Dull. The bad thing about a gory story like this that has an unlikable "protagonist" is that as soon as you realize it is going to be gory, you know h...moreDull. The bad thing about a gory story like this that has an unlikable "protagonist" is that as soon as you realize it is going to be gory, you know how it's going to end.
Yes, the guy was a jerk but not enough of a jerk for me to cheer on him getting eaten.(less)
This spends a bit too much time on explaining magic rather than using it. That's not unforgivable in the first book of a series though if it continues...moreThis spends a bit too much time on explaining magic rather than using it. That's not unforgivable in the first book of a series though if it continues on past this first book I'll probably drop the series.
I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt for now due to it's Mythopoeic Award nomination.(less)
I'm pretty picky about my historical fiction. I want it to be, well, historical. If it's set in the early 1900's, I don't want the characters to use m...moreI'm pretty picky about my historical fiction. I want it to be, well, historical. If it's set in the early 1900's, I don't want the characters to use modern slang, like something being "shot to hell." I want them to talk and relate to each other as people of the period did. Granted, it does make it tricky for the authors sometimes - to make characters that fit in with historical social conventions but that are still appealing to contemporary audiences. If all you do is take characters who talk and act as if they were in contemporary times and dress them in period garments and give them candles instead of light bulbs... Well, that's something I'm always going to be a bit disappointed in. Why even bother? It's like you've set your book at a costume party!
I guess Steampunk has made the era popular, but there's so much a modern setting could have done for this book! If Paper Magicians were out of style because electronic media were taking over - emails over printed letters, ebooks over physical books - wouldn't that just be awesome and interesting?
Could there be magicians aligned to circuit boards? Or would magicians for plastic and smelting have to work together?
Instead, we're just told that Folding has gone out of style and we're left to assume that's because it's mostly used for decorative and entertainment purposes... Yet we're not really told what can be done with the other materials.
It's a shame really. This book could have been so wonderful. It's got such a whimsical premise that I immediately picked it out of the Kindle First selections this month without even looking at the other options, but in reality, most of that whimsy is left unexplored.
Perhaps my expectations were too high? Maybe the cover art had me subconsciously expecting another Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (which this certainly isn't) or maybe the typically masculine author name didn't leave me prepared enough for the level of romance in the book.
And sadly, the romance doesn't appeal to me at all. In part that's because I'm not a big fan of romances to begin with, but the romance in this book is particularly unappealing to me because it's all about the GUY. The relationship starts out as a student/teacher relationship, (view spoiler)[and he's PAID for her education so there's some extra weight to the student/teacher status as well (hide spoiler)] so it's an extremely unequal scenario from the very start. But then (view spoiler)[about a third to half the book is the main character getting a cliff notes summary of the love interest's past - so (hide spoiler)] she gets to know HIS past really well, but neither the reader nor the love interest gets to know her at even close to the same level of detail. It's very one-sided. And after reading the book, I glanced at the author's bio and saw this about her relationship with her husband: "Shortly afterwards, her darling husband dragged her to Moscow, Idaho, where he subsequently impregnated her." Granted, it's a joke to some extent... But I can't help but notice that sentence is all about the guy too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I probably should have just read these off of her blog, but I really don't like knowing too much about authors' personal lives... And I don't want to...moreI probably should have just read these off of her blog, but I really don't like knowing too much about authors' personal lives... And I don't want to wade through a dozen posts about day-to-day activities to get to the posts about their work or ideas.
I really liked these essays. Some were just amusing and others gave quite a bit of insight into her views on various Sci-Fi/Fantasy topics...
It really deserves 4 stars for the content, but I'm docking a star for the numerous typos. You'd think the 3 editors credited in the end notes could have cleaned these essays up a bit more! (less)
I've liked some of Austen's other books but Emma's so silly! And while I don't mind a silly character or two, an entire...moreI'm sorry, I just can't do it.
I've liked some of Austen's other books but Emma's so silly! And while I don't mind a silly character or two, an entire cast full of vapid idiots is just torture.
Mr. Knightly seems to have at least a few brain cells, but it's a case of too little, too late, and I already dread reading any more of this book. I might revisit it in a few years and see if I like it better but for now I'm just tired of seeing it in "currently reading" status.(less)
I'd heard that this book was Jane Austen's only Gothic novel, but from the very first paragraph it's rather apparent that it's more of a parody of the...moreI'd heard that this book was Jane Austen's only Gothic novel, but from the very first paragraph it's rather apparent that it's more of a parody of the Gothic tropes than it is a serious treatment. And while I generally love the genre, I have to admit that Austen is spot-on in her criticisms of it.
