It would seem, based on reviews of Connelly's stories, that most people tend to favor Harry Bosch over Mickey Haller as a character. And I'm kind of t...moreIt would seem, based on reviews of Connelly's stories, that most people tend to favor Harry Bosch over Mickey Haller as a character. And I'm kind of the opposite. In fact, I think that if I read or listen to another Connelly book, I'm going to look for those that are Haller stories alone.
This is why…there are a lot of Harry Bosches out there when it comes to crime thrillers. There are probably a lot of Mickey Hallers, too. BUT…I have yet to see a series that focuses on one attorney. There are lots of series that focus on one investigator/cop, be that in the FBI, CIA, NYPD, LAPD, and so on.
Either way, I think Bosch as a character is just so so. Haller, on the other hand, is more much interesting. And I like that he's traditionally a defense attorney rather than a prosecutor, although in this one, he switches side and works for the prosecution. Frankly, I'd rather see him in the defender role, as he was in The Lincoln Lawyer, which was also a better story, in my opinion. (less)
So I read Relic about a month ago, and I really really enjoyed it. The one thing I thought I wanted, however, was to know who this Pendergast guy real...moreSo I read Relic about a month ago, and I really really enjoyed it. The one thing I thought I wanted, however, was to know who this Pendergast guy really was. I stopped by the library for an audio book and found this. Since the first book was so entertaining, I decided I would give this a go.
I was wrong about Pendergast. I didn't want to know about him. In fact, the first book was great because there wasn't too much character development and the focus was on the scary scary monster. You know why? Pendergast is insufferable. Is there anything this guy does not do? Maybe I've missed something in the character arc because I skipped from the first book in the series to book 12. Nonetheless, are you kidding me? If this guy were anywhere near me, I think I would want to punch him in the face.
In fact, the entire time I was listening to this, I wondered why the other characters weren't punching him in the face. He's self-righteous and perfect and he does everything right. He's an FBI agent, but he's wealthy and lives in a magnificently opulent NYC apartment. Excuse me? So he probably had some big inheritance from some early book that I missed, but it's lame.
Can I say that characters who have no achilles heal are the worst? Can I say that? They are the worst. He's so incredibly perfect that there is no relating to the guy. His wife, who's been missing for many years, shows up and then she dies. You want to feel some compassion, right? But it is hard to feel compassion for a character that feels more like a drone and less like a human being.
Speaking of his wife, don't get me started on his weird, tripped out drug moment where he sees her in vision and then all of a sudden, because he's on drugs, she can talk about a past that he's never heard of so we can get some exposition. If you are confused by that sentence, don't worry. It's confusing. If the wife had never told him facts about the past, you can't just conjure up her ghost to tell those facts. Seriously, what just happened? That's what I was thinking. What just happened?
The entire thing was overwrought. Pendergast is beyond a renaissance man. It's too too too much. I'm still curious about the second book in the series, and I might read it. Not sure I'll read much more, however. Turns out Pendergast is not my cup of tea. (less)
I don't know why I feel guilty giving a book three stars when it means I liked it, and I did like this. It's the kind of book you read in an afternoon...moreI don't know why I feel guilty giving a book three stars when it means I liked it, and I did like this. It's the kind of book you read in an afternoon or two, when you just want something cute and light and uncomplicated.
I thought it was funny, if at times it stretched the bounds of believability. It made me laugh, and I enjoyed the natural way the character fell into her dilemma. I loved the romance. Although there is a lot here that the main character isn't divulging to the people around her, and I sort of get annoyed at missed opportunities for communication as a means to create drama, I still didn't mind it here. I suppose that is because it didn't create tension that was unresolved for long periods of time between the main character and her love interest.
I also loved the story about her leaving behind a law career when she was on a path to the top. I think people think that the practice of law is glamorous because they watched L.A. Law or Ally McBeal or Law and Order or whatever, and those shows aren't realistic. Legal work is grueling both intellectually and otherwise because it is tedious and it demands long hours and lots of sacrifices. And while she worked at a specific type of firm that demands a specific type of performance that isn't necessarily the norm, it was definitely realistic. I like that she made a different choice.
The thing I like about Kinsella's stories is that they are light-hearted fun. But my recommendation of any of her novels comes with some caution because of her constant use of the f-word. I have learned NOT to listen to her books. At least when I'm reading, I can skim over the word and it hardly matters. But it is another matter to listen to her books, and I've actually turned them off because of it. Perhaps it's meaning in the UK is less vulgar? That's what I have heard, anyway, but I still don't enjoy it. (less)
I'm sort of on a chick-lit kick of late, maybe because they are easy and mindless and take my mind off of reality! I saw this movie several years ago,...moreI'm sort of on a chick-lit kick of late, maybe because they are easy and mindless and take my mind off of reality! I saw this movie several years ago, and I didn't love it. My impression of Sophie Kinsella was probably tainted by the experience, but then I listened to I've Got Your Number, and I've since had a change of heart. She tells sweet, funny tales about funny and neurotic characters.
