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Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey, #1)
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2012 Archives > Feb 2012 Main: Silent in the Grave: Wrap Up? (SPOILERS)

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message 1: by Necrophidian (last edited Feb 28, 2012 07:07PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Necrophidian | 74 comments Okay, so. We've read the book, watched the video... time for a forum feedback thread? I hope it's okay for me to start it. The community aspect of this is a big part of what draws me in. Problem is, I can't really participate in the live chat (shakes fist at google+), so, for me, it's all about this forum.

Anywho...

Re: The book.

Things I liked:
- Julia Grey. I really, really liked the main character. The second chapter in particular very much endeared her to me, and I enjoyed her evolution throughout the course of the read. For me, Julia herself was definitely the high point of the book.

- The writing style. I was impressed with how Deanna Raybourn managed to use very concise, clean language to convey a period that would naturally promote the opposite from a writer. And she did it without breaking my immersion. I can't imagine that was easy to do.

Things I was on the fence about:
- Characterization. Aside from Julia, I found the characters to be "one note" personalities. In many instances, I liked that one note and I wanted to see more... but more never came.

Maybe wanting more was too much to ask from a book that sets the stage for a series? Maybe these characters get fleshed out as the larger story unfolds? But, taken alone, I'd say the characterization in SitG was weak. And disappointingly so, because I was intrigued by several of the fundamental concepts there.

- The Sight. The acceptance of it didn't strike me as odd, because I'm aware of how vogue spiritualism was in this period. However, watching the video made me realize this cultural dynamic wasn't properly illustrated in the book itself. To someone who's not a Victoriana geek, I can see how the lack of reaction would've been jarring. Why weren't the gypsies leveraged to convey this setting element more thoroughly? I really don't know. Missed opportunity there.

Things I didn't like:
- Nicholas Brisbane. When Veronica declared, "he's an asshole!" I was all like, "Yes! Thank you!"

But y'know what? I like a lot of fictional assholes. So there's more to my strong distaste for Brisbane than that...

Thing is, he's not just an asshole, he's abusive. A bully. Also, he's clearly a homage to Sherlock Holmes... but not a very good one. And if a character's gonna be a riff on my beloved Sherlock, he had best hit the right chords.

Brisbane did not hit those chords. As an "investigator" he was pants. I mean, really, he was on the Fail Boat to Loser Town there. By the story's midpoint, Watson would've had the whole mystery sussed out, let alone Holmes. Hell, I had it mostly put together by then. But Brisbane was still mucking about, concocting "roofies" (seriously?), and letting personal prejudices get in the way of his reasoning. Derp.

Sherlock's arrogance works because he's freakin' brilliant and almost always spot on. Brisbane didn't convey that brilliance or insight, so all his arrogance succeeded in getting from me was a 'get right over your bad self' reaction.

In short, by the end of the book, my opinion was: Julia could do so much better than this raging douchenozzle. That girl needs to get to Italy, like, now, and get her freak on.

- The March Family. I liked that Julia's family was so liberal. But I don't think there was enough fallout from it. Being so unconventional in a period that hyper-emphasized strict adherence to convention should've been more of an issue. Acceptance of eccentricity in aristocracy only goes so far. These people were outright subversives.

Upon reflection, I think another opportunity was missed here. Had there been more social blowback, the Marches could've been shown to be quite courageous. That, in turn, would've better supported Julia's gradual adoption of more enlightened views ( which, frankly, seemed to come a little too easy for her).

- Lack of romance. I didn't necessarily need "sexy times" per se, but this story was more fizzle than sizzle (my shizzle?) for me. Granted, Brisbane being an jerktastic asshat didn't help. But still. Nothing really happened, right? I'm not sure I'd even call this a romance novel.

Re: The Video
Well, I cracked up a few times. Really, really fun. My only nitpick is that I wish the book itself had been discussed more. But that's a nitpick.

I also gotta agree with Felicia about having authors on. If having them on would cause anyone to hold back, I'd rather they not be on. Watching the VFH quartet not holding back is one of the reasons I watch in the first place. I wouldn't want to see that damp--no, bad word. I wouldn't want to see that compromised. Yes, that's better.

So, that's me and my two shillings. Who's next? :D


Karo | 38 comments Well said. I agreed with Bonnie when she said in the hangout that it wasn't necessarily that there wasn't any sex, it's that there wasn't any sexual tension. I can get behind dragging a romance out -- in fact, I kind of prefer it in a series -- but there needs to be some good UST to keep me interested. (Ilona Andrews did this very well with the relationship between Kate Daniels and Curran, IMO.)


Virginia I think it would be awkward having authors on - I mean, I sometimes feel awkward posting a not great review if the author is on goodreads, I can't imagine how much MORE awkward this would be if the author was right there, looking at me.

re: The Sight - I was really unclear whether this was a supernatural paranormal talent, or Victoriana seance spiritualism. I never really got whether Brisbane was seeing the future in the way a tarot card reader would, or if he was really magic. Maybe this is explained in further books? (Anyone?)

