The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer, read by Cornelius Garrett

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This is a re-listen of the audiobook, read by Cornelius Garrett. His very British voice is well-suited to portraying the haut ton of Heyer’s milieu, though I was surprised by the rather languid tones of the Earl of St. Erth, Gervaise Frant, our hero, who is supposed to have been an officer in the armies against Napoleon. Aside from that, the reading goes well, with each character delineated in such a way that you can always tell who is speaking, including all the female characters.

I have loved Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances since I was, oh, nine years old, when I found a copy of False Colors in the local library. I was lucky in that her books were being reprinted in inexpensive paperback copies at that time, so I managed to read nearly all of them whilst still in my teens.

This particular one is not one of my favorites, as it doesn’t feature the sparkling wit and brilliant locations that are one of Heyer’s strengths — the cast of characters is small, and the location is one small country neighborhood surrounding the estate of Stanyon.  The plot is one of mystery — the new Earl is under attack by a mysterious killer. It is thought by his cousin Theo and his friend Lucius that the culprit is his half-brother, brought up to think that HE would inherit the estates and title, since St. