“The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss

Pages: 662  Publish Date: 2007

About the novel~This is a sci-fi/fantasy novel which happens to be my favorite genre. It is the first in a 3 part series called The Kingkiller Chronicles. There are a couple of very interesting things this series has going for it apart from being exquisitely composed. First, it is a story within a story. Second, this novel is Day 1.

In an attempt to explain these things better, Day 1 is the day Kvothe began telling his history to a man named Chronicler. As you can probably tell by his name, Chronicler is just that. His job is to “collect” stories, and Kvothe’s is one of myth & legend. So the story within the story is the one he tells us about his extraordinary life, yet there are sporadic real-time events in play as well.

In my own words~This is the tale of a man named Kvothe. A man who came from a great, albeit very unique troupe of gypsies, became an orphan without a face in unforgiving world after tragedy (of course), then became the most gifted young magician. His story is fascinating & very noteworthy.

Patrick Rothfuss has made me love several characters apart from the protagonist. There is Denna, Wil, Simon, all of the damn professors, and the girl beneath the school, Auri. Patrick has also written a novella about Auri’s life, so I can’t wait to read that. She is a very curious character. There are also the mysterious Chandrian. These are the demons who have murdered Kvothe’s troupe & they are his primary focus. He spends his time in college trying to learn as much about them as possible. As I read this novel I began to feel how mystical they were & like Kvothe, wanted to know more.

I will say the reason I read this is because a friend that worked at Barnes & Noble at the time told me, based on my taste, I can’t go through life without reading this. He was more than right. Patrick Rothfuss is a surprisingly underrated writer. The plot, protagonist, and character development is comparable to G.Maguire, L.Grossman, & S.Clarke.

G

 

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“The Dinner” by Herman Koch

the dinner

Pages: 320

Publish date: October 29, 2013

The reason I read this book is the same reason I read other mainstream novels, favorable criticism. Now I am inclined to say the human race has disappointed me yet again. Now, where to start……..

This is the narrative of a family (2 couples) who are trying to calculate the handling of a heinous crime their teenage sons have committed. Of course, the resolution will affect all of their futures.

I do believe this novel had a lot of potential. The beginning was decent and well paced, but fell flat quickly. The build up to find out what these boys did was intact, but I feel the crime was delivered to the reader too soon. Once you know what transpired, the rest of the book was a complete bore. I thought it would possibly redeem itself once they began addressing the food, but that was worse than their conversation. The main charcater seemed to do nothing but bitch about the meal and service the entire time, so I guess I am not alone with my dissatisfaction!

Overall, I feel the optimal use of this book would be an insect swatter, home insulation, fire starter, doorstop, really anything besides reading.

G

“Horns” By Joe Hill

horns

Pages: 397           Publish Date: February 16, 2010

After reading the synopsis I knew this was a novel I had to decipher, but wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never read anything by this author before. This novel is written by Stephen King’s son Joe Hill (Joe Hillstrom King). I can tell you that he is not as good as his father, but I believe in time he could accomplish the suspense and horror his father contributes to literature. That being said, I am only giving this opinion based on this novel, not of his other two. Joe has two other novels I have not read but will, eventually.

This is a narrative of Ig (our protagonist), his love & loss of a girl, and his spiral into madness. After an immense tragedy, a community is torn & therefore looking for a scapegoat. Throughout the novel Ig is said scapegoat. There are many characters involved that are complex, but none so complex that it takes away from the story. One of my favorite characters is Lee Tourneau. He is everything you hate, but a character developed so perfectly you kind of admire him.

I will never look at a shopping cart the same.

My admiration of Joe Hill is at a 3 ★ (out of 5), but as I said before, he could be the next great suspense / thriller writer of our time. Actually I’m going to add a 4th ★ due to the fact that his movie adaptation was better than any of his father’s.

Ending (yes most important) was somewhat hard to read. I think it is one  that is not absolute. Everyone can philosophize on what it means. So, my dear friends, I will let you draw your own conclusions & leave my hypothesis out of this one.

Au revoir.

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn

Pages: 252         Publish Date: September 26, 2006

I know my last review of a Gillian Flynn novel (“Gone Girl”) wasn’t the greatest, but I decided to give the author another chance. The reasons being I felt she had potential and the areas where her stories are set I am familiar with. Previously I did not speak highly of her as a writer. This novel has been a total redemption of her writing ability, which is striking because this was her debut novel. I now hold Gillian Flynn in a higher esteem than I would most modern-day novelists.

 

“Sharp Objects” is a story about a woman named Camille, who is a reporter for a newspaper in Chicago. She gets an assignment about a series of murders of young girls due to the fact that they occurred in her hometown. Camille has a history of being a cutter (of a unique variety) and very much dreads the return to see her family, with very good cause. The cast of characters are all believable and relatable, albeit crazy in their respective ways. The emotions and relationships conveyed in this novel are very engaging as well. They seem to be so real in fact, that I wonder how many of the characters are based on actual relationships. She also touches on Munchausen by proxy, which was a nice and rare twist.

