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January 12th, 2013

#1-#5

#1 Frederic Morton: Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889
Episodes or, rather, screenshots of live in Vienna. Having lived in Vienna for a while and being interested in the history of that particular time, I have really enjoyed the book. I also never cease to be amazed by how many famous people were all there at the same time: Freud, Klimt, Strauss, Brahms, Bruckner - to name but a few. The most noticeable happening of the time was, of course, the Mayerling affair, and, by the way, the musical 'Rudolf: Affaire Mayerling' is apparently based on one of Morton's books.

#2-#4 Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility. Pride and Prejudice. Mansfield Park.
This year, I've decided to pay more attention to all those anthologies which were bought or presented as a gift and never actually read. Complete works of Jane Austen is one such book. Of the three, Pride and Prejudice is definitely the better written. The ending of the 'Sense and Sensibility' appears absolutely arbitrary 'let's just make everybody happy' type of thing. The heroes of Mansfield Park are, perhaps, too old-fashioned for me, but they definitely deserve each other.

#5 Robert Silverberg: Lord Valentine's Castle
I like fantasy and was looking forward to the cycle of Majipoor, but I've found the book very boring. The only saving grace was the narrator Stefan Rudnicki (it was an audio book), who has got a very very very nice voice.
Summary:
The star of Jim Butcher's New York Times bestselling novel series, The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden is a private investigator whose clients require a detective with supernatural expertise - in other words, he's a wizard for hire. The Windy City has been hit with an outbreak of savage werewolf attacks - a case made even more chaotic and challenging by the fact that Harry's uncovered no less than three lycanthropic groups, each seemingly in conflict with one another. On top of that, Harry's lost the faith of his one friend and ally among the Chicago Police Department, Karrin Murphy. Now she, along with werewolves and hostile FBI Agents, hunts Harry while he races against the rise of the next full moon to discover who - or what - is behind the string of murders!

I received an electronic advance release copy of this graphic novel through NetGalley.

I read the full novel of this book in mid-2011, so it's been awhile. Butcher writes very intricate subplots that weave together into the main action. Even with a synopsis at the start of this illustrated version, it was very hard to jump in half-way. There are so many character to keep straight, and of course, they weren't portrayed the way I imagined them. That said, I think they did a good job of condensing the plot as they did. I won't get into specifics, as I don't want to spoil anyone.

The artwork is good but not spectacular. It was bothersome to see every female portrayed as a sexpot, but I suppose I should accept that as a given for the medium. I'm not sure how things will change in the full printed version, but it jolted me to see the computer-added graphics so bright against the darkness of the panel artwork. It made them too bold and distracted from the story.

I'm a fan of the Dresden Files novels, but this sneak peek of the graphic novel version doesn't interest me in buying or reading more of the illustrated series. I think I'll stick with my own imagination.

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