Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Number 22 is You Suck by Christopher Moore. I picked this up mainly because it was cheap and because I like Christopher Moore. I like his books a lot. Problem is, I didn't realize this was a sequel. Oops. I'm not sure if that's why I didn't like this one as much as I've enjoyed his other books. I definitely felt like I'd missed a lot as there is a lot of reference to what happened in Bloodsucking Fiends and that's also where most of the characters were introduced. For some reason I felt the... danger in this book lacking. The main bad guy didn't come off as all that scary.

However, there were still fun moments and I especially liked the chapters told from the POV of trying-to-hard-to-be-Goth teenager Abby Normal.

Guess I'd better go and read Bloodsucking Fiends at some point.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Number 21 is The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory. This is a sequal to the her White Queen that I read earlier this year. The Red Queen in question is the heiress to the House of Lancaster, one of the two ruling houses (the other being the House of York) embroiled in the War of the Roses. Lady Margaret Beaufort (later Tudor, Stafford and then Stanley) is the mother of the future Henry VII, the first of the Tudor monarchs. She is (in Gregory's tale) an increadibly pious and ambitious woman. She feels it is her destiny to be important (else she would not have been born to such a high station in life) and if she cannot be Queen of England herself, then she will at least be mother to the King. Married at an extremely early age in order to bring forth the heir to the House of Lancaster, Margaret decides that this is her God given destiny (she has 'visions' of Joan of Arc and whatnot that prove the righteousness of her cause to her) to raise her son to the throne in place of the upstart Yorks. Basically, the be all and end all of Margaret's existence is seeing this through.

It's not a bad book. It's an increadibly quick read. The problem is the main character of Margaret is increadibly unsympathetic. I know that this is undoubtedly a stylistic choice on Gregory's part, but it made it rather difficult to be truly engaged in the book. Margaret is a vain, hateful, zealot who desperately wants power. When someone wants power that much, they probably shouldn't have it. She is also frighteningly un-self aware, ascribing vanity and hubris to everyone else but herself. She's obvioulsy smart (and historically she was said to be extraordinarliy leaned for a woman of the time), but you almost want her to fail (despite knowing very well that her son does triumph to defeat Richard III and start the House of Tudor) becuase she is so freaking insufferable.

It is an interesting look at the uses of the power of the women during the War of the Roses, but because Margaret was so unlikeable, I almost needed more focus on some of the male characters (or just other characters in general) to make the book more palatable.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Number 20! Whoohoo! The twentieth book of the year is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Cause yes, if I have an opportunity to read a blockbuster novel for free, I will generally take it. (I borrowed it from my Dad).

It's a huge, rambling, thriller and it's... ok. It's also pretty uncomfortable in parts, and I gather that it's because Larsson himself was very much against violence against women. But if he is, then I must admit I find it strange there's so much of that in here. And like, there's A LOT. But perhaps that's his way of proving his point... I dunno... but I didn't really feel like he was taking a stand against violence against women, it really did feel like he was rather... sensationalizing it.

Anyway, I don't want to get too much into this novel, it's kinda too big to do so. The main characters are ok, although I do think I find Lisbeth a little annoying after awhile. Her 'schtick' gets a little boring and all the repeat of her being a 'victim' just makes me wonder about some of her sudden feelings later... Blokvist is also fine, a strangely innocent version of a hardened reporter, but I did find his sexual prowness a little off-putting.

Not sure if I'll bother moving forward in this trilogy or not... jury's still out.