Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, illustrator Pete Katz brings to life, "The Raven," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Black Cat," and "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" all in vivid detail that will make you look at these old classics in a new way.
Love me some Poe so of course I had to pick up this graphic novel collection of some of my favorite stories. The artwork by Pete Katz is subtle, but effective, really delivering on the dark mood and atmosphere of Poe. Katz mostly relies on using black, white, and grey for the artwork, but does some great things with color when needed. I think this graphic novel collection is a great way to get into Poe if you haven't already. Poe can be quite dark, dense, and symbolic, so this allows a nice gentle gateway. My only negative with this collection mostly has to do with Pete Katz not quite catching the nuances of Poe and a lot of the symbolism, especially with something like "The Fall of the House of Usher." A lot of these stories have been condensed and simplified for the sake of the graphic novel format, which is a shame, but totally understandable. If I had to pick a favorite though, I'd probably say "The Black Cat." Katz manages to catch the creepiness and horror of that story perfectly. And jeez, quite graphic too, haha! Katz doesn't hold back on the gore with some of these stories, which I loved.
Overall, I really liked this. A fun way to re-experience these stories. So definitely a must for fellow Poe fans and also a nice recommendation for teenage readers maybe having a difficult time getting into Poe....more
"And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie follows ten strangers as they make their way to an isolated island mansion under mysterious circumstances. The night of their arrival a recorded message plays, accusing each of them of a terrible crime. Stranded during a storm, haunted by their own pasts, the guests start dying one by one. Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?
I guess it should be noted that before picking up this book I watched the latest miniseries adaptation starring Aidan Turner, Maeve Dermody, and Charles Dance. It's because of the miniseries that I finally decided to pick this book up. The miniseries was so good! Stunning and suspenseful. I've been wanting to read "And Then There Were None" for the longest time, so I'm glad the miniseries helped pushed me to finally pick the book up.
Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery. How does she do it? I've read 5 Christie novels and each and every time I never know what to expect. She is that good at twists and turns. Now I wish I hadn't seen the miniseries adaptation of "And Then There Were None" because I'm curious what my reading experience would have been like not knowing the ending (by the way, the adaptation is spot on near perfection). But having seen the adaptation, I was able to go into this book and pick up on all those hidden clues that I might not have picked up on otherwise.
"And Then There Were None" is a well crafted piece from start to finish. The four Poirot novels that I've read were fun, silly, and whimsical, and "And Then There Were None" is definitely none of that. There is genuine suspense and terror as each of these characters die off one my one. Christie does such a fantastic job of creating the atmosphere and creating the tension and paranoia of the characters. In some ways, this isolated island is a human experiment. Who collapses under the pressure? Who has regret and remorse? Who is all out for self-preservation? How do you form trust, knowing that one among you is the killer? I think the one flaw of this book is the lack of character development. But that's to be expected with a mystery novel. The most that we get from these characters is their past crime and how they feel about that crime afterwards, but that's as far as it goes with character growth. And I don't think that's a bad thing. This is a plot driven story more than anything. You are here for the mystery. I would still find myself on occasion going, "I want to know more about that person." Christie sets up each of these characters so wonderfully that you have that desire to know a bit more, but you won't get to. And maybe it's because I watched the latest adaptation first, but I do feel like a lot of the ending action wasn't as exciting or thrilling as I was hoping. Either way though, this novel is brilliant. Super fast paced. I found myself flipping page after page.
So if any of this sounds good to you, I highly recommend picking this book up. Probably one of the best and most iconic mysteries. ...more
In "Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen, we follow Catherine Morland, a young girl obsessed with Gothic literature and her adventures in Bath where she first encounters the handsome Mr. Tilney. Catherine learns the hard way that life isn't like the books she reads, and that those closest to you can deliver the biggest betrayals.
I just don't think I'm having luck with Austen recently. I adore "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility." But I hated "Persuasion" and I didn't like "Northanger Abbey" all that much, though I did like it way more than "Persuasion." Nothing happened in "Persuasion." At least something happens in this book. Plus, the characters in this book are far more interesting than the ones in "Persuasion."
