I liked this a lot. Some of the suspense was missing, since the events took place in 1998 and the winner is well known. (And his record still stands tI liked this a lot. Some of the suspense was missing, since the events took place in 1998 and the winner is well known. (And his record still stands to this day! Although someone else is trying to break it this year - John Vanderpoel.)
But it was still exciting reading about this stuff - I was completely unaware of competitive birdwatching as a concept prior to reading this. ...more
I appreciated the first person perspective in this, and I appreciated that the voice of the narrator was consistent throughout the whole thing. I wasnI appreciated the first person perspective in this, and I appreciated that the voice of the narrator was consistent throughout the whole thing. I wasn't sure how I would do with the 5 year old perspective, but this was done really well.
I felt like a lot of the power of this story would come from not knowing what happened next - but since I read so many reviews and summaries of this book before I actually read it, I knew what was coming up, which I think ruined it a little for me.
I did think the pacing was a little off - the first half or so was steady plot progression but then it sort of zoomed ahead. I did really like the ending....more
This was okay. It's organized by month - but not really into any seasonal sort of order. There are a lot of interesting factoids about the year 1000 oThis was okay. It's organized by month - but not really into any seasonal sort of order. There are a lot of interesting factoids about the year 1000 or thereabouts. The authors are kind of loose in their requirements for "the year 1000" - as though I was writing a book about the year 2000 today and used info from 1900 to describe life at that time. Only 100 years apart, but wildly different daily life.
I think they ran out of known facts about the year 1000 and started including facts about other eras as filler. A better strategy would have been to include facts about the year 1000 that took place outside of England. Or they could have just made the book shorter? Or included more pictures? I dunno, if you have a really specific date like 1000 in your title, maybe you should not be writing about Henry VIII, it's a little disingenuous. ...more
I really like memoirs, and I really like short stories, and I like reading the Yarn Harlot's blog, so I liked reading this book. I was a little disappointed that some of the stories were recognizable blog posts - I remembered reading them previously.
Many of the stories were more about life as a knitter/person with a giant stash of yarn than about knitting itself. This DEFINITELY helped diversify the audience for this book - for instance I knit stuff, but sort of slowly and ineffectively, and I could identify with many of the stories in this book despite that.
Let me tell you, I was SO glad that I had previously read Moby-Dick or, The Whale and was relatively familiar with it before reading this book. This iLet me tell you, I was SO glad that I had previously read Moby-Dick or, The Whale and was relatively familiar with it before reading this book. This is really the author’s paean to Herman Melville, who he seems to have a bit of a crush on. I personally think Herman Melville was a little weird, so I was not totally thrilled with the deviation from whales to whalers, BUT the author’s unbridled enthusiasm for the topic carried the book.
I did have to fight the urge to gently remind the author that Ishmael is a fictional character, and not a historical figure. While it is extremely likely that he was based on a real person, or amalgam of persons, it is not as though Moby Dick is the personal journal of an actual individual. However, quotes from Ishmael are included interspersed with information from actual real people – scholars & historians. This made me twitch.
I think the author is completely crazy, based on reading this, but he was SO ENTHUSIASTIC about everything having to do with whales and (especially) Herman Melville that it was endearing. He was so honest in his enthusiasm and interest that it was hard not to like this book.
Although – two things.
1. I cannot believe he did not mention the Star Trek movie with the whales, when discussing whales in popular culture!! I find it hard to believe that this dude has NOT seen this movie.