I REALLY liked Julia. I really liked the slow development from her sheltered former life to who she is now. I think I liked her because she was more realistic - she was not gung-ho independent, which would have been weird given the setting. She was trying to be a normal counterpoint to her crazy family, which I TOTALLY understand. I liked that she was NOT a spitfire, that she thought about stuff a lot before taking action. I guess a lot of the qualities that made other people think she was boring were the ones that made me like her. (Not sure what this says about me...)

I thought Brisbane was a jerk. And a terrible investigator. ESPECIALLY if he is having revelatory visions all the time! Why does Julia have to help him out in this investigation and do so much legwork? I did not get any kind of spark between them - she just seemed kind of repressed, and he was not particularly nice to her. I liked her on her own as a character, him not so much, and not really them together. Although maybe this also changes in future books?

I definitely was picturing Lord Grantham from Downton Abbey as Julia's father the whole time. I thought it was weird how well connected they were - the queen was mentioned constantly - but how at the same time they were rejecting the social mores of the time. That was a little unbelievable.

I loved the writing style. It didn't get in the way of the story at all, which is the best. I am definitely going to read the rest of this series.


Necrophidian | 74 comments Virginia wrote: "I think it would be awkward having authors on - I mean, I sometimes feel awkward posting a not great review if the author is on goodreads, I can't imagine how much MORE awkward this would be if the author was right there, looking at me."

Yah, you make a really good point. I was worried about the effect a guest author might have on our hosts, but the audience could end up feeling awkward as well. And considering the racy content we could be getting into... that could get all sorts of weird.

I loved the writing style. It didn't get in the way of the story at all, which is the best. I am definitely going to read the rest of this series.

I'm right there with you about the writing and about Julia. But... yah. That's not enough for me. I'd have to know if Brisbane becomes more tolerable and if the supporting characters get developed some more before I'd jump deeper into the series.

So, if you're determined to read the other books, you can let me know? :)


Michele (nerdmichele) | 74 comments Future books (should be spoiler free):

Brisbane is still an insufferable prick at times, but you learn enough about him to understand some of the reasons why. Whether or not you think he is justified will be up to you.

Several Marches get fleshed out much more in the future books, although honestly I want more Aquinas time. Morag isn't developed much more, either. I may be strange in liking those two, but oh well.


Virginia Michele wrote: "Several Marches get fleshed out much more in the future books, although honestly I want more Aquinas time. Morag isn't developed much more, either. I may be strange in liking those two, but oh well. "

Oh no! That's a little disappointing. I really thought the stage was being set for Aquinas, Morag, etc to have a bigger part especially after so much time was spent establishing the backstory, searching their rooms, etc.


Louann (loulougirl) | 11 comments Well this book wasn't exactly my cup of tea. I'm glad I read it, it's something I wouldn't have picked on my own but I did (kind of) enjoy it (especially the second half).

Overall, I didn't feel very connected to the characters, and while I normally read very quickly, this one dragged for me. I also agree with Bonnie regarding the lack of sexual tension, not much romance at all. :(

I bought the 3 book bundle for my kindle, but right now I doubt I'll continue to read the next two.


Necrophidian | 74 comments Michele wrote: Several Marches get fleshed out much more in the future books, although honestly I want more Aquinas time. Morag isn't developed much more, either. I may be strange in liking those two, but oh well.

Well, they're both on my own list as well, so I guess we're both strange (not that that's anything new for me). ;)

Characters I wanted to see explored more: Morag, Portia & Jane, Aquinas, Mordecai. I liked Fleur as well, but I think she actually got sufficient attention for the first book.

And whatever happened to Beatrice?

Anyway, one plus I forgot to mention in my first post: I think SitG has one of the best opening lines, ever. ;)


Juliann (tea_lady) DJ Enigma - I couldn't agree with you more. You captured almost if not all of the thoughts I had about this book.


Michele (nerdmichele) | 74 comments Of all the March siblings, Portia gets the most attention overall. She's both interesting in her own right and an excellent foil to Julia.


Ariadne (ariadnemm) | 17 comments DJ Enigma wrote: "Okay, so. We've read the book, watched the video... time for a forum feedback thread? I hope it's okay for me to start it. The community aspect of this is a big part of what draws me in. Problem is..."

Yes, I think your analysis is pretty complete and accurate. Good points: the writing style, a growing main character and of course the investigative storyline.

But some things in the story got me a little suspicious, and sometimes it was hard to accept. Like, her relationship with Edward.. it seemed she nearly had any contact with him, and actually Julia says that she didn't know him at all in the end. But, I don't know, I couldn't believe she didn't have a bit of suspicion of his behavior.

And, please enlighten me, that scene with Julia and Brisbane by the tree: was it like a harsh or somewhat violent kiss that made her lips bleed? Later on she says she tries to conceal the mark... it was weird, there wasn't an explanation on that.

