This was a beautifully written, haunting novel. I loved the island, the horses, and above all Puck and Sean, particularly Puck and Sean together. And...moreThis was a beautifully written, haunting novel. I loved the island, the horses, and above all Puck and Sean, particularly Puck and Sean together. And I would have given this book one more star, except I was left so wanting at the ending. I was left with so many questions; there were many loose ends, and it unsettled me enough that it threw a shadow over the rest of the book. I am going to list them here--perhaps some of these questions can be answered through close reading the text again, but others, not so much.
1. During the festival, the night of the rider's parade. Brian Carroll helps Puck look for Gabe. This is definitely a scene where Puck begins to realize her allure as a young woman, and it confuses her. Brian is clearly attracted to her. Yet, when she leaves Brian at the pub after confronting Gabe, we never see Brian again. I kept expecting him to resurface, but only other members of the Carroll family do. It made me question why Brian was at the festival with Puck at all.
2. The whole George Holly/blind Annie/Mutt & Benjamin Malvern subplot: It is insinuated that Annie is Mutt's mother, that Benjamin Malvern loved her once but gave her up(?), and he is in a fight with George Holly because Holly is currently having an affair with Annie. But none of this is confirmed or resolved at the end of the novel. Benjamin Malvern barely mourns his son; if Annie was in fact Mutt's mother, what would her reaction have been to his death? Did George Holly ever decide whether to further pursue a relationship with her, to the delight of her capitalist sisters? Who knows!
3. George Holly tells Sean that he plans to start his own stable on the island, and wants Sean to run it. Sean never clearly accepts nor rejects this offer, and it is never clarified or resolved at the end of the book. Why would Sean continue working for Malvern? Does he leave Malvern for Holly? Who knows!
4. Puck demands a job from Malvern at the end of the book. This confounded me. I completely understood why Puck would want to work at a stable--she's perfect for such a position--but why Malvern? Especially after the way he has treated Sean? If George Holly is in fact opening his own stable, with Sean allegedly as head trainer, wouldn't Puck join Sean and Holly as an employee? Benjamin Malvern is selfish, cruel, manipulative. I cannot understand why Puck would want to work for such a person, let alone the man who threatened to evict her and Finn from their home (two orphan children, no less!).
5. I believe I was left to assume at the end of the novel that Puck and Sean's relationship would continue, but there was little evidence of that. Puck and Holly wait on the cliffs while Sean releases Corr, but there is not even a phrase of contact between them after he rises to the cliffs to join them. I totally understand the devastation of losing his best friend, but to not even share a moment of comfort, a look even, with Puck, made me wonder where the race and Corr's injury had left them. The uncertainty of their relationship was glaring.
6. So much about George Holly lead me to expect something more than what I got. There was so much talk about all the money he had, I often wondered while reading the book if perhaps the real fight between him and Malvern wasn't blind Annie, but that Holly was planning on buying Malvern out. And furthermore, that in befriending Sean, Holly was trying to get information but also feel Sean out as a possible partner in the venture. But beyond offering Sean a job, and Sean never clearly accepting it, it wasn't clear to me what purpose his character served. It felt like a lot of build up to nothing.
**spoiler alert** Meh. I was looking for something easy, entertaining, fun and quick to read. This took me longer than it should have, it's not a long...more**spoiler alert** Meh. I was looking for something easy, entertaining, fun and quick to read. This took me longer than it should have, it's not a long book, but it just didn't hold my interest. The book alternates between narrative and Abe's secret vampire journal entries, and I found this structure pretty annoying. I think it would have been a more engaging book if the author had chosen one or the other--either entirely narrative, or entirely journal entries, a la Bridget Jones but with an undead spin. That would have been the most interesting, entertaining option if you ask me. I got bored reading this book. There should have been more vampires killed, more suspense, more action! When Edgar Allen Poe showed up and he and Abe became buddies, philosophizing about vampires over drinks, I rolled my eyes. Poe? really? I didn't understand what purpose he served being in this story, other than the notion that maybe probably Edgar Allen Poe was into vampires. That's a separate book. I also rolled my eyes when it turned out John Wilkes Booth is a vampire. I thought that was too easy. It would have been much more fascinating to have an entire story about Abe Lincoln fighting and destroying vampires his whole life, only to be taken down by a human. How tragic that would have been (and is).
I think Grahame-Smith is a person who has really fun ideas, but fails in the execution of them. That said, I think the film adaptation will be everything I had hoped the book would be: entertaining, fun, action-packed. Do yourself a favor: wait for the movie, skip the book.(less)
What an incredibly moving book...I became so attached to Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter from the first that I could not put this novel down. There was s...moreWhat an incredibly moving book...I became so attached to Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter from the first that I could not put this novel down. There was so much to love about this book, but I think I particularly loved Minny's complicated relationship with Celia, and seeing how they grow to love each other. The only thing I didn't like was when I came to the end of this story. It was hard to let these incredible women go.(less)
It took me forever to finish this book because it just didn't hold my attention. I thought it was a great story, a fascinating concept, but I had a ha...moreIt took me forever to finish this book because it just didn't hold my attention. I thought it was a great story, a fascinating concept, but I had a hard time feeling invested in it. The only characters I really appreciated and loved were the clockmaker and Bailey--especially Bailey. I found during his chapters I read very easily.