Wow. Um. So. I read this in less than 24 hours, it was really compelling for me. The author was so real and raw and honest about his thoughts and feelWow. Um. So. I read this in less than 24 hours, it was really compelling for me. The author was so real and raw and honest about his thoughts and feelings and struggles with food and eating and weight and life that in reading this, it seemed like he was someone I knew, or someone I would want to know. Someone that reminded me of myself. (Except that I am obviously less successful in my career.) I want to know what happens next, what is going on now that Mr. Bruni is no longer the NYT food critic? Obviously he becomes an opinion columnist at work, but what about personally?...more
I can't believe it took me so long to read this! It was cute, and a nice companion to the HP books. I do kind of wish there had been more stories, orI can't believe it took me so long to read this! It was cute, and a nice companion to the HP books. I do kind of wish there had been more stories, or they were a little meatier. ...more
This is a book that I have had on my to read list since 2003. I was motivated to read it after reading The Private World of Georgette Heyer, and afterThis is a book that I have had on my to read list since 2003. I was motivated to read it after reading The Private World of Georgette Heyer, and after reading the Vulpes Libris review. I listened to this on audiobook first, but it's only the abridged version (sob!) so I read the whole thing afterwards. Abridged versions should be illegal.
I cannot believe I waited so long to read this! I loved the characters and the DIALOGUE, which was great. I really liked Venetia, Damerel not so much, but I LOVED Venetia's brother Aubrey. Plus, the supporting cast of Venetia's family/meddling neighbors was excellent.
It really is very much like Jane Austen, but with even better characters. LOVED this.
I have not actually read any Georgette Heyer books, but I have heard of her peripherally and thought this would be a good overview. Plus, it was in frI have not actually read any Georgette Heyer books, but I have heard of her peripherally and thought this would be a good overview. Plus, it was in front on the library's New Books shelf.
This was so short! I think Ms. Heyer herself sounded like a fascinating person - and a challenge to research, since she did not give interviews, etc. The biographer certainly found enough details from a variety of sources to determine the factual events of Ms. Heyer's life, BUT I think this biography suffered from not being able to include many of the thoughts and feelings of its subject. There were a lot of financial details that were just not that interesting, but I assume these would be on the public record, and easier to research. Similarly there were many details about contracts and legal battles with publishers - not compelling reading.
All of the aspects of this that I disliked were related to the author and editorial choices, NOT the subject. I AM going to read a couple of Georgette Heyer books themselves - the descriptions of the research and attention to detail involved in her books sounds impressive.
My favorite part of this was: "An Infamous Army sets a strong romantic story in Brussels during the weeks leading up to Waterloo. [Ms. Heyer's] description of the climactic battle has been used at Sandhurst and acclaimed as the best there is, and as her son remembers, the only public lecture she ever gave." I mean, how cool is that??? I could not imagine anything like this happening now, with any writer of popular fiction....more
I had never heard of this book before stumbling on the BBC miniseries, which I watched in one long unintentional binge on a Thursday night, staying upI had never heard of this book before stumbling on the BBC miniseries, which I watched in one long unintentional binge on a Thursday night, staying up WAY too late because it was SO GOOD. And then I immediately downloaded this book because I desperately needed to know more about these characters.
GAH. Literally all I wanted to do after starting this was to read this book. I have NEVER been interested in industrial settings in the 1800’s, it is possibly my least favorite historical era, dark and coal-fueled and sooty with consumptive factory workers & small-time political drama, but OMG the CHARACTERS! I LOVED this book. Some of the characters were EVEN BETTER than their portrayal in the miniseries (Mr. Bell!) and there were just as many excellent lines of dialogue, if not moreso.
I do NOT think I would have enjoyed this without seeing the miniseries first, because the whole time I was reading this I kept picturing the actors & scenes & settings in my mind. It got me through the dialect of the Higgins' by being able to picture Brendan Coyle deliver those lines. And of course, Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe. Yikes. The ending is a little bit different but this was a fantastic book. I would have had a hard time with it when it was first published - it came out originally in serial format over 22 segments, and it was hard enough to wait and read it over two days.
Also - the film adaptation was so fantastic & extremely true to the book. I think that this is up there with Lord of the Rings on my personal list of excellent film adaptations. ...more
This is absolutely NOT a definitive work on the Atlantic, which I think should have been clarified in the title, because it makes it sound as though iThis is absolutely NOT a definitive work on the Atlantic, which I think should have been clarified in the title, because it makes it sound as though it is. This is sort of a scattershot overview of the general history of the Atlantic from a European perspective. It seems like it was written by assembling facts about the Atlantic onto post it notes or index cards, and then sorting these into vaguely connected groups. I think the subject was entirely too large to tackle in such a short book. Each one of the facts mentioned has had volumes written about it, and to sum each thing up into a sentence or two, or even a paragraph, didn’t really do justice to anything.
