I can't decide if I really just didn't like this story or if I disliked the reader so strongly that it interfered with my enjoyment of it. Probably a...moreI can't decide if I really just didn't like this story or if I disliked the reader so strongly that it interfered with my enjoyment of it. Probably a little bit of both. I definitely expected this to be more about Margery, but Margery really just serves as a jumping-off point for the rest. If I'd written it, I probably would have done something very different... but that doesn't make this one bad, of course! I think hearing the author's note at the end really helped put the story in perspective for me and gave me more of an appreciation for the way she approached it.
I guess I should mention that I've done a fair bit of work on Margery Kempe and thus went into this with different ideas and expectations than someone with a passing familiarity (or none at all) with her life.(less)
Very good, but I didn't fall under the spell of this one the same way I did with The Angel's Game (which I listened to on audiobook last summer). The...moreVery good, but I didn't fall under the spell of this one the same way I did with The Angel's Game (which I listened to on audiobook last summer). The early parts of the two novels are very similar, so it took me some time to really get them mentally sorted (which I imagine might also happen if you read this one, then that one).
But I'm loving Ruiz Zafon and his translator! I'm already on the wait list for The Prisoner of Heaven, and I'm going back to check out some of his YA fiction, too.(less)
In my undergrad Crusades class, one of our assignments was to write a first-person account of the Crusades. We could write as a member of the masses (...moreIn my undergrad Crusades class, one of our assignments was to write a first-person account of the Crusades. We could write as a member of the masses (a soldier, a peasant, whatever), or we could pick a historical figure. I chose a historical figure (Queen Melisende), and I remember my professor writing, "I don't think you quite captured her." And that's exactly how I feel about this book -- I don't think Tracy Barrett quite captures Anna.
Barrett's Anna is a fairly flat character: ruthless, obsessed with power, and with no layers to her personality. The book gives very little sense of her place and time. The Crusades are really only mentioned in passing, and we don't see much of their effect on Anna or Byzantium other than the inconvenience of removing her father. This might be more disappointing to me than to other because I thought that, like my college assignment, the book would be an account of the Crusades and surrounding events from her perspective.(less)
This is probably a 3.5 star book for me, but Goodreads doesn't do halves so I rounded down.
When I first started reading this book, I was very interest...moreThis is probably a 3.5 star book for me, but Goodreads doesn't do halves so I rounded down.
When I first started reading this book, I was very interested and couldn't put it down. Once I was forced to put it down for a few days, however, I didn't really feel any sense of urgency to pick it up and read non-stop again. I read a little bit here and there but just couldn't get back into it the way I had been at first. That held true for the whole middle of the book, although it did pick up again at the end. I'm not really sure if the middle of the book really is significantly slower than the rest or if that was just due to things going on in my own life (very possible).
I also can't decide how I feel about Flavia, the main character. She is interesting but not particularly likeable -- I found her rather obnoxious. Her precociousness wasn't the problem for me, it was more the way she treated others. I'm pretty sure (based on the author interview in the back of my edition) that that was intentional on the author's part, but I don't know if I want to keep reading the series. Maybe a few months down the line I'll be ready for another dose of Flavia, but I didn't finish with a great urge to rush out and start the second book.(less)
This book was... frustrating. I'd picked it up years ago assuming it was historical fiction. Before I started reading, I saw from other Goodreads revi...moreThis book was... frustrating. I'd picked it up years ago assuming it was historical fiction. Before I started reading, I saw from other Goodreads reviews that it was really a romance, so at least I was prepared for that.
I figured within the first 10-15 pages that I wasn't going to like the book. But since it was the only book I owned that fit a particular task for the Seasonal Reading Challenge, I decided to soldier on. I didn't hate it, but I didn't really enjoy it... mostly I just wanted to be done with it, and it seemingly went on forever. The reasons it's a weak book have been pretty neatly outlined by other reviewers. In short... pretty much none of the characters are likable, the historical characters' behavior is distractingly anachronistic, and it's frankly just too predictable (I even predicted what I guess was supposed to be the "twist" ending). So I finished the book with a sense of relief that I was done and could check it off my list.
But my copy has a "reader's guide," which includes an interview with the author. I always like reading such interviews, and I found her answers to the questions very interesting. I feel like I like the author, in theory, and I like the premise for the series, in theory, but I just didn't care for how it was executed (and/or her writing) in this book. But after reading that interview, I realized that, in spite of myself, I'm curious about how the series continues. So while I'm certainly not going to rush out and buy the second book, should I happen across it in the bargain section one day, I might pick it up and see whether the second book is any better than the first.(less)
2.5 stars. I was very disappointed to realize early on that I wasn't enjoying this book as much as I thought I would. But I wanted to finish it and se...more2.5 stars. I was very disappointed to realize early on that I wasn't enjoying this book as much as I thought I would. But I wanted to finish it and see if I'd like it better by the end. Turns out.. no, not really.
Mainly I think I just didn't care for the style of the book. I can appreciate it objectively, from an academic perspective, and I understand why it's written the way it is, but... I just didn't like it. I felt annoyed by the characters instead of feeling the sense of knowing them - especially Antoinette - better.
I think it's still worth reading for Jane Eyre fans, though. It's not a bad book - just one that didn't click with me. (less)
It took me a while to get into this book. Unfortunately, I feel like there are just some cultural elements that get lost in translation (not literally...moreIt took me a while to get into this book. Unfortunately, I feel like there are just some cultural elements that get lost in translation (not literally the fault of the translator, of course, although there were places where I suspected that the translation was a bit odd). Once I finally got into the mindset of 1890s Paris, it went fairly quickly.
I tend to shy away from mysteries because they often introduce far too many characters (to have as many red herrings as possible!) and I lose track of them all and generally don't really care anymore by the time I get to the big reveal. There were a lot of characters in this book, but I didn't find them excessive or difficult to keep track of.
The big reveal and explanation in this book was very strangely done. It definitely took me out of the story.
I won't be reading another book in this series. I didn't find any of the characters particularly likable. They were all pretty flat (another common problem in mysteries) and I didn't particularly care about what happened to them (although I was curious to figure out who the culprit was). I'm not really interested enough in them to read another book to see what else they get into.(less)