I got this for $1 at the Metro Library Book Sale. I had no idea they ever made a graphic novel of Redwall, so I was excited. But given how thin the book was I had my worries. And it turned out to be what I feared. They condensed this far too much. Numerous characters were glossed over or left out. They didn't even mention otters, who are major creatures in Mossflower. Moles, especially Foremole, was only seen on one page. Some dialogue was hard to understand, and some panels were convoluted. This really needed to be at least 50 pages longer to fully flesh out any Redwall tale. We even cut the ending rather short so you didn't even have time to fully grieve for those lost in the final battle. Just a neat bow on things.
I am a big fan of Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, as an author, a blogger, and I was lucky to discover her blog a few years back, and although I missed some of her early serials at the time of their initial conception, I have managed to catch up with them over time. I have also read her novel, Atonement, Tennessee (you can check my review here) and know that apart from an imagination that knows no bounds, and a love of period research and attention to detail, she has a way with words and can create magical characters that readers get to care for and make them live through situations that never fail to surprise us and keep us on tenterhooks.
As she explains in her description, she has been running a number of serials on her blog, pantser style. She asks her readers for things and/or ingredients, and she makes up a story that keeps developing as her imagination, and the things and ingredients, dictate. I am in awe at her creativity and I must recommend her blog (Teagan’s Books), as I know she is working on her next serial (and her process of creation is totally interactive).
Many of her readers (I included) kept telling her we would like to have the option of having her serials in book format, and eventually, she relented. I have reviewed her first serial in book format, Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story (you can read my review here) and many of the things I said about the previous book can be applied to this one. This is another light, fun, and fast book, with the same protagonist, Pip, a young woman, a flapper (as she keeps reminding herself and us, because being modern at the time was not an easy task), who, on this occasion, is sent to stay with her grandmother, Granny Phanny (she is a fabulous character, and although she would hate to be called a flapper, she is an utterly modern woman) in Savannah so she can learn how to cook. That helps introduce the ingredients part of the story, and the culinary theme adds a layer of interest to the story, although I would advise not to read the book when you’re very hungry, because although sometimes the ingredients don’t end up in a dish, they often do, and they all sound delicious.
Pip, who narrates the story in the first person, is recovering from a heartache and meets a cast of wonderful characters, from a family of Chinese restaurateurs, to a vet and his doctor wife, G-men, police officers, mobsters, and there is even a paranormal element in the story. Oh, and let’s not forget a collection of pets that will warm your hearts and make you laugh.
Pip’s language remains as peculiar as usual, and the author seamlessly includes the popular and fashionable expressions of the era in her book. I challenge readers not to end up using some of them, especially some of Pip’s favourites.
I recommended readers of the previous serial to play a game and try and imagine in which direction they would send the story, or how they would use the three things at the beginning of each chapter. You can do the same here, and if you’re fond of cooking, I’m sure you will have fun exploring possible ways of using the ingredients, both to cook and to advance the story. And by the end of the book, you’ll be amazed at how the author has managed to create a cohesive story from such diverse elements.
I recommend this book to readers with a sense of fun and play who enjoy a fast and light mystery (cozy style. No explicit violence, although there is violence, no sex scenes) set in the Jazz Age (oh, don’t forget to follow the author’s blog if you enjoy that historical period as she shares a post on the subject every Wednesday), with charming characters and great food. And even if you don’t have a lot of time to read for long stretches at a time, as the serial was created to be read a chapter per week, it is very easy to follow the story and not get lost. So, there is no excuse!
This collection of short stories by Barnes and Noble was worth the price. I loved the sparkly cover (the lettering is in silver) and there are also illustrations included. The pages are nicely edged as well and it comes with it's own personal bookmark. That said, I enjoyed all of the stories, though two of them were five stars in my opinion.
"A Scandal in Bohemia" (3 stars)-This apparently was the first short story featuring Holmes, but the third story featuring Holmes. We find Watson happily married in this one and back to practicing medicine. He stops by Holmes place at Baker Street and comes across Holmes being involved in a case that involves "The Woman" AKA Irene Adler. Can I say that one of the few things the Sherlock series did was with the character of Irene Adler? I loved her in the Cumberbatch and Freeman series. Ahem. I thought that the overall character of Adler didn't work for me in this one. Why does she refuse to give back the photos? Why would she waste herself over someone she purports to not care about? All in all an okay read, just not that thrilling.
