Lucy Worsley is my favourite documentary maker/host and historian, and I have watched the four-episode documentary that this book accompanies, and I lLucy Worsley is my favourite documentary maker/host and historian, and I have watched the four-episode documentary that this book accompanies, and I love it just as much as I love this book.
Humans' fascination for murders and scandals have always intrigued me and even though this book is about why the British love a 'good' murder, it is relevant even to non-British, especially to me who love a neat cozy mystery that is the whodunit written during the Golden Age of Detective Writing Era. The book starts and ends with a personal essay written by George Orwell, Decline of the English Murder (when I first heard it mentioned on the documentary, I just could not stop myself from looking the essay up and finally doing what I had intended to read a along time ago, Orwell's essay collection, and oh boy, was that not one of the best decisions I made in my life), and covers the sensationalism era, the establishment of a real police organisation in Britain, Sherlock Holmes, all the way to Agatha Christie's time and beyond.
It basically includes everything in the documentary with more details, and then much more. The documentary focuses a lot on murder cases like the Ratcliffe Highway murder and the Red Barn murder but the book also covers Sherlock Holmes which is only briefly mentioned in the documentary. And there are more materials about the four queens of crimes, Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham. Not very detailed but enough to serve as introductions to the their biographies.
Actually the whole book is not overly detailed, but it gives a very good general and overall view about how the Brits enjoy murders through time. It serves as introduction to more detailed works covering more specific era like The Invention of Murder. Nonetheless it is a fine read and I enjoyed it immensely....more
I hate time loop and this book is about time loop. But I was so in the mood for realistic YA fiction, so I read it anyway.
Sam really goes through theI hate time loop and this book is about time loop. But I was so in the mood for realistic YA fiction, so I read it anyway.
Sam really goes through the cycle of grief as she repeats the last day of her life what, six times? There is denial, when she first wakes up and finds that she is experiencing what she has just experienced yesterday and cannot decide if it is déjà vu or a dream. There is anger when she asks why she is the one who has to die when Lindsay is the one who drives her car like she is in Gran Turismo Auto (or is it Grand Theft Auto that she references?) There is depression when she just falls apart and cries her eyes out where she thinks no one can see her, but someone sees her anyway. And finally acceptance, the sweetest part of all.
Some things I love about the book. Sam does not wake up realising she is dead and decides she has to correct all her wrongs straightaway. She rebels and does some outrageous things like dressing like a slut, fighting with her best friends, and stealing her mom's credit card and spending it extravagantly. She feels extremely pissed off with everything and because she can get away with everything anyway since the day will just reset itself, she thinks why the heck not? This part is covered in the nittiest grittiest details possible and made me cringe, in pity and disgust for poor Sam. But then the whole experience does not make her happy. If anything she is more miserable and it breaks my heart to see her so broken.
I also love the very three-dimensional ways the characters are depicted, the complicated relationships they have and how nothing is simple black and white. "Don't judge a book by its cover" seems a very suitable motto here. Lindsay, Ally and Elody are the three Mean Girls along with Sam and I hate their bullying, but Lauren Oliver succeeds in showing that these three are more than just gregarious popularity. They have their own insecurities and life interests, especially Lindsay, who is the most multi-layered character. Like you keep peeling the layer off and yet you still do not reach the bottom. And I feel that their friendship is beautiful because of how Sam just does not judge her friends even though she has gone through some afterlife-enlightening experience and is seeing things with new eyes, and still just loves her friends. Don't get me wrong. As a bully victim I hate the act and the actors, for leaving such deep scars in my life, scars that just won't go away no matter how many bucks I spend on Bio-Oil and Mederma. But this book shows how these people are not simply Evil with a capital E. These points I think are the strongest points of the book.
Good and balanced measure of romance and according to some reviewers who of course know better, being Americans and having gone to American high school, a perfect depiction of the food chain and hierarchy of the high school in America. But o ye gad, if it is not too long. Many will disagree but I think the book can be cut down by half or at least a quarter and still be fine. It drove me a bit crazy with the details and one reason I hate time loop is because I just cannot cannot be patient enough to know how the main character escapes the cycle. So when a book makes me start skipping like a rabbit then it gets one of its star notched out. There is possibility that it will gain another star if I re-read it since I already know the plot and do not need to rush to find out the ending but ehh, ain't nobody got time for re-read when you have like 3000 books you need to read in case you die tomorrow.
What would I do if I found myself trapped in a time loop after I died? I would tell those I love what I thought and felt about everything. And then I would read....more
It was a so-so read. Not horribly boring and the fawning and mooning over hot guys is not over the top, to the point of making me roll my eyes, so thaIt was a so-so read. Not horribly boring and the fawning and mooning over hot guys is not over the top, to the point of making me roll my eyes, so that is a plus. But the mystery is straightforward, predictable. I could guess the culprit from the first, with almost absolute certainty. There are red herrings but they are not red or herring-y enough, the suspicion is just not convincingly spread among the possible suspects as to leave readers with the sense of "I don't know whom to trust." And the characters... Hmm...
