This was a lovely and charming read with a heartwarming and uplifting message. Since it's a story within a story, the Rhino's tale serves as a kind ofThis was a lovely and charming read with a heartwarming and uplifting message. Since it's a story within a story, the Rhino's tale serves as a kind of fable for kids to reach out to loved ones in times of trouble. I think the message is a timely one, and it made me feel a little emotional in the hope that it's a message that more people are able to take to heart. The illustrations are bright and enhance the poetic story beautifully. This is really a lovely read for children - and even better, it's a great book for parents and teachers to read to children.
I don't read a lot of children books now, but this is a nice book for me to look over every now and again for it's message and charm....more
I read this more for the nostalgia of reading a book like the ones I read in my youth. They were usually simple, absorbing and suspenseful stories andI read this more for the nostalgia of reading a book like the ones I read in my youth. They were usually simple, absorbing and suspenseful stories and this book fit that bill completely. The character development is light, it's mostly about the plot and the mystery. Edgar Allan Poe is a character in the story - and the story spins him into a character with many flaws as an alcoholic and a man consumed by his art and his imagination. It sounds true to the idea of Poe, but it also makes the character unlikable in the story. I'm not sure how I feel about that actually. Not because I'm outraged on behalf of Poe, but because with a story that pairs him and a young boy with a mystery that needs solving, it would have been nice if they made a good team, instead of consistently suspicious and angry at each other. It does work on some level in the story though, to create more suspense and tension.
The mystery itself was well done. It seemed simple, but gradually many red herrings were thrown in which made it difficult to figure out what was really happening. The story also honors several aspects of Poe's works, especially his Dupin mysteries which was nice to see. As a mystery this is an engaging story that is crafted very well but I unfortunately didn't feel all that enamored with the characters which probably means this won't be a very memorable read for me....more
There's something about Rainbow's writing that keeps me reading even if I pretty much know what must happen. There's a predictable aspect to this storThere's something about Rainbow's writing that keeps me reading even if I pretty much know what must happen. There's a predictable aspect to this story, but the journey is more important, and the way Rainbow gets you there is so engaging. Her characters are always the most adorable people you'd ever want to meet, so getting to know them is the highlight of her books. This book explores a mature perspective on marriage and love with a complicated relationship between Georgie and Neal. I love how complex the balance of their relationship is. It seems like in books, if a marriage is in trouble there's an obvious aspect to why there's a problem, but Georgie and Neal's issues are much more subtle and it's so easy to feel that their problems are relatable to everyone. Especially if ambition or work gets in the way of doing what you really want to do. Because of this, I had an extra level of sympathy with the characters because they could so easily be me. And again that's another reason to love Rainbow's characters.
The story is a very personal examination of these characters' lives, with the bonus of wit and humor and a interesting perspective on Georgie and Neal's relationship from the beginning. The way the author brings these two sides of the same character together was amazing! Young and old versions seem the same and yet they have grown and are so completely realistic. I love how the backstories and the present are intertwined.
It's the characters that really made this book an exceptionally compelling read. There are so many wonderful moments between them - that really celebrate the beauty and variety of relationships, and also feels so real and grounded - I'm simultaneously relating to these people and wishing some of their awesomeness would rub off on me. This story takes place around Christmas, and I think that feeling of Christmas pervades throughout - with the importance of family and love. This is a lovely and heart-warming read!...more
Aisha Tyler's voice in this book is outstanding. She's so witty and erudite, and everything she describes in each of her stories are alternately charmAisha Tyler's voice in this book is outstanding. She's so witty and erudite, and everything she describes in each of her stories are alternately charming and horrifying. And funny. She walks that line so well. Each of her tales of self-inflicted wounds (bad things that happen to you and are totally your own fault) are also a mix - of stories you can relate to, and stories you can't believe anyone would allow to have happen to them. But they are all engaging, and the story a chapter format makes it very easy to keep reading, especially if you are eager to know what spectacular thing has happened to warrant the enticing sounding chapter title.