 

I do not wish to divulge any spoilers, so I will leave you with my thoughts on the ending (as usual). There are so many persons of interest that I had trouble deciding who I thought the killer was, but the ending was refreshing and did not embitter me in the least!

 

“Inferno” by Dan Brown

Pages: 480            Publish Date: May 14, 2013

This is one of the few novels I anticipated so much that I pre-ordered it. I think Dan Brown has considerable talent & I always look forward to his next project.  I will admit I got myself very worked up counting down the days until I could tear into it.

Now to the ugly truth. I was less than impressed with Dan Brown’s writing in this, his fourth novel in the Robert Langdon series. He usually mixes the perfect concoction of history, drama, suspense, & visuals. The major problem I had with this novel was his formula was asymmetrical. He focused too much on giving the reader visuals, so much so that at points I was bored & wanted to skip pages. At times it actually almost felt like a guidebook rather than historical fiction. I know he travels a lot for his research & this undeniably had a Frommer’s feel to it. The story in it’s base form was highly entertaining, although the symbology & hunt for said symbols was not as good as in “The DaVinci Code”. High points? It did have a skillful & flawless ending. Dan Brown also managed to provoke thinking on the ever present issue of overpopulation.

It was on the NYT bestseller list for 17 weeks (11 of those weeks at #1) which I find truly remarkable because of the mixed reviews it received. In the end, I miss the sense of urgency that Dan Brown is known for, so I give it a 3 out of 5 stars. I will invariably look forward to Dan Brown’s future work & what secrets it may have the world contemplating.

~Geneva

“Coda” By René Belletto

Pages: 69       Published: March 2011

“It is to me that we owe our immortality, and this is the story that proves it beyond all doubt.”

This being the opening line, was the perfect exposition of this novella. My sentiments on this story comes down to two words: instant gratification.

I do not want to say too much about the story itself due to it being so succinct. The mystery commences to unfold with a frozen package of clams. It then proceeds on to, among many other things, a meeting with Fate in disguise as a beautiful woman. There are some very strange things that happened which I absolutely loved.  Renè’s writing is very thrilling, bordering on suspense. The story is told very quickly, so much so that I found myself reading in haste.

If you desire a quick, yet satisfying read I highly recommend this book. It takes minimal time to read and makes you ponder the paradox of death, fate, and immortality.

~Geneva

“Me and the Devil” By Nick Tosches

Pages: 387         Publish Date: December 2012

To be honest, the reason I selected this novel to read and review is because of the title. Who hasn’t had one of those sensations? Then, upon reading the synopsis, I was further intrigued.  Here it is for you:

An aging New Yorker, a writer named Nick, feels life ebbing out of him. The world has gone to hell and Nick is so sick of it all that he can’t even have a glass of champagne. Then one night he meets a tantalizing young woman who agrees to come back to his apartment. Their encounter is the most strangely extraordinary of his life. Propelled by uncontrollable, primordial desires, he enters a new and unimagined dimension of the forbidden and is filled with a sexual and spiritual ecstasy that is as intense as it is unholy.

Suddenly Nick’s senses are alive. He feels strong, unconquerable , beyond all inhibition and earthly morality. He indulges in life’s pleasures, pure and perverse, sublime and dangerous, from the delicate flavors of the perfect tomato to the fleshy beauty of a woman’s thigh. But Nick’s desire to sustain his rapture leads him to a madness and a darkness far greater and dreadful than have ever ridden the demon mares of night.

Writing in a lineage that includes Dante, William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby, Jr., and Hunter S. Thompson, Nick Tosches may be America’s last real literary outlaw-a fearless, uncensorable seeker of our deepest secret truths and desires, from the basest to the most beautiful. Me and the Devil is outrageous, disturbing, and brilliant, a raw and blazing novel truly unlike any other. Like the man said: Read him at your peril.

  Alas, I did read him at my peril….

Nick is a master of adumbrating. I wasn’t quite sure were it all was leading for the first half of the novel. He is brilliant in how he makes words come together in such a manner that you feel like you are on this journey with him. His accounts are so vivid, that I was actually very impressed early on. He shares the dark side within him that not many can capture in such a beautiful manner. Also, he has accomplished one of  the best portrayals of  trying to ensnare such things as: the fine line between genius and madness, the war within us to conform,  as well as the complexity of explaining beauty and power.  Beauty, be blessed and damned.

After all that had happened in this novel, surprisingly, the ending left me very contented. I cannot say that about many novels. This is one of the more transcendent novels I have read in a very long time. I can tell it is one I will return to again and again. If  for no other reason,  just to remind me how completely intricate each of us are.

Postscript ~To have you even more tantalized~the one sentence at the end~”About the Author”~I found most dark & amazing upon finishing.

Geneva