I don't really know how to properly rate this book. The idea is good, really good, but the execution didn't seem to gel. It has so many points that shI don't really know how to properly rate this book. The idea is good, really good, but the execution didn't seem to gel. It has so many points that should have hooked me, but instead, I was more interested in figuring out when I would finish it.
Time travel is a widely used story line, and it's sometimes hard to find one that stands out and feels original. McKean really tried to do so with his version of time travel, but it came across as over-researched and a little too confusing. I think it would have worked better without the scientific explanation and mini physics lecture.
The main character, Matt, and his historical love interest, Anna, didn't feel real; they were rather flat, and not explored well. Perhaps this is due to the relative shortness of the story, and maybe in a longer novel the characters would have been fleshed out more and become believable and sympathetic characters. But instead, Matt felt a little heartless, and Anna was just existing.
Also, there was some parts of the story that were rather disjointed; I assume that these were meant to be parts of the butterfly effect, but were never really expanded and just mentioned in passing. For example, Matt's present girlfriend denying a conversation that just happened. But then, never mentioned again in the story, or fully explained.
Sadly, this could have been great, but it fell flat. ...more
I read this one because I was intrigued by the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. I thought it would be...well, I thought it would be exactly what it wasn't. OI read this one because I was intrigued by the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. I thought it would be...well, I thought it would be exactly what it wasn't. Overall, the book read like a first draft of a story, making the reader feel as if the author hasn't quite made up his mind on what will be included in the story. It felt a bit dizzying, especially with the overabundance of section breaks. And, there is actually very little in the book about the fire.
The book follows three generations of a family: the pre-fire, the fire, and the post-fire generation. The pre-fire felt unnecessary, and it only last about 15 or 20 pages. No need. The fire generation was interesting, and actually was the best part of the book. The details about immigrants arriving into New York was good, interesting, and I finally felt the story was going to go somewhere. And then the fire happened (in a sole chapter), and that was it. A long, unnecessary section about American politics followed, and I really struggled. The ending didn't make it any better.
I hope this book is republished once it gets through an actual editor. It was clear to me that the author does have a talent for writing, as there are some well written sections. But it was clearly unedited, and it really needed a second hand to pull it along. It could have been better. ...more
Ah another Lord John book. In all honesty, I am only reading these so that I can understand the crossover in Echo in the Bone (and I am expecting moreAh another Lord John book. In all honesty, I am only reading these so that I can understand the crossover in Echo in the Bone (and I am expecting more crossover in Written in My Heart's Own Bloody next year).
I finished this book last week, and already I am struggling to remember the stories. They are bland, especially when compared to the exciting main story of Jamie and Claire. The mystery never really grabs me, and I find that the plots become so convoluted that I can't keep people straight; in many stories I have gotten to the end and read the big reveal, and responded with "who is that guy?"
I still struggle to like Lord John as a character, and I think I have worked my up to ambivalent. He is honourable and trustworthy, all positive attributes; he is tragic in his unrequited love for Jamie Fraser, who is for all intents and purposes homophobic, which should pull at the readers heartstrings; but as a literary character, he just doesn't work. I can't pinpoint it, but he just doesn't.
For the Hellfire Club story, I didn't see the point of the mystery. I think someone died.
For the middle one, I can't even remember what it was about now.
The Haunted Soldier was actually a little interesting in places. But there were a lot of holes and red herrings. Lord John sees a ghost, which is never mentioned again. The bad guy gets away. There were also two concurrent mysteries that I couldn't really see why they were lumped together.
The most interesting thing I find in the Lord John books are the explanations of the gay underworld of Georgian London. It's not something that comes up in literature, so it's interesting from an academic standpoint (for some reason, it really makes me think of Hogarth, all the symbolism and hidden references).
Only read if you're a hardcore DG fan. Or if you are in a serious need of a reference to Jamie. ...more
When I was a teen in the late 90s, before the invasion of the Twihards, I loved all things vampire, particularly Anne Rice. I loved the interludes inWhen I was a teen in the late 90s, before the invasion of the Twihards, I loved all things vampire, particularly Anne Rice. I loved the interludes in history and the present, the lavish lifestlyes, the melodrama, and the broodiness (emo, before there was emo). I, Vampire was definetely written with these qualities in mind; depressed wealthy genius becomes a vampire and joins the ranks of, wait for it.....
...vampiric Romonov princesses, Mozart (yes, that Mozart), Rasputin, and my personal favourite, Jack the Ripper. Try explaining that plot line to your friends and see if you don't feel foolish.
Whilst this book does try to reach for the same qualities that Rice accomplishes, it falls woefully short. The inclusion of so many historic figures feels farcical; our depressed hero is a flat character and rather dull--he is no Louis or Lestat; the love aspect feels like an after thought. There is not much of a plot in this one, with the climax happening in the last 10 pages of the book. At least the first 2/3 of the book is the protoganist attemtping to tell his story and really just handing the audience a stream of consciousness pile of nothing.
I am dissappointed in this one; I thought it could be so much better. ...more
I love the idea of time travel, so naturally I was excited to start this one. The protoganist, an new recruit in a secret govenment autohypnotic timeI love the idea of time travel, so naturally I was excited to start this one. The protoganist, an new recruit in a secret govenment autohypnotic time travel project, moves in and out of 1882 New York, attempting to simultanously determine the effects of time travel on the present, and solve his girlfriend's family mystery. The author did a lot of research to write this novel. And it shows. Sadly, that is all that shows. The plot is thin, and only infrequently returned to as the bland 'hero' Simon descibes 1882 New York, and shows the reader the photos he takes and drawings he makes. There is a lot of description here. A lot. Pages of buildings, landmarks, newspaper headlines and clippings. The author really went out of his way to make sure that it was as accurate as possible. But sadly, he forgot the add in enough plot to make it interesting to novel readers. ...more