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Cliched

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-04-15

Well, I've got to the end. It was not a struggle as it can be (3 stars because of that), but it was neither a thrill ride they would like to make you believe. Bit cliched, with twists not really being twists, but with intresting insight into the alcoholism of everyday girl...

One of my favourite listens

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-05-14

Not sure if this book was a source of inspiration for many later anti-war films about WW2 or Vietnam wars, or does it convey soldiers' feelings so realistically...

I was planning to read this one for long time, but have delayed it. What new could I read about WW1 or how people involved feel in it. Well, I was wrong and, despite this book will make you depressed while reading, am glad I finally read it.

At this moment, I can not think of better war / antiwar book. It is not too long and I can fully recommend it. What I can not understand is, how could have something similar (and worse) have happened only 20 years after The Great War :( After feelings so strong in those involved in this slaughter, it is impossible horrors of war were forgot by the same generation.

Set some time apart - but worth it

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-05-14

Wow, this one took long. But, despite some side stories, which at first seemed are there only to annoy (or to build up pagination), it was very pleasant sci-fi experience.

Story is set some 400 years in the future, when humanity has expanded to 600+ planets, thanks to technology of worm-hole travels. It coexists with other species, has developed its worlds in peace, eternal life is almost guaranteed through rejuvenations and relife procedures, and all in all - everything as should be. Obviously, it will not stay for long.

I read Great North Road from the same author, which is stand-alone sci-fi crime story, but Pandora's Star is much better. Some concepts repeat from GNR, but this one is much deeper and takes you into Commonwealth, making you feel sorry you can not use some of the stuff and gadgets used by people there and then. Besides rejuvenation, relife and wormholes, we have things like e-butlers (virtual assistant living in your head), audio and visual inserts (bio-neural-technology and chemistry), womb tank instead of pregnancy, enzyme bonded concrete, education downloads at 12, instead of schools etc.

Pandora's Star is only first half of the Commonwealth story and I expect more good stuff - but am bit afraid Hamilton was not able to keep it on the same level for double this length...

High standards with Harry Holle

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-14

Nesbo is keeping high standards in my fourth (and sixth in a series) novel starring Oslo Inspector Harry Hole, investigating murder of Salvation Army officer.

Realistic and grim, as we are used to for Scandinavian writers, with no black &white characters, and with main hero being an alcoholic - Nesbo manages to give us a main story, interwoven with few minor plots. It is almost a perfect crime novel, however somewhere in the middle I had a feeling he was trying to unnecessary make it longer. Nevertheless, despite his shortcomings (or maybe because of them) Harry stays one of the best and coolest characters in crime novels.

Unlike first three, which I read, I listened to this one from Audible, and voice of Sean Barrett added extra dimension to Hole ;)

Good thriller in unusual setting

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-14

Set on the Scottish Island of Lewis, the setting is quite unusual. Despite being relatively short read, author manages to squeeze two books into one - detective story of bloody murder, and psychological story about rediscovering your own past and missed opportunities... Both parts being quite good, so I can recommend this one. I will continue with the next part in a trilogy.

Excellent, well worth your time despite length

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-14

Sometimes you come upon a book which reads as someone's life. Incredibly detailed and developed characters, cities, art, life-defining events, mistakes and remorse... Despite characters have many flows - especially Theo, first-person narrator - and you clearly see that choices they make are wrong, that is also one of things that makes Goldfinch great. As life itself.

From teens (being 12) to adulthood, through life marked by one event and by Goldfinch, 17th century picture by Dutch painter Fabritius, this is read which you do not wish to end. I liked living for a month with these characters and will surely miss them.

I can see some people don't like ending, seeing it too philosophical and not advancing the story far enough, I disagree... Some paragraphs in last pages are perfect:

"What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted-? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beatiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?... If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement, the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or... is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?"

This is closest to Dostoyevski's Notes from Underground I read in past few years...

Nice premise, but poor mystery

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-14

Asteroid Maia is about to destroy life on Earth in 6 months time. And rookie Detective Hank Palace is investigating a suicide case, which he believes is a murder.

First part of a story, coming armageddon is quite interesting, and the only reason I am giving The Last Policeman three stars instead of two. If Winters would have focused more on this part of the story, it could have been excellent novel.

On the other side, it is very week murder investigation. A mistery novel where you don't care about finding a murder (and in the meantime guessing it half-way through) is not really something where you should spend your time. Also, characters are uninteresting and undeveloped, so besides interesting premise, you don't get much else...

2 people found this helpful

Any Human Heart cover art

Life well told

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-14

Written in a form of a diary, Any Human Heart follows a life of fictional novelist Logan Montstuart. After promising start in life, early success with first published works and after meeting number of 20th century celebrities (Hemingway, Picasso, Woolf...), his life goes other way after WW2. Still, he manages to lead eventful life, witnessing some of extraordinary events of the century, and making at least few years really happy. "It's good to acknowledge that you found true happiness in your life - in that sense your life has not been wasted."

Main character is not very heroic and positive - he uses drugs extensively through part of his life, he drinks and does not manage to create a relationship with his first son. He is a normal guy, with faults which make him more human.

Writing is good - it did not start well for me, but it keeps up once Logan finishes University. Some parts manage to shock, and some are humoruous. It was a life well lived - and book is interesting enough that deserves recommendation.

After "Brazil", this is dissapointment

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-14

I liked Palin's Brazil very much. It presented a country in very various and lively way, it made me start saving money for my next long vacation to be there - and not visit only Rio and Sao Paolo. So, I bought this one quickly after.

There are few problems with a book. As I lived in "New Europe", I presume is the first one. There is not much new revealed to me, and I don't think only of ex-Yugoslavia, but also of Bolgaria, Romania and Baltic country, which I have not visited yet. Despite being 120+ days around, he did not manage to show countries in interesting ways, as he did for Brazil.

Second problem is repetitiveness, especially from political point of view. Too much time is spent on stories about ex-communist countries, what people think now, how they feel about changes, etc.

And the third one is that some countries receive very little attention. Serbia, for example, is presented only through Belghrade, and even that on very short level.

Not sure I will be continuing with his other travel books.

4 people found this helpful

Good WW2 thriller and mother-and-daughter story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-11-13

Mother and daughter story, set in 1970s Britain. Sally makes a big revelation to her daughter Ruth regarding her past, and role as a spy in WW2. With this, she changes everything Ruth thought she knew about her mom.

Novel follows two stories - one above mentioned and second one set in 1939-1942, about British spy operations in the war. Each story has its own atmosphere and is narrated in different style. Story from the past is darker, more melodramatic, but as told in third person (present story is in first), it is also less personal.

Story is interesting, atmosphere excellent and author manages to capture the feeling of being followed and how ex-spies must have felt after ending their careers. Recommended reading both for WW2 lovers, but not only for us...

Narration is spot on and will make you enjoy the book even more.

19 people found this helpful