When my googling for a previous blog post revealed that Patrick McManus wrote some mystery novels, I had to know. Great or lousy? The answer is somewh...moreWhen my googling for a previous blog post revealed that Patrick McManus wrote some mystery novels, I had to know. Great or lousy? The answer is somewhere in between... the funny gets a little in the way of the mysteries, and the dead bodies get a little in the way of the funny. For a McManus afficionado, you find that Bo gets himself into a few situations that are awfully similar to positions Patrick found himself in.
On the positive side, it was very funny. Also, it did a good job of introducing a lot of information that you needed to figure out the mystery for yourself, while still offering a satisfying conclusion.
So, I'll read the rest of them, but I'm not going to insist you all go out and do likewise!(less)
I spent most of the book (and the flight) wondering why Seanan McGuire had written the same book twice. I mean, the heroine was practical identical to...moreI spent most of the book (and the flight) wondering why Seanan McGuire had written the same book twice. I mean, the heroine was practical identical to October Daye, as was the setting and plot archtype. It wasn't until I was reading the author notes at the back that I realized this was a different author. Whoops!
One the one hand, the book was good enough that I thought it was a different author who I quite enjoy. On the other hand, read one or the other. They're far too similar to be enjoyed if you read them both.
I saved this book until I could devote it my full, undivided attention. (Read as: I decided not to read this book until no one would make me go to bed...moreI saved this book until I could devote it my full, undivided attention. (Read as: I decided not to read this book until no one would make me go to bed before it was done.)
Vorkosigan books come in two flavors: fun and dark. This is for sure a fun book. Ivan is working hard on doing enough to not draw the ire of his relatives but not doing so much that someone inadvertently notices how talented he is and promotes him. This is a tough balance to strike. One of my favorite Bujold-abilities is the set up of a situation where you know how it's going to work out and think you can see to the end of the book, but then the denouement you saw coming happens way earlier and there are some twists and turns you entirely didn't anticipate.
I also appreciated how Miles was only present in the negative. Other than a very brief scene, Miles is only present as a ghost over Ivan's shoulder. When Ivan gets himself into a plot as crazy as any Miles, he reigns back and reminds himself that he is not MILES and does not embark on a crazy plan for rescue.
I'm not sure if this is a great book if you have not known and loved Ivan for the better part of a dozen prior novels. However, for those who have read through the canon - or at least a substantial portion - this is a fantastic romp.(less)
This was a tremendously satisfying book. It started light and Wodehousy, but quickly got deep and complex. There were a few moments of delighted reali...moreThis was a tremendously satisfying book. It started light and Wodehousy, but quickly got deep and complex. There were a few moments of delighted realization as I, the reader, got to know what was going on. The book spoke to the kind of reality I live in, or wish I did.
I think my very favorite part of this book was its treatment of Christianity, Christians and the church. It is rare to find fiction that has a nuanced, compassionate view of any of these. But I found the book to be theologically compelling without being the slightest bit prudish or preachy. There were real Christians, driven by real faith and supported by a church that had some Really Good Ideas. I'm not sure I've ever encountered that done as well anywhere else.
I am a gulper of books. I can't help myself most of the time. But this is a sipping book - like a fine glass of wine.
Read if: you enjoy post-war-period English novels, you like a complex narrator, you would enjoy a nuanced view of Christianity, you like good books.
Avoid if: you cannot handle any sex scenes in your literature, you find books about the journey of the mind/spirit/soul boring and want more explosions, you are overly triggered by child loss.(less)