I have to say that I was very disappointed in this book. I had read the Flanders Pane by Perez-Reverte and thought I had found a new favorite author....moreI have to say that I was very disappointed in this book. I had read the Flanders Pane by Perez-Reverte and thought I had found a new favorite author. This book s was a big let down from my first impressions. It seems as if this book was the first part of a story that needed to continue on. The action was too infrequent, and there were way too many digressions that talk about Spanish history or Spanish life that really were not that interesting. I think that if I was a Spanish citizen, I may have enjoyed this book more.
With that said, I do still think I will read the next book in this series. I think there is great potential in some of the characters. I just felt that this potential was not even sniffed in this first installment.(less)
Well I was very surprised by this book. The book has received countless four and five star reviews and I thought I would love it. Historical fiction a...moreWell I was very surprised by this book. The book has received countless four and five star reviews and I thought I would love it. Historical fiction about marines in the lead up to World War II? How could a guy like me not love it?
I am so disappointed by this book. I am not one of the people on these sites that finds incredibly popular books and rips them to be contrarian. I usually fall in with the masses. This book is the great exception to that rule.
First of all, there is little to no action in this book. Toward the very end we get to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the first actions in Asia, but we don't actually read about any of the events. The main characters are in and around the action, but what they do there is simply hinted at.
With that said, I realize that this book was supposed to be more about the life of a marine during this time period. To me, the book never went deep enough into the characters and many of the secondary characters were cookie-cutters. Also, if I take the book as gospel, it turns out that any woman who sees a marine wants to have sex with him immediately. That includes Chinese women, prostitutes, rich women, married women, or anyone else in between. I am not being prudish with this criticism, it just seems to be way over the top.
I may read the next in the series because all the glowing reviews can't be wrong. I will hold out hope that things pick up.(less)
This book just did not grab me like I thought it would. The story follows the American Ethan Gage from France to Egypt during the Napoleonic Wars wher...moreThis book just did not grab me like I thought it would. The story follows the American Ethan Gage from France to Egypt during the Napoleonic Wars where he meets all the important people from Napoleon to Nelson. I thought the story tried to be too many different things. It tried to be smart with mathematics and historical conspiracy, it tried to be funny, it tried to be suspenseful, and it tried to be an adventure story all at the same time. I never really warmed up to any parts of it.
I simply felt that the story had too many convenient happenings, and that the main character's ability to get into and out of tough spots was simply beyond belief. Also, the main point of the story is Gage's chasing down the myster of a medallion he obtains in the opening chapter, but I didn't feel that the reader could connect with the mystery in the way that say Dan Brown is able to do. Anyway, disappointing, but not a terrible book. I imagine others may enjoy it more than I did.(less)
An entertaining read for the second book in the seriers about Roman "Gordianus the Finder." I think I enjoy these books more for the Roman History tha...moreAn entertaining read for the second book in the seriers about Roman "Gordianus the Finder." I think I enjoy these books more for the Roman History than I do for the mystery. The mystery in this book involves the murder of a man and the response of the man's benefactor and his desire to kill all slaves in the house as an example to the all slaves about what happens when slaves murder their master. The catch is that there is great doubt by many in the house that slaves comitted the actual murder.
The murder mystery is decent, but a bit unsatisfying when the killer is revealed. I felt that the book was too short and we were simply introduced to the players in the story one at a time until they finally nail it down. The suspense of the possible murder of the slaves enhances the story, but like I said, I found myself enjoying the background and "world building" of ancient Roman society much more entertaining.
