My favorite of the series so far. Giant magical chess match (okay, war posturing) in Faerie. My least favorite characters made nary an appearance, and...moreMy favorite of the series so far. Giant magical chess match (okay, war posturing) in Faerie. My least favorite characters made nary an appearance, and my favorite (Toot toot!) kindof saves the day. Good times.(less)
This was a surprisingly fast and easy read. I'm not sure it's terribly profound, but I enjoyed the slightly bizarre characters and creative set up. I...moreThis was a surprisingly fast and easy read. I'm not sure it's terribly profound, but I enjoyed the slightly bizarre characters and creative set up. I agree with some others that it's probably not a very accurate representation of mental illness, but if you're okay with taking this just for what it is, it's a very good read.
Note, however, that there are definite spoilers of some famous literature -- so if you intend to read The Great Gatsby or The Bell Jar and haven't yet, be warned.(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.
A sweet quick read, andif already sewn the movie, so no surprises. It's inventive and a little spooky but very charming, and I love Coraline's plucky...moreA sweet quick read, andif already sewn the movie, so no surprises. It's inventive and a little spooky but very charming, and I love Coraline's plucky exploration.(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)
I had a vague memory of seeing this movie a long time ago, but I didn't remember any of the specifics. But the cover caught my eye in a bookstore, and...moreI had a vague memory of seeing this movie a long time ago, but I didn't remember any of the specifics. But the cover caught my eye in a bookstore, and the jacket text convinced me to pick it up. Most of you probably know the basic premise: feuding magicians! What could be more fun?
This isn't light, breezy reading, though. It reminds me of one of the science-fiction classics, maybe Frankenstein or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Much of the book is written as magicians' journals dating from the late 1800s to early 1900s, and I thought the old-fashioned language was handled perfectly, strongly evoking the era without being at all impenetrable.
For Nikola Tesla fans, he's quite involved in the storyline. I don't know how much is factual (did he really have a laboratory/lair in the mountains above Colorado Springs?) but it was entertaining, and gave the science-fiction elements a certain air of plausibility. (less)
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)
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)
It was pretty hard for me to separate what I thought of this book from what I thought of the first season of the TV show. Obviously when you see a sho...moreIt was pretty hard for me to separate what I thought of this book from what I thought of the first season of the TV show. Obviously when you see a show before you read the book, you come into the book with very well-developed pictures of the characters, so it's hard to say what I would have thought of the characters in a TV-less vacuum.
There are a few key differences, however:
1.) Deb (Dexter's sister) is described as "looking like a centerfold", and there are a couple of references to her "lush" curves. If you've seen the TV show, you know why this almost made me laugh out loud.
2.) LaGuerta in the book is a bumbling idiot who has no business holding the job she does. While in the TV show you might believe she's not the most qualified person, I don't think she gives an impression of complete incompetence. In the book, no such luck. Also, Book LaGuerta FLIRTS with Dexter! Cannot really imagine that happening to TV Dexter (unless you tell me that it did, and that I'm blind -- it has been awhile since I watched the first season).
3.) I actually think the Ice Truck Killer's character is much more well-developed in the TV show than in the book. Seems counterintuitive, but there it is.
4.) Angel Batista is referred to as Angel-no-relation in the book, because apparently that's how he usually introduces himself. I feel like this is a joke I should get, but don't. Is he saying he's no relation to... angels? He gets almost zero character development in the first book, so if he's the kind of guy who makes weird jokes like that, I didn't know enough about him to realize it.
Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the book. The author has quite a few flights of alliterative fancy (I'm sure you'd never have guessed that from the title) that I found infrequent enough to be interesting rather than annoying. I found Dexter to be a convincing narrator of his own inner thoughts, which because they're so twisted and unusual, aren't the kind of inner monologue that should be covered with action and inter-character dialogue. It works. I like Book Dexter despite myself, the same way I do TV Dexter. (less)
Nothing surprising here, except I love it when a character in an otherwise fluffy book has serious literary pretensions. Especially poetic ones. Becau...moreNothing surprising here, except I love it when a character in an otherwise fluffy book has serious literary pretensions. Especially poetic ones. Because then every now and again I get surprised by a great big genuine belly laugh:
Sluts [By Daniel, a dolorous high school poet. This poem magically gets accepted for publication in the New Yorker. The New Yorker! Because, yeah, that could totally happen. Totally. I mean, it's Just So Profound.]
wipe the sleep from my eyes and pour me another cup
i see what you've been trying to tell me all along
shaving your head and handling me (so delicately)
with satin and lace:
you're a whore
----------------------------------------------------- My version would go a little something like this:
pour me another glass of champagne
while i wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes.
i see what you've been trying to show me all along:
your genius lies in your unabashed absurdity (such absurdity!).
i should just sit back and accept that you
are the literary equivalent of a small-town stripper:
I knew the rough plot already from having seen the movie years ago, but the book still managed to blow me away. The language was gorgeous and sumptuou...moreI knew the rough plot already from having seen the movie years ago, but the book still managed to blow me away. The language was gorgeous and sumptuous, which made an amazing contrast to the somber subject of the novel. I will pick up another book by Eugenides soon, to see how he weaves words around a different subject. Anyone have a particular recommendation?