That's the thing about Kinsella's lead characters - they are over the top, and so far in my readings of Kinsella's books, none are more over the top than Rebecca Bloomwood. I'll admit that at times I was like, "WHAT???" or "Stop with the lying!" or "If she goes into one more shop…". But in the end, I liked her. She's funny and despite some seriously silly behaviors, I enjoy looking at a person whose issues are magnified to the point of ridiculousness. Maybe I think that in some way, characters like that become more real. Or maybe I just saw a piece of myself in Rebecca, a piece that wants to be surrounded by things that are pretty and perfect and to be able to do it without worrying about where the money is going to come from. Of course, I've never been in her position, but I have money issues of my own.
I was a little surprised in how slow the romance part was in coming, but then, I think that was not such a bad thing, either. Really, the story just focuses on Bloomwood and her silly and childish behavior, and I liked that take. It's a change from the norm.
I would say this is maybe 3.5 stars. I'm not sure. There were things about this story that were great and things that drove me bonkers, but now I have...moreI would say this is maybe 3.5 stars. I'm not sure. There were things about this story that were great and things that drove me bonkers, but now I have to go on in the series because the cliffhanger was...wow, just really a great cliffhanger.
So sometimes when an author chooses to write in the vernacular of the time/location of the story's setting, it doesn't bother me at all. And in fact, I often like it better than having the characters sound inauthentic. So anything by Mark Twain, These Is My Words, and Blood Red Road worked just fine for me. For some reason, though, here the grammar issues bothered me. Maybe it was the repetitive nature of it. Maybe it was overkill. I'm not sure. I think some of the issues were just stylistic for me, i.e. long run on after long run on gets difficult to read. Either way, I found it highly distracting, especially at the beginning, but even after that, I found myself getting annoyed by it. And that really detracted from the story for me. That is probably my biggest criticism of the book.
However, I also didn't like that Ness kept me hanging for so long. You know when you're the person who isn't in on the big secret? Well here, Todd (the main character) isn't in on the secret. And it seems like the people around him are, and they aren't telling him things that he should know. So then as the reader, I felt like I was being cheated. I get delaying the big reveal for suspense's sake, but eventually you've got to get it out, right? For me, it just came too late, and by then I had mostly figured out what was going on. The thing is, Todd was getting bits and pieces along the way, so I think he knew. But Ness kept those bits and pieces from the reader. It jut didn't work for me. I wish he just would have let us see what Todd was seeing as we went along.
Then there was the violence. This is a pretty bloody book, I must say. It's probably a bit much for younger readers. If you are looking for something for boys, great. I just wouldn't let them read it if they are too young. I mean seriously...YIKES! It was a lot.
Having said that, the story itself is interesting. These are settlers on a new planet, and the men contract a virus of some type. That virus allows them to hear what all other men are thinking. The women can hear "the Noise" as well, but their thoughts remain private. So how in the world you would cope in that, I have no idea. I guess you'd eventually tune it out like white noise, but then it would be almost impossible to ever have something truly secret, and that isn't a pleasant thought.
Anyway, I liked the story. I thought there was a good amount of suspense throughout the plot. I thought the pacing was great...save for the delayed secret. I liked the main characters most of the time. And like I said, the cliffhanger at the end left me wanting more.
Oh, and one more thing. There is a scene that's pretty tough that involves a dog. If you love animals, especially dogs, beware. I'm not a pet person, but it was rough. Just a warning. (less)
I've been skeptical about Rowling's forays into new genres, not because I think she isn't skilled enough to write something besides Harry Potter but b...moreI've been skeptical about Rowling's forays into new genres, not because I think she isn't skilled enough to write something besides Harry Potter but because I didn't want to taint what I loved about Harry Potter. I was afraid that this would make me think differently of HP. I don't know…Rowling is one of my writing heroes, so I just wanted it to stand up and stand alone - apart from her past successes. I didn't read A Casual Vacancy, but from what close, reliable friends have said, I don't want to. So I was reluctant.
I'm happy to say that I think it did stand alone. In fact, it was strange knowing that I was reading her story and yet feeling like I wasn't reading her. Oh, she still sounds like Rowling. She has a voice that is all her own, and that voice is such a big part of why I love to read her stories. But the topic was so very different - so absolutely removed from Harry Potter - that I didn't think of those novels at all. I just enjoyed this for what it was - a really good murder-mystery.
And then there is her ability to build a unique character. Honestly, murder-mysteries/thrillers and the like are so full of stock characters, and I don't care, really. I read them for a fast paced plot, not a memorable character. But this was different. Cormoran Strike, a private eye investigator, is fleshed out and real. In fact, I felt that way about many of the characters in the book. There is no denying that the woman has a way of brining the people she creates into the real world. And so while she follows many of the typical conventions of such stories, it didn't feel so stock and standard.
The story itself was compelling, too. Strike is looking for a possible murder suspect in what the police have already determined is a suicide. The story is suspenseful and I really didn't know who did it. I thought I knew at first, and then I thought no, not that person. I did that several times throughout the book. Then, for the last hundred pages or so, I was convinced I had it, but I was wrong. I like it when I am wrong.
The only caution I give is that there were a lot of swears, in particular, the big one. And I'm not saying a few here and there, but a lot, and I think she should cut back on that, honestly. Not just because I don't like it but because it was distracting and often it detracted from the story. In other words, it was pervasive, and I didn't think that it added to the characters but just started to be comical. I mean, I don't think most people say the word all all all the time.