I have read almost all of your books, under both your aliases. You wrote a character who, to this day, is my second favorite fiction...moreDearest Elizabeth,
I have read almost all of your books, under both your aliases. You wrote a character who, to this day, is my second favorite fictional crush of all time. When I found out there was a new Vicky Bliss, I ran out of my office, ignoring my work, and prayed that B & N had a copy. They did. Mind you - this is the same girl who went through two copies of "Night Train to Memphis" because of frequent re-reads.
After that beautiful novel you give me this? No light, witty, "His Girl Friday" banter? No charming, piquant, deliciously tense moments? Since when did Vicky turn into a boring socialite? She eats and complains her way through this novel before she reluctantly, and with great irritation, decides there is a mystery to solve. Vicky Bliss isn't Nero Wolfe, and it's too late to pull that stunt. And - AND! - you almost turned Schmidt into a buffoon, which he never was before. Your supporting cast didn't have any soul, and Vicky and John had none of their old familiar magic. It's like you didn't even care. You totally phoned this one in.
You are amazing though, and I am not giving up. I know the next one will be better. Fingers crossed.
"Her hand came off the glass and returned to the curtain where her nimble fingers fidgeted with the lace. For wee...moreTrash.
This was the second paragraph:
"Her hand came off the glass and returned to the curtain where her nimble fingers fidgeted with the lace. For weeks now, the doomed feeling had fed on her, no better than raging piranhas hungering for fresh meat. She was the fresh meat. Every day the fear escalated, chewed off more of her flesh; exposed more of her vulnerability."
Flash for Freedom is equal parts history and hilarity, generated by the misadventures of rakish, cowardly Harry Flashman of the 11th Hussars. Flashman...moreFlash for Freedom is equal parts history and hilarity, generated by the misadventures of rakish, cowardly Harry Flashman of the 11th Hussars. Flashman is Bond's cowardly brother. He gets all the babes and all the adventures, but with knees knocking the entire way. He is forced to take a passage on a slave ship, with a psychopathic latin spouting Captain, is almost gutted by the fierce Amazon bodyguards of King Gezo ("if you believe that even the worst of young women has charms, you are in error"), shags his way across the Middle Passage and that is only the first 100 pages.
The wit is unsurpassed - I think the only time I've laughed as much reading a novel was with Jeeves and Wooster. Fraser's throwaway lines are priceless - from the description of Gladstone as an "unemployed undertaker's mute" to Flashman's own description of the good life: "In a private yacht, with my youth, half a dozen assorted Parisian whores, the finest of food and drink, and perhaps a German band." Ridiculous.
As for the history, the research is meticulous and I think that Abraham Lincoln's characterization in this novel is the finest in fiction or non-fiction. Alone it is worth the price of the book. Highly recommended.(less)
I love Weir's nonfiction, and decided to pick up one of her forays into fiction centered around Eleanor of Aquitane.
Disappointing mainly because Weir...moreI love Weir's nonfiction, and decided to pick up one of her forays into fiction centered around Eleanor of Aquitane.
Disappointing mainly because Weir tells you exhaustively what every character feels, including humble maid servants, random courtiers, and the occasional hairbrained prince. Weir apparently forgot that she was not writing a fact intensive nonfiction novel. As a result what should be a passionate moving story comes off as a detailed dissection of a passionate moving story.
