After a bit of a slow start, I really loved the beginning. Then, to my c*Review also posted at Briar Rose Reads
The Heartless City had so much promise.
After a bit of a slow start, I really loved the beginning. Then, to my complete confusion and ultimate disappointment, the story jumped ahead years, and I realized I'd been engrossed in a prologue. That prologue was the tale I most wanted to read: Virginia, smart and brave and traumatized, desperately trying to raise and keep safe a young daughter with unnatural gifts. Sadly, we jumped ahead to said daughter's teenage years instead.
I initially liked Elliot, the main male character, very much. That mostly continued throughout the story. I didn't connect so well with Iris, Virginia's gifted daughter. She was a bit... too much for me. A little too overwhelmingly beautiful and special to feel real, and her first connection with Elliot felt like insta-love. (Keep in mind that I am very picky about romantic relationships. I'm sure a lot of people would like that kind of powerful immediate connection.)
There was some gorgeous prose, swirled together with the blocks of angst and overwrought, unconvincing character interaction. The book was also set against a background of some very interesting possible conflicts (the Hydes being the most obvious example), but those aspects were mostly dropped or underused. Paired with the fact that many of the secondary characters (Virginia; Elliot's friend Cam; amazing, tough, tiny Philomena) were far more interesting overall than the leads, this felt a bit like the first draft of a really, really amazing book.
Bottom line was, The Heartless City didn't quite work for me, but there was a lot of promise hidden in its pages. I very much hope the author one day writes that truly incredible book.
Many thanks to the author for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review....more
A rollicking historical tale, headed up by a truly wonderful young female character.
The storyline occasionally moved a bit slowly, but ultimately I think that only added to my enjoyment of the rich setting and characters. Particularly Fin Button, the tough, headstrong, sometimes ruthless tomboy who did what she needed to survive--even if that meant leaving everything she'd ever known to become a pirate.
Also, Fin's relationship with her love interest was a fun gender-swapped twist on the "young man leaves behind faithful girlfriend to go on a quest" trope.
Fiction categorized as "Christian" is all too often preachy, shallow, and about as subtle as an anvil. This book was a refreshing change. The tale was built on bones of faith, but there was little preaching, and no trite easy answers. More like this, please....more
Far from suffering "second book syndrome," BEASTLY BONES was, I thought, superior in nearly every way to its pr*Review also posted at Briar Rose Reads
Far from suffering "second book syndrome," BEASTLY BONES was, I thought, superior in nearly every way to its predecessor.
JACKABY was a fun book, but suffered a bit from lack of originality. It read like a mashup of "Sherlock" and "Doctor Who," with just enough likable characters and original concepts to keep it afloat. BEASTLY BONES takes flight from where JACKABY left off, advancing the world-building and the characterization of existing characters, and introducing several fascinating new players and supernatural beasties.
Characters and events that seem unrelated all tie back together in the end, culminating in a suspenseful, explosive finale that I did not see coming. And have no fear--the lovable character from JACKABY who seemed to have been Put On A Bus at the end is present and accounted for here. This book takes place in his new home.
Unlike many second books of trilogies, BEASTLY BONES refuses to end on a maddening, scream-inducing cliffhanger. It ties up the storyline in a satisfying way, while also effectively setting up the villain and story of the third book....more
William Ritter's JACKABY is advertised as "Sherlock" meets "Doctor Who," and it doesn't disappoint on that coun*Review also posted at Briar Rose Reads
William Ritter's JACKABY is advertised as "Sherlock" meets "Doctor Who," and it doesn't disappoint on that count. For me, that was mostly a good thing.
Occasionally it was a little too on-the-nose--I could hear Sherlock's or the Doctor's voice in the brilliant, eccentric Jackaby's--but mostly I thought the author succeeded in creating a distinct character and world despite the influence of those two powerhouse British properties.
Intelligent, headstrong Abigail, daughter of a famous paleontologist and a proper Englishwoman, determines to forge her own path in the world and quickly finds herself assistant to Jackaby, a man of science who believes only in what he can see. He just so happens to be able to see the mystical world beyond our own. The two dive into pursuit of a Ripper-like serial killer who may or may not be supernatural, their mission both helped and hindered by a series of mystical encounters.
In addition to the main cast, I enjoyed the setting, and the minor characters--the brave but sad ghost, Jenny, who serves as Jackaby's housekeeper; the handsome policeman with a secret, upon whom Abigail develops a crush; and the near-madwoman whose Sight is as likely to show her a jumble of horrifying nonsense as anything helpful, but to whom all dangers are equally real.
Though JACKABY was not necessarily the most original book I have ever read, all the components were solid, and the plot threads wove together to a satisfying--and surprisingly action-packed--conclusion. I will definitely be picking up the sequel when it comes out later this fall....more
Officially a DNF. Tried going back to it a number of times, but NOTHING HAPPENED. It was all ribbons and dresses and endless tedious nattering. This mOfficially a DNF. Tried going back to it a number of times, but NOTHING HAPPENED. It was all ribbons and dresses and endless tedious nattering. This makes me sad, as I've loved Jessica Day George's other books....more