Just a very enjoyable murder mystery book. Having only ever read Orient Express a couple months ago as far as Christie novels go and having been somewhat disappointed with how "dry" it was, I wasn't expecting much, but this one surprised me with its great humor and tone, colorful cast, little b-plots and mystery. The vicar is a truly enjoyable PoV character with an inner monologue I found often very funny, the police are incompetent and self-absorbed, the town regulars are just a bunch of weirdos and Miss Marple is a delight everytime she's "on screen", something that happens less than I expected but I think ends up working really well, specially since she's so often sidelined by "the professionals" only to show up and drop some new bombshell that leaves them flabbergasted. Also she has a shitty author nephew whose only reason for being in the book is sucking …
Costa Rican data scientist; if not programming and listening to music, it's just the music. tw, cohost: @fireblend
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2023 Reading Goal
4% complete! Sergio has read 2 of 50 books.
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Review of 'Murder at the Vicarage' on 'Goodreads'
Just a very enjoyable murder mystery book. Having only ever read Orient Express a couple months ago as far as Christie novels go and having been somewhat disappointed with how "dry" it was, I wasn't expecting much, but this one surprised me with its great humor and tone, colorful cast, little b-plots and mystery. The vicar is a truly enjoyable PoV character with an inner monologue I found often very funny, the police are incompetent and self-absorbed, the town regulars are just a bunch of weirdos and Miss Marple is a delight everytime she's "on screen", something that happens less than I expected but I think ends up working really well, specially since she's so often sidelined by "the professionals" only to show up and drop some new bombshell that leaves them flabbergasted. Also she has a shitty author nephew whose only reason for being in the book is sucking ass and I think that's great. Recommended!
Review of 'The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Dedalus European Classics Series)' on 'Goodreads'
As a sequel to Mystery of the Yellow Room this one surprised me; it's less straightforward as a mystery, in fact I'd say part of the puzzle is figuring out what the mystery actually is, or which of the multiple questions that get brought up throughout the book actually matter. This "looseness" is also reflected in Rouletabille's actions and demeanor, whose usual genius is incapacitated by the very personal circumstances that surround the central events of the novel, which also casts Sinclair, his assistant, in more of a handler role and makes both of them feel like onlookers rather than active participants. By the time the explanations came, I honestly wasn't as invested in the mystery aspect and some of the usual satisfaction involved was lost on me.
Review of 'The World We Make' on 'Goodreads'
This was a somewhat messy conclusion to what I thought was a better first book, but it was still enjoyable and a breezy read (way shorter than I thought it'd be). Most of the threads including the main narrative thrust feel like they finish somewhat abruptly or a waved off a bit too cleanly, but I do enjoy most of the cast and I guess I'm visiting NYC in a couple months so it was an appropriate read.
Review of 'Gokumon Island' on 'Goodreads'
An enjoyable sequel to The Honjin Murders with plenty to like. Multiple murders intertwined into a single central mystery, the post-war setting looming over everything, a solid cast with rival families at its core, a cool island map with a pirate fortress, and a set of final answers that I thought were really satisfying (as someone who doesn't really care about puzzling out solutions before they are explained).
Review of 'Bluebird' on 'Goodreads'
A fun space adventure novel set in a forever war between 3 factions whose motivations and backdrops seem somewhat thin but are good enough for a relatively low scopes, tight cast adventure such as this one. It feels like the pacing and writing could be polished a bit and some portions are longer than I wished but the awkward bits never really get in the way for long enough to detract from the Firefly-ish, Han Solo-ish feeling story.
Review of 'Into the Riverlands' on 'Goodreads'
I didn't enjoy this new Singing Hills novella as much as the other two. I think it takes too long to actually get started and tries to spin a tad too many threads for it's short length, and ends up being too scattered as a result. I could also see the final reveal coming from a mile away. The core of the series is still here though, it's a breezy, wholesome story about stories, myths and the ones who tell them. There's also plenty of Chih and Almost Brilliant's relationship which was appreciated.
Review of 'The Devourers' on 'Goodreads'
A beautifully written and memorable... urban fantasy? historical fantasy? romance? horror? novel that scores big points with me on aspects like the South Asian setting, the story-within-a-story structure with really well crafted pull-aways to the present time while we mostly go on a journey through different characters at different parts of their lives, the thoughtful discussion of colonialism, culture, history and myth-making, the re-intepretation of various cultures' mythologies... absolutely adored it, but be wary of CWs: rape, death, gore, descriptions of genitalia, cannibalism.
Review of 'Devil House' on 'Goodreads'
Not what I signed up to read at all based on the cover, title and Goodreads tags, but I found it beautifully written (found it very hard to stop reading at times) and considerate/compassionate regarding it's reflections on True Crime as a genre. The structure was very neat, just disorienting enough that I was charmed with its turns without becoming annoyed with not knowing what was going on.
Review of 'Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar Mysteries)' on 'Goodreads'
The tone reminiscent of a certain type of prestige TV crime serial isn't really my thing but it felt competently written and managed to keep my interest throughout.
Review of 'Three Assassins' on 'Goodreads'
The thriller tag may have led me astray in terms of expectations for this book, but nonetheless I enjoyed it for what it was. It mainly follows three characters embroiled in a "crime industry" in Japan that reads like a cartoon's idea of what industrialized crime would entail. Every assassin has it's killing gimmick and a set of beliefs with more holes than swiss cheese. We follow two of them and a "main character" that's out for revenge. Despite the lack of tension (or thrills), the book is really well written/translated, has a quick pace and builds a lot of momentum. It was hard to relate to the characters, but I can appreciate reading about a bunch of weirdos with flawed belief systems be propelled towards bad decision making. The reliance on coincidence to intertwine them reminded me a bit of Tokyo Godfathers.
Review of 'The journey to the West' on 'Goodreads'
This book has become extremely repetitive and somewhat of a letdown, specially after the brilliance that is Three Kingdoms. The Tang monk gets kidnapped because he didn't listen to Sun Wukong, so he and the other monks go chase and hit monsters in the head for 3 chapters, and sometimes he needs help from heavenly beings who seem to be orchestrating the whole thing. Rinse, repeat.
That said, there was a series of chapters in which the monks became pregnant by accidentally drinking pregnancy river water and had to go visit the Abortion Stream in the Child Destruction Cave to fix that which was pretty cool to be fair. Great arc.
Onto Volume 4!