Monday, 5 October 2015

Book Reviews

Some latest book reviews...

The Girl In the Spider's Web - David Lagercrantz

Part four in the Millenium series which started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Of course the biggest issue here is that Stieg Larsson who wrote the original trilogy died in 2004.  So David Lagercrantz has been drafted in by the Larsson estate to write the new edition.  Firstly, a more interesting book may actually be the machinations between Stieg's partner, Eva Gabrielsson, and his family over what he had planned for the rest of the series and also where his inheritance should have gone.  Eva and Stieg were not married and there was no witnessed will leaving her anything so it went to his brother and father.   Enough of the soap opera in the background though...  the book?

Well... sadly it is long long way from as well written as Larsson's books.  Much of the background is given through long sections of dialogue and it is just stilted and not as "on the edge of your seat" as Larsson's original series was.  In the end the development of the storyline from after the completion of the first trilogy is quiet good in someways but where as the original series I thought was simply stunning this isn't.  You can see the obvious plot lines developing and the characters are not developed at all - if anything the characters are regressed in this book as they aren't investigated at all by the author.   I don't envy anyone trying to write this book but sadly it was more a miss than a hit which is such a shame.

One Thumb horizontal I'm afraid ... I wish I could have given it more

The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton

Set in 17th century Amsterdam when Dutch traders were some of the richest on the planet this is a terrific book.  You are following young Nella, who has been married to a rich older merchant, Johannes, and is moving to Amsterdam at the start of the book.  From there the story takes on some bizarre twists.  Johannes has a domineering and controlling sister who seems to have no love at all, two interesting servant who have secrets and keep them too, he seems not interested in what Nella had expected her new husband to want from her etc.  He presents her with a doll's house which mirrors the house and it's occupants.  Nella finds a miniaturist who can help stock it for her but that takes on odd connotations too as new models are delivered not what she ordered.  A great storyline unfolds and you move with the characters through it - there is a whole undercurrent of questioning what is love and what moves from love to hate so easily at times.

Thoroughly recommended - a terrific read.

Two Thumbs up on the FTUBRS*

* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb down,
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded

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