Honestly, this just didn't live up to the hype. Pretty good, but not particularly interesting from a plot standpoint. Nor did I find it the misogynistHonestly, this just didn't live up to the hype. Pretty good, but not particularly interesting from a plot standpoint. Nor did I find it the misogynist hate-fest some seem to think of it as being. And mildly irritating in that this edition was apparently "recolored" differently from the original.
Source: BPL, read in browser via Overdrive....more
This book was like weird cross of Richard Stark and some YA author or other, Sarah Dessen or jenny han or somebody similar. A caper novel of the grittThis book was like weird cross of Richard Stark and some YA author or other, Sarah Dessen or jenny han or somebody similar. A caper novel of the grittiest sort, lots of violence,etc. Just don't look too closely at some of the details, viz (view spoiler)[a seventeen year old lock of hair as "evidence" that Violet was Emily? C'mon. Even I know enough to know that chain of custody doesn't work that way, and that they'd have been damn certain to check her DNA again. Like with a hair plucked from her head directly. (hide spoiler)] Still and all, a hell of a ride....more
It is when looking at books like this that I'm glad I have no one of any consequence following me. Everyone on the planet loves this. Except me. Didn'It is when looking at books like this that I'm glad I have no one of any consequence following me. Everyone on the planet loves this. Except me. Didn't hate it, but, well, was kind of rolling my eyes at all the silly deux ex machina, the win every fight when it is knives against guns (yeah, right) and the awesome way V could set himself up in a giant building in the middle of London and ... nobody knows he's there! True Fact: V's hidey-hole is less believable than the Batcave.
Reading this on my tablet was also a bit of a chore, I'm afraid. Do wish you could rotate some of the pages to get a larger view of some of the panels....more
3.5 Stars, since all the cool kids are doing half stars these days. (Not that I'm one of the cool kids. Far from it.)
Worked about as well as most of w3.5 Stars, since all the cool kids are doing half stars these days. (Not that I'm one of the cool kids. Far from it.)
Worked about as well as most of what I've come to think of as "airport-gift shop-thrillers," and quite a bit better than some. If I have a complaint it is that the author seemed to lose their way about two thirds through, and things became a mite incoherent. And possibly a few thousand words too long for a book of this sort. Hence why the GR star thingy got rounded down and not up, I guess. Or maybe that's just due to the fact that the coffee in my mug is cold as I write this. Eh.
Anyhoo, you've got the evil overarching conspiracy, the ingenue-ish female, the more experienced older man, the random plunking down of characters in what I think we can still call "exotic locations" without being excoriated for being evil racists or whatever the appropriate smear du jour is, action scenes that are a bit on the overdone side ((view spoiler)[hero outruns guard dogs, survives car crash that probably should have killed him, there's LOTS of hand-waviness of this sort, etc. (hide spoiler)])
Would definitely recommend to anyone in KU who likes this sort of book. And I do, if I'm in the right mood. Despite being an obviously indy work, to my mind this reads as well as the sort of thing people pay a great deal more for. Will you remember much about it six months after finishing? Nah. But will it by and large work within the confines of its genre? Yep.
Misc. Note: The copy I read contained the ISBN 9780692639108. Curiously, this is not searchable/contained in the book's record here on Goodreads....more
Absolutely loved the first 500 pages. Think Ready Player One, except written with adults in mind. Absolutely ... liked, as in really liked the next 40Absolutely loved the first 500 pages. Think Ready Player One, except written with adults in mind. Absolutely ... liked, as in really liked the next 400 pages. Struggled over the last 150, though I guess with about 3oo to go my interest level started dropping. I'm afraid I was so fed up that by the end what I'd thought was a going to be a five star book wound up being a three star one, since I rate fiction primarily by how much I enjoy it. And, yeah, by page 900 I was not enjoying this one. Given what I know about Stephenson's style over the last twenty years perhaps I should have expected all of this, but I'm honestly kind of disappointed. Stephenson is a superlative researcher (as far as I can judge, at any rate) a fantastic nuts and bolts writer, a fantastic big idea guy and above average with characters, action, dialog and everything else that typically makes for a humdinger of a novel.
And yet, it is fitting that this one started and ended with a Thanksgiving meal. Because, damn, this turkey got overstuffed, to the bursting point. Even if it wasn't exactly a "turkey" in a metaphorical sense. Because this is freakin' Neal Stephenson. And he don't write no turkeys. He just overstuffs his novels 'em and leaves his readers waddling away the end of the meal, looking around desperately for the Pepto.
Look it, I've always thought Hemingway's admonition to be prepared to "murder your darlings" was too harsh. Sometimes I like finding out about building codes in China, whatever it is that Quemoy and Matsu are up to these days (though he didn't stoop to that level of gaucherie with names, but that's how anybody born before 1970 thinks of 'em), how pot smugglers got across borders in the early 1980s, what a tricked out AR-15 vs a stock one looks like, how to make your MMORG profitable, and on and on and on. But what ol' Neal does is not just not murder his little darlings, he has them mainline Viagra and then sends them off to the orgy condomless. Each little snowflake is a bona fide cutie when Stephenson is crafting them, but en masse in book form it takes on the sort of grim trudge a stroll in New Hampshire does about the last week in February.
