This volume is several short stories in the Emma-universe. The first story, about Ms. Stowner and her husband as a young couple, was a delight to read...moreThis volume is several short stories in the Emma-universe. The first story, about Ms. Stowner and her husband as a young couple, was a delight to read. It was great to see her as a young woman and to see what her life (like the lives of others in the Victorian age) was like, as well as to see how much she and Douglas loved each other.
The second story was about Eleanor after the events of Emma Volume 7. I can't say that I cared much, as I found her character not very likable, but it was still good to get to see her dealing with the issue.
The third story was a wonderful story of Victorian times, showing the uses and values--and lifespan--of the newspaper in that culture. The characters were not from any previous Emma volumes, but we got to know them in brief glimpses of their lives. I think this would be an excellent (if short) story all on its own.
The final story was about Tasha, Emma's roommate and fellow maid in the Meredith household, and her family and her dreams. It's another nice story that was fun to read.(less)
I don't honestly remember anything about reading this book other than the premise, that I got it for free in London, and that I read it soon after I g...moreI don't honestly remember anything about reading this book other than the premise, that I got it for free in London, and that I read it soon after I got home and was missing all things British. However, I think I would remember if I hated it or thought it was terrible, plus it's still on my bookshelf, so I must have liked it enough.(less)
Utterly beautiful...but what the hell is going on?
Seriously, the artwork is so amazingly gorgeous that I feel it was worth the price of the book. It k...moreUtterly beautiful...but what the hell is going on?
Seriously, the artwork is so amazingly gorgeous that I feel it was worth the price of the book. It kind of had to be, though, because the story wasn't, really. Or maybe it was; I couldn't understand what was going on sometimes. But I'll read Volume 2, and hopefully the story will be better, or at least less confusing.(less)
I read this book at my mom's request, because she really likes the author and the series of which this is the beginning. I enjoyed it as an interestin...moreI read this book at my mom's request, because she really likes the author and the series of which this is the beginning. I enjoyed it as an interesting look at the legal world as well as a good mystery that made for a very quick read. My enjoyment was probably more like four stars' worth, but I don't pretend that this is great literature--plus I'm leaving room for improvement in future books, which I plan to read. The writing was great, but I'm pretty sure that the plotting and characterization (which were already good) and other writing elements will improve, simply because first time authors almost always improve when they learn more tricks of the trade, and find their voices and their confidence.
Lisa Scottoline's first book introduces us to Mary DiNunzio, a lawyer from South Philadelphia who is up for partner at her prestigious law firm. As stressful as her job is, her personal life is worse, as she's being stalked and threatened by someone. The story is very fast-paced, despite the range of story elements to it. The mystery of the stalker is intriguing and has some surprising developments, Mary's family is realistic and has moments together that are relatable, and there is also a lot about various court cases and other legal proceedings that was pretty interesting and rounded out the story well.
This was a first book in a series, and as such, it had a lot of exposition: introducing the characters, sketching out--or sometimes detailing--their personal histories and relationships with one another, showing the workings of a law office, and explaining intricacies of the judicial system. Some of it was skillfully and naturally woven in to the story and some was less so, but none of it was bad. There was perhaps a bit too much back story revealed; maybe some of it could have been saved for future books--or maybe in the future books there's plenty to go around, and I shouldn't complain. Actually my only real complaint about this book is how easily Mary switched her suspicions from person to person at what seemed to me little provocation. This could be reasonable paranoia, given her circumstances, but it annoyed me. Oh, and she didn't take care of her cat! OK, I guess that's not a major complaint, but still, poor Alice. Also, the pacing was a little fast. Anyway, this was definitely an enjoyable book, and since this was the author's debut novel, don't judge it too harshly.(less)
The art continues to be absolutely gorgeous. With four beautiful full-color pages at the beginning, lovely full-page (splash page?) fantasy scenes, an...moreThe art continues to be absolutely gorgeous. With four beautiful full-color pages at the beginning, lovely full-page (splash page?) fantasy scenes, and wonderful art throughout, this book is an aesthetic feast.
Unfortunately, the events continue to be very hard to follow. The story isn't particularly confusing: a human girl is married to the water g-d Habaek, and she's trying to figure out: a) if the little boy Habaek that she knows during the day is the same person as the adult "Mui" that she encounters at night, who she has feelings for, and b) who among their companions she can trust. I got that bit. But the details? Those I'm not so sure about. If there's any sort of action going on, the beautiful pictures don't illuminate it well enough, and the dialogue is neither explanatory enough nor clear about who is speaking it. Oh well.
I decided that in the first volume, the art was worth the price of the book, and I feel the same way about this one...but I'm not sure if I'm going to seek out future volumes or not. Aw hell, it's so beautiful I probably will.(less)
The backstory of William's parents is filled out in the first chapter of this volume, and then we are returned to the present and the aftermath of Wil...moreThe backstory of William's parents is filled out in the first chapter of this volume, and then we are returned to the present and the aftermath of William and Emma's surprise meeting. The storytelling seemed a bit choppy in this volume, but the art was as beautiful as ever.(less)