This book is definitely a dystopia. It has elements of The Hunger Games, The Matrix, and even The Truman Show. I believe it is self published, becauseThis book is definitely a dystopia. It has elements of The Hunger Games, The Matrix, and even The Truman Show. I believe it is self published, because there are very basic grammar mistakes and the editing is not tight. The first half of the book I was bugged by these deficiencies, and by the lack of originality.
The second half of the book, though, I was very involved and the shortcomings bothered me measurably less. It is a very short read, often the chapters are just 2-3 pages long. If you're a fan of dystopias, this one is free on Amazon and might fill an otherwise dull afternoon for you. In the same way The Matrix did, it actually gave me things to ponder on today....more
I have read a lot of Jane Austen fan fiction in my day, and if this is not at least a little bit a work of fan fiction I will eat my own bonnet. It isI have read a lot of Jane Austen fan fiction in my day, and if this is not at least a little bit a work of fan fiction I will eat my own bonnet. It is set in 1814 and it involves a sea captain. I'm thinking Persuasion fan fiction, at least at its roots.
The story was interesting enough that I finished it in a few days. Hence the two and a half stars, just for pulling me through. But it suffered from nearly every weakness of fan fiction I've encountered— • Poor editing. Words used repeatedly in close proximity, choppy sentence structure. • "I've studied this, so I'll include it by gum." The author included unneeded detail about cloth, lace, which servant does what, gloves, seating arrangements, what candles were made of, how couples should be chaperoned, naval commissions, how inheritances worked, etc. She knows her stuff, but holy cow I think if she'd just written the story it would have been 100 pages shorter. • Anachronistic speech. Use of some contractions, some idioms that are modern, some speech patterns not found in 1810s England. • Resorting to snowballing, ever-increasing melodrama instead of real life events to make the story "interesting" and develop the love story.
So all of my harshness comes from an over-familiarity with the time period. If I were less familiar with the era (and with modern efforts at writing in the style of the era), I could have excused nearly everything that stuck in my craw, and I bet it would have gotten a couple more stars from me....more
(Borrowed from my son's history teacher.) This graphic novel was a fascinating memoir about a girl who lived in Iran at the time of the Islamic coup d(Borrowed from my son's history teacher.) This graphic novel was a fascinating memoir about a girl who lived in Iran at the time of the Islamic coup d'état in 1979-1980. I was in elementary school at the time, and aware of the hostages in the embassy; we heard about the Ayatollah Khomeini at least nightly on the news. But I'm afraid that back then, and in all the years since then, I've never once wondered what it was like to live in Iran at the time. My eyes are opened.
My star rating may go up in future days as I evaluate the way this story stays with me and penetrates me. There's no question that the author found an effective way to tell a terrifying and, at times, unappealing story in an interesting, non-threatening way. ...more
Some books take a while to process, after you finish them. I'm now—looking at the clock—about three minutes since finishing the book, and that's not qSome books take a while to process, after you finish them. I'm now—looking at the clock—about three minutes since finishing the book, and that's not quite enough processing time. But I'll write what I can while it is all very fresh.
I really did like it. It stole a few nights of sleep from me, when I stayed up very late reading or woke up in the middle of the night, thinking of what I read, and switched on the light for a couple of hours of night reading. There are many stories: a story of a couple falling in love, a story of a WWI soldier getting back to non-war life, a story of parents loving and grieving, a story of a lighthouse keeper who turns his work into an art, a story of someone who made wrong choice tortured by that every day; a story of revenge, a story of redemption. And it is all the same story, the same few people's threads weave a complex tapestry.
The beginning is beautiful, but the middle is dark. Tragic. I despaired that there could ever be a good resolution for anyone, and at times I even rooted for the wrong thing to happen, all the while knowing it was the wrong thing. So props to an author who was able to turn all of the woe, believably, into something worth reading. Something even worth living, worth becoming. Props for the characters, all good people in impossible circumstances, finding ways to recall their humanity and making difficult choices that changed everything.
Parts of this book were better than okay—good. Great, even. The writing was quite good (though, the language definitely struck me as current and not aParts of this book were better than okay—good. Great, even. The writing was quite good (though, the language definitely struck me as current and not as period-appropriate; still it was well written). The research was good. The plot was good.
