Thursday, November 26, 2015

Review: Omerta

OmertaOmerta by Mario Puzo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Was Mario Puzo a great writer? I don't know if I'd go that far. Some of his figurative language came off as sophomoric and his sex scenes left much to be desired. But was he an effective writer? Absolutely. You could blow through these books in a few days (a few hours!) if you wanted to, which is the sign of any effective writer.

This story features a character named Astorre Viola who is similar to Michael Corleone in that he is reluctant to get involved in a world of crime. But once the murder of someone he admires occurs, Astorre sets off to action since he believes in Omerta, which is the code of the Mafia. He must seek revenge. But being the calm character that he is, his revenge is more calculated, which leads to some interesting developments. I'd be lying if I said I didn't prefer the lack of action to action, since the violence is a little cartoony. This is not really a problem Puzo had in The Godfather, but he had it here. It just seems like the great set-up he made in establishing the plot was diminished when the action started to occur. It almost feels as if it was written by a different author.

There are also too many characters. Yes, you can keep track of all of them, but some of them feel a lot less necessary than others. Even so, as I mentioned earlier, Puzo was an effective writer, and I never felt bored with the book, even though there was a bit too much backtracking. It's a fairly enjoyable book and it doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth. Though, now that I've finished it, my appreciation of it is already starting to wane. It's not The Godfather, but it's a fine novel to read on a plane ride.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review: Library of Souls

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #3)Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, yeah. Now I rememeber why I liked these characters. After the lackluster second book, I kind of thought that the series hit its apex with the first book, but this third title hits most of the right notes. Sure, it has its problems - you're kind of stuck with two of the most uninteresting peculiar children for a majority of the book, some locations wear out their welcome sooner than appreciated - but the plot chugs along nicely, and the conclusion is satisfying and complete.

I'm also glad the author kept this to being a trilogy rather than dragging the series out. It all works in an elegant way and I'm glad I read the series. Don't worry about the second book. The third book makes it all worth it.

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Review: The Watchmage of Old New York

The Watchmage of Old New York (The Watchmage Chronicles Book 1)The Watchmage of Old New York by C.A. Sanders
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I usually hate fantasy, but I love this book. It's because of the characters and plot. They're legit! I'm sure there are other fantasy mysteries out there (This is more fantasy than mystery), but this is the one I've read and I'm pleasantly surprised.

The story, which takes place in old New York, features a father and son on the hunt for a missing baby. What happened to the baby? What are its deeper connections to the supernatural world? All unfolds at a steady clip, and the final answer is quite the twist. I didn't see it coming.

Now, there are a LOT of fantastic elements in this book, and usually, that's a deal-breaker for me. I don't like trolls or pixies or flying animals. I find the genre annoying. But I didn't find this book annoying. It's because the characters, Nathaniel (the father) and Jonas (the son) ground the narrative. Nathaniel, who is the magician, reminds me somewhat of Dr. Strange, which is pretty much the only magician I'm really into in comic lore. His desire to protect his son at all costs is what really cements the story for me. And what's great is that you get both perspectives, so you see it through two different eyes. And the scenery is amazing. I never thought I wanted to read about old New York until I read this story, but now that I have, I want to travel back to this world. It reminds me somewhat of the game, Dishonored. It just has that feel to it.

In the end, I highly recommend this book. It's a tad bit longer than it needs to be, but the ending is satisfying and it's worth the read. Looking forward to more.

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