Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Winter Reads

Clash of Kings

I'm not going to lie. After Game of Thrones, this second book in the series was a bit of a snoozer. I still read all 5 million pages but was hoping for more action. I'm also still waiting for this series to get a little romantic. I mean, I love dragons and warriors as much as the next girl, but when are these lonely teenagers going to finally discover each other? And is Shae really just humoring Tyrion? I'm told that book 3 is where it's at, so perhaps I won't drop this series after all, but I will admit to being tempted.

The Sparrow

This was a book club read and while this isn't something I would have picked out for myself, I'm really glad I read it. And it was a great discussion book. The book follows a Jesuit mission to a recently discovered planet containing sentient beings. I was a little bothered by the main character who everyone worshipped, and the creepiness of what happens to him on this new planet stuck with me far longer than I wanted, but there's no denying it was a well written and fascinating book.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

This has been on my bed side table for ages. I will admit to being slightly disappointed by this much awaited read. It was more like a collection of short stories, and I've never been a fan of short stories - preferring a heavy plot that sucks me in and in depth character development that attaches me to the people in the story. I kept thinking all the stories/characters were going to link up, but mostly the chapters just hop around in time and (I suppose on purpose) make you work awfully hard at the start to figure out WHO is narrating each particular chapter. Sometimes I would read the first 5 pages of a chapter totally confused, trying to figure out what year it was and who was narrating. I will grant that the author has a knack for capturing a huge variety of distinct "voices", but that skill was a bit lost on me. I mostly just wanted this book to be about Bennie and Sasha, as the back of the book description promised. And while I suppose you could argue that it WAS about them, it was too peripheral for me.

Night Circus

I very much enjoyed this read. This is a book club pick that we haven't discussed as a group yet, so I'm hesitant to say too much. But I will say that it reminded me of an old timey favorite of mine - A Trip To the Stars in that it's very magical, filled with smart and sad characters and takes place in an other-wordly space. Someone recently compared it to a combo of Harry Potter and Water for Elephants and I guess that's not too far off?  My main criticism is just that the plot felt a little rushed at the end. I wish she'd taken more time with the ending, built the conflict up to a higher pitch before wrapping it up.

The Man from Beijing

While the plot was totally addictive, I remember being disappointed a little by this book.  Time magazine sold me on this being even better and/or more sophisticated than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I disagree.  I kept waiting for the plot to turn more legit thriller on me, but I was never on the edge of my seat like I wanted to be.  Truthfully, it's been too long since I read this book to now review it, so I guess I'll just stop there with my vaguely negative review... 


sandralbruton said...

Our book club just reviewed Night Circus. After the discussion, we had fun deciding who should play each character in a movie; and that it would make a terrific movie.

Jen Brown said...

My book club read the Sparrow and I agree it was both disturbing and engrossing. Also, keep going w/ Game of Thrones. I just finished Book 3 and felt the ending almost compared to the end of Book 1. Side note, I moved lately and a box I grabbed from Good Will drop off to load stuff in had your name and address on it. Small world!