But the author didn't quite know when to quit. When the best/most exciting part of the action was over and all should wrap up gently with a bow in the space of a chapter or two, we still had quite a slog to get through details about (view spoiler)[the main character's withdrawals from opium (hide spoiler)], which, I'm going to be honest, just halted all the momentum and turned an interesting and quick-moving book into a chore to read. Without that part, I'd have probably given the book four(ish) stars.["br"]>["br"]>...more
Just a very short little in-between piece, telling a bit of the story from Four's perspective. There were some details here we didn't know, but nothinJust a very short little in-between piece, telling a bit of the story from Four's perspective. There were some details here we didn't know, but nothing that changes the storyline of the novels. ...more
(3/19) Plot twist! The Information That Would Change Everything mentioned at the end of Insurgent was not just a red herring or a MacGuffin. It did, i(3/19) Plot twist! The Information That Would Change Everything mentioned at the end of Insurgent was not just a red herring or a MacGuffin. It did, indeed, lead to something I absolutely didn't expect, something I haven't seen in any other dystopian novel I've read. (view spoiler)[The United States is still functional—populated, governed, progressing in science—while the pockets of dystopian societies are "experiments" in "genetic healing" that the scientists of the United States are running. Usually these dystopian societies are built on the ruins of the United States, formed out of desperation after something tragic happens; and we were led to assume, through the two previous books, that was the case here too. (hide spoiler)]
(3/20) I had read and heard and been warned that people who loved the first book hated this one, that it was an unsatisfying ending to the series, so I was expecting there to be something about the story not to like. Perhaps that was an inoculation for disappointment, because I didn't hate it.
I'll say this, I liked it very much better than the middle book. That was a slog. This, if you look at the dates, I read in less than 24 hours—and that includes a full night of sleep. I liked how it became atypical of dystopian novels (as I wrote above), and then worked its way through that genre back into familiar ground. There were always so many characters in these books I had a hard time keeping all but the core group straight in my mind; but this book cemented the important ones, and I wasn't confused anymore.
Was there something to be displeased about after all? Yes. Do I wish it had ended differently? Yes. But I respect the author's right to do as she did, and I thought she did it as well as it could be done.
(view spoiler)[(1) I don't believe that the author knew how she was going to end the series. I believe—only because it is what I would have done had I been writing it—that she would have narrated the whole thing through Four's perspective if she knew from the beginning that Tris was going to die.
(2) Veronica Roth at least didn't have Tris die in the last chapter, and leave Four hanging there. That would have been awful. But I still think it is kind of a cop out—after all they shared, did, and were to each other—to just give Four a few chapters and an epilogue. I'm glad he had those and that we have a little bow on top of the changes we hear about but don't see, but IMO Tris's death should have happened about the middle of the book, and the rest of it should have been about picking up the pieces. I can imagine how hard it would be to write about recovery, about healing, about making the society whole again, about change; and yet, to not do so is to say, "The second it got hard I quit writing." Are we watching Four change for the better? Are we trying to believe that Tris made a permanent mark on him, even when she was no longer there? Then show us.(hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(1) Thank heavens this YA book doesn't have the now-completely-standard-in-YA love triangle. I am so over it.
(2) But it was, nonetheless, a very typic(1) Thank heavens this YA book doesn't have the now-completely-standard-in-YA love triangle. I am so over it.
(2) But it was, nonetheless, a very typical YA middle-book-of-three in that we spent literally the entire book with the heroine and her love interest at odds. Will they make up? Won't they? I think that's the only way publishers know how to break up the action into three books these days, and it is tedious.
(3) It was also typical in that the heroine, who seemed so unique and almost invincible in book 1, really lost her mojo. She was like a frightened child the whole way through. What happened to kick-butt Tris?
(4) The action in this Divergent sequel is not nearly so action-y as in the original. There were parts where it was slow-moving and dull. It took me 19 days to get through it. Unheard of.
(5) But it really picked up at the end. Got back to its Divergent roots, became exciting, and I started to care about that carrot they kept dangling, about The Information That Will Change Everything.