Speaking of those characters, I got the biggest kick out of Catherine Morland. I think I feel in love with her immediately. She comes across as naive and silly. She has a love of Gothic literature, which provides her with an over imaginative brain. But she is so sweet and kind, especially to the Tilneys. Her biggest flaw is that she gives out trust to people she probably shouldn't, and then feels betrayed by the end. So as far as characters go, I loved Catherine. I even found Isabella to be one of the most fascinating characters. There's a lot of layers to Isabella that we don't see at first. And oh my god, I loved to hate Isabella's brother John. People always hate on Mr. Wickham from "Pride and Prejudice," but at least Wickham is charming on the surface before you get to know his turn identity. John is just an arrogant, vain ass. Nothing likable about him. Everything about his character you are immediately greeted to as soon as he speaks. I'm not sure how I feel about Mr. Tilney, Catherine's love interest in this novel. I feel like he's not in this novel enough for me to form an opinion. And he barely has any scenes with Catherine. Their relationship was very strange to me from start to finish.
I think what I liked most was this notion of life not being like literature. Catherine loves Gothic literature, and when she's invited to Northanger Abbey, she immediately starts drawing conclusions, as if the Abbey is hiding dark secrets. And that's what this novel is as well, a parody or satire on Gothic literature and it's heroines. I thought that was a clever idea by Jane Austen. If you've read a lot of Gothic literature, you'll appreciate those moments of satire and humor.
And you know, speaking of Northanger Abbey, it's the title of this book, but Catherine doesn't visit it until the last 25% of the novel. I kept waiting for a name drop and it never happened, until literally the end. And that's probably why I disliked this book so much. The entire beginning was long, boring, and tedious. Things finally got exciting at Northanger Abbey, but wrapped up in a few chapters before jumping into the ending.
Overall, pretty disappointed with this one, though like I said, I preferred it way more than "Persuasion," that's for sure. There were things to like about this novel, but it took a long time to get anywhere....more
Set during the reign of King Louis XIII of France, "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas tells the story of D'Artagnan, a young man looking to enter the ranks of the Musketeers. Along with fellow Musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, D'Artagnan fights to foil the schemes of Cardinal Richelieu and his partner in crime, the seductive Milady.
I'm so glad I've finally read this. I've seen various movie adaptations of this book, so I've always known some of the basic premise. It was great to finally read the source material and get to know these infamous characters deeper.
Let's start with accessibility. This book is relatively easy to follow. The language isn't too difficult. On occasion it does get a bit dry and dull, but once you get out of those moments, this novel really has some standout moments that leave you reeling. This is a very long novel, so obviously not everything is so fascinating to read. The first 250 pages are so is probably what a lot of people are most familiar with, especially if you've seen the most recent movie adaptations. It's the middle part of the book where I felt like I had entered new territory and, honestly, a lot of the middle chunk of the book is where I had my issues. There were some great moments scattered in there (mostly anything dealing with Milady), but other than those few moments, the whole middle found me zoning out quite frequently and I kind of missed out on some of the plot. There's a lot going on with D'Artagnan and the Musketeers in need of money, so there's all their plotting and scheming on how best to buy new horse, new armor, new clothing, as well as food. There was even a subplot with Porthos trying to seduce his lady friend, which I still don't entirely understand what was going on there. Boring! This is why I kept zoning out. I felt like a lot of this material was unneeded. But the book kicks right back at around the 500 mark with an intense scene between Athos and Milady, and it just continues from there with Milady pretty much dominating the rest of the book and the Musketeers and D'Artagnan taking a backseat.
Which leads me to characters. A fantastic set of characters. I think I loved and enjoyed just about every character, including the villains. You have the brash D'Artagnan. The noble Athos. The colorful Porthos. The devout Aramais. The conniving Cardinal. The seductive Milady. The innocent Constance. And they all interacted so well off of each other. Dumas really knew how to set up relationships and how to interweave everyone together within the plot. I obviously loved D'Artagnan and the Musketeers. Talk about bromance between those four! There's beautiful camaraderie, friendship, and trust. Each guy has a chance to shine. But it wasn't these men that drew me into the story. I found myself the most interested in Milady. She's seductive and mysterious and you never quite knew what to expect from her, which ultimately made her the most fascinating character in the whole book. She was a villainess you loved to hate and someone who you felt sympathy for. Alongside Milady, I found myself also enjoying Cardinal Richelieu's scenes as well as anything involving the Duke of Buckingham, King Louis XIII, and Anne of Austria.
