You know, I understand that this isn't the 80s, when stuff actually happened in comic books, but rarely has the current trend for drawing things out iYou know, I understand that this isn't the 80s, when stuff actually happened in comic books, but rarely has the current trend for drawing things out irritated me so much. I swear to god this was like 40 pages of him channeling power and indulging in a tediously repetitive inner monologue about how he is guilt-ridden and terrible and he doesn't know if he's a good man or a bad one but he did what he had to do despite the price and he would do it again even if it means he is a bad man except he saved lives so maybe he is a good man except for all the murder, oh shit, maybe I'm bad. Interspersed with this were flashbacks where he more or less did the same thing, only in a different color palette. Yaaaaaaawn....more
Great in every way, if not exactly a riveting page-turner. Perhaps my favorite part is the fact that the word 'cunt' was deemed too vulgar even for aGreat in every way, if not exactly a riveting page-turner. Perhaps my favorite part is the fact that the word 'cunt' was deemed too vulgar even for a vulgar dictionary, and is otherwise referred to almost exclusively as "the Monosyllable." So there are a lot of entries like "Mother of All Saints: The Monosyllable." A++ will reference again....more
It's pretty rare I abandon a book (particularly an audiobook, which I can just kind of put on and ignore if I'm not into it) but this was too terribleIt's pretty rare I abandon a book (particularly an audiobook, which I can just kind of put on and ignore if I'm not into it) but this was too terrible to continue: deadly dull narration, flat characters, and terrible Dumas fanfiction. DNW....more
Jeez, where to start. I enjoyed this -- it's a long book and poorly typset but I read it in maybe a day and it was a pretty good time. Well-paced, intJeez, where to start. I enjoyed this -- it's a long book and poorly typset but I read it in maybe a day and it was a pretty good time. Well-paced, interesting characters, and the action scenes are great. It's hard to write a good swordfight, and Berridge manages a bunch.
BUT. But. I have some problems.
It's set during the Thirty Years' War; there's a province on the French border that is occupied by the Spanish army, and the book is ostensibly about the local lord and his rebel army. All right, but mostly the rebel army spends huge amounts of their time hunting down and/or thwarting rapists. A worthy goal, to be sure, but let me tell you how much I love the plot: "Lady is raped. Man who loves her experiences Personal Growth." I do not love this plot! And this plot appears often. This is a super rapey book. There is maybe one woman who doesn't spend the entire thing being threatened with rape, and she's not hot, so.
The other thing that was not so great is the conceit of the book, which is that it is ostensibly transcribed interviews from participants, as told to some reporter/historian/monk/whatever. Multiple participants, multiple POVs. It's fine to a limited extent because it gives you an interesting look at the main character, but it was probably unnecessary, ultimately unconvincing and occasionally annoying when they would break down the fourth wall and talk directly to the reporter/me/whomever. It also removes a lot of the tension because you know perfectly well who lives and who doesn't, given who is giving interviews and who isn't.
And finally, it has kind of a weird... sprawl. The author is a television person and this is her first novel, and it shows. There is the overplot, and then a bunch of episodes with loosely connected sideplots that are only tangentially related to the main event. Like there would be entire long stretches where nothing anyone is doing is related to the Spanish occupation. It would have been a better book if the episodic aspect had been either played up more or eliminated with some judicious editing. As it stands, though, it was just kind of strange.
So, I don't know. I'll probably give the next one a look....more
Hmmmmm. This is a history book whose first edition was written in 1937 and so my expectation was not that I was going to be reading a page-turner, butHmmmmm. This is a history book whose first edition was written in 1937 and so my expectation was not that I was going to be reading a page-turner, but I basically read this in one sitting. It's mostly brief anecdotes about terrible spy shenanigans in early modern Europe, interspersed with tedious lists of who paid how much money to whom for what. To the laundress, 300 ducats. To the brother of the chaplain to the ambassador, 50 ducats. Yawn. That one state dinner where the ambassador invited a bunch of diplomats and got them utterly trashed (5+ bottles of wine EACH) and let a spy hide in the cupboard and write down what they said: *___*
As for the rest: It's reasonably well-sourced but terribly annotated; it assumes you read French, Latin, Spanish and Italian; it is focused pretty exclusively on western Europe (there are brief mentions of the Ottomans, who are exotic and strange and savage, and the Russians aren't discussed until they're Westernized); "cryptography" is in the title but relegated to an appendix; and it helps to know your Habsburgs. But if you are, for example, writing about lady spies in 17th-century France, you could do worse than flipping through this....more