Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James

This was given to me by Ally at Simon & Schuster UK.

Linno and Anju are sisters from Kerala. Anju wins a scholarship to New York through somewhat dishonest means. In New York she meets a friend of her mother (who died when she was very young) and begins a roller coaster ride of immigration and self acceptance. Meanwhile, Linno is struggling to find her own way in Kerala. Angry with her sister and with herself, she doesn't come to realize how much she loves her sister until she is gone. Linno becomes the head designer for an invitations company and begins a journey of soul searching. In the end, each sister wants nothing more than to be reunited.

Tania James has an amazing talent. Her story literally leaps off the pages. Reading this book was more like watching a beautiful film. Every scene was detailed so that I could see it exactly. The characters are also vivid and fully developed. I could never really bring myself to like Anju, preferring Linno, Rohit, and Melvin. There is no great sense of suspense, but all the same I found myself thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it - wondering what would happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. That being said, the ending undid the spell for me. I'm sure there was some deep and meaningful point in the ending of this book. Perhaps I am not a deep and meaningful person. There were too many loose ends. Without giving too much away, the ending made most of the struggle within the book seem pointless to me.

Despite my opinion of the end of this story, I will certainly recommend it to others. It doesn't fit any genre that comes to mind, I would just classify it was "literature" and move on. I look forward to reading the future works of Tania James.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gold of Kings by Davis Bunn

I received this as a part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

Storm is the granddaughter of Sean Syrrel - a well-know, and recently deceased, art dealer. His death is so sudden and shrouded in suspicion that Storm is convinced Sean was murdered. Along with federal agent Emma Webb and treasure dog Harry Bennet, Storm works to complete the quest that may have cost Sean his life.

I'm not sure what I was expecting with this book. I guess I thought there would be more history as in books by authors such as Steve Berry and James Rollins. This is an adventure novel. It's a fairly good one, too. Some of the language used in both internal and external dialogue bothered me, though. Things like "vic" instead of "victim" and "fibbies" and "feebs" - I'm still not sure if both refer to the FBI. These seemed like shorthand - the sort of thing that would be converted into something more polished before being released. I didn't let it distract me too much, but it was there and worth noting.

This book could be classified as a good "beach read" - given uninterrupted time (which I don't have), it would be quick to finish. It was relatively fast paced and an all-around fun adventure. The three main characters are likable, if a little predictable at times.