I don't usually read mystery. Had I known going in that was going to be a mystery, I might have passed it over. I'm glad I didn't know. I enjoyed this mystery set in 1699 in which a colonial magistrate and his clerk preside over the trial of a woman accused of witchcraft including multiple cases of murder, perverted acts and arson. Edoardo Balleri gave voice to the characters wonderfully.
I have only one bone to pick -- and that is the use of sulfur matches, which didn't exist in 1699.
However, I'll forgive that anachronism, suspend disbelief, and enjoy fiction for the sake of fiction.
And now, on to"Queen of Bedlam."
This Sue Monk Kidd novel did not have the impact of her novel The Secret Lives of Bees for me, but it's a good read (or listen - I listened to the audio narrated by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye, who deliver a beautiful performance). This novel explores slavery and women's rights from two different perspectives - the daughter of a slave owning family who, herself, abhors slavery and has ambitions considered impossible for women, and a female slave gifted to her on her 11th birthday. The separate narratives are stitched together as wonderfully as the story quilt that is an element of the novel.
I pre-ordered this last installment of the Divergent Trilogy for my son so it would arrive on release date and also purchased it in audio for myself on release date. I made a point of getting ahead of my son in the story to prevent him from dropping spoilers, whether by intent or accident. I'm very glad that I "read ahead" of my son in this case. This is a YA read that explores some very adult (and heavy) concepts. I'm glad that I know what he'll be experiencing through literature very soon, as there are things that will be good for us to discuss.
I'll do my best to avoid spoilers as I expand on that.
Veronica Roth did a fantastic job of making us fall in love (and hate) with the inhabitants of her dystopian world in Divergent and Insurgent. First person narration gives us a very intimate understanding of the characters and their motives (and gave me a clue that filled me with dread throughout Allegiant).
In Allegiant, we travel along with those characters that we've come to love and hate as they confront some very adult concepts. Among those concepts are genetic modification, genocide, prejudice (even the 'benign' forms of prejudice - something akin to Affirmative Action), forgiveness, sacrifice, and living in a glass bowl with the oversight of a too-powerful centralized government. The difference between sacrifice and waste of life was explored in Insurgent. In Allegiant, that discussion is taken further.
This is a thought provoking read for young readers and adults alike. I predict this will be one of those novels that really "sticks" with a young reader. It packs an emotional punch. If your young reader is reading these novels, I especially recommend that you read these novels as well, so you can discuss the social issues explored with your young reader.
... but this just never got off the ground for me. The first chapter was good but then it got bogged down in names, places, religions - too much to slog through.
I've had the audio, narrated by Ruby Dee, in my Audible library for some time. I tried to listen to it before, but initially found the speed of speech and regional patois difficult to follow. I recently gave it another, and longer chance. I'm glad I did. This book is considered a classic for good reason. Ruby Dee's narration is full of feeling and a great match for this novel.
I was so very glad that the author avoided the middle-east religious quagmire that having Jewish & Arabian culture meet could have led to.
This novel is an original breath of fresh air, drawing together the folklore of different cultures, the history of immigrants in New York, and fantasy. Those strands were beautifully woven together and the narration by George Guidall was spot on.
I look forward to more works by Helen Wecker. What a debut!
I enjoyed the disjointed dream-like quality of the non-chronological telling of this tale and the way that it maintained the suspense. I thought I had it all figured out relatively early on, but I was mistaken. Then I was mistaken again. Then I was mistaken again. Well done, Kate Morton.
Narration, by Caroline Lee, was spot-on job for the genre and period.
This series is fun. I especially enjoyed the potty humor in this one. Yes, I'm a grown-up. I think that makes me enjoy it all the more. Excellent performance from Nathaniel Parker.
Follett delivers again - no surprise. Narration from John Lee is fantastic. I love his accents - all of them.
I have a strong emotional attachment to America's National Parks. I am fortunate to live near both Yellowstone and Glacier and visit one, the other, or both on average about once a month. I loved the documentary series, and I loved this book. I listened to it while on a solo trip to Yellowstone - kept it on my "unread" shelf until I could do so. Our National Parks are a great treasure and this book, like the documentary series, delivers the history of the parks, those who helped preserve them, and those who, like me and my family, love them. If you enjoyed the documentary series, you'll enjoy this book - and it won't be repetitious.
A twisted up journey to Narnia, er Fillory, er... Well, just find out for yourself. I do think having read C.S. Lewis should be a prerequisite, though.
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