Darth Pony

Ruling the galaxy is so overrated.

Reading progress update: I've read 346 out of 448 pages.

Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

I've already stated (twice? three times? more?) how much I freaking hate Wendig's writing style. I guess I should have taken a break between Life Debt and Empire's End because it is reeeeeeaaaaaaaally irritating me now. Especially when I come across sloppy crap like this:

 

She feels the ship drift downward, drifting as it goes.

 

It DRIFTED while it was DRIFTING. The DRIFT was so DRIFTY he had to say it TWICE in the SAME SENTENCEYOU GUYS. THIS IS ME RIGHT NOW:

 

 

 

$1.14

— feeling money

I see there's been another ebook antitrust settlement. Time to bring out the Scrooge McDuck pic again! I got a whole $1.14. I've never been wealthy, so I hope this unexpected windfall doesn't go to my head and make me financially irresponsible. XD

 

Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt

Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

I have neither the energy nor the desire to review this in depth. My feelings for this book are much the same as my feelings for Aftermath. I still freaking hate Wendig’s writing style. I still like some of his original characters, and I still think they feel awkwardly shoehorned into the galaxy far, far away. And I still think he’s a decent storyteller in spite of his style not being my cuppa, and I still think maybe I’d enjoy this series more if it had nothing to do with Star Wars and wasn't written in third person present tense.

 

The only new impression Life Debt gave me is that Mister Bones is basically becoming the Jar Jar Binks of refurbished murder droids. I don’t remember him annoying me this much in Aftermath.

Reading progress update: I've read 334 out of 432 pages.

— feeling misdoubt
Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

I was forewarned about the therapy Ewoks. Even so, I rolled my eyes so hard I think I strained something.

Reading progress update: I've read 175 out of 432 pages.

Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

Aaaaaaaaaand the esteemed Admiral Ackbar just used the phrase "gone off the reservation". Really, Chuck? Really, Disney/Lucasfilm? Really, Penguin Random House? REALLY?

 

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 432 pages.

Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

Sloane takes the data pad but doesn't look at it. Instead, her eyes stare off at an unfixed point a thousand kilos away.

 

I've been living long enough in a country where metric is the standard and "kilo" generally refers to "kilogram" that this had me wondering exactly how far away 2200 pounds is.

 

Girl Waits With Gun

Girl Waits with Gun - Amy Stewart

Meh. This is not a bad book. I just didn’t click with it. I was drawn in by the fabulous premise (fictionalization of the adventures of a real-life female deputy sheriff in the early 1900’s), but I was bored by the narrator (Miss Constance Kopp, said real-life female deputy sheriff). She related a romantic affair and being shot at in the same dull, flat tone in which she narrated her household chores. (For clarity, I’m talking about my perceived tone of the prose. I didn’t listen to the audiobook.) I was bored for more than half the book. The story picked up pace after the halfway point, but still, the only reason I’m finished with it now is because Daylight Savings always makes my insomnia go nuts and there aren’t many distractions at three in the morning.

 

One of the problems with historical fiction featuring real people is that everyday life isn’t all that interesting and the extraordinary moments are few and far between. The author tried to compensate for this by fabricating a fictional subplot to fill the gaps which I was able to peg as artistic license without any prior knowledge of the history. That sounds a little snooty, but it’s not that I think I’m amazingly perceptive or anything. It’s that the difference in tone between the fictional and historical components was just that glaring.

 

Overall, this was an okay read. Not horrible, not great, and not all that memorable for me. There’s only one thought that really stuck with me in the waning hours of the sleepless night after I finished the book, and I am fairly certain it’s not the impression Amy Stewart was hoping to leave:

 

Constance Amélie Kopp has only ever had sex standing up.

(show spoiler)

 

On a formatting note, any and all individuals complicit in producing an ebook with the text aligned left should immediately rethink their life choices.

Reading progress update: I've read 12%.

Girl Waits with Gun - Amy Stewart

I'm mainly posting this progress update as a test to see if the internet is behaving properly. Our ISP finally reset our connection on their end and it seems to have fixed our internet woes. (Knock on wood, throw salt over shoulder, rub lucky penny.) I've been able to like posts and comment on them without having to refresh the page constantly, and I was finally able to mark this book as Currently Reading (I started it three or four days ago). I am cautiously, quietly optimistic the internet is fixed for now. (Shh! Don't spook it!)

 

But since I'm here anyway, I'll talk about the book as well. I expected to love it, and I'm finding it kind of boring. :/ I'm up to chapter seven and it's not really holding my interest. I've only been getting through a chapter or sometimes only a section before I get distracted by something shinier. Hopefully it picks up soon.

Join the NBN, they said . . .

