The first half was a detailed and engaging story of the Louis's development, his military training, combat, and survival at sea. The relentless and sadistic brutality of the Japanese captors frankly grew repetitive... I got the picture more than once. (Possible spoiler alert as to what follows...) But the superficial and uncritical handling of his conversion and salvation following a couple encounters with Billy Graham was disappointing.
I just loved this book. It was gentle and perhaps slow for a murder mystery, but it pulled you in and wrapped you up in the warmth and complexity of this Canadian town. It was more about the people than solving the crime. I couldn't wait to pop on my headphones and get back to 3 Pines. Just bought the next in the series...
Beautifully written and narrated. The characters and their setting ("Faithful Place") were gradually but fully developed so that I felt like I lived in this working class part of Dublin. The old unsolved murder mystery also unfolds gradually then shockingly doubles back on itself in real time. And the narrator changes his voice just enough for the various characters that they all come alive. My favorite of the three in the series so far. Now for the next one!
Couldn't put it down. Just a terrific weave of understandable physics, chemistry, and engineering with a good dose of excitement and humor. Really fun.
Unlike most popular science works that are actually the result of cherry-picking interesting studies and spinning out cute and surprising yarns (Gladwell anyone?), this is the real thing. As a clinical psychologist who minored in personality assessment, I was familiar with some of the older work she sites... but was thrilled by the newer work and the integration of it all that she accomplished. So it offers rewards at multiple levels: theory (Jung and others), research (brain imaging, genetics, etc.) and application (to oneself, to raising children, to teaching, to leadership and management at work). If you have features of introversion and sensitivity, and you feel somewhat like an unwelcome minority in this land that favors extroverts, then read this book. And maybe re-read it!
Really creative premise: that artificial intelligence in gaming could cross over to (infect and dominate?) real world actions and control. Some outlandish implementation (knife wielding robot motorcycles) and way too much detailed gore and violence ("fetishized" as one other reviewer put it). Although I am a software developer, I am not a game player so maybe all that intense detail comes with that territory. Anyway, the overall ideas are great, the characterization is thin, and the ending shockingly abrupt. It is definitely part 1 of a series; don't even think of reading the first book unless you want to finish the second. And I did just buy the second half (Freedom) and hope the silly and gory details don't outweigh the creative thought. It looks like the premise is getting expanded to a really interesting commentary on the military industrial complex's growing control over the world's economy and politics, rendering the political process (and democratic governments) a sham that simply pacifies an unknowing public. Are we all going through the motions watching a phony show (Matrix anyone?) while the real action is behind the scenes in some hybrid AI networked reality?
I would recommend this and in fact, bought two copies for friends/family.
True story of character and grit triumphing. Especially like the challenge faced by Joe, the protagonist, as he struggles to be a self-made man while being a true (and trusting) member of a team. Given his history of abandonment, this is no easy task.
Not sure why this is getting rave reviews. The basic premise (that an African-American housekeeper might inherit a gazillion bucks in a deep southern town, and that this might cause a stir...) is repeated over and over. The characters are one dimensional, and the resolution to the big question (why did the dead man give her all this money in his will) is obvious 2/3s of the way through. This is the second recent Grisham book I've been disappointed by... and I'm done.
The premise, that a murder victim looked exactly like our detective Cassie, was just too far-fetched. Add to that the associated assumptions: that she could impersonate the dead woman among her closest friends, students, and colleagues, and that it was somehow worth risking Cassie's life to send her undercover as the dead woman, and you've got something just too bogus to swallow. I pressed on to the end because I loved the first book in the series ("In the Woods") and I loved the character (Cassie) from it. I had also been captivated by the author's beautiful writing and characterizations, some of which came through in this second book. As a result, I'll consider the next one in the series.
Much of the time the main character is off setting up a plan that he knows about, but hasn't shared with the audience. So the big reveal is simply a matter of finally letting us in on what he has known all along. It is far better when the reader and the hero are both discovering new information and sharing in the suspense.
I really wanted to like the book, but it was too slow and after 3 hours of listening (with my iPod turned up to "fast" narration) I gave up, mainly because I realized I didn't care about the characters even after so much time with them. I can generally tolerate and appreciate slow character development, as long as it is sufficiently rewarding. Something about these folks didn't click and I don't really care how their hostage ordeal ends...
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