Let’s just say it’s a long way from Harry Potter… I’ll give you a run down of the plot and then my review. I think I should offer some sort of disclaime...moreLet’s just say it’s a long way from Harry Potter… I’ll give you a run down of the plot and then my review. I think I should offer some sort of disclaimer saying that I am not English and I have no idea for whom this book was written or what it is supposed to espouse. I don’t know if it would ring true with an English audience more so than the domestic Canadian. It’s not that I am unfamiliar with little towns and their petty squabbles or that the novel would be better received by an English audience, here I am reading it with my eyes and these are my thoughts.
The story is as follows: Barry Fairbrother is dead. He was a kindly member of the Parish Council that controls the small town of Pagford. The empty space that Barry’s death leaves impacts the townspeople in the most caustic of ways. It seems that everyone was somehow other other connected to the man and their lives are forever changed, not for the better. Slowly everything descends into ruin going from bad to worse at the book rattles to its rather melancholic conclusion.
There are several factions involved, but the amount of characters and names are vastly confusing. There are Howard and Shirley Mollison Miles Mollison and wife Samantha, their two daughters Lexie and Libby. Colin and Tessia Wall and their son Stuart "Fats"
Krystal, her bastard brother Robbie and heroin addicted mother Terri. Kay and her daughter Gaia, freshely arrived from London. Simon and Ruth Price and their sons Andrew and Paul. Then the Vikram cardiac surgeon, his wife Parminder Jawanda and their three children: Rajpal, Jaswant and Sukvinder.
The Review: The book can be best summarized in something said in the last few pages,” “He wanted a taste of real life,” she had sobbed, “he wanted to see the seamy underside-…””
I’ve read lots of books where there are whole casts of characters who all have different agendas and then at the end they all weave together to form a cohesive story. Well the action doesn’t really start until Part 2 Chapter IX. Then it’s all a series of successive explosions and heightening. But that’s 240 pages into the novel. I had just finished speaking to someone during the day who told me they didn’t make it more than 50 pages in when they gave up. Why? Well they had decided that it was just too complicated. Now I’ll argue that any book can be daunting, but given a little effort it can be understood, question is, is it good enough for you want to to try and get into, try and like the characters? For me I don’t think I liked any of them. They are all archetype characters. Hypertensive fathers and abusive husbands, rebellious teens and bullied teens. Drug addiction and social workers. When I say I don’t know much about the English, I don’t. I’m not going to pretend that I found this book to be a mirroring of the social goings-on of a small town. Not at all. In fact, my initial reactions was shock and horror. I don’t mind reading a down-and-out book, about redemption. But when it comes to wanton child abuse, injustice, rape, coercion, drug addictions, petty-politics and ego-clashes, count me out. I’m sorry JK, you certainly know how to write young adults very well, and have an excellent grasp of what it’s like to grow up and be a gangly youth. But the gritty reality of the book is truly unsettling. It’s not a pleasant read. And I hear you saying, well no good story is a walk in the park, and you’re all bleeding heart poets who believe that. I don’t want to read another book about someone being beating down for no reason, about abusive husbands and battered wives. Because its all too similar to what’s gone on before. Just for once I want to see strong women, taking a stand. I’d rather read a story about a teen who kills is abusive father and has to live with the consequences. That’s a story. This tries to take Gossip Girl and put it in a small town, with paunchy wrinkled adults and misfit children, but isn’t nothing new JK. You haven’t given us anything we know you couldn’t already do. In my heart I want to believe you are the reincarnation of Roald Dahl and that you can write novels about horrid adults and avenging children. But the last thing I wanted to read was a story about how the death of one man would sink and entire town. Back to the plot. I like the idea of a small town quibbling over who will take the place of the one man who knew how to keep everyone together, but it's just bananas, chaos. There is no great relief when anything happens and it only goes from bad to worse. It’s not uplifting or inspiring. It’s rather sad and depressing with a cataclysmic ending and no real resolution. I can’t talk about dysfunctional families like I know about them, and that’s that pulp of this novel. I’m left here wondering why this is considered JK’s first novel for adults. Do adults want to read this book? It’s very depressing and it left me feeling very hollow. I'd like to know why this book was written, what was JK trying to accompish or get across to the reader? Don't expect a redeeming ending, or even one that ties up all the loose ends, when you close the book, you'll want to wish a place like Pagford doesn't exist.(less)
I must say I am a huge Thrawn Trilogy fan. I just approve of all that Timothy Zahn has done for the Star Wars Expanded Universe. This was a special tre...moreI must say I am a huge Thrawn Trilogy fan. I just approve of all that Timothy Zahn has done for the Star Wars Expanded Universe. This was a special treat, to just peek at the graphic novels that are all bound together in one giant tome. The book carries all three parts of the trilogy but with large parts of the plot cut out. I can understand why, but after reading the source material, I feel like the graphic novel leaves out some important details. (I won't go into them here)
I was very surprised, impressed, delighted to see that there were three different styles of art for each of the books. I don't know how I feel about it exactly. It's one thing to read a novel and imagine the characters for yourself, and then see a movie where an actor embodies this character. But then you get this novel which presents three different styles, I found it impressive, creative but a bit overwhelming.
