Two stars. This is a bit harsh. But having thought about it for several days I just couldn't muster that thir...moreWarning: This is a bit of a crass review.
Two stars. This is a bit harsh. But having thought about it for several days I just couldn't muster that third star. Did I read this book relatively quickly? Yes. Was it about a subject matter I enjoy reading (magic/fantasy)? Yes. Was it worth recommending to others? Meh.
I liked it, but overarching the whole read was the thought that there was not a lot new here. With one exception, which I won't mention because I hate spoiling things, there wasn't much fantastical in its own merits. It was a mash-up of Tolkien, Rowling, Pullman, and most obviously and persistently C.S. Lewis. These facts aren't even disguised smartly, and in many cases mentioned overtly. I understand that Mr. Grossman probably meant it to be that way...that his story is of, "today's magicians" and would mention Quidditch, or bitch that people knew Elvish words thanks to Tolkien and thereby ruining some old spells, etc. But the whole thing felt like taking really genius books, seminal for a variety of reasons, and putting them in a blender and pouring the whole messy mass onto pulp fiction for the Twilight crowd. The only other gripe I have, which I fully admit is due to my age and not being the target audience for these books, is the totally unnecessary references, at the oddest of times, to penises. Hold on, let me pull an example because these are funny...and I don't want to give anything away, but they are often placed right at the height of some big event/scene.
"The red giant was momentarily stalled by this. He was squatting down. studying the apparition, apperently fascinated by it. He was bald and his expression was blank. His huge hairless, glowing red cock and balls swung loose between his thighs like the clapper of a bell,"
Why?! Why are these the descriptors you choose for this magical creature? His state of dress, or undress, is not at ALL relevant to the story. But hey, its been awhile since you mentioned something about dick...so go on ahead and throw that in there.
I understand that if you are a tween, or even a socially introverted teen that seeing cock laid out so blatently on the page might be titilating, or even liberating on your journey to sexual maturity. But to me the words were the equivalent of the sweaty clammy hands of that first guy who was fumbling at your brastrap in pathetic desperation to mark second base off his list before you came to your senses and told him to stop. Juvenile and sooooo incredibly off putting.
That said, there is a series of these books, so there must be an audience for them. It's just not me.
This is my second novel by Ms. Lafferty, the first being The Bloodletter's Daughter and I have to say I am quite taken with her. Her one sentence writ...moreThis is my second novel by Ms. Lafferty, the first being The Bloodletter's Daughter and I have to say I am quite taken with her. Her one sentence writing style descriptor would be that she is the literary love child of Philippa Gregory and Anne Rice (minus that unfortunate born again Christian phase that Ms. Rice finally abandoned in 2010). Gregory and Lafferty have both made names for themselves by writing historical fiction about the women of the past. Interesting people in their own right who have been relegated to a single chapter or footnote in the overview of European history. Only Lafferty, unlike Gregory, chooses the dark and sinister stories of the bad girls of history. As I mentioned in the prior review, Ms Gregory is vastly more thorough in the "historical" portions of her heroine historical fiction. Resulting in books that, some would say, or more respectable than Lafferty's works. However they are equally enjoyable in my eyes. But for you to enjoy them, you should be comfortable leaving the perfumed pomp of candlelit dining halls and gardens to descend into the darker recesses of the castle where the rats scurry away from the darkest of human traits.
In this book Lafferty takes on the history of the Countess of Bathory, a descendant of Vlad The Impaler, whose antics terrorized the inhabitants of Čachtice, Slovakia in the early 1600s. There are two major plot lines in this book one, one being the present and the other being the past. Going between the two is effortless and creates that wonderful sensation of whipping through the chapters because you want to get back to the other story line to find out what happens next. And then repeat for the OTHER story line. Resulting in a very quick read.