All in all, it did not rise above its source material, but by the end it was a dutiful younger sibling. Excited, again, about the series and to continue into Allegiant....more
End of chapter 15, not quite halfway through: I suppose one of the problems with having read so many dystopias is that there is very little ground leftEnd of chapter 15, not quite halfway through: I suppose one of the problems with having read so many dystopias is that there is very little ground left to cover. So much about this book is very familiar, already—no personal choices, check. Clothing prescribed and denotes rank, check. Children fighting each other, check. I could go on, but I'll let you discover all these imperative stereotypes for yourself.
Well my biggest beef so far with this is that Tris is just not aware. I won't say not smart because that's loaded in this universe; but for real, I could tell around page 50 that the guy was interested in her, but she's still rigidly clueless. Hello, Bella2, welcome back to Twilight. Willful misunderstanding, elevated to an art form. And I caught on about her mother's secret about five pages before she did; given that her mom was only on about 5.25 pages, that's a pretty poor showing for Tris.
However, the story is interesting. Even with this complaint, I'm just done typing right now so I can read again.
I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars. There were so many things that were predictable, done previously in other books even; and yet the book was a page-turner, for which I think it may deserve some sort of star credit.
Veronica Roth really gives a lot of hints about major plot developments, to the point that when the "big reveal" comes along I think to myself, really? I'm supposed to gasp here? I got it five chapters ago when you mentioned _______. So there weren't any major turns that I didn't see coming; but there were definitely small moments here and there that were surprises, and not all of them pleasant.
It took until the end of this 487-page book to get to the place where I thought we'd be in about chapter two. It really seemed inevitable from the get-go, and I was waiting for it. But I will admit that the world-building done in those hundreds of pages will make what comes in the next two books even richer, knowing so much of the preparation that went into it. And I am quite [overly-] eager to get started on book two Insurgent. So I recommend this book if you are into YA dystopias and want to read a slight variation on themes you've already read. Not a ringing endorsement, but there it is....more
I finally finished this. I took a long, long break, left it lying on my night stand. I think it was a case of "If I finish it, it's really over." ThisI finally finished this. I took a long, long break, left it lying on my night stand. I think it was a case of "If I finish it, it's really over." This wasn't my favorite YA series, but it was engaging and funny and the characters were delightful. I suspected a few aspects of the ending (view spoiler)[(like that Percy would live, despite the prophecy, and that he would end up with Annabeth) (hide spoiler)]but it turned out much better than I predicted. Several of the problems that cropped up through the series were solved with a little last-minute ingenuity on the part of the characters. And though it is the end of this series, it definitely left me with a little hankering for more. Perhaps I'll have to go on with other series Rick Riordan has written!...more
Liked it. Characters are still so likeable; and the author still manages to introduce new characters from mythology in a way that is interesting, withLiked it. Characters are still so likeable; and the author still manages to introduce new characters from mythology in a way that is interesting, without being overwhelming. This one took me a longer time to read because we're back from vacation and I have to Do Stuff. I was afraid several times I'd lost the thread of the narrative, forgotten some immortal creature or other and what they were supposed to do; it's pretty difficult at this point to keep all those Greek names distinct in my mind. But I never found myself floundering or confused, only excited to push forward.
There are a lot of similarities between this and Harry Potter. The world-building is not as complete, and there is more action/quest and less everyday and character bonding. But as both series deal with supernatural forces, with a young hero and forces he has to battle, there really are a lot of parallels. Percy was 12 in the first book and turns 15 at the end of this one. In the same way that Harry Potter, as he grew, had to experience ever greater/more skilled opposition, Percy has to. The tone changed from a lighthearted romp through ancient history to a more urgent preparation for battle. These little saviors have to grow up quicker than the rest of us.
