Alexia Maccon, nee Tarabotti, is back for another adventure and to solve another mystery, along with her friends (and husband) from Soulless as well aAlexia Maccon, nee Tarabotti, is back for another adventure and to solve another mystery, along with her friends (and husband) from Soulless as well as some new characters, one or some or all of whom may be trying to kill her. The main mystery she's trying to solve is what is causing the mass humanization of all the usually supernatural. The new characters include a charming and beautiful cross-dressing French female inventor Madame Lefoux, a pack of angry Scottish werewolves, and, worst of all, her shallow, self-involved, petty, mean-girl half sister Felicity.
The mystery brought up some interesting ideas and possibilities regarding the preternatural and questions about what might be even more powerful against the supernatural than Alexia.
I very much enjoyed Madame Lefoux and hope to see her again in future books. She was fun as a character, and I enjoyed her interactions with Alexia, not to mention was intrigued by the possibilities of exploring her past. I hated Felicity, but I'm more than pretty sure that I was supposed to, seeing as how Alexia certainly does. The Scottish werewolves were mostly in the background but, again, I hope to learn more about them in the future.
I did enjoy this book but nowhere near as much as I enjoyed the first one. It's really too bad since my interest in this was why I read Soulless in the first place. It had a lot of potential, and a lot of stuff I like: Scotland, more steampunk technology than the first book, the Scottish highlands, Lord Akeldama, Scottish people, Egyptology, Scottish accents, Victorian clothing, Scottish men, humor, Scottish men in kilts, tea, and more. And yet, it didn't add up to something truly special.
This is probably because there were simply too many flaws and disappointments, and they were just enough to overpower the good. First the flaws: As before, the dialogue was really not-British, and here it was also not-Scottish, despite (too) liberal usage of "ken"s and "dinna"s and "nae"s. Ivy in a larger dose than the first time was simply too annoying and silly--sometimes not believably so. There were a few sentences which I had to read several times to make sure they were grammatically correct, and at least one that proved to in fact not be. There were other editing errors, which in one case included the same sentence appearing twice in a paragraph (but not twice in a row, so this wasn't a copy editing problem). There were some areas where research was lacking (although I admit I may be the only person nerdy enough to notice this): mummies were "unrolled," not "unwrapped", and, more importantly, English people went to Gretna Green to marry because the marriage laws were looser in Scotland and it was the closest Scottish village to the English border; if a couple was already in Scotland there would be no need to go to Gretna Green.
Then the disappointments: Not enough Professor Lyall. Not enough Floote. Not enough Lord Akeldama. OK, I suppose there was actually plenty of him, but I wanted more anyway. The real problem was the lack of emotional connection and closeness between him and Alexia. She mentions that he trusted her with his life, and says they are close friends, but it's not shown at all--even though he gives her an appointed time to contact him via aethographic transmitter, she first contacts him just to test the machine at her end, and doesn't say anything personal in her message. It honestly would have hurt me to have received that message. There was a similar problem in the relationship between Alexia and Lord Maccon: their connection was said but not really shown to be anything more than physical. After the first book, where I felt Alexia's emotions through the page, this was a letdown. Lastly, I don't know how much consider this to be a flaw, but, as before (and even more so, to be honest) all the revelations and answers to the mysteries were pretty obvious from the very start. Even the ending that so many reviewers seemed to think was a huge twist was something I expected for almost the entire book (admittedly, I might not have thought about what Lord Maccon's reaction would be if I hadn't read that there was a huge shocking twist coming up).
Despite all my complaints, I did enjoy the book, and will read the next one, Blameless, when it comes out, and probably all the ones after that....more
I LOVED this book when I read it in sixth grade. In fact, I loved it so much that I kept my copy instead of turning it back in. Great book about fasciI LOVED this book when I read it in sixth grade. In fact, I loved it so much that I kept my copy instead of turning it back in. Great book about fascinating subjects. ...more
Like the first two books in this series, I blew through this book at a ridiculously rapid pace. I read during every single spare second I could find,Like the first two books in this series, I blew through this book at a ridiculously rapid pace. I read during every single spare second I could find, but it would have gone fast even if I hadn't because it was such a quick read.
The setting was the deliciously creepy and literarily familiar moor, the characters, both new and old, were interesting, and the mysteries numerous and fascinating, even if I did figure some of them out before Lady Julia did.
