Wrong expectations. That's the best explanation I have to justify my dissatisfaction with HELP FOR THE HAUNTED. I'd expected a mystery/horror novel. W...moreWrong expectations. That's the best explanation I have to justify my dissatisfaction with HELP FOR THE HAUNTED. I'd expected a mystery/horror novel. What I got was a coming of age story with a half-hearted shudder and a mystery that solved itself out of the blue.
I couldn't really latch on to any of the characters. The demystification of Sylvie's parents was well done and her search for the truth led to unexpected findings far removed from supernatural ongoings. The term 'haunted', through the course of the book, took on a different meaning.
The writing - while fluidly readable - felt unspectacular to me. The characters, despite Mr. Searles efforts, didn't fill in for me enough to think of them as compelling.
Great books haunt me, in a good way. This one, unfortunately, won't. (less)
An almost classic detective story. Lots of dialogue, legwork and putting the puzzle pieces together. Ms. Rowling has written a crime story that is wat...moreAn almost classic detective story. Lots of dialogue, legwork and putting the puzzle pieces together. Ms. Rowling has written a crime story that is waterproof and adds up beyond any doubt. Add to that an impressive main character - the bulky, fearsome Cormoran with a heart of gold inside - and his smart, effective, enthusiastic assistant Robin.
The writing is tidy and straightforward, here and there surprising the reader with insight and literary quality.
THE CUCKOO'S CALLING is nothing for the impatient or fleeting reader. The many, many witness accounts and interrogations can get tiresome and one has to be attentive not to miss any details so the conclusion makes sense.
Not a book that'll keep you on edge and knock your socks off, but a pleasant crime read with likeable main characters. (less)
What a wonderful, dark, wickedly funny fairy-tale for grown-ups! For the kind of grown-ups who remember being seven and being afraid of the things in...moreWhat a wonderful, dark, wickedly funny fairy-tale for grown-ups! For the kind of grown-ups who remember being seven and being afraid of the things in the dark.
One of Gaiman's strengths is writing about parallel worlds that coexist and brush against each other without ever making it feel unnatural. The Hempstock women, coming to our narrator's help in 'Ocean Lane' are the most authentic-feeling supernatural beings I've met in a long, long time. Enigmatic, yet solid and lovable, they take the reader by the hand along with the 7yo 'hero' on his journey into the past, into lost memories and things that shouldn't be real but (as we always suspected when we were little) ARE real. Terribly real.
Written with passion, rich imagination and a large tablespoon full of darkness, 'Ocean Lane' only becomes more beautiful when read by none other than Neil Gaiman himself. His dark timbre and mystery-filled presentation make for a few hours of happily sinister nostalgia. (less)
A big hype surrounded the publication of 'Inferno'. Was it worth it?
Not really, IMO.
While pace, art historical and scientific tidbits and the big cont...moreA big hype surrounded the publication of 'Inferno'. Was it worth it?
Not really, IMO.
While pace, art historical and scientific tidbits and the big controversy at the center were as entertaining and well crafted as ever, I couldn't help thinking 'same procedure as ever'.
In term's of the story's general structure, there is just nothing new. Also, the character of Robert Langdon is as static as James Bond during Sean Connery and Roger Moore times. There is no development, no back reference to former adventures. And Robert's love interests from before vanish without a trace. I'm honestly beginning to dislike Robert's know-it-all character who, despite his touch of claustrophobia, appears to be of little emotion or depth. Instead, there is a lot of academic arrogance and too much product placement. (We all know now that you're wearing a Brioni suit, you've only mentioned it four times, thank you...)
Yes, Dante Alighieri's 'Inferno' is a great masterpiece and a wonderful hook for this adventurous quest. Yes, googling all these artists and their art is fun. Florence, Venice and Istanbul are atmospheric, history-laden, pretty places. The story is entertaining. And one can't get around entering a discussion of world politics after finishing 'Inferno'. The topic is wonderfully controversial and fear-inducing.
But I really, really wish Dan Brown would go against the grain in his next Robert Langdon novel. The pattern, for all of Brown's effort to put in a few variations, as a whole is simply and sadly getting old.(less)