Hannah's Reviews > Moloka'i

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
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Oct 31, 11

bookshelves: 2011-reads, historicals
Read in October, 2011

Disappointing.

Underwhelming.

Squandered potential.

Lacks "soul"
.

These are a few of the things that immediately sprang to mind after finishing Molika'i. After reading several 2 star reviews here on Goodreads by more gifted reviewers then myself, I really can't add much more without becoming repetitive.

Suffice it to say, this book had so much potential. So much possibility. And although a vast majority of readers thought it met (and exceeded) those parameters, for me it fell flat.

I wanted my soul to be moved while reading this. I wanted my heart to be engaged. I wanted to feel real sympathy for these fictional characters played out against a very non-fictional aspect of history. Instead, I yawned - frequently. I looked to see how many pages were left. I got tired of the innumerable instances of "info-dumping" (and plotline wrangling in order to create the "info-dump" moment). I thought of how a writer like my favorite M.M. Kaye would have handled this scene or that situation. I got frustrated over the shallow writing and the contemporary feel of a story that was supposed to take place over 100 years ago. And finally, I closed the book and was sad that what could have been an awesome story fell flat for me (expecially since I've been on a run of mediocre reads lately).

This is a minority opinion - but it's mine. Hope it's a better read for others.
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Comments (showing 1-33 of 33) (33 new)

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Arlene If I were rating this today, I would go with 2 stars maybe 2.5 stars as well.


Hannah I just commented on your review of it. Yes, I was not impressed that this has gotten so much praise. Why?


message 3: by Arlene (last edited Oct 28, 2011 01:04PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Arlene Was it an Oprah's Book Choice maybe? I have no clue. I think Target recently picked it up as part of the program to give certain books traction. I read it a few years ago... right about the same time I realized Oprah and I don't share the same taste in reading material. :/


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Another one I just couldnt get into..we seem to have alot of those you & I Hannah LOL!


Hannah Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* wrote: "Another one I just couldnt get into..we seem to have alot of those you & I Hannah LOL!"

Really, you too? We're just going to have to watch each other's back from this time forward :)


message 6: by Hannah (last edited Oct 28, 2011 01:34PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hannah Arlene wrote: "Was it an Oprah's Book Choice maybe? I have no clue. I think Target recently picked it up as part of the program to give certain books traction. I read it a few years ago... right about the same ti..."

You and me both!
Don't even get me started on Oprah. I don't think she has had one "pick" that I've had the least bit of interest in picking up and reading - lol!


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Im starting to borrow more books at the library these days..this one went back the next day..ugh


Hannah Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* wrote: "Im starting to borrow more books at the library these days..this one went back the next day..ugh"

Agreed. The days of purchasing books outright has come and gone for me a long time ago. At least this way we're only out the disappointment of a bad read, and not our hard earned $$.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Hannah wrote: "Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* wrote: "Im starting to borrow more books at the library these days..this one went back the next day..ugh"

Agreed. The days of purchasing books outright has come and g..."


I agree Hannah..unless it belongs to a series I already have & enjoy..I now borrow.


Arlene Hannah wrote: "You and me both!
Don't even get me started on Oprah. I don't think she has had one "pick" that I've had the least bit of interest in picking up and reading - lol! "


I've given her a few tries and we're just not on the same field when it comes to book choices. Now I just use her picks as a filtering technique. :)


message 11: by Hannah (last edited Oct 28, 2011 02:01PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hannah Arlene wrote: "I've given h..."

Ah yes, the "she-liked-it-so-I-need-to-stay-clear-of-it" technique!
I approve wholeheartedly :D


message 12: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit I have heard so many praises sung about this book that I'm very surprised to hear this. It will be a library book when I do get to it.


message 13: by Crystal Starr Light (last edited Oct 28, 2011 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Crystal Starr Light While I liked it more than you did, I can understand all the points you bring up (and I think many of my book club friends felt the same way you did when we read it a few months ago). I liked it more because it reminded me of my time living in Hawaii than because it was an excellent book. I particularly wasn't fond of the info-dumping or the shoe-horning of historical events. Sometimes it just felt history was thrown at the characters instead of the characters living through history.


message 14: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit I did read another of this author's books, Honolulu, and found it rather underwhelming, but again others really raved about it. These things happen, but I know info dumps will drive me batty.


message 15: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Piper Arlene wrote: "Hannah wrote: "You and me both!
Don't even get me started on Oprah. I don't think she has had one "pick" that I've had the least bit of interest in picking up and reading - lol! "

I've given h..."


Pretty much the sole Oprah book I love is East of Eden, which I recommend to fans of John Steinbeck, people who've never read John Steinbeck, people who HAVE read John Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice & Men) and hated it, and everyone else. East of Eden is amazing.

