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Nightjar
  • Writer's picturePaul Jameson

A Tale of Two Books; One Good, One Bad

This week I read two books. Sort of. The first was the small and skinny 'The Embassy of Cambodia' by Zadie Smith and the second the humungous hard back from the library, 'Fool's Assassin' by Robin Hobb.

So I shall start with the good.

I've never read Zadie Smith before and now I'm glad I have. This is a really good short story. The simple writing and narrative really does belie the cruelty of a modern world that is so often hidden behind the mask of respectability as is provided by wealth and culture. Something we all walk by, unknowingly, every day. I loved the fact that the simplicity of everday things pulled me and the story along. Very clever.

A great little story to read and cleanse the palate between novels.

Loved it, four out of five stars for me!

And now for the bad...

My first ever read of Robin Hobb and I hate doing this, but I got to page 100 and had to give up. However, having read some reviews of the book by fans of Robin Hobb, I don't feel quite so bad. It seems many were disappointed with this even though they knew the history of the character and were fans of previous work. This, though, was my first book by Robin Hobb and I can honestly say I've never been so bored, to the point of wanting to cry at the thought of having to read it. That said, I have a rule to read at least a hundred pages; just in case...

The writing was fine, pretty, flowery but it took me nowhere. Descriptive to the point of describing the description and forgetting all about me and a story. And names (so many at once). I felt nothing for any of them, except when Hearth stood by the hearth, and at that point I might have screamed out loud. It was painful. But I'm not writing Robin Hobb off as an author yet. I will - should I be short of something to read - seek out earlier work to try and find the excitement she instilled in fans of those works and who were equally so disappointed in this one.


We're all allowed an off-day.

And as a novel, this was a serious off-day.

Just the one out of five stars for me (as sleepy as morphine may be more apt).

 

If there's a topic you'd like me to consider in a blog, a book you think I really need to read and review, or a TV Series you think I'd enjoy (and you'd like me to include it in my blog) drop me a line and let me know.


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