Sunday, 18 July 2010

Reading Challenge - 35 to 39

35 - The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé
The Suicide ShopThe Suicide Shop is a light and fast read.

The story is about a family that runs a shop that specializes in selling products to aide suicides: ropes, poisons, one bullet guns, among other things. Everything is fine (and by this I meaning depressing) until the third son comes along, and he is the most cheery fellow possible. Which is very bad for business. What follows is a series of shenanigans in which the family is gradually infected by the good disposition of the younger one.

It is supposed to be dark humour, but I found it merely amusing. Also, I found the writing style a bit stiff, and that stopped me from getting much into the story.


36 - Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl
Goose ChaseAfter reading a review by a friend (here, in Portuguese), I knew I had to read this one. It promised fantasy and humour, and a lot of nonsense. And it delivered.

I read it in a flash (I kept saying to myself, just one more chapter and I'll go to bed. Before I knew it it was 4:00 AM, and I had finished the book.), as it was so funny and such a delightful story. A fairytale retelling that manages to channel what Shrek tries: silliness, a certain unfairytaleness to the fairy tale and a storyline that is very much like the original and totally different at the same time.

Truly recommended.


37 - Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
Snow CountryIn Snow Country there is not much happening, and the big mystery is never solved. It follows Shimamura, a man from Tokyo that comes to the Snow Country, a region of harsh winters in Japan, and of his encounters with Komako, a geisha. In its essence it is a love story, but I found that something was missing.

Most of the the appeal of this book is the writing, with beautiful prose and amazing yet simple descriptions of places, people and sounds. This is a book that I enjoyed more for the joy of reading, for the imagery it suggests, than for the story.


38 - Emissary by Fiona McIntosh
Emissary: Book Two of The Percheron SagaA continuation to Odalisque, the second in the Percheron series. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as Odalisque, although it is a page turner. It ends in a cliffhanger, the kind that, if I hadn't the third book already, I would be rushing to buy.

It is fast paced, full of adventure. But despite this, I found there were a lot of times the author repeated herself, and it dragged the story behind.

I'll be reading the next book, hoping that the love triangle finally gets resolved, the struggle between Maliz and Lyanna meets a satisfying end, and, above all, that there will be no more cliffhangers.


39 - Goddess by Fiona McIntosh
Goddess: Book Three of The Percheron SagaThe final book in the Percheron series brings all the storylines to an end, although in most cases in a unsatisfying way. I liked the book, it kept me on my tiptoes and I really wanted to know what happened next (which kept me awake till the wee hours of the morning, reading just one more chapter, chapter after chapter).

Warning: Next paragraph will contain spoilers, steer clear of it if you don't want to read them.

What really bugged me about this book is that everyone seems to die in the end! Of the four good characters of the first book, only one survives (and I'm really glad it was Lazar, I really liked that character). I know there was a war, but surely not so many people needed to die.

***End of Spoilers***

The ending was, like I said, unsatisfying. Delivered in the epilogue, like it was an afterthought. It is an ending, and I guess that the author was trying to show that vanquishing evil is not always done with fireworks, and can go quite unnoticed to the general population. But the epilogue should be to show the happily-ever-after, not introduce a major plot twist and the resolution of the plot. 



  1. Of course! It has a bit of Shrek to it, nicely spotted! I guess the Prince is the Donkey xD no no, he grows wiser with the story...I know! the hair! the hair is the Donkey.

  2. I read "The suicide shop" and lved it. Shame you didn't enjoy it as much.

  3. I think my problem with The Suicide Shop was that I was expecting it to be great. A part of my dislike of the book has to do with disappointment, and not because it was bad (it wasn't bad, just not great, in my opinion).

  4. I agree on your thought about how reviewing a book changes how you rate them. I don't have a rating system on my blog, but since I've started writing reviews about the books I'm reading, I've had to really sit down and consciously think about why I liked or disliked a certain book.

  5. I used to think that the fact that I finished the book was a good sign I liked it. The problem is I finish almost all the books I start, even if they painfully bad. Lately with the reviews I managed to get some perspective on why a book is really good and other is just ok.

    Also, with the more I read, the more I can compare what is good and isn't :)