I don't know if I like the beginning or the ending the best: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." "It is a far, far better thing tha...moreI don't know if I like the beginning or the ending the best: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..." Both are the world's most quotable quotes and I suppose one wouldn't be complete without the other.
As with all of Dickens’ novels, there is as much complexity in the characters as in their historical setting, so history is lived and felt more than read about. It was a terrifying time, and it is frightening to read what human beings are capable of.
Yet heroes are born in such times, and Dickens doesn’t disappoint.(less)
Watched the final movie the other night and was remembering how much I love this series - I think I'll have to re-read it this summer to take a break...moreWatched the final movie the other night and was remembering how much I love this series - I think I'll have to re-read it this summer to take a break from reviewing. In all the kids books I read it's so rare to find such a great combination of character and relationship development, social commentary, action, continuity from the first book to the last, unforced and unexpected plot development, a variety of good characters with unique personalities, appreciation for family, the variety of erroneous ways the evil characters judge what is good, the hard work that goes into learning virtue, humour, friendship, humility, romance, red-heads, intelligence, courage, hope... and it's just so much fun. Yes, definitely due for a re-read.(less)
I need to write a proper review for this wonderful book, but for now... It's a highly entertaining mix of adventure fantasy (Lord of the Rings), and A...moreI need to write a proper review for this wonderful book, but for now... It's a highly entertaining mix of adventure fantasy (Lord of the Rings), and Austen-esque characters: good and evil are not obviously apparent but must be discerned through her fascinating study of actions and intentions.
This book was disappointing, it seemed like it was going to be so much more. A fascinating premise: time travel based on a brilliantly deduced mathema...moreThis book was disappointing, it seemed like it was going to be so much more. A fascinating premise: time travel based on a brilliantly deduced mathematical equation which supports a postmodern philosophical concept of multiple possible futures and presents based on the different choices we can make. We wonder what could be said to explain that notion... and we get the following story. A very slow story. (spoiler alert)
1900. A man helps a woman up after a fall. They talk. She says she's come from another time and place after an explosion. He doesn't believe her. They rest, and talk a bit more. She seeks help from a scientist she once knew, but he no longer recognises her, she is arrested. The first guy gets her out of jail. Other baddies are interested in her story and force them to come and talk. They escape. They think of starting a new life together, but she thinks the portal she originally came through still exists. They try to destroy it to prevent others using it for harm. In the explosion, the guy gets sent forward 50 years and never sees her again. Then years later he finds the portal again and steps through... to what, we never find out.
Somewhere in all that is a vague notion of a scientific mathematical equation that makes it all possible. And a vague discussion of multiple realities (pasts, presents and futures) which are possible because of the choices we can make with free will. These are literally multiple worlds which are mutually exclusive, one doesn't evolve into another. So if your future self is in a different world and if you travelled there directly it wouldn't know anything about your past life from the other world. Understandably it doesn't go much further than that, there's not really much further that notion can develop, no justification, no meaningful explanation. Just vague speculation.
Their relationship comes down to an inexplicable connection that develops instantly. Nothing wrong with that. Just fairly common, no rare insights into human nature or anything. At least, however, it doesn't go as low as the short scene we're presented with at the start of the story in a seedy 1900s club. Those two pages were worth skipping, they had no connection with the rest of the story.
And that's it. Like a sketch of a painting, it lacks tone and colour.(less)
For many years Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom. But now her father, the Charter-Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabr...moreFor many years Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom. But now her father, the Charter-Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabriel must cross back into that world.
Though her journey begins alone, she soon finds companions: Mogget, a cat who is perhaps something more, and Touchstone, a young man long imprisoned by magic and still trapped by painful memories. With threats on all sides they must travel deep into the Old Kingdom toward a battle against the true forces of life and death.
It’s rare to enjoy a story from the first page, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy from beginning to end. Garth Nix masterfully creates a new fantasy world that feels immediately familiar.
The characterisation is just right, a balance of human qualities we relate to (both admirable and despicable), and a sense of history that heightens the consequences of moral choices.
In terms of magic the story is deep into the fantasy world of necromancers and their associates (creatures in various stages of death), however, there is a clear distinction between good and evil, and once again fantasy is used successfully to visualise deeper philosophical truths and bring them to life.
It’s a shame that several small indiscretions prevent it being suitable for younger readers as well.(less)
Gaskell paints a deeply nuanced picture of the lives of several characters in late 19th century England. Her exquisite writing shows a profound unders...moreGaskell paints a deeply nuanced picture of the lives of several characters in late 19th century England. Her exquisite writing shows a profound understanding of human nature and relationships and a sensitive appreciation of the social struggles of her period. Highly recommended.(less)