I read this as part of going through Financial Peace University with my church, and it has been an absolute revelation. Easy to understand, approachabI read this as part of going through Financial Peace University with my church, and it has been an absolute revelation. Easy to understand, approachable, funny, it breaks down big changes in small ways--baby steps, if you will--that I can actually do. I'm still working on Baby Step Number 1, so I have a long way to go before I need the more "advanced" chapters. I'm keeping this to look back at when I'm a little further along the path and need to start making bigger decisions about home buying, retirement and investing. But even after just the 9 week course, our lives are turning around for the better, and I finally believe I see a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't just an oncoming train. ...more
Until now, my enjoyment of Buehlman's books had been going steadily downhill. Those Across the River was my favorite, I liked BetweenOh....my....God.
Until now, my enjoyment of Buehlman's books had been going steadily downhill. Those Across the River was my favorite, I liked Between Two Fires slightly less, and I really didn't like The Necromancer's House at all. But my appreciation came roaring back with this book, which had me booked from the first sentence until the very. Last. Word.
After I stayed up 3 hours past when I normally go to bed last night racing toward the end, I found it difficult to process how I actually felt about the book. In the end, it mostly reminded me of how I felt after seeing Event Horizon: punch drunk, vaguely queasy, and profoundly aware that I had just been a part of something seriously disturbing. Can I say all of that in a good way? Because it didn't scare me, not in a "sleep with the light on" kind of way, but it crawled into my brain and soul and turned them dark. And it was brilliant.
Getting to the coda of a book and then entirely flipping the script is a dangerous thing--ask anyone who threw the book across the room after reading the end of The Dark Tower (including me). But this was so brilliant, so seamless, that I felt like I should have known it all along.
I almost didn't want to give this book 5 stars, because I usually reserve that rank for my favorites, the books that I read again and again and again until I have them memorized. This one almost made me throw up at one point, so I'm not sure I'll be going back to it again soon. But I thought it wouldn't be fair to give it 4 stars when I couldn't think of anything I would have changed in it.
(For those wondering, I am not sucking up to the author after my disastrous review of The Necromancer's House, although I am now hoping I can go back to TRF and to a show without fearing for my life. I did genuinely love this and think it was completely brilliant. If I hadn't liked it I would say so, I just would have to change my name and never go near another RenFaire again.)...more
Picked up at a whim on the "new books" shelf in the library, I was actually pretty impressed. It was a really creative retelling of the Borden story,Picked up at a whim on the "new books" shelf in the library, I was actually pretty impressed. It was a really creative retelling of the Borden story, although sometimes it veered off "creative" and into "just weird." It was wonderfully creepy, but at times I thought it was a little too disconnected, and I'm still not sure the big reveal at the end made sense for me. But, it is #1, so I'll be following the story line for at least a couple more to see where it goes. ...more
This is an incredible book, deeply thought out and carefully constructed, but incredibly dense. I could only read a chapter (or less) at a time, and tThis is an incredible book, deeply thought out and carefully constructed, but incredibly dense. I could only read a chapter (or less) at a time, and then ponder it. It's a brilliant work, and I am sure that I will reference it again for arguments on specific subjects. But I don't think I have it in me to ever read it straight through again. ...more
My kingdom for a .5 star ability! I loved this, it was so much fun, and a big kick. The world building was even more intricate and fascinating than ,My kingdom for a .5 star ability! I loved this, it was so much fun, and a big kick. The world building was even more intricate and fascinating than , because we didn't have to do quite as much background work. I would give this 4 stars in a heartbeat, but I just didn't buy the ending. I felt like the author had written herself into a corner and had to make a huge leap to get back out. I just didn't feel like it was explained or foreshadowed enough to track, and it just felt tacked on to me. But that does mean for a second that I won't buy and read every other Temeraire book I can get my hands on!...more
This was a very odd, very intense read. In some ways it was two, maybe even three books in one--multiple investigations that wove in and out of each oThis was a very odd, very intense read. In some ways it was two, maybe even three books in one--multiple investigations that wove in and out of each other, switching up victims, suspects, jurisdictions. The story wanders all over the map, mixing hard core criminology with mythology, literature, and more than a little supernatural. I spent a good part of the book not sure if my crime thriller was going to turn into a voodoo horror story...and I don't know that I can say for sure that it didn't.
