The Book of M made me hope in the face of hopelessness, believe the unbelievable and in a most rare occurrence, make me grieve for all the main characThe Book of M made me hope in the face of hopelessness, believe the unbelievable and in a most rare occurrence, make me grieve for all the main characters and pretty much all the secondaries. It was, all around, time well spent.
In a world where people are losing their shadows, then their memories, and eventually their physical selves, everything else is a bit off kilter as well. Roads inexplicably turn into spirals, cash becomes blank paper and the Statue of Liberty is shown in a scene so awesome (in the breathtaking apprehension way) that I'll forever thank this book for making me think I need to give magical realism in fiction another look, because damn that was vivid and memorable. There's a religious cult rising and battles of various factions but something like salvation is rumored to be ensconced in New Orleans. Through this panoply of chaos in what's pretty close to an epic extinction event, hope continues to abide in things as wondrous as a conversation with a fox and as mundane as a salvaged book or number scrawled on the back of a road sign signifying the most important thing between two people.
I don't want to give away major plot points but I will say that I fell completely for our two main characters, Max and Ory. I haven't rooted so hard for a couple to win in forever and it was made all the more painful watching one of them slowly slip away. Naz was a great character that I loved from the start. I admired her strength in battle and my heart broke when hers did at each loss she stacked up. I even felt so much for The Amnesiac that I was pretty appalled with how things with his shadow developed. I missed him too.
The big instances of character reveal at big moments, while very well done, were for me, a bit on the predictable side but they still landed with powerful effect. They were all heartbreaking and especially in the final instance, I wished denial could be a thing when you're reading a book. No amount of my knowing that it had to be made me amenable to embracing it as so and I fully admit that I was kind of resentful and put the book down for a couple of minutes. When I picked it back up, there were few pages remaining in the story but ended on such a high note of hope that I couldn't help but love the entire narrative. Love, courage, hope and sacrifice were played out wonderfully throughout.
This is the third novel I've read this year that deals with memories and what is their value to us (the other two: Places In the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre and Obscura by Joe Hart) and am now wondering what's making it a theme lately. They are certainly making for my more memorable reads this year.
I recommend this. Highly. If like me, you're a fan of The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett or Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, give this one a read. It's out in June, just in time for vacation reading. Shepherd wove a great story and I look very forward to her next.
A huge thanks to publisher William Morrow for an advance reader's copy for my honest review....more
This isn't just another cozy mystery with a plucky heroine with a food theme. This new series is told from the perspective of 27 year old, Asian AmeriThis isn't just another cozy mystery with a plucky heroine with a food theme. This new series is told from the perspective of 27 year old, Asian American, Lana Lee. She's working at her parents' restaurant and a delivery order has gone awry and ended up with a dead customer. An investigation ensues and suspicion is cast about so Lana's got to figure this all out before anything worse happens.
This was a very enjoyable read. The mystery is well done and Lana's voice was clear and she had a wonderful sense of humor. Her BFF Megan was the perfect sound board & co-investigator and cute factor is upped with a pug named Kikko (after Kikkoman soy sauce). I quite liked Lana's parents and want to know more about sister, Anna May. I liked the setting of the Asian Village with all the shops and colorful characters coming and going. The Mah Jongg Mavens need an expanded role at some point because a pack of gossiping older ladies is an asset in cozy mystery-ville. Dishy Detective Adam Trudeau even won me over in the end. If I'm honest, I want to know more about "he who shall not be named" if for no other reason than that guy had such a profound affect on Lana's life.
I read a fair number of cozies and I don't come across many with PoC main characters so I'm glad I happened upon this. I am definitely looking forward to the next in the series and I'm going to do my best not to call in an order to my favorite takeaway to have theme nibbles to read by. Recommended....more
This was quite the page turner and has so many lies going on by so many characters that I found the one character who wasn't lying, was a bit pale inThis was quite the page turner and has so many lies going on by so many characters that I found the one character who wasn't lying, was a bit pale in comparison.
I don't want to give away the major twists here but I can say that I found two of the main characters lying to be so extreme in their personalities and plight, that they verged into caricatures. Perhaps for me it was that even before their plot and involvement were revealed, they hadn't been rendered in such a remote and removed way that neither ever felt real. This is the saving grace of the compulsive page turner but in the final analysis, it left me a bit unsatisfied.
I also found that instead of feeling terribly sorry for our narrator, Joe, I was a bit annoyed by his not catching on to things sooner and being so easily led. In fairness, I allowed for some of it because it did make sense that one wants to believe the person closest to them but the extent to which this was taken with Joe was too far for me. There's a line between wide-eyed sap and willful fool turned tool. Joe's on the wrong side of that line for much of this story. I felt for him but I also disliked him for falling for so much and it felt to me that per the writing, I should root for and like him. On balance, he was the most likable of all but that's, to me, down to a lack of options by default not because it was earned.
I very much liked the takes on society's current relationship with social media and the technology used (and misused) to various ends (intended and unintended) that was covered here. I actually think that's where the story's overall strength really exists. I found that the things I most highlighted were in relation to Joe's revelations over time and in the end about this aspect of modern life. The point made about the value of face to face interactions and the importance of meaningful connections in the real world was well done and not rendered in a Luddite's fever. I loved what this book had to say about the convergence of what's real and what's manufactured for consumption and how it can not only be hurtful but worse, dangerous. While the shifting relationships and lies are the initial draw for the story, the cautionary tale lies in this secondary theme. This is the bit of the story that will remain with me.
While this was a bit of domestic thriller (per the book blurb/summary), it did feel a bit like something else in addition that I can't quite put my finger on (psychological social media thriller?). Recommended for users of social media everywhere. To the aware and judicious users who won't be shocked and shaken and to the users who just may stop and read those ToS for real next time before blithely clicking "Accept".
Thanks to St. Martins Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review....more