Friday, October 14, 2011
Title: A Dublin Student Doctor
Author: Patrick Taylor
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: A story about the education of Dr. Fingal Flaherty O'Reilly (the main character of Taylor's Irish Country Doctor series) set in Dublin during the 1930s.
Lauren's Review: While there's not really anything wrong with this book, I didn't love it either. I want to give this book one big 'meh' and be done with it.
Is that ok? Am I supposed to write more? I will, just so I don't feel like I failed my readers (joke).
The writing in this book drove me insane. It starts out jumping back and forth between the 60s and 30s and you can't tell what time period you are in (both stories are told in present tense). It's also repetitive, if you took out every time he repeats something it would be 100 pages shorter. And the ending...I won't spoil but it's just off. That being said, I had an Advanced Reader copy (I won from Goodreads First Reads) so I'm hoping an editor went through and at least fixed some of this before the book was actually published.
I know, I know, people aren't reading this book for the writing; they come for the characters. Taylor presents a fun group of characters (new and old) and puts them in an interesting stetting. I learned a lot about medicine and the state of Ireland in the 1930s. But the plot was less than thrilling and I didn't really 'care' about any of the characters.
Those who are already familiar with the series and like Dr. Fingal O'Reilly will enjoy learning more about his past, but for the rest of us I don't really recommend this book. But I don't dis-recommend it. It's just...whatever...
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Title: Cloud Atlas
Author: David Mitchell
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Crime Thriller, pretty much everything
Synopsis: This book is made up of 6 mini stories all packaged together like one of those Russian nesting dolls, you get the first half of each story in chronological order all the way to the middle, then you get the second half in descending chronological order until you've finished the first story of the book.
Lauren's Review: I absolutely loved this book! Like I said in the synopsis, it is made up of six 'nesting' stories. Each story is told in a different 'style' (diary entries, letters, crime novel, first person account), focusing on a different character in a different time period. That being said, this is NOT a collection of short stories! Each character encounters the works of the previous story in some form and they are all linked in subtle ways involving theme and a comet shaped birthmark.
This is one of those rare types of book that draws you in for the characters and plot, but leaves you thinking about the themes days and weeks later. It focuses on power, corruption, and the value of a human life; but it does so in a way that is unique and interesting. Please please pick up a copy and don't be turned off by the first story or two (which are a little old-Englishy), I promise it's worth it!
I got into a bit of an online debate about whether or not this book is 'pretentious.' Some people thought of it as a poorly written and without meaning...I really could not disagree more, but to each their own. I will say that not every aspect of the story is completely fleshed out nor is there an 'all loose ends tied up' kinda ending. I think this is troubling to some who want every story to wrap up or have a sequel, but it's just not that kind of book.
Just last month filming started on a movie version of this book, which is going to have an EPIC all star cast! I'm pretty excited - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1371111/
I'd love to hear from someone else who read it and what their take on it is!