I can say that the very fact this is book exists is fantastic. It's a real treasure to anyone who is a fan of the Star Wars chronicles. For the expanded universe, this is it's key stone. (less)
What an amazing ending for an absolutely terrific trilogy.
I wasn't quite sure how Zahn was going to squeeze in everything that happens in the last few...moreWhat an amazing ending for an absolutely terrific trilogy.
I wasn't quite sure how Zahn was going to squeeze in everything that happens in the last few chapters, INTO THE LAST FEW CHAPTERS!!! but he did. And i must say it left you craving more. More about Luke, Leia and the mysterious Mara Jade. More Thrawn knowing just how to kick the Rebellions ass, more everything!
I will admit I skimmed the sections that had to do with Wedge, Han and Lando. Their parts were not compelling enough for me. I think it's rather amusing that Zahn wrote the characters, (especially Han) as using their movie dialogue, quite often. Whether that solidifies the character as being that was and sounding like that, I don't know. I don't think I've read enough Star Wars novels to know that answers to that. And at the same time, I'd rather the major characters NOT be so easy to write that and old author can say, I can whip up a good tale in this galaxy.
But this is where is all started! Where the Imperial Remnant began, when Jacen Solo becomes Darth Caedus walking around with Ben Skywalker his arch enemy. (am I telling this right?) And then lightyears in the future (somewhere between 104-127 ABY) there is a Pellaeon class Super Star Destroyer!
It's all amazing. Read this trilogy, because it all starts here. Every Star Wars author should tip his hat to Timothy Zahn, because he deserves that recognition.(less)
Recommended to me by a friend was Linwood Barclay's "The Accident". Coincidentally Mr. Barclay knew my father so I was more than happy t...more(Spolier Free)
Recommended to me by a friend was Linwood Barclay's "The Accident". Coincidentally Mr. Barclay knew my father so I was more than happy to read one of his books. I had no prior knowledge of Barclay's other novels or his success as a novelist this was an entirely new adventure.
Sadly I must say that I was disappointed with it. I read it in two sittings, more out of desire to get to the end and see how it would all come together than out of genuine fascination. When it comes to a thriller, which should have an inevitable twist at the end authors employ all sorts of techniques to accomplish surprising the reader. Our hero on death's door when, suddenly they are whisked away to safety. You see in Lincoln Rhyme novels author Jeffery Deaver withholds information from the reader to achieve dramatic surprise. On the other hand I like when writers leave lots of clues so when its over you can look back and it all makes sense. The problem with The Accident is that the surprise ending doesn't work very well, it's feels hastily done.The Accident is a novel trying to do too little with too much.
The plot is about Glen Garber's wife Sheila Garber is killed in an automotive collision where alcohol was consumed. It appears that it was Glen's wife who was at fault. This only propels Glen to begin asking questions and uncovering a ring selling knock-off designer bags. Suddenly it seems that everything is connected and Glen's life falls apart. That's the gist of the plot. Without giving anything away.