Still, I am most likely going to read the sequel. It is my way of saying it is not bad....more
Firstly time travel, one of my least favourite premises (overtaken by time loop). Seriously, out of the many ways to expand the Harry Potter universeFirstly time travel, one of my least favourite premises (overtaken by time loop). Seriously, out of the many ways to expand the Harry Potter universe and continue the story, why does it have to be travel back in time to relive the previous books (especially Book 4)? Oh, I suppose it is interesting enough to speculate what could happen if Ron did not end up with Hermione or how the world would have looked like without Harry, but can't these people come up with something more original, a new plot altogether, instead of leeching off the past glories of Harry Potter? Why, too scared to try something new and experimental, too scared to fail? Come on, this is Harry Potter we are talking about. Make it a story about Dobby and people will still come to watch.
And that is just the beginning of my complaints. As a female and I will allow it, a feminist, the lack of a strong female character in the story is just too painful to swallow. Hermione is one of the reasons I love Harry Potter so much. She may not be the main protagonist but she is more than just a sidekick. She is smart, opinionated, determined, and ambitious, and she adds much falvours to the trio of friends and their adventures. The Cursed Child unfortunately lacks a Hermione. Rose Weasley-Granger, Hermione and Ron's fiercely ambitious daughter, has a lot of potentials in her but she is delegated only a backseat in the story. Delphi Diggory... Nope, don't let me start on her.
But not only there is no new Hermione, the old Hermione too in the hand of Jack Thorne has become trash. She is the Minster for Magic but I see little trace of her charisma and intelligence, as if somehow in the past 19 years she has suffered from brain degeneration. She makes illogical decisions like keeping the Time-Turner at her office protected only by riddle that 14-year-olds can solve and her romantic life with Ron takes precedence over any other character developments. Romantic life?! Seriously? This is the Minister for Magic we are talking about!
I didn't feel any magic while reading The Cursed Child. There is no expansion to the Harry Potter universe and the recycling done is flat like cardboard cutouts. Granted each of Harry Potter book takes one year of Harry's life while The Cursed Child crams a few years into one thin script. Which is why I wish the play could have been anything other than this lame attempt to continue Harry's story. There is a gap of 19 years, someone could have come up with the story of some werewolf sightings and massacres of Muggle villages maybe, or something about life at the other magical schools in the world. Something that takes advantage and uses the magical world J.K. Rowling created. How I wish this were manga, where people apart from the original manga-ka came up with stories for plays or anime movies without affecting the original plot or pretending they could match the manga-ka's works.
As a whole this may not be the worst book I ever read. It has some entertainment values about it and maybe I am just hard to please, but there are many fans who like it. It delves in issues like Harry's relationship with Dumbledore, his struggle with fatherhood when his own son wishes he were anything but Harry's own son, and I particularly like Harry's interaction with Draco, a reconciliation that I have always wished to see (I also wish to see Harry reconciling with his aunt's family but that is not shown). The balance between Harry and Albus's stories are good but sadly, that is the only balance that exists because as I mentioned characters like Hermione and Ron are just disappointing. And because of time and space restriction, there are just so many characters I wish to see again but never did because for some idiotic reasons, someone like Ludo Bagman gets so much screen time and you never get to meet Neville Longbottom face-to-face.
(view spoiler)[But I think the most painful disappointment is the enemy of this book. Harry's existence has always been to defeat Voldemort and it is only natural that even after 19 years he is still haunted by the Dark Lord. Still, I actually wish the production, scriptwriter, someone, to come up with a smart plot where Harry is worried about Voldemort's threat only to discover the threat to lay somewhere else. Certainly not a wizard of the same ill-repute as Voldemort but a threat nonetheless in his own way. Instead what I got was Voldemort's daughter! Seriously! Voldemort is so asexual I cannot imagine him to deign having any relationship with any woman, or even to share his seat of power with anyone, not even his daughter. He loves only himself. The idea of Voldemort's daughter, not to mention the fact that this supposed daughter has no charisma in her whatsoever and is just plain laughable, is just... disgusting. (hide spoiler)]
I did not regret reading this. But if you are not sure whether to read it or not, maybe it is better for you to just pretend this never happens. As for me, I will pretend this to be some decent enough attempt at fanfiction (passable but well, doesn't matter it never existed in the first place) and imagine there are better stories out there for Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest of the magical world....more
It had been a slow insufferable reading. I could find nothing that made me symphatise with either Lady Katherine Grey or Katherine Plantagenet. I don't understand why the choice of these two together as the protagonists of this book: Lady Jane Grey's sister and Richard III's illegitimate daughter. Apart from sharing the same name, what similarities were shown in the book to be theirs? And why set the seeking of the truth behind the murders of the princes in the tower in Katherine Grey's lifetime, in particular?
I suppose Weir tried to produce a balanced pro and con to the well-accepted theory that Richard III did away with his nephews by choosing Richard's own daughter to give the counter opinion. Except it was never balanced for even from Kate Plantagenet's point of view, there were so many rumours being cited. In the end this is just a presentation of why Richard III was a crook. Obviously the theory is the same as the one Weir presented in her non-fiction The Princes in the Tower. Now that really kills my intention to ever read that book. A pity I actually have a hard copy of it....more