I can't help but think Christie's style is better suited to unexpected murders in slow, blissful villages with old-fashioned, charming characters, notI can't help but think Christie's style is better suited to unexpected murders in slow, blissful villages with old-fashioned, charming characters, not grand international conspiracies with special agents and whatnot. International affairs are somewhat too serious to be written about in the same casual tone and with just a handful of characters. They should be bigger in scope.
Either way, I couldn't get into this book. It's not uneventful, but it kind of dragged....more
That pretty much sums up my feelings about this book. The murder isn't even the central piece, the bizarre family is. It's defiEveryone was so creepy.
That pretty much sums up my feelings about this book. The murder isn't even the central piece, the bizarre family is. It's definitely one of Christie's more special books, but... eek! I was glad when it ended. I can't even tell what creeped me out so much. ...more
Interesting premise, became too contrived for my taste. It didn't feel as charming as usual and I wasn't a fan of Hastings making a fool out of himselInteresting premise, became too contrived for my taste. It didn't feel as charming as usual and I wasn't a fan of Hastings making a fool out of himself at the end. ...more
Not Marple's best mystery. Slow - almost too slow, it takes a while till murder happens and then it's all dialogue until culprit is found - but surpriNot Marple's best mystery. Slow - almost too slow, it takes a while till murder happens and then it's all dialogue until culprit is found - but surprisingly relaxing. It's somewhat simple and laced with Christie's superb humor, and provides a rare look into Miss Marple's past. Marple is not as bright here as usual, but for some reason the setting and the relationships between characters really drew me in and made up for that. (I also guessed the ending :) in a good way.)...more
The first Marple story that I somehow skipped years ago. It's enjoyable up till the end - it's interesting to see Miss Marple from other narrator's peThe first Marple story that I somehow skipped years ago. It's enjoyable up till the end - it's interesting to see Miss Marple from other narrator's perspective and the humor is easily the best thing about the book. I was somewhat disappointed by the ending though. Christie's mysteries often come full circle, but it felt almost anti-climactic here. ...more
It was supposed to be better than Scarpetta - but sadly it's just Scarpetta in different skin. It even has classic Scarpetta ending (view spoiler)[witIt was supposed to be better than Scarpetta - but sadly it's just Scarpetta in different skin. It even has classic Scarpetta ending (view spoiler)[with perp going after main character instead of getting caught via some real investigative effort. (hide spoiler)]
What's up with crime mysteries dealing with actual investigations where the main character just goes on a merry adventure disregarding any police procedure? Brennan has no qualifications to meddle with detective part - she works in laboratory. She doesn't even have a decent reason to get so involved - and no, "this murder just feels special" isn't a good excuse. Detectives are useless idiots, but only because the author needed to make space for main character. The book is in first person, and Brennan complains about one detective not liking her involvement - and hey, he may be unpleasant, but he's definitely right.
Maybe it could have been more enjoyable as thriller if Brennan wasn't such an idiot. Combine grade Z horror character with Rambo and you get the supposedly intelligent scientist sneaking away in the middle of the night, alone, breaking into desolate properties, ignoring signs of danger, dismissing basic safety measures, and never learning a lesson. The friend was... something special too.(view spoiler)[So she crashes at Brennan's place, vanishes for a week, and Brennan doesn't care - is that what friends normally do? (hide spoiler)] There are many "minor wtf" moments, as if the world wasn't quite operating as our own. Basically the author wanted to prod story in the desired direction and the characters behaved somewhat schizophrenically in result.
I thought it'd be a police procedural. Instead, the tone is more of a thriller / adventure. Science parts were surprisingly boring and led to nowhere except confirming that the murders are linked.
I'm very disappointed, but since it's the first book in the series, I'll give Brennan another go. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It's not even a book. It's a pseudo-dramatic abomination regurgitating all problems Scarpetta has in her life - as if we haven't heard enough of BentoIt's not even a book. It's a pseudo-dramatic abomination regurgitating all problems Scarpetta has in her life - as if we haven't heard enough of Benton already. Now there's Anna's sob story too. The trial Scarpetta faces is as farcical as its resolution - no one ever explains why she's accused besides "Diane and her exchanged some hard words in a parking lot" and her innocence is also accepted just because. Meanwhile, she works in the morgue with her arm broken and in the cast - I thought you were not allowed to work on sick leave, not to mention do physical tasks in that condition? Nobody has a problem with that.
Then we learn that Scarpetta is not crazy for believing the whole world is out to get her - apparently everything is indeed a giant conspiracy. I'm looking forward to Cornwell tying in Nazis and aliens and human experiments. Or not. I'm done with this series.
(view spoiler)[I read blurbs for the next few books. Benton is back from the dead and Scarpetta stars in a TV show?? I don't even... (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Even a fortress can't protect the stupid. 1) Learn how the murderer approaches the victims. 2) Conveniently ignore all common sense. 3) ??? 4) Might as weEven a fortress can't protect the stupid. 1) Learn how the murderer approaches the victims. 2) Conveniently ignore all common sense. 3) ??? 4) Might as well fire half of detective division and simply keep watch on Scarpetta. Every major criminal ends up near her sooner or later.
Not marking this as spoiler because every Scarpetta book ends this way. This one is just more blatant and even more stupid than usual. It never ceases to amaze me how Cornwell spends time and effort on establishing a bizarre, intriguing case, then buries everything under Scarpetta's boring monologue and increasing soap-opera-like drama, and cuts to an abrupt ending in the last ten pages that almost never is a result of the characters' investigative effort. ...more
This series started as a pleasant fantasy adventure romp and quickly devolved into plothole-ridden tropefest with tons of inconsistencies. The inconsiThis series started as a pleasant fantasy adventure romp and quickly devolved into plothole-ridden tropefest with tons of inconsistencies. The inconsistencies are minor and it's hard to list them all without trying to nitpick, but there's so many of them that the whole narrative feels like bending over backwards and forcing stuff to happen along predetermined path - with convenient tricks saving the heroes at last moment, info dumps and very trope-y sudden motivations - that it all gnawed at me and sucked all enjoyment out of this book. At first I tried not to pay attention and just go with the flow, but by the time the end came, I just couldn't stand it anymore. The whole ending feels like a cop-out and a one big facepalm in how ridiculous it is.
(view spoiler)[The most advanced race in the world has a ruling system that is barely suitable for orcs or goblins. A challenge (with just one challenger?), a fight to death (why fight? brawns over brains?), whole race under rule of one tribe for 3000 years even if the said tribe could be unfit to rule. And the whole job-class system. How come warriors weren't the ruling tribe by default? When the old king was killed, they looked only among sons for descendant, but Novron's line is so special that the most diluted blood counts. Not only that, any mongrel with just a drop of elven blood can challenge and rule the whole elven nation. Grade A bullshit. Everything went wrong with the fight and by all means they should reroll - but nah, the rules were bent to force the plot where it had to go. (hide spoiler)]
It doesn't help that I figured out the whole ploy around the second book (omnibus). The horn is mentioned as early as the first book and I hated the idea from the get-go. A magical mcguffin that would bring peace to the world. The whole Novron and church thing was hinted by Esrahaddon and I found nothing new in this book. The only surprise was how bad the execution was. I can safely say I was disgusted by the ending. A whole load of disappointed expectations. As I understood it, even gods don't care about this world. (view spoiler)[Elves f****d up so much that Ferrol gave them the horn and scurried away. Father of all gods wanders the land trying to fix stuff. The rest doesn't care. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Bad news -> character cooks up a makeshift plan -> something goes wrong -> magical rescue -> repeat. For the whole book.
I couldn't believeBad news -> character cooks up a makeshift plan -> something goes wrong -> magical rescue -> repeat. For the whole book.
I couldn't believe how bad some things were, particularly with Arista. She transforms from more or less proper princess to ultimate badass who's fazed by nothing. Magic system is never defined and basically boils down to "it's magic!". Arista wants something to happen? Just sprinkle some magic dust and bam! Who needs magical training when you're just a natural?
Ship part dragged on and the alliances reminded me of Agatha Christie's novels, filter the suspects by least suspicious one. I wasn't even surprised by the end of the book.
I liked that we finally saw goblins, even if for a very minor part. That whole sequence is so exotic that it almost feels like taken out from another book. The world is foul and ugly, everybody is racist and hateful, but suddenly they're like explorers in a jungle, slightly apprehensive about natives but pressing for adventure.
And that's why I can't enjoy this series: it clearly has ambitions, but the story is told like an adventure, with twists, attempts at humor, and lots of flashy action-movie sequences. First omnibus was narrower in scope and worked better - in this one, the cheerful adventure approach just doesn't work among all that filth and wile acts committed by... basically everyone. As is popular now, the world is gritty and dark (and should be realistic, but isn't) and all characters are of varying degree of evil (arguably our protagonist pair of thieves-murderers are the most altruistic), but it just doesn't fit.