She had me laughing from the very first paragraph.
As a side note - I think the narrator of the audio book version didn't convey the humor as well as she could have, and I'd suggest finding an alternate version (there's plenty to choose from!).(less)
Despite the large quantities of it that I've been reading the last couple of months, I'm actually not a big mystery reader. And truthfully, this proba...moreDespite the large quantities of it that I've been reading the last couple of months, I'm actually not a big mystery reader. And truthfully, this probably isn't a book I would have picked up on my own. It's a group-read for one of the classics groups here on Goodreads.
From what I've understood, this book - along with Raymond Chandler - is one of the formative novels in the noir private eye books of the 30's and 40's... And while it's good to know how things get started, I suppose, sometimes the fact that a book creates the stereotypes of a genre makes it look stereotypical when read decades later.
So, yeah, not a big fan - but I'm generally not a fan of this type of story anyway, so please ignore my opinion if you do happen to like this sort of thing.(less)
This is hands down my favorite Holmes story. I think part of that is that we're left to solve the mystery at our own pace (or rather at Watson's pace)...moreThis is hands down my favorite Holmes story. I think part of that is that we're left to solve the mystery at our own pace (or rather at Watson's pace) rather than trailing along in Holmes's wake, with half our "clues" being things we can deduce from Holmes's behavior. Sure, Holmes comes along in the end and wraps things up, but we already have the majority of the information at that point.
Then, on top of that happy fact, it's also somewhat of a Gothic horror story as well as being a mystery and I'm a big fan of Gothic horror.
I find it very interesting that this is perhaps the most famous of the Sherlock Holmes stories but out of the ones I've read so far, it's the one where Holmes's character just faded into the background for half the book.
I'd already decided that Hound of the Baskerviles was going to be my final Sherlock book unless another one of the collections gets picked for a group read or book club, and I'm glad to be ending the experience on such a positive note.(less)
This short, 35 page short story took me 2 1/2 hours to read. Not because it was dense, but because for every minute I read, I spent at least 5 minutes...moreThis short, 35 page short story took me 2 1/2 hours to read. Not because it was dense, but because for every minute I read, I spent at least 5 minutes staring off into space... And while I admit the scenery was lovely (lake, the rainbow in the fountain, the tiny dog that wouldn't have known what to do with that duck if he'd managed to catch it, etc) I see that scenery all the time, and had no trouble concentrating on either of the books I read earlier in the afternoon. If staring off into space for so long that my e-reader times out - twice in a row! - isn't a rock-solid indicator of boredom, I don't know what is.
I think I understood it better than Heart of Darkness - with the doppelganger and one-man-in-two-bodies themes and I was very glad Conrad left the worst of the racism out of it, but despite these good points, it still didn't keep my interest for more than a paragraph or two at a time.
I'm giving it one star more than Heart of Darkness because it managed to not be completely vile, even if it did bore me to tears.(less)
When I was a kid, I picked up a copy of this book at my grandmother's house. I never got a chance to finish it (my cousins interrupted my reading then...moreWhen I was a kid, I picked up a copy of this book at my grandmother's house. I never got a chance to finish it (my cousins interrupted my reading then we unexpectedly went home a week earlier than planned and I never saw it again on any subsequent trips) but I was left with the distinct impression that Sherlock Holmes (or more properly, Doyle, I suppose) cheated.
I recently re-read/finished this for a group-read, and my opinion is unchanged. Whereas in other books, you're usually given the same clues as the detectives so you can figure them out yourselves, in these stories often your best clues are the ways in which Sherlock himself acts ... because he's just so good that he immediately knows exactly what's going on, no matter how improbable the story is. And that's really, really frustrating!
I've never seen a full episode of the BBC show Sherlock, but I've seen a a few brief clips and snippets on YouTube and having that visual picture in mind - Sherlock turning his back to the room, or constantly saying "boring" for instance, was really helpful. Instead of thinking that Sherlock is a arrogant jerk, I can instead picture him as someone with Aspergers or something similar (again - never seen a full episode of "Sherlock" but that was the impression I gathered from what little I have seen) and Aspergers is a much more tolerable picture to imagine - even if he does cheat.(less)