"I read this book primarily because it is a classic from the days when the criterion for writing a novel wasn't controlled by the Master's of Fine Arts writing programs. Yeah, she breaks a lot of today's writing rules but she is unconscious of her mistakes and that made it a joy to read. My main complaint is that she is overly sentimental in her plot line and characters; however, the insights gained from how people 100 and more years ago thought about gender roles is fascinating. A mother's main goal of the time is to make sure that her head strong daughter marry for security and not for love. Dating relationships were decided upon by the parents and were to lead to marriage. I cringe to think who my parents would have married me off to! The ghost in the story seems more of an after thought even though it's role is highly important. It was also definitely refreshing in light of today's drama fest, back stabbing, and lack of integrity of characters on TV to experience people of integrity who do not betray secrets even when their future is compromised by those secrets."
"I loved this book. At first I thought it was chick lit which I hate but I realized it is about the spiritual evolution of a superficial cocktail waitress with a history of a mother unable to love and the alcoholic father who is destroyed by her mother. In reaction, she avoids loving anyone. She sees people able to love as weak. She has no deams and is only interested in the next snort of coke or man to screw. She comes to the Aleutian islands following a man. She doesn't love him but she needs him to help her define herself. She can't tolerate being alone by choice. She comes across the dark secret of 4 Aleutian women who are the decendants of 3 women who took control of their lives by breaking an Aleutian taboo of women hunting 250 years before. Breaking the taboo saves the lives of the children and villagers. These women continue the tradition by empowering their daughters with the secret even though the secret exacts a terrible price. Eventually, Brandy figures out their secret and that loving others isn't weakness. The secret empowers her to make her own decisions and makes choices about a future for herself without a man. The information about the culture and history of the Aleutians is fascinating.The characters are well drawn.I wish there were more books like this about women."
"I really wanted to like this book but it was so poorly written that it was difficult to get through. I loved "A Kiss Before The Apocolypse" and couldn't wait to read the next ones in the series. I love the idea of an idealistic angel disenchanted with the politics of heaven and the war with Lucifer Morningstar. Remy's relationships are over sentimentalized and over dramatized. I don't like writers to play with my feelings. I think enough information should be given so that the reader can make his own decision. It just seemed like Sniegoski wasn't sure how to write this book. the stroy line is very complex and would have been challenging to write. He wanted a compelling look into why Remy got disenchanted with heaven and chose to be human over being an angel. I was never convinced even though Remy seems convinced. The books ends as a cliffhanger of sorts. I have all ready bought the third book so I plan to read it. Any writer can have one bad book so I can forgive this one based on the excellence of the first. However, if the third disappoints me, it will mean the end of my affection for this series."
"I enjoy David Clement-Davies books for his unique use of animals and landscape to tell an interesting story. The plot, characters, and action have substance; they aren't mere machinations to make a larger point or simply entertain. There is also an underlying examination of using animals to examine different kinds of leadership and government. The events of the animals also intermingle with the history of mankind in an interesting way. I definitely recommend."
"After reading "Saint," I thought that I would enjoy this series. After reading the graphic novel "White" and scanning "Green," I decided that this series is not for me. It is too plot driven with too much energy put into making Christian connections instead of developing a character driven novel. I know it is a beloved series but I could not get into it."
"A long book that mostly kept me entertained waiting for something to happen with a few peaks of something happening that pretty much never made any sense. Yes, definitely weird with Tolkien and western influences. It's kind of like Mel Gibson in Road Warrior meets John Wayne in True Grit meets Final Destination or something like that. I bought the second one after I finished this one. I guess because I'm intrigued enough with The Gunslinger to see if something will happen in that one. It's either a work of genius or one of the worst books I've ever read. I'm not certain which yet."
