A bit of a letdown maybe, with Big Lou's story hardly being touched at all, let alone advancing; with Bertie's continued trials and heart-rending disa...moreA bit of a letdown maybe, with Big Lou's story hardly being touched at all, let alone advancing; with Bertie's continued trials and heart-rending disappointments (for a still 6 yr old) with a miserable cow of a mother and a weak idiot for a father. And then there is Bruce's perplexing story-line and Pat's virtual non-existence. Matthew has a seeming epiphany although with some random philosophizing, who knows where that will end up. No one really advanced in this volume and unless the author intends on a deus ex machina to rescue Bertie, move time to its proper passage (even Bertie is noticing how slow time in moving and that he is still six, meanwhile everyone else is advancing through time).
Everything else you like about this author is here, but this seemed like a holding pattern, and not a kind one. (less)
No surprise in that this was another gallop, this time through Tartarus. Picking up where the last book ended, just about everybody gets to have their...moreNo surprise in that this was another gallop, this time through Tartarus. Picking up where the last book ended, just about everybody gets to have their moment in the sun in this volume, which adds to the rushed feeling. It seems that the author gave everyone a chance to advance their characters, a bit. But it was rushed and some of the "developments" seemed a bit shallow (for example, Frank's physicality). At least we were able to see a bit more into Jason this time as he has been a bit of a cardboard figure. As for Nico, this seemed a bit facile as well and tossed in, especially as I don't think it is particularly believable as a reason for his emotional distance and unclear motivations, and that it should have been the basis for Jason's subsequent interactions is, again, shallow. (It should be noted it is a relatively small part of the story which, as I said, gallops.)
The good: less teenagery angst overall as there was a lot happening to deal with. And I did particularly like the theme of consequences, that even when you are a "good guy" there are costs and consequences. I thought that recognizing the responsibility to those left behind and, again, consequences was a good start and hope that the author resolves them... if only in his typically rapid style.
This is another book, in a proven and consistent style and goal for this author who writes for YA (albeit, ADD style). Judged by that criteria, this book accomplishes what it set out to do. Not too deep, lots of excitement,and one more book to go. It is what it is.(less)
I am not sure whether there was simply insufficient material to really reveal something about these women besides a recitation of historical events or...moreI am not sure whether there was simply insufficient material to really reveal something about these women besides a recitation of historical events or whether the author didn't maximize the use of her source material. It is hard to tell with a book with no footnotes or references whatsoever.
The author uses few direct quotes (although her usage increases towards the end) by chroniclers, and that is about the total of references. She refers to letters between the sisters and then does not use any of the material. She tells but does not show.
I suppose it is fortunate that, while some projections and suppositions are made, the author refrains from getting too deep. But the bulk of the book is concerning the queen's husbands and sons and is more like a condensed version of that period of history.
I have read better and I have read far worse, when it comes to history. She is an able writer but for all her research this is a bit superficial and light on revealing anything of note.
The 9th book of this series: leading up to the conclusion to the "Arnot Affair". This mystery kept me reading through all 9 books, through thick and t...moreThe 9th book of this series: leading up to the conclusion to the "Arnot Affair". This mystery kept me reading through all 9 books, through thick and thin (mostly thick (books) but with mysteries of variable quality).
As with most of the other books of the series, the basic mystery isn't as compelling - but this time it isn't out-shone by the characters as much as it is about getting to the bottom of Arnot and the machinations within the Surrete.
Things seem to be rather low-tide for Gamache, having lost his entire team and with few remaining friends. He forges ahead doing what he does best. But at the end I felt satisfied with the answers to most of my questions (although there are several unfinished threads remaining, character-wise and some plot elements were galloped over).
