This book is a hot mess. I say this as someone who has been reading the series since the early 90s, has re-read the first three books an embarrassingThis book is a hot mess. I say this as someone who has been reading the series since the early 90s, has re-read the first three books an embarrassing number of times, and loves most of these books with a fiery passion. It is time to wrap the series up and move on.
(view spoiler)[ First- William chapters. OMG, stahhhhhhhp with the William chapters. Please. He is more boring than dry toast. A chapter about watching paint dry would be marginally more interesting. His character doesn't develop at all. His weird protection feels for Jane are boring and unnecessary, and his man pain about his parentage is just an endless loop of yawns.
Second- Claire is becoming less of a character and more of just a pair of eyeballs through which Diana can describe in minute detail plants, settings, more and more and more medical situations (that are getting pretty gross, I mean, come one, I am not that squeamish but I'm also not reading these as a manual for how to perform old timey doctorin').
Third- Where are Bree and Roger?! They are hardly in this book. I spent several previous books not caring about their boring lives and finally started caring in Echo (because they were the only interesting thing going on in Echo), and they are hardly in this book. When their plot is the only interesting thing in this entire book!
Fourth- So many interesting things happen off-camera or are mentioned as an aside and dropped. Everyone else gets a POV chapter, even the boring new Hunters, but Fergus never gets a POV? I want to see him teaching Germain his pick pocket techniques! Claire is distributing seditious materials at night? We never actually see it happen! Jenny seeing new places and things for the first time? I'm sure it was cute but we have to move along now to chapters and chapters about troop movements.
Finally- the endless, pointless, descriptions of battles and medical problems. The pages of poems and prayers and songs. Ugh. My husband reads a lot of Manly Man historical fiction about dudes fightin' wars, and as I described this book to him he said not even his books specifically catering to an audience that wants to read about battles actually describe the minutiae of troop movements and battle prep, because that's boring and no one wants to read it.
I am not usually a page skipper or even skimmer, but there was a lot of this book that I just skimmed lightly just to move along. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm ready for this series to end. In her stubborn refusal to ever be considered a *gasp* romance writer Diana has veered so far into Serious Business territory that she has lost her ability to write emotionally resonant plot. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** So here's the thing- this book has SO MUCH stuff that I love in books. History, mystery, romance, vampires, time travel, and my alma**spoiler alert** So here's the thing- this book has SO MUCH stuff that I love in books. History, mystery, romance, vampires, time travel, and my alma mater (albeit in a very oblique way). It's well-constructed prose, which these days actually counts for a star in itself as far as I'm concerned. My biggest gripe is that I wanted to like the characters but just couldn't muster an ounce of care about their personalities, and hence, their trials and tribulations. The plot was definitely interesting, I just wished that I was reading about other people, people I actually cared about. I think the book suffers from a lot of telling and not enough showing. We hear Diana and Matthew talk (endlessly) about their love, but I never -feel- the emotion there. I am totally willing to buy a love that happens ridiculously quickly (hello, Twilight), but I need something there to make me feel like I'm in the story. I have hope that as Deborah Harkness writes more she'll develop that skill. She has all the pieces to make a great writer, just needs a little bit more of the je ne sais quoi to take it over the top....more
I had high hopes for this, but the pacing was really off- I never felt the sense of urgency that was necessary for this to work well. The characters wI had high hopes for this, but the pacing was really off- I never felt the sense of urgency that was necessary for this to work well. The characters weren't exactly cardboard, but I couldn't muster up enough interest in them to really connect. I'll probably check out the second book in the trilogy from the library at some point to see if it catches fire, but I won't be holding out much hope for that....more
**spoiler alert** Ok, first let me acknowledge that I really loved the Russell/Holmes romantic plot interaction in A Monstrous Regiment of Women, and**spoiler alert** Ok, first let me acknowledge that I really loved the Russell/Holmes romantic plot interaction in A Monstrous Regiment of Women, and I keep hoping there will be more relationship in the subsequent books. Not that I'm asking for lots of lovey-dovey stuff or explicitness, but I really loved their couple dynamic in book 2 and would love more of it along with the mysteries. It is there in the rest, but it's really, really muted. This particular book was a bit hard for me to trudge through, though I think it's necessary to the overall arc of the series to finally get some closure on Mary's past. It was hard to feel the tug of interest in Mary's portion of the story because she was cold and removed from her emotions. Great writing to really nail that state of mind, but hard for me to connect with it. So I'm glad to be able to lay to rest some of the worst of Mary's childhood trauma, and I'm looking forward to what the next books bring. ...more