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Rate and review the last book you read



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  #1521  
Old March 14th, 2016, 11:02 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

The Divergent series, by Veronica Roth

Divergent - 5/10
Insurgent - 4.5/10
Allegiant - 2/10

I'm not a fan of stories written in the first person of the present tense. For some reason, it has become a fashion to write YA fiction that way, especially if it's set in some post-apocalyptic future. I can live with that, but after the first time it stops being an asset to become a cliché.

Divergent - The story starts well. The idea of the factions society and the Divergent trying to fit in is good. The sense of danger and loss of identity is well-managed and even the subplot with Four is decently written, though the revelation about his background is not a surprise. I thank Ms Roth for writing characters with shades of grey, but sometimes she's too eager and it feels forced.

Insurgent is more irregular. The first part of the books feel like a pretext for Tris to be forced into the Erudite headquarters. That part, however, is very good. Four is quite undeveloped and behaves quite incoherently. The new revelation about him isn't a surprise, either.

Allegiant - I don't understand why Ms. Roth splits the PoV in Allegiant. It feels incoherent (and, worse, reminds me of the Twilight series...). The story had several subplots before and managed only with Tris's PoV, so why doing this now? The what-is-beyond-the-fence thing isn't an unexpected plot twist. I had been suspecting something of the sort since Marcus Eaton mentioned the special information the Abnegation possessed. Anyway, the plot suddenly becomes big... And Ms. Roth looses control over it. The story becomes inconsistent (test subjects wandering free and armed around the compound, really?), and by this time you are thinking that they use serums for too many things.

Anyway, I admit it's a page-turner


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  #1522  
Old March 19th, 2016, 4:29 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

7/10: The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

On Goodreads I hovered between a rating of "liked" and "really liked." It's a highly readable book with some nice philosophy that made me eager to turn the page, but the protagonist, plot, and perceived pretension made me weary and separated from the characters. Overall, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next installment and the expansion of magical theory in this world, but this book doesn't make me want to know more about the world, as the world and its characters seem overly black and white.


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  #1523  
Old March 28th, 2016, 9:55 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams -- Stephen King -- 7/10

Pretty good set of short stories.


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  #1524  
Old June 13th, 2016, 10:36 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, 3/5. No comparison with Jane Eyre, but still an enjoyable book. Review here.


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  #1525  
Old June 24th, 2016, 2:26 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

5/10 Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Nuevel


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  #1526  
Old August 19th, 2016, 7:27 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Last book I read to the end was The Birds and the Bees by Milly Johnson

7/10

Yes, it's one of those books with a picture on the front that doesn't really grab your eye unless you're looking for a book described with that horrible, catch-all term "chick-lit"

But I enjoyed it. In fact, I have enjoyed every one of her books that I have read.

Sure, they do have a lot of cliches, you know, girl is single/dumped/her husband died; girl finds love at the end...but they're written in a way that it's not often I can guess exactly how the story is going. I find that her books draw me in, much in the same way as Marian Keyes books do.


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  #1527  
Old August 22nd, 2016, 9:27 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Isabella I, Queen, by Luis Suárez, 8/10

Biography of Isabella of Castille, the Catholic Queen. It's a History book, so it's all data, data, data, but it's written in quite an easy style. I specially liked that the auhor constantly tries the reader to see things from a XV century PoV, instead of judging by today's standards things that were made using a completely different view of the world.

The Borgias, by Mario Puzo 4/10

Quite disappointing. It's a collection of juicy but cliché stories about the Borgia family joined together by a very weak stoytelling. It felt like watching the Tudors but referred to the Borgia family.


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  #1528  
Old August 30th, 2016, 3:44 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

7/10 - Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan


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  #1529  
Old September 21st, 2016, 9:45 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 5/5, this is my favourite in the series and one of my favourite books all around.
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte - 2/5


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  #1530  
Old October 4th, 2016, 3:48 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

6/10 We Are All Made of Stars - Rowan Coleman


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  #1531  
Old November 2nd, 2016, 5:58 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

The Other World: the States and Empires of the Moon / the States and Empires of the Sun, by Cyrano de Bergerac - 6.5/10

Half-satirical, half-philosophical, a precedent of books like Baron Munchausen or Gulliver's Travels (though fortunately Monsieur de Bergerac had much more sense of humour than Mr. Swift). I thought it would be 1600s science fiction, but it's more. Not a light reading, but anyway a fascinating one.


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  #1532  
Old November 16th, 2016, 1:50 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

7/10 Me and Mom and Me - Maya Angelou


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  #1533  
Old December 7th, 2016, 10:37 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

I read two photography monographs last week - one by Diane Arbus and one by Vivian Maier. Both were 5/5


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  #1534  
Old April 17th, 2017, 8:45 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

10/10 Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy


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  #1535  
Old July 6th, 2017, 3:02 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

5/10 The Nix - Nathan Hill


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  #1536  
Old July 17th, 2017, 11:53 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack - 2/5.

It’s fast-paced enough to hold your interest but ultimately it’s pointless. The multiple stories spanning some 200 years make it hard to follow the main plot and eat up the space of the supposedly major characters, so you never get to properly know them, and when one of them died, I couldn’t care less. It was just a name to me. And that’s bad because clearly that death was supposed to elicit a strong emotional reaction.

The historical parts are half-baked. Famous historical figures like Cleopatra, Caesar, Ghiberti, Rasputin pop up pointlessly along to way, just so they can be there. They’re not a part of the fabric of the story, they’re celebrity cameos.

There’s a lot of telling and scarce showing. The cards are constantly mentioned as being powerful, then Semele or her ancestors touch them, they feel their power, etc., but they never actually do anything. At any point. All the Seeing is done through concentration or in dreams. The cards are basically useless.

The writing felt amateurish to me, like an ambitious high schooler trying to get into the big writing game. The plot twists lacked power because, as I mentioned, there’s not enough time to get to know and therefore care about the characters.


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  #1537  
Old July 23rd, 2017, 10:12 am
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

What we really do - The Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips 6/10

Interesting insight into the wolrd of singing renaissance poliphony and, additionally, the life of professional musicians. As a singer, even an amateru one, I found really useful material and hilariorus ancedotes.

Of course, if you don't care about renaissance music or professional singing, it's not likely you get much interested...


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  #1538  
Old September 13th, 2017, 9:16 pm
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Re: Rate and review the last book you read

A Feast of Crows, and A Dance with Dragons, by George R. R. Martin - 5/10

The story gets more tangled, lots of places are visited, lots of characters come, and go, and (of course) die, and it's a page-turner. The problem is that everything is so big that you start feeling that everything and everyone is walking in circles. After 800 pages each plot has taken maybe three small steps, and I can't manage to care for all of them.

Patria (Homeland) - Fernando Aramburu - 8/10

It's been a long time since I've been so hooked by a book.

Two families, a small Basque village and the terrorist group ETA in an arch story that spans about twenty years. Characters and environments are wondefully portrayed. I mean, some of the characters seem like drawn from people I've known in real life. I've breathed the oppressing atmosphere of a village much like the one described when visiting relatives. It feels absolutely real, and I couldn't stop reading till I finished, at 2 am.


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