I was prepared for JK Rowling's new book not to be another Harry Potter installment, in fact I thought it was a good move for her to go a different direction. After the phenomena that was HP what could she possibly do to follow it up? So I gave a Casual Vacancy a chance. I gave it a chance after a slow start that introduced so many characters it was hard to follow. I gave it a chance past all the profanity, drug use and sex; more than most adult crime novels I listen to. I could have even dealt with the rape scene if it had been important to the story. Unfortunately it wasn't worth it. I get That Rowling wanted to dig into the gritty "real world" after years of fantasy, but she seems to only run to all the things she couldn't write about through seven other novels. she spends the entire novel digging into all the dirt of real life without out even glancing at the good parts. There are no redeeming characters, no one to pull for, no innocent people only victims, no villains just slightly corrupt, incompetent abuser and self absorbed people.
You wouldn't think a small town in the English country side would hold such misery. Casual Vacancy starts like many books, introducing different characters of a small town who seem to be completely unconnected. One local councilmen dies of a brain aneurysms and we begin to see how his death effects them all. The story is slow, but has a sense of building so I figured it was going somewhere. None the characters are completely good or bad, but its their flaws Rowling focuses on. The story ends in a senseless tragedy, which seems to come out of no where and leave you completely unsatisfied. You think something good will come out of this entire mess, but it doesn't. One or two of the characters end up slightly better than they started, but anything to be learned from the book are left to the reader to be decided. The story is told from 3rd person omniscient, and I had a hard time believing some of the characters motivations which got a little annoying.
All that said I somewhat enjoyed it. I was drawn in, I wanted to find out where the much to do about nothing was leading. I was hoping for big payoff, and I was prepared to write a good review. But the ending is just kind of empty and sad. It's like Rowling created all of these characters and then didn't know what to do with them. I noticed in the HP books she had a tendency to add unnessicary story lines in some of the later books. I thought she just like those characters too much not to have something for them to do. Now I wonder if she just needs someone to tell her to focus on the main storyline, even if you have to cut a few thing.
Definitely not my thing. More of a romance novel than fantasy. I'd call it a starter book for Laura Hamilton. Never read any Twilight but I can only guess this is what it was like.
I dove right into this one as soon as I finished Hard Magic and I wasn't disappointed. If you like the first then you'll like this one too. There are great writing with interesting characters. The second book has basically become the X-men with magic instead of mutants, in 1930's but it's done extremely well. And who knew Bronson Pinchot was a narrating genius. I'll be going back to listen to anything he's done.
I bought this book thinking it was the sequel to "Lost Gate" . I also listened to the first one in this series and thought it was average at best. So I knew what was going on, but the problem is I just didn't care. I thought there was a lot of boring discussions and bickering in the first book. Little did I know, Card had barely scratched the surface. The characters argue so much I found myself hoping the ships would come and destroy them.
Hopefully the title "Ruins" is not an indication of the direction Card's writing is going, but if he keeps producing books like this that is where it will end up.
Hill plays with some interesting ideas but it never gets that, on the edge of your seat sense of desperation he achieved in "Heart Shaped Box". Its still worth a listen, but I keep hoping he will get back there.
I honestly went to download the next part and realized that was it. After I realized there wasn't a second part I accepted there was an ending but it was rather unsatisfying. Don't understand all the great reviews. Granted it could set up a second story with a bigger conflict, I still thought it was OK at best. The bad guys actions just didn't make much sense to me.
I’ve enjoyed the Odd series, but it seems to be moving from entertaining to average. Mr. Koontz seems to have some issues with modern day society and he uses Odd to voice all of his complaints. He has done some of this in all of the Odd books but it seems to gotten out of control and has become quite distracting. It would be great if Knoontz could get back to the form of some of his earlier work like “Out the Corner of His Eye” or “The Face” where he would take time to build suspense and develop his characters.
Spoiler alert: One of my other complaints about this story is Tesla. It seems like anytime an author needs to create a unusual machine or some piece science fiction machinery they simple pull out Nikola Tesla to give it creditability. I know he is a fascinating person, but why not invent a new mad scientist.
I fell in love with Card 20 years ago, like many after reading the Ender Series.
I really liked the way this story is broken into two parts with a quick glimpse of the back story at the beginning of each chapter, and overall it is an interesting world, and a interesting plot. I did enjoy the overall story and wanted to see how it came out, but the book get tedious in places. We are given the thought processes of everyone, reasoning out everything, at each new tiny step. In fact I think about half the novel was someone thinking about the possible motivation of others and the consequences of their actions. Card seemed to include all the stuff an author normally figures out, but doesn't usually actually put in the book. After a while I was begging them to get on with the plot. If the characters are acting in a realist, believable way, then you don’t have to include their entire thought process.
Mild spoiler: I know Card wanted to play around with a different version of time travel than most authors, he says so himself in the closing notes. I found it hard to believe someone of this of this pseudo pre-industrial society would sit around talking about the implications of time travel. They would probably just do it and see what happens.
I'll probably listen to the next book in the series, but I may wait a while.
I enjoyed this book, not as much as the first one but it was worth listening to. Having almost immediately jumped into this book after the first wanting to find out what happens, I had come to accept that this series is more a large collection of short stories that tell an overarching epic novel. So in that aspect I have enjoyed it, even if the overall story is somewhat slow in being revealed. In this book Kvothe hits the road and has a series of adventures, meeting new people and cultures along the way. He learns some new skills along the way but doesn't really get much closer to his main goal. For the most part the author did a nice job of creating these new cultures.
However I did have one pet peeve. (mild spoiler) In one of these cultures the people are completely open with sex. I didn't have a problem with this, it was a bit of a juvenile fantasy but it didn't bother me. The problem was, in this totally free and always sexually active society they think women just spontaneously get pregnant and the men have nothing to do with it. When Kvothe tries to explain how women get pregnant, the women he is with just laugh. It really ruined that part of the book for me and left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I completely lost my suspension of disbelief. Come on, does the author think we are stupid. Even cave men knew where babies came from. It's a very small part of the story, so don't let it stop you from listening to the book.
I really enjoyed this book, it was for the most part really well done. The reader gives a great performace. I like the main character and many of his friends. It may not be the most origianl universe, but its well developed. I thought the "magic" in the book was handled well, the author establishes rules and sticks to them. If there are exceptions to the rules he does a pretty good job of explaining them. There were a few minor things the main protagonist did that seemed out of character. The rivalry with one of his fellow students just seemed petty and didn't seem to add to the overall story.
My biggest problem is the book just stops in mid story. This book is day 1 and the author plainly says it will be a three day tale. Day 2 is twice as long as the first book and the third book is not done yet so you may have to wait a while to hear the end. There are many, many stories along the way that you can enjoy, it just seems it will be really long time before the overarching story is complete.
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