The truly great thing about each story though is how Aisha manages to turn it into a message - a learned lesson that for the most part encourages people to embrace what is different about themselves and also embrace that it is inevitable that we all will make mistakes. There are some interesting insights into human nature that comes from being very observant, and throughout it all we get a glimpse of Aisha's childhood which is almost another story in itself. Aisha's love of books and learning also made me very happy (although she had some very esoteric reading material sometimes) as I could completely relate to that.
This book is full of footnotes, which Aisha uses to add in little funny asides that add even more humor to her stories. Even though I'm usually not crazy about having to read footnotes, I started to look to the bottom even before I began the page to see what funny comment or reference Aisha made there. Although that didn't help me get into my reading flow. There are times too when Aisha can be too wordy and excessive in her metaphors - even though everything she says is completely entertaining, I thought it sometimes slowed down the pace of the book. This isn't a big deal though because she gets to the meat of her stories pretty quickly and this book is so entertaining, fun, thoughtful and intelligent....more
I am absolutely in love with this book. This fast-paced adventure fantasy was extremely hard to put down because there were twists and turns up, downI am absolutely in love with this book. This fast-paced adventure fantasy was extremely hard to put down because there were twists and turns up, down and sideways. Some I did see coming, but others surprised me and hit me very hard. This book is intense, inspiring, thrilling and funny. It's not often I see so much humor in a fantasy novel that can get very grim.
I believe the biggest and best part of the appeal in this book for me is the sense of hope in humanity. The very best and the very worst of humanity is shown, but the indomitable spirit of mankind in the face of oppression is so inspiring. The worst needed to be shown, to understand how powerful it is when people fight for what's right. Even when it might seem hopeless. The world in this novel has a bleak outlook - especially since the narrative takes place some time after the kind and idealistic King Paelis has died for his attempts to reform the politics of the land, but it's wonderful to see Falcio, Kest and Brasti impart their strength to other people through their actions.
The Three Musketeers was briefly mentioned in the synopsis, and while I think it is a good comparison in terms of the action and Falcio, Kest and Brasti are all excellent fighters who work together fluidly as a team, there is much more to them individually than fighting companions - they are not perfect and interestingly they are not even perfect friends. These characters are a perfect complement when it comes to fighting skills, but their beliefs can be somewhat at odds. Fortunately, their banter makes for fun humorous moments despite the tension that can come up between them and then it's easy to see why they remain together. I found these men and their friendship to be very believable and it made them fantastic characters to carry the story.
However, Falcio is the leader and the main character, and the depth to him because of his tragic past and his need to atone and live up to the principles he holds dear was very moving. There are many satisfying moments in this book when the reader sees how capable Falcio is as a fighter and how accomplished in his understanding of people; he's also very intelligent and cunning and I think it would be easy to make a character like this too idealized, but Falcio is flawed and damaged which makes him fascinatingly multi-faceted.
Flashbacks are an important part of the narrative - through them we see what happened in Falcio's past and the origin of the Greatcoats. I was very impressed with how the flashbacks were worked into the story. The flashbacks supported the main story perfectly and just enough was given to keep creating all of these intensely, emotional moments - because the flashback would give some information that enhanced the present-day story. While the reader is concerned with Falcio and his men's attempts to complete their mission, we come to gradually understand the tragedy that led up to the present and the revelations are deeply poignant.
This book is a wonderful and exciting journey. The only hitch in the story for me was towards the end when a couple things seemed too easily resolved. But it was a very minor issue for me because this story offers an intelligent examination on our humanity that I found very profound at times especially when it was juxtaposed against truly awful situations. Don't worry though, there's lots of swashbuckling action, wit and dark humor to counter the bleakness and the possibility of excessive sentimentalism. (I did find myself tearing up many times anyways.) I loved most everything about this book, it was a practically perfect read for me.