However, I listened to this as an audiobook, and that kind of format worked well for keeping me interested & awake while driving. Most of the facts & anecdotes, aside from the author’s own personal experiences, were things I already knew. The author’s personal story was used as one of the narrative threads that held this book together, along with a parallel loosely drawn to Shakespeare. I think if the author DIDN’T inject his own observations and experiences into this, it would have had nothing at all making it unique or having any semblance of cohesion.
I found it a little odd that while the topic was The Atlantic Ocean, most of the discussion revolved around humankind’s activities on the SHORES of the Atlantic, or men mucking about in boats. A relatively small number of pages were dedicated to the actual biological, technological, or geophysical goings on IN the Atlantic.
This was also heavily weighted with a European perspective of the Atlantic – South America, North America, and Africa, which all border the Atlantic just as much as (if not moreso than) Europe does, were only mentioned or brought up when they had something to do with European goings on in the Atlantic. It felt unbalanced, but made more sense considering the author’s background.
In reading this, I found myself really wishing that the author would have picked three or four topics and really looked in-depth into THOSE, instead of not really writing about much for more than a page or two.
I am also a little shocked that I agree with Karl Rove on his review of this book....more
I actually think the structure required in a short story format works MUCH better for this author than some of the longer books of his I’ve read. (TerI actually think the structure required in a short story format works MUCH better for this author than some of the longer books of his I’ve read. (Terminal World, I am looking at you.) The plots and situations he places his characters in are unique and interesting to hash over. BUT with a short story, it is hard for him to get bogged down in unnecessary and unproductive dialogue.
I have not read the other books in the revelation space series, and I really didn’t feel like I needed to in order to understand these stories. (I read Chasm City, but that was really a stand-alone.) There was nothing presented here that was totally incomprehensible, and in many situations the characters are used as foils for the author to explain scientific concepts HE clearly finds interesting. I guess some things would be revelatory if I had read other books in the series, but as it is I did not feel like I was missing out.
I really liked the Conjoiners. I REALLY liked the Denizens. I do not totally understand the author’s obsession with big game hunting – I could go my entire life without revisiting Hammer Dryad hunting. BUT there were no truly terrible stories here – all were at least entertaining.
My favorites in this collection: Weather Grafenwalder’s Bestiary A Spy in Europa
The ones I was only mildly interested in: The Great Wall of Mars Nightingale Glacial Dilation Sleep Galactic North ...more
This is a reread. I read this whole series a bunch of times many years ago. This was one of my favorite books/characters for a long time – and I thinkThis is a reread. I read this whole series a bunch of times many years ago. This was one of my favorite books/characters for a long time – and I think around the same time I read most of the other things Bernard Cornwell wrote. I mean, how can anyone not like Sharpe? I tend to think of this as being part of the same series as Horatio Hornblower and Aubrey/Maturin.
This is actually one of the (many) books that I butted heads over with High School English Teachers. I remember one of the assignments I had was to write a book report on a book or series of your choice, and I picked this one, because HELLO, it is awesome. Plus, I think I was 13 at the time, which is the optimal age for many books, including this one. (I used to read a lot more than I do now.) BUT one of the things that I remember most clearly is that the teacher obviously intended that all of us would choose Impressive Classic Literature (but never actually SAID this or defined it) and I got in a whole bunch of trouble, and I think something like a D on the assignment over my choice of book. Really? I mean, the NYT reviews this author’s work as being “more likely to appeal to fans of J. R. R. Tolkien than of David Macaulay,” which is totally true, but a D?
As an adult, I can see that this is ridiculous, and probably the assignment should have been a little more structured, but at the time, this was a big deal. AND now it is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of this book. (Honestly, a good teacher would have realized the error of their ways and either modified or redefined the assignment – this is not totally an uneducational book, as it is based in large part on actual historical events, but I don’t think I ever had a good English teacher. Sad.)