It's been a long time since I was so impressed with both the command of language (such descriptions!) and the mastery of plot and pacing. (less)
I've been so burned by "literary" books lately that I'm reading some real pablum, because hey, at least it lives up (or down?) to expectations.
Gossip...moreI've been so burned by "literary" books lately that I'm reading some real pablum, because hey, at least it lives up (or down?) to expectations.
Gossip Girl is eerily reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars. I honestly don't know which came first, and I don't care enough to look it up. The point is, if you like PLL, you'll like GG, and if you hate PLL, I can't imagine you liking GG. They're two privileged, gossipy high-school peas in a pod.
It may be due mostly to primacy bias (by which I mean, because I read it first), but I give PLL the slight edge. As you may recall from my reviews, the PLL books each ended on a fairly dramatic cliffhanger that sent me scrambling for the next book in the series. Also, there was only one character referred to by an initial, the mysterious and threatening "A". In GG, annoyingly, the little gossip columns scattered throughout refer to everyone within initials: "D and J might hook up! But B might have something to say about that, unless N gets there first! I and K are totally getting fat, and I think J has a crush on S!" You get the picture -- and it's a pretty annoying picture. Fortunately I think the gossip columns are pretty easily skimmed and otherwise ignored -- I don't much care about the identity of GG. As a mysterious figure she just can't hold a candle to A.
One thing that really bothers me: the gigantic closeup of some part of Serena's body that is everywhere as "art", but no one seems to know what it is. Her eye? Her belly button? Her pursed lips? I am really deeply afraid that it's something unmentionable, because why else all the secrecy? Ick!
For commitment-phobes, though, this is a very quick and easy read. I began and finished it during a nice long soak in the tub -- maybe an hour and a half, if that long. It might get you through a doctor's appointment, but don't take it to the beach unless you have room in your tote bag for the next two books in the series as well.(less)
So I've been waiting for this book for a long time. I probably should have re-read book 3, because I think most of the characters weren't much mention...moreSo I've been waiting for this book for a long time. I probably should have re-read book 3, because I think most of the characters weren't much mentioned in book 4. I might have enjoyed this one a little more if I'd done that.
But frankly, I think this series has almost sprawled out of control. There are SO many characters now, in SO many different places, with so many different allegiances and plans and connections to so many other people that it made my head spin a little. And yes, the story advanced a little bit... but not very much for 1000 pages! At this rate I feel like it's going to take him another five books even to begin thinking about wrapping it up.
Notes on a few of the storylines:
TYRION: I love Tyrion Lannister/Yollo/Halfman/Hugor Hill/the noseless dwarf. Pretty much every time he was the center of a chapter, I was happy and I felt like there was action. I am not entirely sure that I know where he's headed next, (view spoiler)[ now that he's joined the Second Sons and apparently is going to turn them against the Yunkai'i (hide spoiler)]-- what's his long-term plan? Does he want to turn back to Westeros? And is there really a literal place that is "wherever whores go"?
THEON: This storyline is pretty gruesome, but I thought it was fantastic. This was one of the few pieces of the story that actually advanced a bit over the course of the book. (view spoiler)[ Now that Theon is with Stannis, who knows what could happen next? I'm a little sad that we didn't manage to fit in the clash between Stannis and the Boltons, however. I feel like we spent a lot of time working up to it, just to be left out in the cold (literally... cut out some of the descriptions of this hellish snowstorm and get to the battle already! (hide spoiler)]
ARYA: Okay, she didn't pop back up until like 80% of the way through this book, and I don't really entirely get what's going on with her. (view spoiler)[ This whole Many-Faced God thing kindof confuses me, it's sortof like she's being trained to be an assassin, but the faces thing confuses me -- if it's not sorcery or some such thing, what is it? Why are there real faces and how does this work? And why are there so many different gods wherever she is, but most of the other places seem to have a dominant religion? (hide spoiler)]
FROG: (view spoiler)[Yeah, I didn't really care much that he died. Meh. I would have been much more interested if he had managed to ride a dragon. (hide spoiler)] I also would have preferred to see more of the plotting going on back in Dorne; the Sand Snakes are going to be a lot of fun in future books I think.
VICTARION: Also someone I've grown kindof fond of, but again, I feel like the book ended just as he was finally getting somewhere! So frustrating.
DAENERYS: She was my favorite in the first few books, and I was so thrilled to get more of her story... but she really stopped accomplishing much, and the bad-ass-ness that made me love her pretty much seems to have been drained away. That was maybe my biggest disappointment with this book.
All of that said, am I still looking forward to the next installation? YES. May it come quickly!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)