This was a wonderful little novel; I couldn't put it down. It definitely has the Gaiman feel: mysterious and off beat, with the power to make you beliThis was a wonderful little novel; I couldn't put it down. It definitely has the Gaiman feel: mysterious and off beat, with the power to make you believe every word. It's an excellent exploration of childhood and memory....more
I liked Snow Crash, it was a fun ride, but the entire experience was very disorienting. I could never seem to get my footing. Stephenson leaps from BiI liked Snow Crash, it was a fun ride, but the entire experience was very disorienting. I could never seem to get my footing. Stephenson leaps from Big Scene to Big Scene, and we don't seem to get the little developments going on in between. And while we don't need every little development, I'd have liked to see these characters develop rather than just have them suddenly different.
I think the climax just needed more build up. Hiro may have just been able to grasp the concepts of the virus and leap from connection to connection with no background or study, but for me as a reader, it was disorienting. And I couldn't get the time line down. Was it just a couple of days from the almost failed pizza delivery to the end? Or was it several weeks?
Complaints out of the way, Stephenson has (or had)a brilliant vision of the future. Keeping in mind that this was written in 1992, he had an amazingly accurate vision of the internet. I love his characters, and I love his worlds. I just wish he had walked us through this one a little better....more
Well, I had trouble turning off my English Major. I kept trying to analyze Conan Doyle's views on colonialism and his very English sensibilities. ThatWell, I had trouble turning off my English Major. I kept trying to analyze Conan Doyle's views on colonialism and his very English sensibilities. That said, based on this adventure, I think Sir Arthur and old Joseph Conrad would get along quite well, as they both seem to have a fear of white men "going native" and being corrupted by the Indians/Africans (depending on who you're reading).
Anyway, once I got over that, it was quite good! I certainly liked this one better than A Study in Scarlet; I was glad to learn the story behind the crime from the criminal, rather than from a confusing bit of narrative cheating.I do really like Sherlock, I think he's an interesting character, though he is an ass, but I suppose that what makes him fun. Sherlock comes more into his own in this story; he is less the mysterious roommate and more of a rounded character: with sharp mood swings and interesting habits.
Watson also plays slightly more of a role, although it's an awkward and sort of forced role in the romance portion. While I realize that Watson is there to narrate and to allow the reader to connect with the strange and sometimes difficult Holmes (and to keep the mystery a secret until the end), I do wish we would see more than just the hints we see here of Holmes's and Watson's relationship. I think it is quite interesting.
We have a new cast of colorful characters that were very fun. I really enjoyed the bizarre and exotic Sholto, and of course we have the role of the incompetent inspector, this time played by Athelney Jones.
So, in short, if you like Sherlock and his all-knowing-I-won't-share-anything-with-the-reader-til-the-end attitude, and you like thinking about fairly racist late 19th century English views of colonialism and you like sudden love stories and colorful characters, you should read The Sign of Four, it is quite enjoyable....more
I think the structure of these stories is going to take some getting used to. I like crime stories that have all the clues and suspects there for theI think the structure of these stories is going to take some getting used to. I like crime stories that have all the clues and suspects there for the reader to try to solve the case too, and this simply isn't the way a Holmes story works. Holmes is the only one with all the knowledge, and he will probably share it eventually, and as the reader, you have to wait for him to do all the work.
I was also incredibly confused by the second section. I don't know if it's common for Doyle to suddenly start a completely different story in the middle of the crime story. I eventually realized he was giving us the story that led to the murders in the book, but it was a bit off putting (view spoiler)[to go from the capture of a criminal in London to a man dying in the American desert. (hide spoiler)] As a reader I felt a bit jetlagged.
That said, I am intrigued by the character of Sherlock. He's fun and interesting, and I think that's enough to get me to read more. I think once I get over my desire to solve the crime with Sherlock, I'll quite like these books!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I feel bad giving this book a low rating, but I just wasn't feeling it. I liked the premise, and parts made me laugh, but this books was just a choreI feel bad giving this book a low rating, but I just wasn't feeling it. I liked the premise, and parts made me laugh, but this books was just a chore to get through, and I have no idea why. It felt like it dragged on, and at the same time it went too fast and glanced over parts I wanted more of. So yeah, it was a fun read, but it was just ok in the end....more
I feel like this is blasphemy, but I liked the movie better. And I think I would have liked the book better had I read it first. Don't get me wrong, II feel like this is blasphemy, but I liked the movie better. And I think I would have liked the book better had I read it first. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book. I think it's fun, and the world of Faerie is as mysterious as it is carefully crafted. I thought that Tristran's adventures were entertaining, and I couldn't put the book down, but don't go into this expecting the movie, because you'll be disappointed....more
I really want to like Charles Dickens. I'm an English major; I feel like I HAVE to like Charles Dickens. And there's a lot about him that I do like. HI really want to like Charles Dickens. I'm an English major; I feel like I HAVE to like Charles Dickens. And there's a lot about him that I do like. He writes really funny characters, and he skillfully brings all his characters together. I was amazed that, with the sheer number of characters, Dickens develops almost all of them and weaves them together into complicated relationships. So it's not that I don't recognize what he's doing, and it's not that I don't recognize his brilliance. I just don't like him.
First, there's Esther. She's his pipe-dream kind of lady: Angel in the house, the perfect Victorian woman. And I realize that I'm unfairly allowing my 21st century feminist views to perhaps cloud my opinion, but really? REALLY? I wanted to strangle her through most of the book. Even ignoring the fact that she does nothing for herself and is perhaps a worse role model and Bella Swann (yes, I just compared Charles Dickens to Stephanie Meyer, I'll go iron my hands later), all her wishy-washy talk about herself gets old fast. And it seems pointless. She praises herself and talks about herself, yet keeps saying she doesn't want to praise herself and that it's not her that's good, it's just everyone else. I wanted something to eat her. Really, I did.
But at least Esther's narration was interesting. With Esther's voice, I did at least get into the story (when I wasn't fighting the urge to set Esther on fire). The other narrator, however, was painful. I understand that the weather was a theme and that Dickens was making a point by going on and on, but he really needed a proper editor. You can make your point without going on for 5 pages about the fog. We get it. It's foggy.
All in all, though, I didn't hate it. And I don't hate Dickens. I want to like him, like I said, and I respect his skill. Bleak House was a good story with colorful and funny characters. You just have to get past all the pages where nothing happens and ignore the fact that Esther is quite possibly the most annoying and insulting female character ever....more
A fascinating look at Stephen Fry's youth. Self deprecating (at times to the point of self loathing), apologetic, and yet still endearing. Fry exploreA fascinating look at Stephen Fry's youth. Self deprecating (at times to the point of self loathing), apologetic, and yet still endearing. Fry explores the first 20 years of his life with wit and insight. ...more