"I found myself trying to get into the head of a writer with the goals of this one. I got disgusted with the series around #9 but had read some good reviews on The Harlequin. This is a book about sex magic and how the magic of sex draws together men with one woman. It is about the power of love between men and women. Hamilton uses quite a bit of energy to explain why free love with multiple partners is moral and nothing is morally wrong with the people who do it. She shows how all the boyfriends change and grow in positive ways. Nathaniel is growing up into a sensitive kind person albeit he is into sadomasochism. The questions is posed that if Anita can't fulfill him sexually does he have the right to break up with her to find fulfillment elsewhere even though they love each other? Even though she has multiple lovers, Anita is jealous at the thought of sharing him. She splits a lot of hairs over what a prude about sex and nudity she is when not controlled by the ardeur. To me the ardeur is simply a rationalization to have an orgy or sex with whoever you want. There's also the contention that without regular sex to "feed the ardeur" she and others will. How convenient. A lot of energy is used to rationalize why anyone(usually conservative Christians or the conservative vampire church) would condemn the moral behavior of others who freely have sex with many. Conservatives do not grow and change generally. Like Richard, they tend to stay stuck in a world of judgement and hate. She contends that people who are judgemental and object to multiple partner sex are hypocrites who don't understand the power of love and probably don't love themselves either. The only person in a monogamous relationship who isn't attacked as a hypocrite is Edward. Every other monogamous couple in the series are made into bad guys.I also think the fact that almost all the men fall in love with Anita is really stretching reality. I find Hamilton's tendency to do this makes this series more of a narcissistic fantasy. I don't think all the sex is immoral necessarily but in some ways,Richard seems like the voice of reason and sanity. True, he has other partners without love but he wants the woman he fell in love back. He wants to know who Anita is without Jean Claude. You know What? I'd like to know too! What if Richard and Edward were to kidnap Anita and have her deprogrammed from Juan Claude. The theory is she would die. What if vampire powers made her believe what isn't real? The hightlight of the book was Anita's reaction to Olaf the serial killer. I had a few loud laughs over it. That was the only part not spoiled by the constant emotional barrage over the morality of what Anita does sexually. I really don't care. I'd like to see less emotional conflict over what she's going to do anyhow and more action. Is there a plot? Kind of sort of. The Harlequin are out to bring down Anita and Juan Claude and the magical use of sex strengthens Anita's friends against the Harlequin and helps defeat them. It's definitely an innovative plotting device. I think that Laurell Hamilton is talented enough of a writer that she doesn't have to use sex to sell books; however, she's enough of an exhibitionist that having millions read her sexual fantasies flat does it for her. Maybe Anita(and LKH)need to be in sexual rehab along with other well known celebrities."
"I agree with what other reviewers say both negative and positive about this book; however, I loved it for several reasons. I fell in love with the characters and wanted/needed to know what happened to them. I enjoyed the in depth descriptions of Europe. Some parts of the story are heartbreaking but others are heart warming. It is about the best and worst of human beings through out history. I have read quite a few books about fictional vampires as well as the one by Bram Stokes. This is not a paranormal romance in the least. For one, it is written far better than most paranormal romances. While there are vampires, I disagree that it is a story about vampires. It seems to be more about relationships, scholarship, and how relationships create history. While the hsitorians in the novel aren't exactly like Indiana Jones, I did feel a similar sense of intellectual as well as real world adventure. Real world adventure often comes as the result of intellectual findings. There are also interesting comparisons between Christianity and Muslim religions. For example, what happened in Constantinople/Istanbul in the Crusades. There is also commentary on tolerance and compassion between people of different belief systems in order to fight a greater evil. Intense or frightening scenes are slow to build but are so beautifully done that I felt as if I was there. Sex and profanity is very minimal. The title "The Historian" is a paradox but I will not explain why. The history of Dracula's life and the mystery of his afterlife reads like a detective novel. My favorite part of the novel was the loving compassionate relationship between the father and the daughter. If their relationship had not been so lovingly drawn through conversation, letters, and travel, I probably would have put it aside. It still took me 3 months to read the book. Kostova uses letters, journals and maps to explain the past. Some of the best parts of the story is what she leaves unsaid for the reader to imagine. The book reminds me somewhat of Geraldine Brooks' "The People of the Book." I highly recommend "The Historian" however it does take a very patient mature reader who does not mind that the book doesn't come to its point quickly. I would love to see this book done as a movie."
"I tend to avoid literary fiction because they focus on beautiful poetic prose, vivid characterizations, an engaging plot, and an utterly depressing ending. All the strings hanging didn't bother me. That only means the author plans to add more details in future books with the same characters.Cassie Maddox may be the most fascinating female character I have ever read. Rob Ryan is brooding and self-absorbed in the tragedy that happened to him at age 12. A bit of a spoiler here but his narcissism about his past ruins not only everything that has meaning for him but other people and the case as well. That is what disgusted me with the book.I have about 20 pages left and I'm too ticked at Rob to read the full extent of how badly he screwed up. I work as a counselor so I think it reminded me too much of people I know. I read to escape not to be reminded of things that make me want to band my head against a wall. However, there is wonderful suggestive description in the background of a monster out of Irish myth and legend killing Rob's friends. There are other suggestions about what happened but I absolutely loved those dark mythic hints. Nothing is ever said directly and that is one thread left dangling that did not bother me. In fact I found it utterly compelling and that would lure me to read more about Cassie. I've had it with Rob who is in seriously need of a good therapist, 30 days in rehab and AA.French's descriptions of the psychological symptoms of PTSD such as psychic numbing and flashbacks are expertly done. She also understand psychopaths very well. Overall, Tana French is a writer to look out for. I would not be surprised if she also writes poetry."