"The Red-Headed League (5 stars)-I kind of got a kick out of a story that has red headed men in it as the stars so to speak. I do have to say that the character of Jabez Wilson was not that smart. Maybe because I don't trust anyone and watch too much Forensic Files type shows I would have thought the whole advertisement for red-headed men was up to no good. You don't need Sherlock Holmes to say hey there is something wrong here. Still though, I really did enjoy this one since I didn't see the why behind the story coming at all.
"The Five Orange Pips" (3 stars)-I liked this one. Not my favorite of the stories, but thought it was very good. I started reading and even went huh to the five orange pips that were sent to the character Elias Openshaw. This one creeped me out to read though since it includes references to the KKK and them going after the Openshaw men. There is rough justice in this one though, but the ending ultimately left me slightly unsatisfied. I like it when the criminals are caught and confronted in the end.
"The Blue Carbuncle" (3 stars)-We have Holmes and Watson tracking down how a priceless gem ended up in a goose's throat. This is so random. I never read this one before now so it's entirely new story to me. It just didn't make a lot of sense I found. I also didn't like the idea of the guilty party getting away and Holmes acting all well the person who was accused will totally just get out of this jam even though I know they didn't do it.
"The Speckled Band" (5 stars)- I read this story during high school English class and I enjoyed it then and now. This one creeped me out for days cause I already have an overactive imagination and now I of course start thinking about things that can bump or slither in the night. I do still want to know why the character of Helen Stoner would even still be hanging around her stepfather who obviously has a lot wrong with him.
"The Beryl Coronet"- (3 stars)-This was a rather weird case I found. A banker takes home a beryl coronet and is then awakened by his son bending the thing and finds some stones missing. I easily guessed who the guilty party was in this one though. I also once again wondered at Holmes letting the guilty party(ies) go free. Holmes going that one of the parties will get what is coming to them by their association with the other person was kind of eh to me.
"The Hound of the Baskervilles" (4 stars)-Re-read again for the second time. Here is my previous review. All of it still stands.
For such a short story, it did take a while to get going. We have Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson involved in a case of a mysterious hound that a man (James Mortimer) believes killed his friend Charles Baskerville. James is concerned since the new heir to the Baskerville estate, Sir Henry. There is a lot of clues and in the end, Holmes and Watson solve the mystery.
I like these stories (well the ones I have read) for the most part because we get told the story from Watson's point of view, with lots of Holmes running commentary. This one was lacking I thought since we get very little Holmes in this. I would liken it to the Poirot mystery I read last year where he solves the crime by sitting in his apartment, but had someone else do all of the work (The Clocks). Instead we have lots of Watson being on the scene and writing to Holmes to share his comments on everyone around the Baskerville estate.
I think the last story I read and really enjoyed about Sherlock and Doctor Watson was "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." Probably because the way the suspect set things up was very clever to me. And I loved the final resolution to everything as well. This story has whet my appetite somewhat for Holmes and Watson, so maybe I will start trying to read the first couple of stories again soon.
I can honestly say that I found the writing to be just a little bit muddled at times. I at one point could not follow who was who and who had done what (the two main women in the story). And I kind of called nonsense at how the whole thing was set-up. Maybe it's just me, but I think you could think of something better to do if you want to get rid of people. The flow was rather painful too for such a short story. I think it was jumping from Watson's narrative to his letters, and without Holmes around to provide clarity, I had no idea if what Watson was doing would ultimately be germane to the plot.
The setting of the Baskerville estate was perfect for a Halloween read though. A huge home alone on the moor with a dangerous hound afoot. We even get Watson out and about during a moonlit night for those who may want to read this for another bingo square.
The ending was slightly clumsy too. We had Holmes repeat what we already knew to Watson, and what Watson already knew too. I think it was to try to explain away a lot of holes in the story though, which Holmes or in this case Doyle did not do a very good job of.
Yes! I officially have my card for mauled by a demon hound.
Done! Since I telework on Monday and Fridays now (working from home due to PT) I am able to get up so much earlier and get through a lot more pages. Glad I finished this today. I started sneaking peeks at "Peril at End House" and can't wait to get to that one next!
Good collection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Barnes and Noble.