i really did not like this book....but i stuck it out to the end just to see if it would live up to the rave reviews of everyone i know. for me, it didn't.
it's hard to explain, but i felt like this book was so long and so wordy...but actually said nothing. i think it tried to tell so much, over so much time, that it couldn't really delve into any one moment in the story or into any real details about the characters so that the reader could dig in and get involved. the whole time i read this, i felt like i was floating above the story...and watching it happen in such a cursory way...but i was never able to get inside the story, experiencing it, feeling it, caring about it.
the other big flaw that i found with the novel is that i did not believe in the tragic "love story" that was supposed to be the center of this book. it didn't seem like there was real urgency or emotion or any type of drive to compel the reader to root for these two to finally get together. neither one of these two (Enza or Ciro) were all that likeable. i guess Enza had more redeeming qualities than Ciro...but i didn't really care about either one of them. and i certainly had no investment in their relationship. i felt like there was this big lead up to them finally getting together, but honestly, i didn't care if they did or not.
I needed this book right now. The perfect story of a young woman rising through the ranks of television stardom in England during the 60's. Loved the references to the music and stars of that era. Loved Sophie Straw and her crew of crazy friends and colleagues. Loved the perfect balance of humor and poignancy and disfunction.
It was a simple story told well right when I needed it most.
** spoiler alert ** I have had a hard time determining how to review this book. In some ways I enjoyed it. It did bring me to tears more than once while I was listening to it. But that being said, it also had me comparing it to other books of this genre and in some comparisons it does not live up.
I think the entire story of the "present day" 90's narrator was unneeded and ended up being really tedious and annoying. That should have been edited out and let this story just be about ww2 and the brave women who fought in their own ways.
The romance side is the stories also bothered me. For different reasons. Perhaps I would not have minded Vianne's so much if they didn't have Isabelle so mired in her infatuation. But I am not a romance story person. So maybe other readers wanted that type of break from the war story. I don't know.
Either way. I think the story was well written and we definitely got a good amount of character development throughout. The tragedy of the war is well documented here. The strength of what the women "back home" in France had to endure as well as how they each chose to fight their own private (or not so private, but secret) battles was well written.
I much preferred City of Women over this book, so I would recommend that one (and probably a few others) before this one. it just wasn't great.
This book was exciting. And then it got a bit convoluted. And then it got exciting again. And then it ended.
It was my first Scalzi novel but definitely not my last. The premise was unique and well conceived. The characters were developed well. It was thrilling and smart.
I am definitely going to check out some more of Scalzis books.
i wanted to rate this book higher, and i thought i would when it started...but as i slogged through it, i started to get really annoyed by all the Henry's and their mysteries and obsessions and complaining and got especially frustrated by their time travel and/or psychotic breaks.
i think the real problem with this story is that it relied so heavily on the ever present question is Henry insane or is he a time traveler that it never took the tie to give any of the characters depth or personality or likability or really anything to make a person want to read about them. the idea was there, but the execution was lacking. i got bored hearing multiple Henry's complaining about what they've lost. I got bored hearing Gabe talk about the music. I for bored with Val, period. She was one of the worst written female characters I've read in my life.
At first I thought the book could benefit from some heavy editing...then I realized that with the editing that would be needed to save this story, the book would be 4 chapters or so...oh well.
I was amazed how captivating this story was. It took me completely by surprise how invested I was in the story. I think this is a must read for anyone who likes post apocalyptic novels. This one over delivers in a good way. I was engaged until the very last word.
Cryptic review because I don't want to give anything away, just read it!
loved this dissection of an American family in the aftermath of a tragedy and how each member copes (or doesn't) with it.
i think the characters were so strong...it was like i was living this story through them. i knew how each of them thought, felt, existed.
the way Johnston handled the thought provoking experience of losing (and finding) a child was really expertly done. i couldn't stop the story from running in my head -- and i expect to continue to think about it for a while.
i was surprised and extremely impressed with how this novel ended...really really liked it
i love how this novel jumped back in time to four generations of inhabitants of the hundred-year house. starting in the "now" and going back with so many secrets intertwining all three generations. every section answers questions, gives you more questions, and wraps you up in the secrets and lies and intensity of the house.
i loved the character development, even in the shortest sections -- i loved the interactions between the artists, the owners, the caretakers and the house itself. the house was the main character (obviously) and held all the secrets in its walls and under it's soil and in every part of it.
would read again.
ok. spent some time thinking about this book...and maybe the fact that I couldn't decide how to review it should make me give it a higher review..but i don't know, i just can't.
while the book is beautifully written...i just felt something was incomplete in the story. it is a very slow build and nothing in particular made me want to keep reading (though i did, to the end, so maybe it's sadness made me want to know how it ends). i guess i just felt like while there was some worthwhile prose and some interesting commentary on grief and how people handle it....but i'm not sure the book as a whole felt complete and i don't think i would recommend it to anyone.
i like the way Beukes writes. one of the better writers in this type of crossover genre that i've read.
this book in particular is extremely graphic and thrilling and very well done. all of the narrators are great...well thought out and have unique and exciting voices. i loved layla the best...but was also quite interested in TK's path in the story.
Really well written book. It made me sad to read, but kept me fascinated with the magic and history and characters. It's a book about secrets and more secrets. And as each of the secrets came to be revealed more and more trouble fell upon the characters. I truly didn't want the story to end...I could have followed these characters infinitely.
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