Still, the action is gripping and the characters are good. There are arcs that span all the books and little themes or characters that just run through a single book. As the threat grows more serious and Percy grows older, the books grow more serious. A little darker. But there was still enough humor to carry things along, and I found myself well satisfied....more
I don't know; I felt like the series really took off here. The first two books more or less exhausted all the really well known myths, so the kids hadI don't know; I felt like the series really took off here. The first two books more or less exhausted all the really well known myths, so the kids had to dig deeper to solve the mysteries and situations in this one, and to realize who they were facing and what was happening. As a reader I needed a little more coaching to call back my long-ago mythological studies, and found a lot new here. The action is building, and there's more to anticipate in upcoming books. ...more
Even more engaging than the first, because we get to know the characters better. The characterization is strong, and the kids are well-drawn—a littleEven more engaging than the first, because we get to know the characters better. The characterization is strong, and the kids are well-drawn—a little older, a little more capable this time around. It is kind of fun to see old Greek and Roman myths updated in this way....more
I hardly remember anything about the film of this book, which we saw years ago (in the theater, even!) because my eldest son is a fan. Heading out onI hardly remember anything about the film of this book, which we saw years ago (in the theater, even!) because my eldest son is a fan. Heading out on vacation when I found myself without much to read, I asked him if I could borrow the series. Very enjoyable first book, and the young hero Percy is a very likeable fellow. ...more
I read this quite quickly over a few days, the bulk of it on Christmas day because the book itself takes place in the weeks before Christmas so it felI read this quite quickly over a few days, the bulk of it on Christmas day because the book itself takes place in the weeks before Christmas so it felt fitting. I've read a few by Susanna Kearsley (Author) by now so I've come to expect the supernatural aspects; how interesting, then, that in this one the supernatural element—the heroine being warned/coached in dreams—turned out to be something of a red herring. It really nothing to do with what was actually happening in real life in the current-day plotline, and it was never explained. It was almost like a distraction, when all was said and done. Still, this one was much more Mary Stewart-like, even, than the other SKs I've read, so all in all it was a worthy diversion....more
You know, it was delightful. There was nothing urgent about this read, the pages didn't turn themselves. I could read it, laugh, smile, and want to doYou know, it was delightful. There was nothing urgent about this read, the pages didn't turn themselves. I could read it, laugh, smile, and want to dog-ear pages, and then set it down and forget about it for a long time. I never did finish it before it was due back to the library and I sort of never care if I don't ever finish it; and yet of the parts I read there were many I want to go back over with highlighter. So I guess it's one of those....more
Well I tell you what. Pittacus Lore knows how to build the action and keep the pages turning, and does so with increasing skill as the series moves along. The story is interesting—well plotted, well paced, and engaging. The characters are endearing (well, the good ones are) but interestingly imperfect. This author's skill with the end-of-chapter cliffhanger may be unparalleled. There were good surprises, great surprises, and nasty surprises in this book, and though I have an entire year to wait I'm already on the edge of my seat for the next.
However: the cussing also grows with each new book. Makes me sad, because I don't think books with fwords are appropriate for my younger teens. (Well, for anyone; but certainly not for my younger teens)....more
I'm 67 pages into this 403-page book, and I have problems. The author will say, "I sat down on the hay bales with my book and read the tiger a poem."I'm 67 pages into this 403-page book, and I have problems. The author will say, "I sat down on the hay bales with my book and read the tiger a poem." And you expect the poem, at least the beginning of it, right? Well I do. And the way the tiger listens to the poem. Because why bring it up if it isn't important. But then it is "I got up, shut off the lights, and settled into my own bed. I woke up. I ate breakfast." So, maybe some details about this breakfast? Or how she slept? Nope. "I went and helped Matt set up for the show. We cleaned up after the show." It seriously reads like a list instead of like a book. It feels like set up, set up, set up with no important event following.
Also: The tiger's name is Dhiren. Kelsey (the main character) for whatever reason decides one syllable is better than two, and starts to call him "Ren". And though she has known the tiger for days and his trainers have known him for years, as soon as she nicknames him no one else ever calls him anything but Ren. And that doesn't just not make sense; that makes me actively disgruntled.
So for me the book is not immediately immersive, there are little pieces of the writing that are sticking up like unwoven threads. But I shall carry on!
Alrighty. In easiest terms, this book is Twilight, substitute tigers for vampires. The setting is a little different, the events are a little different, but the basic plot really seemed so similar. Did this start out as Twilight fan fiction? A few twists here and there, a few customizations to make it a bit different, but so familiar.
This was a minus for me, because I am so over Twilight. Also, I didn't think Colleen Houck's writing was on a level with Stephenie Meyer's (which, for me, is only a 5-6 on a scale of 10). So. It took me a while to read.
The problems with "Ren" immediately being adopted by every other character as Dhiren's name, even people who had known him much longer as Dhiren, continued unilaterally through the book. And it never stopped grating on me. Perhaps just as bad, about halfway through she dubbed herself "Kells". Sigh. Nicknames should never come from one's self.