Reading this book tired me. While it's not objectively the worst trash I have ever read, I deduct one star due to disappointment. I had high hopes for this series. ...more
More of the same, with dragged out pseudo-mystery that characters barely try to solve, recurring villain (yawn) and explosive ending that is completelMore of the same, with dragged out pseudo-mystery that characters barely try to solve, recurring villain (yawn) and explosive ending that is completely out of place and conveniently solves the problem (view spoiler)[(without explicitly killing off the bad guys for good). (hide spoiler)] One extra star for fire investigation, the only thing we haven't seen before.["br"]>...more
Compilation of RWD optimization knowledge. It's a good book to push at people who are getting into RWD and are working on big websites, but if you havCompilation of RWD optimization knowledge. It's a good book to push at people who are getting into RWD and are working on big websites, but if you have been following the various articles on the subject, you won't learn anything new. The book doesn't present many ready solutions with code, but discusses the problem and possible solutions. It makes it less technology-dependent and it likely will stay relevant for longer, but it also means advanced developers won't have much use for it.
Many solutions are overkill for small sites and the ones that aren't IMHO fit into best practices that aren't strictly related to RWD (merging files to avoid network latency). There's a nicely sized section about responsive images, which IMHO is a big problem, and from which I learned something new (Client Hints). I would have liked more about over the fold CSS, but I guess this is still a new subject.
There wasn't much about CSS performance, custom fonts, or HTML gimmicks imparted by design.
All in all, it's short and worth checking out to see if some new technique has popped up, but it's not a must have and not a complete compendium. ...more
I wanted to read this book for some time, and somehow didn't realize earlier that it was free.
This is a story of dutiful pleasure slave going to new mI wanted to read this book for some time, and somehow didn't realize earlier that it was free.
This is a story of dutiful pleasure slave going to new master with optimism and romantic ideals... only that the master doesn't want a slave. It's a very personal story, made even more intimate by first person perspective of the slave. I hate first person - this was the first book I've read in it in years - but this one was exceptionally well written. The book wouldn't be the same without it. It focuses on the mindset of a slave, the view of the world where slavery is institutionalized and normal, and the dynamics between Sylvan and his new master. There isn't much shown beside this duo. A few named characters, roughly drafted events to keep time moving - the main focus is on developing the relationship between Sylvan and Nygell. Even sex scenes are used to further it, show more aspects of it - they're not merely there to titillate.
This focus on relationship is what makes The Violet and the Tom very unique. It's rare to see a book with a clear goal with no useless padding, that doesn't devolve into Mary Sues and emotion overflow. It kept on track the whole time, and this singular focus really makes it shine - adding anything else would dilute its purpose and things it had to tell.
First half is exceptional and very engaging. Second half sadly becomes kind of blurry. While first part flowed naturally, after the mystery is solved and the relationship takes a turn it's like grasping for better examples, situations to show. I felt less engaged - mostly because I thought what they were doing was risky and it jarred me that the characters weren't considering practicality or safety.
I liked the ending though. It was a nice conclusion, heart-warming and liberating. Very fitting way to end this story, made me happy - (view spoiler)[I expected doom and gloom given the description, so it was a very welcome change. (hide spoiler)] I really enjoyed reading this, despite some slow parts. Well worth reading if you want something different.
And - although I really hate making this comparison - it really is like a story that could be told by Erasmus from Captive Prince. :)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Ocean at the End of the Line reads like an acid trip. Bizarre things happen, horrors creep out, the very threads of the multiverse are threatened, andOcean at the End of the Line reads like an acid trip. Bizarre things happen, horrors creep out, the very threads of the multiverse are threatened, and the narrator just takes this all in a stride, as if all this was perfectly acceptable in his mind. The book is told by a man in his 40s reminiscing his childhood self of 7 year old, but point of view feels like neither. It's too dry and clinical for a child, and too unassuming for an adult. Even a kid would question those events more - which makes me wonder whether it's set in parallel universe where such a story would be plausible, or whether the main character was changed somehow, or maybe he's just a whacko with troubled past. The story is just a fantastic fairytale that just happens around the main character, and the fact that he doesn't remark on it with any common-sense adult perspective - and is completely unfazed by it as a child - irks me, just as I find it bothersome that the book never hints at him being not normal. If that was supposed to be normal, then it's not set in our world.