Sometimes, during the long, very specific descriptions of the tents of the circus, or Marco's flat, or Chandresh's house...I would skim a little. I got bored. I think Morgenstern painted extremely detailed pictures of the circus, but to a fault. Sometimes I felt I wasn't being granted permission to use my own imagination. Also, I felt at times that this book was being written for a movie someday...and when that thought came to me, I realized it would make a great movie. And it might be better than the book.(less)
I enjoyed this book very much...there were times I could not bring myself to put it down. The first part, in particular, was wonderful, thrilling, bri...moreI enjoyed this book very much...there were times I could not bring myself to put it down. The first part, in particular, was wonderful, thrilling, brilliant. The second part of the book, however, took me a while to get into. My mind had to recalibrate; it almost felt like a totally separate book. I think this book could have benefited from some big edits; there's a lot of fat should have been cut. That said, I'm looking forward to the next installment.(less)
I could hardly bring myself to put this book down! Also, after reading "The Passage," this was a nice change; I was struck when opening to the first p...moreI could hardly bring myself to put this book down! Also, after reading "The Passage," this was a nice change; I was struck when opening to the first page of this book the large type, the broad spacing between the pages...a big change for me. What an exciting, thrilling read, and brutal at times as well--very violent. There was actually one part when I heard myself say out loud, "This is f**ked up!" I'm eager to move onto the next two installments!(less)
Stephen King has produced a series of very dark, gripping tales in this small anthology. What immediately struck me was his use of strong female prota...moreStephen King has produced a series of very dark, gripping tales in this small anthology. What immediately struck me was his use of strong female protagonists...women who under horrible circumstances rise up, fight, and survive. I really appreciated that. "Big Driver" was my favorite in this series, a tale of revenge that unfolds like a mystery novel. Mr. King is a writer of such incredible skill, I always feel I'm lucky to read his work.(less)
I had a hard time getting into it for the entire first half of the book, but eventually it was an enjoyable read. The Woman in White is ten times bett...moreI had a hard time getting into it for the entire first half of the book, but eventually it was an enjoyable read. The Woman in White is ten times better, in my humble opinion.(less)
**spoiler alert** To read Moby Dick is to get an education. Here I thought I was just going to be reading a novel about one man's vengeful pursuit of...more**spoiler alert** To read Moby Dick is to get an education. Here I thought I was just going to be reading a novel about one man's vengeful pursuit of a white whale, but it's much, much, much more than that. This novel is a textbook for whaling in the mid-19th century; Melville dedicates whole chapters to essays about the different kinds of whales one might encounter at sea, the anatomy of these whales, the whaleman's vocation; the structure of the ship, the tools used for whaling, how the whale is captured, killed, skinned and the blubber turned into oil. Melville leaves no stone unturned, and almost to a fault. There is more information here than narrative. I found myself at times struggling to get through the textbook chapters of this book, and grateful always to return to the story. It is a GREAT story. A very tragic story...there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Starbuck, the first mate who from the very beginning is against Ahab's mission to find and kill the White Whale. My favorite chapter was near the end of the book, before the great chase, when Starbuck nearly convinces Ahab to give up his revenge and turn the ship towards home, towards Nantucket, so they could all be reunited with their families--so they can LIVE. It is a beautifully written passage; the entire book is beautiful, even the schooling sections on whaling. It is, as everyone says, a masterpiece of the English language. That said, it was also the hardest book I have ever read. It was truly a challenge at times; frustrating, fascinating, rewarding, dense. Incredibly dense! I am very glad I read it.(less)
This is a lovely, heartbreaking book. I really enjoyed it, in fact I found it difficult to put down. Taking place on the same day of each year, it fol...moreThis is a lovely, heartbreaking book. I really enjoyed it, in fact I found it difficult to put down. Taking place on the same day of each year, it follows the love and friendship of two people, Dexter and Emma, over the course of nearly two decades. Every chapter I finished, I had to go onto the next to see where their lives have taken them the following year. A wonderful concept, when I try to describe it to people, they always say, "Oh, it's like 'Same Time Next Year'!" But it's not, not really. It's not When Harry Met Sally either, although I could see where people get that idea. I highly recommend this book, it's a fun and absorbing read. (less)
It took me a long time to get into this book. It didn't really begin to hold my interest until almost three-quarters of the way through. But I am glad...moreIt took me a long time to get into this book. It didn't really begin to hold my interest until almost three-quarters of the way through. But I am glad I held on. The ending was very satisfying, and I enjoyed Lucy's journey very much, but I regret how difficult it was to get me to that place. It's not a long book, so it promised to be a quick read, but because I struggled with the story, it took me longer to finish it because of my initial disinterest. (less)