Tag Archive for Murder

Book Review: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This book is obviously an attempt to emulate the lengthy and intricately detailed novels of the Victorian era, like something Dickens would have written (Bleak House came to mind as I read it). Unfortunately, it falls far short of that mark, and instead was just overly wordy, repetitive, and slow-moving, without feeling like there was much substance.

The plot progressed very slowly, structured through constant flashbacks that awkwardly shifted from one character to another without furthering the plot very much at all. It often felt like felt like something that would have taken a minute in real life was drawn out of several pages, with much repetition. Conversations between two people would have them repeating the same phrase back and forth, or the inside thoughts of one character would be repeating and rehashing what was just detailed by the narrator or said by someone else.

Ultimately, the biggest problem was that all this detail felt like it was lacking proper substance to it. It was all just fluff, like being giving an airy ball of cotton candy when you’re hoping for a rich piece of dark chocolate to really bite into. Even if you try to savor the experience of wading through all those wordy passages, in the end, you don’t feel like you really got much out of it, despite all the effort.

I do appreciate what the author was trying to do, especially her efforts to make the language and style fit the time period. The book just didn’t quite work though, and it felt like I was reading the transcript of some sort of interactive, immersive video game, with rather heavy amounts of hand-holding, rather than a great work of historical fiction.

Book Review: The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan I’d heard the title of this book (and accompanying movie) many times before, but didn’t realize it was a spy thriller (I thought it was horror instead, perhaps due to the Alfred Hitchock movie connection?). It’s definitely a fairly thrilling read for the most part — the descriptions of the Scottish landscape were a bit hard to follow — and is a pretty enjoyable read.

Book Review: Let’s Kill Uncle by Rohan O’Grady

Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady Let’s Kill Uncle by Rohan O’Grady is another book republished by the Bloomsbury Group, but it just wasn’t that enjoyable for me. The story is an odd mix of an adult story, but with elements that might appeal to children, so I wasn’t sure who the intended audience was.

Two children, a boy and girl, visit a Canadian island for a summer, and, despite fighting at the start, end up having fun together with the few local residents. However, the boy’s uncle is plotting to kill him, though no one will believe the children when they try to get help. They try to figure out how to kill him first, with the limited means they have, and get into trouble along the way.

The story was ok, but I got a bit tired with it after awhile, perhaps because I don’t usually like stories about children. If you do, you might enjoy it more than I did though.