Several comments on what I consider to be the weaker aspects: 1) I begin to wonder if Ruth's sour disposition is partly due to people reciting her poetry back at her over and over, several lines in particular. That she didn't outright smack them in the face shows more self-control than her interactions would have previously indicated. 2) Francoeur's appropriation of Beauvoir was one thing, but his use of Beauvoir seemed a bit beyond even general vindictiveness towards Gamache. 3) Does the author even 'like' a certain character of importance involved towards the end? One can show character flaws and weaknesses without such emphasis on the general unattractiveness of the character, who was unfortunate enough as it was. 4) Gamache's final gambit that wins the communication game was too hidden and too briefly revealed to be as satisfying and believable as it could have been. 4) The final chapter (something of an epilogue) was too soon and a bit TOO sunny.
All told though, the author created a 9 book series with an underlying arc fairly solidly. She did not reveal every little detail or nuance connected to the background story but she didn't need to. The premise might be far-fetched but she created solid characters to hang the story on. It was they who carried the day, the story and the reader to the end.
Having finished the series, I would consider re-reading them just to see what I missed the first time around. Yes, some of the books were certainly weaker than others as far as the basic mystery premise but this was a pretty ambitious attempt. I lean to a 4.5 but since 6 and 7 and 8 were 4s and I really did feel satisfied at the end, I will give a rare 5. (If nothing else, the fact that I started reading this very late in the evening and finished it getting close to my alarm going off speaks to earning its stars. (I had a book hangover all the next day.)(less)
Well, I guess this kind of makes up for the frustration of the past several books. Still plenty of doubt to go round but with some character and plot...moreWell, I guess this kind of makes up for the frustration of the past several books. Still plenty of doubt to go round but with some character and plot progression. That being said, there was a lot of travelling around and several battles, numerous deaths and quite a few pages. Admittedly, I did not re-read any of the prior books due to frustration as described in earlier reviews.
Having reached the end and the final resolution, I think back to the previous books and wonder if this journey could have been done not quite so painfully in 3 volumes. I also admit to still finding Covenant's adamant need to remain a leper perplexing. Yes, it made holding the krill that much easier but I still fail to grasp how physical numbness correlated to facing Foul. And I still am not a fan of Linden although she did improve but, again, much of her past motivation/justification, even with some clarification, perplexed me (on a good day, frustrated the crap out of me on bad ones).
There were some good scenes here, Linden and the Manethrall together; Covenant finally started talking and became a real player; Linden's final decisions as they get closer to Foul; Linden and Covenant's interactions; and the giants, naturally (the Ranyhyn were just horses pretty much this time around though). Overall, much more satisfying than the last couple books as the characters seemed to act with more consistency here.
Interesting ending/epilogue, I suppose, although somewhat unclear as to just how it all came about. And after 10 books, it seemed that "finally, in the last few pages you deal with your issues"?
I suppose I might feel this is a 3.5 but given that it is the end and was less aggravating than the last 2 books - I rounded up.
Probably a 3.5 but this is a nice advancement from the previous book in balancing the plots and the characters.
Mummy-ji has a role to play, less so Ru...moreProbably a 3.5 but this is a nice advancement from the previous book in balancing the plots and the characters.
Mummy-ji has a role to play, less so Rumpi, but Mummy-ji continues to be a solid character in charm and smarts. Facecream has a large role in this book as well and we learn a bit more about her. And, of course, Vish Puri, beset with trials and bad luck, a love of food and several mysteries to solve - as well as retaining his reputation.
There was some humour here, as usual, but the author, once again, brought in some social issues. This time not historical but current, pulling in rural politics, castes and social issues. The author may be English but we hear enough about various situations/events in India that these elements seem believable (and contribute to the challenges faced to bring the entire country to modern times). The context did not weigh down the story but it certainly reduced the element of lightheartedness.
Granted the ending seemed a bit rushed but with so many bad guys, it can take a bit of sorting out. And Mummy-ji gets hers.
I think I will start buying these books for my own library.(less)
I would like to give this a 3 since there were some interesting ideas in this book that warranted a story, but not this disjointed, inarticulate, inco...moreI would like to give this a 3 since there were some interesting ideas in this book that warranted a story, but not this disjointed, inarticulate, incomprehensible narrative. Well, maybe just the narrator was inarticulate which resulted in the aforementioned narrative quality.
