Wow. Definitely one of my favorite books I've read in a long time. An excellent counterpoint to the rule of thumb that if you see tons of people readi...moreWow. Definitely one of my favorite books I've read in a long time. An excellent counterpoint to the rule of thumb that if you see tons of people reading something on the subway, it's probably crap.
I loved every single one of the main characters-- I could see them in my head, and in some ways this read almost more like nonfiction than fiction, in the sense that I never once questioned the author's choices, never had any meta-questions about why the story was unfolding in a particular way. I was just swept up in the story, turning pages as fast as I could soak it all in, and then a lovely feeling of deep satisfaction when I reached the end. (less)
This book is funny for exactly as long as you can hear Barney Stinson's voice in your head reading along with you. For me, the limit was about ten pag...moreThis book is funny for exactly as long as you can hear Barney Stinson's voice in your head reading along with you. For me, the limit was about ten pages at a time. Once Neil Patrick Harris stops lending his humor and charm to the word, you realize how awful the content really is. I wouldn't be surprised if Tucker Max was the ghostwriter, except most of it is simultaneously more offensive and less creative than Max's usual misogynistic crap out there. So I'd put the book down in disgust... But then twelve hours later, Barney's voice would return and I'd chuckle at the next ten pages. Oh, that Barney! Tee hee.
But there is absolutely no excuse for the fact that Broccasion (Bro+Occasion, because it's The Bro Code and so it's clever) is twice spelled Brocassion. Ugh. Except apparently a Bro never spellchecks, so maybe the misspellings were just an unintentional illustration if The Code in action. In which case, still ugh.(less)
For the first time since my review of The Graduate, I'm going to try to write a review in the style of the book I'm reviewing.
Everybody is familiar wi...moreFor the first time since my review of The Graduate, I'm going to try to write a review in the style of the book I'm reviewing.
Everybody is familiar with Bones. The TV show character, not the books. TV Temperance is smart but socially awkward. More than smart, really. Genius. And then there's Booth. Sensitive but cocky. Irresistible. The chemistry between those two is undeniable.
But these are the books. Over time, the sentences have gotten shorter. Choppier. Fewer subjects and even fewer verbs. Lots of adjectives.
Then we'll get over-explanation of a scientific concept. Like a hospital worker waxing poetic about a CT scan of body parts.
While entering instructions, she'd explained how the data produced by the scanner would be manipulated through a process known as windowing to demonstrate various bodily structures based on their ability to block the X-ray beam. She said that although images generated were historically in the axial or transverse plane, orthogonal to the long axis of the body, modern scanners now allowed data to be reformatted in various planes or even as volumetric -- three-dimensional -- representations.
I followed that. I just didn't particularly enjoy it. Is the CT operator really going to lecture the forensic anthropologist about how the scanner works? Somehow I doubt it.
We're fifteen books into the series now. After that many books, the basic repetition of plots is hard to avoid. So we get a murder. Or two. Or several. Tempe notices something unusual about the bones, giving the cops a clue to work from. Then purposely or accidentally, she ends up in the field meeting suspects. Sooner or later, there will be a tickle in her brain. Something she knows but can't put her finger on. Shaking her head, she'll go about her business. And then her jaw will drop in disbelief.
Before Tempe can tell anyone where she is, or what big part of the case she's just figured out, someone will hit her on the head.
Cue the pages of even shorter sentences. In the first person. Like this: I wake up. It's dark. My head hurts. Where am I? What happened? Did I drink too much and pass out? My arm is asleep. Or maybe it's been cut off? I shift position. Nope, there it is. Pins and needles. Nothing compared to the pain in my head. Nausea. I close my eyes. Wait for my stomach to settle. Then I remember. Someone hit me over the head! I have to get out of here. Wherever here is. I slowly turn over. Nothing above me but rock. It's cold. Still dark. And quiet. I open my mouth to scream and realize it's taped shut. Then I hear a noise. I freeze. Is it a mouse? Or is someone there? Help!
Surprise, surprise, Tempe gets rescued. The bad guys get caught. Justice is served. But nothing can bring back the murder victims. Because diamondsbones are forever.
