In re: the whole series: I hope JK Rowling revisits fantasy or at least mythology/parable in the future. Since Cuckoo's Calling looks like straight-upIn re: the whole series: I hope JK Rowling revisits fantasy or at least mythology/parable in the future. Since Cuckoo's Calling looks like straight-up detective fiction, I'm going to give it a try - clearly, this is one of the many things she's great at. Also? I knew about Dumbledore going in, but Hedwig?! Jeez that was cold. I mean, props for writing an incredibly dark, honest, critically-acclaimed, commercially-successful children's series that's mostly about death (especially in the context of a society that mostly likes to pretend death doesn't exist!) . . . but I really liked Hedwig. ...more
Like a modern Agatha Christie novel, except the protagonist is a jaded, chain smoking reporter who listens to the Pixies and plays video games. There'Like a modern Agatha Christie novel, except the protagonist is a jaded, chain smoking reporter who listens to the Pixies and plays video games. There's all kinds of underpinning themes of morality, degrees of wrongness (or evilness, even?), and individual vs. collective responsibility to keep things interesting. ...more
Mostly I requested this one because it was banned elsewhere. You start to think in the first few sections that it's obvious why, but it gets worse. ItMostly I requested this one because it was banned elsewhere. You start to think in the first few sections that it's obvious why, but it gets worse. It's safe to say, I think, that this is one of the most vile, depraved books I've ever read. Of course, Moore does it on purpose. And of course, that's not my main problem. The premise - what if H. P. Lovecraft was writing about things that actually existed? - is an interesting one. It could have been awesome. My main problem is, like some other reviewers, I'm starting to think Moore is kind of racist and misogynistic. Most of the story takes place in Brooklyn, and there's one black character here. So of course more than one character makes racist remarks that have nothing to do with the plot, or even character development. The lady character is a recovering sex addict, which (as others have pointed out) is the only thing we get to know about her. She says several times that it messed up her life, but we never see/hear how. Also, it has nothing to do with the plot. (Unless Moore thinks that we should somehow connect a sex addiction to her repeated rape torture that happens later in the novel? She herself ties them together by talking about her self-esteem in reference to both of them.) And while I'm complaining, I'll also say that Moore proved here that he knows how to use Google Maps, but has no idea what Brooklyn youth/underground culture is actually like. (Also: why the hell would a drug dealer even talk to - much less sell drugs to - a man who doesn't even try to hide the fact that he's a fed? Seriously.) If the only thing you know about Moore is Watchmen, skip it. Lovecraft fans seem divided. If you are one, and you can find it at a library, I'd read it there first rather than shelling out for it - you might regret it. ...more
I took a break from the Song of Ice and Fire series to read this book. (Yes, really.) One librarian friend talked it up so enthusiastically that, evenI took a break from the Song of Ice and Fire series to read this book. (Yes, really.) One librarian friend talked it up so enthusiastically that, even though I'm completely enthralled with GRRM, and hardly ever read YA fic, I dropped what I was doing for two days to read this book. I loved these characters, and the emotional complexity of the story is pitch-perfect. I'll warn you: the big twisted shock of the story, the part where everyone says they cried, it comes sooner than you expect. It's insanely, lovingly detailed and well-researched. Wein does flub some stuff. But then she gives you an afterward and says, "ok, this is inaccurate, this is how, and here's why I did it." Oh, and in case you're not sold yet: another librarian I know marveled at the fact that this is a YA novel with two young ladies for main characters...and no romance. It blows the Bechdel test out of the water. (Yes, really!) So: if you like historical fic, war stories, real Strong Female Characters, or dystopian fiction, read this book. Even if you normally don't like YA. ...more
Read this book in a day. It probably helped that I was home sick, but still, it got me out of a pretty gnarly rut. It reminds me of The City of DreamiRead this book in a day. It probably helped that I was home sick, but still, it got me out of a pretty gnarly rut. It reminds me of The City of Dreaming Books, mostly in tone and mood. It's hip but still makes nerdy references; it's artsy but not to the point of opacity. And it successfully weaves new technology into the narrative (Technology is actually practically a character all its own in this book, but still - why doesn't more mainstream/literary fiction do this?!) It's a reassuring note for people who are scared that maybe Google, Kindles, and real books can't coexist. And for those of us who like some twists and turns, some mystery - but don't have it in us anymore to go on a Pynchonian goose-chase. In conclusion: Robin Sloan, please write more books. kthxbai....more
I'll just say it: I can't help feeling like the main reason this series got so popular is because it's extremely physically violent, but also totallyI'll just say it: I can't help feeling like the main reason this series got so popular is because it's extremely physically violent, but also totally sexually puritanical. Maybe that's too harsh. Overall I actually really liked these books. It's a series starring a young woman protagonist who gets scared but still acts courageously, who has conflicting loyalties and sometimes doubts even herself. It's got a diverse cast of characters, and (in the time of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl) it actually takes a (somewhat) honest look at economic inequality. And of course it's a suspenseful, dystopian story with no neat, happy endings, which I respect. For something that looks so fuffy on the outside, it's got a respectable amount of depth to it. ...more
