Review: Roverandom

RoverandomRoverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Adorable children’s story by the master of fantasy. The reader level is a bit high for young children and the scenes a bit too immature for the teen reading level (or a gifted reader), but it was just right for me reading to my girls who enjoyed it. It is about 120 pages.

Blurb: Rover should never have bitten the wizard’s trousers. His punishment was to be transformed into a toy, and now he is forced to track down the magician so he can be returned to normal. His adventures will take him to the moon and under the sea, introducing him to many fabulous – and dangerous – creatures.

Inspired by the loss of his own child’s favorite toy, this charming tale was written by J.R.R. Tolkien long before The Hobbit, yet remained unpublished for more than 70 years. This new paperback edition includes a full introduction and detailed notes about the story.

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Review: The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Classic bait-and-switch opening which unfolds to a dreadfully dull story that plods along for 1200 monotonous pages before coming to a predictable end. But it starts off really strong which hooks the reader. The prison scenes are intense. Then, Edmund Dantes escapes, and nothing else of note within that plot happens for 900 pages. 900 PAGES!! Then, it ends.

I kind of hated it. The first 200 pages were fascinating and well written, then it becomes a 19th-century slog of aristocratic society with NOTHING whatsoever given to the plot. Okay I guess if you’re a cinematographer looking for in-depth details about high society in that era. Terrible book. The most overrated book I’ve ever read. The 2 stars are charitable.

Blurb: Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dant├Ęs is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and TwoHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by John Tiffany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good story! Esp after just reading Goblet of Fire! I recommend reading this in between books 4 and 5 for best results. I didn’t like the play format–distracting–but it was interesting anyway. Fun story, every bit similar to the original material despite being written by another author. Ps I believe Rowling wrote the first scene which differs from the rest.

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Review: The Currents of Space

The Currents of SpaceThe Currents of Space by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Surprised at how boring this old classic Asimov turned out to be (same reaction I had to The Stars, Like Dust–however, I did like the 3rd one in this trilogy). The plot was just plodding. Had a very hard time finishing it. Not because it’s dated but just because the writing is so poor. (Can’t believe I just said that but it’s true).

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Review: Pebble in the Sky

Pebble in the SkyPebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very satisfying old Asimov, with a solid plot and good action that moves along. My only complaint is the rather drawn-out ending that just seemed to take too long to come to the point, along with Asimov’s trademark idiotic character logic.

I won’t give away anything, but the climax is absurd–with even the threat of such a calamity, the imperial navy would have simply quarantined Earth, or bombarded it. An empire of 200 million planets certainly could afford a few HUNDRED warships to that effect.

Instead, Asimov goes through an absurd amount of fencing between characters that dragged down a great story and made it tedious. Also, I read this one by mistake first; will correct the mistake by picking up the other two asap.

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Review: Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika Decides to DieVeronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the fresh perspective of this Portuguese author who wove an enjoyable read despite some issues in translation. I suspect some idioms didn’t survive the conversion to English, but overall it was very readable. I’ve seen the movie a couple times; it followed the book quite well.

The ending was rather abrupt but I found that I liked that too–no long-winded emotional scene or flag for a possible sequel, popular in so much American writing where, too often, the trilogy rules. This book was on the short side so I was glad to have gotten it for a sale price. I won’t read it again as it doesn’t appeal to me enough to warrant another reading.

Coelho delves into mental health rather deeply and we’re told the story of three characters, so it’s not just about Veronika (who looks nothing like Sarah Gellar, by the way). I’ll keep this mini review short as I really don’t feel like analyzing it in depth. Since I’ve read mostly sci-fi for my entire life, I’m not qualified to do so anyway. But this year I promised myself to read literary fiction and some classics.

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