There is no excuse for this rambling mess of a book. The author, a professor, should have known better; the agent who somehow decided this was a storyThere is no excuse for this rambling mess of a book. The author, a professor, should have known better; the agent who somehow decided this was a story worth telling should have known better; the editor or editors who saw this as fit to be printed should have known better. Lots and lots of people fell asleep at the wheel when this one made it through.
The beginning is promising, yes. The author creates a great atmosphere for the reader, so we allow her to indulge a bit in over-wrtiting. The first warning sign that I saw was when Una decided to pass herself off as a boy. This came out of nowhere, with very little reason. It just seemed like the author needed her to get on that ship and she kind of made it happen. After all the pages and pages she spent detailing everything about Una's life so far, her quick, and unexplained decision to hop on board the ship was lazy, lazy writing. But then the book picks up a bit, so we forget about that. Until the last third of the book, when all attempts at plot are completely abandoned. One of the first rules of writing is that if there is a section in your manuscript that you can remove without affecting plot in some way, it SHOULD be removed. This book is filled with chapters of nothing. Of rambling nonsense. It reads like a fan-fiction that just happens to be written by a professor.
It is astounding to me that this was published. I could have understood the first half of the novel, but the rest is drivel. Don't bother with it. Seriously....more
This is a book that is brutal and difficult to put down once you start. The stark writing style emphasizes the cruelty that fills the pages, making evThis is a book that is brutal and difficult to put down once you start. The stark writing style emphasizes the cruelty that fills the pages, making every page really hit the reader squarely in the stomach with its gut-wrenching prose. The main character is not someone we get too know very well. We see everything she does through the eyes of the people around her, who are all unreliable narrators. The only times we get an inkling into what she is thinking is when we read her dream sequences, which are full of poetic violence. If you are looking for a story that will linger within you for a long time after you finish, this is the one to choose. ...more
This book melds gorgeous writing with fantasy elements and creates something wholly new. It is a portrait of grief and redemption, and is one of the lThis book melds gorgeous writing with fantasy elements and creates something wholly new. It is a portrait of grief and redemption, and is one of the loveliest reads I’ve picked up this year. The story travels back and forth through time, and because two of the characters have the same name it can throw the reader every once in a while, but otherwise it is not as complex to follow as the jumping dates might suggest. There are moments of real heartbreak in this book, so if you are looking for something light to read, this isn’t it. If, instead, you want something that will make you think and will make you feel, then this novel is a wonderful choice. ...more
The problem with this novel is that it is dull. Quite dull. It took me a long time to get through it because of its rambling passages, which though beThe problem with this novel is that it is dull. Quite dull. It took me a long time to get through it because of its rambling passages, which though beautifully written, could have easily been cut out of the novel without any serious effect. The veiled references to the Holocaust start off interesting enough but soon grow tiresome and somehow get even vaguer. If the characters had been more engaging, perhaps the whole thing could have worked, but neither of the protagonists made much of an impact. The entire cop storyline felt disjointed and forced, and was never really resolved, as the murder of an irrelevant character in the middle of the book. There are many dystopian novels out there much more interesting and less boring than this one. It tried to be and say too much and got bogged down by its ambition. ...more
This is a perfect read for the Halloween season. It has lots of horror (more Saw than The Exorcist) and psychological mystery, making it a great choicThis is a perfect read for the Halloween season. It has lots of horror (more Saw than The Exorcist) and psychological mystery, making it a great choice for those of you like me who love a bit of depth with their gore.
The two main characters are fully fledged, and very real. As the story progresses and we learn more about the background of the Morrows and what Michael and Rebel’s relationship is like, the terror truly starts. There is a delicious sense of uncertainty throughout the pages which heighten the fear.
Although the climactic revelation is foreshadowed much too early and takes away some of the surprise the author meant to give us, the very end, the last couple of lines, will leave you reeling. If you want scares and psychological terror, this is the one to choose this year. ...more
This is an entertaining “picture book” for adults told in diary for from the viewpoint of a dog, Plumdog. It can be easily read in one sitting and feaThis is an entertaining “picture book” for adults told in diary for from the viewpoint of a dog, Plumdog. It can be easily read in one sitting and features beautiful drawings and delightful observations from the canine world as well as from the human world. Although most of diary entries are suitable to read to kids, some of them have a curse word or two, which is why this is a book best suited for adults looking for a different, fun read before bed....more
This is an interesting story, yes, but it could have been written by anyone. From the moment I started it to the last page, I didn’t really hear muchThis is an interesting story, yes, but it could have been written by anyone. From the moment I started it to the last page, I didn’t really hear much of Atwood’s usual voice in the narrative. None of the poetic, lush language she is so well known for is there. The characters are well developed, though none of them are likeable enough to root for. I love the bleakness of Atwood’s vision of the future, and the violent tendencies in humans that she bring to light, but I wish she had written all of this with her voice! At points, her word choices even felt as if they had been dumbed down to attract a wider audience. There are plenty of absurd scenes, with Elvis impersonators galore, which make me think she might have meant the novel to be a dark comedy, but the comedy aspect falls flat. As a reader who will buy anything Atwood writes, I truly hope she has gotten this style of writing out of her chest and gets back to the beautiful writing and poignant storylines she is known for ...more
