This is the first of Deaver's books to feature Lincoln Rhyme, quadriplegic criminalist. Rhyme has given up on life, literally. He has decided to have...moreThis is the first of Deaver's books to feature Lincoln Rhyme, quadriplegic criminalist. Rhyme has given up on life, literally. He has decided to have a doctor help him commit suicide. But a spree killer who starts taking tourists just before a big event at the UN and a gutsy female officer with problems of her own pique his interest.
Deaver's protagonist would provoke no sympathy if we weren't handicapped. He's a jerk, plain and simply. A brilliant jerk, but a jerk. Amelia Sachs isn't much more likeable. But their dedication to figuring out the clues, planted and unplanned, keeps the story racing forward.
This is a page turner. The pace is often frenetic, but Deaver slows down--sometimes excruciatingly so--when the killer is at his cruelest. The book has a different outcome than the movie of the same name. I did feel a bit cheated by the big reveal, because it felt like the villian was a character who was chosen simply to throw the reader a curve.
I'd recommend it as a lesson in the art of pacing. (less)
The protagonist, also named Jonathan Safran Foer, makes a trip to Ukraine to find the woman who may have saved his grandfather during World War II. Th...moreThe protagonist, also named Jonathan Safran Foer, makes a trip to Ukraine to find the woman who may have saved his grandfather during World War II. The book tells the story of the search through the eyes of his Ukrainian guide, Alex, in Alex's letters to Jonathan after the event. Jonathan's contribution is the story of his family's unusual history.
Alex's fractured English takes a while to get used to, but it also lends a certain pathos. His story turns out to be the more compelling, but alternating it with the story of Jonathan's family just made me want to turn pages faster. And, in a certain sense, without Jonathan's story, we wouldn't ever hear Alex's.
There were a few places where I felt the author sacrificed the story to style, but they were brief and not enough to drop the rating much. (less)
I passed up this book many times because of the length (800+ pages in trade paperback). Several of my friends were in the process of reading it, thoug...moreI passed up this book many times because of the length (800+ pages in trade paperback). Several of my friends were in the process of reading it, though, and convinced me it was worth it.
This is the story of the "last magicians in England," the titular characters. Set in a fantasized early 19th century, the story unfolds as Mr. Norrell tries to simultaneously revive English magic while supressing any other magicians. Along the way, he becomes involved with The Man With The Thistle-down Hair and does take on a pupil, one Jonathan Strange. Subplots involve Jonathan and his wife, Jonathan and the Duke of Wellington and a servant to one of the Cabinet Ministers who also becomes involved with TMWTTH, and a few more.
The story moves along well and is interesting. Once I started reading, I wanted to keep going. The problem is that the chapters are quite long, too, so it was hard to make myself pick it up in the first place unless I had a big block of time to spend. A warning to other first time authors out there: Give your readers a break once in a while. Once I got to about the six hundred page mark, I really started turning pages to find out how she was going to resolve everything that was still up in the air and, in more than a few cases, getting worse. There are a lot of loose ends flying together in the last fifty pages (wear eye protection), but I found it satisfying.
I'd recommend JS&MN to anyone who likes fantasy set in a pretty much this world who has a lot of time to set aside for really delving into it.(less)
In 1964, 14-year-old Lily Owen sets out for Tiburon, SC, in search of the truth about her mother. The mother that Lily accidentally shot when she was...moreIn 1964, 14-year-old Lily Owen sets out for Tiburon, SC, in search of the truth about her mother. The mother that Lily accidentally shot when she was a toddler.
This was one of those books that sat on my "to read" pile for years. Newer, shinier books would climb on top of it and demand my attention first. Then some friends wanted to see the movie, and I decided to read the book before we went.
I wasn't expecting a lot. Maybe because there was so much talk about it when it first came out, but I never heard anything specific as to why it was getting the attention. No one I knew had read it or recommended it--usually a bad sign. But I was pleasantly surprised. The writing is effortless even, and maybe especially, when the subject matter is tough to read about. Kidd conveys the heaviness of a southern summer day well. The reader feels the humidity, the heat, the oppressiveness of the air. And, of course, there is more than one kind of oppressiveness taking place.
A substitute teacher told me a story about a high school boy who threw this book on the floor of the classroom demanding to know why there were being forced to read it. Another person present said something to the effect of "It's ridiculous to expect a teenage boy to find anything he can relate to in a book about middle aged Southern women." Now obviously, this guy didn't know what the book was about himself or that kids should be reading about lots of different people, places and times. But what the kid was missing was how accurate a portrait of the times Secret Life of Bees was. And she did it without any heavyhandedness.
I'm glad I didn't let it sit on the nightstand any longer.(less)
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 l...moreI 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.