— feeling beat brick

You'll be amazed at the faster internet speeds, they said. Even in rural areas! they said. Hahaha, no. We switched to National Broadband and it was fine for a while, but sometime last week it curled up and died. The internet alternates between crawling and rolling belly up. I've given up trying to like and comment and wait for pictures to load. I'm not 100% sure my latest review posted, or that this will post.

 

On the bright side, when we switched to NBN we did the whole digital phone line thing, so the phone has been blessedly silent, and it will continue to be so for as long as our ISP continues to insist there's nothing wrong. LOL

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

I don’t always feel the need to write detailed reviews of books that have already been reviewed up the wazoo. This is one of those times, so I’m just going to jot down some impressions I want to remember.

 

If Galbraith had never been outed as JK Rowling, I totally would have believed this book was written by a man based on nothing more than how at least 90% of the female characters were written as manipulative, conniving, spoiled bitches, including the dead woman. The male characters fall victim to the same traits, but if I wasn’t aware of the name behind the pen name, I’d probably put this down to trying to make Strike look even better by comparison. Also, accidentally grabbing a woman’s breast (hard enough to leave bruises) to save her from falling down a flight of stairs seems like something a guy would come up with (or an animé cliché). Also, Strike’s love life sometimes smacks of wish fulfillment. I didn’t make a note of every time it was mentioned how people marveled that Strike could attract such gorgeous women, but it seemed like a lot.

 

Randomness: Both Strike and the victim had a million nicknames. What’s up with that?

 

The mystery is decent, the prose is good, the dialogue is snappy. The characters are a mix of stereotyped cardboard cutouts and interesting fleshed-out individuals. The denouement felt like it dragged on for aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages. I enjoyed it a lot more than Casual Vacancy (which I thought was well-written but meh) and I’ll continue with the series.

Guardians of the Whills

Star Wars Guardians of the Whills (Star Wars: Rogue One) - Greg Rucka

I was excited to get my hands on this book for two reasons. Firstly, it features my second-favorite Star Wars bromance. Secondly, I was hoping for more info on the Temple of the Whills and its Guardians and more insight into post-Jedi-purge Force beliefs. In retrospect, it was silly of me to hope for that kind of depth in a 234 page Middle Grade novel. The book delivers on the bromance, but not so much on the other stuff. I enjoyed it, but now I need to watch Rogue One again because I can’t remember if Baze or Chirrut ever mention a past association with Saw Gerrera and his extra-rebellious rebels.

 

Diogo Saito’s illustrations are a nice addition, though I wonder if they were commissioned before or after Rogue One was fully cast. Chirrut looks passably Donnie Yen-like, but Baze looks nothing like Wen Jiang. He looks like some random beardy white dude.

The Miss Silver Mysteries: Grey Mask, The Case is Closed, Lonesome Road

The Miss Silver Mysteries: Grey Mask, The Case Is Closed, and Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth

GREY MASK: 3.5*

 

I adore Golden Age mysteries. If it’s got a detective in it and a flapper on the cover, I am predisposed to like it. Consequently, I think I’m more forgiving of them than I otherwise might be. Take Grey Mask, for instance. Some of the characters and situations border on the absurd, some of the plot twists seem out of left field, and some of the villains are just short of mustache-twirling, but that’s all part of the charm for me.

 

Miss Silver herself almost failed to win me over until the very end. She pulls a bit of a Scarlet Pimpernel, having very little page time in her own debut novel. Once she’s introduced, she’s just some sort of Sherlockian investigatory oracle, popping in every now and then to drop little bombshells concerning the case and berate her client for his stubborn reticence whilst managing to make the knitting of baby clothes seem monstrously intimidating. If it hadn’t been for her performance in the final chapters, I can’t say I’d be so enthusiastic to continue the series. Now I’m very much looking forward to getting to know her better.

 

THE CASE IS CLOSED: 2.5*

 

I’m having trouble rating The Case is Closed. It’s entertaining, it’s charming . . . and it’s really, really similar to the previous book in the series.

Much like Grey Mask, this book has:

 

  • Hardly any Miss Silver
  • Fog!
  • Quarreling lovers
  • Shady servants
  • A pale, too-thin, tragic damsel in distress who scratches out a living as a fashion model
  • Shenanigans with wills
  • A worthless nephew who collects art and directly benefits from the will shenanigans

 

I’m not bothered by formulaic patterns in cozy mysteries. That’s part of what makes them cozy. The only thing I found truly annoying was the repetition. As the book starts, it’s nearly a year and a half since the titular murder case was tried. A man was found guilty, and the details of that trial and the evidence given are repeated ad nauseam. And as the characters investigate, looking to clear the convicted man, the details of their discoveries are also repeated ad nauseam. SO. MUCH. REPETITION. Miss Silver, when she does appear, is a mere expositional tool for revealing information the other characters weren’t in a position to discover on their own.

