Book Review – Wait for Dark

library-419254_1920Book reviews contain spoilers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Let me start off by saying that I’m a massive Kay Hooper fan. I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit novels. I have them all, and I’ve read them all.  I’ve cringed. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’ve hoped for a positive outcome. I’ve turned pages until the sun rose just waiting to see what was going to happen next.

All that being said, I wasn’t that thrilled with Wait for Dark.

The main character, Hollis, is the same character that’s been featured in the last few books. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hollis. It’s just that we’ve seen so much of her lately that it’s starting to get a little old. Even that wouldn’t be so bad if we actually saw some real development of her character. Yes, she gained another new ability and she finally figured out what had been taken from her in the attack, but she seemed wooden here, a two-dimensional character that was nothing more than a character. She wasn’t as real in this book as she’s been in the others. The same can be said of Reese and the two new agents introduced. There was just no depth. I felt like Kirby and Cullen were decorations rather than real characters.

The story takes place in the town of Clarity where someone is killing off the citizens and making it look like accidents. This is typical of the situations the SCU finds itself in, so I have no problem with it. The problem comes in with there being little more to the story than Hollis and company sitting around trying to figure out who the serial killer is. Sure, there are more murders, and they get more gruesome, but the plot depth that drew me to these books and kept me turning pages way into the night just wasn’t there. I felt like I was reading a summary rather than a novel.

All that being said, the story wasn’t bad. Those who’ve followed me for a while know that I lament the loss of the 700 page novel with multiple plot lines and enough characters to populate a world, so my lack of enthusiasm for this book may be nothing more than it simply didn’t give me enough depth and detail. For those who like quick reads to skim on an afternoon, this is a great book. Even for me, it wasn’t that the story was bad, it just felt incomplete.

Does that mean I’m not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next one? Heck, no. I’ll be right there to see what Bishop and friends are up to next. I just hope the next one returns to the style of Chill of Fear, Hiding in the Shadows, and others in the Bishop series.

As always, best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

Book vs. Movie – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

IMG_20170430_215322Contains spoilers!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks starred Angela Lansbury. It was one of my favorites growing up and being able to get it on DVD was a highlight of my life. I love it! Then and now. I love the darkness and mystery and, of course, the magic. The search for the last spell so Miss Price can save England from the Nazis, the travel into the children’s story by riding a bed…there’s just something comforting, maybe a reminder of simpler times, about it. Granted, some of the songs are a little hokey, and, by today’s standards the effects are horrible. Still…

I finally got around to getting and reading the book, and I have to say that I love it, too, though it is almost nothing like the movie.

The book, written by Mary Norton, is actually two stories, The Magic Bedknob and Bonfires and Broomsticks.

In the first book, Carey, Charles, and Paul are staying with their Aunt Beatrice for summer vacation while their mother works. They meet Miss Price, who’s studying to become a wicked witch, and failing, and she gives them the bedknob. From there, they travel to a London police station and an island full of cannibals. At the end of the story, they return home for the school year.

The second book picks up two years later. Aunt Beatrice has died, and the mother is looking for someone to watch them for the summer. Miss Price has put an advertisement in the paper for children to watch, so they are reunited with their friend. Miss Price has given up magic, but the children convince her to use the bedknob anyway. They travel back in time where they meet Mr. Jones. He is a failed magician who returns to the present with them. After a few weeks, Mr. Jones returns home where he is almost burned at the stake.

In the movie, the story takes place during WWII, and the children are orphans who are evacuated and placed with Miss Price against any of their wills. They are somewhat rude children and not averse to blackmailing Miss Price to keep her secret. In the book, Carey, Charles, and Paul are simply being babysat for the summer, and they are much nicer all around. There is no mention of a war or a need to protect the children.

Their adventures are also much different. In the movie, they travel to London to locate Professor Emelius Brown, a charlatan who has a ‘college’ of witchcraft, to find the final piece of a spell Miss Price needs to protect England. From there, they go to a fictional island inhabited by animals then back to England to save their town from invasion. The only rescuing being done in the book is of Mr. Jones. After all, they can’t leave him to burn.

It’s hard to say which one is better. In many ways, it’s difficult to see the book and the movie as the same story. The bedknob is important, of course, and most of the characters are the same, but that’s where the similarity ends. It’s really easy to see them as completely distinct from each other. I think this is a good thing in a lot of ways, for it prevents the disappointment that comes from one being better than the other or key points being changed. (I’m sure we all have a list of movies a mile long to complain about.)

What do you think? Have you experienced both?

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

Book Review – The End of the Game

IMG_20170404_093346Book Reviews contain spoilers!

The End of the Game is actually a trilogy by Sherri S. Tepper. It tells the story of Jinian from the time she is nine until she is in her late teens or early twenties.
The land of the True Game is a place of loose government and changing alliances where people have Talents.  Some can fly, some can move objects, some can see the future. Many of the people use these talents for Games, which are nothing more than battles of some kind perpetuated for the sake of gaining power and prestige.
We begin with Jinian as an unloved child of Stoneflight Demesne. She is tortured by her older brother until she decides she’s no longer going to allow herself to be afraid. It is then that one of the Pawns realizes Jinian is a Wize-ard, someone who can learn magic. Thus begins Jinian’s initiation into the world of the True Game.
Jinian’s adventures don’t end there. Her brother betroths her to a man she’s never met, one who has a living wife, to form an alliance. However, Jinian uses her age to bargain for schooling in the distant town of Xammer. On the way, she is kidnapped and held as part of Game, but she escapes and makes her way to Chimmerdong Forest. She befriends the forest, and it asks for her help. It is while helping the forest that Jinian learns her first real lesson – there are tasks for each of us, and no one is going to do them for us. We can’t sit around whining and crying and waiting for someone to come along and rescue us from life. We have to live it.
Jinian’s adventures continue through three short books. She is the only one who understands the significance of the yellow death crystals, and she’s the first to convince others to help her save their world. She is taught by Ganver, one of the old ones, and learns the meaning of the Star-Eye, a lesson that most never learn.
My Thoughts
I first read Dervish Daughter, the middle book of the trilogy, as a teenager. I loved the story, but it was several years before I was able to get the complete set. I wasn’t disappointed.
Even as a young adult, the lessons of Ganver spoke to me, particularly his repetition of ‘watch and learn’. I won’t go into detail here because I think knowing what the lessons are in advance would take away any meaning a new reader would draw from them. I will say, however, that what Ganver taught Jinian makes a lot of sense.
Overall, I love the trilogy. Some of the names are a bit weird, and this has thrown off some I’ve recommended the books to, but they fit the world, one of magic with odd bits of technology thrown in here and there. The characters are loveable, and the story moves along at a decent pace.
 
My Rating
SMXLL