I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about finally reading this one. So many people have raved about it for so long that I just knew it couldn't lI have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about finally reading this one. So many people have raved about it for so long that I just knew it couldn't live up to expectations. Boy howdy, was I wrong.
From the description of the cast of characters, I was hooked. How can you resist an angel who "didn't so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards?"
Aziraphale and Crowley have been the earthly reps for Good and Evil for a very, very long time. And they like it here. There's one little problem: the Apocalypse is going to happen, on Saturday. Which means they'll have to go back to their respective homes. Can they stop it?
There's an Anti-Christ, witch hunters, a witch, various demons, a handful of "horsemen," a bunch of kids and Dog.
Gaiman and Pratchett each have strong, funny voices. The combination of the two could have been overwhelming. But styles blended seamlessly. They claim that they can't tell who wrote what. I tend to believe them.
It kept me laughing--sometimes until I had to set the book down and wipe my eyes--and turning pages right up to the end.
Three bored editors make up "The Plan," an explanation connecting all things occult and determining where the point of all power on Earth is located:Three bored editors make up "The Plan," an explanation connecting all things occult and determining where the point of all power on Earth is located: under the titular pendulum in Paris. The story covers how they developed The Plan and the unexpected events that follow its creation. Think "DaVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" combined, well-written and with a bit of actual scholarship behind it.
Eco is a master of language, story and history and of weaving them all together into a ripping good yarn. The book definitely kept me turning pages (the relatively short chapters helped with that as well). But Eco also never met a list he didn't like. Lists that go on for paragraphs. Lists that the reader knows contain some tidbit she'll need later, but longs to skip. He also took one pivotal conversation between the three editors and broke it into six or seven chapters. While long chapters can be daunting to some, this just broke the narrative tension too much and made it easier instead of harder to put the book down.
I also think the length was unnecessary. Eco may have reached the rarified status of an author no editor wants to cut. An editor should have cut. The aforementioned lists could go. So could a secondary story set in South America. About 75 pages that gave us one somewhat key piece of that could be given in another place. There are long forays into Belbo's (one of the editors) past that really add nothing to main storyline. The focus should remain on Casaubon, the editor who starts as a student writing a thesis on the Knights Templar. He sets everything in motion.
Still, I felt it well worth powering through the 623 pages in order to get to the satisfying end. ...more
Not a single vampire book in years, then I read the Twilight series and this book within a week of each other.
Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a loNot a single vampire book in years, then I read the Twilight series and this book within a week of each other.
Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a local bar in rural Louisiana. Vampires have come out of the closet and are working to become integrated in society. She meets Bill at the bar and soon has embarked on a romantic relationship with him. In a reverse of Twilight, the non-vampire hears peoples thoughts but can't hear his. Women who have become vampire groupies are being killed, and Bill is a suspect. Can Sookie find out who the real killer is before the town turns on her cold (but smokin' hot) lover?
This was an incredibly fun and sexy read. The mystery was well-done and the characters were believable, for vampires and mind-readers and more. I'll be looking for the next book in the Sookie series and others by this funny, talented author....more
In the second installment of the Sookie Stackhouse books, Sookie and vampire boyfriend, Bill, fly to Dallas to investigate the disappearance of a membIn the second installment of the Sookie Stackhouse books, Sookie and vampire boyfriend, Bill, fly to Dallas to investigate the disappearance of a member of a Dallas vampire family. She is quickly in over her head, but manages to get herself out of as much of the trouble as Bill does.
We don't really learn anything new about our main characters, with possibly the exception of Sam. But that's nothing major and could have been thrown into a different story. But it's a quick, fun read that's not at all taxing on the brain.
I would not have guessed that a graphic novel from the 80s would be the most layered and nuanced book I would read in the first quarter of the year. EI would not have guessed that a graphic novel from the 80s would be the most layered and nuanced book I would read in the first quarter of the year. Especially one about a group of washed up superheroes. But there ya go.
