Cloud Atlas is a brilliantly written book, with interesting characters, well-drawn worlds, and insightful musings on life.
But. I spent the whole bookCloud Atlas is a brilliantly written book, with interesting characters, well-drawn worlds, and insightful musings on life.
But. I spent the whole book wondering what the point of it was, and I never had my question answered.
The six worlds that Cloud Atlas cover are interesting, and I was particularly fond of the writing styles of the first one, the eloquent Adam Ewing, and the last one, the regressed human Zachry. David Mitchell is immensely talented at giving each character a unique language, and building a fascinating world for each character, but I felt they had all been shortchanged out of a proper story, none of them given enough time to shine, and instead put aside these other stories. A rare case of the sum of its parts being greater than the whole.
Yes, I spotted many references to the different stories in and amongst the others, and there were themes repeated throughout them, but it wasn't enough. The connection was too slight, I suppose it plays on the fashionable idea to let the reader "make of it what they will", but it left me not caring.
I took very little away from the book, other than mild disappointment. On the contrary, Cloud Atlas didn't make me muse for hours on the significance of the connection between the stories. It just made me question the author's intention. The stories, whilst good, could have been different in many ways and the result would have been the same. My question is: why these stories? Why do they need to be connected? What was the point of all of this?...more
A very enjoyable read that kept me interested until the end, but ultimately it didn't conjure enough emotion (good or bad, happy or sad), in this readA very enjoyable read that kept me interested until the end, but ultimately it didn't conjure enough emotion (good or bad, happy or sad), in this reader to consider it profound experience.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore hooks you in early on. The characters are well-drawn and likeable, the intrigue and pacing of the mystery element is well-balanced, and there's an enjoyable amount of observation about modern life, the way we treat books, the digital age, and common people that give you something to relate to. At no point did I put this book down thinking that it was boring me.
On the criticism side, it became rather obvious that every peripheral character was being created to provide a specific role in the main character's story, which felt a bit contrived. It was all a bit convenient that he happened to live with a SFX guy and his best friend happens to be rich etc. You want a character to be emotionally significant, but often they were just significant for their particular skillset. Having said that, I liked the characterization of Kat. Her job and her dreams not only suited the plot (conveniently), but felt true to life and rewarding for the reader.
The reason I only liked and didn't love this book was partially sealed from the start. The fantastical element of the book is something I'm not usually a fan of and the ending left me a bit underwhelmed. I would say, I can't think of a preferable way to end the book, and so it's not bad, but just not for me.
I came away from the book with little emotion, which is a shame. While the characters were well-observed and likeable, I didn't particularly relate to them or their journey. I wasn't carried along with them, I was just an observer of their adventure. I can't decide whether this is a fault of the writing, or merely an incompatibility with this reader.
But, I don't wish to end on a bad note. I whizzed through this book in five days and I'm not usually a fast reader. I kept coming back to it and wanted to see what happened next, and I think at its best it's got some great characters and interesting things to say about modern culture....more
Gone Girl is a gripping, intelligent, thought-provoking thriller that once you start demands to be read as soon as is humanly possible.
It's hard to gGone Girl is a gripping, intelligent, thought-provoking thriller that once you start demands to be read as soon as is humanly possible.
It's hard to go into detail about the plot without giving anything away and I'd urge everyone to keep away from descriptions of the book which, like film trailers, often give away more than they should.
Leaving the plot aside, Gone Girl is told in a brilliant format, with each alternate chapter written as a diary by a husband and wife couple. The characters are fascinating, full of rye observations on relationships and marriage.
The concept for the book and the overarching plot are so strong that the characterization and detail could have been neglected and still produced a successful thriller. But what's great about Gone Girl is that it's so much more than a missing girl mystery. At times it's a brilliant tale of suburban America during the recession, a relationship coping with redundancy, giving up on the life you love in a big city, making sacrifices for your family and much more besides.
Just looking through other reviews, I'm amazed at people who found the first half of the book a struggle. I thought it was a brilliantly calculated revealing of the facts, a fascinating back story for the characters, with a sinister edge regularly popping up, keeping you unnerved and determined to read on.
I'm not well-versed in thrillers, so I can't compare it to others in the genre, but for me, this book was a moreish journey, with enough depth to leave you pondering on its themes for a while....more
A brilliantly funny and enjoyable book about a guy who wants to become a famous novelist so that he can show up his ex-girlfriend by stealing the limeA brilliantly funny and enjoyable book about a guy who wants to become a famous novelist so that he can show up his ex-girlfriend by stealing the limelight at her wedding.
