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review 2017-03-08 06:38
Recommended for Hist fic lovers who love twists and turns
A Burnable Book - Bruce Holsinger

Definitely not a book to be read in a quick setting. Are you into literary figures? Historical fiction? Historical mystery filled with spies and intrigue? Something that takes place in the Middle Ages? All of the above in one book? Sure! Let’s take it! I’d have to say, there can be no better description of the Middle Ages than in this book. Everything was so visual and well written. The setting itself has good amounts of description, the characters definitely helped as well. They even had the mannerisms and speech of the time. Speaking of characters. Oh Chaucer. No. Just no. I don’t like you. He’s not exactly painted in the most best of light here is he? Manipulative, wife stealer, even with his supposed close friend he’s not upfront and honest with. You definitely have sympathy with Gower here. Even though he has a questionable job and past with his son Simon, he’s still a much more likable character than Chaucer in my opinion. Other characters that I liked; Edgar/Eleanor - the story arc with Millicent and Agnes was a good one. I enjoyed their side of the story with the ‘dregs’ of society. Another character I liked, Hawkwood. Yes he’s an odious villain that oozed all the horrible things you didn’t like. But he was such an awesome villain! Cold, calculating, and not one to trifle with when you get on his bad side and think you can get away with (that poor sod - those who read the book should know what I’m talking about) The plot itself was pretty good. Lots of plot twists and turns. You’re left peeling layer after layer of intrigue and mystery while you get to the bottom of it. Once you had it figured out there’s still more left to figure out. I enjoyed it! There’s something about all the layers of intrigue that makes it a more compelling read. However, a couple of things that made this read a not so easy one. The amount of characters. Quite a few to keep track of. So this isn’t the type of book that you can drop and come back to after a while (I mistakenly did that unfortunately, as life got in the way). You need to take you time, get to know the characters, the plot and how everything comes together. It sometimes can get a little confusing so some extra attention is needed while reading this book. Also, have a dictionary beside you. I suppose to keep with the medieval thing, there’s some medieval terminology that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with. It adds more to the book but I could have done without it. To be on the bright side, my vocabulary has increased with various middle age words. Overall, take the time to read the book and enjoy. The spinning and weaving of the web and trying to find the center spot is fun and always is a treat to read when figuring out a historical mystery. Greatly recommended for Hist-fic fans.

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text 2016-05-01 21:37
April Reading Roundup
Bloodline: Wars of the Roses - Conn Iggulden
The Invention of Fire - Bruce Holsinger
The End of Law: A Novel of Hitler's Germany - Therese Down
To Be a Queen - Annie Whitehead
Night - Marion Wiesel,Elie Wiesel
Blood and Roses - Catherine Hokin
Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Beautiful Mystery - Louise Penny
Lady of Hay - Barbara Erskine

I've still got a few reviews to write, but I got a good amount of reading done this month. Yay me! Now it's time to start some research for a new project.


Indie/Small Press Authors:

To Be A Queen

The End of Law

Blood and Roses


Audio Books:


Far from the Madding Crowd

The Beautiful Mystery


Best Book of the Month:

Bloodline - Book 3 of the Wars of the Roses by Conn Iggulden

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-04-19 23:55
The Invention of Fire by Bruce Holsinger (John Gower #2)
The Invention of Fire - Bruce Holsinger

Some mild spoilers may follow.


This second John Gower novel is improved with respect to the first in some ways, but there are still some structural things that I don’t really like.  That’s a personal preference though, and not a judgement of quality.  I actually totally missed out on the why of the structure until the second book.  I initially thought that the narrative was actually jumping to the third person instead of Gower retrospectively filling in blanks based on future knowledge.  Switching between the first and third persons didn’t throw me out of the book like it did the in the first book, so maybe I started to clue in earlier than I realized.  It’s still a weird thing to do.


This time around John Gower gets called in to investigate the murders by handgonne of sixteen men that were found in a kind of primitive sewer/drainage ditch (sewage ditch?) in London.  Chaucer is present in the novel but isn’t around as much, since he’s moved to Greenwich.  Part of the reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because the more I found out about the mystery, the more I thought that the whole thing didn’t make sense.  For example, why would you bother transporting the bodies to London if you didn’t want them found, and if you did want them found…?  It turns out it doesn’t make sense because there’s a twist of sorts, but it’s played straight for so long that I just found the conclusion to be disappointing.


When it finally came out that the men had all died as a result of forced duelling, I just sighed.  It was less interesting than the firing squad option.  It also sounded like they didn’t have enough men to allow the prisoners to be armed, which I guess is correct based on what happened.  So the experimentation seemed foolish.

(spoiler show)


Also, some of the attempts showing the change in mindset necessitated by the use of hangonnes worked whereas others just fell flat.  It makes sense that their use would be reflected by a radical shift in perspectives, but I didn’t really feel it.    The romanticization of firearms felt forced.


Note: Three stars is still a good rating from me.

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text 2016-04-19 17:44
Reading progress update: I've read 414 out of 414 pages.
The Invention of Fire - Bruce Holsinger

Now to decide what I think of it...

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text 2016-04-17 01:12
Reading progress update: I've read 190 out of 414 pages.
The Invention of Fire - Bruce Holsinger

I don't understand why you'd prefer to use a living creature as a target.  Unless it's to prove that your weapon can kill?

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