March 1, 2008

Three Reviews

I've been neglectful of book reviews lately, but I've been doing plenty of reading. I decided to simply do a few short reviews in one post, I hope that's alright with everyone.

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. The first in a very popular series. It's considered Young Adult, but it's Young Adult in the same way Harry Potter was written for children. In other words, it has universal appeal. It's very well written, though there were many gratuitous scenes that added nothing to either the plot or the appeal, and Meyer does not patronize her young fans as many YA writers (and many adult writers while we're on the subject) tend to do. It's a story about a teenaged girl who falls in love with a vampire, which I promise is not as cheesy as it sounds. Meyer rearranges some traditional vampire lore (i.e. fear of crosses and garlic), but does so believably. My only beef is that she fails to make Bella, her main character, likable. Bella is so consistently selfish and rude that one wonders how anyone would like her at all, much less a man as incredible as Edward. I am addicted. Can't wait to read the next three, and to see the film that is being cast right now.

Keeping Faith, by Jodi Picoult. A little girl caught in the midst of a nasty divorce begins to have visions and develops miraculous healing powers. This is especially remarkable considering that she has no religious background whatsoever. She soon catches the attention of the media, and of faiths and cults around the world. Her mother struggles to protect her daughter from this circus, while fighting her husband for custody, and is forced to confront her own beliefs, or lack thereof. Also very well written. While it explores the issue of faith in a very interesting way, it did fail to conclude on that issue. Probably Picoult wanted her readers to come to their own conclusions on that score, but I was hoping for closure of some kind.

The Virgin's Lover, by Philippa Gregory. When I checked this out at the library I was unaware of the new film based on another book by this writer, The Other Boleyn Girl. I enjoy well-researched historical fiction, and I've always especially enjoyed accounts of Elizabeth I, the supreme example of a strong female ruler with no male reliance. This book, an account of the first years of Elizabeth's reign, failed me in this regard. Elizabeth is depicted as a weak, hormonal, ignorant young thing; I often wondered if Gregory had confused her with Marie Antoinette. Elizabeth is incapable of making any kind of decision without a man around, and even then constantly changes her mind. Resolutions she passed are attributed to certain of her advisors, and in fact she never grows a backbone in this book. All she cares about is being with Sir Robert Dudley, and without him she is a simpering mess. I'm not swearing off this writer altogether, but I tell you that if this book had been written by a man, there would have been a great feminist outcry.


  1. Have you read any of the books by Carolly Erickson? She writes some in-depth historical novels.

  2. I think I will have to keep my eye for Keeping Faith. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the review.

  3. I don't mean to derail this conversation- but I would like to submit an ARC of my book (it will be summer before the ARCS are ready), for you to review. How do I go about that?
    Beth Fehlbaum, author
    Courage in Patience
    A story of hope for those who have endured abuse

  4. I've never read any of Stephanie Meyer's books, but I have to admit I don't see the appeal. I don't have the time to give them a try, so I guess I just have to keep my ill-informed opinion to myself!


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