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review 2020-06-26 07:35
Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler

Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler:

From the Amazon page:

Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society.
Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.

 

Sera Fitzempress is a princess born into power. She yearns to meet the orphan girl she has heard so much about, but her father deems the girl unworthy of his daughter’s curiosity.

 

Neither girl feels that she belongs. Each seeks to break free of imposed rules. Now, as Cettie dreams of living above and as Sera is drawn to the world below, they will follow the paths of their own choosing.

 

But both girls will be needed for the coming storm that threatens to overturn both their worlds.

 

I only just finished reading this book. I didn’t know what to expect. I have all these free books and while the title sounded intriguing I hadn’t read much about it and since it was a while since I downloaded it, I couldn’t remember anything. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Freebies are always of varying quality. So many DNF:s, but also a few that are really great. The test of this is whether I would want to buy the book and in this case, I definitely would and continue to buy books in the series, as long as they are as good as this one.

 

You get to know Cettie very well, and Sera quite well. Also the (former) admiral is someone you get to know well. The others, not so much. Some of them are still quite likable. There are also scary ghosts that you don’t really learn much about. They’re probably ordinary spirits of the dead, but not quite. More like monsters that want to suck your body heat from you. All in all, though, this book wasn’t too terrifying. I would probably have been able to read it at the age of ten and up.

 

I love the world building. The sky manors are fascinating and they’re not just opulent mansions, but have their own set of rules that Cettie gradually gets to know. I’ll try to keep this spoiler free, so I’m not going to mention one of the coolest aspects of those manor houses but I really loved it.

 

Poor people participate in lotteries to be allowed to work as servants up in the sky and onyl a few are chosen. The rich use the slums to ’disappear’ undesirables. People can vanish without a trace and children usually don’t live to grow up. People can also ’deed’ away their children for a certain number of years into various positions, some quite prestigious, others backbreaking dull work. Some for so long they’re expected to die in servitude. It’s a sad, dark world inspired by Charles Dickens’ work.

 

Oh, and the book is well written and fascinating so I can really recommend it to anyone who likes this type of fantasy story.

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review 2020-06-25 14:12
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

TITLE:  Great Expectations

 

AUTHOR:  Charles Dickens

 

PUBLICATION: Penguin Classics Edition [ISBN: 9780141439563]

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DESCRIPTION:

 "Dickens's magnificent novel of guilt, desire, and redemption
The orphan Pip’s terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, and his mysterious summons to the house of Miss Havisham and her cold, beautiful ward Estella, form the prelude to his “great expectations.” How Pip comes into a fortune, what he does with it, and what he discovers through his secret benefactor are the ingredients of his struggle for moral redemption.
"

________________________

REVIEW:

 

Definitely better than I expected.  Not long winded at all.  The "peasant dialect" is a bit hard to understand though.  A typical coming of age story.  I love Wemmick.  Too bad Dickens didn't write more about Wemmick.

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text 2020-05-07 16:25
Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 801 pages.
Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens,Richard Gaughan

I'm a chapter past "Mr Wegg looks after himself", and damn if now that I look back at that chapter title I don't giggle at how doubly appropriate it is. And on it's own is quite the short tale of the absurd.


So far I find the Boffins a bit naive but lovely, as is Lizzie (on that note, I want a whole volume of episodes starring Miss Abbey, the taproom owner), Bella somewhat shallow and YOUNG, but also (from a cynic point of view) right, and the whole things around the Veneerings as Dickens at his best (name and all).

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text 2020-05-05 17:15
Snakes and Ladders Track Post
Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens,Richard Gaughan
Red Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. Le Guin

 

1. Author is a woman: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey 04/01 Review

6. Title has a color word in it: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 04/04 Review

 

27. Set during WWI or WWII: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer  10/04  Review     

38. Newest release by a favorite author: Golden in Death by J.D. Robb  11/04 Review

41. Characters involved in politics: Yeah, no. Read Vendetta in Death by J.D. Robb 14/04 Review and roll 1 die.

47. Snake - go back to 19

 

19. Set in the UK: The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories by Angela Carter 18/04 Review

28. Written between 1900 and 1999: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer 23/04 Review

36. Set in Central or South America: Too scattered for Amado, I read a short Bodoc for children and call it. Review

37. Has won an award: Started Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie  05/01 Review

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year: I counted so wrong before, but I was listening The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin  while cleaning and cooking this weekend and still works. Will post review in a bit. Meanwhile

54. Is more than 400 pages long: Huh... well... I've got Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens on the dock. And Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. Either ought to go over that...

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review 2020-04-22 17:36
Bleak House
Bleak House - Charles Dickens

There are many curses that people place upon themselves and their descendants, some are the rest of their actions and others by their indecisions complicated by bureaucratic failures then sometimes it’s both. Charles Dickens shows the effects of both in his 1853 novel Bleak House not only on his main characters but also on secondary characters who are just unlucky to interaction with the afflicted persons.

