When I was writing the review of The Cuckoo's Calling, I had admitted to being addled by happiness; that review is effusive and flowery, and certainly...moreWhen I was writing the review of The Cuckoo's Calling, I had admitted to being addled by happiness; that review is effusive and flowery, and certainly something that would make Cormoran Strike wince.
Reading "The Silkworm" has made me deliriously happy again --- but this time, the 5/5 is *not* because I got carried away. It's because this book deserves it. Now that I look back with some semblance of objectivity, "The Cuckoo's Calling" is a 4/5, or maybe even a 3.5/5, but this book is smoother and richer than the Lula Landry mystery.
"The Silkworm" is dark, often gross, and startlingly explicit. Sure, there are loads of pockets of humor and normality here and there (and of course, the awkwardness of Robin/Cormoran/Matthew situation is simply adorable), but the main theme of the book is quite disturbing. Like the fashion world in Strike#1, the literary world of well-established publishing houses, arrogant famous authors, disliked wanna-be famous authors, desperate agents and their smarmy employees, was depicted in a harsh light. Being a big supporter of self-publishing, I wish the indie authors in the book were more... serious, but I'll not press this point because it's probably not the place of this book to support the indie author revolution.
Though it wasn't very hard to spot the culprit, the details of the whodunit eluded me till the very fabulous end (unlike in Strike#1). If you love books with a lot of symbolism, where figuring out the right interpretation is tantamount to solving the whole mystery, you're surely going to love this one. Of course, JK Rowling's prowess with hiding little seemingly insignificant clues all over the place makes itself known in this book very well.
I hadn't thought it were possible that I'd be able to see and feel and know Cormoran, Robin, and Matthew better than I did in the previous book, but somehow, Galbraith made it happen. The other characters of the literary world in this book were breathtakingly real too. Eagerly waiting for the next in this series... Hurry up, will you, Galbraith? :) (less)
It might be that I rated this book 5.0/5.0 because I now know that JK Rowling is the author (really, I've got to admit I hadn't paid attention to Robe...moreIt might be that I rated this book 5.0/5.0 because I now know that JK Rowling is the author (really, I've got to admit I hadn't paid attention to Robert Galbraith), but I don't think so. I seriously don't think so.
Of course, this review might be biased because of other reasons --- I'm seriously exhilarated as I'm typing this. Happiness addles my brains.
I've always been sad about having read all of Agatha Christie's whodunnits pretty early on in my life. I even remember who did it for most of her books, so re-reading doesn't give me the same zing (though I love spotting early clues). Agatha had spoiled the genre for me.
Didn't y'all also feel overwhelmed with joy when reading "The Cuckoo's Calling"? I felt as though I'd got something on a silver platter, something I had resigned myself to live without for the rest of my life. Excellent whodunnit, and icing on the cake --- British! Nothing's better than 'em! The characters are so endearing (a bit predictable but who cares?) --- complex yet simple, so stupid in some respects and absolutely smart in others. Cormoran Strike (what an amazing name!) is exactly right for a "private dick" and Robin Ellacott complements him perfectly (though I think he wouldn't like me saying that. Or maybe he will).
Of course, this book is a tad predictable, but that does not spoil its beauty. The beauty is in character development, it's in exercising the "little grey cells" of the brain, as Poirot put it, it's in knowing that "human nature is the same everywhere", as Miss Marple put it. Details are so well presented --- and it's so nice to see how Cormoran got his clues from these details. Classic, and yet, so well done.
I'm making a lot of comparisons with Agatha Christie's work --- it's hard not to. There are many points of similarities --- British authors, book based in England, those appealing qualities that only British characters seem to have (I don't think I'd have liked an American version of Cormoran). But there are differences too, and it's not only the fact that this book is based in the modern times. I think JK Rowling did a better job at sketching out her characters than Agatha Christie ever did. Characters in "The Cuckoo's Calling" are real people --- you don't find things that they do or say incongruous.
Thank you, JK Rowling, yet again. I'm looking forward to more of Cormoran and Robin's escapades.
I wouldn't call the short stories "spine-tingling", but they were pleasant enough, if murder mysteries can be called pleasant. This short story collec...moreI wouldn't call the short stories "spine-tingling", but they were pleasant enough, if murder mysteries can be called pleasant. This short story collection is nice, light, predictable read --- good for the end of a harrowing day. (less)
My reviews of Nora Roberts books will probably be biased. Her books, to me, are really relaxing and I read them in the same spirit some people watch t...moreMy reviews of Nora Roberts books will probably be biased. Her books, to me, are really relaxing and I read them in the same spirit some people watch the TV.
However, this is my favorite of all her books (and I have read quite a lot of her books while my TV misses me). Some people blindly label Nora Roberts as the mushy romance writer but this particular book of hers has all the elements that make a very entertaining read.
There's a who-dun-it (not an entirely predictable one either), a romance and most importantly, a journey of self-discovery and rebuilding of a once-shattered life. This is what has my undying devotion and captures my imagination. It becomes very easy to identify with the protagonist and imagine yourself as her.
I'd definitely recommend it to all - even those who read only "highbrow" books (intellectual snobs) to Mills-and-Boon readers. :)(less)