, but my daughter is done with the series. It was a struggle for us to finish this volume, because the author blathers on and on. This would have been a terrific book, if it had been 150 pages shorter.
It's also one of those stories that wouldn't have been a story at all if the adults had just listened to their children. I don't understand why anyone thought it was okay for a young man, who'd been missing for months, to show up, put the princess on his horse, and gallop off, nearly running his father over. Especially since this is the eve of the year's most important duty as princess? And after the princess's kidnapping is established, why did the adults stand around wringing their hands, waiting for the princess to save herself?
There were some good, exciting parts of the book, but they are outweighed by the endless run-on descriptions and the rarely as clever as it thinks dialog.
I didn't mind reading this one at bedtime, but I'm glad we don't have to read the third one.(less)
Great characters, exciting events, lush description, scary monsters, and a whole lot of bad decisions! If I have any criticism of the book, it's that...moreGreat characters, exciting events, lush description, scary monsters, and a whole lot of bad decisions! If I have any criticism of the book, it's that it really doesn't need to be 800 pages. As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I was tired of it by its end -- and not eager to dive into the next volume.
I liked that Ned knows from the start that he's making the wrong decision to go to King's Landing, but I find it hard to believe that he didn't have any warning before King Robert showed up at his door. No one along the king's path would send Stark a raven? Weird.
I'd forgotten that the family's capture was all Sansa's fault. She's a much rounder character in the book. It's much clearer that if they'd been more honest with her and sheltered her less, she might have been an asset instead of a hindrance.
All the events at Castle Black were much clearer, too. I think I forget details during the TV series because John Snow's story is so drawn out. Too much time passes between each update.
This was the perfect book to take along on a trip to Japan while I stayed in a room with no television. I'm not sure when I'll be in a similar situation to face book 2.(less)