But what's in the book? People get killed off left and right and it doesn't seem to attract the attention of the FBI. The language is as rough as you might expect from a man in search of the truth. And, I did sort of expect a "Walking Tall" sort of plot, but it never happened. (Walking Tall was a 1973 film, the 2004 remake stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson") I thought one of the key elements was that Glen's wife died while being intoxicated, but the entire cast, Glen himself have no problem guzzling back beer after beer. Glen even has one when he sets out to pick up his daughter, considering the circumstances, it seems like a glaring oversight and insensitive on his part, as Glen appears a very conscientious man. Glen's part is written in the first person whereas the other characters, and there are many, all get third person treatment. Some of the sentences I found awkward. The driving force behind the characters, this "knock-off handbags where-is-my-money" thing was a weak plot device, I was honestly expecting a bigger fish to show up. It became apparent early on that this was the big-bad and I wasn't going to uncover a conspiracy that led right to the top, like Sheila had inflammatory pictures of the mayor or was the illegitimate child of a gangster. But the real surprise was the so called "twist", it was unrelated to the entire book, cleared up in two chapters. That's not what I call a twist. If Glen had been in the car and dreamed all this in a coma, that's a twist. Since the entirety of the book was devoted to Glen learning the truth about his wife, the resolution not being connected just didn't sit well with me. It just seemed like a write off, and with a weak motive as well. I'd hoped to have been led down some path thinking, oh no Sheila wasn't this good person after all, then, oh maybe she was just a patsy. Nope.
Back to doing too little with too much. The plot had one connecting element which wasn't really the crux of Sheila Garber's death. If that was going to be it, a GIANT red-herring, it was not used properly, not delved into enough. There were many, many characters to try and keep track of and I honestly didn't think they had much to do in the book. Introduced and then abruptly murdered. The conspiracy was too little, too domestic. The only "ah" moment that caught me was when Ann's killer was revealed. It was a lot of dysfunctional families bickering over some lost money. When you find out, why Sheila died, you might say, "for what? Why?" It just seems so unnecessary. Too much insignificant murder, not enough suspicion and lacking in intrigue. The book left me feeling empty, it's just about a bunch of senseless murders over knock-off handbags.
Was I really tossed this book in June? I suppose I was. By a friend, in passing. A poetic friend who liked this sort of prose.
What a deep and wonderfu...moreWas I really tossed this book in June? I suppose I was. By a friend, in passing. A poetic friend who liked this sort of prose.
What a deep and wonderful book this is! It tells the year day by day of writer Gabriel English as he lives, exists, in St. Johns. It's a fantastic read. A dreamy entry for each day of the year. Vibrant friends with their own unique voices. It is not exactly the kind of book I would choose to read. It's not poetry that you immediately recognize. But it is! So much more.
How did she describe the book to me? A book where nothing happens. Certainly things happen but it's just the passing of time, the events in enough detail that you might consider them how you would recall memories, just enough to say you'd been there, you'd done that.
I'm not entirely sure if "This All Happened" is Gabriel's journal, it's not clear that it is, but it might be. Maybe. On conversation is particularly profound, for me:
"...And I felt like I couldn't say anything to you because you'd take it the wrong way and write it down in that journal. You read it. Yes. Lydia. Everything you write about me is rotten. I write down things that vex me. I don't write down the good things. Well, why don't you? Happiness is too hard to write and boring to read..." (p.190)
Many times I found the sentiments written in this book to be very true and they resonated with me. In a way I wish everyone would read this book. It's very human. It has many lessons, and it's like being the third person in a silent conversation, that you are being shared with. It's a story we all know, with people we are familiar with, just enough. It's not outrageous, it's life, but told in such a way that you know if could be your own, or a dream you might have had.
In a lot of ways it made me better about my life. But I could hardly say it was a book written for me. It took a long time to finish, not to read. I read half of it for the first month I had it, then, I suppose because my friend went AWOL I didn't want to read it any more. And it, the book, was filed away. I hear from her now and then, and realized I should finish reading it, so I did, in a day. There wasn't much left. I was the best part. I think I can relate to Gabriel English, as a writer. "This All Happened" reminds me of Virginia Wolf's "The Waves" but much more contemporary, and told by only one character. I didn't like "The Waves" but I very much enjoyed Michael Winter's writing. I hope it does become a movie.
