It's a hesitant 4 stars for me- like 3.85 stars. Once it gets going and hits a fever pitch, it's pretty interesting. Because of the way in which it'sIt's a hesitant 4 stars for me- like 3.85 stars. Once it gets going and hits a fever pitch, it's pretty interesting. Because of the way in which it's constructed, I'm willing to forgive some sins. It's hard to discuss my complaint about the book without giving away a significant spoiler, however. I don't want to do that, but will say that the biggest problem is that it seems as though the author really does believe that there's some character development for one of the main characters, and that the evidence of this is the ending, but it's clumsy and not believable. Readers appreciate the unexpected, but when they've finished a book they want to be able to go back through and savor all of the clues and steps leading to that point. In terms of plot, yes, there are little hints throughout that make it enjoyable. But in terms of character- and that character being the person whom I'd consider to be the protagonist- it's hollow. How strange it is to read a book about the authenticity of our personas only to reach the end and get the sense that the person who was most "real" is the biggest sham there, and makes decisions not based upon any character built up to that point but instead based upon what the author seems to have thought would twist the knife the most.
To put it another way: why carve these folks out, give them a life in print, and let them walk around in their shoes for a while only to sweep them off the table and say nah, this wasn't so cool after all, screw it. Palahniuk will do this with characters in similar books and it's irritating then, too. Flynn can do better. I hope you enjoyed an overly negative review written after I gave the book 4 stars anyway!
SO TO LIFT THE MOOD: I still really enjoyed it and think others should give it a try (and keep going even if early on it feels rocky), and raced through it because it was so compelling. My quibble about the end might seem weird if you haven't read it but I suspect that, once you have, you will know what I meant! Thank you!...more
The writing itself isn't always stellar- Bonner stumbles a little here and there and at the end things seem rushed (though perhaps this is because I bThe writing itself isn't always stellar- Bonner stumbles a little here and there and at the end things seem rushed (though perhaps this is because I blazed through the last part myself) as portions of the appeals process became indistinct to me. The story itself, however, is compelling and terrifying as well. ...more
Reading all the negative reviews of this book makes me laugh. I go away from the computer to read really awesome books and when I come back you peopleReading all the negative reviews of this book makes me laugh. I go away from the computer to read really awesome books and when I come back you people are still hating. Keep up the good work, dudes.
Probably the best fiction I've read this year, which means I'm woefully behind in terms of what everyone else is reading but I'm catching up slowly but surely. ...more
This was better than I thought it might be; my initial reaction was that it would be difficult to meld in a variety of stories with an actual timelineThis was better than I thought it might be; my initial reaction was that it would be difficult to meld in a variety of stories with an actual timeline for the sinking without being too bogged down with detail, but Brewster arranges wonderful snapshots of individuals before/during/after. I found only one instance where it was as though the author had forgotten having mentioned a person before (Dorothy Gibson is introduced early on and re-introduced later, though I suspect he did so intentionally because a good amount of time passed before she was mentioned again).
My only complaint is that the ending seems somewhat rushed. It went from a narrative style to an epilogue that was a quick wrap-up of what happened to the remaining survivors with very little in terms of a bridge or real ending. ...more
I wish I had enjoyed this more but it never quite worked out for me. I think it's a case of not knowing what I was getting into before reading it (theI wish I had enjoyed this more but it never quite worked out for me. I think it's a case of not knowing what I was getting into before reading it (the hazard of reading things on a Kindle!). I had not expected the encyclopedia-like format and felt as though it restricted thins too much.
It's sort of like listening to a song that just starts to get going only to cut to the next track. Stewart will give a brief description of a plant and start in on a story about it and suddenly, the story's over and you're on to the next plant and feeling like you missed out a bit.
Used as a reference, it would be handy and I'm glad I have it as I'll certainly come back to it later but it's simply not a great book to read straight through. ...more
The final "chapter" centering on Holly seems very out of place and almost an afterthought, as though she realized at some point that the character neeThe final "chapter" centering on Holly seems very out of place and almost an afterthought, as though she realized at some point that the character needed to be developed further or somehow necessitated extra information. Perhaps that portion was intended to dovetail in with the rest of the story in a way that I missed, but it didn't seem like it.
It's also difficult to mention the other issue without spoiling the book in some way, but while the alternating perspective has worked well in other novels, it's not used as successfully here and the narrative feels muddy to me at points- worst of all, "Ray" is an uninteresting jailbird trope and "Danny" is a character who deserves to be the focal point and is far more intriguing, but is ultimately given very short shrift. The way in which he exits the story isn't the issue so much as the fact that he leaves and you're stuck with Ray and Holly, two characters in whom you don't feel particularly invested.