(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.)...more
This is a sweetly, endearing children's book with some fantastic, whimsical illustrations! With such a mundane start - the need to buy milk for breakfThis is a sweetly, endearing children's book with some fantastic, whimsical illustrations! With such a mundane start - the need to buy milk for breakfast - Neil Gaiman spins a wild, adventurous tall tale of encounters with different peoples and creatures in different times. The story moves so quickly and in very imaginatively unexpected directions, while also tying up all the loose ends nicely. Since there is a time travel aspect to it, I appreciated how neatly some of those temporal twists were explained in the end.
The story is framed by the children who are being told this story by their father, and that element of childish skepticism and tangential thinking added humor and fun side-commentary to an already entertaining story. This book was a joy to read for this adult, so I imagine it must be the same for any child. If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman, children's books, or fun stories, definitely give this one a try!...more
Hyperion is an intense and complex novel. The story focuses on seven pilgrims traveling to the planet Hyperion and on what occurred in their lives toHyperion is an intense and complex novel. The story focuses on seven pilgrims traveling to the planet Hyperion and on what occurred in their lives to bring them to that point. Each character tells their story in a long, extended chapter - with each story incredibly varied and richly detailed. Characters and worlds are introduced and elaborated on in ways that made me feel so invested in each story. These individual stories are really what made this book outstanding because they are well-written, thoughtful back stories on these characters we are at first barely familiar with. But at the end of each story it feels like the reader knows them intimately. The format of this book is intriguing and really well executed. This book is about the journey of these characters and it is very important to revel in that while reading.
The characters themselves are also well-developed and realistic - it was incredible how unique and relatable the author made each of them through the story they had to tell. Almost every story had a shock moment for me, when true horror of what each character has had to experience in their life sunk in. And there are so many moments in this story that center on life and humanity's place in it - most of the characters are striving for a better world, but they are understandably overwhelmed and confused by reality. This book definitely makes you think.
I also found it so interesting that the reader is thrown into this world completely at the start of the story. There are almost no explanations about the technology or the slang of the future, but the reader gradually understands through context. The book does a great job of showing and not telling when it comes to explanations about the world. It can be a bit confusing in the beginning, but the pieces are all laid out in the narrative for the reader to put together.
This story has beautiful writing and story development - I can't imagine how hard it must have been to put this story together! I am only disappointed in the ending which I will just say lacks a certain amount of closure. Again the focus of the story is in the journey, not the ending, but I did feel a little empty over the open ending. This book is a great read though, and the story continues in the next books in the series, so if you like complex, thought-provoking, science fiction, you should give this a read!...more
To be honest, the premise of this book didn't draw me in at first. The plot synopsis has slave culture and gambling which are two things I'm not reallTo be honest, the premise of this book didn't draw me in at first. The plot synopsis has slave culture and gambling which are two things I'm not really interested in. But from all the fantastic reviews for this, I picked it up, and I'm very glad I did. This story really was all about the characters, and it was a beautifully written fantasy drama.
The individual conflicts for Kestrel and Arin were the best part of this story I think. They both have such different backgrounds and goals, and yet they find themselves drawn to each other which causes them a lot of trouble. It was easy to be sympathetic towards their plight, and the suspense of not knowing how their difficult situations would be resolved, made the plot very engaging. The romance aspect - while appealing - was not as well drawn for me though. I wish I understood clearer why they were so attached, after only a few conversations. Especially for Arin who has so much to be bitter about. It did make sense why they were drawn to each other in the first place though, as they were characters who didn't fit in with their roles and they did have some mutual interests.
The world-building was another highlight of this story. The history and background was so vivid and realistic. The Greco-Roman flair made it even more appealing to me as well because it made it even easier to imagine the elements of the culture and the architecture. This was a very fast read for me, because I was so caught up in the twists and turns of the plot. It's a perfectly-pitched drama with high stakes and heart-rending choices. This was a fantastic read!...more