February 21st, 2014


6:The Mayor of Casterbridge

Originally posted by audrey_e at Book 6:The Mayor of Casterbridge
6 THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE Thomas Hardy (England, 1886)


One night, in a fit of anger, a hay-trusser sells his wife and daughter to a sailor. Years later, when he has become the successful mayor of Casterbridge, his evil deed comes back to haunt him.

The Mayor... reads like a Greek tragedy, in which all the characters' actions have a clear effect by the end of the book. Call it karma or fate, Hardy describes a force that dooms the main character from the very beginning. What this means is that this is an incredibly well-constructed novel, and that it is often difficult not to feel sorry for the mayor, despite his pride and bad temper.
While the mayor is a complex character, the secondary ones are a little more conventional, which makes the plot seem a bit contrived at times. However, this has a lot to do with the conventions of the time.
This is not Hardy's best novel, as Tess and Jude are more memorable and less conventional, but it remains a great read for those who already enjoy Hardy's beautiful prose as much as I do.

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Book 45: Timeless by Gail Carriger

Book 45: Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5).
Author: Gail Carriger, 2012.
Genre: Historical Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance. Alternative History. Steampunk.
Other Details: Paperback. 328 pages.

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Until, that is, she receives a summons that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire? - synopsis from publisher's website.

This proved a satisfying conclusion to a delightful series. I am a little sad to say goodbye to Alexia and Co though I feel Gail Carriger was right to limit the series to five books and to move on to other projects.

As with the other Parasol Protectorate books this was great fun; not taking itself too seriously. My only issue has ever been some conflation of the Regency period with the Victorian; though looking at her website Gail Carriger seems to be aware of this and after all it is a very minor quibble.

I also have the Soulless Manga series in my TBR pile and expect to read those later this year though do hope they will continue with these as only the first three books have been adapted to date.
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Books 25-32 for 2014

25. Grave Witch by Kalayna Price. 256 pages.

Alex Craft is a witch who can speak to the dead - and more to the point, get answers. She uses her abilities to earn a living and to help the police catch murderers, but her latest case lands her in a huge heap of trouble.....

This was a bit like a cross between the original idea of the Anita Blake series and the Dresden Files and I enjoyed it very much.

Having finished it, I've just been online and bought the sequel, which is probably the accolade the author will like best ;)

26. Arabella by Georgette Heyer. 239 pages.

Not one of Heyer's best efforts I felt - a little too much of an air of Pride and Prejudice around the beginning for comfort and the main male character was so smug at times that I wanted to slap him with a fish.

Still a decent read though.

27. Grave Dance by Kalayna Price. 259 pages.

Second in the Alex Craft series. Alex gets involved in another perilous case. learns more about her family and heritage and has bizarre relationship issues.

I shall be hunting out book 3 very soon.

28. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen. 421 pages.

This is billed as the first book in the Rizzoli & Isles series, but only Rizzoli appears in it and she's not truly the main character either. Nor is she particularly endearing in this book - she's bitter and angry all the time. It's clear that she has every right to be, but the book doesn't give her scope to be anything else, so while I could sympathise with her, I couldn't really like her much.

The focus is much more on Rizzoli's colleague, Thomas Moore and Dr Catherine Cordell, who managed to kill the serial killer who'd taken her captive, but now seems to be being stalked by a copycat....

29. We'll Always Have Parrots by Donna Andrews. 236 pages.

Another book in the Meg Langslow mystery series. This time Meg and boyfriend Michael are at a convention for the tv show in which Michael appears.

Another fun outing in this series.

30. Enter A Murderer by Ngaio Marsh. 163 pages.

2nd of the Inspector Alleyn mysteries. I liked this one better than the first as Alleyn was more of an actual character this time. Still a bit remote and the author went to annoying lengths to conceal information from the reader, but if the books continue to improve at this rate I shall carry on reading for at least a few more of them.

31. Wish for a Pony by Monica Edwards. 157 pages

First in a series I read some of as a girl - nowadays it seems much less feasible, but interesting if only for the picture of life in a seaside vicarage at the time it was written.

I’ll try to hunt up more of these but they’re not easy to find at a non-eye-watering price.

32. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder. 315 pages.

Third part of Yelena’s story. I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first two parts, because some of the characters were becoming annoying in persisting with illogical attitudes, but it was still enjoyable and a decent conclusion to the trilogy.