Neil Gaiman is probably my favorite author, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has made me want to read more by him, so naturally I thought a bookNeil Gaiman is probably my favorite author, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has made me want to read more by him, so naturally I thought a book written by both of them would be the best thing since sliced bread. Good Omens is a story about Armageddon and everything leading up to it. Things such as a human loving demon, a book loving angel, a baby switching game, and the prophecies of an old witch named Agnes Nutter. With multiple people involved trying to postpone the Apocalypse, things don’t go according to plan; especially since no one can find the Antichrist.
This story is outrageously funny, but at times a bit confusing. For instance, the Antichrist’s hellhound starts out in one place, and then pops up in another without an explanation. Also there are mini-plots within the story that tell of other secondary characters or people completely removed from the main plot. Crowly, the human loving demon, is easily my favorite character: having the funniest one liners in the story, and enough wit to make things interesting.
“He rather liked people. It was a major failing in a demon. Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse.”
Be prepared for this book to leave you wanting to know what happens next. While the plot does have a complete ending, I found it slightly unsatisfying, but if my complaint is “I want more” then that’s more of a compliment to the writing. At the end of the book is an interview with the authors that was fun to read; they explain the process of writing Good Omens, and discuss the possibility of future collaborations. Their answers are just as funny as their book....more
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin is the first story in a series of six, and let me start out by saying I will definitely be reading the nextA Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin is the first story in a series of six, and let me start out by saying I will definitely be reading the next five. Earthsea is it’s own world whose geography consists of a vast archipelago and four outlying “reaches”. Each of these areas have their own people, language, and customs, creating a world as diverse as our own. This first novel follows Ged, known as Sparrowhawk, in his journey from being a strong child to a the most powerful wizard in Earthsea. As a power hungry adolescent, Ged releases an evil shadow from an unnamed realm, and must correct his mistake and restore balance.
Before I began reading the story I did a bit of internet research on the world, and I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in the book. Don’t think of it as cheating, but as a study guide. Certain terms in the novel are not explained, but left to the reader to infer their meaning, and with a little background knowledge this can be done much more efficiently. One of the reasons I found this book so enchanting was it’s strong narrative and minimal dialogue. Rather than have the story told through characters, Le Guin takes on the role of a story teller, much like the style in The Odyssey, having spoken words only when necessary.
An archetype found in stories such as Star Wars, Discworld, Lord of the Rings, etc. is also found in A Wizard of Earthsea: the importance of balance. In every magical coming of age story there is an elder passing down this important lesson, as in the passage below:
“He looked down at the pebble again. ‘A rock is a good thing, too, you know,’ he said, speaking less gravely. ‘If the Isles of Earthsea were all made of diamond, we’d lead a hard life here. Enjoy illusions, lad, and let the rocks be rocks.’ He said smiling, but Ged left dissatisfied.”
Perhaps this is one of the reasons I enjoyed this story so much, as I’m a huge fan of the previously named stories. That being said, I can’t wait to read the next in the series,-The Tombs of Atuan- and leave this one with a solid five stars....more
The Time Traveler’s Wife is…interesting to say the least. I’ve read this book twice: the first time I read it I would have marked it in my top five faThe Time Traveler’s Wife is…interesting to say the least. I’ve read this book twice: the first time I read it I would have marked it in my top five favorite novels, the second time around I couldn’t remember my reasoning for liking it at all. The story is alternatively narrated by Henry and Claire through different stages of their lives in no particular order. Claire meets Henry when she’s six during one of Henry’s adventures through time. Henry, however, doesn’t meet Claire until he’s in his 20s. The plot then follows their life together and the difficulties of their relationship. There are a few subplots being: Henry’s life before Claire, and Henry trying to stop himself from time traveling (as he has no control over it).
There are a multitude of reasons why I do not like this book, but here are the major ones listed out:
1. It’s in first person. I respect this is as a stylistic choice, but I don’t think Niffenegger did a good job in executing it. When either Henry or Claire would walk into a new setting, their descriptions of their surroundings were laughable, and just made them sound idiotic.
