Gone Girl nets four stars for the precision and creativity and planning that obviously went into the writing of this book. Gillian Flynn is as meticulGone Girl nets four stars for the precision and creativity and planning that obviously went into the writing of this book. Gillian Flynn is as meticulous in writing as her protagonist is in planning her disappearance - nothing unaccounted for, no thread left hanging. I'm not sure if knowing the plot before I read it helped or not; diary Amy is a masterful creation and I would have been bored by her if I didn't know she was fake. By the time I hit the part where Amy comes back, I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish, because I knew what lay ahead was fucked up at best, bleak and depressing at worst. The ending is all three of those things. However - Amy's observations on the place of women in the lives of the men around them, her incisive scorn for men and the roles they're taught to play, was maybe the thing that kept Amy human for me, the thing that made me glad she won. Nick certainly didn't deserve to win - he didn't necessarily deserve what he got, either, but he didn't deserve to win. In any case, this book is as fucked up as everyone says it is, and definitely worth the read, if you can stomach a sublimely unhappy, yet oddly satisfying, ending....more
Given how much I liked Dune, this was a big letdown. Maybe the audiobook hurt me here but I couldn't connect with any of the characters except, brieflGiven how much I liked Dune, this was a big letdown. Maybe the audiobook hurt me here but I couldn't connect with any of the characters except, briefly, Jessica, Duncan, and Farad'n. I loathed Leto pretty much across the board. But the world is compelling as hell and I like Herbert's writing, so 2 stars it is....more
I think if I weren't listening to these in audio form I'd have given them up by now; the mysteries aren't that great, but that's not why I'm reading tI think if I weren't listening to these in audio form I'd have given them up by now; the mysteries aren't that great, but that's not why I'm reading them. Flavia is an amazing character and the narration in the audiobooks brings her to life more vividly than any book or character I can remember.
(view spoiler)[The ending of this one really annoyed me though. Way to cancel out all the cool shit hinted at in the course of the book... I really wanted a set of books about baby spy Flavia, ffs. (hide spoiler)]...more
I may finally have found a Mieville book that doesn't totally obliterate my brain for weeks afterward-- though, given that I didn't read it, I listeneI may finally have found a Mieville book that doesn't totally obliterate my brain for weeks afterward-- though, given that I didn't read it, I listened to it, and wasn't entirely attentive the whole time, that may have something to do with it. The guy who reads Mieville's audiobooks is great; I can't imagine hearing that twisty use of language in any other style but his strange staccato pace.
Themes-- the socialism / industrialism stuff is a huge part of this, which I enjoyed, but gave the whole thing a doomed feel that made me anxious. Not that I ever expect a Mieville to end happy, per se, but everything with Ori and Toro in the city felt like Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy; the revolutionaries always die, horribly and sadly, and those who came to the movement as outsiders get to live on.
The treatment of queer relationships was also uncomfortable for me. I don't object to a fictional society that doesn't treat queer people awesomely; I guess I object to including queer subculture in a fantasy story without it having a point or being important to the story? Cutter and Judah's relationship was important, of course, and Judah's relationship to his sexuality was interesting in a character study sort of way-- was he demisexual, demiromantic, etc? --but I never felt like those two things connected in an emotional way. I do like Mieville's treatment of the monstrous, both as an idea and in the horror aspect of his writing (Toro and the baby arms, jesus...) but I didn't feel like the equation of queerness with human-Remade sexual relations, or whatever point he was trying to make by drawing that parallel, really came home for me.
Regardless, this is a Mieville book. It's dense, it's twisty, you don't understand why he jumps back 20 years to tell you Judah's entire life story until 80% of the way through that section of the book, no one is who they seem to be and sometimes they don't even know that that's true, and no one ends up happy. But it's so unique, so truly original, that you can't put it down. ...more
I will happily listen to anything Jayne Entwistle reads. And I'm obsessed with Flavia-- definitely one of the best detectives / mystery narrators I'veI will happily listen to anything Jayne Entwistle reads. And I'm obsessed with Flavia-- definitely one of the best detectives / mystery narrators I've had the pleasure of hanging out with. ...more