I have enjoyed most of Trollope's books, but his sense of humor truly shines through in this book. The characters in this book demonstrate how easy it is for people to misunderstand each other and reveals all of the pain and joy of passing from the awkward stage of a young adult into adulthood along with all of the bad choices that can be made along the way. The painful emergence of John Eames from what Trollope calls his "hobbledehoyhood" is beautifully depicted.
I just couldn't get into this book. I read almost half of it and kept wishing that I was at the end. I loved her other book--The Monsters of Templeton--but the subject of the book, a hippy commune, just didn't keep me interested. And the very small boy who is the main character kept making me think of Owen Meany. So I set this book aside.
This book was fascinating in many ways. First, I don't know much about the lives of the pioneers who settled Alaska and this was a beautiful description of what it must have been like. Second, the integration of a Russian fairy tale about a elderly couple and snow child into this stark, harsh world was incredibly appealing. It made the short, dark days and depression of the main character open up. Through out the book, the author seems to want the reader to decide for themselves if the snow child is really a child formed from a snow figure built by the couple or if she is an orphaned little girl with uncanny powers.
The telling takes you on an interior journey of the main character as well as a journey through the stunning Alaskan seasons. I know what I think about the snow child . . . but you have to decide for yourself.
Flavia de Luce is simply irresistible and I think that this may be my favorite of the series. She is at her 11 year old scientific best solving a complex mystery of her church organist's murder. My one complaint about the book is that it ends with a cliff hanger that will have me waiting on the edge of my seat until Mr. Bradley can write the next book. I hope he's hard at work.
I definitely felt as if I was in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing and where they were going and I was happy to be along for the ride. A great re-imagining of the wild west, mixing in mythology, and making a world that felt like a combination of the U.S. west while being settled and Australia. John Creedmoore may not have been a nice man but he certainly was an interesting one. Serving a power that he both craves and despises we follow him on a journey to the very edges of the made world along with Liv, a sheltered psychology professor who has come out west seeking, well, seeking herself and a way to heal.
if you are looking for something different--a story that feels both completely unfamiliar and familiar, that you can't predict where it is headed--then I'd recommend "The Half-Made World."
I didn't love this book as much as the first one, Half-Made World, but I liked seeing things from the perspective of a very different character. Harry Ransom is a hapless hero for whom nothing really works out as he plans, except that he has invented this incredible apparatus over which everyone wants control. He spends the majority of the book keeping it out of the hands of both the Line and the Gun and in the end, well, in the end you have to decide for yourself if he achieves his ultimate goal.
I enjoyed being re-immersed in this world but I missed the perspective of the characters in alignment with the great powers as those powers crumbled.
There are so many things about this book that I loved, I'm not sure I can even remember them all. I think what I found most helpful is Patricia McConnell's thoughtful and interesting progression through different emotions, similarities in how those emotions are expressed between humans and dogs, and how to better read and understand what your dog may be feeling in different situations. She gave excellent examples from her own work with fearful and aggressive dogs as well as examples of well socialized dogs dealing with unfamiliar situations. She did an excellent job of describing the deep connection that occurs between humans and dogs and exploring some of the foundations for that connection.
This is a book that I'm sure I'll read again because it had so much information in it that I felt I couldn't digest it all. I bookmarked many different places that I wanted to return to and to remember.
If you are an animal lover or interested in the connection between humans and other species, this is a great book to explore.
I loved this book--not everything about it but overall. I loved the relationship between Hig and Jasper most of all. the comfort and companionship across species in a world where human society has disintegrated. the author never even describes Jasper except to say, at one point, that he has short fur and he was a mix, but he doesn't hazard a guess at the breeds. So I imagined Jasper as a hound retriever mix with a sweet and concerned face. I also came to love the relationship between Hig and his ornery and often kind of awful partner in survival, Bangley. Very aptly named with his love of fire arms and explosives. I found the story interesting and engaging. I don't want to give away too much of the plot because discovering it is part of the pleasure.
The one thing I didn't find realistic was how Jasper was fed. I felt the author went for shock value when there seemed many unexplained missing options for how Jasper could be maintained.
The reader was great. In my mind he sounded how Hig would sound and did a good job with the voices of other characters as well.
This book brought up a lot of really interesting ideas about resources and the value of things if there was an infinite amount of resources. What would be valuable then? I liked the main character, Joshua, a lot. As for the spirit of the ancient Tibetan who had transfered into circuitry . . . well, I'm not sure what I thought. He was alternately irritating and likeable but made for an interesting foil against Joshua and, eventually, Sally. I thought Terry Pratchett did a great job exploring a lot of the issues that would arise if we were suddenly to find ourselves with an infinite number of earths to explore and exploit. My only complaint was the ending--the story just cut off. Obviously there needs to be a sequel but I wish that the end had felt more rounded off rather than snapped.
This was an amazing book in many, many ways. First, I am in awe of Kim Stanley Robinson's ranging imagination from depicting life on Mercury and a cult of sun walkers who follow the sun around the planet, always keeping in the shade, to the body surfing in the rings of Saturn. This book reminded more more in its scope and character depth of Years of Rice and Salt, though the setting and premise of both books are very, very different. Robinson has a range that I think most writers dream about achieving but he moves with confidence and intelligence between realms of space travel to botany to genetics.
The character Swan is flawed but also wonderful in her naive embracing of people and of the different worlds. She is an adventurer, trying anything and everything, going to extremes, and it takes the death of her beloved grandmother to bring her life more into focus. She gets involved in her grandmother's work although her grandmother had not trusted her enough to tell her what it is. The messenger of information that she doesn't understand, Swan becomes wrapped up in an inter-planetary conspiracy involving quantum computers, revolution, and the fate of several cities on different planets.
I don't think a review can do justice to this book--there are just too many beautiful layers to explore within in it to capture in any summary. If you want to travel to other worlds and imagine a future where humans populate much of our solar system while still trying to work our political differences and fights over resources, settle in for an amazing journey.
The performance was excellent.
Overall I was disappointed in this book. I thought the ideas were great and original but then about half way through the book became more of a teenage romance novel than an interesting and complex fantastical novel. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem (after all I loved the love story in "The Hunger Games" except that it completely took over the plot and the reader is taken through a history of the two lovers that was fairly cliche in its elements. And it ends with a cliff hanger--which I always find irritating if it seems like an obvious ploy to get you to get the next book.
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