Dark Places was a pretty interesting mystery. I did enjoy how the narrative switched from present to the hours before the murders. The main character...moreDark Places was a pretty interesting mystery. I did enjoy how the narrative switched from present to the hours before the murders. The main character was interesting enough, but I didn't find her as compelling as either Amy or Nick in Gone Girl. The big problem for me was the ending. When it was revealed what happened the night of the murders, it was just weird. I just thought it was really forced in order to create a shocking ending. (view spoiler)[ I actually would have preferred if the brother and his girlfriend had committed all the murders and the main character was right all along. As it was, it was just a weird and unsatisfying ending that didn't have enough build-up in the plot. It was like, "oh, it's this random hit man that was mentioned once in passing in an unrelated scene earlier in the novel!" But only for two of them! (hide spoiler)] I also found the "satanic" scenes and themes very disturbing. It's going to take awhile for me to pick up Shape Objects.(less)
I do not read a lot of adult fiction. I mostly read young adult books. However, I do like to try and read books that are massively popular. Gone Girl...moreI do not read a lot of adult fiction. I mostly read young adult books. However, I do like to try and read books that are massively popular. Gone Girl certainly counts. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I usually feel a bit let down by these massively popular books-- a sort of "THIS is what all the fuss is about?" feeling (The Help was the most recent offender). Not so with Gone Girl. 4 and a half stars. Wow. This book is quite a wild ride. It's also basically impossible to review unless you include a ton of spoilers, which I don't want to do. For me, this was basically a perfect crime novel. Well written with interesting (not admirable, interesting) characters, and a plot that kept me guessing. I do think this is the type of mystery that might appeal more to women than men, because of its highly psychological nature. I could not put it down. And that contorversial ending-- I loved it. I'm now really interested in reading Gillian Flynn's previous two novels: Sharp Objects and Dark Places.
Umm, I’m sorry, but what was this? I was hugely disappointed in this book. I really, really liked the first book in the series. But to me, Tears of th...moreUmm, I’m sorry, but what was this? I was hugely disappointed in this book. I really, really liked the first book in the series. But to me, Tears of the Giraffe was nothing like No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The first book had a handful of interesting cases, one big case, plenty of humor and charm, and a nice smattering of character development and background. Tears of the Giraffe spent much more time waxing poetic about life in Africa and telling a side-story about two orphans than it spent time on the actual mystery. All the talk about life in Botswana became very tedious, and it felt like the author was getting on his little soap box. I get it, Botswana is wonderful, can we move on to the actual story please! The story about the two orphans, I actually quite liked, but it took up too much of the narrative. It is suppose to be a side story, but I think it gets the most time in the book. Also, while there were five or six mini-cases in the first book, there was only one side case (view spoiler)[ of a very obviously cheating wife. (hide spoiler)] The main mystery was also very unsatisfying. Precious makes two or three interviews and boom, she solves a ten year old case? What?! Sure, she kind of cleverly entrapped the guilty party, but come on, no one in ten years thought to do what she did or was able to get to the bottom of it? It was way too easy. And personally, I like to try and figure things out along the way in mysteries, but with this one, there really weren’t any clues, it was just “this is what happened”. I might give the series one more shot because I liked the first book and the HBO series, but if the next one is like this one, I will be done with the series.(less)
Fun with attractive artwork that matched the characters I have come to know through the novels. The only detractor was the short length (not enough Ha...moreFun with attractive artwork that matched the characters I have come to know through the novels. The only detractor was the short length (not enough Harry!) and the fact that there really wasn't much "mystery" as it was pretty evident who the killer was from the very beginning. It was good as a short story though, and has piqued my interested in reading the graphic novel version of Storm Front.(less)
This novel was equal parts funny and poignant. I loved Christopher, who had such a memorable voice and described things exactly as he saw them. I also...moreThis novel was equal parts funny and poignant. I loved Christopher, who had such a memorable voice and described things exactly as he saw them. I also loved that Mark Haddon never spells out the fact that Christopher is on the Autism spectrum, he just lets the readers figure it out on their own. Also, all the complex relationships going on around Christopher are also left for the reader to read between the lines and figure out what is really going on. It was very bittersweet.
If you are looking for a good fictional portrayal of a teen on the Autism spectrum, skip House Rules and read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time instead. (less)
I'm at the point in the series where reading another Dresden Files was like returning to an old friend. This w...morePossible spoilers for Dresden Files 1-4.
I'm at the point in the series where reading another Dresden Files was like returning to an old friend. This was definately the best book in the series so far. I'm wavering around 4 and 1/2 stars because I'm not generous with my 5 stars. But especially the mind-blowing ending of Death Masks has me tempted to break my ratings rules... and in Death Masks, Temptation is serious business.
