Saturday, January 08, 2011

Interlude: Books Read Between the End Of CBR II and the Beginning of CBR III

1. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqist

I still haven't seen the movie but I picked up the novel since I like to read the book first usually. There were quite a few characterst that I disliked, and overall I would put it as an average vampire story, but I can see where this would make a very good film. It might have helped if I hadn't heard enough about the film to know expect some of the twists even if I didn't know exactly what they were going to be.  I thought the relationship between Eli and Oscar was well-done, and liked how it gave him more confidence in his interactions with others.

2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I quite enjoy things related to the Tudor period, so I was curious to read this novel told from Cromwell's perspective. I quite liked how it portrayed the man, and the politics involved. However, it took me a few chapters to get into Mantel's writing style - it is told in the third person from Cromwell's perspective and it gets confusing at first since Cromwell is generally referred to as he, even when there are five other characters in the scene that could be the "he." It helped quite a bit once I got used to that.  It's always hard to know how to interpret Henry VIII - despite reassurances that he was in fact rather intelligent it is easy to simply see him as a spoiled tyrant.  Mantel shows both these sides of his characters through Cromwell's very perceptive view.

3. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

I was excited to see that Lehane had written a sequel to his Kenzie/Gennaro series. I don't think it was exactly necessary, and he probably did it more for the fans than because he had a story to tell, but it was still nice to see the characters again. Patrick and Angela have a child now, and Patrick has stayed away from the dangerous cases, but when the girl, Amanda McCready, from Gone, Baby, Gone goes missing again, he gets pulled back into a dangerous world out of guilt. Some of it seemed a bit much, but it was entertaining which was all I wanted.  However, I quite enjoyed The Given Day so I hope Lehane does another historical novel eventually.

4. First Lord's Fury y Jim Butcher

This novel was Jim Butcher's conclusion to the Codex Alera. Tavi has finally come into his powers over furies, and now has to face the vord as they threaten to overtake his kingdom and known civilization as a whole. It was definitely a fitting conclusion for the series, and I am curious to see what else Butcher comes up with (besides the Dresden Files, naturally).

5. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

I picked this up based on a recommendation. Last time I was deployed I really didn't pay that much attention to what was going on around me - I was barely at battalion, stayed at the company level and simply ran the missions to various FOBs. I couldn't have told you where many places were located on a map. However, this deployment, as the battle captain, I receive all the SITREPs for the area, speak to the intel officer on a regular basis, and as a result, I actually recognized many of the places he referred to. Much of what he was discussing still seemed to ring home to an extent. I especially thought the parts about how the Iraqis were saying one thing to the American Soldiers and another thing to the reporters very interesting.  It's amazing to me how sheltered I have been during both my deployments - as a Soldier in the military, I have seen less action, and had fewer interactions with Iraqis than this journalist.  This of course has much to do with my postion in the Army - as a logistics officer, when I'm on the road, I'm simply driving from point A to point B to bring supplies to the combat Soldiers that conduct patrols.  IEDs are always a danger but it's not like we stop our trucks to clear a house - that's not our mission - our mission is to make sure the supplies get where they need to be.  However, I'm definitely not complaining about that.

6. Room by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue has written a few historical novels. For example, Slammerkin was inspired by an old newspaper article about a young servant which led Donoghue to imagine a full and developed life for the character. Room was inspired by more current events, the Fritzl case which involved the Austrian man who kept his daughter and her children locked in a basement for over twenty years. The novel is narrated by Jack, a five year old boy that lives in an 11 foot square with his mother. He has never left Room, and believes that it is reality. Everything he sees on television is imaginary. His mother has chosen to tell him this rather than let him know about everything he has been missing out on. However, shortly after his fifth birthday, she has decided that it is time for them to escape and starts telling him the truth. I thought it was very well done, and believable the way Donahue imagines how someone might survive locked away like this, and how it might affect a young child that has never known anything else.

7. Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

A friend of mine gave this to me for Christmas. I've read two other Moore novels, and I think I still like A Dirty Job the most. The Emperor appears in this novel as well, and he is one of the few to recognize the presence of vampires in his city. Jodi, the main character, is attacked at night and turned into a vampire. She quickly realizes she needs a minion to do her work during the day, and enlist Tommy Flood for that job. Her creator, however, is an old and bored vampire that toys with their lives for his entertainment purposes. Moore writes entertaining narratives, but I'm not always that happy with the way he portrays women. He is also big on using racial stereotypes and caricatures. Still, it was a fun read, though I preferred the sequel which she also sent me.


denesteak said...

Jen, you picked up The Forever War!! I'm so glad! Did you like it? At least there weren't much political rhetoric like you said you were afraid of, right?

Btw, I've seen mention of Room at least 4 times today while browsing through Pajiba and the other CBers sites. I might need to get in on this...

The Caustic Critic said...

I've been looking forward to Moonlight Mile. Glad to know it won't disappoint.