**spoiler alert** I've attempted several drafts of a review, but I keep deleting them.
To-the-point, this was not in any way, shape, or form a decent**spoiler alert** I've attempted several drafts of a review, but I keep deleting them.
To-the-point, this was not in any way, shape, or form a decent follow-up to one of the most beloved American classics (even though it was technically a first draft of what Mockingbird was originally going to become).
That's about all I have to say. I do not recommend it for the casual reader, only for those in Academics and other scholars of American literature. Go Set A Watchman is accurately comparable to Deerslayer in that it is merely a poor novel unfortunately crafted by an author with a fantastic novel already in their bibliography. ...more
It is very difficult to write a review of a collection from a man I look up to as a mentor of the craft of writing, so I will simply say this: JohnsonIt is very difficult to write a review of a collection from a man I look up to as a mentor of the craft of writing, so I will simply say this: Johnson occupies a permanent home on my shelf next to Carver and Hemingway, all masters of the psyche of the Average Joe....more
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
In my review of the second book of the Magicians trilogy, The Magician King , I may have been a bit harsh.
While I still do not care for Julia and heIn my review of the second book of the Magicians trilogy, The Magician King , I may have been a bit harsh.
While I still do not care for Julia and her backstory and do find fault with the ending of that book, I have resigned myself to more careful consideration of it. To be fair, it is the middle book, and middle books do often have a problem: they don't have true beginnings or endings, and feel like they're meandering.
Finishing the third (and final?) book of the trilogy (cycle?) is what lead me to revise my feelings toward it. Now thirty years old, Quentin Coldwater is a graying former teacher (you'll see why) accepting freelancing jobs for cash. Quentin's story in this novel is a perfect endcap to his previous adventures. He is smarter, calmer, and overall more experienced. He's grown up, and as a 20-something who is starting to notice himself gaining more and more gray hairs, I finally feel I can understand him. This is something we never got from the Hogwarts kids or the Pevensies; growing up. Sure we got an epilogue in The Deathly Hallows, but we never got an adventure with the Potter household.
Quentin's nature reinforces the plot, which admittedly can be thin, but at this point we don't care. Quentin wants one thing: to bring Alice back to the world of the living, and he will stop at nothing. The sheer determination within him is enough to drive the reader forward; we wonder if he'll succeed. Road-blocking this adventure, however, is the issue of an Apocalypse within Fillory. While it all comes together in the end and Janet in particular gets a wonderful backstory, they seem to break up the action too much.
That criticism is small, however. Reaching the end of this series, i'm very glad i've read it from the beginning. I recommend it to every Potter-head like me, and if the more adult tone turns you off, well.... tough.
**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