Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

I was a little impatient with this book. It is a real-life fairy tale set in the present and in the past; in the United States and in Russia; in reality and in fantasy. I grew frustrated with waiting for the setting to be where I wanted it to be; with the characters interacting how I wanted them to act; and for the plot to get to the good part. The ending was thoroughly predictable- not in a lovely fairytale sort of way but in a poorly executed fashion that was glib and cliche. My impatience was probably due in part to the frazzled state of affairs here at the NotQuiteTheBradys household. (I was throwing three kid's birthday parties in three days.) Mostly though, I was simply not very impressed with story. It had so much potential but I just felt Mr. Card was a little off his game when he wrote this one. I would say it was just o.k. so probably you could skip this one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I knew I was forgetting one! Lovely Bones is an interesting story because it is told from the point of view of a murder victim. A girl is raped and brutally killed. She then watches all the people in her former life as they struggle to put the pieces of their world back together without her in it. This means that the book focuses on a lot of pain and dysfunction in many various relationships. The afterlife in this book reminded me of the Robin Williams/Cuba Gooding Jr. movie, What Dreams May Come. It was interesting but strange. I thought the book was depressing and I didn't find any uplifting themes at the end. I think I would say skip this one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Getting Caught Up

Although it appears I have given up reading, I actually just have not been posting reviews for a while. If you read my other blog you already know that life has been challenging for us these last several months. I am happy to report that things seem to be slowing down and I am getting back into my routines. Here are some of the books I managed to read since you last heard from me.

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange
I loved this one. It is the Midnight Sun to Pride and Prejudice. I thought Grange nailed Darcy's voice and thoughts. This is the book I was looking for when I read that other one. It is fluff by very gratifying. Can fluff actually be called Something More Substantial?

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
This is a Steel Magnolias-type story set in Manhattan. The problem I had with this book was that the main character was such a closed person that when her crisis finally came, I was not emotionally invested in her enough to care. I didn't dislike the book but mostly felt like it was a waste of my time. Around here time is a precious comodity. If it's not something you have a lot of, I would say skip this one.

Sarah by Orson Scott Card
I absolutely devoured this book. I fell in love with Abraham- maybe because he reminded me so much of my own husband. Sarah was strong, Abraham was kind, and the writing did a magnificent job fleshing out a story for the backbone we are all familiar with. This was my favorite of the Women of Genesis series. It is definitely Something More Substantial.

Rebekah by Orson Scott Card
I didn't like this one nearly as well as Sarah. The writing was every bit as good, but I found Isaac extremely unlikeable. I would prefer to think of him as a better man than he was portrayed as here. The story continues to be good and I would still recommend this book as Something More Substantial.

Rachel and Leah by Orson Scott Card
The third book in an unfinished series, I liked the men of this book better than those in Rebekah but I thought some of the women in this one lacked quite a lot. An arguement can be made for the realism captured in Scott's characterization- we, none of us, are perfect, and there certainly are those among us who shine a little more brightly than the rest. I got into this story more than I did Rebekah but was disappointed a little in the somewhat abrupt ending which left me hanging for the next book. I look forward to the next book with anticipation, but feel a little betrayed by the way this one ended. If you are going to read it I would suggest waiting until the next one in the series is published. Since I don't know how it ends, I give this one a qualified Something More Substantial.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

This is one of those rare instances when I actually liked the movie better than the book. I can't say why exactly. I just think the movie did a good job of covering the story and Kathy Bates and Mary Stewart Masterson bring so much to it. I'd skip this one and rent it instead.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Ooo. I liked this story a lot. It is set in the future in a time when RADICAL plastic surgery is the normal thing to do when you come of age. BUT- what seems like harmless beautification is actually something else altogether sinister and conspiratorial. The book was exciting, easy to read (it is a young adult book) and I enjoyed it very much. I look forward to the next three in the series. Something More Substantial for sure!

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

I thought this was the strangest and most predictable book in the series but it was still good. The name of one of the principal characters was laughable and therefore was irritatingly distracting throughout the entire book. That said, I'm glad I read it. "Substantial" is probably a stretch, but I wouldn't want anyone to skip it so I will say I give it a lukewarm Something More Substantial.