29 April 2010

Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson book coverThis was the final book in the Millennium trilogy written by the late Stieg Larsson which has been in the Top 10 Australian bestseller lists for months now. This didn't have the pace and excitement of the first two novels in the series and contained a lot of background and procedural type back story. Whilst this was interesting to a certain extent, I was hoping for the emergence of an exciting climax to cap off the end of the series, however this was never forthcoming.

I enjoyed the 'trial' and there were some enjoyable moments during the Defence. Without giving too much away regarding the outcome, I was in a state of anticipation every time Salander was featured, waiting for some unexpected excitement or shocking revelation, but was largely disappointed.

The reader certainly gained 'closure' by the end of the book though, and all lines of interest were neatly tied up by the last page. I could have done without the career divergence of Berger throughout the book, which was largely unimportant and irrelevant in my opinion.

After reading the first two books in the series, this book is a must, if nothing else but for the closure, but it certainly isn't a book to 'rave' about. You have my permission to shuffle it further down the TBR pile for now, or better still, borrow it from a friend when the popularity of the series is long since forgotten.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!
11 April 2010

Review: The Waxman Murders - Paul Doherty

I'm still reading the medieval mystery series starring Hugh Corbett, although I'm almost up to date, woohoo!!! This is the 15th in the series and was another great medieval 'whodunnit', published in 2007.

This time the historical fiction was set in 1300 - 1303 and the plot involved the legend of a buried treasure, pirates as well as numerous murders and assassinations.

The regular characters were all in attendance; Sir Hugh Corbett, Ranulf and Chanson, and as usual the plot kept me guessing until close to the end. In my opinion this novel had a well stocked plot filled with much detail and interest in comparison so some of his earlier work in this series.

I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the latest publication in the series Nightshade, published in 2008.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!
05 April 2010

Review: The Book of Illumination by Maureen Foley & Mary Ann Winkowski

This book is written by Maureen Foley and Mary Ann Winkowski (the real life inspiration behind the tv show The Ghost Whisperer). I loved Mary Ann Winkowski's first book When Ghosts Speak which is an autobiographical account of her life as a medium. I was so excited to hear she had teamed up with another writer to publish a novel that I had to buy it right away. I savoured the sight of it on my bookshelf until I couldn't wait any longer and I dove right in.

The novel has so many cool elements: a character who can see and communicate with ghosts, two characters who are bookbinders by trade, ancient manuscripts, medieval monks, a rich family with a massive mansion and a butler, and a crime that needs solving.

I had such high expectations for the book that I couldn't help but be a little disappointed at the end result. I definitely believe too much time was spent on the main character's son and family arrangements (boring and not key to the plot) and I definitely wanted to read more about her ability to communicate with ghosts and how she decided to use this gift in her every day life.

In my opinion, the plot line was too complicated for these authors to successfully tackle in their first novel together, and the book would have worked better if they'd kept it simple instead of aiming so high.

Will I read any of their work in the future? Of course I will! Mary Ann Winkowski is the kind of author I will follow blindly, and I hope she hones her style and gains the confidence to write novels on her own. I'm confident she can do it and I'll support her work all the way.

My rating = **1/2

Carpe Librum!