Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
Cormoran Strike is back with his assistant Robin, searching for a missing author of a controversial book. I read this at a similar time as Broken Harbor and I think it suffered a bit in comparison. Cormoran is a great character. He's a gruff, lumbering man, but his heart is big and his intimidating bulk can be deceptive for those who underestimate a sharp intelligence. In so many ways Strike has been broken, through his ex fiancĂ©, the war, his famous fathers neglect, etc. but his vulnerabilities are well hidden from the general public. 
I like that we are getting to know his history a little better as the series progresses. The writing can be overly descriptive and indulgent at times and I think for that reason it works better as an audiobook. Strike's assistant Robin had a chance to prove herself a bit more in this book. The tense relationship between her boss and fiancé hasn't improved, but she's taking a stance for what she wants of her career.
The plot of this one wasn't as strong in my opinion. It's a decent mystery, but it took a turn into some unnecessarily morbid and nasty areas. It was relevant to the characters lives, but it didn't need to be in there, nor to be taken quite as far in my opinion. It felt like Rowling was just trying to prove that she could write something graphic and not just a Harry Potter style content. I felt like she had already proven her skill as a mystery writer with “The Cuckoo's Calling” so that element in this book was completely unneeded. 
BOTTOM LINE: I like both Cormoran and Robin as characters and so I'll still plan on reading the next book in the series. But if it sinks into the same level of grossness I will probably stop there. I'm hoping this one's content had more to do with this particular case with the direction of the series has a whole.
*Read as part of the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.

Wordless Wednesday: Naval Memorial

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Navy Memorial in D.C. 
More Wordless Wednesday here.
Photo by moi.

The Bone People

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Bone People
by Keri Hulme

Set in New Zealand, Kerewin is a reclusive artist living alone in a tower by the sea. One day a young mute boy named Simon shows up at her home and soon insinuates himself into her life. Simon’s stepfather Joe finishes out the odd trio of troubled souls. Together they make a strange family of sorts, but the darker undertones in their relationships soon bubble to the surface.

I’ve never read anything quite like Hulme’s style. It’s a blend of narrative, inner monologue, and poetry. Some parts feel like stream of consciousness, in others we hear what someone is thinking while someone else is talking to them. Usually a style of writing that chaotic would really bother me, but somehow all of the distinct elements work well together and create the tone for the whole novel. 

The odd group of characters that doesn’t quite fit anywhere manages to fit together quite nicely. The subject material is tough; child abuse and alcoholism are two of the main issues dealt with in the story. I felt like there were many unanswered questions in the plot and the final third of the novel felt a bit confusing to me.

BOTTOM LINE: One of the most unique novels I’ve ever read. I’m glad I read it if for no other reason than that. I did love seeing Maori culture through a new lens and getting to know Kerewin and Simon. I wish the end had been easier to follow, but the regardless it was a singular reading experience. 

*There is a glossary of Maori words in the back of the book, but it isn’t alphabetized so I couldn’t ever find what I was looking for as I read the book.