Book Review Quickies

Mpepper/ November 8, 2020/ Reviews

If you’d rather see/hear me talk about the books I’ve read lately, check my YouTube channel for all the videos. (Like, subscribe, click the bell, share, etc.) But if you’d rather read, here are the quick versions of my reviews.

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

This is the final tome in the three-part historical fiction series about the life of Thomas Cromwell, advisor to Henry VIII. I loved Wolf Hall and enjoyed Bring Up the Bodies, but this book was a bit of a slog for me. There’s a long middle space, somewhere between about the 30% mark and the 80% mark, where not much happens. Though I read this in less than two months, it felt like I’d been reading it forever. It’s as well written as the others, of course, but the pacing just didn’t work for me.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

This one was… interesting… I read an ARC on my e-reader, so the formatting was kind of weird, and I wasn’t sure if some of that was intentional because of the atmosphere of the story or??? The book is written in the form of journal entries, and at first it is very confusing; it takes time and patience to glom on to what is going on. Even then, though, I spent time wondering where the actual story was. The plot didn’t kick in until almost halfway through the book. There were times I thought I might not bother finishing it, but it’s also not a very long book, and I was just intrigued enough to keep going. The plot itself is not particularly deep or anything. I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to read, but I will say I liked the book much more by the end than when I started.

The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes #1) by Nancy Springer

This book suffered the disadvantage of my having watched the Netflix film first. I was pretty charmed by the film version, which means the book disappointed me because it’s quite different. For one thing, in the books Enola is 14 rather than 16. And the marquess? He’s 12! There is no potential love story here, and the plot is actually rather facile by comparison to all that happens in the movie. It was still an okay book, and I can’t imagine what my thoughts might have been had I not seen the movie first. It’s important to keep in mind the books are written for middle-grade readers, though the fact they then do fly-bys of things like prostitution may be considered questionable.

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady (Enola Holmes #2) by Nancy Springer

Better than the first one? Enola hunts for a missing baronet’s daughter while also trying to evade detection by her determined brother. We meet Dr. Watson in this book, and we get more of Sherlock as well. The story is more interesting, too, even if I did have it solved very early on. (Again, these are middle-grade books, so… I can’t really gloat that I figured it out.) I have the other books in the series lined up to read at some point, but two back to back is my limit, it seems, so I’m searching for a palate cleanser in the meantime. A little Enola goes a long way.

Things in my TBR Stack:

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – need to finally finish this series
Classroom of the Elite #6 by Syougo Kinugasa – but not feeling it right now
Enola Holmes 3-6 by Nancy Springer – as mentioned, need a break
False Value by Ben Aaronovitch
The Witch Elm by Tana French – started it but couldn’t get into it; don’t like the narrator

Thoughts? Suggestions? I think I need some nonfiction, actually, so I might go looking for something like that…

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