Ok, I’m trying something new. Every now and then I might decide to review some books I recently read. My ratings scale might seem confusing. Or it will seem rather simple and I’m simply confusing myself. Either way, here’s how it works:
Jason’s average bedtime is 12:00, or midnight. Each book he reads will either keep him up past his bedtime, get him to bed right on time, or make him fall asleep early. The later the book keeps Jason up, the better. The more a book keeps Jason speaking in the third person, the better (just kidding on that one). I’m certainly no David J. Montgomery, Sarah Weinman, or even that guy in “History of the World: Part 1” who pees on the wall, but here goes:
The Pros: Another page-turning Jack Reacher thriller. A terrific opening chapter that sets up your expectations, then pulls the rug out from under you. Funny, spot on portrayal of the media in small town America. Wonderfully creepy villain in “The Zed.” PERFECT ending sentence.
The Cons: Unlike other Reacher novels, you never really get the sense Reacher is actually in danger. The few chapters leading up to the ending are dripping with suspense, but the actual ending is a little anticlimactic.
Jason fell asleep at: 3:00 am. This one kept Jason up late to see how many heads Reacher could bust before getting some z’s.
Pros: Good dual P.I. leads in Joe Pritchard and Lincoln Perry. Sympathetic old man who sets the plot in motion after his daughter and granddaughter go missing. A jaw-dropping plot twist midway through that turns on the rocketboosters and doesn’t let you close the book until you finish. Great ending, both satisfying and full of pathos as well. The book begins to live and breath as the pages turn, and slowly you’ll begin to feel a real heart beating beneath the surface.
Cons: A little too much smart-alecky banter from Perry and Pritchard(Dennis Lehane was guilty of this in the early Kenzie/Gennaro books). The first half moves a little too slowly for my taste (but that great twist halfway through makes up for it in spades). First and second half read almost like different novels: the first half a somewhat formulaic P.I. novel, the second half much richer emotionally and storywise.
Jason fell asleep at: 1:30 a.m. The first half had Jason’s eyes closing a little, but once he hit the first major plot twist he couldn’t fall asleep until he finished this relatively short, but smart and well-written potboiler.
Pros: Simply amazing aerial fight scenes between the dragons and the military. Wonderfully developed inter-dragon reltationships (I wish I got to use the phrase “Inter-dragon relationships” more often). Very meticulously researched, a good fusion of the fantastical and the real.
Cons: The human characters were a little flat, I cared much more about whether the dragons would live rather than their human caregivers. I wish there were more fights with the dragons (but the ones Novik writes are terrific).
Jason fell asleep at: 2:00 a.m. Jason didn’t care so much for the LONG scenes full of exposition, but kept on reading just to get to the next dragon combat scene. And they were well worth it. I was a HUGE fantasy fan as a wee lad, growing up on Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony, so I was happy to see I could still enjoy it in my old age.
Pros: Signature twisty plot from Coben, signature “Average Joe With A Good Heart Who Had a Past That Will Come Back to Haunt Him” that nobody does quite so well. Fine writing.
Cons: Protagonist who’s FAR too wimpy for my taste, he always seems to be getting the crap kicked out of him until someone braver steps in to save him. A few too many twists, and an end twist that’s more “The Village” than “The Sixth Sense.” Plus I feel like I’ve read an awful lot of books recently where the bad guy is nicknamed “The Ghost.”
Jason fell asleep at: 10:00 p.m. Jason felt this was one of Coben’s weaker efforts, spending more time twisting the plot than developing characters. And the twists that were there, well, to paraphrase Roger Ebert, they were explained with more detail than clarity.
Pros: A flat out dynamite read. I read this in two days, which is extremely rare for me nowadays since my pleasure reading time is about 5% of what I’d like it to be. The writing is simply terrific, the protagonist is wonderfully developed, and the plot always leaves you smiling at how things play out. I’ve been a Harry Bosch fan for years, but I have to say this is one of my favorite Connelly books ever. Great analysis of the legal system, specifically how easily it is manipulated by people who know how to use it.
Cons: Some of the secondary characters aren’t as developed as they could have been (specifically Haller’s ex-wives, both of whom he maintains somewhat unbelievably good relationships with). The ending was a little unconvincing, it seems a little too simple considering how many of the legal issues surrounding it are incredibly complex.
Jason fell asleep at: 6:00 a.m. Jason stayed awake until he finished this one. Just a fantastic read from Connelly, I hope he mines this territory again in the future.
That’s it for me. Time to fall asleep.
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