What I can say for sure is that I absolutely did not see the final twist coming, and I will definitely have to read it again at some point in the future to see if I can follow the bread crumbs and get to the end along with Bird. The big reveal shocked my socks off, and I hate it when that happens, so I have to go back and look for the clues. I think the author maybe could have cut some of the extra scenes out, but I will definitely be reading more Charlie Parker. I just won't be recommending him to anyone with a weak stomach. ...more
I might give this a 4 if I had a better idea of what went on in the last 100 pages, but I went through them so fast that I'm not really sure. All I knI might give this a 4 if I had a better idea of what went on in the last 100 pages, but I went through them so fast that I'm not really sure. All I know is, a lot went on.
And that's kind of my summary of the book. There were people everywhere! Lots of people! In different groups! That were sometimes together and sometimes weren't! And bad guys were good guys, but maybe not? And then were dead but weren't? Maybe? And there were scientific explanations that went on for paragraphs that I skimmed over, and it may all have been perfectly plausible but I don't have the faintest idea. Plus it seemed odd that a bunch of scientists would sit in a room and do infodumps of biology to each other given that they would probably know these things already, given the combined power of their phds, but whatever. And there were angels and cannibals and the laws of physics need not apply, and more deux ex machinas that could dance on the head of a pin.
And definitely and for sure, no one is dead until you've seen the corpse.
So the whole thing was totally and completely ridiculous, in a gleefully nuke-the-fridge kind of way.
All of that being said, though, sometimes you need a little b-movie action in your life. I think I'm going to pick up the next one just to see what happens. ...more
I am really torn about this, because I didn't really like the book, but I am deeply impressed by the author's originality in his world building. He diI am really torn about this, because I didn't really like the book, but I am deeply impressed by the author's originality in his world building. He didn't explain anything, just plunged straight in with the understanding the characters would have of the world they inhabit every day. I still don't understand half of what happened, but I was blown away by how different everything was from all of the other sci-fi/fantasy/horror I've ever read. It takes a lot of work to really do something new, and this was it.
Unfortunately, the plot was too complex for its own good and I didn't really care about the protagonists, so I probably won't be revisiting the ever-shifting world of Tristopolis again to see where the rest of the series takes me. But, the trip was worth the read. ...more
A more detailed review will come later, when I'm not suffering from an allergy attack that makes me feel like my head is going to split open. For now,A more detailed review will come later, when I'm not suffering from an allergy attack that makes me feel like my head is going to split open. For now, I will say that I was very impressed with the story and I became very attached to the characters. Also, it was damn creepy without going overboard and relying only on blood and guts to be scary, and I applaud that.
I would however, take away half a star (if I could) for errors the editor should have caught. Like most non-Americans, the author seems to have trouble grasping the steps of our education system; it's impossible for Callie to be going going to college and teaching elementary school, even as a teacher's aide, while older that Tark in high school. I think that she meant that Callie was either in or had completed college/university and was about togo to grad school, because that's the only way her time line makes sense. That's a fairly minor detail, but it was something that was emphasized repeatedly and it drew me out of the story every time it came up. A non-native of the States wouldn't know that, but her American editor would, and should have fixed it. There were a few other things like that that should have been fixed. They had nothing to do with the plot itself, but they still jarred me out of the book, and that is a cardinal sin. (Although again, something I hold more against the editor than against Ms. Chupeco.)
From the sneak peak in the end of my edition, it looks like the second book is primarily from Tark's point of view rather than Okiku's. That's going to involve a major shift in perspective, and I can't wait to see how that comes out. ...more
I have to break down my somewhat middle of the road rating. Plot was a good 4 (although it went shaky at the end), the characters slid back and forthI have to break down my somewhat middle of the road rating. Plot was a good 4 (although it went shaky at the end), the characters slid back and forth between a 3 and 4, but the writing was a sad, sad 2.
I really wanted to give this a higher rating, because it was written by a fellow Texas lawyer, and I want to support that. It definitely had some good points; the plot was interesting, although it ended up being tied up with a little too neat of a bow on the end. The legal writing and court room scenes were, for once, very accurate. But the accuracy went a bit too far when the writing went from informative to textbook lecturing. And the author was so set on giving a sense of place that sometimes his descriptions read more like GPS directions. "Turn on 21st street. Pass X restaurant and Y house. Arrive at your destination, Motel, in half a mile." I get it, you have spent real time in Houston and Galveston, but I don't need to know every block of it to appreciation the authenticity.
He has done an admirable amount of research and poured real life detail into his story, but he needed to be reminded to show, not tell. I don't need to read every single fact that he knows to believe that he's accurate. I really need for him to get a decent editor who will instruct him that sometimes, less is more.
However, on a final note, I cannot speak highly enough about how well he handles the issue of the mentally ill in our criminal justice system. That is a heartbreaker, and for his adept handling of the subject matter, the book was worth the read for that itself. ...more