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  #1501  
Old May 17th, 2015, 5:26 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

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Originally Posted by MrSleepyHead View Post
My last couple of (audio) books were A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords by G. R. R. Martin. Like the first book, I give them each 7s. I think they're fun reads with an engaging world, but the lack of narrative arc in each book gets a little trying: I've yet to figure out why I'm reading this story. The books are clearly building and leading up to something, but the lack of objective or resolution makes it more akin to reading a historical chronicle than a fictional book. I don't think there's anything wrong with that - it makes A Song of Ice and Fire quite distinct - but it results in a feeling that I'm missing something while reading. And while Martin writes with rich detail and imagery, it all seems to fall flat for me: the world has yet to come alive for me.
I felt the same in regards to A Storm of Swords too. It feels overly wordy. That's the best I can come up with in regards to it.


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  #1502  
Old May 19th, 2015, 9:15 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

La Dame aux Camélias, by Alexandre Dumas, fils - 5.5/10

The storytelling is correct (nothing comparable to Dumas Sr. however), but the moral and social reflections are quite pedantic and the way he stresses the pathetic elements is a bit overdone.


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  #1503  
Old May 28th, 2015, 10:09 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Life, the Universe and Everything, by Douglas Adams - 6/10

Weird, I was reading this and thinking hey, this sounds like Dr. Who writers have got some inispiration here (the Krikkit robots reminded quite a lot of the Daleks; the time lock around both Galllifrey and Krikkit). Then I find out Adams meant the story to go into the Dr. Who series.

Perhaps I liked more The Restaurant at the End of the World (there was more Marvin to enjoy), but Adams's skill for paradoxes, absurd humour and preposterous plot twists is incredible. In any case, an excellent way to celebrate Towel Day.


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  #1504  
Old July 2nd, 2015, 6:25 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoi - 9/10

OK, it's dense, incredibly long, the author's reflections about History, battles and Napoleon are repetitive and sometimes pedantic, and some of the characters (special mention to Andrei Bolkonski and Pierre Bezhukhov) just think too much. But it is intense, complex, absorbing, three-dimensional and passionate. A monument.

Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith - 6/10

Good thriller, a little too efectist and a little far-fetched in the solution, but very effective. It takes about 100 in 350 pages to really get into the core of the story and the murder investigation, which usually is the centre of the plot, happens almost in the background, with the author paying more attention to the main character's moral collapse and rebuilding. The way of showing the clues is quite cheaty: he simply hides crucial information and then drops the bomb; the reader will always be surprised, but it also makes you feel ill-treated because you never have had the tools to figure things out on your way. Anyway, it's a real page-turner.

Update from july 29th with the rest of this month's readings (I definitely spend too much time in public transportation):

A Caribbean Mystery, by Agatha Christie: 6/10

Miss Marple on holidays. It's hilarious just to think of her on the beach

The Circular Staircase, by Mary Roberts Rinehart: 6.5/10

Mystery, murder, humour, even a little ghost-hunting, and the greatest rate of plot twist per page I have ever seen. Very enjoyable.

Trafalgar, by Benito Pérez Galdós: 7/10

First of the National Episodes, as part of a larger work it feels a little heavy for a first chapter; as an independent book, it lacks a little closure. Galdós's command of language and the excellent dosage of humour and dramatism atone most of the flaws.

Maximilien Heller, by Henry Cauvain: 6.5/10

A very pleasant surprise. It could look like a French version of Sherlock Holmes... only this was written several years earlier. Pity Mr. Cauvain didn't write more stories about this character (at least I haven't dound them).

Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich, by Joachim Fest: 8.5/10

Tough, distressing and certainly depressing, but an excellent reading.

La Femme au Collier de Velours, by Alexandre Dumas: 5.5/10

When the woman in the velvet necklace finally appears, it's very fine; after all, it's Dumas. The problem is that it takes her 80 in 135 pages to appear... and the those first 80 tell a very different, not hal so entertaining story. Anyway, it was funny to recognize part of the plot of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffman.

Letter from an Unknown Woman, by Stephan Zweig: 9/10

Extraordinary


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  #1505  
Old August 21st, 2015, 5:58 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Just finished the Divergent series by Veronica Roth (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection). Based purely on how involved and affected by the series I feel, I would give it all together an 8/10. But this is a rating very much on a premise that almost defies logic to me: Roth succeeded in making me care about, feel for, and miss the characters after finishing the books, and to me that's a mark of a good series. I did not want to leave the world, so she had to be doing something right. That said, if I were to join a CoS Forums for Divergent, I could spend hundreds of posts describing how inadequate the series was from a world-building, consistent, plot-centric, artistic and even character development point of view. But the premise and characters captured my interest and heart enough to allow me to really enjoy the series (surprisingly! ).

I did, not so recently, finish A River Runs Through It - Norman Maclean and Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury. Both great classics, a 10 for Maclean (how he captures nature, peace, and brotherhood - indescribable) and 8 for Bradbury. Before those, I finished off Robert Galbraith's two books, and though not quite my style of book, I enjoyed them greatly - 8's apiece! Now on to one that's been on my shelf for quite some time: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, spurred into reading by an attempt to beat the film and thoughts of at least section hiking the AT.