Which STILL wouldn't make me knock off more than one star. Stpehenson is just too damn good at what he does. What caused a second star to disappear is what I guess I'll refer to as a case of incipient Jim Butcher-ism. Namely, fight scenes that go on and on for more pages than I can count. (And I say this as someone who's favorite book of 2015 was probably The Aeronaut's Windlass. Like Stephenson, Butcher does enough other stuff well that I grouse and complain, but always come back.) That last fight "scene" was damn near novel length by itself, or so it felt when I was reading it. (view spoiler)[Contrasted with the Xiamen fight scene, which was damn near perfect. Or such was my perception, I'm not gonna back into the Serbonian bog that is this book and count pages, sorry. (hide spoiler)]
Eh. I could continue to ramble on, shizophrenically criticizing and praising ol' Neal. But I'm done. What I would get into is the Russian novel number of characters that (mostly) did work, as Stephenson always seems to be able to manage, a few plot threads left hanging, the mildly irritating HEAness of the ending, etc. But other books call. :)...more
I received a copy of this book at no cost in return for an an honest review.
Summary: Decent but not quite ready for prime time, sadly.
NoteThis reviewI received a copy of this book at no cost in return for an an honest review.
Summary: Decent but not quite ready for prime time, sadly.
NoteThis review may contain spoilers, none of which I'm going to hide. Because I'm just a meanie beanie.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I read a work of genre fiction with no chapters breaks, something close to a stream of consciousness narration and such a collection of unlikable characters. In an odd way -- a very odd way -- think David Markson's Vanishing Point meets Charlie Huston's Sleepless, except that this wasn't as good as either. Nothing earth shattering about that, since both of those are pretty damn good.
What worked -- and worked extremely well -- was how the creatures from her alternate universe seemed fairly well grounded in their alternate biology, in a way even Lovecraft never bothered about. The infection vector (if that is the correct term) was also intriguing.
What did not work particularly well was the aforementioned narrative gimmick of no chapters, the shoving of the eponymous main character into the action in media res, and, hell, the three main characters themselves. They just never grabbed me, sorry. Eden followed Ron around because she'd always followed her around. Ron flopped from shit relationships to shit relationship because she'd always done that. Tedrin was transitioning into something out of Lovecraft or at any rate Deviant Art because, well, he was. Meh.
It was better than okay, but nothing I'd feel comfortable recommending on a wide basis. Yet I do think we will be hearing more from Ms. van Dahl in the future, and that this is more likely than not going to be a good thing. My sense is that author has yet to truly find her rhythm. ...more
And so it begins. Set in NY City in living memory, it might as well be set in Colonial times for all the relevance it has to the NY City of today. OrAnd so it begins. Set in NY City in living memory, it might as well be set in Colonial times for all the relevance it has to the NY City of today. Or so I sense.
Matt Scudder. What drives you, what motivates you? Hell, what do you even look like? Thanks to A Walk Among the Tombstones I'm going to have a difficult time of ever thinking of you as looking like anything but Liam Neeson. But is that fair? All we know is that you're big, white and like to drink. And that your existence is primarily constrained to a few blocks in Manhattan a decade or two before gentrification became a thing.
I don't think I can add much more than the above review, though I'm afraid I found the introduction by Stephen King to be as irritating -- almost condescending -- as it was anything else.
We meet Lieutenant Koehler for the first time in this book. I believe he is a minor character in most of the early novels, though as time goes on he is phased out and replaced by Joe Durkin as Scudder's main contact at the NYPD.
We meet ElizabethMarvell (sp?) in this book as well, much to my shock and surprise, though we never learn her last name in this book.
And as to the plot? Curiously, the weakest part of this book. Scudder always seems to get some sort of behind the scenes/off-camera as it were revelation that leads him to solve the mystery, cash the check, make his tithe and set him back on the barstool nursing his bourbon and coffee. (Though at one point he has a ... Stinger or two or three, which was candidly a new one on me. Sounds absolutely ghastly, but this was 1976 after all....more
Please note: I received a copy of this e-book in return for an unbiased review. I have no personal or financial relationship of any kind with this autPlease note: I received a copy of this e-book in return for an unbiased review. I have no personal or financial relationship of any kind with this author or his publisher.
A fairly typical and predicable bit of airport gift shop thriller. Nothing all that interesting or exciting but nothing particularly bad, either. One rather original bit, which, nope, nope, nope, not gonna say outside of spoiler tags. But it was a good one.
IOW, this is my bread and butter. Unfortunately the prose was so klunky at certain points, the narrative so meandering, I finally got irritated and shaved off a star. Sorry, but it had to be done. Still not a bad read, and I guess if the price were ever right again, as in $0.00, would read another by Mr. Wade. Would anticipate another three starrer there, too.
