So far this is the second of Erik Larson's books I've read (the first being Devil in the White City, although I'm currently reading In the Garden of BSo far this is the second of Erik Larson's books I've read (the first being Devil in the White City, although I'm currently reading In the Garden of Beasts) and I really love his style. For the same reasons I LOVE Simon Singh, I LOVE how Erik tells a nonfiction story like it's fiction-- as in, it's interestingly done, with Erik dotting around the landscape of time to increase the tension in places and leave you a bit of mystery. It isn't dry, boring facts crammed into your head. It's dual stories told in the context of peoples' lives and larger historical events that most everyone knows--or thinks they know.
In this case, I actually knew very little about the topics he covered so it was really cool to get a lot more detail on things I only vaguely knew about prior to the book. I'd never heard of Crippen at all.
I actually liked Crippen the most of all the people featured in this book, although Dew was also great. It makes me sad to know that they're real people because I feel like Crippen got screwed over :( That may sound like an odd thing to say but that was how I felt about him in general. I really liked him. Marconi, meanwhile, despite being the science side of things rather than the crime, was kind of a jerk. But that just goes to show how peoples' personalities are. Also what was really cool was I purposefully didn't read anything about this book prior to starting it; I bought it just because I saw Erik Larson was the author. So I knew nothing at all as I started reading it, and spent most of the book guessing at which way this or that would go. That's why I say it's written like fiction, because his writing style invites such interactive behavior from the reader which a lot of nonfiction doesn't. They get too caught up in the idea of telling every story extremely linearly, which is an understandable default when telling something from history but it makes for a much less dynamic and intriguing read.
Anyway, I expected this book to be like Devil in the White City, where the main connection between the two MCs was their location and a huge event which affected everyone (the Chicago World Fair) so when it got to the main connection between the stories in Thunderstruck that was a cool nexus for me. I can see why he chose to tell these two stories in particular in such an interweaving fashion.
The reason I give it 4 instead of 5 stars is I try to keep 5 stars only for the books/series I love beyond everything else, or that strike me on an even more profound level upon finishing than a normal good book does. This was a good book. I very much enjoyed it and ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting. It was a wonderful way to pass a rainy Saturday. But, while I will recall information from this book in the future no doubt, it did not strike as deep a chord in me as other books have that I've rated in the past. Including Devil in the White City which was especially fascinating for me because I loved both MCs. I think one thing working against this book (obviously of no fault to the author) is that I loved Crippen but didn't love Marconi as much. So, while I found his part of the story to be very interesting, in the end of the book I was basically sad about Crippen and fascinated by Marconi's way of living life and going about things but not a huge fan of him as a person.
For that reason, I'm rating this 4 only to be correct in context of other books I've rated. But I would for sure say that anyone who's interested in this topic should read this book. I thought it was interestingly done and will continue to read any Erik Larson book I find :)...more
There are no spoilers in this review, for anyone wondering.
-- I just spent all of Sunday rereading the first two books in the series so I could read thThere are no spoilers in this review, for anyone wondering.
-- I just spent all of Sunday rereading the first two books in the series so I could read the third, that I only recently realized had come out. I always get a little worried going into the end of a series, because sometimes the whole previous story gets ruined by choices made in the last book or episode or movie or whatever.
Well. Not the case here. I don't even know why I worried.
The second book left off on a really intense point, and the third book started off seamlessly. I tried to write a short review and couldn't because here's the thing: this series is fucking awesome. Any time someone asks me for a m/m series recommendation I ALWAYS recommend this (and Raised by Wolves by WA Hoffman) because this legit is in my top three favorite GLBT series. (RbW and Captive Prince being the others) One of the reasons I love those three series, and especially this series, is because they all have one thing in common: they are stories about things I normally don't like or wouldn't choose to read about, and they are told in such a way where I love the everloving hell out of them.
In this series' case: sports. Thing is, I actually really hate sports. There's an active dislike going on with sports, for me. I would rather do almost anything in the world than have to watch a sports game for even an hour. Just, horrendously boring to me. And yet I devoured this three-book series that has a central theme of sports because 1) Exy is pretty cool--I doubt I'd watch any games if it were real life but it's also a game I'd be more likely to think is mildly interesting, and mostly 2) goddamn these characters.
