by Agatha Christie
This Poirot mystery started with a setup almost exactly like one in a short story that I read recently (although I can’t remember which collection it was–perhaps Murder in the Mews?) wherein there are two couples: one comprised of a rich and beautiful woman and a reticent, long-suffering husband; the other comprised of a quiet and faithful woman and her star-struck (by the wife of the first couple) husband. Rich and beautiful woman dies.
From here, the stories diverge completely, continuing and ending quite differently, but because the initial situation was so similar to the short story, I had trouble separating their plots in my mind; I kept expecting it to end as the other had. So.
Overall, it was a so-so book of hers anyway, not one I particularly enjoyed. When adultery is the main premise of the plot, it usually is not one that I enjoy as well, but that’s just me personally. Overall, a 2/5 for this one.
by Eloise McGraw
So basically I’ve been browsing Goodreads using various key search words to see what I can find to read, and The Moorchild appeared under the fairy tale tag, I think, or something along those lines. It is the story of about a changeling. While most stories involving changelings follow the adventures of the stolen (human) child, this follows the tale of the changeling herself, and unwilling mix of faery and human.
It was an interesting and well-written story, and Saaki is a character with whom it is easy to sympathize, trapped as she is between worlds.
But overall, this story is simply sad. No one really loves Saaki, or wants her, and it is through no fault of her own. And she never really finds peace. While I can appreciate the beauty and artistry of the tale, it is not one that I would read again, or even recommend. It left me feeling distraught and sad. Instead of being a redemptive tale, wherein the people of Saaki’s village learn to love and accept her, it is a story where prejudice and ignorance win out over the finer feelings, leaving Saaki an outcast forever from all sides.
For me, this was a 2/5. Soooo sad.
by Christopher Paolini
This is the second book in Paolini’s Inheritance series (the first is Eragon) and continues the story of Eragon and Saphria. Eldest was a little lighter on the action than the first book. Throughout, Eragon and Saphria spend most of their time hanging out with the elves, receiving more training and education from them. Still, as with Eragon, the author does a good job of creating a story that fits as its own story, yet serves as a link between stories as well. Most of the action in Eldest takes place away from Eragon, with Eragon’s cousin (Roran) and with the Varden (the group of rebels seeking to overthrow the evil king) as they prepare for war. Paolini’s pacing was good, spending a few chapters with each character before switching. I appreciated the fact that he didn’t leave a character on a complete and total cliffhanger before switching to the next; sometimes the cliffhangers can be really distracting because I’m not able to enjoy the next section of the book. He did a good job keeping me interested in everyone.
Overall (I’m halfway through the third book now), these books have been enjoyable. However, I don’t see them becoming classics for me personally, because they are completely devoid of any humor. They are serious and intense stories, epic, but not a single smile to leaven the tale. That’s a deal-breaker for me, because I feel that a sense of humor can help you put life into perspective, and I have trouble relating to characters who never laugh.
Still, they are good stories and definitely worth the read. I’m intrigued to see how everything comes together. For Eldest, 3/5.