Overall, I had so much fun reading this book. Like I said, basically loved the entire beginning and end of the novel, but it was a good chunk of the middle that threw me out of the story for a bit. It was nice to read such a beloved and popular classic that is easily recognizable in pop culture, even when you haven't read the book. I highly recommend this for lovers of the classics, also historical fiction fans, as well as anyone who loves swashbuckling adventure stories....more
"Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh takes place in 1930s England and tells the story of Charles Ryder, a young man who quickly becomes enamored by the wealthy and eccentric Flyte family who live in an old family home called Brideshead.
Well...this was a disappointing read. I was really looking forward to this and have heard a lot of positive praise, and I walked away thinking, "okay...that's all?" Either some of the material in this book flew over my head or the book is simply dated and not relevant. Either way, I found myself not caring for these characters or their situations. Nothing happens in this book. Is that just me? Nothing happened. Just page after page of whiny rich people contemplating the nostalgia of an era quickly vanishing and their religious dilemmas. The book started off, for me, with so much potential. We are introduced to Charles Ryder in 1944 who is in the military and he and his fellow soldiers come across Brideshead which is being used for military purposes during the war. This prompts Ryder to narrate his whole tale, starting back in the early 1930s and how he first meets the Flytes. I found myself enjoying the first 50 pages or so, but after that, I started realizing nothing significant was happening and things just seemed to be repeating. I quickly found myself bored and uninterested in these characters, except for maybe Sebastian Flyte, who was probably the most fascinating character in the book. I think my biggest problem with this book was the endless pages of just one character speaking and Charles listening. The book suffered from telling me the story rather than showing me the story. Seriously, one character would be talking to Charles for several pages talking about another character. Ugh! Boring! Show me the action. Don't tell me about it.
The novel does have some interesting concepts like nostalgia for the old ways and long talks on Catholicism. Maybe I overhyped myself because I think I might have been expecting this book to be a little bit like "Downton Abbey." But like "Downton Abbey" this book plays a lot with the idea of the Flyte family symbolizing the crumbling English nobility. There's a great line spoken by Julia Flyte: "Sometimes I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there's no room for the present at all" (279). This one line sums up the feeling of this whole novel and the feelings of these characters. A lot of the characters are having a hard time of accepting the rise of the new world, a lot of them are still living in the past to a degree, when they continue to have their lavish parties. I really enjoy themes like this. The Catholicism theme was pretty interesting as well, but kind of got a bit heavy handed by the end. Catholicism ends up being something major, which I wasn't expecting, and is a big deal by the final pages of the novel.
Overall, pretty disappointed with this novel. I was honestly looking forward to reading this. Characters were horribly uninteresting (wish some of the relationships would have been explored deeper), and the book has such great themes but does nothing but have the characters whine about their horrible lives....more
"Under the Black Ensign" by L. Ron Hubbard is a pirate adventure story that follows that of Tom Bristol who was press-ganged into serving the British navy. After nearly killing the Lord High Governor, Bristol is sentenced to 100 lashes, but before he receives those lashes, the ship is boarded by pirates and Bristol is set free. Bristol's story is a tale of adventure. First he's accused of murdering another pirate, he's also accused of harboring a woman on board, and then Bristol is even stranded on a island to fight against the elements. Full of swashbuckling action, "Under the Black Ensign" is a must for those who love a good pirate adventure.
I won this book through Goodreads Giveaways. It was an okay read I suppose. Not really my thing. To start off with, this book only took me about an hour and a half to read (it's incredibly short, barely 100 pages). So there wasn't much in the way of character development. It's pretty much action after action after action. And I was quite confused the whole time. There's a glossary in the back with a list of all the shipping terms used throughout the book, but that still didn't help me. The majority of the book was spent on having these epic ocean battles which I didn't enjoy, nor understand fully what was going on, and they were overall just boring.
I did like Bristol. He was like Robin Hood on water. Jim (aka Lady Jane) was the only female in the novel and I think she wasn't developed very well. This book was wrote back in the 1930s, so obviously making Jim as damsel in distress was bound to happen. Though I have to give Jim credit for helping Bristol out on a few occasions, so she wasn't entirely useless.
