Beautifully written, with great characters that suck you in from page one. I ripped through this book in just a couple of days, though that's fairly s...moreBeautifully written, with great characters that suck you in from page one. I ripped through this book in just a couple of days, though that's fairly standard for books I like. Aside from a couple minor "uh-huh" moments, it was a great read. I thought I had the narrative path worked out in my head when I started the novel, but was pleasantly surprised as the book went along. There's also a very informative historical note at the end that points out where the author fudged the history for the sake of his plot.
Awesome for the first half of the book, less so for the second half. The first half was far more detailed and informative, even if none of the charact...moreAwesome for the first half of the book, less so for the second half. The first half was far more detailed and informative, even if none of the characters jumped out at the reader. In fact, all three of the narrators (Paul Moreau, Pauline and Marie-Louise) sounded distressingly similar and no one character seemed entirely three dimensional. Even so, the first half - covering 1810 and 1811 - was very interesting and well-drawn. The author is very good at creating the time and place in which she's set her story - you can almost smell the smoke when Marie-Louise leaves Austria.
Then, after taking great pains to set the scene in the first half, Ms. Moran sped through the second half of the book. It covers 1812-1815, which includes some of the most interesting parts of the Bonaparte story, very quickly and lacking the detailed world-building of the first half of the book. Sometimes there is only a few pages dedicated to each year and it was difficult to get a grasp on what was going on. It's almost as if the author was tired of writing the book and was just trying to get it over with.
Interesting book. I would probably recommend it for the first half, but with a warning that the second half is disappointing.(less)
Started off a little slow; it took a little less than 100 pages for me to really get into the book. Once the story started to take off, I was hooked....moreStarted off a little slow; it took a little less than 100 pages for me to really get into the book. Once the story started to take off, I was hooked. There is some gratuitous use of the work bonking, which can get annoying, as do the frequent penis jokes. But the characters are great, particularly Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, who gets the lion's share of the funny lines. There's enough to go around, though, and if you enjoyed any other of Christopher Moore's books, you'll get a kick out of this one, as well.(less)
I wasn't as thrilled with this book as I thought I would be, reading the first chapter. I dislike the almost vignette-like feel of the book and had so...moreI wasn't as thrilled with this book as I thought I would be, reading the first chapter. I dislike the almost vignette-like feel of the book and had some difficultly keeping track of the time. The main characters, two Provencal sisters who become Queen of France and Queen of England in the 13th century, were almost indistinguishable as voices - the chapters switched back and forth between their points of view and the only clue as to whom was speaking was was the husband or the names of the ladies involved. The characters didn't seem to grow, though that might be a result of the time slippage. I got the feeling that some of the major events were skipped over or were passed over quickly. The writing also felt quite stilted.(less)
**spoiler alert** Mostly fast-paced and action-packed with fun characters. The book is long - and it does lag a bit in some parts - but I zipped right...more**spoiler alert** Mostly fast-paced and action-packed with fun characters. The book is long - and it does lag a bit in some parts - but I zipped right through it. I really enjoyed the book, which was a little surprising to me. I was looking for fiction set on the Titanic, and was a little dismayed to find the action shifted from the ship fairly quickly (interestingly, the Titanic parts seemed very well-researched). However, I was immediately intrigued by the alternate world the author created. The characters drew my interest quickly, even if they aren't particularly well-developed. You get a good sense of them, and they each have a fairly distinctive voice, but I felt like I never really got to "know" any of them. What motivated their actions? Why were some so uncomfortable in their own skins? There seemed to be a lot of back story that was merely alluded to, rather than fully explained - half the story.
The book quickly shifted into an espionage thriller and it screamed along. I hardly noticed the fact that I had read 450 or so pages. Once the group gets to their final destination, though, it slows down quite a bit. The battle that takes place seemed to drag on - it runs for nearly 200 pages. Once the group gets the carapace up and running, though, it picked right back up again.
It wasn't a perfect book. Some elements of the time travel were not adequately explained, particularly toward the end. There is the aforementioned problem with the characters and a couple of other small things. All that aside, it was a lot of fun to read. I loved the resolution I got at the end. I enjoyed the loop idea, a singularly horrifying consequence of mucking about with time. The twists were suitably mind-bending. I enjoyed most of the characters. The action was fantastic and the world-building for the alternate timeline was great.
