There is something lacking about this book. It was good from beginning to the end, good as a whole, but I did not feel the sucker punch to the gut somThere is something lacking about this book. It was good from beginning to the end, good as a whole, but I did not feel the sucker punch to the gut some really good books gave me. I did not get wrenched and tugged emotionally and nor did I sat at the edge of my seat willing the story to end and at the same time dreading it. It is just a safe ride, like expecting to battle a ferocious dragon but instead finding the dragon an unworthy opponent and then ending up spending the rest of your journey lodged at the King's castle, eating and slumbering - Pleasant but you were not expecting pleasantness so you were rather disappointed.
But this is much, much better than The Color of Magic. That one was a perfect bore except for some funny lines, but really, a few funny sentences do not necessarily make a good book. Humour is probably one of Prachett's strong points and this book, being already a good story, the humour strengthens the story and does not stand out as 'the only good thing' about the book.
I will probably adjust my rating when I have read more of Prachett's books but I think Patrick Rothfuss is right that if you want to read Discworld, you should start from this book and not the two earlier ones....more
It started as a murder mystery and ended as alternate history. Which made it a rather pleasant and slightly exciting read, but at some point the mysteIt started as a murder mystery and ended as alternate history. Which made it a rather pleasant and slightly exciting read, but at some point the mystery just lost its appeal and even though I have not read many alternate history, my first happened to be Fatherland so everything that comes afterwards will be compared to it. And this certainly is too tame to be compared to the blood-chilling tension of Fatherland even if in both Hitler did not lose the war.
But yes, it was a nice read. Very English. It takes place at an English country house and involves the rich and titled. The narration swings between Lucy, the daughter of the house who married a Jew, despite everyone's objections, and Inspector Peter Carmichael. Lucy's is refreshing and I am sad that she is not to reappear in the sequels. The Inspector is not too bad but a large part of his narration involves him and his assistant speculating about the murder. They simply drone on and on. "Darling, what a perfect bore!" But onward to the next point...
I remember one article a while back that claims many of us are actually gay/bisexual whether or not we admit it. I am not sure how popular that opinion is but Jo Walton seems to be taking it to her heart because as Lucy explains, in her upper class way of giving nicknames to different types of people, some people are Athenian (gay) but most are Macedonians (bisexual). And then there are the Romans (straight). I do not agree with this view and find it very annoying that you cannot seem to walk among the upper class of the Farthing world without stepping onto a Macedonian's toes. It reaches to the point of being ridiculous, like how Lucy actually married a guy who used to have an affair with her now dead brother. It seems that two guys cannot be friends without ending up falling for each other, according to this book.
It is hard for me to review this book because I absolutely love the deep message this book carries but have some problems with it. You will easily empIt is hard for me to review this book because I absolutely love the deep message this book carries but have some problems with it. You will easily emphatise if you have had the experience of being an outcast, an outsider, the one who does not belong. In this book the role falls onto Walter Bishop and for the past nine years the people in the Avenue have done all they could to drive him away, and yet he is still there at house number eleven. This eventually leads to the disappearance of Mrs Creasy during that hottest summer Britain ever experienced and the book starts with Grace and Tilly's search for God because the two ten-years-old want to know why people have to go missing. Mob mentality, the pressure to conform, this book deal with those, and I love that this is mirrored on the children too.
‘Why do you want her to like you so much?’ ‘If Lisa Dakin likes me, then the rest of the school might like me as well,’ I said. Tilly took her chin out of her hands. ‘I don’t think people like that really matter, Gracie. We’ve got each other, haven’t we?’ ‘Of course they matter. Everyone wants to be popular. Everyone needs people to like them, don’t they?’
My problem with this book is however, the narration. Those two girls are really sweet and smart and curious, and their parts are fun to read. In fact Grace reminds me so much of To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout and I so love Scout. But their parts are only around 40% of the book and the adults are just so boring! They complain and whine and when it comes to their turns, the plot just moves with the speed of ants racing in a pool of molasses. Grace manages to turn some of these adults, with their dirty little secrets, into human and I wish the story is wholly written from her point of view or something close to that.
There are also too many references to British culture in the 70s and the numerous name droppings will make the Brits feel nostalgic but at the same time simply exclude the rest of us who have no freaking idea what Angel Delight and Are You Being Served? are.
And finally, the mystery. It has a good twist but part of the mystery has already been solved halfway through the book which may make you feel, that's it? And it ends with some loose threads too...
To conclude, I love the message and will have fewer complaints if the story is just told by the children. Seriously, I will definitely pick up this writer's next book if someone like Grace tells it....more
Here is the thing that puzzled me. Pat Peoples is already in his thirties but he sounds a bit like a child. He used to teach History before he was hosHere is the thing that puzzled me. Pat Peoples is already in his thirties but he sounds a bit like a child. He used to teach History before he was hospitalised but you do not really get that he is smart the way normal adults are when you read this, if you get what I mean. But then I read this.