Overall, this little book wasn't entirely my thing, but if you're someone who likes quick easy pirate stories and high sea adventure you may appreciate this more than me....more
“The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley is an epic retelling of Arthurian legend, focused primarily on the women who shape the destiny of Camelot. Spanning through decades, the novel focuses on Morgaine, sister of King Arthur, a woman gifted with the Sight, who has kept with the old religion and fights against the rise of Christianity which threatens the safety of Avalon. It’s also the story of Gwenhwyfar, wife of King Arthur, who is a devout Christian woman, but faces temptation when she meets Arthur’s most trusted knight, Lancelet. “The Mists of Avalon” is a novel about powerful women, colliding religious beliefs, and loyalties are put to the test as Camelot and Avalon are put on the front lines of a war for freedom.
I’ve been anxious to read this book for a number of years now. I’m a huge fan of Arthurian legend, so obviously “The Mists of Avalon” is a must when it comes to a retelling of this infamous story. The novel does start a tad bit slow as you are introduced to the mother of Morgaine and Arthur, Igraine, and her destiny to marry Uther Pendragon and provide an heir for the kingdom. There’s a lot being set up in the first hundred pages of the novel. You’re introduced to all the major characters, as well as who is related to who (seriously, I wish there was a family tree in this book, because everybody seems to be related to everybody, and as the novel gets longer and longer, the family trees continue to grow). You have to pretty much push your way through those first couple hundred pages and get past all the set up and introductions. But afterwards, it’s all worth it. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s world of Avalon, Camelot, and Britain is stunning in scope. The novel is simply magical. I did find myself getting a bit frustrated with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s writing sometimes, because she would have these moments of beautiful, poetic, descriptive writing, but then other times she would have these moments of rather juvenile writing, or even amateurish. The book is by no means perfect. I mean, this is 800+ pages, so there’s bound to be chapters you find yourself not caring much for. But the novel does have incredible stand out chapters that really shove the plot and characters forward as you reach the end.
So just to get into some specifics, and things I liked and disliked:
1. Arthurian Legend: This book has it all when it comes to classic Arthurian legend. Even if you’ve never read something like Thomas Mallory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur,” there are still moments that resonate in pop culture, like Excalibur, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin, the Lady of the Lake, Morgan le Fay, Guinevere and Lancelot; the quest for the Holy Grail…the list can go on. It’s all here! So if you’re wondering why this novel is almost 900 pages, that’s why…Marion Zimmer Bradley takes everything you know about Arthurian legend and crafts it into this flawless story that encompasses all the stories into one story. Of course, not every story is wild and spectacular. There are a number of boring chapters present throughout the novel. I often found myself thinking “this could have been edited out…this could have been left out…” But still, it’s all there, and it all manages to work together.
2. Morgaine (Morgan le Fay): The novel is told mostly in the perspective of Morgaine, sister to King Arthur. I found Morgaine to be a very captivating character. Her personality really grows and develops over the course of the novel. We see her at the start of the novel, young, naïve, and impressionable. She arrives in Avalon with one of her aunts and she wraps herself into the life and messages of Avalon and the Goddess. It’s not until a certain event happens which shifts everything she thought she knew and shapes the rest of her destiny. Morgaine’s religious views are very interesting as well over the course of the novel. In Avalon, the message is that all religions are one and the same. Morgaine faces obstacles from Christian priests and the court at Camelot who are all Christians. Morgaine even has a crisis of faith at one point when she feels like the Goddess has abandoned her, and she no longer understands her purpose and destiny. Morgaine is by no means a flat character, and sometimes she’s not even likable. Her character goes through so much and that’s what makes her such an intriguing narrator to this retelling.
3. Arthur/Gwenhwyfar/Lancelet: One of the most iconic love triangles in literary history. These three characters are interesting, and I can’t say I left the novel loving them. In fact, I think I was left angry with these three characters by the end of the novel. Let’s start with Arthur, Morgaine’s brother and king of Britain. Arthur is very much like Morgaine at the start of the novel: young, naïve, impressionable, and he seeks the support of Avalon to fight the Saxons. But of course, Arthur ends up converting to Christianity, thus becoming a rival to Morgaine on occasion in terms of their religious beliefs. Lancelet is a cousin to Morgaine in this retelling, son of one of her aunts, and he’s dashing and heroic, one of Arthur’s most trusted knights. Lancelet almost becomes Morgaine’s lover until he lays eyes on Gwenhwyfar. Let’s talk about Gwenhwyfar. I hated her with a passion! I felt like all she did was whine and complain. I’ll give her this though, she was a great foil to Morgaine, Morgaine being of Avalon where all religions are one, and Gwenhwyfar who is a devout Christian and can’t stand pagans. I’m actually a bit disappointed with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s interpretation of Gwen in this retelling. I fully expected to go into this and like Gwen, but I didn’t. Gwen really got under my skin in the most negative of ways. Her religious views were so extreme, and she often felt like a caricature. And I’m normally someone who loves and ships Gwen/Lancelet. I couldn’t stand those two together, which is such a shame. The whole love triangle did nothing for me, other than to frustrate the hell out of me over how ridiculous it often got. I usually found myself going, “can we go back to Morgaine now?” or even just any other character far more interesting.