Nothing was ever really explained; with a lot of random, made-up idioms; partial expositions; and no context within which to frame the events. I suppose if one were familiar with this world and its quirks, this book would have been understandable, with the background knowledge filling and and smoothing over the not insignificant gaps.
This is more like an elongated short story - delivering the reader into a wisp of a story and then ending it when the author deems randomly fitting. There was a lot of potential story here and I don't think that writing in a less "youthful" way would reduce the ability of YAs to read and appreciate the story, increase it, I would say.
This the 1st book in the series, but the 2nd that I read. I was correct in that there was more backstory than what was revealed in the 2nd book. So ku...moreThis the 1st book in the series, but the 2nd that I read. I was correct in that there was more backstory than what was revealed in the 2nd book. So kudos for not revisiting every little thing in book 2.
However, there was so much shoved into this book, it was like a particularly heavy dumpling to try and digest. Overwritten, with too many little side... story-ettes. A reader could be forgiven for thinking that the author intended to never write another book.
There was a cat, a photography contest, auntie's birthday party, VAD club, battered wife, housekeeper and hobby, romance (? for the heroine? or not? one? or two?). Then add 3 chapters from different POVs from the past, that did nothing a decent exposition could not have revealed (and in far fewer words).
No minor plot stone was left unturned in this literary hodgepodge. But the main character is appealing, in spite of it.
The fact that I know the tone is a bit lighter (and not QUITE so overwritten) in book 2 leaves me willing to tackle book 3, which I would not have been if book 1 had been my only experience. There is room for improvement... here's hoping.(less)
While I think this was reasonably well-written, I just did not warm up to this book. I wondered about that as I was reading and it wasn't the writing...moreWhile I think this was reasonably well-written, I just did not warm up to this book. I wondered about that as I was reading and it wasn't the writing style, although I did find it to be a bit jarring at times (some people have called it disjointed, which I did not feel quite so strongly). While that could have been part of my tepid feeling towards the book, I think that the bigger issue for me was that I did not particularly like any of the characters.
Sarah's introductory views of friends and family (and I did have a hard time at first remembering which ones were her parents) did colour one's impressions and that didn't really improve through the book. Sarah and her own self-loathing, as well as Hall's issues, etc. etc. were neither of them particularly appealing, even as the story progressed. The dysfunction seemed greater than the story's ability to resolve.
Except for the characters self-created tension, the mystery never seemed to be particularly tense or suspenseful, and was more of a backdrop to Sarah's story. I have forgiven books for that weakness before so can't get twitty about that, but Sarah's story or Hall's weren't enough to carry this (at least for me).
I will say that I liked Sarah's profession, a nice change. (less)
A first novel, apparently, that does not show the five years it apparently took to write it. I thought from the title it might belong to the potato pe...moreA first novel, apparently, that does not show the five years it apparently took to write it. I thought from the title it might belong to the potato peel pie style. but this makes "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" look like a Pulitizer prize winner.
I don't need to get into the Americanisms which have been covered by other readers.
I will note that this was weak on a number of levels, including research, use of back ground, character development, and the plot itself. 1) the research was sadly lacking from the whole architecture angle (including the ideas and the seeming lack of an actual plan), international travel for dogs, horse riding, teenagers, what constitutes "ancient" when referencing women, etc; 2) maximizing the use of the house itself, the involvement of the dog, the pond and related interactions 3) behaviors inexplicably resolved (Ian and Lilia), interactions between Joey and almost everybody; emotional issues served the "plot"; weak characterization (also serving the plot) which felt shallow. 4) the plot was basic, which is harmless enough, but the issues listed above were so weak that the threadbare plot was could not carry the story.
This reads like a first draft to me - there was room for research and for expanding and developing aspects of the story and characters and, perhaps, writing "what you know" (which does not seem to be the case here).
Not sure just how this book got published... I have seen better books struggling to find a publisher. I hate to be so harsh so I will still give it a 2 even though it is more of a 1.5.(less)