Another example of what Kathy Reichs does best -- a mystery wrapped in forensic anthropology, narrated in annoyingly incomplete sentences, but nonethe...moreAnother example of what Kathy Reichs does best -- a mystery wrapped in forensic anthropology, narrated in annoyingly incomplete sentences, but nonetheless thoroughly engrossing. This was set against a NASCAR backdrop, which is really not my thing, and I didn't find the Big Reveal quite satisfying, but at the same time I could hardly put it down.(less)
Four stars because I really thought this was one of the strongest books Reichs has written, plot-wise. The mystery is very elaborate, causing a reader...moreFour stars because I really thought this was one of the strongest books Reichs has written, plot-wise. The mystery is very elaborate, causing a reader to wonder at several points if there could possibly be a reasonable explanation that resolves all the seemingly incompatible pieces. It's fairly ingenious and very complex, so I can see where some readers failed to pay enough attention (as evidenced by reviews where readers didn't "get" the resolution or got lost along the way). Almost, but not quite, an Agatha-Christie-worthy storyline.
By the way, when you read the first chapter, if you find it off-putting, rest assured that the rest of the book is NOT heading where you think it's going to!
All that said, maybe because I haven't read Reichs in awhile, I found her writing style more irritating than I'd remember. Tempe (far from being the brainiac with a penchant for overly formal language that Bones is in the TV version) thinks in a conversational style of incomplete sentences and sometimes disjointed, choppy phrases. Maybe to some this is charming or even realistic, but I found it very grating in certain spots.
Example from early in the book: "Back in the city, traffic moved like mud through a straw. The Jeep lurched and jerked as Ryan shifted between gas and brake. Kind, yes. Witty, affirmative. Generous, absolutely. Patient, no way. Travel with Ryan was often a trial. I checked my watch. Five ten. Normally Ryan would have queried my dining plans by now. Suggested a restaurant. Tonight he didn't."
I didn't like this as much as the first one. I am a little intrigued by the suggestion that (view spoiler)[Cody and Astor are going to be little mini-...moreI didn't like this as much as the first one. I am a little intrigued by the suggestion that (view spoiler)[Cody and Astor are going to be little mini-Dexters with homicidal tendencies (hide spoiler)], so I'll be looking forward to seeing how that develops in later books. Otherwise, I don't have much to say about this one-- it was creepy but not terribly compelling. (less)
I am sure I can write a review in the style of this book. I read most of it on a subway and then on a bus. I stopped and stared at the words on the pa...moreI am sure I can write a review in the style of this book. I read most of it on a subway and then on a bus. I stopped and stared at the words on the pages sometimes. Then I would talk to myself.
"Self, are you enjoying this book?"
"Why? Are you trying to seduce me?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about. I just want you to unzip my dress because I can't reach the zipper. But really, are you enjoying this book?"
"Not really. I mean it's interesting in the way that truly awful things are always interesting. But it must be better than I think because it's so famous. But no, I guess I'm not really enjoying it."
"What are you going to do about that?"
"What do you mean nothing?"
"I mean nothing. I'm just going to sit here and keep reading."
"How can you do nothing? Why would you read a book you're not enjoying? What's wrong with you?"
"I just can, that's all."
"Well I don't see how you can. You need to do something. You should have a plan. A definite plan. I'm going to worry about you until you have a definite plan."
"If I come up with a definite plan to do something other than nothing, will you marry me?"
"Well I used to think you raped my mother and five minutes ago I never wanted to see you again. So I guess my answer is maybe."
"Great, let's go get our blood tests in the morning."
"Maybe. But I might have decided to marry someone else by then."
I almost gave it two stars because it was interesting in a very awkward way. But then I realized how much the above dialogue summed up the book for me. I had to take away the second star. (less)
Really great -- still wavering on giving this a fifth star. The "bad guy" is a chilling character but not at all overdone or unbelievable; a couple of...moreReally great -- still wavering on giving this a fifth star. The "bad guy" is a chilling character but not at all overdone or unbelievable; a couple of good twists kept me guessing until the second to last page, and the portrayal of the ethical struggles of a defense lawyer seemed to me extremely well done. (less)