But even with all these complaints, I did like the characters. I am always a fan of a romance, and there was some in this book. My curiosity about how the characters get on is also sitting up limply in a chair (rather than lying, deceased, in a coffin) and I'm weakly pondering going on to books 2 and 3 in the series.
Didn't HATE it. Didn't LOVE it. 2 1/2 stars....more
I loved the first part of the book, while Pi and his family were in Pondicherry. His religious journey, in particular, was so goHmm. I'm on the fence.
I loved the first part of the book, while Pi and his family were in Pondicherry. His religious journey, in particular, was so gorgeously written, so full of philosophy and insight, that I felt like I was reading a work of non-fiction. Sometimes I read books that are heavily researched and the fact-inclusion feels only cumbersome, even burdensome. Like the author found this fact, so by gum he was going to include it whether the story and plot ground to a halt or not, whether it really helped things out or not, whether it stuck out like a sore thumb or not. This was nothing like that, everything fit, weaving a lovely and satisfying tapestry.
But once we were in the Pacific Ocean, there was a lot of sameness. A lot of fishing and waves rolling. I got bored. I even considered skipping to the end of the book.
This being the massively popular story that it is, I had heard some rumblings about the very ending. That was both gratifying and unsettling, but at least I knew to expect it.
And I'm glad that, as the "author" wrote when visiting Pi's house in Canada, upon meeting his skateboarding son and his kitten-holding daughter, "this story has a happy ending." Pi certainly deserves a happy ending.
But I'm on the fence about whether it deserves all the accolades and the popularity it has received, when I considered skipping the last third just to get past the monotony. And the entire algae island is constructed of What The Heck....more
A miraculous story, really. Sad and tragic, with many laugh-out-loud moments. Predictable, saw it coming from a million miles away, couldn't wait to sA miraculous story, really. Sad and tragic, with many laugh-out-loud moments. Predictable, saw it coming from a million miles away, couldn't wait to see what happened next, couldn't put it down. Heart-wrenching, feel-good. Read through it in one day because it was the only thing I wanted to do. Fell in love with the characters as though they were a part of me. As though they were me.
Much more swearing than my usual choice of reading material—that's the problem with modern fiction, even YA fiction, it's too full of swearing as though today's authors have forgotten how to express themselves without it. I don't know, maybe they've never learned how. Then there are the characters, kids who have experienced more tragedy in 16 years than I have in 44; perhaps they're entitled to a cynical swear, and to speak crudely of things they'll never experience? Swearing and all, I wouldn't have missed this book for the world. I've just been sitting in my pajamas all day reading, and I feel like I've accomplished something important. This book has felt like time well spent, like life energy well allotted. Like a day spent in the Literal Heart of Jesus. I guess that's all we can ask from a book.
Of course there were problems with it. These teen characters spoke, colloquially, as though they had read every book ever and memorized every dictionary. Better than I speak or write, harrumph. But the writing itself was a pleasure to read, and that should be the point of a book after all.
Edit, 20 Jan 2015
Just finished this book for the second time. Was amazed and delighted to discover that it is just as much of a page-turner the second time, even knowing what would happen, as it was the first. The writing is still so good it borders on divine, despite the cursing. The characters are endearing and everlasting. As I said above, this is a book that feels like it was a good use of time—important, even, that it has made me a better person just by the reading of it....more
This was not my favorite Susanna Kearsley. First of all, I'm not interested even a little bit in the history that forms its backbone. I'm sure the autThis was not my favorite Susanna Kearsley. First of all, I'm not interested even a little bit in the history that forms its backbone. I'm sure the author tried to include only what was necessary to make the story roll forward—at least, I hope so; I hope she didn't just sprinkle it with details because she knew them and found them interesting herself. But in any case, I had a whopping case of who gives a darn, and that made some of the historical chapters quite a slog. I was glad for the way it turned out. The ending almost turned this three-star review into a four-star, because finally the history was not as important and the story took the spotlight. I had been steeling myself for (view spoiler)[Sophia to marry Carrie's McClelland ancestor (instead of Mr. Moray, who she loved) (hide spoiler)] all along, and when that didn't happen in the way I expected it was a pleasant surprise. Furthermore the supposition/revelation of the last page was a thrilling conclusion as well.