It has been a long time coming but I really wanted to sink my teeth into some good honest existentialism. I read this little book on the fly and am now...moreIt has been a long time coming but I really wanted to sink my teeth into some good honest existentialism. I read this little book on the fly and am now heavily annotating it, as there is so much to be gained.
In a lot of ways I'd want people to see my reading this book, it's highly intellectual, fascinating and breaks the mould in terms of literary thought. I have always been a devoted follower of existentialism but never had a chance to investigate Sartre. Certainly he is a central figure in Existentialism and I don't know how I over looked him for so long.
The book is comprised of two short talks given by Sartre but summarize the entirety of his philosophy. Existentialism is a Humanism is quite quotable with many sentences delivering a lucid description of Existentialism. Existence precedes essence is of course the cognitive lynchpin of existential thought. Sartre also explains in detail "anguish," "abandonment" and "despair." After the chapter there is a post lecture discussion of the themes. The second talk is just as interesting as it has to do with the Absurd. Here Sartre gives his own review of Albert Camus' "The Stranger". Thus it is an Absurdist novel viewed through the eyes of a leading existentialist authority, fascinating!
Now in all honesty I think this little book just gives a teasing taste of Existentialism for those interested. It is not something to quote from or wave around as a bible on the subject. If you were looking to get into reading Existentialism I would recommend you start here. It is a beginning of themes and ideas that go further and need to be investigated. For what it is, this is a great jumping off point for would-be philosophers. (less)
I have read some interesting reviews about this book. Sadly they all seem disappointed with it. I on th...moreExistentialism and Shifting Reality on Vacation
I have read some interesting reviews about this book. Sadly they all seem disappointed with it. I on the other hand found it quite thrilling. At first I must admit that Roberto Bolano was a new name to me, but fresh eyes can usually see things that others cannot. While I think that other readers approached "Third Reich" as a Holy Grail, a lost unpublished manuscript only to find it unpolished I was optimistic. A German war games champion Udo Berger on vacation in the last days of summer with his girlfriend Ingeborg, meet a rowdy Charly and his girlfriend Hanna, and the mysterious El Quemado. When Charly disappears while windsurfing the others leave while Udo stays on to face El Quemado in a match of The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich. Having no prior bias towards Bolano's work I was intrigued to say the least.
As I have said I am not familiar with Bolano's work but I am a fan of other elements of his book. First I am a philosopher so reading someone's review heading "Existentialism" immediately got my attention. Second I am a war games player. I think while this book may have let down the general Bolano audience it was very much tailored to my own interests.
Now, only reading a few pages in I was immediately struck with a sense of familiarity, which I compared to two other works of fiction that I felt were in the same vein: "Senselessness" written by Horacio Castellanos Moya and "The Outsider" by Albert Camus. I will be brief in my comparison as I want to talk mainly about "Third Reich". The feeling of desolation, foreboding and violence comes from Moya who's own character stumbles around town trying to write an article about indigenous people who's families were slaughtered. Whereas Camus' Meursault is charged with not "feeling" they way a normal person should, which to me is exactly how Udo appears to those around him. Interestingly it is the owner of the Del Mar, Frau Else, tells him, "When you die, Udo, you'll be able to say, 'I'm returning to where I came from: nothingness" Being and Nothingness...It's something to muse on if you choose to read "Third Reich" again.
I read somewhere else that "Third Reich" was going to be like Bolano's other novel, "2666" in that it had pages and pages of military manoeuvres and this lead to dull, meaninglessness. Oddly I found it quite enjoyable. I wish there had been a little more. As a player of war games I am always intrigued to step into the shoes of generals long past and try to find that perfect formula for victory. I was in rapt suspense during the match with El Quemado, not only because of how it went but also the the building dread, and through it all Udo's sense of indifference, as though he understood it all but at the same time did not.
I felt the characters were real, the settings were real, but as mentioned elsewhere Bolano keeps them at arms length. I would argue that has to do with the choice of literary technique, Udo's diary and since Udo cannot tell what other people are thinking the sense of distance from the characters is realistic. Something else I should note is the use of dreams. On occasion an author includes one or two in a work unless they are crucial to advancing the plot, here however Bolano uses them to blur reality, at times I wasn't sure what I was reading was reality or a dream.