In the end, we got some closure of long-left-open threads as well as a happy promise of new beginnings. I can't wait for the next installment....more
This volume of Sandman almost seems like a second attempt at a beginning for the series. We meet the Endless and learn a lot about them, and Dream inThis volume of Sandman almost seems like a second attempt at a beginning for the series. We meet the Endless and learn a lot about them, and Dream in particular. We get to see another battle of sorts with Lucifer. We're introduced to a whole bunch of characters and ideas, the stories of which aren't completely played out yet. And of course the ending sets the stage for more stories to come.
Since I wasn't a huge fan of the actual beginning, I think this is a great new jumping off point. Plus, I loved seeing all the various pantheons and the interesting ways they were depicted....more
**spoiler alert** This book ended with some interesting ideas about a lost gospel written in Coptic on papyrus and a weird Christian sect trying to su**spoiler alert** This book ended with some interesting ideas about a lost gospel written in Coptic on papyrus and a weird Christian sect trying to suppress mention of a son of Jesus--long before either The Gospel of Judas or The Da Vinci Code were making headlines. Go Elizabeth Peters!...more
I was looking forward to this book so excitedly and for so long, that it wouldn't have been surprising if I'd raised my expectations too high and founI was looking forward to this book so excitedly and for so long, that it wouldn't have been surprising if I'd raised my expectations too high and found myself disappointed once I'd finally read it. I hadn't, and I wasn't. I loved reading this book the way I have loved reading every book starring Vicky and John, because Elizabeth Peters has done such a good job of making me know and love and care deeply about her characters.
Even after more than ten years, Peters still writes those characters perfectly. She also recreated their world (albeit a modern version of it) and their lives down to the details--the thrillingly epic, the hilariously mundane, and the way that the larger-than-life has become routine for them while the frustrations of daily life can be often be dramatic--that we enjoy so much. She recreated Vicky's voice equally well. As always, there are one liners and bits of repartee that make me laugh out loud and want to bookmark the pages where they live, there are impassioned and touching declarations, and there are those thoughts that Vicky shares about life that I identify with so wholly.
The book is not perfect, of course. There are times when the pacing slows a bit, and there are a couple of instances of repetitiveness that some readers have put down to bad editing. However, this book is written in the first person; we hear what Vicky thinks. I don't think that it even calls for a serious suspension of disbelief to suppose that a subject of thought might occur to someone twice over a period of several days.
Some readers of mysteries may be troubled to find that they can identify characters or pick out some of the bad guys before their revelation to the sleuths--but for this series, in which there are recurring heroes and villains, this is in many ways a game that is played with the readers. Some of the revelations in this book have been speculated about and discussed by many fans for some time, but it was still a pleasure to find them out for certain.
Although I read this book in fewer than 24 hours, the pace of my reading did slow down near the end, because I realized that with every page I read, there was one fewer new page of Vicky. I knew I could only read new pages once, and that the remaining pages might be the last new pages of Vicky ever. Despite the sadness of that thought, I still thoroughly enjoyed all the pages, especially the last two or three, which not only made me grin, as they did Vicky, "a big, silly grin," but made me laugh and made me exult (if such a thing is possible). This is not my favorite Vicky--that will always be Night Train to Memphis--and it may not be the best (although I'm not sure I could determine which one is), but it fits right into the series without a problem, and if it is the last one, although I shall miss the characters dreadfully, it is a fitting end.
A favorite quote, from p. 229
Only Schmidt, the bloody romantic, spoke up in John's defense. "I will not believe it until he admits it." He considered the statement and then added, "Perhaps not even then."
I'd found Servant of the Bones in my university library and had enjoyed it greatly, so I thought I'd let Anne Rice entertain me again with a book abouI'd found Servant of the Bones in my university library and had enjoyed it greatly, so I thought I'd let Anne Rice entertain me again with a book about one of my greatest interests, Egypt. She didn't.
Because of the settings and locations--early 1900s London and Egypt--and the characters--a murdered British archeologist and the main character, his Edwardian daughter--I kept thinking (or hoping) I was reading an Elizabeth Peters novel. But I every time I thought it, I was reminded that it sadly wasn't by the utter badness that was everywhere in this book. There was the badness of the writing, the characterization, the story, and probably other things that I can't even remember anymore. It was basically a romance novel....more