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Helpful Votes: 23

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Something Red: A Novel
Something Red: A Novel
by Douglas Nicholas
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.62
117 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something red is something wonderful, January 25, 2013
This review is from: Something Red: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is a remarkable book, or actually several books in one. Straight up, there is the one that the book cover actually tells you about -- thirteenth century England, bitterly cold, and an unfocussed but pervasive scary thing out there that you are not quite sure what to make of. Then there is the poet writing prose (don't know how else to describe it) making you see the country-side, and the buildings, and the actions and interactions of people, all with a truly remarkable flow and texture -- hence my "poet" comment. Builds a world, fills it with physical and personal detail, and just draws you in. The characters are the opposite of cardboard; even the ones that don't matter much to the plot have some depth and complexity to them. And third there is another story, going on implicitly through and under the others, which you don't even realize was complete and totally satisfying in itself until you get into a final chapter that at first glance (if you were preoccupied with the first "book") doesn't really seem necessary, and just drags on a bit, until you get to the last few pages and it all gells in a way that is simply remarkable. The final page is -- exquisite. I had to circle back and read it a couple more times, and then I had to read the final chapter again. A totally pleasant experience; a writer at the top of the craft, playing with me constantly but never unfairly. Loved it.

Micro: A Novel
Micro: A Novel
by Michael Crichton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.23
436 used & new from $0.01

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Profound disappointment., December 1, 2011
This review is from: Micro: A Novel (Hardcover)
Thin characterization and a contrived plot-line that is SO contrived that you can't even kid yourself that you are learning something about the potentials of modern scientific development. It is so formulaic that you can almost check out the elements yourself -- HERE is the situation setting up where a group is going to be isolated in challenging circumstances; HERE is a description of the isolation area before you quite realize for sure how it is going to matter; HERE is the "bad guy" whose machinations are going to create the problem; HERE is the group of people who is going to be dealing with the challenging circumstances, each one type-cast to provide a certain angle (or humor) to the situation -- AND NOW, HERE WE GO. Only I'm not going; I quit about 10% of the way in. Too contrived. Too thin. Too overdone. Terrible.

Handel: Apollo e Dafne (Le cantate italiane di Handel, 7)
Handel: Apollo e Dafne (Le cantate italiane di Handel, 7)
7 used & new from $15.98

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite, September 8, 2010
Apollo e Dafne is my favorite Handel cantata, such that I have and listen to several different recordings, but Risonanza goes right to the top of the class with this recent release. Lovely tempo choices; it moves right along, and yet nothing seems rushed. The voices are exquisite (can't believe those bottom notes), and the balance with the instruments is just right. I have enjoyed the whole Risonanza series (all are of comparable quality), but this Vol. 7 was the perfect finale for including my favorite cantata.

The Gone-Away World
The Gone-Away World

5.0 out of 5 stars Farfetched, but utterly convincing, September 8, 2010
I will not outline the plot; other reviewers have done that. Instead, I will simply say that the basic premise that provides the background for the story is completely incredible, but the story that is written in front of it is so totally engrossing that it really doesn't matter. There are several massive plot shifts that suddenly shove you in totally unexpected directions; a couple are overdone (of the "oh, really, how likely is that?" variety), but the major ones work stunningly well. So well I went back and read it again, but it is perfectly fair, the hints were all there, and yet it still was a total surprise when he hits you over the head with it. Terrific. The sequencing of events is an incredible kaleidescope, jumping forward and back with cheerful abandon, spending pages on an event that doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything until dozens of pages later -- but it works, as in "just can't put it down," and by the end everything makes sense and everything fits and nothing was irrelevant. Sometimes the writing is stream-of-consciousness flow; sometimes it is delightfully pithy; sometimes it is rhapsodically descriptive. But wonderful reading, all the time; if it takes you a while to get into it, to get used to the initial appearance of jumping here and there without a whole lot of rhyme or reason, just stick with it, totally worth it in the end. Can't wait for his next novel; I will grab it the minute it comes out. I read a lot of science fiction; I think the calibre of science fiction writing is getting higher all the time; I would still give this five stars, and I was sorry when I reached the end, and I am even sorrier he doesn't already have five more books for me to read.

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