4. Other Characters: This novel is littered with hundreds of characters. Like I said earlier, the family trees are ridiculous. Some characters stand out more than others, like Kevin the Harper, Viviane, Morgause, and Mordred. Something I was a bit disappointed about was how one dimensional all the Knights of the Round Table were. We get Gareth, Galahad, Gawaine, etc. and they all just kind of pop up, and you never really get an idea of their characters. Something else that I felt was lacking was a big villain. I mean, I suppose the villain of this piece is religion and those who practice religion in a negative way and condemn those who don’t believe the same. But I still feel like the novel suffered from not having a villain from start to finish. Morgaine is often considered a villain in Arthurian legend, but in this retelling she’s obviously the heroine, or protagonist. The novel does introduce some random villains throughout the book, but they don’t stick around very long. Even Mordred (who I won’t spoil for obvious reasons if you’ve not read the tales), doesn’t properly appear until closer to the end of the novel and his motivations for turning on Arthur are so extreme and done so quickly that you don’t have time to question it. So I guess what I’m saying is that I loved some characters more than others and not all of them get equal page time. Like I said, this novel is Morgaine’s story and characters constantly flow in and out of her life, and some characters shape her destiny, others do not.
Overall, I did highly enjoy this book, though it seems like I have a lot to nit-pick about. A rough start, but so freaking good once you get going. Can’t say I was disappointed one bit. I enjoyed seeing Marion Zimmer Bradley’s interpretation of Arthurian legend and how she flipped some of the stories, and even some of the characters. Highly recommend this if you are looking for a strong feminist book, a strong portrayal of women of various types, and if you appreciate theological discussion. Also, a bit of romance and fantasy. It was quite a magical experience, and I’m glad I finally got around to this beast, haha! ...more
In "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel, sixteen-year-old Pi is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Pi has to rely on his survival skills and belief in religion to pull him through his suffering as he has to deal with a zebra, a hyena, an oragnutan, and a tiger.
A beautiful novel. So poetic and human in it's feelings. One of those novels that I think stick with you long after you put it down. An extraordinary amount of themes and issues present in this novel. Things ranging from religion, life, death, love, beauty, storytelling, the five senses, and the notion of animals as having human emotions and humans behaving like animals.
I think the one thing this novel might suffer from is the often slow pace. There were moments when I was like, "wow, this is stunning. So beautifully descriptive." Other times there's moments when I was like, "oh, my, God! Move on!" The latter was a rare instance for me, because for the most part I was the former. I think what Martel might have been going for was this idea of the monotony and infinity of the sea, and Pi's journey and struggles within that (Pi's name is even the mathematical number that goes on for infinity). Sometimes parts in the book could feel just like that: monotonous and would fill like they were dragging along. Fortunately, this only happened a few times for me. But other than those few moments, I really adored this book. But yeah, if you're looking for a wild and crazy fast read, this isn't the book for you. I found myself purposely reading slowly to take in the beautiful, descriptive language, as well as to decipher all the themes and messages present throughout.
