This novel starts off a bit slow but by the end I was so involved and invested that I didn't want to put it down. There are so many facets to this stoThis novel starts off a bit slow but by the end I was so involved and invested that I didn't want to put it down. There are so many facets to this story and as you go along and the pieces come together it becomes a lovely, dark and tangled web that you don't really want to extricate yourself from. My favorite characters were most definitely (and probably by purposeful design of the author) the Dark Powers. Woland, Koroviev, Azazello, and Behemoth made me smile so often in a story filled with such dark places; I love the irony of it. And our story within a story is one I wish someone else would actually write.
Allow me too to make this request: all I could think about was how amazingly this story and its panelled story line would benefit by a retelling in graphic form. What I would give to see this made into a comic book. Sticking to the original would be an absolute must but I cannot imagine a better medium for it.
I'm actually really impressed with this novel - far more than I thought I'd be. It sucked me in and I ended up actually caring about what happened, noI'm actually really impressed with this novel - far more than I thought I'd be. It sucked me in and I ended up actually caring about what happened, not just to the main characters but also to their investigation. I'm afraid to say too much except that anyone who enjoys a good crime novel, learning about cold war Soviet politics, and/or history - with a protagonist relying more on luck and blind faith in "right" than anything else - will most likely like this novel. I personally am very much looking forward to the sequel(s).
Trigger warning for murdered kids. Not a spoiler, as it's one of the first things you find out....more
Ok. This book took me forever to read (about a month and a half) but rest-assured, it had absolutely nothing to do with the book itself. I was completOk. This book took me forever to read (about a month and a half) but rest-assured, it had absolutely nothing to do with the book itself. I was completely enthralled since almost the very first page. I hadn't read too much about the Elizabethan court before this book but this has definitely made me interested. Despite my lack of background in the subject matter, it was not impossible to understand and there was a ton of information about every "character" that came into play. Granted, every now and then I would flip back to remind myself of one fact or another, but I would expect that in a study such as this.
The most confounding things about it are that the author had to follow certain lines of intrigue up to a certain point or date, then backtrack and start over with another line or person until everything had been covered before she moved on to the next era of the life of Elizabeth. Also, especially in the first half, every now and then I would suddenly be hit with the feeling of repetition, which would actually not be a detriment because it only served to remind me of certain ideas important to the author's point. So really, there was nothing I have to complain about what-so-ever.
A suggestion or two for the publication: please attempt to include a family tree of the ladies or at least for those of royal blood. After all the marriages and illegitimate children, it would just be a little easier to be able to consult one page rather than flip through an entire book and find the passage I was looking for. Another is that if the photos of the “great beauties” mentioned (or of anyone mentioned) are available, it would be a really nice touch to be able to put a face to the names, especially of Helena Snakenborg and Arbella and the statue of Bess of Hardwick. Even just making them an addendum to the index would be a great addition, but obviously not necessary.
Now, for what I really loved about this publication: That the author retained the original spelling, grammar and syntax of the quotes she used. I did have to use the dictionary once or twice and may or may not have caught myself sounding out a word or two on the train, but I feel like it definitely added to the feeling and do in fact “give a wonderful sense of the period” as the author states in her introduction. The sheer amount of information. I love that there is so much I feel I’ve learned about all these people. The entire book is littered with quotes and details about individuals from their marriages and mental state to their fashion sense and political wile. I love it. And of course, I can feel while reading, the great amount of awe and respect this author has for both her subject matter and the queen herself. It’s refreshing and it’s also probably what made the text so easy to read in a school of study that can be easily made dry if the author isn’t careful. Riding on this thought, it’s necessary to mention that the awe is not equivalent to blindness on her part. There are several times when she is frank, and sometimes brutally so, about the queen’s vices, especially her affectations, courtly love, treatment of her ladies, treatment of other women, and especially of her vanity. It was entirely well-rounded and evenly distributed in all aspects and I am so happy I was able to read this book....more
It was a little hard to get through this novel because I couldn't sit and read it all at once. There were so many flashbacks that leaving and coming bIt was a little hard to get through this novel because I couldn't sit and read it all at once. There were so many flashbacks that leaving and coming back, I had to reread a page or two to remind myself where (or when) I was.
Aside from my unfortunate lack of time, another criticism I would make would be that certain moments in the beginning of the story are a little dry. Also, I did not become emotionally invested in the main character (which is not a criticism, but an oddity among oddities in this book). I liked one or two of the side characters a lot and found nearly all of the characters interesting in some way.
Mostly, I really appreciated the twist at the end, which I had to read twice just to prove to myself it really happened...
Overall I enjoyed it and I would readily rent another of his books from the library.
BONUS: the coverart of the hardcover edition was absolutely beautiful. I'm in the process of trying to track it down and buy a print. This is one of those few times when the art actually served to accentuate the story. ...more
I loved this last book only slightly less than the first two. It didn't burrow into my emotions as intensly as they did. However, it was an intriguingI loved this last book only slightly less than the first two. It didn't burrow into my emotions as intensly as they did. However, it was an intriguing end to a wonderful series. I couldn't put it down, the characters were a bit more intense, despite the fact that Katniss' POV seemed to gloss over things more than it did in the previous books. The things I loved most about Katniss and the other characters were the choices they made. I loved how Collins portrayed them, how their choices were not always sure or even if they realized they were making them. But they were their choices. In this last book, I feel like that was taken away. Don't misunderstand - she's still Katniss and she still makes trouble just by being herself. But I've lost the feeling that I can connect with her. That she could connect with anyone. Maybe Collins meant to do this, as a casualty of war sort of thing. How it makes us less human. But I might be overthinking that. It also feels contrived when the "romantic" aspects are finally resolved - one more thing glossed over. I'm not a shipper of any couple here, so I'm not arguing that. I just feel like after all they've all been through, after things that were said, simply stating what happened instead of really showing us feels a little cheap.
Then again, after everything, maybe it needed to end that way.
I know I sound like I'm complaining a lot, but I'm not. I liked it. I would definitely recommend reading it, but with this one warning - something about the way it crests and ends unsettled me. I cannot pinpoint it; I cannot explain it. But I was left with a feeling that something was incomplete or a nagging suspicion that I may have missed something important that would make this feel okay. After rereading it quickly, I still haven't found what that thing is....more
At 327 pages, this book is relatively short. This is why it's so impressive. So much action and information is packed into those pages. Don't get me wAt 327 pages, this book is relatively short. This is why it's so impressive. So much action and information is packed into those pages. Don't get me wrong, it's not "high fantasy" by any definition, but it is interesting and I didn't want to stop reading.
Part of what makes the book so interesting is the main character Billi, who is not the typical heroine. She acts like a normal teenager might act, she's reasonably selfish instead of just following orders, she's conflicted, and she keeps going even when she knows nothing will come of it. Not because she thinks it's right but because she knows she has to. I like that she's so bad-ass and yet everything about her defies the idea that she's a soldier with a mission. She doesn't want the life she leads and yet manages to fight anyway. Everything that happens with supporting character Kay is just an extra little gift.
Aside from that, it's just a great read and I can't wait to read the next installment, Dark Goddess. After everything that happened and the fantastic ending I don't know how Chadda is going to top this one, but I'm excited to find out....more