For such a large book, so little happens. I like plot, suspense, character development, all of which seem to be lacking here.
Basically, this book is a...moreFor such a large book, so little happens. I like plot, suspense, character development, all of which seem to be lacking here.
Basically, this book is about a witch who doesn't practice magic getting caught up in a mystery/conspiracy concerning a Medieval manuscript about alchemy. She meets a vampire (a la Edward Cullen) who helps her and obviously falls in love with her and they becoming sickeningly in love. And then they worry about how to get the manuscript back without any of their loved ones dying because a secret Committee of powerful and crazed witches, vampires, and daemons (who???) are looking for it. The End.
Much of the book is dedicated to the growing relationship between vamp Matthew and our 'damsel in distress' witch Diana (who is apparently strong and fierce and brave yet frequently faint and being picked up and placed on a bed a lot by her prince in shining skin). There is a lot of room in this book for action, suspense and mystery, yet Harkness glosses over these opportunities and deals with them in a few pages. But then she spends equally long over a wine tasting scene or a tea making scene.
Even though it is meant to the beginning of a trilogy, the end is not well wrapped up either. I felt dissatisfied by the reason for the next book (going back in time to learn about magic? really?).
The whole book could have been much shorter. The extensive, descriptive scenes could have been much shorter, and the few actual action, suspenseful scenes could have been longer.
If I am bored, I may read the second one. I might enjoy it, but I definitely won't jump out of my chair when it comes out. (less)
What a pointless book. I have seen some people call it charming, tranquil, idyllic, but I found it boring and shallow. How on earth it h...more***Spoilers***
What a pointless book. I have seen some people call it charming, tranquil, idyllic, but I found it boring and shallow. How on earth it has become popular lately I'll never know.
There is not much of a plot of this book, but as best can be explained, it is about the ramblings of old Victorian spinsters and what they get up to in their lives. Which apparently is nothing.
I like classic novels, particularly Victorian ones. While I never imagine it to be the original intent of the authors, I find that they are amazing in pointing out how different life is between now and then, and also how similar it is on some levels. However, Cranford only made me hope that Victorian spinsters were smarter, more hopeful, and cleverer than what is portrayed here. I didn't like any of the characters, they all seemed a little dim and vapid. There was some redemption of the characters towards the end when they rallied around the impoverished Miss Matty.
But my biggest complaint of this story is the lack of structure. I like structure in a novel. I like seeing a flow, a narrative, scenes with purpose. However, this lacked it. A semblance of one arrived towards the end, when Mary Smith attempts to find Peter, and when Miss Matty looses almost everything, but that is the last three or four chapters of the books. Otherwise, the structure of the book comes across as a diary or journal entry, not really meant to be read by anyone but the author, or her close friends or relatives. One review has even likened it to that of a blog of a self obsessed teenager; I like that analogy.
I wouldn't read this one again, and I will definitely not pick up the sequels. Blah. Blah blah blah. (less)
I am a huge fan of the original outlander series, of which the Lord John books are a spin off. But I never really warmed...moreCaution: May contain spoilers
I am a huge fan of the original outlander series, of which the Lord John books are a spin off. But I never really warmed to his character in those series, and never felt any necessity to read his books. Until DG decided to start to entwine the two series, leaving me unsure about who was who, and how they fit in.
Two books into the series, and I still am not a fan of Lord John Grey. I feel like I should be, but I am not.
I honestly had trouble following the plot of this book. There were far too many characters introduced briefly and never to appear again, until 5 or 10 pages before the end of the book. (The big reveal of the murderer resulted in me confusedly asking out loud "who? I don't remember this person at all!"). And I couldn't remember the big conspiracy plot and why it was important. I also found that DG would frequently have her characters realize something, or see something but not tell the reader at the same time; I found this device overused and irritating.
The sub-plot of John's relationship with his step brother was easy to follow, and frankly more interesting than the rest of the story. DG has pretty sound (although not perfect) research and uses it in interesting ways. The description of 18th century England's view and attitude towards homosexuality was interesting; how it was used as a weapon and threat (i.e. Bates who was hanged as a homosexual even though he wasn't); how those who were actually homosexual went about secretly; as well as referring to famous people who were. I also found Percy's description of his impoverished childhood intriguing and I think that that would have made a good short story or novella; it had a Dickensian feel.
I have finished Brotherhood of the Blade and I am glad it's over. It was nice to see Jamie for a bit, and now I know who Percy Wainwright is. (less)
1.5 stars. Oh thank God that's over. Dull dull dull dull. If you wish to read it, skip all the letters and the poetry. Or just watch the film; it was...more1.5 stars. Oh thank God that's over. Dull dull dull dull. If you wish to read it, skip all the letters and the poetry. Or just watch the film; it was more entertaining. (less)
Interesting read in that Nick Hornby is an amazing writer. Plot line is weird and not overly grabbing. The characters are not overly likab...more3.5 really.
Interesting read in that Nick Hornby is an amazing writer. Plot line is weird and not overly grabbing. The characters are not overly likable, but Hornby does a great job of describing inner turmoil.(less)
2.5. I'm not really into animal stories. But I read it because I like David Sedaris. The only memorable one in this one though was the last story, abo...more2.5. I'm not really into animal stories. But I read it because I like David Sedaris. The only memorable one in this one though was the last story, about the grieving owl and his hippo friend. (less)