2. Claire is characterized as a nice girl with no dark side and is extremely likable except for a few one liners of hers in the book. Fore example, when Henry’s father asks Claire why she would marry Henry she answers, “Because he’s really really good in bed.” I found her occasional vulgar humor completely out of characterization and highly unnecessary.
2.a An offshoot of this is Henry’s vulgar one liners. Ex. “I now have an erection that is probably tall enough to ride some of the scarier rides at Great America without a parent.” Even though it fits into his character description, it’s still gratuitous and I’d rather not read it.
3. Before Henry meets Claire he is a complete scum bag. He does drugs, sleeps around, and drinks until he pukes. Of course he shapes up and is nice after he falls in love with Claire. I just don’t really care for this trend in contemporary literature of a girl falling for a horrible guy and changing his heart.
4. The more I think about the circumstances of the book, the creepier it seems to me, almost resembling pedophilia. In real time Claire is only 8 years younger than Henry, but during Claire’s childhood meetings with an older version of Henry their age difference is much greater. When Claire is a young girl things seem okay, but through her teenage years their once platonic relationship starts to become a bit awkward.
The Time Traveler’s Wife seems like a poor attempt in joining science fiction and romance, however Niffenegger has been quoted saying this was not her intention. At best I’d call in Chick Lit, and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone....more
Diane Setterfield’s debut novel The Thirteenth Tale has all the makings of a classic gothic story: ghosts, a haunted mansion, and dark secrets. AfterDiane Setterfield’s debut novel The Thirteenth Tale has all the makings of a classic gothic story: ghosts, a haunted mansion, and dark secrets. After several reporters’ attempts to obtain a factual biography of admired author Vida Winter there is still no recorded history of her. One day, protagonist Margaret Lea receives a letter from Miss Winter with instructions to come hear Miss Winter’s story; her true story. From this point on the plot follows Margaret’s journey in discovering the secrets that have been so carefully hidden for over 50 years. Her discoveries not only give insight as to who this reclusive author is, but to herself as well.
This novel is commonly compared to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and has many references to the piece as well. Where Jane Eyre has a hint of mystery, however, The Thirteenth Tale has a surplus. This is not to say that the plot is hard to follow, rather, it is too ridiculous. The first 200 pages of the novel seem to set up a promising story, but by page 248 I found myself questioning the direction the author was taking me, and by page 347 I had lost faith in the book. When I had come to the end of the book the plot resembled a soap opera more than a ghost story, and had a completely unbelievable twist.
What the book lacks in plot, is made up for in the author’s style of prose. Setterfield’s language, simply put, is enticing. She paints pictures based on the inferences of the reader, without pounding in overwhelming details. Setterfield’s writing style is enough to make the book enjoyable, but I would still not recommend it. If you’re a fan of story lines with as many twists and turns as there are pages, than this book could be for you. As for me, I could only give it two stars....more
Neil Gaiman is always a pleasure to read, and Anansi Boys is no exception. In this story, Fat Charlie Nancy believes himself to be a perfectly normalNeil Gaiman is always a pleasure to read, and Anansi Boys is no exception. In this story, Fat Charlie Nancy believes himself to be a perfectly normal English boy with a particularly embarrassing father. This belief soon changes when Fat Charlie is told his father has died, in a particularly embarrassing way. He then learns that his father is Anansi, the trickster spider god, and that he has a brother, also a god. Fat Charlie makes the mistake of contacting his brother and is then sent into a chaotic journey to be rid of him.
I have found that comedic books, for the most part, have dull characters that are unrelatable and uninteresting. Such is not the case for Anansi Boys. Gaiman’s characters have the power to make the reader want to jump right into the novel and personally solve their problems. On top of that I found myself literally laughing out loud at every page. The chapter names in themselves are enough to evoke laughter, but comedy always comes at a price.
If you’v read other novels by Gaiman than you would expect a philosophical plot told by mythological characters. While Anansi Boys is full of mythology the previous is for the most part absent. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magic and old folk tales, but would further recommend that this not be the first book you read by Neil Gaiman. Overall, an easy four stars....more