I hate to say this, I really do: "I liked the movie better."
There's some interesting detail mixed in here, and the story is told effectively if not paI hate to say this, I really do: "I liked the movie better."
There's some interesting detail mixed in here, and the story is told effectively if not particularly beautifully. Overall, it reads like a novelization working from a shooting script with some extra punch dropped into the slower bits wether it fits or not.
I'd have preferred a bit more beauty in the prose to match the beauty of the movies cinematography. The vast expanses of Jakku are "rolling desert" instead of "windswept dunes and salt planes baking in the burning sun." Some, perhaps many, prefer the more direct descriptions; I really felt like the implied visuals were lacking.
Other than that, it effectively tells the mini-series version of the movie's story. Well paced, excellent dialog, all the lines you want to read are here for the reading.
It is what it is. It's a movie novelization. Pulitzer or Newberry? No. Something to read while the movie popcorn is still grinding it's way through your guts? Absolutely.
I've read a lot of Sherlock Holmes material. All the originals, many of the most popular retellings and continuations and pastiches, but this is diffeI've read a lot of Sherlock Holmes material. All the originals, many of the most popular retellings and continuations and pastiches, but this is different. This is NOT a Holmes pastiche; this is a Marry Russell novel, and Holmes as we may or may not remember him is a player (a major player, but just a player) in the greater whole.
To say that I deeply loved this book is to understate my reaction to it. I laughed very hard several times. I was surprised many times. I was bewitched from the first page until the all to quickly reached final sentence.
I love the characters, the characterizations, the plots and twists and details, the settings, the delivery, the voice and prose, and above everything and all, I love the Story. The collection of everything together into a cohesive whole.
What a delightful read.
I'm simply saddened that I didn't discover this series decades ago. Ah well, it gives me something to dive into now....more
I will start by agreeing with other reviews that found that they were surprised that they enjoyed this slightly less than Romm's last book "Ghost on tI will start by agreeing with other reviews that found that they were surprised that they enjoyed this slightly less than Romm's last book "Ghost on the Throne." It's certainly just as well written, and the topic is just as well visualized, but the author's own struggle to come to a conclusion on the nature of Seneca infects the impact of the book as a whole.
Which, really, is ultimately everything I can say about it in microcosm.
Romm does such an excellent job of introducing the players in this grand and epic farce, that the lack of closure and conclusion really robs the reader of a clear emotional resolution.
Deftly describing Seneca's rise to power along with his student Nero; and deftly describing the challenges and hypocrisies of guiding and managing Nero during his rise and early rule; and then deftly painting a portrait of the possible thought processes that guided Seneca to his eventual suicide. Deft is the name of the game here, but not depth.
Many topics are touched on, but there simply isn't enough digging to fully illustrate the various conflicts and contentions that are debated. Granted, the primary sources are either lacking in detail or lacking in objectivity, but there are a host of materials from Seneca's own pen that could have been more fully explored.
But this is not a philosophy primer, nor is it a performance review of Seneca's adherence to his own philosophical treatise; this is an indictment of who Seneca might have been, and an apologetic for who Seneca might have been. Sometimes, it tries to be both simultaneously, and this is where it stumbles.
Criticisms aside, this is an absolutely brilliant book. Romm remains one of the best historical writers of our generation. Capturing this level of nuance without overloading the reader is a near-magical feat. While I might have wanted more conclusion to match with the presentation of possibilities, the writing and the work that is on display here is absolutely stunning.
Well worth a read, and well worth the lingering questions that will plague you when you've finished....more