Good book to read for a fairly accurate historical depiction of Eleanor and Henry II's relationship, but don't expect to be moved. Eleanor deserves much better than this. (less)
All around pretty awesome. The plot was excellent and hooked you from the get go - you're trying to figure out what the hell is going on with the Impe...moreAll around pretty awesome. The plot was excellent and hooked you from the get go - you're trying to figure out what the hell is going on with the Imperium v. Grimnoir, how the world has changed with the advent of Actives, and how the deliciously creepy Pale Horse fits into all of this. The way this book dealt with superpowers and their origin was different and I appreciated that. It also sets up the next two books very nicely, because you are now waiting for that other, horrifying, world ending thing to show up. If I had to mention any one thing that sets Correia apart from other authors of his ilk, it is that this man lives and breathes fight scenes. Some of the best I've ever read take place in this book, and the ending fight scene in the dirigible is sick. So I can't wait to see the showdown that's going to take place between the nameless horror and the Grimnoir. (less)
I should have liked this more. An alternate history with a feisty heroine, a masked hero, and warring factions. All my favorite things. The problem wa...moreI should have liked this more. An alternate history with a feisty heroine, a masked hero, and warring factions. All my favorite things. The problem was I wouldn't have cared if the ugly vampires had actually killed the feisty heroine, and the masked hero was better off masked. His identity reveal could be seen a mile off, which is neither here nor there, but he lost much of his charm and mystery when the mask came off unfortunately. It shouldn't have happened. As for the warring factions - there was little to no politicking. Saying the world is divided between humans and vampires, and having those two halves split up into loves humans/hates humans or loves vamps/hates vamps, doesn't really count. The authors insist on telling you everything in detail, rather than letting your mind round out the feel of a caress, or tense imagining what horrors roll with the fog.
In short, some great ideas, but little soul. (less)
Not as great as Imperium, but it might be because I enjoy Cicero's early years more. Harris does a wonderful job illuminating behind the scenes politi...moreNot as great as Imperium, but it might be because I enjoy Cicero's early years more. Harris does a wonderful job illuminating behind the scenes politics in the late Roman Republic. Imagination is doing most of the work considering the historical texts available to him, but he's got a hell of an imagination. Election time, campaigning, run of the mill 'I'm bored, so let's scheme', family feuds, all of this is dramatically and vividly played out before you, so much so that reality never pulls you from the page. The great game that privileged romans played is captured captivatingly by Harris, and not without a touch of humor - the vehemence with which Senators defend convictions they do not possess is always amusing.
On another point, the characterization in this book is very good. The late Roman Republic, more than any other time in Roman history was dominated by unforgettable characters, each trying to win the ultimate prize - princeps, first citizen. Cicero, Crassus, Cato, Pompey, Caesar, Catulus, the Claudii, Lucullus - Harris ably creates three dimensional characters out of scraps from historical texts and makes you believe that the representation is accurate. This goes doubly so for the characterization of Cicero - I can no longer separate historical Cicero from Harris' Cicero - they must be one and the same so real does the detail feel. From time to time Harris might get carried away (the retelling of the Catiline conspiracy), but the hero-worship never gets in the way of the character or the story, and also never strays far from being historically dead on. Some of the characters might suffer from being a little over the top - for example the deliciously vampy Clodia and her viperous younger brother, but you still can't help enjoying yourself (I particularly enjoyed Clodia's cloak scene - a classical version of today's trench coat drop).
That being said, I can't wait for the third novel (keeping my fingers crossed that there will be one) - it should be spectacular given what is still in store for Cicero. (less)
Only memories of "Name of the Wind" prevented me from giving this book a two. The title should be changed to the "Wise Reader's Fear - a guide". Clich...moreOnly memories of "Name of the Wind" prevented me from giving this book a two. The title should be changed to the "Wise Reader's Fear - a guide". Cliched language, plot and characters. The women! Oh my god what he did to the women. The only chick with any saving grace was the money lender, and she was a) not attractive, and b) the hero rejected her advances. The hero who was schooled in the art of love by Felurian - the only revelation I came away with was how unschooled the author must be.
I don't know where to start with my disappointment. Name of the Wind felt like you were sitting by a fire and your grandmother was telling you a story. Reading it felt like magic. The Wise Man's Fear felt almost like buying tickets to watch a headliner magician in Vegas only to find out that the magician you paid for is actually a piss poor third rate talentless hack with the same name.
All that being said I am still going to get the third book. Damn it. (less)
Great way to spend a couple of hours. A thief who wants to be worth a million gold - more than all the wealth of the council kingdoms combined. In sho...moreGreat way to spend a couple of hours. A thief who wants to be worth a million gold - more than all the wealth of the council kingdoms combined. In short, an impossible goal. But you don't doubt that he will get there eventually. And with a swordsman and demonseed as companions why shouldn't he? He is so competent and irrepressibly cheerful that it's difficult not to be entertained. Standard fantasy fare, but the sass made it more than worthwhile. (less)