Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brief Reviews: Fall 2013 part 2

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2) (This is a review for the second book in a series and may contain spoilers for the first.  If you haven't read The Lies of Locke Lamora, read my review of it here.)
Locke and Jean are back and up to their old tricks.  This time they're targeting one of the most exclusive and richest places in the world: the Sinspire.  The casino is famous for its lavish ways as well as the way they deal with thieves: a long drop from the top of the tower and a bill for cleaning up the body from the courtyard below sent to the deceased's family.  Locke and Jean acquire a whole new crop of enemies while still fleeing from the last.  Once again the tangled web they weave left my head spinning as I tried to figure out who was betraying whom for what gain and how our boys could possibly make it out of the mess they got themselves into.  This time there was the added bonus of pirates!  I love a good sailing story!  What more could a girl ask for?  My only problem with the book was that I've grown overly fond of Locke and Jean, so after a while I started feeling awful for them as they narrowly escaped death only to face it once more.  Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch: buy it or check it out today!

How to Say Goodbye in RobotThere's a lot to love in this story about two quirky teens finding acceptance. Bea and her mom rent costumes and photograph themselves re-enacting scenes from classic movies.  Bea bonds with another outcast student by communicating via a late-night radio program.  Bea's often macabre sense of humor regularly had me laughing out loud right from the beginning as she told the story of how she tried to name a gerbil Goebbels.  But despite enjoying all these disparate parts, I didn't really like the book overall.  They didn't quite add up to a cohesive whole.  I wish that a few of these ideas had been explored in more detail instead of covering so many things so briefly.  The ending was also unsatisfying.  If you read a lot of contemporary misfit stories and are looking for another, then it's worth picking up.  But there are plenty of others in the genre that I would recommend before this one.  How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford: buy it or check it out today!

Forgive Me, Leonard PeacockI read this for my FYA book club, and I'm not sure that I would have picked it up on my own.  As it was I had no idea what it was about when I started reading it on a plane this Thanksgiving and ended up crying like a baby in my seat.  There's a lot of things I liked about this book: the footnotes, the Hamlet references, and the quirky characters Leonard meets, but overall I can't say that I really enjoyed it.  Everyone is so universally cruel to Leonard.  Despite all that happens in the course of the novel nothing felt really resolved to me at the end.  I didn't feel as attached to Leonard as I thought I would considering all he goes through and I didn't really like any of the other characters either because of how they treat him.  Still, the book tackles a difficult subject unflinchingly and it deserves some praise for that.  Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick: buy it or check it out today!

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