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  #1506  
Old September 4th, 2015, 4:07 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

10/10 The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
I'm actually really surprised at how good this book turned out to be, I was apprehensive at first simply because I don't tend to read best-sellers. This book definitely had me second-guessing who I thought the killer was, but was able to figure out who it was at one particular clue in the story. It definitely had me intrigued with how all the characters interrelated and how the sequence of events eventually turned out. (less)


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  #1507  
Old September 18th, 2015, 4:14 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

10/10 Night Shift - Stephen King
Not entirely as frightening as I recall the first, but still good.


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  #1508  
Old September 25th, 2015, 4:02 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

6.5/10: Graceling - Kristin Cashore

I enjoyed this book as entertainment with a few good characters. The world and plot lacked depth, but the three main characters and their chemistry compensated enough for me to enjoy it. The premise of "graces" is neat, but I don't think Cashore really delved deeply into the social component or reality of such a dynamic in her world - which is okay when I see the book for what it is, a bit of a one-shot about a select group of characters and relatively minor (or, at least, narrow) conflict.

I'm on a bit of a young adult kick looking at what I've missed over the past few years, and Having recently finished The Maze Runner (James Dashner, 5.5/10) and re-read The Giver (Lois Lowry, 6/10), it seems that many of the popular YA stories have the same basic structure, protagonists, conflicts, setting, etc. (much like modern country music songs! ). I'm sure if I dig deeper I may hit upon something, but I've yet to really hit on a truly well-written and imagined world akin to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones (understanding not all these may be considered YA). Any suggestions would be great! I may follow up reading the remaining books in the Graceling Realm, but reading more as I would casually watch a mildly interesting television show.


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  #1509  
Old October 1st, 2015, 3:19 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

The Torso by Helene Tursten - 4/5 - a very good thriller that kept me reading, with a richly built setting, intriguing mystery and memorable characters. And you could tell it was written by a woman because there was a fair number of female characters, not just the victim and the love interest.


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  #1510  
Old October 14th, 2015, 8:00 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - 5/5, review here.


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  #1511  
Old November 18th, 2015, 2:45 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

6/10 The Stand - Stephen King


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  #1512  
Old November 25th, 2015, 3:59 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

7/10 Career of Evil - Robert Goailbreath


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  #1513  
Old December 5th, 2015, 7:56 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, 3/5, here's my review. Spoilers are hidden, so it's ok to click.


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  #1514  
Old December 10th, 2015, 12:33 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

After hearing that the urban fantasy Iron Druid series was as good as the Dresden Files I figured I'd read that first book "Hounded" and see for myself.
Even when comparing Butcher's first book, which seemed pretty formulaic, it doesn't even come close.

The characterization of the hero (Atticus O'Sullivan aka. Siodhachan O Suileabhain) is superficial. He's supposed to be a 2,100 year old druid. That in itself could be a problem for a writer. I had expectations of a sort that lend some logical steps to how he adjusted throughout the years and keeping his zest for life after seeing people he may have come close to die around him...etc.

We don't see any of that. We get intro'd to some trendy dude who has long adjusted to the American way of life..no flashbacks; though he does tend to mention past events that I suppose we're amusing (not very)

As a druid he seems more of a D&D druid rather than from some ancient priesthood (or whatever). He can shapeshift (four different forms. Pretty much for utility than anything else) He can draw strength from the earth (needs to be barefoot) And he wields a sword. (He can make that invisible) He does have a dog that he talks to (he talks back...)

And he regularly pals around with a bunch of gods that may have power but not so much intelligence, at least about current events. They are written with little depth. (And Thor is supposed to be a real a-hole. Don't know why)

Supporting cast is written as shallow as the gods were written.
And I am flabbergasted at how little thought was written in the reactions from vanilla mortals when they are presented with some of the crazy stuff that gets thrown at them.

I won't be reading the rest of the series. This was just bad. And anyone comparing this to the Dresden Files, and think that this...stuff is just as good?...


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  #1515  
Old December 22nd, 2015, 6:25 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Desperation -- Stephen King -- 7/10

Just finished reading this. It was pretty good. Worth the the read.


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  #1516  
Old December 23rd, 2015, 5:52 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin - 3/5. Review here


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  #1517  
Old January 2nd, 2016, 1:54 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

5/10 The Dead Zone - Stephen King
Eh...this book wasn't as great as some of his others, didn't have much of an impact on me.


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  #1518  
Old January 6th, 2016, 11:14 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Tess of the d'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy, 4/10

I found the book pedantic and too keen on the pathetic side of things; and I'm a fan of Victorian novels. Not my cup of tea.


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  #1519  
Old January 8th, 2016, 2:51 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

3/10 Me Before You - Jojo Moyes


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  #1520  
Old February 4th, 2016, 10:24 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Star Wars - The Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster - 1/10

If you have watched the movie, save time and don't try it. The only extra information you'll find is
Spoiler: show
what Poe Dameron did right after the TIE fighter crash. Not even how he got out of Jakku or reached the Resistance in time to join the attack on Maz Kanata's planet.


If you're looking for deeper character or plot development... Really, don't waste time.


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