After rereading this I still like it a lot, mostly because of Sharpe. And I have a new appreciation for Hakeswill, who is a great villain because he is SO believable – this guy would fit right in as an evil middle manager at any company anywhere. I think I have met some folks who swear by the Hakeswill Theory of Management.
This was a perfect book to listen to as an audiobook on a long car ride. Sam, the protagonist, was as bright as a box of rocks, so he got into all kinThis was a perfect book to listen to as an audiobook on a long car ride. Sam, the protagonist, was as bright as a box of rocks, so he got into all kinds of mildly entertaining situations. I actually really liked the local detective and his entire family, if he had been the focus of this book instead of a plot featuring a dumb American, I would have given this an extra star....more
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads First Reads program. (Awesome!)
I get the feeling that this book wDisclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads First Reads program. (Awesome!)
I get the feeling that this book was born out of the author's frustration with the current state of affairs in politics. A lot of examples that are chosen (ha!) involve the Tea Party, and illustrate how, exactly their rhetoric is wrong. (Not that this is difficult.) This is VERY much a book written by and for Americans. The writing style is easy and conversational, and reminded me a lot of Malcom Gladwell - my initial impression was that this was another effort to capitalize on the marketable success of Gladwell's books.
One of the problems with this topic is that there are SO MANY examples of how choice is a myth. In the introduction alone, the author assails the reader with a rapid-fire barrage of situations - it becomes a little overwhelming. For example, on pages 32-33 of the ARC, you get: Obamacare, Unionization from the unions' point of view, Unionization from business' point of view, Tort Reform, Dietary Choices (fast food), and Gay Rights. On TWO PAGES. Obviously, none of those topics is examined in great detail. You get the feeling, as a reader, that if you skim over one paragraph, you are going to be missing a whole topic, or at least a major point.
This improves slightly in later chapters, but there is still a LOT of information that is not necessarily conveyed in the most understandable way. The best sections involve legal cases, which are explained clearly and concisely, in an eminently relatable style. In these sections it is very obvious that the author is a legal scholar and law professor. However, because of the legal background of the author, the central thesis of choice sometimes becomes muddied – are we talking about choice as a myth from a societal point of view, or from a legal point of view? Or both?
A lot of this is written as kind of a first-person narrative, and the author includes himself and his family when he wants to make a point or use someone as an example. Although this is written through the lens of a privileged scholar from Cambridge, the author points out these biases, and acknowledges his cultural and social assumptions. I do kind of love the section involving Salazar v. Bueno where the author is poking fun at Justice Scalia’s ego. The section describing Justice Souter’s intellectual empathy is also terrific.
But it does seem that because this book is so “of the moment” that it will easily and quickly become outdated – there are so many up to date modern cultural references and examples cited that it gets a little exhausting. As I got toward the end of the book I was half expecting to see a section about Occupy Wall Street. (There wasn’t.)
I kind of wish the author had been more selective and concise in his examples, and had stuck more to the topics he is clearly an expert in, rather than trying to diversify the topic. Even with all that effort, this book is only written for a narrow audience – Americans, and those that are in opposition to much of the current political climate at that. ...more
I think this is meant to be some kind of general overview about modern India in the last 10 years or so – BUT when I read this I thought of it more asI think this is meant to be some kind of general overview about modern India in the last 10 years or so – BUT when I read this I thought of it more as being the author’s memoir, comparing the impression of India from his childhood in the US to the rapidly modernizing reality he found when he moved there. He then goes into in-depth investigations of different facets of this phenomenon, but he never really removes himself from the narrative.
I didn’t really know a lot about the topic – I have read a fair number of books on the experience of immigrants from the India of, say, the 70’s or 80’s coming to the US and the cultural issues that entails, but not much about India currently. It was especially interesting because the author and I are roughly the same age, and grew up in roughly the same way (except that I am obviously not Indian). But I was able to connect with the author’s story a little more because of this, I think.
