A scandal in Bohemia is the first short Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. Concerning his employment by the King of the eponymous nation and subsequent entA scandal in Bohemia is the first short Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. Concerning his employment by the King of the eponymous nation and subsequent entanglement with The Woman.
Honestly, and perhaps it's because I've seen the subject matter dealt with twice in the two modern re-tellings (both Cumberbatch and Downey jr), it was a rather underwhelming (ah-ha) affair. I was expecting a clash of wits, a cunning plan, some escalating action. Anything really, but it was a bit of a misfire as far as the plot goes: Sherlock gets hired, wears a couple of costumes, tips his hand, scares her off, she leaves a snarky note. The end.
There is some rather lovely establishment of Holmes' antipathy towards involving himself with the fairer sex, the entire introductory section on the subject of l'amour is a complete joy to read and Holmes is almost universally interesting to read about. It's the material he's given here that lets him down somewhat.
As an aside; these books are obviously (what with being over a century old) incredibly regressive with regards to racial and gender equality, but in terms of their surroundings they were pretty open minded. In particular, Watson and Holmes linking arms to stroll away from the scene of their swindle was a delightful shock....more
A good story can salvage bad writing, but no quality of prose can convince me to enjoy a crap yarn.
The first third is shlocky enough fun, with the booA good story can salvage bad writing, but no quality of prose can convince me to enjoy a crap yarn.
The first third is shlocky enough fun, with the book's only two interesting characters, and Cronin's prose is smooth and effortless, but my God, the remaining two thirds are just derivative, character-free nothing. And plot holes. And an embarrassing lack of understanding of basic physics.
Luckily for the book it gets to follow Agyar, so I'm willing to forgive it it's ludicrous "science magic" and clunky Twilight Zone "Dun Dun Duuuuuuun" chapters because reading it wasn't a painful ordeal....more
Before I review this book I feel it's important that I give it some context:
A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
The Tombs of Atuan (1971)
The Farthest Shore (19Before I review this book I feel it's important that I give it some context:
A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
The Tombs of Atuan (1971)
The Farthest Shore (1972)
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea (1990) The dates in particular.
The real heartbreak of this book is that it does not need to be a continuation of Ged's story. In fact, it should not. Books 1-3 of the Earthsea cycle are some of the best and most profoundly moving fantasy novels that have ever been written, all three of them together have perhaps half the word-count of The Fellowship of The Ring, yet cover ten times as much plot and have hundreds of times the emotional heft of the former.
The leading lady (Tenar) bounces reactively from one man to the next for menacing/protection as appropriate, while half-heartedly muttering about male dominance in the fantasy world, which would have been... tolerable if Le Guin had not consequently taken a hatchet to Ged's character in order to make some pretty unpleasant and misandrinist remarks about the Nature of Male Character In General. Concurrently to this, the titular character is introduced as a confusing metaphor for the power of women through... dragons, maybe?
As a standalone novel, it would be bad-to-average fantasy. As a coda to the Earthsea Cycle it is a travesty. Please, please read the first three, then never read this one....more
It started out badly, found itself in the middle third then descended into the usual quasi-religious shrieking hysteria that best demonstrates how lazIt started out badly, found itself in the middle third then descended into the usual quasi-religious shrieking hysteria that best demonstrates how lazy King is when it comes to actually planning any aspect of a novel.
I love love love that because King was a furious abuser of substances, and a writer, he writes exactly what he knows to the point that every single novel of his stuffed with drunks, authors and drunk authors. It makes me wonder if a great deal of his early output was perhaps a cry for help, especially when we get a POV chapter from the seventh man that day struggling with the demon drink.
Other than that it's flabby and maddeningly undisciplined, as all King books are, the character arcs don't make proper sense and it is so hideously obvious that he hasn't bothered with any proper planning or research at all. He even seems to have realised this, and later returns to Father Callaghan -the best character by far- in The Dark Tower series and one of his Bachman novels.
