Saturday, July 22, 2017

transcribed reviews

I typed these up last year and they've just been hanging out as a draft all this time.  These books were read between 2001 and 2006.

Jephte's Daughter by Naomi Ragen.  This was a pretty lousy book, according to my experience, and I've read some pretty bad ones.  The story ideas itself weren't that bad, although neither was it amazing.  The language left much to be desired but was at least not riddled with typos.  I never felt properly introduced to many of the characters.  I will not read this book again, nor would I tell anyone else to.

Jingo by Terry Pratchett.  As always, you've got to read Pratchett strictly for its entertainment value, but this is one of the books that has more insights than most.  It's a fun book, and I think it would be a good spring board for discussion.

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.  For all the opportunities it had to do so, this book just never brought me to the edge of my seat.  There was a bit of scientific yaddayaddah, which wasn't difficult to understand.
The main character (the narrator) was a real weenie-- no spirit of adventure, whined the whole trip, and fainted dead away at the slightest provocation.  I was not impressed.  He doesn't get to go camping with us.

Justice Hall by Laurie R. King.  Although I have greatly enjoyed this author, I must say that the first few books in the series were better.  I cannot exactly say why.  The danger in this story was greater; the villains, more maniacal; Holmes, truer; Russel, more innocent; and the slightest sexual tension inherent, but not in the way of the story.
This book was particularly frustrating in that it took two characters who had appeared in two previous books, who were exciting and well-loved, and bungled their uncomplicated relationships with each other, England, and their families.  For the duration of the book, they are not their normal selves. When they are restored, they go off and we do not see them, on adventures without us.  Unsatisfying.

The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder.  This book was amazing, in that it made history really come alive.  It put a different spin on the Norman invasion and William the Conqueror than we usually see.  The story moved along nicely.  It may be aimed a little younger than high school readers, but I still enjoyed it.

Kit's Wilderness by David Almond.  The story features a group of 13-year-olds, but the story could easily be relevant to an older age group.  It examines darkness: physical, personal, and a greater darkness.  Is darkness necessarily, inherently, perhaps, evil?  Is it wrong to seek darkness?  Darkness is a refuge, as well as a journey or a destination. Great potential to be very deep when used properly.

Knight Errant by R. Garcia Y Robertson.  Rather like the Outlander series in some ways-- time travel, love story, and history lesson rolled together.  This concerns the War of the Roses, around 1490.

I found the plot well-presented, but the author has no grasp of the true purpose of punctuation, using dashes and colons as decoration for the fragment.  With correct punctuation, the sentences would, by and large, be fine; the author just insists on breaking the sentences up with unnecessary periods.  The author also has a few pet phrases I find annoying that are used at every turn.  Eh.  I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend this one-- it isn't exactly great reading-- but I'm learning my history.

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