So, some spoilers for the very end of the book: (view spoiler)[ Having seen the movie first, I was already aware of how the book ended, so I was obviously reading the book knowing the ending, so I was able to pick up on all the subtle clues Martel laid early in the book. Martel is amazingly clever, I will give him that. Early on Martel talks about animals having human characteristics and humans having animal characteristics, which is a big twist right at the end of the novel when Pi tells his story to the investigators and we realize that all the animals on the boat were humans. The investigators do not believe Pi's story with the animals, thinking him insane from going through what he just did. So Pi tells what is either the real story (with the humans), or the story they want to here. Pi tells them, "In both stories the ship sinks, my entire family dies, and I suffer" (317). Then continues, "since it makes so factual difference, [...]which is the better story" (317)? The investigators agree that the version with the animals is more exciting. I like this sense of ambiguity at the end of the novel. Which is the real story? Logically, you'd want to believe the non-animal version. But then there's that weird island Pi and Richard Parker (the tiger) visit. There's nothing logical about it. Did the island exist? Was it all a delusion? Did Pi make it up? So there's that ambiguity that maybe Pi is telling the truth with the lifeboat full of animals because we can't fathom the idea of this island and there's no way to know if it existed or not. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I immensely enjoyed this novel. Such a compelling, heartbreaking read full of all sorts of themes and messages that I could spend hours hashing out. A wonderful set of characters as well. Pi as the narrator can be unreliable, but you still feel for his situation, you feel for his struggle. He's intelligent, weirdly funny, and incredibly intuitive to his surroundings and his notions on religion. And gotta love Richard Parker, the lovable and terrifying tiger.
And on one final note, if there's one thing this novel taught me, it's how to dismantle a turtle.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes "The Advenutes of Sherlock Holmes" contains a collection of 12 short stories. There are a few times during the events of these stories where Holmes is telling Watson that he thinks the stories he publishes about their adventures are often trivial and of no importance to everyday man. But Watson always responds that he publishes which ones he thinks are the most novel and of interest because of the ways in which Holmes solves the problems. For this review, I’m going to divide my opinions of each story into three categories: the amazing, the average, and the boring.
The Amazing: 1. A Scandal in Bohemia 2. The Five Orange Pips 3. The Blue Carbuncle 4. The Speckled Band 5. The Engineer’s Thumb 6. The Beryl Coronet 7. The Copper Beeches
The Average: 1. The Red Headed League 2. The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Boring: 1. A Case of Identity 2. The Boscombe Valley Mystery 3. The Noble Bachelor
The “Amazing” category contained so many great and intriguing mysteries, and I never found myself dozing off out of boredom. “Average” stories were just very so-so and sometimes there would be an element to the mystery that was intriguing, but then by the wrap up, it wasn’t really that interesting anymore and just something very average. And of course, the “Boring” category contained stories that I serioulsy just don’t remember too good, or I felt that the story contained nothing remarkable or overall interesting.
Overall, I particularly enjoyed this set of stories far better than I did “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Sign of the Four.” When I think of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, these are the types of scenarios and fantastical plots that come to mind.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
As like “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” this is another set of 11 short stories, all leading up to the “death” of Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem.”
The Amazing 1. Silver Blaze 2. The Reigate Squire 3. The Naval Treaty 4. The Final Problem
The Average 1. The Yellow Face 2. The Musgrave Ritual 3. The Gloria Scott
The Boring 1. The Stockbroker’s Clerk 2. The Crooked Man 3. The Resident Patient 4. The Greek Interpreter
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
“The Return of Sherlock Holmes” is a collection of 13 short stories where we see the resurrection of a previously thought dead Sherlock Holmes.
The Amazing 1. The Solitary Cyclist 2. Black Peter 3. Charles Augustus Milverton 4. The Six Napoleons 5. The Three Students 6. The Golden Pince-Nez
The Average 1. The Dancing Men 2. The Priory School 3. The Missing Three-Quarter 4. Abbey Grange 5. The Second Stain
The Boring 1. The Empty House 2. The Norwood Builder
His Last Bow
“His Last Bow” is a collection of eight Sherlock Holmes short stories.
The Amazing: 1. The Dying Detective 2. The Devil’s Foot
The Average: 1. The Cardboard Box 2. The Red Circle 3. His Last Bow
The Boring: 1. Wisteria Lodge 2. The Bruce-Partington Plans 3. The Disappearance of Lady Francis Carfax
There weren’t too many stories that I liked in “His Last Bow.” The majority of the stories I found kind of dull and hard to follow, and even the ones I placed in the average category weren’t that mind-blowing. “The Dying Detective” and “The Devil’s Foot” were simply outstanding though.