Book two of the All Souls Trilogy takes us to Elizabethen England, where Diana and Matthew hope to accomplish three things: find Diana a teacher so shBook two of the All Souls Trilogy takes us to Elizabethen England, where Diana and Matthew hope to accomplish three things: find Diana a teacher so she can learn to control her increasingly unweildy (and dangerous) powers; find the spellbound manuscript Diana stumbled across in 2009 - hopefully in 1590 it's still in one piece; hide from the Congragation long enough to catch their breath. The problems? Once they get to 1590, Diana realizes that 1) witches are no safer here - in fact they're being actively persecuted (read: burned) in Scotland 2) the manuscript is in the hands of the not-quite-right-in-the-head Holy Roman Emperor, and 3) in Elizabethan England, Matthew is actually a member of the Congregation! And so some dangerous highjinks ensue. For a novel that's so highly plot-driven, I think there is a surprising amount of character development. Diana and Matthew continue with their two-steps-forward, one-step-back courtship, but by then end it seems they actually are getting somewhere (though Matthew does, of course, continue to be a drama queen.) There is the adoption of orphans, the appearance of a dragonlike creature, and (spoiler) it turns out that Christopher Marlowe is actually a daemon. But I'm pretty sure we all knew that on some level already, anyway. =)...more
Okay, so it starts off kind of cliched. The dusty romance of the Bodleian Library, a Very Dangerous vampire with a bossy streak and bad temper, and aOkay, so it starts off kind of cliched. The dusty romance of the Bodleian Library, a Very Dangerous vampire with a bossy streak and bad temper, and a witch who falls for him anyway. But! It turns into a fun, engaging story. The main plot centers on an ancient manuscript protected by a spell, lost for hundreds of years, found in the Bodleian. Diana recalls it, for her research, then sends it back, not knowing its history. Soon she realizes the importance of the manuscript to all creatures - vampires, witches, and daemons alike - and the struggle to find it once more, and break its spell, begins. But there's also way more going on: There's detective story surrounding the old manuscript. And of course there's romance between the ancient vampire Matthew and Diana, a stubborn young witch who is just beginning to realize the full extent of her powers. (I should add: Matthew bosses Diana around too much for my liking in the beginning, but by the end their relationship has developed into a more equal partnership.) There's a fair bit of family drama as well, when the couple visit first Matthew's and then Diana's family homes for extended stays (both families are very nontraditional on the outside, but very traditional in terms of values deep down). And Matthew is not only a vampire but a geneticist, leading a team of researchers looking for the ancestral roots of all creaters, and the sources of their powers. A Discovery of Witches is funny, romantic, suspenseful and surprising. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. ...more
**spoiler alert** Gone Girl is not really my kind of mystery. The two main characters are kind of pretentious and manipulative, and they each make con**spoiler alert** Gone Girl is not really my kind of mystery. The two main characters are kind of pretentious and manipulative, and they each make consistenty immature decisions about their relationship. The most disappointing thing by far was the heavily gendered stereotypes husband and wife both embodied. This is unfortunate for me, since I need to be really invested in the characters to enjoy a novel.
The other issue: I never try to guess whodunit in a novel like this. I like the suspense. I like to be surprised! But with Gone Girl, there were very few surprises. I never thought Nick murdered Amy, I knew she'd go back, and I knew she'd never be caught.
Fans of deeply twisted, psychological thrillers might enjoy this novel (featuring Amy's psychologist parents, Amy herself as a psychopath, and lots of guilt/revenge complexes). For me, though, there wasn't much to sink my teeth into. ...more
This is literally the scariest, most disturbing book I've ever read. It's also incredibly interesting, especially if you're curious about the human coThis is literally the scariest, most disturbing book I've ever read. It's also incredibly interesting, especially if you're curious about the human condition, and cultural problems that have (seemingly) no solution....more
Other people's reviews will give you an idea of what the book's plot is like. I'll tell you what it's like to read it: (I had a 2-hour-each-way commuteOther people's reviews will give you an idea of what the book's plot is like. I'll tell you what it's like to read it: (I had a 2-hour-each-way commute on the subway, and I found a mass market of GR in the used section of the bookstore I was working in. I was 22 and I'd never heard of it. The blurbs looked promising and it was small enough to fit in my bag.) If I read pages 100-130 on the way to work, I'd reread those same pages on the way home. I was constantly getting lost on Wikipedia, Google, fansites, etc for hours and hours. This lasted about a season. I was desperate for other people to talk to about it, but only one other person I knew had even heard of it. I don't think I'll ever be able to give so much mental energy to a book again (sad, maybe, coming from a librarian, but there you go), but it was worth it. GR makes you work your ass off, but it pays you back tenfold for everything you put into it. ...more