Here’s a thought: I’m like Holden Caulfield thinking about ducks, only I’m thirty-five years old and Holden was a teenager. Maybe the accident knocked my brain back into teenager mode?
You really should read The Catcher in the Rye before you read this. I am lucky because I happened to suffer through Salinger for a few months just last year. It was a short book but God, I hated it because I had never in my life encountered any character as stupid as Holden. I would probably be unable to finish it if I did not have to analyse the translation in comparison to the original, and I think I was lucky that was the case because I actually did end up symphatising with Holden. It took me some times but I realised that Holden was not stupid, he was just very naive and full of ideal. Salinger wrote a very convincing teenager's voice in Holden and I understand why it is such an influential book. I rated it with two stars because I did not enjoy reading it but it left behind a very profound meaning.
Silver Linings however is not as hard to go through as Salinger. It is heartwarming and even though I am not a fan of Romance, this one works for me because it is not just about a couple ending up together despite all odds (and you already know they will be together because that is how Romance works, duh). Pat is naive like Holden, he believes in the silver linings despite his age and what everyone else and life tells him. But like The Catcher in the Rye this book is a bit more complicated than getting your happy ending. And it still manages to be very heartwarming and hopeful, and after going some through some rough ends, reading it is like a balm to my sore soul.
Thumbs up to the writer for actually writing engaging descriptions about Eagles' game that managed to make sports hater (read: me) not skip those pages. Even if until the end I did not quite know which sports this was about....more
I so looked forward to reading this because it introduced me to 'Vasilisa the Beautiful'. And I thought my expectation was fulfilled because the epiloI so looked forward to reading this because it introduced me to 'Vasilisa the Beautiful'. And I thought my expectation was fulfilled because the epilogue was beautiful. But the rest of the book is written in a teenager's voice, and a present day teenager's voice to boot, with all that whiny undertone and lack of self-confidence so prevalent in many main female characters of any non-fiction these days. And that totally wipes off that beauty.
The story does not quite make sense. It helps if you have read the original fairy tale beforehand (and really you should!) since this book takes the main plot points from it. But even if you have read the fairy tale, there are many things that will leave you feeling topsy turvy like you were reading 'Alice in the Wonderland' for the first time. Some illogical things will have answers, like how the heck shops that brutally execute shoplifters then put their heads on pikes like this is Game of Thrones still manage to be in business? And the fact that Erg is so annoying and unlikeable. Even if I personally do not buy those lame explanations. But there are more unanswered questions and loose threads that do not contribute to the plot development in any way. Like, can someone explain how Vassa's father leaving his family to become a freaking dog contribute to the story?
It does not work as a fairy tale retelling. But if you ignore all the glaring plot holes and you do not mind questions which answers you will never know, it is actually a decent horror. ...more
I am very, very disappointed with this book. Eugene Allen's life was very interesting. He had served as a butler under eight presidents (eight I tellI am very, very disappointed with this book. Eugene Allen's life was very interesting. He had served as a butler under eight presidents (eight I tell you!) and a thousand pages book will not do justice to it. But what do we have here?
I expected to read about how it was to work as a butler, first and foremost. And then Allen's personal opinion about the political ongoing he saw (he had seen a lot and a 'behind-the-scene' view is always much appreciated) and the fact that he was a black working at the White House. But there is more stress on the race issue and about politics, everything is told in random bits and pieces like an incomplete and very ugly patchwork. I never got to see any of Allen's view on anything. What is wrong with telling a more complete story? Not enough resources, couldn't be bothered to do enough researches? The man was actually there, the writer met him often enough! And now he is gone.
The idea to tell the story of a butler working at the White House is brilliant. Sadly Wil Haygood wasted the chance in the most heartrendingly disappointing way possible....more
It is a good read. Some short stories get on my nerve because of their overabundance of prose made beautiful, but this manages to be beautiful and to-It is a good read. Some short stories get on my nerve because of their overabundance of prose made beautiful, but this manages to be beautiful and to-the-point at the same time.
I wonder when this was written. It plays on the vampire-craze started by Meyer and Twilight but I thought we are past that? Or at least very, very near past it. In five years time maybe people will not get the cryptic meaning and inside jokes of all those Rosamunde and the hot vampire boys references anymore.
But people will remain able to relate with the feeling of growing up, leaving home, and seeing your dreams broken by reality. This is a rather sad story. Lonely. And maybe even a tad depressing in that loneliness and how close it feels to our real lives....more