Sterling, VA, United States | Member Since 2009
J.D. Robb tends to vary her approach to give us (and her characters) a chance for some "normal" life. While the premise is certainly riveting, it is more good solid police work than thrilling chases and risked necks in this outing. Love the characters, and loved the emphasis on Peabody and McNabb's relationship. I would call it a domestic cozy, but it isn't that limited. She throws in a major plot twist, that while it complicates the investigation, gives us to think.
This book is chilling in its presentation of the callousness in most of the third world toward women and by extension their children. These authors tell individual stories, apparently personally gathered, of women who have been caught up in sex trafficking, , maternal neglect, rape as an instrument of war, and the acceptance of domestic violence and violence as control of women. They weave these horrific stories with statistics and success stories - and a persistent drumbeat on how education can help to empower these women.
Unfortunately, they becomes repetitive in her insistence that everyone needs to spend a few months in the third world living with these problems, and at the same time, she derides the aid workers who flood in, live like kings, and do very little good because of lack of understanding of the local milieu. The end thus becomes much less interesting.
The reader however, does an excellent job, and I listened to her with pleasure.
All the principal characters are dealing with the limits of their powers, secular, magical, spiritual - as forces begin to gather that are shattering the mostly stable societies.
Natural mage power is reappearing among all levels of society, and some fear it as a return of the hated mage lords and others see it as possibly a gift of the Gods in preparation for defending against a threat from the South.
The elves are lost without the Elvenhome generated by the dead Elven Queen, and their half-elven King Kieri Phelan, is trying to keep his blended Kingdom safe.
The Southern Duke Immer is using mageery, likely blood magery, to compel a piece of the ancient magical regalia to enhance his power - and the crown of that regalia is continuing to pressure Dorian Duke and mage and adherent of the Good Gods, in whose blood magery tinted family it had long been confined, to assume it and do something unspecified. Its very presence is destabilizing one kingdom.
A human has become a Prince of Gnomes, a thief is becoming an agent of Gird, Dragon is obviously at work in the world, and Paksenarrion has just returned from what must have been a harrowing mission.
While I agree the reader may not be consistent with previous readings, I think she does a better job than the previous reader of distinguishing voices, and definitely found it a more pleasant listen.
Sarah kelling has always adored her generation older Cousin Alexander Kelling, so when her father dies when she's 19 and leaves Alex as her guardian, she happily marries him. But they are living with his tragically blind and deaf mother, using Sarah's income from her trust that expires when she's 27, whose funds go to Alexander if she dies, and though the house is one of Boston's distinguished old homes, they are living in shabby genteel poverty, recycling old clothes and doing their own DIY - or are they merely being thrifty aristocratic Boston Brahmins?.
But when a cantankerous older family member insists on being buried in the original historic family vault (instead of the modern cemetery on the outskirts of Boston next to his pre-deceased and despised wife), they find an unexpected resident - a notorious stripper Ruby Red -- and the Kelling secrets are about to come out.
Sarah is a bright, well-mannered young woman, happy to serve, but growing tired of the social demands of her heritage, the autocratic demands of her mother-in-law, and the financial demands of poverty when she's supposed to be part of a rich family. And when this shock starts to crack the family solidarity, she begins to search for the truth of how Ruby intersects with the family, but also the pattern of premature death. And trying to make her marriage a more equal one.
Well - written, with multiple humorous eccentric characters in the in-bred Kelling clan, and a complicated plot with a totally unexpected solution.
Tom Clancy's imagination has always had a tendency to find potential real problems and make an exciting story. If someone had paid attention to Executive Orders, we might have had a better system in place on 9/11 to protect the Federal buildings.
Now he has imagined the cyber threat in its full extent, reinforced by the enemy equivalent of Seal Team Six. Jack Ryan Sr, President is President and managing the crisis, but Jack Ryan, JR. is now doing the derring-do. But he has problems - his girl friend is being manipulated by the Enemy, the Enemy is aware of the super-secret organization for which he is both analyst and operative.
And the Enemy knows a hell of a lot, because it controls the WWW, has hacked into most of the essential systems of modern life - banking, power, water. II found it worrying IRL - but it makes for a great story!
Most of us know something of the Amish - that they try to live separate from the technological world, that they are pacifists, and maintain old crafts - that there is deep faith, but also a mandated conformity to the norms of the community, that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. A child is taken by his father, who had been banned from the community for wildness, and the Bishop is reluctant to do more than verify the child is OK - but lacking the resources, he asks two outsiders who understand the community to locate the child.
This story is complex, but the twists and turns are logical and "character-driven", based on the characters as shaped by the needs of the culture. The end is satisfying,
Ms. Carr deals with the issues of Native Americans in this one, not only Anglo vs Indian, but tribe vs tribe, in forging a life outside the reservation using traditional skills. Our hero and heroine, from different tribes, both have baggage from teenage wild oats, and have become more mature people, but the memories still haunt them - and in the case of our hero, an Anglo ex-wife doesn't want it to be all ex = while she's divorced him, she still wants him at her beck and call. And his considerable skill with horses.
Our old friends in Virgin River are somewhat peripheral to this one, but it's still a visit to a strong community and old friends.
Our heroine was stalked and attacked as an 11yo, and because of the stalker's family's influence, never felt safe as he was in a private - and very porous - mental institution. She lived with foster parents a long way away, and managed to become a highly competent physician, but now her stalker is on the loose. Then she witnesses a murder and it becomes obvious she is now a target for another reason. The FBI agent following his suspects not only wants her as a witness, he's as attracted to her as she is to him.
I like this heroine, who refuses to quit living. In spite of her constant anxiety, she cares for the people around her and does her best. Her sisters blame her for spoiling the family's life; her father and mother are worn to threads worrying about her.
The reader does a good job with regional accents and voice differentiation, reads with expression and authority. I found it hard to turn this one off to sleep.
It's worth the $5 - It deals with an area of crime not often mentioned, but the characters are engaging, honorable, and not the jaded, hard-boiled cops who reach for violence as their favorite tool. I would guess this is a first time effort, as the story is not terribly complex, which is appropriate for something this short, and some of the transitions are a little abrupt.
The reader is good though a little flat - they don't do a good job of editing, so somechapter headings overlap the end of the previous chapter, and there is no clear distinction as to placement sometimes, but this is not enough to seriously detract.
I found myself at the end hoping that the next part of this series would be out.
Paksenarrion has touched many people in her life since she joined Phelan's mercenaries, and few of them were left unchanged as her courage and faithfulness challenged them in their own lives. Things are changing in the world, as new ambition grabs at old history to justify it's course. And old evil re-emerges to destroy the current stability. Rulers are challenged to try to maintain the old stability in the face of these new challenges.
Well read, though occasionally some characters sound a little too similar.
Don't expect a resolution to this series, yet. The issues are too grave and the end is a true shocker. No country or race or sentient species is like to be untouched by these events. And the challenges to those whose responsibility it is to ward their peoples will be monumental.
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