This reminded me a bit of Hellboy, except it didn't have what I really love about Hellboy. But that's ok. Plus, Hellboy took a while to grow on me, so...moreThis reminded me a bit of Hellboy, except it didn't have what I really love about Hellboy. But that's ok. Plus, Hellboy took a while to grow on me, so I would give this a couple more volumes (I should probably try reading Volume 1, if I can find it).(less)
The Morning Gift is a great look at life in twelfth-century England. It is the story of the Norman lady Matilda of Risle, who we meet living a life ty...moreThe Morning Gift is a great look at life in twelfth-century England. It is the story of the Norman lady Matilda of Risle, who we meet living a life typical of noblewomen of her day. As England enters a period of war and turmoil, however, she goes through times of joy and ease as well as times of sorrow and strife as her life goes down paths she never could have imagined.
The characters are all very interesting, both alone and, particularly, in their interactions with one another, and they are also very real. The main character, for instance, is not always a very nice person, but she is so believable and her thoughts and feelings so human, that she is a likeable and sympathetic character who can make the reader want to continue the story.
This book shows us daily life in the 1100s, from what clothing nobles wore and what they ate to the chores of peasants and villeins to the technologies and rules of conduct of medieval warfare. It gives us details about life in the courts of King Stephen of England and of the Empress Matilda in Normandy and life in the fens of eastern England. It tells about the political scheming going on among the aspirants for the crown. And it shares with us the story of people trying to survive and perhaps find happiness and purpose for themselves.
Plus, the young Fitzempress, the future Henry II, was brilliant!(less)
Charles Unwin is not a detective. He doesn't know how to be a detective. (Although he has been making unofficial trips for unofficial reasons...) He's...moreCharles Unwin is not a detective. He doesn't know how to be a detective. (Although he has been making unofficial trips for unofficial reasons...) He's merely the clerk who reviews and files all the reports of the Agency's star detective, Travis Sivart. But when Unwin finds himself suddenly promoted to the rank of detective, he reluctantly decides to solve just the one case that will return his life to the status quo: Where is Sivart? He will allow himself to read just enough of his new copy of "The Manual of Detection" to do the job and no more. But as the case becomes deeper and wider in scope than Unwin could ever have forseen, and the future of the city is threatened, he finds himself rising to the challenge--and when people's dreaming lives overtake their waking ones, Unwin must follow...
I bought this book because I saw the author read two selections from it and was excited. I knew I had to read it, and suspected it was something special. I was right. The premise is fantastic, the characters are sympathetic, the action is exciting, the ideas are fascinating, the writing is excellent, the mysteries are interesting...I honestly can't say enough good things about this book. Also, I don't have a single complaint. Oh, and the cover is beautiful.
Seriously, this amazing book defies both summarization and categorization, but I'll do my best. It is both mystery and fantasy. There's no magic and nothing actually supernatural, but the nameless city Unwin lives in seems surreal in its noir-ishness and it's constant rain. The setting and characters and locations are hard-boiled, but its detective is not. It is also humerous--but while there are some moments of great humor, but there are no specific laugh-out-loud lines to point out, because it's situationally hilarious.
Unwin's lack of real experience with detecting and with the gritty city outside of his apartment and his office, and even with the hierarchical world of the Agency, allows us to learn about them along with him--and yet his academic knowledge of them, via his close reading of Sivart's reports, allows him to sometimes be a step or two ahead of us and to keep us guessing.
Then there's the dream detecting. This book crosses into similar territory as the movie Inception, but from a different angle, and with a different science. In both concepts, your dreams can be used against you. But in The Manual of Detection, everything that happens in dreams can affect what happens in real life--might even be happening in real life. There is dream surveillance, dream communication, and there are dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams. The dimensions of sleeping and dreaming that the book gets into are new and interesting.
I love this book and recommend it to anyone who has an open mind and likes quality writing.(less)
I had to read this book for class. I loved the class, I hated the book--as did everyone else in the class. We hated reading the book so much that we c...moreI had to read this book for class. I loved the class, I hated the book--as did everyone else in the class. We hated reading the book so much that we couldn't even give the movie a fair shot.
The book is hard to read for multiple reasons. I can't talk about the quality of the writing, since that would depend on which translation one is reading, but no matter who did the translation, some things can't be fixed. First of all, this novel is made up of only the surviving parts of the original story. There is supposed to be more, but it's lost to us, and so all we have to read are bits and pieces. This makes it, understandably, difficult to follow the story. But beyond that there was, for me, a greater problem: the bits that were there were unpleasant. They were violent, disgusting, graphically sexual, and otherwise distasteful. I didn't want to find out what had happened in the missing bits, because I didn't enjoy what was happening in the bits there were.
Perhaps a different translation might be able to make up for the unpleasantness of the story by having excellent prose that would make me want to keep reading...perhaps. I've both loved and hated The Iliad because of different translators, so I can't say that it's impossible. But I doubt it.(less)
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 fasci...moreI 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. (less)