I loved reading about the train. Unfortunately that ended pretty quickly and we were stuck with the worst parts of a manners novel, a mystery novel anI loved reading about the train. Unfortunately that ended pretty quickly and we were stuck with the worst parts of a manners novel, a mystery novel and a spy novel. It was uncanny, how much the book seemed to resemble a quilt made up out of the dull bits off the cutting room floors of Agatha Christie, Mary Robinette Kowall and Whatever fellow writes spy novels set in the 1920s.
Adding insult to injury were the smattering of juvenile illustrations. I loathe illustrations in novels, apart from brief chapter headings, maps, and the like. I read to have the author describe things. Showing me a drawing of the "breathtaking" train is a cheat. If I wanted to look at pictures of trains I would go to the internet and Google "cool train pics". I want the alchemy of your words and my brain.
Anyway, great cover, interesting train concept, dreadful execution. ...more
Not a fan of the original, so I am not wedded to those characters and that telling. Nevertheless I found this version in turns hilarious, preachy andNot a fan of the original, so I am not wedded to those characters and that telling. Nevertheless I found this version in turns hilarious, preachy and extremely dull. The characters don't all behave as Austen's did, which isn't a deal breaker for me, since I don't care for Austen's. However, they are all genuinely unlikeable, each for different reasons. ...more
**spoiler alert** This was one of those books that tried so hard to be suspenseful that it was difficult to read. I had figured out who the killer was**spoiler alert** This was one of those books that tried so hard to be suspenseful that it was difficult to read. I had figured out who the killer was and (most of) why they killed within the first few pages. The fact that nobody else even twigged for a minute that this person was the killer left me annoyed at the rest of the characters. Much of the book is comprised of "who is doing these terrible things?" And my only response was "if you haven't figured out that the person who has benefitted the most and is constantly hateful to everyone is behind it then you are too stupid to live."
Then there was the way it touched on my pet peeve. We had the killer. We had a dead baby. Isn't that enough? No...there has to be a rape. The strongest female character in the book has to be raped and the rape has nothing to do with the mystery at hand. It's just thrown in for shock value, red herring value and whatever other reason authors think they need to take their strong females down a peg.
In fact, the more I think about it the more that rape makes me want to take this down to one star. Because GR defines two stars as "it was okay" and raping characters is not ok. ...more
I cannot understand why this has a 4.5 star aggregate on Amazon! The writing in the beginning is a series of mean-spirited infodumps, all of them poorI cannot understand why this has a 4.5 star aggregate on Amazon! The writing in the beginning is a series of mean-spirited infodumps, all of them poorly constructed.
Several times I stopped in my tracks, puzzling over a sentence where the writer meant one thing but conveyed another. "They spent hours playing in the garden on sunny days and in the cellar where Richard's father kept the wine when it rained." Me: I've never heard of anyone moving their wine when it rains. That seems odd...oh. Wait.
Each introductory section is told from the POV of one of the group of female leads or those who knew them. But the POV voices don't differ in the least. The old ladies in a nursing home in New Orleans sound exactly like the Jewish woman on a plane from Israel who sounds exactly like the young English vicar's daughter. And they're all catty. The book feels less like a novel and more like a series of gossip tales. Maybe that's why it's so popular? Anyway, it's not my cup of tea and didn't pass my 54 pages test. ...more
I love these _Company_ books when they're talking about the philosophy and organization of the Company or the life of the immortals as they b3.5 stars
I love these _Company_ books when they're talking about the philosophy and organization of the Company or the life of the immortals as they bump up against the peculiarities of their construct.
But when the books get caught up in the mortal world they become either dull or precious. In the case of _Sky Coyote_ it's both. The Chumash tribe is meant to be a wink-wink-nudge copy of any modern society and as such avoids the magical native trope but also gets too twee to be tolerable for any length of time.
I definitely prefer Joseph as narrator. He's more fun to hang out with than Mendoza, and his wry cynicism is all that kept me hanging on through the dull bits. ...more