I will agree that this book is not for everyone, possibly only for dedicated fans of Bolano. I enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. So much so I want to break out my war games again. But I can imagine if you are reading along and decide that nothing is happening and you haven't found the gloomy smoke filled mood of the book then it isn't for you. I just wanted to give "Third Reich" a positive review from fresh eyes, I think I have done so. (less)
This is my second time reading Mona Lisa Overdrive. I believe I originally picked the book up in 2003-ish. I read it before I read Count Zero and neve...moreThis is my second time reading Mona Lisa Overdrive. I believe I originally picked the book up in 2003-ish. I read it before I read Count Zero and never even touched Neuromancer. I was looking for books about dystopias and this was on a list somewhere. It also shares it's title with a song by Juno Reactor that was featured in The Matrix Reloaded.
So yes, I've read the book and I wanted to try something different. That was a long time ago and I think I had forgotten most of it. Because Gibson writes about four different characters all interchanging plot lines are supposedly going to connect, in the end, I wanted to see for myself.
I had read the book primarily focused on Angie Mitchell but this time around I read only the chapters focused around Kumiko Yanaka. The yound daughter of a Yakuza boss is sent to live in London for her protection. There she meet Molly Millions now named Sally Shears. Sally quickly befriends Kumiko and they escape to The Sprawl only for a short time, then Kumiko is returned to London.
I know FULL well that the story is more about Mona and Angie. Of course there are the strange Voodoo gods which from this perspective (Kumiko's) don't make much sense. Perhaps Kumiko's story is the easiest to follow, for The Sprawl is completely new to her and she sees with with new eyes and help from Sally.
Overall I applaud Gibson's writing. His prose is unlike any I've seen before. But there is a catch. This is the third book in a trilogy and picking it up to read on its own is going to be difficult. I would not call it a stand alone read. Sadly the book is lacking an glossary of terms since Gibson's world is completely unique. I particularly liked reading Kumiko's chapters because, having recently been in London I recognized and could picture Covent Garden and at the end she goes to tour around Camden Town. What struck me as really funny is that despite all the technology that appears in Gibson's work, the computers, the bio-ware in Angie's head, holographic Colin, the Net etc. Londoners still use tickets on the underground. I would have thought that Gibson would have had the forethought to imagine a more futuristic means of payment. Certainly he never imagined people using an Oyster Card! (less)
Another fly by night first book recommended by my friend LL. "It's a real page turner!" he kept telling me.
I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into...moreAnother fly by night first book recommended by my friend LL. "It's a real page turner!" he kept telling me.
I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into, again... I checked it out on Amazon and found the plot appealing. As a person who finds myself in the same situation as the main characters (the kidnappers).
Here is the plausible plot: A group of four recent collage graduates face a empty job market. With degrees in history and English they don't have many options. Then they come up with a three year plan. Kidnap wealthy bankers and hold them for ransom. They ask for a low ball amount and the wife pays up. In a few years the can all retire to the Maldives. Only a caper goes wrong and now they have mobsters and the FBI on their tail.
Plot-wise this intrigues me. I was keen to see how it would play out and who would survive. The ending was sadly realistic but slightly surprising. Honestly I'd like to read more books where anti-heros do well and the government makes the fumble. I think when we rely on Hollywood to tell us that the good guys always win, it seeps into our writing, where in reality the good guys seldom win and the bad guys aren't always that awful.
Did I enjoy reading it? Yes it was interesting to see something like this being done. For a first book it's alright. The main theme that runs through the book is of course how to be a professional. And sadly I think despite what Owen Laukkanen believes about people's integrity I can see that he favours human frailty and drama over the hard-edged reality that it would take for young serial kidnappers. Of course the only professionals in the story are the FBI and local police officer who have lived all their lives by the law. Their is no compromise there. Oddly the slight hint of romantic tension is dismissed by Laukkanen between Agent Windermere and Officer Stevens. Like a good horror movie, the kids who stay pure survive. Keeping the law enforcers pure was not taking a chance. And I like when authors take chances. This harkens back to Stieg Larsson who had Lisbeth Salander become the romantic partner of her friend Mikael Blomkvist. Humanity is gritty and sexy, dare it all!