But it ended up with three stars after all, because right now I don't imagine ever wanting to go back and read it again. The modern-day love story never made me yearn and hope, the history made me yawn, and altogether I found it not as compelling and engrossing as the other Susanna Kearsleys I've read. I wonder which SK I should tackle next?["br"]>["br"]>...more
Got a lot of really great ideas from this book. At first the title of it convinced me that I must be perfect and train my dog perfectly so everythingGot a lot of really great ideas from this book. At first the title of it convinced me that I must be perfect and train my dog perfectly so everything could be perfectly perfect. When I let go of that idea, I was better able to glean the ideas from it that are useful and let go of those things that are too much for me to handle right now. I'm sure I'll go back to this many times as my puppy grows and develops....more
Pg 240: "Her life fell into pieces before her eyes, and she felt so faint that she could scarcely continue with her task of arranging lilies in a bowlPg 240: "Her life fell into pieces before her eyes, and she felt so faint that she could scarcely continue with her task of arranging lilies in a bowl." LOL LOL LOL, this sort of summarizes Peony perfectly. Peony is a purchased bondmaiden to the House of Ezra, a Jewish family that (along with other Jewish families) came so long ago to China that they believe they are foreigners and a people apart, but they have gradually forgotten most of their rituals and observances and their dress is almost entirely Chinese and they all have hair that is black and their eyes approach almond-shaped (from intermarrying). Though their noses are still tall. Peony has been David ben Ezra's companion since she was 8 years old, and though their intimacy in so growing up led to love, for her, she is wise enough to realize that a family of their standing—for they are very successful merchants—would never let their son marry a servant. But she can't stand to be without David, so she soldiers on as servant to David and his wife. Written in the third person but from Peony's perspective, there are times in this book where it seems like she's the only one aware of the entire picture, and the only one competent enough to guide unfolding developments. She has a few strings on everyone, it seems, to move them in the way she wants them to go.She's cunning for a bondmaiden, but she's also good all the way through so her craftiness isn't used for ill. And somehow, even when her life falls apart before her very eyes, she manages (barely!) to keep arranging the lilies in their bowl.
Pg 248: "It was inevitable when people were kind and just to one another, that the walls between them fell and they became one humanity." This is one of the messages of the book. While some people (like myself) see a hope and joy in that message, some would despair over it. Because the Chinese were so good to the Jews who came into their country when they lost their own, because they opened their arms to them and welcomed them, the Jews there did not remain distinct. Over time, they blended and blended until they became Chinese.
As a character study and a history study, this book was great. Fabulous. Amazing. But I'm not big on character studies; I'm big on plot, and of that there was comparatively little. There were some exciting moments, but in all it was an effort to get through this when I realized that nothing exciting would ever happen. Events came on suddenly and made me think something exciting might happen, but then they calmed right down again and Peony saved the day again and the little plot ship quit rocking.
Very well written. Pearl S. Buckdefinitely has a way with words, and there were as many threads in this story as in a tapestry. She kept them weaving and building (gently) the entire way through. But well written though it was, I didn't find it as gripping as The Good Earth or, hey, any other book that has a plot. ...more
(1) I liked Mariana better, but probably only because I read it first. If I had read this first, I would have liked it better.
(2) In other words, The(1) I liked Mariana better, but probably only because I read it first. If I had read this first, I would have liked it better.
(2) In other words, The Rose Garden and Mariana are quite similar. Susanna Kearsley is really shaping up to remind me of Mary Stewart in many ways. First, her descriptions of places, plants, flowers, etc: Mary Stewart knows how to set a scene and bring in the atmosphere, and Susanna Kearsley is definitely her heir in that legacy. So many similarities in the way they use geography to set the stage. Second, in the similarities of plots. I have really enjoyed all the Mary Stewart books I've read, but when you read many of them you start to stitch together the similarities—this character must be the hero though he doesn't seem it now, this is where the heroine deceives herself into thinking the bad guy is good, this is where nature betrays her and things go pear-shaped. The Rose Garden and Mariana seem to be variants on one another, little twists of almost the same tale—but different enough, obviously, to be their own books with their own plots.