Because this is such a personal story, it is hard to think of the subject on a nationwide (global?) scale. The author does score some fantastic interviews, though. And it’s much more interesting to me to read about cultural/political change from the perspective of the man on the street rather than that of a scholar or journalist or politician. The best parts of the book are the sections that involve the author’s personal experience or that of his family – it gets dry and stuffy and boring when he tries to address topics more formally.
I had never heard of Joseph Needham OR his epic work, Science and Civilization in China, before reading this. I only picked it up because of the authoI had never heard of Joseph Needham OR his epic work, Science and Civilization in China, before reading this. I only picked it up because of the author – I’ve liked everything else by Simon Winchester.
After reading this, I recognize the great contribution this guy made to science, especially in bringing information about China back to England, but I do not think I like him very much as a person. I definitely would not have liked to work with him. The dude was very smart, obviously, but his flamboyant personal life tended to be the primary driver of his interests. (The book could have been called: The Man Who Loved Chinese Women.) Dr. Needham would not have lasted long in a modern corporate or university setting, though – I was struck by how unethical his actions were a lot of the time. The way he was able to give his mistress a job would not fly today – as Paul Wolfowitz could tell him. And that he was the only guy in his department who never had to teach, and kept his office/rooms/lab for years even though he was out of the country constantly, and the way he manipulated expensive trips so someone else was paying for him to consort with his mistress, etc etc etc.
I did learn a lot reading this, since I don’t know much about Chinese history at all – in the 20th century or otherwise – I just wish the focus of interest had been a more likable guy. I did kind of sympathize with him by the end, and the sections about McCarthyism from a British perspective were very interesting, as well as the sections about traveling through China doing research. ...more
I liked the author’s first book, The Dante Club, but I remember it having a really slow start. This must be part of the author’s style, since this has a similarly slow start. (Even though one of the first scenes is the narrator witnessing Poe’s funeral!)
One of the reasons I liked The Dante Club is that I did not know a lot about Dante prior to reading it – but that’s not really the case here, I knew a little bit about Poe already. There is a lot of original research that the author did that could be interesting, but it’s wrapped in a moronic plot, with a duller than dull main character.
I just really disliked the protagonist. It is really difficult to swallow, as a reader, that this guy is so obsessed with someone he only received a few letters from. The initial plot with the main narrator seems cribbed from Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – if Jekyll was a lawyer instead of a scientist. His partner Peter is like an amalgam of Sir Danvers Carew and Utterson, and Hattie Blum is almost exactly like Emma Carew. I wish this had not been written with a first-person narrator. I also think it is a bit of a stretch to have the narrator be a close personal friend of EA Poe, but then not know that much about him. (Or just a BNF? Hard to tell.) I think what the author was trying to do was use the narrator as a vehicle to present his research, but it just didn’t work.
I was not convinced, as a reader, WHY any of the characters were taking the actions that they did. They seemed to careen around the plot at random, for no discernible reason. Also – this was just BORING. There was no tension-filled mystery – the narrator is wandering around being dumb and chatting people up. I did a lot of skimming. I had to force myself to finish this, and it was not super pleasant. ...more
This one was okay, but the first book in the series, Chew: Taster's Choice, is really the best. This one had so many plotlines going that it felt a liThis one was okay, but the first book in the series, Chew: Taster's Choice, is really the best. This one had so many plotlines going that it felt a little haphazard....more
I sincerely do not think that I would have enjoyed this whole series nearly as much as I did if it were not for the audiobook recording by Alan CumminI sincerely do not think that I would have enjoyed this whole series nearly as much as I did if it were not for the audiobook recording by Alan Cumming.
