Friday, April 25, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - April

I read this book after my son met the author at a recent book talk at our town library.  Logan didn't have time to read this, as he had a book on his list for the DCF talk the next week but his friend read it and Logan wanted to support him at the author visit.

I picked it up not know this was to be a series and not knowing what the subtitle of the book was.  Both caveats are important to me.  First, while this is the first book in a series and does set up future books, the NEED to continue reading is muted...not as strong as say, The Hunger Games, which read as one large story, not as continued adventures starring the same characters.  Second, the subtitle of the book kind of ruins a few surprises.  The characters receive a few clues early in the story that I enjoyed figuring out with them.  If I knew the subtitle of the book before starting, I would have found myself impatient with the slower reveal.

The story takes place in a steam-punk alternate Earth in the near future.  In this world, the lands we thought we knew and had explored where only half of the story.  Great areas of the planet had been hidden.  This book follows the adventures of the three orphan children of one of the world's greatest explorers.

I really liked the book at the beginning but, while I did enjoy it, I found myself a little impatient towards the end.  I understand the characters were hungry but it was such a prevalent issue that I expected more to come of it. It definitely ended well and I will be checking in again.

I'm not doing this justice.  It was a fun read.  Someone referred to it as Hardy Boys meets Indiana Jones which doesn't seem far from the truth.  I would recommend it for 4th to 8th grade readers....especially reluctant readers who like adventures and mysteries.

This week I read TWO books! (Yay vacation!)  The first was Brad Meltzer's "The Fifth Assassin".  I have been a fan of Meltzer's work ever since I stumbled across his novel "The Tenth Justice" and recognized he named a lot of the Justices after characters in "The Watchmen".

After several stand alone novels, Meltzer is working towards creating a true series of books. A likable main character and an intriguing, historically-based premise (dating back to Washington), this has all of the earmarks of a series with long legs.

After "The Fifth Assassin" and a rewatching of both "National Treasure" movies, I had a hankering for some mystery and intrigue.  However, I finished this with an audible "Meh".

Overall I found it somewhat disappointing. Brown continues his habit of not naming some characters and keeping chapters pronoun free to throw you off, but once the big baddie is revealed, you realize there was no real reason to keep him shrouded in mystery.

Additionally, I don't mind when movies don't translate a character speaking in a foreign language, as I can usually tell what is going on by tone and body language. I found myself frustrated at times when some of the foreign language was translated...but not all and not consistently!

Lastly, I did grow tired of Tom Hanks...err...Robert Langdon knowing EVERYTHING thanks to his eidetic memory. I find it okay for the gaps to be filled with info dumps on occasion...but the main character doing it constantly gets to be too much

What is The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, you ask? 

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. More details HERE

Why not check out some of the other folks who are writing about what they read this month?

1.The Armchair Squid2.My Creatively Random Life
3.Wishbone Soup Cures Everything4.Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi
5.Huntress6.Servitor Ludi


  1. My husband read his third Dan Brown novel recently. He complains about some of his unapologetic tropes but there's something about what the guy serves up that keeps him coming back! He read, 'Bless Me Ultima,' afterward. Maybe to clear the palate of the bad guy always been 'the one you least expect!' and excessive info dumpage.

  2. At that author visit, S.S. Taylor read an excerpt from the next 'Expeditioners' book coming out in September... it was pretty intriguing! She was great at the event, very encouraging to the kids in the audience and enthusiastically answered their questions.

  3. I'm curious about Inferno but I'll probably wait to watch the movie, ha!

  4. So, The Fifth Assassin it is, then! I've never read any of Brad Meltzer's books...I've read quite enough of Dan Brown to last me for a good long time. :)

  5. I've got Fifth Assassin. I was impressed with the last Meltzer I read and a book about the presidential assassins (even the obscure ones!) is in itself intriguing.

  6. The Expeditioners sounds like something my son will like, I'll have to check it out.


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