I almost always enjoy Terry Pratchett, and this book was no exception. It is not part of Discworld, but takes place in an alternate Earth in the 1860'...moreI almost always enjoy Terry Pratchett, and this book was no exception. It is not part of Discworld, but takes place in an alternate Earth in the 1860's or so.
Depending on how you look at it, it is either a great teen/young adult book or a subversive effort to seduce our children to atheism and doom. I think that understanding the author's background and beliefs helps make this a good book, regardless of your own beliefs.
From an adventure standpoint, the story is one of a boy who returns to his island home after going through a rite of initiation, only to find his home and all that he loves has been destroyed by a tsunami. He rebuilds, with the help of a shipwrecked young English girl and builds a new village as survivors from other islands come to the shores. They explore caves, battle cannibals and do the other island survival things that people do.
From a faith standpoint, when all that the boy had is taken away, he dares to question the gods and his beliefs. He heeds the customs to a degree, but really has to deal with the whole "is there a god" theme. Along the way, science enters into it as well, so you can sort of figure out who wins.
I think Pratchett handles it pretty delicately, though. There is room for the priests and the believers, even if the main characters have profound doubts. There is room for religion and science in his world, even if he doesn't seem to have much use for religion himself. (less)
I had just finished reading the fifth book and started immediately on this one. I'll have to take a break of a month or two before I read the latest o...moreI had just finished reading the fifth book and started immediately on this one. I'll have to take a break of a month or two before I read the latest one. Too much cleverness.
I liked this book. It is set in Fiction in BookWorld, which means that the main character, instead of being Thursday Next, is the written Thursday Next, a character introduced in the last book. So, while we know how Thursday would behave, we get to enjoy how the written Thursday is different, and watch how she grows into the role of Thursday.
In many ways, this book is much simpler than the rest. It takes place almost totally in BookWorld, so there are no disorienting jumps between "reality" and "fiction". Since Fforde has done a great job of limning out the rules of Fiction in previous books, this book reads like a straightforward sci-fi fantasy book without too much of the Charlie Kaufman-esque mind-bending of the previous books.
While I enjoyed the mind-bending of the previous books, I welcomed the simpler plot of this book. It sets up a parallel story line that gives several potential future books. If a first-time Fforde reader picked this book up, he would not be put off by it, even without knowing all the backstory of the characters and the series.
This is a good story, but only an ok Discworld book. A crime mystery with Discworld characters.
The Vimes family makes up the bulk of the story, with...moreThis is a good story, but only an ok Discworld book. A crime mystery with Discworld characters.
The Vimes family makes up the bulk of the story, with some Ventinari and a few members of the watch tossed in a few subplots. As I've found in Pratchetts's recent books, it bogs down a bit in the middle, when I start to wonder if Sir Terry properly outlined the book and if his Alzheimer's is acting up again. Then it cascades into the finale and denouement, wrapping everything up tidily.
I find that I most like the books set in Ankh-Morpork, with the usual cast of characters. When Pratchett introduces a host of new characters in a new land, I just don't find it as interesting. In this case, there were a slew of new characters, some of which only seem to exist for a scene or two.
It's definitely not the book to start out with if you've not read any other Discworld books, but it is a nice addition to the canon.(less)
What's not to like about another episode in the vampire series with Jody and Tommy? Except for the relentless bubblegum-goth Abby, who takes over too...moreWhat's not to like about another episode in the vampire series with Jody and Tommy? Except for the relentless bubblegum-goth Abby, who takes over too much of the book. I'm pretty sure her parts were fun to write, but they got a little tedious after a while.
In the meantime, the Emperor got more interesting and vampire cats? Nice touch. And Kona washes up at the marina...nice to see him, brah, after so long.
I enjoy Moore's loopy humor (reminds me of Thorne Smith, who wrote some great screwball stuff), but I hope this is the last book in this arc. If he does another Jodie book, fine, but she'll have to go to the Island of the Sequined Love Nuns or somewhere, anywhere but San Francisco.
Read the other reviews for synopses. Here's my impressions:
1) This story is a great follow-up to the first novel. There is character growth, relations...moreRead the other reviews for synopses. Here's my impressions:
1) This story is a great follow-up to the first novel. There is character growth, relationship growth and great action. Apparently, eating all those brains, in addition to keeping you alive, makes you smarter. Angel grows in confidence, as you would expect from anyone who survived a life-changing experience. She still has a lot of self-doubt, but sees that she has support from her coworkers and friends and carries on. She questions her relationship with Marcus but doesn't just dump him or do anything too stupid as she would have done in the past. And she knows how to use her zombie superpowers better.
2) Rowland adds to and explains the whole zombie situation really well. While it is sort of "True Blood" explanation, it makes sense and gives zombies a reason to exist in real life, sort of like the vampires in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I think the way the story ends offers an interesting peek into the traditional zombie story and definitely sets up book three.
3) I really hope there will only be three books in this series. As well-written as the stories are, I'd hate for them to turn into another franchise. Most series are good for three or four books, and then they stop being interesting, usually because the author runs out of ways for the characters to grow or plausible plots (I mean, how many weird murders can one town have before you run out of citizens?) I can see an epic zombie battle for the next book, but what do you do after that? (less)
I like Christopher Moore. This book, a loopy adventure in whale watching, is a sciency screwball comedy.
Moore reminds me of Thorne Smith, a writer in...moreI like Christopher Moore. This book, a loopy adventure in whale watching, is a sciency screwball comedy.
Moore reminds me of Thorne Smith, a writer in the 20s and 30s, best know for his two "Topper" books, which are raucous boozy fun. Moore's books don't have as much booze in them, but, then, he's outlived Smith by a couple of decades already.