The narrator was the main reason why I felt disconnected with the story, and I just flowed with it through most of the book, but the end leaves two big open questions. (view spoiler)[Shouldn't it be here that the sh*t hits the fan? It's mentioned that Lettie was the only Hempstock to leave the farm (even though Ginnie leaves it at the end of the book, but maybe it meant on magic business) and narrator single-handedly made sure the world was left unprotected. And secondly, the guy had no heart for four decades, yet somehow he continued as normal, with only a minor side effect of being stuck in a once-per-decade loop of coming back to remember and forget again and be looked at by the Maiden healing in the pond. (hide spoiler)] I found it unsatisfactory and a lousy way to end a book. Previously I had thought that I merely wasn't target audience, but now I feel The Ocean... is incomplete as a work of fiction.
I have a feeling this is not a story to be analyzed as is, though. I read pages of reviews here to try to understand why the book is so loved, and from what I gathered, it's supposed to recall feelings of childhood nostalgia, open-mindness of a child and ability to spin fairytales out of everything. The book is certainly full of interesting and on the point remarks about how a child sees the world (my favorite being how children can find joy in a moment without being crippled by worry about future), it's the story that doesn't make sense. Maybe it's not supposed to make 101% sense and I simply haven't grown up enough, or have read too much fantasy, to be wowed by the author's imagination. I think it's a book for adults who became bogged down by work and real life and want to regain the ability to enjoy fairytales, not those who still poke around fantasy and other worlds.
Style of writing was beautiful and the fairytale creative without feeling too unfamiliar. It was good enough to make a decent read, especially combined with that lingering creepiness that I associate with Gaiman. I loved the kitten though. It may actually be the cats that kept me reading.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book (actually two books - it's an omnibus) was a mixed bag for me. I liked the unpretentious road adventure tone of the first novel. It had deceThis book (actually two books - it's an omnibus) was a mixed bag for me. I liked the unpretentious road adventure tone of the first novel. It had decent world building without info dumps, decent characters, decent plot that was neither completely predictable nor full of surprises, somewhat standard fantasy settings with victimized non-humans and church being evil. It felt as if I could simply turn my brain off and enjoy the ride.
Second part tried to be more ambitious though. Once more varied elements were introduced, the book started to fill up with tiny plot holes and pet peeves and inconsistencies. One character that was rather sensible in first part becomes braindead, too trusty of some without reasons and with surprising mood swings. Protagonist duo develops major altruistic tendencies. Ancient history doesn't feel right (we're told elves were the first race and then "they've possibly been here before dwarves"? they live thousands of years but have dedicated tribes of hunters, warriors, architects? don't they get bored?). Then there are tiny things that just nag at me - i.e. I find it hard to believe that Avempartha, made by supposedly superior race, has such huge security flaws. (view spoiler)[Any outsider could bring an unlimited number of unverified persons with him!! And all doors were the same, they gained access to the whole tower at once! (hide spoiler)]
Another thing that bugs me about this world is that the gods basically aided humans in destroying / enslaving / marginalizing their own chosen races. Uh... what? Were they okay with it? Did they just vaporize afterwards? They surely don't seem to be very active now, even though that happened not too long ago in the general timeline.
I hope at least some of these issues were intentional and will get resolved in the next volumes. I kind of want to know where it all leads to, even though it took me ages to finish this book due to piled up annoyances. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
WTF is with that ending? It's like the author realized there was no way to explain all the BS she's written and she had to cut it while her readers weWTF is with that ending? It's like the author realized there was no way to explain all the BS she's written and she had to cut it while her readers were still breathing (instead of saving them this misery and trashing the whole thing). The book starts to feel really off kilter in the first 1/5 and by the end it veers into fanfiction territory. The only big "conspiracy theory" trope it missed was Nazis. ...more
It's a book where an empire is dead set on conquering little kingdoms merely because (view spoiler)[their own king sucked and therefore all kGarbage.
It's a book where an empire is dead set on conquering little kingdoms merely because (view spoiler)[their own king sucked and therefore all kings are evil and have to be destroyed (hide spoiler)]. That should tell you how ridiculous motivation system works. It's also a book where young innocent people are drugged and raped and broken into believing they like this. I prefer my m/m slave stories a bit more on the consensual side. This was disgusting, especially the way the author sugar-coated it and the whole thing was presented in positive light. One character even said the slaves are respected - wtf?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more