Reading List by Rose for May & June
I’m a bit late when it comes to this series, since I somehow managed not to hear about it until recently. A series set during the Napoleonic Wars, only with an aerial corps of dragons, sounded like a fantastic idea. Novik has managed to give the dragons character and personalities and to integrate them into history and the military scenes so well that it’s hard to believe that they were not, in fact, a part of the Battle of Trafalgar, nor did they roam about in Qing Dynasty China. I’ve heard conflicting views about some of the later books in the series, but so far I’m really enjoying the adventures of Temeraire and Capt. William Laurence. B+ (for the second book, Throne of Jade, as well), mainly because battle scenes are not my cup of tea. Even if they do involve dragons.HQN
About three quarters of the way through this one, I wrote to a friend and fellow Outlander reader and told her that I never thought I’d see the day when Claire’s scenes were the least interesting ones in an Outlander book. But it’s true: Claire and Jamie’s relationship seems to be on repeat, and I’m not particularly interested in the various medical scenes, especially not 18th-century surgeries, or in how everything smells. On the other hand, I did enjoy some of the other storylines, especially those involving Lord John Grey and his brother Hal, the Duke of Pardloe. The good news is that they, and several other (formerly) secondary characters, play a large role in the book. This may not be good news to readers whose interest is mainly in Claire and Jamie, however. There were some interesting and entertaining scenes sprinkled throughout, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood does have an actual ending, which is more than could be said for the previous entry in the series, An Echo in the Bone. This one is borderline C+/B-.HQN
The second book in Putney’s Lost Lords series was a nice if not particularly memorable read, with a hero and heroine who are mature and mostly act like it. It was never quite clear why the bad guys kept going after the heroine Julia for so long, but Julia herself was a lovely character –strong despite what had happened to her, and resourceful in her ability to adapt to changing circumstances and come out the better of it. B-HQN
I’d been meaning to read this book since it was reviewed here last year, mainly because it’s based on Erich Kastner’s Das Doppelte Lottchen (which was adapted as The Parent Trap). The idea of telling this story with a focus on the parents’ romance was nice. The problem is that too much of it was devoted to angsting and monologuing, followed by short bursts of action and revelations that were resolved very quickly – this struck me as rather similar to the narrative of a children’s book, and was perhaps intentional, but it’s not a good structure for a romance. I especially disliked the super-speedy resolution after the hero learns the truth, and how quick the heroine was to forgive him. The German-set parts were entertaining and I would have enjoyed more of that. C+HQN
I reviewed Deeper in May and will probably read the next book, Harder, once it is published.
Quinn’s 1995 debut novel was among the only books of hers that I hadn’t read. As it turns out, I wasn’t missing much; you can tell that it is an earlier book, and it lacks the polish of much of her later work, and it read a bit like a Judith McNaught book, which is not really something that suits Quinn’s style. On the other hand, it did feel a bit less paint-by-numbers than some of the more recently published historicals that I’ve read (no thanks to the hero, though – he was a standard-issue rake) and had some fun dialogue. CHQN
I reviewed this book last month. I keep confusing the title with that of the A-Ha song.
I enjoyed In For a Penny and gave it a B.