Pete Tarslaw is a likeable slacker who decides that all modern bestselling authors are con artists peddling formulaic, meaningless trash that ticks all the necessary boxes for its dumb audience. And because of that, they are geniuses. A lifetime of blagging has put Pete in good stead to become one of them.
The book is full of literary satire, with well-observed "excerpts" from many fictional novels from the in-world authors, clearly mocking people like Dan Brown, John Grisham and Andy McNab.
But it's more than just a satire of the publishing industry, it's an enjoyable coming of age story that has more heart and human insight than the concept and the humourous style would suggest.
A fascinating book that tells you the story behind certain words in the English language. For example, the word Botox means "sausage poison", becauseA fascinating book that tells you the story behind certain words in the English language. For example, the word Botox means "sausage poison", because when you inject Botox you are injecting a form of Botulism into your skin to paralyse it. And the first case of Botulism was believed to have come from sausages, so they named it "sausage disease" after the Latin for sausage, "botulus".
And whilst the history lessons are interesting, what makes this book so readable is the humour with which it's written. Mark Forsyth never takes anything too seriously, for example, letting us know that someone who likes Wikipedia can be called a Wikipedophile.
This book is great for picking up for short reading bursts on the tube, because the chapters are very short. It doesn't demand continuous reading either, so you can pick it up whenever you like and not need to remember what's gone before....more
This comic reads like it's been written by a 15 year old boy with a constant erection.
The Walking Dead is a great premise poorly executed. The characThis comic reads like it's been written by a 15 year old boy with a constant erection.
The Walking Dead is a great premise poorly executed. The characters are insipid, with no defining qualities to empathise with. The plot rapidly and repeatedly flits between killing and sex, with little meaning or worthwhile emotion given to either. This volume is particularly bad, portraying every character as sex-crazed. Almost every adult character has had sex, often with different partners, as if in a world of only 20 people everyone would just naturally and happily pair off. Carol has now had sex with Tyrese, kissed Lori and kissed Rick. It has the plot of a Jilly Cooper novel, with everyone wildly having sex with everyone at the drop of a hat, and talking in the most clichéd way possible about their sexual desire and exploits.
I don't deny the importance of characters having sex, and appreciate it's an animal instinct that could offer some rare enjoyment in an apocalyptic world, but the frequency and tactlessness is ridiculous. Their friends are dying all around them, and yet they still have wild sexual urges. I'm pretty sure that's not how grief works. The female characters are so paper-thin and sex hungry that it feels like the writers have never actually met a woman in real life.
When they do attempt philosophy or feelings, it's written in the most formulaic clichéd way, it makes my skin crawl.
The action moves so quickly from one death to the next, that often characters aren't even around long enough to learn their name, let alone get remotely invested in them, and therefore as a reader you simply don't care when they die....more
I was hoping for so much more. Given the incredible popularity of this series I was expecting much more. A solid premise and some good artwork is letI was hoping for so much more. Given the incredible popularity of this series I was expecting much more. A solid premise and some good artwork is let down by non-existent characterization and despairingly clichéd dialogue.
Every character is the same. They all talk in the same clunky, cliche-riddled way that no-one in the real world has ever spoken like. They all resort to mushy sentiment at the first opportunity. I was amazed that a series praised for grittiness has the hackneyed dialogue of a bad b-movie, with everyone constantly declaring "I love you" or "you son of a bitch". (The second volume is particularly bad at this.)
Thank goodness for the TV show. In that, Rick Grimes is a brooding character who has struggled to show his love to his wife. The Rick Grimes of the comic is a soulless generic character who we are given nothing to empathize with, and no explanation as to what kind of person he is other than him constantly telling people "I'm just a normal cop that never shot anybody". Great.
The total lack of characterization is shown best in the female characters. I've now read the first two volumes and I'm still not entirely sure which character is which. There's Carol, Andrea, Donna, none have any defining qualities, none are given any personality, they are ultimately just characters for the men to heroically save or less heroically lust after/have sex with. I'm not usually one to jump on the sexist male writer bandwagon, but the female characters here are a joke. Everyone one of them a pathetic damsel in distress with no backbone.
The TV show's writers should be applauded for turning something so vapid into a show with such character. This comic has pretensions of offering a zombie world with a real character story, but in my opinion the characters have got no more depth or humanity than the zombies themselves, and are just vessels to explore and explain the zombie world the writers have dreamt up. ...more