By: Elizabeth Kostova
The premise of this story follows a quest throughout Europe surrounding the legend of Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Three separate stories are interwoven throughout this novel, one set in the 1930s following a young Rossi, the second set in the 1950s following the graduate student Paul and the last story is grounded in “present time” (the 1970s). I don’t read a lot of vampire books, but Vlad the Impaler as a historical figure is one that I haven’t really read up a lot on so I thought the premise of the story was interesting, that and the fact that I don’t know much about Eastern European history.
Yeah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Been too busy with school to bother updating (pesky papers left and right, you couldn’t really do much of anything else really…wait, scratch that, I did do a bit of reading despite crazy schedule) but now that school is over and done with, I can finally catch up, hurray! Mind you, this is going to be a massive catch up, so this should be fun.
The Thieves of Faith
By: Richard Doetsch
This is actually Doetsch’s second novel (his first one being The Thieves of Heaven). What drew me to his novel was the fact that his main character, Michael St. Pierre, isn’t your ordinary protagonist that you’d see in Steve Berry’s books or Dan Brown’s books: Michael is a professional thief. Add the idea that he’s about to making a daring heist behind the Kremlin walls after someone relatively close to him is kidnapped and you’ve got an interesting story on your hands. It’s a great premise and Michael is a very intriguing and fairly enigmatic character with a tragedy; he’s really a good guy. And he’s aided by a cast of fairly interesting characters, like his best friend Paul, who provides a good amount of the entertaining dialogue in this book. Although this novel had an interesting premise, some interesting back and forth exchanges and action sequences and some great characters, there were times that the story suffered from some lagging moments. Not to mention the character Susan Kelley drove me insane to no end; I know Doetsch presented her as a woman who’s tough and lawyerly who had experienced tragedy, but I didn’t feel any sympathy for her whatsoever for the way she treated Michael and Paul and the decisions and actions she made along the way. Overall, good book to read when you’re taking a break from hardcore course material but the plot pacing could’ve been improved upon. But hey, anything involving Russia in the story gets props from me.
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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here…the following posts I’m making are long overdue, lol.
The Gun Seller
By: Hugh Laurie
Everyone knows Hugh Laurie from shows like House MD and Jeeves and Wooster, he’s a talented muscian who can play a number of instruments and he’s a writer. The Gun Seller is his first novel (the second one, The Paper Soldier, coming out either late this year or next year), following a man named Thomas Lang, a hired man who gets caught up in international intrigues, double dealings and conspiracies of all sorts. But like Thomas (and the back of the book) says, he’s really a nice guy: he’s just caught up in the plot. It’s everything you need in a spy novel/thriller: a series of unique characters, some of whom you don’t know where their allegiances truly lie, a few “close call” cases, a few chases, mysterious meetings in obscure places, a number of revelations and a main character who’s got attitude and a mouth. Thomas is a wise guy, which makes the plot even more entertaining. What was particularly interesting about this novel is the way Hugh Laurie crafted the dialogue; it’s like you’re having a conversation with Thomas Lang. Thomas Lang himself has a very interesting way of observing what’s going on around him and the analogies he draws in relation are purely hilarious, which reflects just what a talented man Hugh Laurie is. The humour is quirky and witty and the pace never slows down in the book, which is great. I definitely recommend this book if you’re into the spy genre with a twist.
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The Bourne Ultimatum
By: Robert Ludlum
In keeping with the fact that the movie is coming out in a week, I finally got around to reading the book (I have this thing for making sure my book covers match; hence I couldn’t simply get the paperback edition, it had to be the one with the movie covers). From all the three original books about the assassin named Jason Bourne, this is by far the most exciting and the most intriguing. Simply put, I found it to be the best of the three. The stakes are higher this time around: Carlos is still out to get Jason Bourne, the man who rivals his title as the best of the best. This time Jason Bourne/David Webb must go out there and end the cat-and-mouse game one and for all, for the sake of his wife and his two children. This is constantly on his mind, no matter how hard the entity known as Jason Bourne tries to push David Webb and all his concerns down to his subconscious (again). And not only that, but Jason’s not exactly young and hale as before, which was much to my surprise…kind of; we’re used to seeing Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and in the books we forget that time has passed between major events. By this book, Bourne/Webb is actually fifty years old, and he’s constantly reminded about it throughout the book, which sort of adds to some level of comedy to it. But he’s still deadly and his trail to catch Carlos has him jumping throughout countries. This entire book is just a thrill-ride; Bourne is constantly hindered by the politics going on back in the US, especially when his friend and colleague Alex Conklin discovers there’s something fishy going on in the clandestine operations department and you don’t know who you could really trust. But there’s also some lighter moments to relieve you from the constant suspense, which is always welcome and in a way, I don’t remember it being there in the previous books. Also, at this point, we don’t see a lot of borderline-melodramatic exchanges that go on in Bourne/Webb’s head, which we saw a lot of in the past, particularly with The Bourne Supremacy. I suppose that has a lot to do with the fact that Webb acknowledges the need to have Bourne around to stop Carlos and he knows the divide between Bourne and Webb now. It’s a great read with a fantastic cast of secondary characters, a lot of intricate politiking and mind games, and the end is just insane. Definitely recommended, especially if you’re into this genre.
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The Alexandria Link
By: Steve Berry
For starters, I think Steve Berry is amazing, 1 000% more amazing than Dan Brown. He doesn’t follow a formula in his suspense plots, he always chooses the most interesting historical mysteries as the central issues of his stories and his characters are radically different from one another. This book is the second one featuring the character of Cotton Malone, a former US agent who became a book store owner and resided in Copenhagen. Without giving away too much of the plot, basically what happens is that his son is kidnapped by this fairly obscure organization who wants to prod Cotton into unveiling the Alexandria Link. The plot gets even thicker with political conspiracies back in Washington and political implications. It’s a fantastic read, all of the characters we’ve come to know in the previous Cotton Malone adventure, The Templar Legacy, makes an appearance in this novel. What’s even better is that all the characters’ roles expand a bit over the course of the novel, which is great. I suppose the fact that the entire plot is carrying out back and forth between Washington, Europe and Asia, adds to the pace of the novel.
Initally, I found Stephanie’s strand of the storyline in Washington DC far more interesting than Cotton’s; the political intrigue and the colourful array of politicians made for some very good scenes. Cotton’s strand was a bit slower at the start; then again, his part started with a bam (no pun intended). But those strands, along with Henrik’s (which was also a fun read), came together wonderfully. The implications of the possibilities raised in this novel were quite intriguing, which added to the excitement of it all. Overall, a terrific read, especially if you want to unwind from reading a lot of textbooks and nonfiction (which I was doing prior to reading this book).
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