The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥
David Mitchell is one of my favorite writers, so when Slade House came out I had to pick up a copy right away and read it. While I enjoyed the read, I can only give this book three hearts and not the usual five I would award for a David Mitchell novel.
Slade House is Mitchell’s take on the classic ghost story and is a good read for this time of year, when it gets dark early, seems to rain everyday, and a chill sets in early in the evening. Slade House spans five decades from the 1970s to the present. Every nine years a guest is either invited or happens to find Slade House on the same day late in October. Every nine years, there are unexplained disappearances.
Slade House has a tie in with The Bone Clocks, which makes the book interesting for those readers that have read The Bone Clocks. Slade House is a worthwhile read, but isn’t quite up to Mitchell’s usual standard. The book uses the same plot over and over again, only changing at the end. One feels a little let down at the end, the author could have done so much more with this. It really could have been fabulous.
Book Details: Published by Random House (October 27, 2015), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0812998689.
The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Let’s start with the outside of this book — the cover is enticing and the title is subtle and wonderfully descriptive. The whole package makes you wonder what is inside. The book is written in five sections spanning several decades from the late twentieth century to the mid-twenty-first century. Each section is written from the point of view of different characters. The story begins with teenaged Holly Sykes, the protagonist of the novel, finding her boyfriend in bed with her best friend. Holly makes an appearance in each section in the middle of the book with the last section also told from her point of view.
David Mitchell is a superb storyteller and can take the reader to the scene like no other writer. This is especially exciting and interesting for the reader when Mitchell invents a post-apocalytic world as in the final section of The Bone Clocks or in Cloud Atlas or when Mitchell invents a place that exists only in his imagination and then takes the reader there. His descriptions are vivid and detailed.
The Bone Clocks is not my favorite Mitchell novel. That position is still held by Cloud Atlas. Although The Bone Clocks is probably the best book I’ve read thus far in 2014, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and The Bone Clocks are tied for second place in my personal ranking of David Mitchell novels.
My only gripe about The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s propensity for sharing his personal viewpoints through his novel. (Note: Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2007.) For example, the reader can surely glean his feelings about religion from the last section. Or can they? Does Holly consider the horologists gods when she says a prayer asking for salvation for her two charges? Is her prayer answered? You can decide when you read The Bone Clocks. It is worth your time and your effort at over 600 pages.
Book Details: Published by Random House (September 4, 2014), 640 pages.
The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads has begun their voting for the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards, so I thought it might also be a good time to review my favorite book of 2013. As you may recall, my favorite book last year was The Orphanmaster’s Son by Adam Johnson. This book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. I don’t expect as much for Night Film, but I am certainly going to name this book my favorite for 2013.
Night Film revolves around the work of an investigative journalist who becomes obsessed, as so many have, with a legendary and reclusive cult-horror-film director named Stanley Cordova. The book opens with the death of Cordova’s daughter in a warehouse in New York. Her death is a ruled suicide, but McGrath suspects otherwise.
McGrath, along with two strangers, begins a nightmarish descent into the world of the Cordova family, at what may be the cost of his own. Driven by revenge and curiosity, McGrath encounters a truly frightening world inhabited by the reclusive film director. As McGrath begins to lose sight of what is real and what isn’t, the reader is drawn into this nightmarish world and begins to wonder what is real in the novel as well.
This book made me want to sleep with the lights on. It has been a long time (to say the least) since that has happened to me. Perhaps I am just a ‘fraidy cat, but this book is scary.
Book Details: Published by Random House (August 20, 2013), 602 pages, ISBN: 140006788X.
The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
A friend of mine has been extolling the virtues of Matthew Pearl for quite some time, she ia a true fan and was always encouraging me to read his books. She just knew that I would enjoy them and she was right!
The Technologists is a thriller about the very first class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at a time when the idea of teaching science and technology was considered a danger to society. A series of scientific disasters spreads throughout Boston, and a small group of students from the class of 1868 come together to uncover the source of the menace. They form their own Secret Society known as – you guessed it – The Technologists. Included among the members of the Secret Society is Ellen Swallow, the very first female student at MIT who is hidden away from the public like a “dangerous animal.” The fight to discover the cause of the disasters soon becomes a fight for the very life of MIT.
Matthew Pearl has made the seemingly uninteresting beginnings of one of the world’s premier educational institutions into a thriller worth reading. His incorporation of MIT’s William Barton Rogers and other historical figures makes the science and technology aspect of the novel interesting rather than a drag, which I must admit I feared! If you like historical fiction, this is a must read. If you haven’t read Matthew Pearl, but like Caleb Carr and Stephanie Pintoff, pick up a copy of The Technologists soon.
I received an Advanced Reader’s Edition of this book free from Random House. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
Book Details: Published by Random House (February 21, 2012), 496 pages, ISBN: 1400066573.