I listened to this in the car on the way to and from North Carolina for christmas this year, and it was great for that purpose. I do think that the plot got REALLY unwieldy in this book - there were SO many new characters and settings introduced for such a short time, instead of using the third book in the trilogy to, you know, wrap up events. I also did not totally believe the "romance" aspect of this, it was too perfect. BUT I still really enjoyed the characters. And the fact that the Royal Zoological Society of London has secret agents! I kind of wish that every business and organization had James Bond-esque secret agents, it would make life much more exciting. ...more
Oh, I LOVED this. It's like an alternate career path that Rose from The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake could follow. Only in the FUTURE, when chickeOh, I LOVED this. It's like an alternate career path that Rose from The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake could follow. Only in the FUTURE, when chickens are prohibited due to the bird flu that wiped out millions of Americans. The bird flu!
I liked this one. It has a large variety of different genres included in one story, which seems like it shouldn’t work, but it does. I liked the mainI liked this one. It has a large variety of different genres included in one story, which seems like it shouldn’t work, but it does. I liked the main character, Evie. There’s her story, the story she’s writing for her comic book about military commandos, the Trojan war, the gods of Olympus, Sinon’s story, various flashbacks, King Arthur & Merlin, Hera, Robin Goodfellow, etc etc etc. I also really liked Sinon. I was less than interested in the Evie’s dad/Hera storyline.
With all the many storylines, I felt like it dragged a little sometimes, and concentrated on plots I was not totally interested in. I really wanted to know more about the modern-day world – how far in the future is this set? (Could be next year, easily.) I wanted Sinon and Evie to get together for the whole book, and it was REALLY hard to keep from skipping to the end to just find out already.
I picked this up as a total impulse purchase at the comic store – I liked the cover, it looked interesting based on the blurb on the back, I’d never rI picked this up as a total impulse purchase at the comic store – I liked the cover, it looked interesting based on the blurb on the back, I’d never read it or heard of it. So I was not really conscious of this being a Thing I Should Read. But apparently it is, at least for anyone who is a fan of Joss Whedon. (Which I am not, really – I like some of the things he’s done but not everything.)
I never finished watching Buffy – I LOVED the show while they were in high school, but I think it kind of fell apart when they all went to college. And by the time it got to the last season of the show I was not living somewhere with access to cable tv.
This is a far future story about another Slayer, who is personally awesome, as all Slayers are. I like it, and her, a lot. I really like her sister and family. I love her demon helper. I kind of love Fray’s hair. If I didn’t have to have a job, etc. I would want to try that. I really liked the urban fantasy setting – although – how did she never fall, with so much leaping around? And what happened to her Watcher? Are there no more Watchers? They all went crazy?
I was not enamored with the vampires/lurks. The main guy was too much like Spike, I thought. All the other ones were kind of sketched in. I did like that they were evil and not the lovable cuddly versions of vampires that seem more common now.
I did like the variety of other species/demons included. The water breathing crime boss especially. (Who reminded me of an evil version of Abe Sapien.) ...more
I was not totally entranced by Uglies, the first book in this series, but I was interested enough in the cliffhanger ending to want to know what happeI was not totally entranced by Uglies, the first book in this series, but I was interested enough in the cliffhanger ending to want to know what happened.
I appreciated the difference in tone between the thoughts and dialect of the Pretties versus that of the Uglies. Like Uglies, the plot development is excruciatingly slow in the first half of the book. Fortunately, this is easy to read, but it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r for anything to happen. I understand that Pretties are purposefully dumb, but I wondered how much of that was a grand scheme and how much was innate to each character.
Again, the “romance” felt really forced and unnecessary. Tally is just not cut out to be a romantic heroine. Stick to the action scenes, Tally!
I also felt like being plopped down into an anthropological experiment 3/4 of the way through the book came out of left field. Which book was I reading again? It was a totally different storyline with no foreshadowing whatsoever.
It was especially jarring to read this series, which I did not particularly like, at the same time that I was reading Leviathan and Behemoth by the same author, which I LOVED. It was hard to reconcile the two completely different worlds and writing styles. ...more
I thought this was a charming story about a guy who retires from England to Provence with his wife and dogs. (And a BOATLOAD of money, although this iI thought this was a charming story about a guy who retires from England to Provence with his wife and dogs. (And a BOATLOAD of money, although this is never explicitly stated.) I really enjoyed the descriptions of the characters involved, especially all the builders, I could have done with less about the food – but I think that’s why most people would read this. It’s not food writing per se, but the author does describe many meals. I do not think I would have appreciated all the home improvement based sections prior to owning a house myself.