I will continue with this series and would recommend it to others.(less)
A very quick read that was better than the first book in the Alatriste chronicles. This book is a very short story that follows the adventures of a fo...moreA very quick read that was better than the first book in the Alatriste chronicles. This book is a very short story that follows the adventures of a former soldier and now sword for hire Captain Alatriste. As a history teacher, I very much enjoyed the historical background of 16th century Spain. The Inquisition, class system, and social tensions are very well done in this book. The reason I don't rate it higher than a 3/5 is that the actual plot of the book could have been done in 100 pages. The many tangents the story takes to explain the history or background to the story is what fills up most of the book. I can't imagine that anyone not interested in the history of the time period would be very interested in the story. I will continue reading the series as I did enjoy this book and the books can be read in a day or two.(less)
Another solid book by Cornwell. This is Cornwell's classic style of good guys who do bad things (but it doesn't bother you), fall in love with the pre...moreAnother solid book by Cornwell. This is Cornwell's classic style of good guys who do bad things (but it doesn't bother you), fall in love with the pretty girls, and bad guys who are really bad and who are easy to hate. What prevented this book from the four stars for me was that I felt it dragged big time in the middle. Also, as this is the Grail Quest Series, I would expect a bit more of the focus to truly be on the Grail. It is talked about quite a bit, but never in a way that, for me at least, it could truly be a magical item. It is always just understood that it is a chase for something that couldn't possibly be the miracle everyone wants or hopes it to be. Anyway - will read the third and final installment in the series at some point.(less)
Another solid offering from Perez-Reverte. This is the third in the series about Captain Alatriste. This book tells the story of the battle at Breda,...moreAnother solid offering from Perez-Reverte. This is the third in the series about Captain Alatriste. This book tells the story of the battle at Breda, and it is very simple in its telling. There is no real drama, and we know the outcome for the main characters and the Spanish. What makes the story interesting is to read about the soldiers and Spanish army of the time. How they dressed, how they talked, how they placed a high importance on honor, and all the things that go along with the history of the period are what make the story interesting. It was not a page turner, and I do not think anyone that does not have an interest in 17th century European history would enjoy this.
I will continue the series because I enjoy the writing style for the most part. I think I would like to try another Perez-Reverte book outside of the series sometimes soon.(less)
Another quick read in the Captain Alatriste series. This story revolves around our main character being hired to put together a crew to board a ship a...moreAnother quick read in the Captain Alatriste series. This story revolves around our main character being hired to put together a crew to board a ship and steal its gold. I felt the same way about this book as I did about the last couple in the series. The actual plot of the novel is very short and there is no dramatic anticipation whatsoever. The history and the descriptions of the time are great for a person who enjoys history. If I could break it down, I would give the story itself 2 stars because of the lack of excitement, and give the history of the time period 4 stars. The 3 star rating splits the difference.(less)
This was the third and final book in the "Search for the Grail" series featuring the English archer Thomas of Hookton. This book followed the Cornwell...moreThis was the third and final book in the "Search for the Grail" series featuring the English archer Thomas of Hookton. This book followed the Cornwell formula and really was no different than the previous two books. It introduces one new female character, but there is never really a true love interest developed with her. The only real difference between this book and the previous ones in the series is that in the last chapters, the Plague arrives. It was interesting from an historical point of view, but other than quickly killing people off in the final pages, it didn't really have an impact on the story.
Basically I was a bit disappointed in this book. I feel like there was little magic or excitement about finding the Grail, and the entire story of the trilogy certainly could have been told in two books. I never had that "can't wait to find out what happens next" feeling that I usually do reading Cornwell.(less)
I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5. This is a classic Wilbur Smith book and I enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed it more than the 3 stars would indica...moreI would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5. This is a classic Wilbur Smith book and I enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed it more than the 3 stars would indicate. The story always moves at a fast pace, the plot lines are always interesting and not always what you think, and he does a great job of making the reader feel like they are a part of South Africa and the culture. The part of this book that I had a really hard time with is Smith's portrayal of women. All of his books have sex scenes, but in this book, it seemed as if every female character was obsessed with sex. The conservative religious women, upper class and lower class women, even progressive women, could think of nothing but sex. I am not a prude or conservative at all, but the attitudes in the book that the menfolk simply dominate by being masculine and the women can barely contain themselves wore on me after a while. I don't remember it being quite like this in the previous books I read by Smith. There were always characters like this, but I remember female characters that had more dimensions to them.
With all of that said, I still really enjoyed the book.(less)
This book was awfully depressing. It tells the story of a poor white family in the South during the Depression. These people were dirt poor, uneducate...moreThis book was awfully depressing. It tells the story of a poor white family in the South during the Depression. These people were dirt poor, uneducated, and treated each other poorly. There was literally nothing positive in this story, and although I understand that the author was telling the true of story of these types of people, it was still tough to keep turning the pages. I think it was the part that they are so completely uneducated and had no understanding of anything outside of their own insulated world. I am glad to have read it from a historical perspective, but did not enjoy it as literature.(less)