"I have to agree with other reviewers about the hype surrounding the book and the so called magical moment of transcendence that never comes.I thought there would be a happy ending for this girl or some kind of hope. Even what little hope she has is from Sarah is flawed and idealistic. Sarah's well intended mistakes put Bee in danger. Bee has more sense about her predicament than educated person in the story. Cleave writes like the newspaper journalist that he is. He doesn't have a refined literary style of someone like Geraldine Brooks. The book has an obvious agenda of making people aware of what happens to villagers in Nigeria who have the misfortune of living where oil is found. The story is subjective. I dislike it when the author tries to make me think his way. It would have been better to have written from a more objective stance instead of using over sentamenalism to make the point. Be wary of some graphic scenes of violence: a village massacre, soldiers pursuing escapees with dogs, self mutilation, and two suicides. I didn't find the story funny at all. I was apalled at the extremeness of caucasion middle class insensitivity. I liked the voices of Little Bee and the girls from the detention center.I wanted to know what happened to them. While a little off, I did find their accents tolerable. Charlie's voice feels way off for a 4 year old--the grammar mistakes seemed too intentional and not like normal speech. I truly hope that women really don't act like Sarah. I hated her character.She was such a superficial airhead. She seemed too much like what a man thinks a woman thinks and acts. Mr. Cleave please go to a male voice. I think you would be far more convincing. Of course, the men are superficial and whiny. Little Bee is the only fully rounded out character that feels real. The rest are there to help create the story. I really can't recommend the book though I did grow as a writer by analyzing what he did right and wrong."
"I really liked this book. The protagonist Adelia is like Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta of the Dark Ages. She even studies decomposing corpses like Scarpetta on "The Body Farm." Ariana Franklin is intimate in her knowledge of the time period. I really enjoyed learning about the training of doctors in Salerno, Italy. I wasn't able to discern how much of this was historical fact other than Salerno did have the first university of medicine in the world. The concept of the kinds of trials and tribulations an intelligent individualistic woman with 21st century ideas about how women should be treated is also fascinating. I must admit that the romance in the book irked me more than it enhanced the story but at least she refuses to marry him--that redeemed the story line. I didn't like how Franklin dips in and out of different characters' thoughts and feelings. In the first chapter alone, she is first person on Adelia's thoughts but never goes 1st person again, goes to third person for King Henry II and Aaron of Lincoln, Gordinus the African, and Lord Mordicai's. I teach creative writing and to do such is considered poor form and discouraged; however, I understand why she did it. She was trying to give the reader enough information about the background, that s/he wouldnot become lost later on when the book begins in ernest. It also serves to build anticipation and curiosity about the story. Perhaps it is a habit that she picked up from being a journalist. She does a wonderful job on character and scene mood development. She artfully drops clues throughout about the murderer. I loved how she makes the murderer seem more like a supernatural mythic beast than a human being. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and recommend it highly if one can overlook a few eccentricities of the author."
"I guess my favorite thing about this series is Cal's sarcastic sense of humor about the people and events of the story line. Even though there is humor, it's dark and not stupid or silly and doesn't detract from the seriousness of the plotline. The characters are unique and very well written. I've read a lot of paranormal novels by female paranormal writers and after a while, sex takes away from the integrity of the story line. With Thurman, any hint of sex is discreet. There is action but it doesn't detract from plot development. Rob Thurman is one of the few writers who can still fool me. I can tell she has a formula and she likes bait and switch plots but I never figure out what exactly she is setting up. Most of all I enjoying reading about the bond of brotherly love between Cal and his brother Niko and how that bond sustains them throughout whatever happens to them. My only disappointment was that there seemed to be too much backstory. I know she usually takes 50 pages to set up the plot and this isn't unusual among writers. It's been a couple years since I read the first Nightlife so backstory was useful to a point. When I was still getting backstory after the mid point, I felt a tad impatient; however, I can overlook it for Cal and Niko and so should you!"