My mouth did water in the March chapter, when a team of vine planters sits down to a lunch that consisted of “four liters of wine and an enormous pile of sugared sliced bread called tranches dorées.” I was reading this while eating MY lunch, at work - a Trader Joe’s freeze dried rice noodle and mushroom microwavable soup bowl, the benefit of this being that it only costs 99 cents. At the time, I would have given my left arm for four liters of wine and an enormous pile of sugared sliced bread.
Sometimes the writing is a little witty, but mostly it’s a nice memoir. I wonder how much this experience has changed in the 20-odd intervening years since this was written. Especially the difference in prices since the Euro was introduced. I liked that the 2010 postscript was included but wish it was a little more extensive. ...more
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads First Reads program. (Awesome!)
The first thought I had when I gotDisclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads First Reads program. (Awesome!)
The first thought I had when I got this book was that it seemed pretty similar in concept to the Left Behind series. (Which I have never read.) It’s not, actually – and fortunately the author addresses that in the first few pages. (“Something tragic occurred,” the experts repeated over and over. “It was a Rapture-like phenomenon, but it doesn’t appear to have been the Rapture.”) It’s a subject of great debate among the characters in the book – whether this great disappearance is actually the Rapture, or not. There are a lot of cults formed. There are a lot or protests, conflicts, debates between the religious and non-religious. There’s nothing remotely supernatural about the events that take place in this post-apocalyptic (dystopian?) world, aside from the initial Sudden Departure, which takes place off-stage, before the book begins.
I read this book on vacation, laying on the beach. This was a perfect summer beach book – interesting premise & plot, but not too deep or weighty. It was a very fast read, the writing was excellent. However – because it was kind of a light and fast read, the characters do not really stick – a week later, writing this review, I am having trouble remembering the names of the main characters. The characters tended to be amorphous representations that served to move the plot forward or explore different facets of the world after The Sudden Departure rather than emotionally memorable fully fleshed out people.
There’s the mom who leaves her family to join a cult, there’s the mom who has lost her entire family to The Sudden Departure. There’s the dad left behind to hold his family together, and the hippie son following a charismatic cult leader. There’s the daughter who rebels after her mom leaves. Etc. These people all interact and move through the same world, bumping into each other and interacting, but I read about all of them with the same level of interest that I would have in celebrity gossip, not as characters that I as a reader have emotionally invested in.
Which is not a bad thing! It’s what makes this a great summer book, being able to read with detachment about these characters figuring out their new lives.
I did think the big twist at the end was a little overblown and out of character. For both the characters, and the book in general. ...more
This was silly and fun and not as good as the first book in this series (duology?), Insatiable. It was SHORT, much shorter than I was expecting. And iThis was silly and fun and not as good as the first book in this series (duology?), Insatiable. It was SHORT, much shorter than I was expecting. And it was written in MUCH more of a YA style than an adult style. Which was okay, but also not what I was expecting. It was just a very different feel, reading this.
Also – while Insatiable was funny, and had me really rooting for Meena as a protagonist AND as a love interest, this book was kind of formulaic and not very satisfying. Lucien did a complete 180 as a character, which sucked. (Ha. Ha. No, but really.) I liked him a lot in the first book, but in this one it was like he was a completely different guy, who I did not like at all. Alaric was an okay character, but I felt like he and Meena were thrown together with no chemistry whatsoever. Just because he happened to be there? Not very romantic.
I LOVED Mary Lou and Emil. I was sad that the other secondary characters from the first book did not make an appearance – what happened to Leisha, and her baby? They get, what, a one line update? Why does Meena not get to have any girl friends in this book? Carolina is mentioned but you never really see them interact. And the ending felt like a bit of a cop-out. I think the first book in this series should have been extended/embellished to make one really good stand-alone, instead of trying to stretch this story into a second book. ...more