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
“The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes” is a collection of twelve short stories and the final writings from Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Amazing: 1. The Blanched Soldier 2. The Sussex Vampire 3. Thor Bridge 4. The Lion’s Mane
The Average: 1. The Three Garridebs 2. The Veiled Lodger 3. The Shoscombe Old Place
The Boring: 1. The Illustrious Client 2. The Mazarin Stone 3. The Three Gables 4. The Creeping Man 5. The Retired Colourman
I am done with “The Complete Sherlock Holmes!” I thoroughly enjoyed reading these novels and short stories, even though the majority of the time I found a lot of it boring. Like I said, the novels didn’t impress me that much, but “Hound of the Baskervilles” was absolutely outstanding. So in order of favorite to least favorite with the novels: "Hound of the Baskervilles," "A Study in Scarlet," "The Valley of Fear," and then "The Sign of the Four." As far as the short story collections, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” had the most amount of stories (7) that I enjoyed, followed by “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” at 6 and then the “Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes” and “The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes” at 4 apiece and then “His Last Bow” at only 2.
It was nice to finally read these stories and discover these characters that I’ve only seen through television and movies. The writing, compared to a lot of writing of that time, is fairly accessible to the modern reading and I think every reader can find at least one novel and collection of short stories that they enjoy. ...more
In "Persuasion" by Jane Austen, it's been eight years since Anne Elliot turned down her engagement with Captain Frederick Wentworth. They are reunited once more but neither of them knows the feelings of the other and if their romance still lingers. "Persuasion," Jane Austen's final novel, deals with social pretensions, class system, and, as always, the conflicts of love.
Oh dear...I feel horribly guilty giving a Jane Austen novel a 1-star rating. I just did not like this book. Not at all. So incredibly boring and nothing happens. On top of that, uninteresting characters who I never connected with, and as for Anne and Wentworth: was I supposed to care? Anne and Wentworth have only a few scenes together, only a few lines of dialogue, and it's a Jane Austen novel...you most likely already know how it ends. The most exciting thing that happened in this novel was the accident of one character that sent everyone into a frenzy. I needed more of that: more drama. The constant back and forth of social class structure and the feelings between men and women just got tedious after a while and it felt like it was all repeated over and over. Even though I really enjoyed "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility," I still wasn't entirely in love with the writing of either of those. I was more into the characters and the story. Plus, what I think helped me with "P&P" and "S&S" was the fact that I had seen movie adaptations for both of them prior to reading the books. So I had visuals going in and an understanding of the major plot points. With "Persuasion" I have yet to see a movie/TV adaptation. Maybe I should have done that before reading this book. I have a feeling it would have helped me immensely. ...more
Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is a novel about the infamous original vampire himself: Dracula. Dracula wants to move away from his castle in Transylvania to England. Helping him do this is Jonathan Harker. But unknown to Harker is the fact that Dracula is not what he seems, and Harker quickly discovers the horrors that lie within Castle Dracula. Told through a series of letters, diaries, and journals, "Dracula" tells the story of a group of protagonists who unite to defeat this great evil.
I decided to re-read this book since a new TV series is coming on this fall starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula. I'm glad I did, because I forgot all the great stuff that happens in this book. When it comes to the horror genre, "Dracula" has got to be at the top of the list. It's what I'd call conventional horror---horror that's subtle and it's not about shock value or gore. And the great thing about "Dracula" is that's it's not just a horror novel, but a commentary on the Victorian period. Things like Victorian conventions, the role of women, colonialism, and even sexual awakening are heavily present throughout this book.
I think the book has a really great pace. It does occasionally have some slower moments and you do find yourself zoning out a bit. But I think the pace is just right and the amount of buildup is excellent between each scene or moment. Jonathan Harker's entrance into the story is one of the best openings to a novel. I can imagine Victorian readers starting this book and having no idea what's to come. As a modern reader it's a little unfair because everyone knows who Dracula is already, whether or not you've read the book. The novel quickly moves into the whole Lucy story and her ordeal. Every bit of that is so intense. The novel then moves onto the protagonists making their plans to destroy Dracula. I think the only thing about this book I disliked was how quickly the ending was wrapped up. The pacing is too quick here. All the protagonists have met up at Dracula's coffin and you really don't have any room to breathe during this scene. And then it's all over.
What I found interesting is that when I first read the book, I seriously thought Jonathan Harker was the main character. But really, he's not. I don't think you can say that there is a main character in this book. I think every character has just about the same page time. After Jonathan's initial narrative is over, you really don't see him much anymore, and he only narrates a little bit more at the end. After Jonathan, the narrative shifts more to Jack Seward, Abraham Van Helsing, and Mina Harker's points of views. Heck, the title character is hardly even present in this book!
Overall, "Dracula" is certainly within my top 10 favorite classics. Has a great pacing, likeable characters, and a really great plot.