Wednesday, June 16, 2010

book comments 30

"The Looking Glass Wars: Seeing Redd" by Frank Beddor
--story of how Queen Alyss defends her realm, Wonderland, against her evil, usurping aunt, Redd Heart
I still haven’t read any of Lewis Carroll’s originals, so I have no idea how this story would fit into his Wonderland universe.
If you want vivid descriptions and intricate world-building, this novel is for you.
If you want characters that don’t seem like superficial caricatures, this novel is not for you.
*sigh* I’m actually really sad not to have much good to say about this book. Based on the jacket blurb and the incredible cover art, I was excited to read it. But I just didn’t enjoy this one very much. (Insert tired adage here.) For one thing, I couldn’t decide if this was supposed to be children’s literature – in which case the lack of deeper character development might make sense – or some form of fantastical literary fiction – in which case it was sorely lacking in depth. And the action sequences, which could have been fast-paced and exciting, dripped slow as molasses down their every page because of overly detailed enumeration of every single movement of every single character involved. Oy.
Still, in some places, the lack of depth seemed intentional. Maybe even satirical. Maybe the whole novel is a single sarcastic remark on a genre, and I just didn’t get it.
Lewis Carroll, aka Charles Dodgson, makes an appearance in the story. I liked that a lot.
There are sequels. I won’t be reading.
--don’t recommend

"The Walking Dead, Vols. 3 & 4" by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
--continuing the zombie apocalypse survival adventures of Rick and his friends
Read my initial review of this series.
Recommend! If you enjoy graphic novels, or if you like zombies, sociology, and/or psychology, you'll enjoy this series. (Caveat: adult content.)

"The Fifth Child" by Doris Lessing
--contemporary story of Harriet and David, who meet, get married, and have a picture-perfect life in spite of naysaying friends and relatives – until Harriet gets pregnant with their fifth child, and all hell breaks loose
--totally fascinating look at the sociology of family relationships
But this is anything but a textbook. Characters are brilliantly deep, and Lessing conveys that depth with an intense efficiency that’s enviable and almost scary.
--multiple genres in this one: lit fic, sci-fi, fantasy...seems like the only one missing is metafiction
UPDA* – I loved everything about this book, and I read the whole thing in less than three hours. (Granted, this is novella-length, but still.)
--HIGHLY recommend

"A Scanner Darkly" by Philip K. Dick
In the near future (written from a 1977 perspective), Fred is an undercover agent addicted to a drug that splits users' personalities. He's assigned to narc on a druggie named Bob Arctor -- who just happens to be Fred's other personality.
I've always had a soft spot in my heart for anything about dissociative identities (aka multiple personalities), so this was right up my alley. Not to mention it's a great look at how a sci-fi writer in 1977 imagined the future. Amusingly, he thought we would still be using tape decks.
--also fascinating look into the mind of a drug addict: outlook on life, processing of daily input, relationships, disconnects, and unusual associations
--vivid characters, unexpected plot twists, lots of effective teasing of the reader, a refreshingly economical writing style
--a little too much rambling in some of the dialogue; I skimmed a few places
This novel was made into a movie starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. I plan to watch it soon. Should be interesting!
--recommend, but this is a gritty one and not for the faint of heart

2010 Book Count To-Date: 30.5.


*UPDA = UnPutDownAble

1 comment:

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