Sure enough there was violence and blood shed but that's not what the book was based on or around.
I would recommend this book to anyone leaving University and feeling unlucky about the present job market (2012). Read it and have a laugh. Or learn from it and be professional.
I was not quite sure what I was doing getting into this book. I read once some famous writer said the only way to get better is to read, and read outs...moreI was not quite sure what I was doing getting into this book. I read once some famous writer said the only way to get better is to read, and read outside of your genre. So I did.
When my friend, with whom I had read "Before I got to Sleep" suggested that the next book we read together be Song of Achilles I agreed. I think it was a bit of a random pick. Neither of us had any idea what the book was a bout.
"Before I go to Sleep" is written by a man in a woman's perspective. Whereas "Song of Achilles" is written by a woman in a man's perspective. I was intrigued at how this would play out.
The book follows the early life of Achilles and his companion Patroclus. A disowned prince, Patroclus and Achilles relationship is something that Classical scholars have debated throughout history. Where they close friends or lovers? Madeline Miller chooses the latter as her premise. A student of Classical mythology herself, Miller's knowledge about Greek culture seeps through to give the book a authentic flavour.
Not having read the Iliad myself my only knowledge of the story of Achilles comes from the major motion picture Troy and from whatever I had learned in school. I must admit I wondered how Miller would approach the use of the Greek Gods in writing "Song of Achilles". In the movie they were left out, with the exception of the minor appearance of Thetis. I think Miller's usage of the Greek Pantheon is quite clever. She weaves them neatly into the story without becoming overbearing or drawing away from the main plot. She used them in a believable way.
The choice of narration was genius. The epic is told from the perspective of Patroclus who comes to live in Pythia with Achilles. Through Patroclus' eyes we see them grow from children to men and their own relationship is well written if unexpected. The story of Achilles could never be told him his point of view and Patroclus paints a vivid portrait of Achilles as a noble and well spoken man. A man who knows he is the greatest warrior of all Greeks and accepts his ultimate destiny, even if he is remembered for his rage against the Trojan Hector.
A good read and a clever take on a classic. Never has Achilles lived as vividly as he has in Madeline Miller's retelling of the Homeric epic.(less)
This is my third time reading Dune. I either knew and forgot, or never finished the book because I never knew what happened to Caladan. Don't the Atrei...moreThis is my third time reading Dune. I either knew and forgot, or never finished the book because I never knew what happened to Caladan. Don't the Atreides still own the planet? Mind you I never ventured on in the series, I did once but found Herbert's writing to be difficult to understand. But back to Dune.
Arrakis, Dune, desert planet. He who controls the Spice, controls the Universe.
The story, a analogy some say that alludes to the OPEC crisis is only a back drop. Dune is its own wonderful universe. Vast and complex, filled with rich characters and marvellous plots. I'm sure someone else has said that Dune is what Lord of the Rings is for the Fantasy crowd. Dune is the grandfather to Star Wars, you can't deny that.
The Known Universe is ruled by an Emperor, himself constrained by the CHOAM company that controls all merchandise and trade, the Spacing Guild that holds a monopoly on interstellar travel and the Landsraad Council that is comprised of the Noble Houses that rule planet fiefs. The noble House Atreides is lured into a trap by the villainous House Harkonnen (secretly aided by the Emperor). At stake and simply existing in the background, but touching everything is the spice Melange. The spice is a vital resource that exists on one planet in the universe, it extends life and and gives limited prescience. What the Baron Harkonnen and the Emperor don't count on is Duke Leto's Atreides' son, Paul. In the desolate landscape of Dune, Paul must take refuge among the indigenous people: the Fremen and eventually reclaim his father's legacy and have his revenge.
Dune is full of wonderful inventions like Factory Harvesters, Hunter-Seekers, lasguns and Holtzman shields, and the Worms of Arrakis. If I didn't say that Dune was also the story of the knife I wouldn't be doing my job. It is a surreal dream, frightening but enchanting. Twice captured on film with David Lynch in 1984 and then the Space Channel in 2000. Westwood Studios and EA games took a crack at building a Real Time Strategy game series. It is a world that you can inhabit in many ways, constantly exploring the plots-within-plots. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson also wrote two trilogy series, Prequel to Dune and then Legends of Dune, which both answer the many questions raised in Dune.