Bottom line? I would recommend this book to just about anyone. :)(less)
I would give this 3.5 stars, and so rounded up to four. I love the Daisy Dalrymple series, so I might be a bit biased - fair warning, but this was a s...moreI would give this 3.5 stars, and so rounded up to four. I love the Daisy Dalrymple series, so I might be a bit biased - fair warning, but this was a solid entry into the series.
Daisy and her new husband Alec are shanghaied by their friend, the American million Arbuckle, into going to the US. He's set up jobs for both and they're to travel on the same ship as his family for the crossing to New York. Unfortunately, what should be an extended honeymoon crossing is instead beset with such trials as poor weather, sea sickness, professional gamblers and, of course, murder. I'm not terribly well-versed on the time period (post-Great War England and America), but I thought that the author added a number of small details that help create the ambiance - or what I imagine the ambiance - of those years.
Long story short? It was a fun book and a light, easy read. I was sick and neck-deep in bar exam prep when I read it, so I imagine I was probably very easily amused. I took off the star and a half because I had the mystery figured out from the first incident, with one small twist I didn't expect.
Fun book with enjoyable characters and a good mystery. My biggest problems were with the stilted dialogue and with the fact that both mysteries wrappe...moreFun book with enjoyable characters and a good mystery. My biggest problems were with the stilted dialogue and with the fact that both mysteries wrapped up a bit too fast. I'm definitely going to give the other books in the series a try.(less)
To be fair, I'm not a huge fan of Christian lit. I rarely read it, if just because I dislike being preached at for 300 pages. I knew this book was Chr...moreTo be fair, I'm not a huge fan of Christian lit. I rarely read it, if just because I dislike being preached at for 300 pages. I knew this book was Christian lit when I picked it up, but I've been on a massive Titanic kick lately and thought it looked interesting. The sample chapter also looked pretty good, a beautiful cover, and the reviews were stellar. The Christianity wasn't my problem with this book. There were preach-y parts, but they weren't overwhelming by any means, and I felt that, for the most part, I could skip right over them if I found them objectionable.
No, my biggest problems with this book concerning its one-dimensional, almost unbelievably simplistic characters; the boring, stilted writing; the bad dialogue; and the fact that despite being set on the Titanic in 1912, there was very little sense of time or place.
I never got any sense of the characters, that they changed in any perceptible way. Again, to be fair, I skimmed large chunks of the last 100 pages or so because it just didn't hold my interest. But what I did see of the characters was less than impressive. Amelia never rang true to me - she was almost what a fan fiction writer would call a "Mary Sue" - no faults at all. The author tries to manufacture faults for the leading man, Quentin, but he's so nobly self-sacrificing, it's difficult to believe he once led a totally dissolute life. Some characters pop up and then nothing is ever done with them that I saw - Dorothea, for example. Nobody really grew as a result of their experiences. I could not care about them at all.
The writing was bland, as well. The dialogue was stilted and expository and never really rang true - something seemed off, as if you couldn't quite imagine real human beings saying what Ms. Goyer had her characters say.
I'll also echo someone else here, and say you never really got the sense that the characters were aboard the Titanic, or even really that they were living in the beginning of the last century. There was no sense of time and place at all. Extremely disappointing, since I was reading it for the Titanic in the first place. There also seemed to be a disappointing number of historical inaccuracies as well.
I read Conrad Allen's book Murder on the Minnesota as my first introduction to this series. I enjoyed it, but thought it was a little clunky. I didn't...moreI read Conrad Allen's book Murder on the Minnesota as my first introduction to this series. I enjoyed it, but thought it was a little clunky. I didn't think I would try any of the rest of the series. Am I glad I changed my mind! This is a fun little mystery book that displays none of the clunkiness of scene and dialogue that would pop up in the third book of the series. I had a ton of fun reading it, even though I guessed the villains quite a ways before the great reveal. The best part was the evocation of the ship board atmosphere - you almost feel as though you're aboard the Lusitania along with our heroes. Recommended. (less)
Murder on the Mauretania was quite so well-written as the first book in the series, Murder on the Lusitania, and not nearly so clunky as the third boo...moreMurder on the Mauretania was quite so well-written as the first book in the series, Murder on the Lusitania, and not nearly so clunky as the third book, Murder on the Minnesota. Fun book and good mystery that kept me guessing until the last few pages. Recommended.(less)