I read this in one sitting, not because it was un-put-downable but because it was a quick easy read. The horror of Lou's imprisonment and the growingI read this in one sitting, not because it was un-put-downable but because it was a quick easy read. The horror of Lou's imprisonment and the growing romance between her and Eliza were well done, but not especially new. It was a good book but if you're looking for a book to take the top of your head off, I'd be quicker to recommend Alias Grace for the Victorian asylums bit, and Fingersmith for the Victorian lesbians bit....more
**spoiler alert** My thoughts on the end of this trilogy are complicated. On the one hand, I desperately wanted to find out what happened at the end,**spoiler alert** My thoughts on the end of this trilogy are complicated. On the one hand, I desperately wanted to find out what happened at the end, and the mysteries were all satisfactorily explained, and I felt satisfied by the ending. On the other hand, things were wrapped up rather more easily than I wanted them to be. Cass's quest for vengeance against Mr. Bright was circumvented in a way that was interesting, but wasn't emotionally fulfilling. I liked the note the book ended on, but I tend to resent plots where the resolution falls into the category of "the villain isn't really that bad actually". And I became abruptly aware of how few women there are in the trilogy-- and that all but one of them were either dead or out of the picture by book 3. No queer representation either. None of this is to say that the book wasn't good, or that I don't whole-heartedly recommend the series to fans of sci-fi/fantasy crossovers or things in the "scary plausible future" genre. I really liked it overall, I had a good experience reading it-- which is what ticks this review over from 3 stars to 3.5, rounding up to 4 because of how much I like the series as a whole. Just be aware that the first two books are superior in that they set up a scenario that I find more interesting in theory than the way the third book played out in reality....more
This book takes all the famous success literature in the American canon, from Carnegie to parachutes to Emily Post, and distills down what's useful toThis book takes all the famous success literature in the American canon, from Carnegie to parachutes to Emily Post, and distills down what's useful to the modern-day millenial-or-Gen-Y office worker. I found some of it confirmed things I already felt were true, but some put into words things I had vaguely-formed ideas of on my own-- that sort of well-phrased summary that makes a person go "Ah, yes, that." The new money/old money comparison was the most helpful-- the reminder to listen, to be mindful of when I'm talking too much, etc. And I liked that, unlike the two articles I just read for a PD session last month, the book seemed equally geared toward men and women. It didn't have that "So ya wanna go into BUSINESS, young man?" tone that so much of the success literature she reviews does have-- the feeling that the imagined audience is a crowd of would-be Don Drapers in a varied array of tastefully tailored suits-- I felt included in the conversation, and walked away certain I'd use the wisdom herein again. And, given that I started a new job just as I was reading this, I was right....more
3.5 stars for this sweetly angsty novella. This was an engaging story that left me wishing it had been a novel instead. There was enough story there;3.5 stars for this sweetly angsty novella. This was an engaging story that left me wishing it had been a novel instead. There was enough story there; plainly the author has thought a lot about the characters, their history, and their relationships. Though there were really only three characters (four if you count the absent Marius) it felt intimate rather than boring. The romance itself was well done-- great meet-cute, a lovely period of confused feelings and reluctant longing, followed by a very satisfying resolution, interspersed with some truly funny moments along the way. I really enjoyed this and will be searching out other works by the author for sure....more
This was an odd book. I never once considered putting it down before I was done, but it was more out of a perverse desire to get to the explanation thThis was an odd book. I never once considered putting it down before I was done, but it was more out of a perverse desire to get to the explanation than actual gut-instinct interest. I was pretty excited by the reviews I'd read of this series, labeling it as what would happen if Holmes and Watson were romantically involved instead of just full of subtext. I was expecting banter, a good twisty mystery, and a decent dose of that lovely societally-induced repression that makes Victorian romances (especially queer ones) so delightful. But I was disappointed on all three counts.
The narrator is Ethan Pruitt, the Watson to Colin Pendragon's Holmes. He has a sly sort of humor to him, but it was swallowed up by the massive amounts of angst he went through over the course of the book, as the mystery touched on some painful events in his past. Pendragon was clever, yes, but the ways in which he ordered Pruitt about in public fell short of the whimsical rudeness of Holmes and Watson. In the books and especially the 2009 movie, Watson's put-upon suffering is funny because it's intercut with moments of real emotion between the two-- but I never really felt that emotion between them, the weight of their long relationship and what they meant to each other, the way I wanted to.
The mystery itself was rather muddled for me as well. At one point Pendragon complains that he can't make sense of the crimes that have been committed, and I felt rather the same way. There didn't seem to be any clear objective the murders were driving toward, there was a lot of misdirection and confusion, but not the kind that ramped up my own sense of urgency and curiosity. There was really no clear indication that the crimes had been committed by one person with a specific aim in mind, which is something I hadn't thought of as vital to a murder mystery until now. And the pacing was very choppy too-- every time they made a discovery they decamped back to their Baker Street equivalent for tea and haranguing from their landlady, only to rush straight back out again when a new development occurred-- if going back home wasn't a chance to show Pruitt and Pendragon outside the realm of their cases, then why bother? It gave the whole book a very disjointed and episodic feel, no sense of flow from one event to the other. Ultimately the reveal of whodunit packed no punch, because there'd been no foreshadowing and almost no development of the character in question beforehand. The final confrontation was decently done, but I thought the death unnecessary (though perhaps if I'd read the first two books I'd have cared more about the character?).
This was hardly a bad book, and I think it did a wonderful job of portraying queer characters in genre fiction without making the story all about them being queer. But the plot could have used tightening, and my lack of emotional connection to the characters made it fall flat.
2.5 stars. Might have gotten the full 3 if it had been better paced and edited (halfway through, Penny Brannigan started appearing as Penny Barrington2.5 stars. Might have gotten the full 3 if it had been better paced and edited (halfway through, Penny Brannigan started appearing as Penny Barrington, which is so egregious and silly, and not the only error). But it was sexy and fast, and hilarious with regard to historical accuracy, or lack thereof....more
Delightful fluff with surprising plot. Definitely didn't see the thing with Aunt Freddy coming. Loved that the "mean girl" twins ended up being awesomDelightful fluff with surprising plot. Definitely didn't see the thing with Aunt Freddy coming. Loved that the "mean girl" twins ended up being awesome (definitely reading Genevieve as gay, obvi). Think I liked Oliver and Jane just slightly more than Robert and Minnie, but it's close. Sometime should illustrate Jane's many ugly dresses. XD...more
Best $0.99 I ever spent on Amazon. Read another by Milan first, then this, each one finished in a couple of hours (stayed up way too late to do so - nBest $0.99 I ever spent on Amazon. Read another by Milan first, then this, each one finished in a couple of hours (stayed up way too late to do so - no regrets!) and they were both delightful. Witty, interesting, good subplots both, and very sexy. Looking forward to reading more by this author....more