In all honesty, I started this book with doubt that I would enjoy. I am not a huge fantasy reader and world-building tends to bore me, which is why IIn all honesty, I started this book with doubt that I would enjoy. I am not a huge fantasy reader and world-building tends to bore me, which is why I was wary about a novel that, although it takes place in our world, has a pretty thorough universe of its own. The beginning is slow, with introduction to characters that are not particularly likeable. It reminded me a bit of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I truly disliked. So the book and I did not begin on the right foot. All of that to say, however, that from about the middle of the novel onward, I fell in love with it. Once the narrative took off, I just couldn’t put it down. It kept me reading long into the night until the very end. So, yes, it requires a bit of patience when starting it, but it is worth the effort. From the ending, I sincerely hope there will be a sequel. ...more
The premise of this novel is interesting, but its execution leaves quite a lot to be desired. The pacing is stilted, with lurches of action that thenThe premise of this novel is interesting, but its execution leaves quite a lot to be desired. The pacing is stilted, with lurches of action that then slow down to a crawl, and with writing that sometimes reads as less than professional. The story does have some satisfying moments, but its conclusion is much too rushed, with the protagonist getting her life back together in about two paragraphs. There is also quite a bit of “telling”, entire important scenes brushed aside with a few words. It feels like the author got bored halfway through some plot points and decided to speed things along, no matter how awkward it read. More than anything, the novel needed a few more intensive rounds of editing to get rid of some of the forced sentences and the uneven pacing that plagues its pages. ...more
This is a lovely example of what Indie writers can bring to the publishing world. It is a beautiful, touching story that has something for everyone, fThis is a lovely example of what Indie writers can bring to the publishing world. It is a beautiful, touching story that has something for everyone, from those of you who enjoy more literary fiction to those of you who like a bit of action in your stories. Of course, as with any of Peacock’s books, the lush scenery in which he sets his novels takes precedence. It is almost like another character, infusing the plot with its whims. It is so much so that the reader cannot imagine the story taking place anywhere else. The protagonist is fully fleshed out, making him very real to the reader. The plot is well done, with pacing that keeps you interested but without the rushing that you sometimes get from books that are completely plot-led. This novel has a balance of character driven and plot driven action that feels natural and flows easily. If you are looking for a book that is different, that provides the tropical atmosphere of Hawaii as well as a fun plot and a great set of characters, then this one is a good choice. ...more
Stephen King is a master at what he does. If there were any doubts in my mind as to his skills as a story-teller, then this novel wiped them clear. NoStephen King is a master at what he does. If there were any doubts in my mind as to his skills as a story-teller, then this novel wiped them clear. Not only is it frightening, but it is told in a way that unfolds the horrors in its pages slowly, building up the tension until it boils. One of the things I most enjoy about Stephen King novels is the way that he brings a group of characters together, bonding them with each other and with the reader, so that we feel just as much a part of the group as they are. The protagonists in this novel are all lovable and wholly real. I would have liked, however, to have learned a bit more about Robert Gray. King’s foreshadowing is masterfully done in this novel, as is the way he connects one chapter to the other fluidly. The only thing I felt a bit disappointing was the defeat of It in the present day. It was a bit anti-climactic, with not nearly enough of the tension that King is so good at building. He recovers from this well, though, because he brings a particular poignancy to the last few chapters of the novel. I won’t reveal what happens, but the ending leaves the reader feeling as if they have just lost a good friend. ...more
This book astounded me. It wasn’t so much the storyline, which was interesting enough in its own right, but the manner in which the author told it. ShThis book astounded me. It wasn’t so much the storyline, which was interesting enough in its own right, but the manner in which the author told it. She has an incredible way of expressing herself, in an almost cinematographic way. She uses small jumps of view point which enhance our understanding of the story as well as increasing the tension in a particular scene. One of the things I loved most about this novel was the mixture of the modern along with the period details. The flashes of the future which Kenelm receives are intricately woven into the storyline in a way that do not distract but instead enhance the narrative. Apart from the obvious extensive research the author has done to put us right in the middle of this time period, there is a wonder to her words that bring it all to life. This is one of my favorite books of the year and an author I will definitely watch with much interest. ...more
Although slightly predictable, The Ice Twins was written in such a captivating style that it is worth reading if just for that. There is such tensionAlthough slightly predictable, The Ice Twins was written in such a captivating style that it is worth reading if just for that. There is such tension in the writing which increases slowly, chapter by chapter, until the reader is completely spooked as well as engrossed in the story. It is a novel that is hard to put down once you start. The characters are all my favorite type: unreliable. Nothing they say can really be taken as the truth, which makes for exciting reading. None of them are very likeable, not even the children in the story, but they are definitely fascinating to read about. The setting, too, is almost another character. Because of this the novel has a distinctive Gothic feel to it, with an isolated island which blocks all communication with the mainland when the tide rises, and with mudflats that threaten the characters’ lives again and again. If you are looking for a way to spend a few hours deliciously entertained and even frightened, then this novel is one I certainly recommend. ...more
This novel was a bit on the formulaic side. It promised a surprise ending, but it was pretty easy to work out what that was going to be from the beginThis novel was a bit on the formulaic side. It promised a surprise ending, but it was pretty easy to work out what that was going to be from the beginning. The characters did not jump off the page as they should have, and some of their actions made little to no sense. The ending was pieced together haphazardly and much too quickly, bringing the story to an anticlimactic finish.
The novel had the potential to be a great thriller, but it ended feeling flat and underwhelming. ...more