two (books|stars)

If you look at the many books I’ve read and written about over the years, it is rare for me to give a book less than three stars. If I finish it, there must be a compelling reason, my time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it on a terrible book. I wanted desperately to love both these books. They aren’t terrible, there is just a spark(le) missing from them that has me trying to distill what is missing.

Catacombs: A Tale of the Barque CatsCatacombs: A Tale of the Barque Cats
by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
1 star for book review 1 star for book review 1/2 star for book review no star for book review no star for book review

Yes, I am giving a McCaffrey/Scarborough book a two (and a half) star review. Something changed in the telling of the story for this book, many aspects, such as point of view from the cats, are awesome in theory, but fall flat in execution, something other reviewers have noted.

That acknowledged, it is a cute and fast read. I found it enjoyable as my Shadow has taken a renewed interest in both my keyboard and what’s on the monitor. It’s fun to pretend that perhaps he’s paying attention and will soon by my assistant instead of only interrupting me to demand more fishy treats, skritches, and snuggles.

The MagiciansThe Magicians
by Lev Grossman
1 star for book review 1 star for book review no star for book review no star for book review no star for book review

Despite some hype, something is missing from this book. It has so many things going for it: childhood books come to life, Harry Potter-esque-ness, contemporary urban fantasy; perhaps this is why it fell flat. I listened to the audio book while finishing a mundane knitting project; the prospect of miles of garter stitch kept me going, not the character or plot development which, to me, felt forced. It was nice to see a book make fun of itself to a degree, but it felt overdone and the “after” part of it cumulating in the end felt tacked on — not as if Grossman ran out of steam but as if it was an ending to a totally different beginning. I think the hype and anticipation of “cool all these awesome things will result in greater awesome” is what fuelled the tremendous letdown. I think older fans of Harry Potter might enjoy it, but they might throw the book across the room in frustration. What it might come down to is it tries too hard to be all those things and who can live up to that expectation?