Blah, blah, blah, ancient and secret families of un-vampires taking over the world of gambling. Why are they un-vampires? (view spoiler)[Because when they come into contact with human blood they get sick and go insane. Most interesting idea in this book, and, all things considered, a pretty damn original one. (hide spoiler)] Lots and lots and lots of pointless noodling, backstory that goes nowhere, and an extraordinarily over-long ending fight scene.
Fight scenes, chase scenes, repetitive murder/slaughter scenes, ingenue "hero." Un-vampires. From Bavaria. In Las Vegas. Now go make up your own story. Bet it would play out pretty close to this one. All I'm gonna say about the plot. All that needs to be said. If it sounds like the sort of thing that would get your motor running -- as I assure you, dear reader, it does mine -- it'll do. You'll finish it and say to yourself, "Well, that was kinda cool. Next." You'll take a sip of soda, your favorite adult beverage, etc., and move on to the next item in your TBR pile.
This book 20% lighter would have been 50% better. Strongly recommend the author goes and reads Westlake writing as Richard Stark doing Parker to see how this shit should go down. This kind of thing should not be Game of Thrones, Vegas Style, it should be The Outfit with vampires, excuse me, un-vampires, updated for the 21st century.
Some of the more giggle inducing text:
loc 103 Most large Vegas properties tried to include ever amenity necessary to separate a visitor from their money, and like man of those hotels, this did too.
loc 108 Each stride of his legs was full muscular and animal like, resembling an African cat pursuing its prey.
Not too bad in and of itself, but every other god-damned sentence was like this, half-suffocating the reader in a cocoon of tedium. I think I made a about 20 notes before I gave up, marking each one "blah, blah, blah." Lots of tell, tell, tell, very little show, show, show.
But, hey. It was what it was. And I did indeed like it. ...more
I'm afraid the bloom is coming off the rose for me wrt this series. The humor is starting to seem forced, the plot increasingly ridiculous. Not bad byI'm afraid the bloom is coming off the rose for me wrt this series. The humor is starting to seem forced, the plot increasingly ridiculous. Not bad by any stretch, but nothing life-changing....more
I'm mystified why this has been reviewed so well. It was okay, but barely. I must admit I liked the first half, but the book devolved into an incohereI'm mystified why this has been reviewed so well. It was okay, but barely. I must admit I liked the first half, but the book devolved into an incoherent but predictable mess with about a quarter to go. Incoherent AND predictable. Sigh.
This sort of thing has been done far, far better in works like Soon I Will Be Invincible or (especially) Chelsea Campbell's Renegade X series, though I admit I've not yet read the third installment.
Might be worth a peek if you've got KindleUnlimited, as I do, but beyond that? Not really seeing it....more
Quite an entertaining read. Michael Grant is one hell of an author, and for this one it appears he buckled down and did quite a bit of research, unlikQuite an entertaining read. Michael Grant is one hell of an author, and for this one it appears he buckled down and did quite a bit of research, unlike the woo-presto-magicko that -- to my mind -- made the Gone books a bit less enjoyable than they otherwise might have been. (I know I'm a minority of on one on that bit...but let the record show I DID enjoy 'em, just that the backstory was a bit forced IMO.)
Lots of characters -- as in approaching Russian novel levels -- lots of action, good guys that aren't entirely good, bad guys not entirely bad, and science that may or may not make sense but sure as hell sounded good to my ignorant mind. Tom Clancy meets Robin Cook meets meets John Twelve Hawks ... with a possibility of a Greg Bear in there at some point.
About the only complaint I can level at this book is that the sexual/relationship stuff seemed dropped in rather randomly, almost as though when Grant submitted this book his agent or editor or somebody ordered him to thow in MOAR 'SHIPPING, and didn't particularly care how or where it was done. But that's a minor complaint. On balance a perfect summer read....more
**spoiler alert** Quite an entertainment, an original plot, but also a book that dragged in quite a few places and also suffered some continuity issue**spoiler alert** Quite an entertainment, an original plot, but also a book that dragged in quite a few places and also suffered some continuity issues and unexplained passages. As in, how did the "silents" know to congregate on beach in New York?How did they magically escape when the police broke down the doors in North Carolina, why did that gal stay chained to the doors of the rehab place for months, possibly years, and not starve to death? Hell, how did she poop? Still, though, I read this sucker in something very close to one sitting, because, damnit, I had to find out WHAT CAME NEXT. And I'd love to try me some wallaby meat sometime. Sounds yummy.
Would have been a damn fine bit o' pulp were it not unbelievably silly at points, while also veering into some excruciatingly tedious message fic towaWould have been a damn fine bit o' pulp were it not unbelievably silly at points, while also veering into some excruciatingly tedious message fic toward the end. See the Ayn Rand level of banality of the characters, and the preachiness of the court-room scenes.
I do plan to read more by Vachass at some point, though. What he does well, he does very well indeed. Richard Stark level of awesomeness. Whether that will be enough to overcome the other twaddle, I am not sure....more