If you're a fan I'm sure he's written worse books but there's just something so lazy about this, how everything happens so conveniently for the vampires, how a small child overpowers the dragon of the piece because King likes the character, how I'll be reading a story then all of a sudden get ambushed by 20 pages of reverie about May in the Midwest. As though I've paid for half book and half King opinion column....more
There are so many amazing pun-tacular titles that Josh Bazell could have gone for when writing this book. The novel is a huge success and great fun, bThere are so many amazing pun-tacular titles that Josh Bazell could have gone for when writing this book. The novel is a huge success and great fun, but it's worthy of extra note if only because he didn't succumb to the temptation that must have been gnawing constantly at his gut to slap something like "House (M.D) the Hitman" on the front cover. Or "Murder, Mafiosos and Medicine".
Beat The Reaper is a frenetically paced, thrills, chills and spills ride of an action thriller. Replete with medias res opening, first person, flashback-strewn narration and bloody, bone-crunching action it is a book that most impresses by being as subtle as it is crass. Ooh! "Youth and Euthanasia". Pietro Brwna starts work by being mugged, and his day -with the odd exception- more or less consistently slides downhill from there.
Again, this was a short, lean book with no fat on it's bones so I can't go into too much detail ("Sharks, Shagging and Surgery"), but as you read, you start to realise that in this prima facie ludicrous airport kill-em-up is actually a rather heart-felt treatise on the sins of the past, and their bearing on the present. Specifically in terms of violence on any scale and the effect it has on both victim and perpetrator. Perhaps I read too far into it and was just desperate to see more than there was because I was so swept up in the narrative, but it genuinely feels like Bazell brought something worth saying to a table majoritively occupied by barely-closeted racists and teenagers. "Jews and Jaw-breaking".
Sadly, as with every single other action thriller in history, women are objectified to the point at which you start to suspect the author is a Big Hopeless Goon, the sex stuff is really off-putting, and anyone who isn't The Protagonist is basically set-dressing in terms of characterisation. These foibles aside, though, I think this may well be the face-pouch-laden, wooping silverback of airport action-lit.
If you're looking for a few hours of (literally) punchy, straight-forward reading (that will teach you a suprising amount about the human body, the holocaust and the origins of the Mafia), this is as good as I've read....more
The more books he writes, the further into this uncanny-valley of "one step better, one step worse" he slides. PractiChristopher Moore is an odd duck.
The more books he writes, the further into this uncanny-valley of "one step better, one step worse" he slides. Practical Demonkeeping was a bewilderingly strong début, a fabulous meeting of Pratchett and Gaiman in one man's brain, however; as his sales and popularity have burgeoned, he seems to have lost his filter. There's no longer a line in his head between "belongs in the book" and "why on earth did that even come into my head?"
This novel is the purest example of what's both wrong and right about his writing in one place, as it is:
- Absolutely hysterical. As in: Do not read this around other people because it will make you laugh until you honk. - Acutely embarrassing. Borderline racist bit with an easily offended straw-man Muslim (Strawslim?)? Never a good idea. - Thought-provoking and touching. It covers death with both a scourging practicality and moving lightness of touch. - Tonally schizophrenic. The mood changes with enough speed to give you whiplash, like when the news segues from a foreign crisis to Boris the water-skiing pig.
I'm over-egging the negative, as ever, as the book hits with force far more often than it misses, but this reads like a very raw, tumultuous ride. The prose is smooth and functional as ever from Moore, but the nuts and bolts of the story feel like this was a very personal tale, and that he had a lot of thoughts and feelings he felt he needed to put on the page.
Mostly this comes off really well, it's funny, upbeat and free of mawk, and I'd recommend anyone with any interest in his work give it a read.
But: It's still flawed, and it's always the near misses that hurt the most. ...more
Absolutely a guilty pleasure of the magnitude of Twilight, but for boys.
If you like Dragon Ball Z and you like Fantasy this book was written for you.Absolutely a guilty pleasure of the magnitude of Twilight, but for boys.
If you like Dragon Ball Z and you like Fantasy this book was written for you. Especially if you're between 15-18.
If you're older the lecherous depiction of women can be embarrassing and the writing is a trifle hackneyed. However this all fades away when your brain is going "holy shit this is so badass" every ten pages....more