I can't really explain to you right now my love for this series. I love that the main characters are seriously messed up individuals and that this is a theme throughout the series. I love that there wasn't some lame thing at the end to force the very destructive and twisted characters to suddenly be "normal" as some sort of superficial happy ending.
I actually thought several times throughout the third book how good the editing was (so props to the betas by the way!) because there were very, very few mistakes I found in the text. There were two or three places where, in all honesty, I wish it had been written a little differently: namely, it skimmed a bunch of stuff that I would have liked to have actually seen snippets of dialogue and interaction from, or even better, have the whole thing written out. And a few things that felt like they came a little too easily for everything that had come before to get to that point.
But notice how I put 5 stars on this? Yeah. I'm not docking this thing even an iota of a star because it deserves all 5 stars and more. This book had some just, freaking awesome scenes. One in particular I was reading like HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT NO WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN THIS CAN'T HAPPEN RIGHT? and then I looked down at the page count and was like WTF HOW IS THIS ONLY HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK?!
Also, there are some parts that made me laugh out loud (because of perfectly timed sarcasm or a particularly twisted response to something). I noted several of them because they were great XD Maybe sometime I'll amend this to add them in but I don't have my nook readily available right now.
I can tell you one thing, though. This would make a great movie series. And yes, I would watch three movies about this even though sports. Dude, I would watch a whole TV show about this.
Let me end on this: I really love the characters but especially Neil and Andrew. The issues they have are so perfectly understandable for them and their lives that it's fantastic and yet they also--I mean, I know I said it before, but seriously. Twisted. But not in a bad way, not in a way where it's making a judgment call about who they are as individuals. I just mean like, definitely not the norm. Andrew has some very extreme reactions to things, and Neil's moral compass is not aligned with most people's. I mean, Andrew physically threatens even his own family members and holds them at knife point, and Neil barely even acknowledges murders and blood and violence but instead focuses on other things. But they also aren't soulless, any of them. Like, despite Neil's high tolerance for violence and seriously skewed moral compass, when he first sees Andrew threaten a family member into silence like described above, he breaks it up and when Andrew leaves he says to the family member, "That is not okay. Don't let him get away with that."
Things like that are what I love so much about this whole series, and what continued into this last book. Everyone has facets. And there's a progression of the characters and relationships. Neil definitely grows as a person, Andrew does, everyone does. But Neil especially, you can see the subtle way it happens in places where he doesn't realize his own value.
I also like that the book for the most part just goes hardcore into whatever it is it's addressing.
Oh, and the relationship--the way it was done was perfect. Nothing was forced in that didn't need to be there, but enough was put in that as a reader I knew exactly what was happening and when and how. Really, really well done on that, because that can be a delicate balance.
Nora: please charge more for your work, seriously. I want to give you more money for this. It's unconscionable!
Anyway, I will continue to recommend this series any time I'm asked. In all honesty, I do think this series is #1 in my three favorite m/m series list....more
I always forget how much I love Japanese novels. There's something light and beautiful about the way they are written; a lyrical quality that managesI always forget how much I love Japanese novels. There's something light and beautiful about the way they are written; a lyrical quality that manages to be confined to minimal words. I haven't had the opportunity to read many BL Japanese novels but the ones I have read have been by different authors and all give me that same feel.
I decided to mark the wording I liked in this book so I could go back to it later to use as inspiration, but in the end the book was littered with so many sticky notes that I'm not sure I'll be able to pull out the words I wanted from the words that surrounded them.
This is a surprisingly gentle story about a boy raised in a brothel, the life he's never let himself imagine, and the life he's always lived. I liked the main character because he was harsh where needed, showing that he didn't let the life control him, even as other times he was constrained by his position.
I ran across this book because I love the author (Venio Tachibana) for having written Seven Days, which is one of my favorite BL manga series of all time. I decided to look into what else she had done and found this. I'm very happy I bought it. If anything, I only wish more of her stuff was in English so I could buy more of it.
I don't have an in depth review of this because for whatever reason, these Japanese novels tend to leave me in a light mood that disallows my otherwise natural inclination to dissect what it is I liked and disliked about a book. Instead, I'm always left feeling conversely happy and sad, in a way that lets me exist without having to think in those scant moments before reality draws me back....more