Overlaid on the whole book is a heavy dose of the idea of a "collective consciousness", which made me smirk because a friend and I have discussed this many times into the wee hours of the night. Collective consciousness was an idea proposed by the legendary Carl Jung, and Lafferty uses one of his titular works, The Red Book, to galvanize her characters around the concept that there are no coincidences and that dreams and thoughts can be passed on via the subconscious rather than through more direct lines of communication. If you prefer rational fact based communication this can, at times, make the story line feel forced or have your skepticism getting in the way of your reading enjoyment. But delightfully, she throws a character in there that has the same sort of skepticism which I appreciated as it provided a sort of Greek chorus to acknowledge all points of view.
All in all an enjoyable, though somewhat sinister, read. Good enough that I will probably pick up yet another of her novels in the future when I'm in the mood for something a bit gothic.
This might be a four star book...but it was just such a mismatch from my current emotional state that I found myself slogging through it at times goin...moreThis might be a four star book...but it was just such a mismatch from my current emotional state that I found myself slogging through it at times going, good god this is depressing.
It falls solidly into the genre of "shattered dysfunctional family comes together for an event; so do they rip into one another or heal old wounds?". Generally I like this genre, but this one was just too much female energy at times, too wordy, and not edgy enough. You never got that truly satisfying throw-down of everyone laying it out on the table and having a go at one another. Admissions, when any where had, were veiled and couched in one sentence with no dialogue. The whole book felt like they were screaming through a wad of gauze...repressed and mumbled even though they were being torn apart inside.
So not a bad read by any stretch. A bit depressing, and a bit like trying to drive 48 mph in 3rd gear...you keep wanting it to upshift. And it doesn't.
A really strong 3 stars, like 3.8. I'm actually surprised this hasn't been optioned for a movie as it has great characters, a quick strong plot, and g...moreA really strong 3 stars, like 3.8. I'm actually surprised this hasn't been optioned for a movie as it has great characters, a quick strong plot, and good guys and bad guys. Its the kind of book where you really sort of give it away if you mention anything beyond the editor's synopsis, so I will let it stand as is. If you like thrillers with the cop/detective vs. killers and then go ahead and add this to your shelf. It might be a tad predictable in its formatting, but still highly enjoyable. Extra points for referencing places in New York that I know and have visited as well as a few female characters that I found enjoyable.
I do believe this may be the simplest review ever. This book is a slightly less gorey version of Saw. Stangers all abducted for unknown reasons, locke...moreI do believe this may be the simplest review ever. This book is a slightly less gorey version of Saw. Stangers all abducted for unknown reasons, locked into a room with a giant block of ice and absolutely no directive about why they are there or what they should do. It was fun, definitely worth the daily deal price of less than $3.00. But a fluff read for sure.
Want a fast read? Want to sate your lust for humid southern nights, eclectic families, a little hoodoo and a decently written take on the structure of...moreWant a fast read? Want to sate your lust for humid southern nights, eclectic families, a little hoodoo and a decently written take on the structure of the witching world and it's families? Then this book is perfect for you. It does not have the somber weight or completeness of The Witching Hour, but falls into the same genre...Witching Light if you will. It a lighthearted mash-up of Gilmore Girls meets Ann Rice. I am putting down $5 right now that this will be picked up and turned into a cable/Netflix series if the rest of the books are as easily consumed as this first one.
If you are an Amazon Prime member this is a Prime book so snatch it up and enjoy it for what it is. If had MORE substance I would have given it four stars...but it is just too easy breezy to be given that honor. Still, entirely enjoyable, recommended, and read in less than a day.
This is a mere 9 pages. It is free on Kindle. It is Kurt Vonnegut. 'Nough said. Read it and let me know what you think.
I would love to have a literar...moreThis is a mere 9 pages. It is free on Kindle. It is Kurt Vonnegut. 'Nough said. Read it and let me know what you think.
I would love to have a literary dinner party where everyone reads this and this discusses...a great jumping off point for a lively debate of actual and hypothetical "what if"s about aging and populations control.