 

Sir Leicester Dedlock and his wife Honoria live on his estate at Chesney Wold. Unknown to Sir Leicester, before she married, Lady Dedlock had a lover, Captain Hawdon, and had a daughter by him. Lady Dedlock believes her daughter is dead. The daughter, Esther Summerson, is in fact alive and is raised by Miss Barbary, Lady Dedlock's sister, who does not acknowledge their relationship. After Miss Barbary dies, John Jarndyce becomes Esther's guardian and assigns the Chancery lawyer "Conversation" Kenge to take charge of her future. After attending school for six years, Esther moves in with him at Bleak House. Jarndyce simultaneously assumes custody of two other wards, Richard Carstone and Ada Clare (who are both his and one another's distant cousins). They are beneficiaries in one of the wills at issue in Jarndyce and Jarndyce; their guardian is a beneficiary under another will, and the two wills conflict. Richard and Ada soon fall in love, but though Mr. Jarndyce does not oppose the match, he stipulates that Richard must first choose a profession. Richard first tries a career in medicine, and Esther meets Allan Woodcourt, a physician, at the house of Richard's tutor. When Richard mentions the prospect of gaining from the resolution of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Jarndyce beseeches him never to put faith in what he calls ‘the family curse’. Richard disregards this advice and his subsequent career endeavors fails as a result of his growing obsession while his personal relationship with Jarndyce deteriorates. Lady Dedlock is also a beneficiary under one of the wills and while looking at an affidavit by the family solicitor, Mr. Tulkinghorn, she recognizes the handwriting on the copy and almost faints, which Tulkinghorn notices and investigates. He traces the copyist, a pauper known only as "Nemo", in London. Nemo has recently died, and the only person to identify him is a street-sweeper, a poor homeless boy named Jo, who lives in a particularly grim and poverty-stricken part of the city known as Tom-All-Alone's. Lady Dedlock investigates while disguised as her maid, Mademoiselle Hortense. Lady Dedlock pays Jo to take her to Nemo's grave. Meanwhile, Tulkinghorn is concerned Lady Dedlock's secret could threaten the interests of Sir Leicester and watches her constantly, even enlisting her maid to spy on her. He also enlists Inspector Bucket to run Jo out of town, to eliminate any loose ends that might connect Nemo to the Dedlocks. Esther and Lady Dedlock see each other at church and talks at Chesney Wold without recognizing their connection. Later, Lady Dedlock does discover that Esther is her child. However, Esther has become sick (possibly with smallpox, since it severely disfigures her) after nursing the homeless boy Jo. Lady Dedlock waits until Esther has recovered before telling her the truth. Though Esther and Lady Dedlock are happy to be reunited, Lady Dedlock tells Esther they must never acknowledge their connection again. Meanwhile Richard and Ada have secretly married, and Ada is pregnant. Esther has her own romance when Woodcourt returns to England, having survived a shipwreck, and continues to seek her company despite her disfigurement. Unfortunately, Esther has already agreed to marry her guardian, John Jarndyce, who sees Woodcourt is a better match for her and sets not only Woodcourt with good professional prospects and sets the two of them up for an engagement. Hortense and Tulkinghorn discover the truth about Lady Dedlock's past. After a confrontation with Tulkinghorn, Lady Dedlock flees her home, leaving a note apologizing for her conduct. Tulkinghorn dismisses Hortense, who is no longer of any use to him. Feeling abandoned and betrayed, Hortense kills Tulkinghorn and seeks to frame Lady Dedlock for his murder. Sir Leicester, discovering his lawyer's death and his wife's flight, suffers a catastrophic stroke, but he manages to communicate that he forgives his wife and wants her to return. Inspector Bucket, who has previously investigated several matters related to Jarndyce and Jarndyce, accepts Sir Leicester's commission to find first Tulkinghorn’s murderer and then Lady Dedlock. He quickly arrests Hortense but fails to find Lady Dedlock before she dies of exposure at the cemetery of her former lover, Captain Hawdon. A new will is found for Jarndyce and Jarndyce that benefits Richard and Ada, but the costs of litigation have entirely consumed the estate bring the case to an end. Richard collapses and Woodcourt diagnoses him as being in the last stages of tuberculosis and he dies before the birth of his namesake son. John Jarndyce takes in Ada and her child, a boy whom she names Richard. Esther and Woodcourt marry and live in a Yorkshire house which Jarndyce gives to them. The couple later raise two daughters.

 

The above synopsis only covers the main plot, but expertly woven throughout are two subplots surrounding Caddy Jellyby and Mr. George Rouncewell who interact with the main characters at various times throughout the novel. Dickens masterfully crafts the cast of characters and the plot in an engaging and intriguing serious of plots that make the book a complete whole thus showing why his work is considered among the greatest of literature. Yet Dickens is also a bit too wordy resulting in scenes taking longer than they should and making some readers like myself, to start skimming through places in the later half of the book when a character that likes to spout off begins having a soliloquy of some indeterminable length at the expense of missing something connected to the slowly culminating climax.

 

Bleak House turns out to show Charles Dickens at his best as well as showing off what might be his one little flaw. The interesting characters and multilayered narrative keep the reader engaged throughout the book even as they must sometimes endure Dickens wordiness that might drown them in unnecessary prose. Though over 900 pages, a reader should not feel intimidated given that many Dickens books are an extraordinary length and the reader keeps on being engaged throughout their reading experience so that length does not matter.

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