But yeah. Many other books that Oprah picked have really cool concepts but poor delivery, which makes me think Oprah heard the pitch and said, "Ooooh, OK!" without reading the book.


message 16: by Kim (new)

Kim Good review, Hannah. Sometimes I think that I must live under a rock, because I'd never heard of this book pre-GR. Now I see that it polarises opinion. A number of my friends have given it four and five stars, but I don't think that I'll bother adding it to the pile!


message 17: by Hannah (last edited Oct 29, 2011 10:31AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hannah Misfit wrote: "I did read another of this author's books, Honolulu, and found it rather underwhelming, but again others really raved about it. These things happen, but I know info dumps will drive ..."

Misfit,
I liked your review of Honolulu, but I don't think I'll be checking it out for myself. Your comment about the heroine being too much of a 21st century character hit home. I felt the same thing for his characters in this book. I don't think Brennert knows how to create a period feel, and his writing didn't do anything for me.


Hannah Rachel wrote: "Pretty much the sole Oprah book I love is East of Eden, which I recommend to fans of John Steinbeck, people who've never read John Steinbeck, people who HAVE read John Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice & Men) and hated it, and everyone else. East of Eden is amazing...."

Hi Rachel,
East of Eden blew me away when I read it in high school. It's definitely one I need to revisit to see if it's as awesome as I remember.


message 19: by Hannah (last edited Oct 29, 2011 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hannah Kim wrote: "Good review, Hannah. Sometimes I think that I must live under a rock, because I'd never heard of this book pre-GR. Now I see that it polarises opinion. A number of my friends have given it four an..."

That's one of the great things about GR, Kim - we can discover so many books we would otherwise have only walked by in a bookstore.

This is certainly a book you'll either love or hate. I wouldn't discourage you from trying it one day, but only if you have nothing better to pick up.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Same experience for me -- many of my GR friends love this one. It wasn't high on my list, but the diversity of opinions on GR surprises me, and also encourages me.


Hannah Jeannette wrote: "Same experience for me -- many of my GR friends love this one. It wasn't high on my list, but the diversity of opinions on GR surprises me, and also encourages me."

Yes, you never know which side of the fence you're going to land on with a book like this - kind of exciting, huh? :D


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I guess! lol Sometimes I feel like I always land on the other side of the fence from everyone else.


Hannah Jeannette wrote: "I guess! lol Sometimes I feel like I always land on the other side of the fence from everyone else."

Me, too :(


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Once in a while you and I end up on the same side, which is indeed a consolation. :)


Hannah Jeannette wrote: "Once in a while you and I end up on the same side, which is indeed a consolation. :)"

Flattery will get you everywhere...
:D


message 26: by Christine (new)

Christine Honsinger that is so interesting, what you said about plot wrangling and info dumping...i totally know what you mean... ha haha! will stay clear of this one, for sure, but I'm so totally excited to try MM Kaye books since you recommend them so highly! I'm sure they will be very good!


Hannah Christine wrote: "that is so interesting, what you said about plot wrangling and info dumping...i totally know what you mean... ha haha! will stay clear of this one, for sure, but I'm so totally excited to try MM K..."

Thanks, Christine. It takes a talented writer to be able to provide info. within the context of a book without "info. dumping". Unfortunately, the writer of Moloka'i wasn't adept at it :(

I hope you'll enjoy MM Kaye.


Melissa Neuberger You said everything I thought about this book!


Hannah Melissa wrote: "You said everything I thought about this book!"

Thanks, Melissa. I'm sorry it was a disappointing read for you also.


Diana You said exactly what I feel about this book. I know things are going badly when I begin to skip, and I started skipping in the first chapter. An author has to be emotionally engaged himself in order to engage his/her readers and Brennert writes like an instruction book for accountants.


Hannah Diana wrote: "You said exactly what I feel about this book. I know things are going badly when I begin to skip, and I started skipping in the first chapter. An author has to be emotionally engaged himself in ord..."

Hi Diana,
I'm sorry it was a disappointing read for you as well. I liked your comment about it reading like an instruction book for accountants - it definitely had "stand-offish" feel to what should have been an emotional story (at least for those of us who didn't like it).


Lauren I agree. It reads like a young adult book with sex scenes thrown in. I kept looking at the cover to see if it was indeed a teen book, in which case I would stop reading it. I'm almost done, but it's really fallen flat for me. He's not a good writer. This would have been a great story in the hands of a great storyteller.


Hannah Lauren wrote: "I agree. It reads like a young adult book with sex scenes thrown in. I kept looking at the cover to see if it was indeed a teen book, in which case I would stop reading it. I'm almost done, but it'..."

Thanks, Lauren. Glad to know others had some of the same feelings I did over it - especially regarding the part about wishing another (better) author could have written it.


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