This is by the author of _The Big Heat_ (also recommended), which will give you an idea what to expect.
This hard-boiled detective story is a fun example of the type. The 15-second sax intro sets the mood. It has all the ingredients: post-prohibition crime bosses, an Irish immigrant cop back from WWII, and hard-edged fight scenes. A handful of minor but clearly-delineated characters help the action move along.
This book, unlike the Big Heat, has an element of philosophical soul-searching as the crooked cop searches for an alternate path. It's sort of a Frank Capra Noir, if you can imagine that, but our protagonist is no Jack Friday. The noir elements predominate, and this was a fun ride down a dark Philadelphia street circa 1950.
I know I love a book when minor quibbles with it drive me crazy. I love the world of Sitia and Ixia, and revisiting these characters is like catching up with dear friends. Familiar characters return and a few new ones made me fall in love with them, too. The large cast (but not Dune large) is juggled with finesse. I was worried about not remembering enough of book 2, but the author does a fine job of seeding reminders in the early chapters. My quibbles are with the final 1/4 of the book, which I found disturbing, even though I don't think of myself as squeamish. This section strained a bit under a number of plot complications, but to my relief everything seemed to be wrapped up with a satisfying conclusion. I thought the narration was fine.
Overall, after the first few hours, I couldn't bear to put Spy Glass down. I found the Glass trilogy to be time well spent. Especially recommended to lovers of fantasies with complex characters.
If you loved Poison Study and Magic Study, you'll be happy to know Fire Study lives up to the first two! I inhaled this in two long sessions over the weekend. The characters I loved in the first books are still engrossing, their world is still fascinating, and Valek is still delectable.
This book is a little more like MS than PS, since it takes place mostly in Sitia. Yelena learns more about magic and her abilities while continuing to grow into herself. I don't want to give anything away-- but all my favourite characters were back (including ones I love to hate, like Roze).
I strongly recommend this series, especially if you like fantasy. If you liked the others, you'll like this one, too.
Did I mention Valek was still delectable? :)
I really wanted to like this. Fred's story, in Cambridge, is full of charm, sensitivity, and an appreciation of the sheer intellectual excitement of early 20th C. physics-- frustratingly just beyond the reach of a very junior don. Fred is earnest, hopeful, and eager to embrace life, which he finds full of unexpected challenges.
Daisy's story, on the other hand, falls flat. She's an unappealing character with a predictable life, and she faces her own challenges (poverty, class and gender inequality, no education) with absolutely nothing that surprised, informed, or enriched my own life. Bah! What a dud.
Fred's charming (and better-written) half of the story rates a 4, but wasn't enough to salvage the other half for me. I'll average them out to a 3. The narration was good. Don't expect too much of or be initmidated by the references to physics-- they're all fairly vague and innocuous, more of an atmospheric touch than anything else. Chaos theory, of course, is anachronistic for early 20th C. :-)
On the plus side, the reader was fun. There were few grammatical mistakes and the plot was coherent.
However, the story was absurd, and the book seems to have been written by a tag team. I suggest you give this one a pass if you believe that no book needs the sentence, "An arrow of heat landed in his groin," once, let alone twice. :)
I suggest instead the Linda Howard _Mackenzie_ books.
I'd give this 3.5 stars. The reader is very good, 4 stars.
The trouble with this book is the unevenness between the past and the present storylines. If you stick with it, eventually you learn to care about Alice (the central character in the present). The book has a pretty slow pace, but the last four hours are engrossing! I feel the end makes up for the problems of the beginning (and, yes, middle). If you are on the fence like I was about this one, I urge you to give it a try.
The historical period covered is one I knew nothing about (a crusade in the 13th C. against the south of France!). The inclusion of some French and some Occitan words was not a distraction for me. Now that I've finished the book, I've learned there are websites with extra materials (maps and further reading). D-oh! Maybe that info will be useful to other readers.
Well . . . this is well-read and the author uses complete sentences.
Otherwise, this was very disappointing. After the intro (which you can hear in the sample), the author goes on to describe how all ancient cultures perceived something which can be described as an aura. She talks about how western culture has lost this knowledge. She claims that if you don't balance your chakras, you will develop cancer and/or heart disease.
Then she discusses each chakra very briefly, spending a little extra time on the first and fourth. The "meditation," if that is what it is meant to be, consists of saying, "Visualize the red energy centered at the base of the spine. Feel that red energy in every cell of your body. Once you have, let it go. Now visualize the orange energy at your waist," and so on.
Finally the author suggests that you imagine seven distinct personalities, each with the viewpoint of one of the chakras, and consult each of the seven whenever you have a problem.
If you are interested in meditation, I recommend instead Ken Cohen's _The Power of Qi_ available at Audible. It is not chakra-oriented, but it has three distinct meditations.
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