Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Three Book Reviews

Hello one and all! I'm glad you stopped by today. Here's a few notes on books I've read recently.

The Casual Vacancy

JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. Skip it. Yes, just don't bother. It had a mildly catchy opening scene, but that was the best it achieved in the whole book. She's swapping points of view like she spun the wheel each paragraph or two. Pacing - well... it's too slow and too fast in all the wrong places. If you just want to read about England, politics and juvenile points of view, it'll do it. The climax and ending are a mess. If I hadn't been reading it for our book club, I wouldn't have bothered finishing it.

The Face of God

From the publisher: "THE PASTOR - His wife of twenty-three years has been murdered. His faith in God is crumbling before his very eyes. Now, with his estranged son, he sets out to find the supernatural stones spoken of in the Bible. Stones that will enable the two of them to hear the audible voice of God. Stones that may rekindle their dying faith and love. THE TERRORIST: He has also learned of the stones. He too must find them---but for much darker reasons. As the mastermind of a deadly plot that will soon kill millions, he has had a series of dreams that instruct him to first find the stones. Everything else is in place. The wrath of Allah is poised and ready to be unleashed. All that remains is for him to obtain the stones.With the lives of millions hanging in the balance, the opposing faiths of these two men collide in an unforgettable showdown. The Face of God is another thrilling and thought-provoking novel by a master of the heart and suspense, Bill Myers."

It took a looong time for me to get interested in this story - about halfway through in fact. It's an Indiana Jones style tale of the missing stones from the Priest's breastplate, without the Indiana comedy or drama. There are some really good sound-bites that make you stop and think about your Christian walk, and how our approach compares with others. The characters are predictable, the theological points of view are very stereotypical, and the ending is inconceivable. I also thought the subplot of a man who loses his wife of 23 years suddenly falls in 'love' with a woman he met just weeks after the funeral. I mean, it happens, but it's inappropriate in this story. I give it 2 stars.

Little Deadly Things

From the Publisher: "When abusive parents raise brilliant children, you might end up with a saint, or a killer...or one of each. Little Deadly Things is the place where science meets the psyche, where humanity's future is in the hands of a madwoman and the family that must stop her."

This was an intriguing story, and I had a hard time putting it down. It has a complex plot that was very well edited, making it easy to follow. It grabs your attention and keeps it firmly focused on the plot twists. I know some will dislike the sketchy and somewhat vague description of holistic healing of the rainforest natives, but it moved the plot along at just the right pace without being overbearing. I enjoyed this odd, almost freakish glimpse at a possible future world immensely.

So that's what I've been reading lately. I have a few more books to review, so hopefully I'll be back with those notes, very soon.