 

But I found Hilary and Henry far more likable than Margaret and Charles. And the author did a better job creating suspenseful scenes this time around. But if you cut out all that repetition, this book would be a good fifteen chapters shorter and the story wouldn’t suffer for it.

 

LONESOME ROAD: 3.5*

 

The third Miss Silver mystery features a blessed deviation from the pattern of the previous books. We still have inheritance issues (but no will shenanigans), good-for-nothing relatives (LOTS of those), and (of course) fog. But this time Miss Silver appears in the very first chapter and makes regular appearances throughout. And she does more than swoop in, drop an info dump, and swoop out again. The effect was rather pleasing. After three books, she’s still no Miss Marple, but I’m finally getting a read on her character and I like what I see. The only downside I can see to having more of Miss Silver in her own mysteries is that the more page time she gets, the more Tennyson she quotes.

 

There’s been a loose connection between each book thus far. The pattern has been that a character from the previous book recommends Miss Silver’s services in the current book. It’s a nice nod to past adventures, but nothing that would be too confusing should you wish to read these books out of order. I’d like to continue this series, but it will probably be through the local library. My wishlist and wallet both quail at the number of books involved.

Reading progress update: I've read 69%. (The Case is Closed)

The Miss Silver Mysteries: Grey Mask, The Case Is Closed, and Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth

I've edited my original review, but I have no idea how to push that up the feed without reblogging (which I don't want to do), so I'll just copy/paste here for convenience.

 

THE CASE IS CLOSED: 2.5*

 

I’m having trouble rating The Case is Closed. It’s entertaining, it’s charming . . . and it’s really, really similar to the previous book in the series.

Much like Grey Mask, this book has:

 

  • Hardly any Miss Silver
  • Fog!
  • Quarreling lovers
  • Shady servants
  • A pale, too-thin, tragic damsel in distress who scratches out a living as a fashion model
  • Shenanigans with wills
  • A worthless nephew who collects art and directly benefits from the will shenanigans

 

I’m not bothered by formulaic patterns in cozy mysteries. That’s part of what makes them cozy. The only thing I found truly annoying was the repetition. As the book starts, it’s nearly a year and a half since the titular murder case was tried. A man was found guilty, and the details of that trial and the evidence given are repeated ad nauseam. And as the characters investigate, looking to clear the convicted man, the details of their discoveries are also repeated ad nauseam. SO. MUCH. REPETITION. Miss Silver, when she does appear, is a mere expositional tool for revealing information the other characters weren’t in a position to discover on their own.

 

But I found Hilary and Henry far more likable than Margaret and Charles. And the author did a better job creating suspenseful scenes this time around. But if you cut out all that repetition, this book would be a good fifteen chapters shorter and the story wouldn’t suffer for it.

SPOILER ALERT!

Reading progress update: Grey Mask finished

The Miss Silver Mysteries: Grey Mask, The Case Is Closed, and Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth

I’ll be posting a review later. I just wanted to do my back-patting and forehead-slapping in a separate post. Spoilers abound!

 

 

The back-patting: I correctly guessed both Margot’s parentage and Grey Mask’s identity. The former I guessed when the near-identical desks with near-identical monograms showed up. The latter I guessed when Margaret told Charles her broken engagement tale of woe. Only one person in her immediate circle was both a member of Grey Mask’s group and ideally placed to come up with such a plausible false confession. First I suspected Freddy of stealing the jewelry himself, and then I realized that Margaret had never seen Freddy and Grey Mask together. Throw in a dash of “It’s always the person you least suspect” and you get a nicely seasoned pot of Overly Complicated Mastermind Stew.

 

The forehead-slapping: Things I totally did NOT see coming include but are not limited to: #40’s loyalties, the crooked lawyer (I really should've seen that one coming), 2/3 of the dead characters coming back to life, and the super-rushed ending. Since I’m reading a 3-book omnibus, I had pretty much no warning when I turned the page and was confronted by the cover art for the next book. It felt SUPER abrupt.

(show spoiler)

 

Reading progress update: Chapter 32

The Miss Silver Mysteries: Grey Mask, The Case Is Closed, and Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth

Was anyone else absolutely horrified that Charles let Margot get behind the wheel of an automobile?

 

Reading progress update: Chapter 17

The Miss Silver Mysteries: Grey Mask, The Case Is Closed, and Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth

I made it through Chapter 17 last night. I can't beat Themis Athena's excellent breakdown of the cast and plot thus far, so I'll just add this:

Is it just me, or do these Golden Age mysteries always make London feel like the smallest city ever? I swear. If you need to run into someone you haven't seen in ages, go to London. If you need to run into someone you only saw once from behind, go to London. If you need to run into someone  you've never met who is crucial to the plot, go to London.

London: The Biggest Smallest Foggiest City on the Murder Mystery Map

Currently reading

Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy)
Chuck Wendig
Progress: 346/448 pages