Sunday, May 31, 2015

[cricket chirps]

Prudence: The Custard Protocol: Book One by Gail Carriger.  I was thoroughly unimpressed.  I had to leave the Facebook group-- the constant fan-girl-type posts depressed me.  Yes, the book is fun, but it is ridiculously light.  The main point of the entire book (and, I'm afraid to assume, the whole upcoming spin-off series) is to describe in great detail steampunk style outfits and accessories-- not because they set the world, but because people are already dressing like that at conventions but next time, they will be "in character."  The main (first) series is entertaining.  Both spin-offs are silly, shallow, pandering to existing fans of the lowest common denominator and stretching to try to get more readers.  I'm distressed that the author, who seems like such a nice lady, seems to have sold out so quickly.

Y: The Last Man: Book 5 Deluxe Edition by Brian Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudzuka, and Jose Marzan, Jr.  This kind of... petered out.  There seemed to be too many story lines that were supposed to weave together and inform each other, but just seemed to get a bit tangled.  I'm more interested in the world it sets up as the new recovering society.

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast.  I didn't think I would like this graphic novel, based on the artwork, which is kind of cartoon-y.  But it lightens the heavy subject matter.  I also don't usually go in for memoirs, but because of the format, this was short enough to stay on topic the whole length.  I enjoyed it.

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction by Beth Shapiro. (591.68)  This was annoying:
1.  Most chapters introduced and discussed a scientific theory or tool that some scientists have suggested may be helpful in cloning extinct animals.  The author takes half the chapter explaining the particular tool or theory.  She then takes the rest of the chapter explaining why it won't work or isn't a good theory.  That was probably over half the book.  I strongly suspect all of that is in there simply because it wouldn't be book-length without it, and the author wanted to publish a book, not a paper.
2.  The author would explain a complicated scientific idea too simply and then explain it in full-on Ph.D. mode.  There was a lot that was lost between the two versions.
I can't really recommend this one.

See Also Murder by Larry D. Sweazy.  I was pretty sure before cracking this one open that I wouldn't be impressed.  Should I be proud that I was right?
The setting and details behind some of the characters are ones I don't normally see, so that part is new and refreshing.  However, the main character is overly simplified: she is an indexer, but might as well have been a cataloger.  Certain stereotypes weren't just included in her character, the reader is beaten over the head with them. Secondary characters lack depth.
Quasi-subtitled on the cover is "A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery," so I fear this will be a(n unnecessary) series.

The Undertaking by Audrey Magee.  I read a review that sold me on this book.  An now I want to find that reviewer and have him/her tested for drugs.  We did not read the same book.
The first half of the book is very good-- the characters seem realistic and respond realistically, period details are well-incorporated.  In the second half, though, details get murky and time starts to pass in huge chunks without comment.  It certainly does not live up to the promise of the first part.  More Boo.

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