When it comes to crime novels I generally look to Lehane, and so the first book left me a bit parched. I didn't have a ton of empathy for the victim aWhen it comes to crime novels I generally look to Lehane, and so the first book left me a bit parched. I didn't have a ton of empathy for the victim and the interrogation scenes seemed to plod along clumsily.
I'm happy to say that both of those issues have been resolved with The Silkworm; conversations feel a bit more animated and the murder itself is especially interesting. A trait in Rowling's work is that she likes to connect everything; the smallest bit of information often comes back in the end. The murder she's contrived appeals to that particular strength and you genuinely wonder what's going on because of the particularly macabre nature of the murder. In terms of out main characters, Strike remains interestingly flawed while Robin manages to evolve a bit beyond the Mary Sue sidekick she was in the first novel.
It has its flaws, but they do not detract much. The character of Nina, brought in for plot purposes as well as to give relief to Strike, gets more or less pushed aside with almost no resolution. Additionally, and I admit it is a personal gripe, is that Rowling's quotes from Webster and Johnson, as appropriate as they are, seem a little showboat-y and out of place in a detective novel. I understand that she knows her classical literature (just look up the once-appearing Harry Potter character Mulciber's origins for evidence of such), but it's still a little showboat-y.
All that said, it's a fair read for any mystery fan I would say. Rowling fans won't be disappointed either, but that feels obvious. I'm looking forward to the eventual Cormoran Strike #3. ...more
**spoiler alert** Picking this apart, I don't think it deserves five stars.
Maybe four; certainly no less than three. I've come to this conclusion bec**spoiler alert** Picking this apart, I don't think it deserves five stars.
Maybe four; certainly no less than three. I've come to this conclusion because for the most part this is a story we've heard before in Anne Frank's diary or Lois Lowry's Number the Stars (as a few examples). It's an important story of course, but one i'm getting a bit too used to. Even though the focus is changed to a young German girl from the traditional Jewish perspective, we know how to react to this story. War is hell, and bad things are going to happen.
However, one aspect puts it up to five stars, and that is the narrator.
Death is, as in life, both intimidating and gentle. The storytelling approach is wonderfully impressive and saves The Book Thief from being just another young-adult WWII novel featuring a young girl undergoing hardships. The narration and prose is spectacular, and i'm certainly happy I gave it a shot. ...more
I made the choice when I started Inferno to not add it to my currently-reading list; Dan Brown is pretty heavily lauded in many circles, and I chose tI made the choice when I started Inferno to not add it to my currently-reading list; Dan Brown is pretty heavily lauded in many circles, and I chose to hide that I was reading this despite very much enjoying Angels & Demons. Unlike many, I don't have much of a problem with Brown; at the end of the day he writes basic thrillers and that's about it.
All that said: i'm glad I kept this a secret.
Inferno is a marvel. I didn't know that something this inconsistent, forced, and shallow could even get past an editor or a peer. Brown strikes out in almost every field; his action-movie prose becomes the equivalent of baby talk and left me saying "What? That doesn't make any sense!". The Dante references are handled poorly at best and the "twist" isn't even a twist. He explores human morality as if he was a surgeon wearing hulk-hands, sacrificing precision for ham-fisted pretention. Hulk smash!
This one surprised me a lot. I expected a relatively simple sword-and-sorcery book based on the Arthurian legends, but I didn't expect to have as muchThis one surprised me a lot. I expected a relatively simple sword-and-sorcery book based on the Arthurian legends, but I didn't expect to have as much fun as I did reading it. White writes in such a whimsical, fun tone that even when Lancelot beheads a man it stays pretty lighthearted.
Following Arthur from his beginnings as the Wart to an aged King was quite a journey, and the detour with Lancelot is less of a detour and more of a logical side-story. Overall, tons of fun and may become a favorite. ...more
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who has, before your meeting, built up something very important that they want to tell you but theyHave you ever been in a conversation with someone who has, before your meeting, built up something very important that they want to tell you but they constantly get sidetracked, and so you're just sitting there thinking "just tell me!"
That is this novel in a nutshell. As negative as that sounds, it actually works well. Ishiguro drops hints constantly as to what is really going on in the novel but always comes back to Kath's stories of Ruth, Tommy, and her time at Hailsham. This structure, which is very tightly contained, keeps you... well, frustrated. But, it's that certain special kind of frustration that you get when you're sitting on the edge of your seat for the last five minutes of a dramatic television show and you see that horrible phrase: "To be continued".
I'm being a bit vague. I haven't mentioned much about the story at all, the characters, or anything else. That is purposeful. This is not a book you look up a review of first. It's one you let suck you in with little expectations going into it. So far, all you've learned is that there are three characters, there's a place called Hailsham, and there's something else going on.
I found Rowling's previous book, The Casual Vacancy, to be positively rife with unlikeable, uncharismatic characters awash in a plot that revolved aroI found Rowling's previous book, The Casual Vacancy, to be positively rife with unlikeable, uncharismatic characters awash in a plot that revolved around petty squabbles and gossip. I'll be the first to admit that ulikable characters don't make a book bad, but they certainly don't make the experience pleasant.
Naturally, I was expecting better from Cuckoo's Calling, and I got my wish. The mystery is basic, but even a basic mystery can be interesting. Cormoran is rendered immediately interesting and it's him that drives the entire story forward.
Unfortunately, Cormoran feels like the sole pillar. Robin herself feels very uninspired, and it takes over three-fourths of the novel for events to ramp up with any sort of excitement. Rowling's prose doesn't feel effective in telling a detective story; she's often too detail-oriented to keep the plot moving. Considering that most of the novel is interrogation/ information-gathering scenes with witnesses/ family/ friends, this completely stalls any sense of momentum the novel has. It was hard enough to sympathize with a celebrity death, and the pace didn't help.
Overall, a decent entry that hopefully goes up from here if others are written, as is the tradition for detective fiction.
So uh, wow. This was an interesting pick-up and i'm glad I got it.
I'm a bit torn on what to think about it overall, though. After the first Martin anSo uh, wow. This was an interesting pick-up and i'm glad I got it.
I'm a bit torn on what to think about it overall, though. After the first Martin and Christian chapters, I was expecting it to kinda stay in that Poe-esque supernatural vein that it seemed to be going. As it went through Anke and Linde's chapters however it turned more or less into village politics and gossip with a touch of supernatural. Didn't hurt the experience that much but made me expect a more bombastic ending.
Overall I feel like I went on a trip. A creepy, creepy trip to a place I never want to see again until my next read, but a trip nonetheless. Highly enjoyable....more