Someone is killed off "masked adventurers," most of whom are in retirement because of The Keene Act, making their exploits illegal. Who is doing it and why is the main thread. But there are many subplots involving the psychology of the people who dress up to fight crime, the relationships among the heroes and with outsiders and what happens when one becomes too powerful. I knew who done it as soon as that person appeared, but that didn't lessen the story as I wanted to verify my guess and the reasons behind the attacks. All in all, a very satifying read.
It may have lost a little of its impact directly after the fall of the Soviet Union but, with the world situation today, the threats to mankind are once again (and too sadly) real. The tension built by the story itself and the moving hands on the Doomsday Clock at the beginning of each chapter was palpable....more
This is a book I should have loved. A sort of Canterbury Tales meets tarot cards. There are two almost separate books in this one slim volume. In eachThis is a book I should have loved. A sort of Canterbury Tales meets tarot cards. There are two almost separate books in this one slim volume. In each, a group of travelers gather in a strange place. None of them knows how they arrived. Each is mute and their hair has gone white. The first group of stories takes place in a castle and the second in a tavern.
In order to explain who they are to each other, every guest uses a deck of tarot cards to explain their story. Lovely idea.
In theory. In practice, it fell short for me. Calvino keeps interrupting the tales with other people grabbing at the cards and new cards being turned which are then explained before continuing the story. Most of the stories felt too abbreviated.
The writing is beautiful. The idea is fantastic. The stories needed more continuity within and among themselves. ...more
Sookie is recovering from her injuries sustained during the Fae War--really quickly. Bill is still suffering from his. The roommate leaves. The governSookie is recovering from her injuries sustained during the Fae War--really quickly. Bill is still suffering from his. The roommate leaves. The government is considering making the "two-natured" register in the aftermath of their big reveal. Jason's gotten over his pregnant wife's death rather easily and is living with someone new. Sookie and Eric are back together. Cousin Claude shows up. None of these facts are spoilers to this book since they're all covered in the first chapter.
And that's my main issue with this installment. The last book gave me hope that Harris was getting back to what she does best: give us a mystery to solve wrapped up in a lot of fantasy and romance with people we care about. One major through-line with one or two minor subplots that mesh in at the end. She'd populated Sookie's world with too many characters. And Sookie bedding down with a new "man" in each book while still unresolved about Bill and Eric was getting old. She had dealt with a lot of that by the end of "Dead And Gone."
But this one felt like a game of whack-a-mole. Here's Bill for a few minutes. Then Jason. Then Eric. Let's visit with Tara a second. Howdy Sam. Back to Eric. Oh, here's Claude. None of it felt connected. The book felt rushed. The sex scenes--which Harris usually does well--were blah. Again, rushed. So was the big action scene at the end. There wasn't time to feel emotion about any of it.
Maybe if only a couple of the issues were handled in this particular book, it would have been more coherent. But it all felt like background with no defined foreground. I would have liked more of Eric dealing with his maker, but that pretty much happened offstage. The identity of his "brother" was more of a distraction than the ooh-ah moment the author wanted us to have.
It's even more disappointing when the first few books were so enjoyable. Let's hope that Harris really takes her time with the next one, decided exactly what she wants it to be about, and then executes in the confident entertaining way we all know she can....more
A secret government experiment goes awry and creates an apocalypse, complete with vampires. Could be the tag line for dozens of books/movies/tv shows.A secret government experiment goes awry and creates an apocalypse, complete with vampires. Could be the tag line for dozens of books/movies/tv shows. What really sets this one apart is the writing. Beautiful, evocative writing. And the vampires are really scary.
I thought the third and final book was published in October. Since it had been years since I read the first two, I decided to reread before picking up the third. About 3/4 of the way through this first one, I found out that number three isn't expected now until October, 2015. I finished, because it's so good I didn't want to stop. But I haven't decided if I'll read The Twelve soon, or wait until it's closer to publication for the final book.
Wouldn't be the worst thing to read it now, then reread both again after the last one comes out....more