Very good for newbies and "established" indies alike. Some of the information is becoming a little dated, but 95% still applicable. I love Simon's narVery good for newbies and "established" indies alike. Some of the information is becoming a little dated, but 95% still applicable. I love Simon's narration. ...more
This is a difficult one to classify. There were definitely scenes from this book that were well-rendered and brilliantly executed (i.e. the peach iceThis is a difficult one to classify. There were definitely scenes from this book that were well-rendered and brilliantly executed (i.e. the peach ice cream scene). But this book was extremely dense, to the point where it felt like a bait-and-switch. The author did tons of research for this book, and obviously is extremely well versed in the era, the issues, and the realities of female journalists working in Europe during WW2. It is also very obvious, however, that she really, really wants you to know how much she knows. What she includes in context comes at a great sacrifice to the narrative. Let me sum up the plot of this book: two female journalist (one a writer, one a photojournalist) team up with a British officer (also a photographer - sort of a freelance soldier). They go some place, do a little work, sleep a night, then move to the next place. That cycle repeats about five times.
Here's the thing about this book: it really should have been written as a creative non-fiction. It's tough to sell this as a novel because, frankly, not much happens to the characters. A lot happens around them, there's large section of expository needed to understand their actions or limitations, but it's very weak on actual story. So, I guess I would recommend this to WW2 buffs or to people interested in female journalists and their history. But if you're looking for a very enthralling story, this probably won't grab you. ...more
TDC consumed me when I first read it - 10 years ago? I can't remember if this book is an exact comparison to that in terms of style and voice. There aTDC consumed me when I first read it - 10 years ago? I can't remember if this book is an exact comparison to that in terms of style and voice. There are many things I admire about Brown and his style. I love his vignette-style of writing, how chapters can on forever, or not even a page. I love how he manages to lay a light lattice of fiction over some very compelling junctures of historical fact and mystic myth and create a driving, fast-paced plot that has you questioning every history book you ever read. I adore how he writes women - women who are educated, intellectual, diverse, proud, and more than just flirtatious foils. But...
Here's the thing that gets me with The Lost Symbol. Almost every piece of dialogue between Langton and one of the other principle characters sounded so stilted, so rehearsed. Yes, I know Langton is an academic, and perhaps he specifically has developed a very lecture-like way of conversing. I don't know, however, why the other characters would also fit to this model. Every conversation between he and Catherine or Sato suffered from unnatural speech patterns. The story still enthralled me, but I just couldn't get past this once I identified it and it really made some parts of the book a trudge. Also, (view spoiler)[ right at the end, after Mallach's death, I didn't buy into Peter and Catherine being so non-plussed upon learning Mallach's true identity more than just a passing moment. You just find out that your son, who you thought was dead for years, is not only alive, he killed your mother and has taken you hostage, and you don't have at least one night of complete emotional torment? Instead, you drag your academic friend for a happy social reveal at the Washington monument and trip history talk? (hide spoiler)]
I will say also, to Brown's credit, I'm one of those people who can usually spot a twist from a long way off. I didn't spot the twist in this one at all. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more