Saturday, April 16, 2011

Into the Ether

Title: Into the Ether

Author: Vanessa Barger

Review: ***

Summary (from Goodreads): As a Touch-Know, Genevieve has never been required to steal more than a few paltry coins. But when a powerful stranger requires their help, her family of street-wise thieves sends her to get the most important thing they’ve ever decided to liberate. It was supposed to be a simple overnight job. Instead, Genevieve is required to appear attached to her mark, the curator of the British Museum. For Genevieve it becomes more than an act, and her problems are far more significant than the possibility of her lies being discovered.

When her family betrays her, she must make an important choice – turn to the man who has destroyed everything she holds dear, or strike out on her own.

Review: I must admit: I do not own a Kindle. I had one, read one book on it, then gave it to my dad in favor of real books. This book was sent to me as a PDF--a first for me!--and the experience was interesting. It took a while to get used to reading on my computer (it did not convert me to an online reader, I'm afraid), but once I was able to get past the awkwardness, I was able to get into the story.
I liked the idea of this novel--it seemed very unique to me. A touch-know? In a museum? I can only imagine how fascinating (and a bit overwhelming) that would be. I really liked Gennie as a protagonist; she didn't need to be rescued, like so many female heroines it feels like. The villain was a bit of a stock character, and he could have been improved with a bit more detail.
This was a very short book (almost a novella), and I felt like that detracted from a lot of it. There were some things I felt could have been elaborated on. The plot flowed smoothly, but I would have like a little more information and depth.
The other thing that bothered me is a spoiler at the end, so I won't mention it. But it is frustrating! (Either lack of creativity--which I doubt--or purposely open-ended.)
All in all a quick read with an interesting set-up.
Barger is a very good writer, and I will keep an eye out for future (hopefully longer) books by her.

P.S. I was intrigued enough to look up the definition of "ether"--according to Miriam-Webster's website, it is a "rarefied element formerly believed the fill the upper regions of space." Have to admit, not entirely sure how that relates. Perhaps you, dear readers, can form the connection after reading it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

CUWAC: The Moonstone

Title: The Moonstone

Author: Wilkie Collins

Pages: 473

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: When Franklin Blake arrives at the Verinder house, no one would have expected the chaos that followed--not from his presence, but from what he brought with him: the Moonstone. A valuable gem with a dark and violent past, the Moonstone is said to be cursed--and when it is stolen the night after Rachel Verinder receives it for her birthday, that reputation proves to be deserved.

Review: This novel took me almost four months to read. The language is slightly difficult, and there is a lot of extraneous detail. However, it is truly a great detective novel, which is why it is sometimes called the first and greatest mystery novel.
I liked how the story was told from various points of view. Each narrator offered something different to the telling of the story, and that kept me interested. Almost the first half is told from a single perspective, and in my opinion, it is the hardest to get through.
Collins weaves an imaginative ending, one I was far from expecting. I don't think anyone could predict what was going to happen--I honestly had no idea who had done it until the last 20 or so pages!
There is love, betrayal, intrigue, superstition, and mystery in this novel. I would recommend it to fans of classic literature who are patient enough to get through the boring parts for a very satisfying ending.

Recommended to: classics and detective fans