(3) And now having read two books that are both implausible, I am struggling to decide which is the more implausible. Which variation on this particular supernatural occurrence do I think the most unlikely? (view spoiler)[Do I believe that someone traveling back in time and experiencing life in another era would walk around zombie-like in their own body in their own time, taking up time and space but present elsewhere? Or do I believe that a trip to a different time would happen all in an instant, and when one returns to their own spot it is to the exact moment and place and even body position where they had left it, with none of their time passing? (hide spoiler)] Ha. This is the question that'll perplex me for the next 24-48 hours.
(4) Oh! But here's something I find fascinating. In both of these books the hero and heroine are old enough, about 35 and 30 respectively, that they don't have much child bearing left. That's also interesting to me. The books don't carry forward enough to know how the babies worked out, but there would have been limitations based on the characters' ages. This is a new genre to me—very realistic to our current society, where people pursue education and career first and focus on relationship later.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book was a gift from my friend Sofie because she loves this author, whose style reminds her of Mary Stewart. And Sofie, I can definitely see whatThis book was a gift from my friend Sofie because she loves this author, whose style reminds her of Mary Stewart. And Sofie, I can definitely see what you're saying there, so many descriptions of flowers and fauna, so many lovely landscapes painted in words. And there were some plot similarities too, though for sure no one does the plot that moves along naturally but quickly as well as MS does.
There were times that I was looking forward with a sort of fiendish glee to writing this review and saying, "I read a ghost story!" But it really isn't one; not chilling or frightning in the least, and once I was into it I realized that, even though ghosts are mentioned at the beginning (because this takes place in an old English country town, and what old English country town doesn't have its ghosts?) it wasn't about ghosts at all.
I can't imagine writing a story that takes place in two time periods, and trying to make the transitions between the two natural and trying to make both stories move forward at the same pace; in that I give props to Susanna Kearsley. I found myself wanting more of the past, less of the mundane; but after all, most of life is pretty mundane, so there it is. I ended up caring for both the characters both modern and past, and rooting for certain characters pretty hard. A very enjoyable read. Thanks, Sofie!
~EDIT~ I've been pondering this for a little more than 24 hours since I finished the book, and I have a problem with the ending: (view spoiler)[While I truly favored Iain for Julia all along, from the moment I met him, the ending was still very abrupt. Geoff and Julia had been thrown together so much and he looked just like Richard and he was the lord of the manor etc. Now back to what I was saying: I was truly glad it was Iain and not Geoff, but the more I think about it the more I think it was a bit of a cop out for it to end where it did. Geoff is on the phone for heaven's sakes, ringing away, with the dozen huge coffee cups and the offer of "Come with me!" and to him, this is a relationship that was going somewhere. It was to Julia, too. Obviously it won't go somewhere now. How does that work out? When he comes home, and Julia and Iain are very involved? (They've known each other for centuries as lovers, this is not going to be a slow courtship.) Iain is his best friend and Julia, he thought, his girlfriend. What happens next? SK took the easy way out ending it where she did and not taking it through that conclusion. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I went through this in record time, so there was a lot about it that I liked. However, it was also overwrought—filled with situations and events thatI went through this in record time, so there was a lot about it that I liked. However, it was also overwrought—filled with situations and events that would never actually happen, let alone all of them to a single individual. I know for some people this makes great reading; for me it is exhausting in its unbelievability.
The writing was good, the pace was good, the characters (especially the protagonist Meg) were all very likeable and well-drawn. And even the unbelievable parts were, at minimum, set up well to make them follow out of something established and believable. Lots of nice, gentle little love stories. The only minus is the high level of dramatic!action all focused on one poor character....more
Can you believe I'd never read this book? Never ever?
Excellent writing. Excellent plot, excellent story. Not cheery, not happy; of course I'd heard ofCan you believe I'd never read this book? Never ever?
Excellent writing. Excellent plot, excellent story. Not cheery, not happy; of course I'd heard of and about the book, thought I knew something of it, and yet it was nothing like what I'd thought it would be. There were little surprises almost to the end, resolutions to unwoven threads of plot or situation that gobsmacked me, and yet made so much perfect sense. For a first novel, it was nigh unto a masterpiece.
However: I am not suffering from post-fictional-world-depression. I am contented with where it ended off, and though there are many many more books that cover years and events related to this, I find that (at present, at least) I don't have a great desire to go on and read them. ...more