Butcher did a really good job maintaining the two seperate plots going on in Death Mask. One plot involves the escalating war with the Red Court Vampires in which Dresden is challenged to a duel to the death (what's new?) and a second plot involving the missing Shroud of Turin. If the Shroud of Turin is any indication, Butcher spends a lot of Death Masks focused on what I would call "Christian Mythology"; basically transporting certain pop-culture elements of Christianity into a fanatasy setting. The Knight of the Cross, Michael, from Grave Peril returns and we also meet the other two Knights of the Cross. They are pretty cool, I especially love Michael and his intense faith. The biggest new organization to be introduced is the Order of the Blackened Denarius, (view spoiler)[ an order of Fallen Angels, who when bonded to human hosts are allowed to tempt them into evil. The Fallen Angels are bound to silver coins, there are 30 of them... you get the idea... they are bad news. (hide spoiler)] But the real bad news for Dresden is that, they don't want him dead, they want him (What's new?). This made for some pretty interesting and insightful sequences regarding Dresden's weaknesses. (view spoiler)[ As is somewhat typical for Dresden, he manages to win the battle (sort of) but lose the war, in the jaw dropping ending, where Dresden picks up one of the silver coins, binding himself to the Fallen Angel Lasciel, in an effort to protect Michael's toddler. Sigh. Oh Dresden. (hide spoiler)]
I thought both of the plots where handled well, and that Butcher's plotting is getting tighter as the series goes on. Overall, I really liked Death Masks and I think it was the strongest entry in the series so far. Now onto Yays and Boos. A new character, the Archive (yay!), Johnny Marcone is back and he has something resembling a heart (Yay! Is it bad if you "yay" for vicious crime bosses?), Thomas Raith reappears (Double yay! (view spoiler)[ The sequence where he shows up completely "drunk" to the duel was the funniest part of the book (hide spoiler)]), Murphy does not dispatch a plant demon with a chainsaw (Boo! Summer Knight, anyone?), Susan is back (Double AND Triple Boo! Seriously, I don't know what it is, but I hate Susan.) ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Oh boy. Dresden sure knows how to get into trouble. While in Grave Peril, Dr...morePossible Spoilers for Dresden Files 1-3.
Lord, what fools these mortals be.
Oh boy. Dresden sure knows how to get into trouble. While in Grave Peril, Dresden kind of annoyed me; in Summer Knight EVERYONE ELSE annoyed me! Well, everyone on the White Council at least. This is actually a good thing, as I was back to sympathizing with and liking Dresden. He just can't catch a break.
Summer Knight moves along at a fast, engaging clip and slips more into the "high fantasy" area than the first three Dresden Files books. I thought this switch into the land of Fairie worked very well. Jim Butcher has this amazing ability to cram every possible popular representation of a creature (so far vampires, werewolves, and fairies) into the Dresdenverse and make it awesome, instead of over-cluttered. Tiny pixies? Check. Trolls? Check. Ghouls? Check. Amazingly powerful and beautiful trickster Fae? Check. Check. The various fae characters were interesting, if not always likable-- I particularly liked Merle.
Susan, the previous femme fatale lite, is nowhere to be seen in the novel (though she is very present in Dresden's thoughts), and is replaced in Summer Knight by a more traditional femme fatale character-- who I personally enjoyed more than Susan. One complaint was that Murphy was not in Summer Knight very much-- she has her own issues as a result of what happened in Grave Peril. However, she does get one good action scene and is still fully awesome. Dresden has different backup for the majority of the novel.
The Dresden Files are fun, plain and simple. Summer Knight was no different. I'm looking forward to Death Masks.
Though I'm a huge BONES (TV series) fan, this is my first of the books. It turns out the books and the tv series have nothing to do with each other. T...moreThough I'm a huge BONES (TV series) fan, this is my first of the books. It turns out the books and the tv series have nothing to do with each other. The book was good enough, but I didn't love it. I enjoyed the mystery and the science aspect. However, I really didn't enjoy "love triangle". This woman is an accomplished, intelligent woman in her forties... but she behaves like an immature and selfish teenager with her two beaus. Dramatic, yes. Plausible, no. Maybe I would react differently if I were involved in the books. But as it is I just rolled my eyes and thought, "just pick one, already!"(less)
**spoiler alert** My least favorite of the half-dozen Grafton's I've read. Though it had a compelling enough mystery, the ending was terrible. I know,...more**spoiler alert** My least favorite of the half-dozen Grafton's I've read. Though it had a compelling enough mystery, the ending was terrible. I know, going into a Grafton that the protagonist will be in grave danger at the end of the story... it's just a trope Grafton follows. However, the danger she is in usually makes some kind of logical sense within the confines of the story. This time, Kinsey was just an idiot and I had little sympathy for her. Also, at the end of the book I didn't really understand what the killer's motive was. It was kind of explained, but there was never a clear wrap-up, so it was unclear if that was what had actually happened or if it was just what Kinsey thought happened. Basically the nonsensical ending ruined an otherwise decent mystery.(less)
I'd rate 3 and 1/2 stars. This was a really interesting story that took a little too long to tell. While I enjoyed the characters (especially Lisbeth)...moreI'd rate 3 and 1/2 stars. This was a really interesting story that took a little too long to tell. While I enjoyed the characters (especially Lisbeth) and the cold-case mystery, the lawsuit portions dragged on a bit too much and were pretty dry. Overall, I enjoyed the book from a story stand point and am very glad that I read it.
However, A few warnings: this book has graphic violence (including rape) and wouldn't be for everyone. I don't consider myself squeamish and I was cringing through portions of the book. Though I know the author meant to make a statement about violence against women... at times the statement seems to be "look, here's some more of it". (less)
Not as solid as the first two. I felt like Dresden whined his way through the entire book. Also a certain antagonist appeared a few too many times, ev...moreNot as solid as the first two. I felt like Dresden whined his way through the entire book. Also a certain antagonist appeared a few too many times, even though her interactions with Dresden were almost exactly the same and her multiple appearances didn't add much to the plot. Two cool new characters though! And really interesting vampire mythology. I will continue reading the series.(less)