"This book is what I'd call a literary not commercial. It's not an action packed fast read. Some might consider it boring. I LOVED IT! The writing and characters are superb. The research into rare books and how they are preserved was fascinating. The history and lives of the people who influenced the book were well researched and fascinating. I wish that every one of the stories from the book's history could be done as a full novel. Rarely have I read short stories where the characters were so exceptionally full rounded. The stories of the people were so real, convincing and unique. I never realized how much the Jewish people have suffered; however, the novel doesn't oversentimentalize what happened and I think that was a good thing. Brooks allows the reader to come to her own conclusions. The conflict between the mother and daughter interesting and realistic. I have tried reading "The Year of Wonders" and "March" but I couldn't get too far because I got so turned off. Particularly March--he was so self righteous. In my honest opinion, this is her very best book. I do plan to revisit the others in case I didn't give them a fair chance. Brooks is an exceptional researcher and writer. I highly recommend this book."
"While I found the action of the book entertaining, the characters seemed flat, one dimensional,and melodramatic. If it had been written from a more objective viewpoint with more character development, the book would have been much better. Definitely a plot based book where the characters are created for the purpose of proving the point of the plot. The over all plot ties in with other books Dekker has written like Green, Black, Red, or White."
"Definitely, the third worst book I have ever read. If you know anything about novel writing and plot development, you can see where different plot devices are attempted in an amateurish way. I guess the only reason I read it was that it was so badly written that I found it entertaining and useful in learning what not to do. I hope with time Taylor has become a better writer. I think he has good intentions."
"This book reads very fast. It was a little slow getting started but the action was non stop after around 3 chapters. The story is in itself a paradox and at the end, the reader must decide what is really going on. While it isn't bloody and gory, some scenes are very intense and scarey. In comparison to other action novels, the profanity is minimal. After reading the book, I don't want to see the movie because I think it would be too much for me. I liked how the characters are drawn--enough to allow one come up with an image but not overly described. Information about the criminally insane made me want to google names to figure out how much was made up and how much was real. It also increased my curiosity as to how much human testing has been done on the mentally ill after WWII. I'm now reading one of Lehane's earlier books,"Mystic River." This one almost seems like a different writer because the style is so different. I do recommend Shutter Island."
"I really enjoyed this book as it was original in both characters and setting. At the thematic level, Clement-Davies is also using the plot to explore systems of leadership and government. i also loved the exploration of good and evil but the themes and plot development did not take away from the development of character. The Sight uses action to develop the plot and the action develops character instead of sacrificing it.I look forward to reading the next book."
"My hat is off to Truddi Chase for surviving the severe child abuse described in this book. How she managed to write such a convincing portrayal of so many unique personalities is in itself an achievement. She creates a personal mythology of her own internal world. She uses her personal created world to cope with the external world and support herself without being hospitalized.She was a very intelligent and strong woman. Truddi died in March of 2010 at the age of 75. What she wanted to show us through her story is how devastating and destructive child sexual abuse is on children. If one isn't convinced after reading this account then one can't have a heart. I would definitely caution those who've been sexually abused due to intensely triggering scenes. If you have been diagnised with dissociative identity disorder, her description of how multiple personality works in one woman's mind could give you insight and language to speak about your own condition. Sybil chose to integrate her 16 personalities but Truddi's the Troops decided against integration for very complex reasons. I recommend the book but the reading level is high, content difficult to understand at times, and some imagery very triggering. R.I.P. Truddi. You certainly deserve peace for all you lived through."
"In my review of the second book in this series, I stated that unless the 3rd book was better, I did not plan to read any more of Sniegoski's books. I was very pleasantly surprised by the improved quality in this story. I won't describe the plot because other reviewers have done a great job. While there was some predictability of the story, innovative plot twists surprised me and kept me interested. I main complaint is that Sniegoski tends to use too many adverbs and is overly sentimental in the story line. I find this very annoying, because I don't want the author's influence on whether or not I like a character. However, I overlook these habits because his stories aren't focused on sex like other writers in the urban paranomal fiction genre. It's a clean story that focuses on the action and character development. What a breath of fresh air! I suppose this means I'm open for another Remy Chandler book..."
"This particular edition includes a graphic novel. I read "Saint" before getting this novel because the graphics interested me. By the time I read it, scanned the novel, and scanned through "Green," I knew this series is not for me. Ted Dekker's books seem to be plot driven even though there is some character development that occurs as a result of the plot. In comparison to other scifi and fantasy series that I've read, these just seem shallow in comparison. I think that the author is trying too hard to maintain a Christian theme instead of allowing the story to grow and become its own. Sorry but I just cannot get into this series even though I know it has many fans."