I felt that things were left to the reader's imagination. I like that, but maybe it was too much.

Overall, a nice, fast and pleasant reading! I'm a fan of the Sherlock series, so this book brought me good memories.


message 12: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Thank you for starting the post DJ! I definitely am interested to hear how people think about next month's book in contrast to the more classical form of this one, have a feeling that staying heavy into genre will be a better choice for us :)


message 13: by David (new)

David In regard to having authors on; perhaps, a pre-recorded interview or maybe better would be a post-recorded interview giving the author a chance to rebutt or comment on what was said on the show. Possibly answering some of the questions that were brought up in the conversation like "visualizing celeberties as their characters in the book", etc.
Only, though, if one is available as this author may have been.

In regard to the book, I am hoping that Slave to Sensation is a much, um, faster read, and so far I am feeling better about it starting the first chapter today. That is about as nice as I can comment about Silent in the Grave. Didn't hate it, but didn't finish it neither.

DJ


message 14: by Jane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane Higginson | 180 comments I have just finished silent in the grave and thoroughly enjoyed it, it was my first dip into the vaginal fantasy genre and I guess into romance novels ive always avoided them thinking of mills and boon books as romance novels and shuddering.
I love the time period that the book is set in and I love that its a murder mystery/romance book as i love me a murder mystery.
I really really liked Julia as a character, I loved how she slowly began to change after her husbands death, she looked around the house and realised it was all edwards personality and none of hers though she felt like she'd lost a lot of her won personality for one because of her strange family but also because of edward. At times Julia frustrated me, her innocence and naivety especially during the investigation of edwards death, when she hadnt seen what i thought were blatantly obvious things and she'd put her foot in it in certain situations i was frustrated with her.
I liked seeing the changes in Julia, her clothing and her attitudes, I admired the authors attention to detail and her descriptions of what things were proper and expected of a lady like Julia and that in the end Julia in a way said screw peoples expectations and opinions I will do as I see fit, like for example pursuing a friendship with fleur.
Brisbane, I agree with felicia he was smouldery, I also agree with veronica that he was somewhat of an asshole! But he intrigued me and I loved his actions right at the end of the book when he gave Julia his medusa pendant with the words for where tho art there is the world itself big aww moment and i finished the book with a smile on my face!
I would definitley read more in the series It was definitley my cup of tea and I would like to see how Julia and brisbanes relationship progresses.


message 15: by Jane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane Higginson | 180 comments oh and re the video, best epsiode yet! I laughed loads so much fun banter and teasing going on loved it :)


message 16: by Jane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane Higginson | 180 comments Michele wrote: "Future books (should be spoiler free):

Brisbane is still an insufferable prick at times, but you learn enough about him to understand some of the reasons why. Whether or not you think he is justif..."

I wanted more on acquinas and morag too, I thought they were great characters who could be explored more,it seems they are not going to be thats such a shame :(


Miss Katiebelle | 7 comments PS after totally ripping on the book for not having sexy bits before the hangout I have now read all five.


message 18: by Bookoisseur (new)

Bookoisseur Katie wrote: "PS after totally ripping on the book for not having sexy bits before the hangout I have now read all five."

Oh this is soooo the kind of thing I would do! :)


Shannon | 1 comments I really liked this book. So much so I read the first 3. Not a lot of sexy, but somehow I didn't mind... I can sympathize with the idea that Brisbane was an asshole, but he surprised me at times, and stayed true to his character. It was something I could appreciate. Not to mention Julia herself, I'm so impressed with who she is... her family, their dynamics, the mysteries themselves. Loved the entire ride, would recommend for sure to anyone.


Sandra (whatlovelybooks) | 0 comments I really liked this book! Even though it was all bodice and no ripping.

I liked the mystery of who the killer could be. Julia's transformation througout the book. I agree that Brisban was a macho dickhead most of the time and even the one kiss they shared sounded awful.

I would read the rest of the series though to learn more about Julia's family.


message 21: by Sarah (last edited Jul 02, 2017 05:37AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sarah P | 31 comments I'm about a quarter in (June was crazy and I'm so behind in my reads) and I really enjouy it for now. Being a mystery novel it's very different from what we usually read here I think, and it's a nice change of genre! I'm not reading too many other comments because I don't want to spoil anything, but yeah for the re-reads! Once again I prefer this one and the ALT to the main pick this month.

UPDATE: So I'm finally done! I really liked it, even though I found it a bit long at times. I think the author could have cut some things out that didn't seem to bring anything to the mystery (like the raven thing). Julia's development is very interesting and you can see that she's forcing herself to get out of her comfort zone. The relationship with Brisbane is kind of boring in this first book, but I can forgive that! And, finally, it was just nice to read a mystery set at this epoch, without the supernatural or steampunk theme. A nice change!


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