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The Builders
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2016 Book Club Discussions > March 2016: The Builders - Final Impressions (With Spoilers!)

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Joel (deliriumtrigger) | 312 comments This is where we can discuss the entire book, spoilers and all.

Victor | 22 comments "We don't build"

What's extraordinary about this longer short story is how the author managed to create memorable characters in such a short time. Probably resorting to the animal kingdom helped but he reminded me of Sergio Leone's movies where a look could paint a whole dialogue (think the stand off in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)

Matthew | 21 comments Polansky is one of the best at creating "voices" and this novella really showcased that. Each animal was so distinct and captivating. It's super hard to pick a favorite, but if I must, I'll go with the stoat.

Brittany | 8 comments The pace was action packed and a lot of character development happened in a very short time. At times I forgot I was reading about quick-drawing, vengeance seeking animals. I would laugh out loud reading at times just visualizing it, but all joking aside I was really surprised at what a great short read it was!

Justin | 0 comments The very short chapters were a little jarring at first. Doesn't help that I just finished a Malazan book where he does the same thing as the book comes to a conclusion. By the end I was sold though probably thanks to Polansky's writing. Even with how silly the animal thing appears on the surface.

Laura | 11 comments It felt a little silly at first, knowing these were little animals we were talking about (and mostly woodland animals at that..) but I was surprised how quickly that fell away. And while you didn't for one minute forget that you were reading about animals, it didn't matter and didn't detract from the dark and brooding feel of the book.
Like others I'm impressed how Polansky was able to create such distinctive characters in such a short space of time. I have a very clear mental picture of each one of them.

I've never read anything else by Polansky, but I think I will now..

Matthew | 21 comments @Laura Totally agree. I'd highly suggest his Low Town trilogy. Great noir/fantasy.

Benedict Patrick (benedictpatrick) | 12 comments I was a big fan. As others have mentioned above, I loved how quickly the characters were defined. Just like Justin, I also found the short chapters to be a bit difficult, especially in the middle of the story. The gathering of the crew and the final assault were top notch - I put the book down during the middle portion and found it hard to get back into for a few days.
So, who was your favourite character? Bonsoir was brilliant, but I have a fond spot for Barley. His first scene made me think of an alcoholic getting forced to drink, and although I loved the description of his action sequences later, I couldn't help but feel guilty as I read them.

Kiran | 8 comments This was my introduction to Polansky and I loved it. The animal characters were nicely varied in their temperaments (though some of it was over the top - Bonsoir's faux French act was overemphasized but maybe to drive home the point that it was an act and the Captain was a little too brooding but for a short story, it works quite well) . I did feel that the noir element was slightly overplayed but other than that, a good read. Reading this motivated me to try Polansky's "Low Town" series and I'm loving it so far.

Collin Voigt | 3 comments Loved Low Town, loved this! Wish Those Above was being sold in the US.

This was the first book in a long time, that when I finished it, I REALLY wanted to go back and read it again.

I also am putting in a request for the artistically talented to sketch out each of the characters and put it up on Deviantart or something. I would love to see some depictions of each of these.

Matthew | 21 comments @Collin You should look into the pictured book Jurassic London is selling. I preordered mine a few weeks back. The sketches look amazing.

Collin Voigt | 3 comments Yes and purchased!

Collin Voigt | 3 comments Thanks!

message 14: by Tom (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Wright | 33 comments I enjoyed reading this book for the most part. A hilarious stoat, an intimidating mouse, and a cold-eyed salamander. Great stuff.

But the end didn't do it for me. I wanted something more, but I can't say what that something is. I felt like the ending was a joke on me as the reader.

Looking back through y'all's comments, it doesn't look like anyone else felt this way, though. What were your thoughts on the ending?

Hebah (quietdissident) Definitely adding Low Town trilogy to Mt. TBR after this. It pulled off the heist-movie feel with animals, and I'm not sure I'd have picked it up on my own if it hadn't been a discussion pick. I did feel a little disoriented in the middle, trying to keep everyone straight, but once it was back to action, I sorted everyone back out again--not sure if the hiccup was me as a reader or the writing.

Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 140 comments Tom wrote: "What were your thoughts on the ending?."

I, too, was disappointed. I had so much fun with the build up and the introduction of the characters that I wanted some kind of satisfying conclusion and for me it kinda fell flat. Still glad I read it. And I enjoyed all but how it finished up. I just wish the ending would have lived up to all that came before.

Lanko | 16 comments Really enjoyed it. An opossum sniper, a salamander gunslinger, a Rambo badger and so on.

The Expendables with animals? I just wish the only enemies they fought for most of the book weren't the weakling rats. Instead of making the Company feel great for their prowess, it just felt the rat army was just too weak and dumb.
And the confrontation with the big guns could have packed some more punch, but it was still good.

message 18: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill | 5 comments I really enjoyed the end. It was great that they each had their own showdown after how they were introduced. I liked how they didn't get happy endings because it wasn't what they were there for.

Brittany | 8 comments I definitely encourage people who enjoyed this story and have only read this short by Polansky to read the Low Town series. it was introduced to me as urban fantasy and I was quickly hooked. Besides the story line I very much enjoy his writing.

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