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Search tags: 5-rated-3-stars
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review 2018-11-09 14:39
Firestarter ★★★★☆
Firestarter - Stephen King,Dennis Boutsikaris

There is a lot to like in this story. The concept has always fascinated me, especially given the veneer of plausibility as the US government does have a well-documented history of unethical human experimentation and has had programs investigating psychic phenomena. So the setup, and the description of Charlie and Andy McGee’s wild talents, the psychological manipulations, and the action scenes are wonderfully entertaining. The characters who people The Shop are fantastic.

 

But the book is not without its problems. The pacing is awful, dragging endlessly in spots until the final third of the book. This is also very much a book of its time, with now cringe-inducing stereotypes toward race, gender, and sex. Charlie, who is only 7 years old, behaves with a maturity and critical thinking ability far beyond her years, even for a child who has spent all her life having to conceal her essential self and years on the run from deadly government agents.

 

Audiobook, via Audible. The performance by Dennis Boutsikaris is excellent.

 

I read this for The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season, for the Guy Fawkes Night door; the book task: Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning.

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text 2018-11-07 12:23
Firestarter - 26%
Firestarter - Stephen King,Dennis Boutsikaris

Oh dear, this story has gotten so dated. 

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text 2018-11-07 12:19
The Bungalow Mystery - 0/204 pg
The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene
The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene

The next book for my Nancy Drew project fits right in the Dia de los Muertos book category, so here we go!

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text 2018-11-06 12:58
Firestarter - 0%
Firestarter - Stephen King,Dennis Boutsikaris

It's a re-read, but I've never actually written a review for this one, so I decided to use it for the Guy Fawkes Night book. Obviously, there is arson, both intentional and accidental. 

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review 2018-11-05 13:01
The Clockmaker's Daughter ★★★★☆
The Clockmaker’s Daughter - Kate Morton

I'm not sure how to review this one, and as I reflect on the issues I had with it, I'm not sure it deserved all 4 stars, but I'll let it stand, because in the end, I think my enjoyment of the characters and their stories overcomes the style and structure issues I had with it. 

 

First of all, I was surprised at the overtly supernatural elements to this story. Morton usually has some elements of fate or the gods or whatever embedded in her plots - she has to, in order to make them work, I think - but this is the first I can think of where there is an actual ghost. I'm not spoiler tagging that, because it's pretty apparent early on, even if not explicitly stated. I'm not disappointed in it, but after two months of reading for Halloween Bingo, I was looking for something a little more grounded in the real world. 

 

Second, the structure made this a difficult read. As the title implies, the nature of Time is a strong theme, and the author takes over a half dozen characters from across more than 150 years and weaves their stories together with a shifting timeline. Not only do we shift between different characters in different eras, we even shift back and forth within the timeline of each character. In the end, she *mostly* pulls them all together, so we can discover how they are each connected and the cause and effect between all the story's events, but getting there was difficult. I found it impossible to follow on audio and had to switch to hardcover so I could flip back to earlier pages to refresh my memory. Also, the voice of the titular character slips occasionally into first person, present tense, which I normally hate, but it is used sparingly and purposefully, and it fits as a storytelling device. 

 

Third, this is the first time I think the author was unsuccessful in tying up her loose ends and finishing the story. Maybe this was on purpose - again the nature of time and the human experience in it - but it felt just hastily finished and incomplete. I still had a lot of questions at the end. 

 

Last, though, is the strength of this book that lifts it above the technical problems. The characters are all wonderfully drawn. I invested in all of them, I invested in all of their stories, and I rooted for them, and I sympathized with them, and I even cried a little with some of them. 

 

I read using both hardcover and audio (via Audible) editions. Joanne Froggatt (of Downton Abbey fame) performs the audio and does a fine job with it, but I desperately missed the voice of Caroline Lee, who has performed all of the author's works up to now. 

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