I highly recommend Dune to science fiction fans, to fans of ecology and economic, to intrigue and politics. Dune has it all. (less)
I have been a Lincoln Rhyme fan for a long time. I faithfully pick up the latest story and sink my teeth into it. However as soon as I opened the fron...moreI have been a Lincoln Rhyme fan for a long time. I faithfully pick up the latest story and sink my teeth into it. However as soon as I opened the front cover I could sense my disappointment. I've never thought of Deaver as a "formulaic" writer but perhaps I closed my eyes to it as I enjoyed the novelty of a quadriplegic criminologist and otherwise steady cast of reoccurring characters.
But as I read on I became aware that this was be far the laziest writing I have read from Deaver. I wondered at times if he was tired of his champion Rhyme. Nevertheless I always complete a book. In the end there was one major twist. I didn't see it coming but that is exactly how Deaver operates. Let me give you a made-up example:
"He stood in the room and faced the killer. They were alone. That's then the gun fired and all went black." -End of Chapter- Then on the next chapter we find out the guy who was shot was wearing a bullet proof vest the entire time and that the killer isn't who we thought he was, he's just a fall guy. Who knew?!
Of all the Lincoln Rhyme novels I've read, and I've read them all, this is by far the weakest and least interesting. If you're as avid a fan as I am I would advise you to skip it. Personally I think I have grown tired of Deaver's style of dramatic action then resolution afterwards by revealing important behind the scenes information after the fact. It's a simple and effective trick but it's getting old. It's the same shenanigans that Deaver pulled when he wrote his first James Bond novel: Carte Blanche.
When it comes to men who hate women, Salander always gets her man.
After I finished reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I changed tracks and cleans...moreWhen it comes to men who hate women, Salander always gets her man.
After I finished reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I changed tracks and cleansed me pallet. I read "Have Space Suit-Will Travel" in the interim. Then I bought the second and third books in the trilogy. I must say that I read the The Girl who Played with Fire at a much slower pace, on and off as weeks went by. But I was half way through when it got very interested and I charged ahead and read the last half, save 100 pages in three hours. I finished off the novel while I half watched the Swedish movie version. (I liked the American depiction of Dragon Tattoo very much!)
So what I thought the first book was going to be, the second one turned out to be that book, a crime-mystery-thriller. Excellent. Only when read in conjunction with Dragon Tattoo does this book really find momentum. First I was glad to be back in leagues with familiar characters. Second I was intrigued with the opening prologue. While Dragon Tattoo read as a mythical who-dunnit, Played with Fire is a much more crime/detective based novel.
Stieg Larsson writes such interesting characters, so well that I vehemently detest some, that is effective writing. When things come to be revealed Larsson has cranked up the plot and characters so such a point you loath the bad ones and urn for the good ones to win.
Played With Fire takes on explaining the life of Lisbeth Salander through the eyes of a murder investigation. As it plays out all her secrets are revealed, and how horrifying they are! However this begins to take place halfway through the book. Interestingly enough this is part of the charm of the novel. Gone is the brutal rape from the first book, now Larsson focuses on social commentary of trafficking women. The first half of the book details two writers on the subject who contact Millennium in hopes of publishing an article about imported girls who are forced into prostitution and the officials who are allowing it. Salander's has taken time to travel abroad, never faltering in her morals to protect women from sadistic men. However on her return to Sweden she is implicated in the murder of Mikael Blomkvist's courageous writers and disappears. Soon a nation wide hunt is on for Salander. It calls into question who is on her side and who isn't.
The novel is absolutely fantastic. It is not too much or too little of anything. Larsson doesn't over do the suspense nor the wonderful characterization of Blomkvist and Salander. It is truly a harrowing adventure with surprises left right and centre. Suddenly it feels as though you have reached the top of the roller coaster and I have little doubt you will be able to out the book down in the last half.
I will likely read another book before I pick up The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, but I get to it in time.(less)