Moore sketches riveting characters, like the New Jersey-born rasta hawaiian Kona, and you'll start thinking in his pidgin rasta-speak shortly after you meet him in the book. Amy (an unnaturally pale whale researcher), the Old Broad, the whaley boys and the rest of the characters are all vividly.
I just finished reading this for the second time, and it was just as much fun as the first time, even though I knew what was going to happen. Really just a delightful read. (less)
I've finished this book and am halfway though the next book. I like the way Fforde pulls me into books that I haven't read yet (but my English major l...moreI've finished this book and am halfway though the next book. I like the way Fforde pulls me into books that I haven't read yet (but my English major librarian wife helps explain the intricacies of all the classics).
How to describe this book? Terry Pratchett meets Lewis Carroll meets Douglas Adams? Just read the first one already. (less)
I've read three of these in succession, and will take a break before I read the next.
This book is quite good, and if you wanted to compare it to other...moreI've read three of these in succession, and will take a break before I read the next.
This book is quite good, and if you wanted to compare it to other authors, I'd throw Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Lewis Carroll into the mix. It gives a crazy way of looking at fiction and the creative process, and makes you think about what the characters are doing when they are not actively in the book.
A little familiarity with the Brontes, Dickens, and other classics is helpful but not completely necessary. The dialog is witty and the plot turns careen in unexpected directions.
I'd love to dive into the next book, but, like Pratchett and Adams, three books in succession are about as much as I am willing to do. A little break, then on to the next one in a couple of months. The mental gymnastics to understand the physics and grammar of what is going on can be quite tiring. (less)
Let's see...Hamlet, full-contact croquet, neanderthals, uneradicated Landen, evil fictional characters in the real world...yes, this book has it all....moreLet's see...Hamlet, full-contact croquet, neanderthals, uneradicated Landen, evil fictional characters in the real world...yes, this book has it all.
I liked this book, although I didn't read it as closely as I have read others in the series. It had just enough wacky mayhem and plot twists to be funny and interesting. I thought there may have been some plot holes, but it could just have been another character eradicated/uneradicated and altering the story.
If you enjoyed the other books, you'll like this one as well. If you were getting tired of the other ones, this won't change your mind, but it is fun. (less)
The more I read Fforde, the more I like him. He's got the same sort of wit that he displays so well in the Thursday Next books, but with a nursery rhy...moreThe more I read Fforde, the more I like him. He's got the same sort of wit that he displays so well in the Thursday Next books, but with a nursery rhyme bent. As someone not particularly familiar with modern England, I'm sure I missed a bunch of Reading jokes, but the children's verse tie-ins were great (Giorio Porgia as a convicted mobster was the most memorable one for me.)
I'd say these aren't for everyone, but if you like clever writing that will make you remember some obscure rhymes, pick this up. A convoluted plot, brisk action (after the usual slow middle third of a Fforde book) and a tidy wrap up before the next adventure; what's not to like?(less)
This is, as far as I can tell, a recursive meta-novel. Thursday meets her fictional counterparts in her previous books (including one so bad that it w...moreThis is, as far as I can tell, a recursive meta-novel. Thursday meets her fictional counterparts in her previous books (including one so bad that it was eradicated) and rewrites her first four books to include a less kick-ass version of herself (which is the one we have read).
Confusing? Sure. But a lot of fun, and with a great many references to classic British literature that kept my English major/librarian wife amused when I read parts aloud to her.
If you haven't read any of these books, you may want to start with the first. This one, for the uninitiated, may make your brain explode if you don't know what's going on. (less)
You want a synopsis? Read the other reviews. Here's what I liked about this book: Magical realism. The idea that the characters had to find ways to mak...moreYou want a synopsis? Read the other reviews. Here's what I liked about this book: Magical realism. The idea that the characters had to find ways to make their magic appear to be merely illusions, and that there is real magic taking place somewhere. is an attractive storytelling device. It helps you look at the world through slightly different eyes, and wonder at all you see around you, and appreciate the "magic" of everyday life. Whimsy: What is more whimsical than a circus? Add magicians that can shape and control their environment, and you have a fantastic stage for a story. Romance: I'm not a big fan of the romance genre, but the story described a romance in a very 19th-century way. Like many stories of that era, you don't always understand why the characters are attracted to each other, you just accept that they are.
The story bounces back and forth in time, but mostly in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Characters weave in and out of the story, like separate threads coming together to make a ropy story.
The jacket blurb really doesn't give you much of an idea of the story, so if you picked this up based on the liner notes, you may be disappointed. But if you take the liner notes as part of the story, and allow that the editors are allowed some hyperbole in their synopses, you'll be ok. Just know that the book is better than the liner notes.
It takes a while to read this book. With all the story lines, trying to figure out who is important and why (hint: they are all important) and absorbing the imagery of the book, there's no need to hurry through it. It is not an action book, so you aren't reading about what people are doing as much as you are reading about what is happening across several intersecting stories. (less)
I enjoy these books. The wordplay, the breakdown of the fourth wall, the alternate reality, the obscure nursery rhyme characters made real and working...moreI enjoy these books. The wordplay, the breakdown of the fourth wall, the alternate reality, the obscure nursery rhyme characters made real and working in an adult world.
The story is written as a detective mystery, with some politics and porridge as a controlled substance. In some ways, I was reminded of the Anonymous Rex books, where you just have to accept that there are disguised dinosaurs in LA. Once you accept Fforde's fantasy world, the story is a nice police procedural with a homicidal Gingerbreadman and a self-healing car.
Loopy, crazy fun read. It doesn't take itself seriously, and that's just how I like my British comic mysteries.(less)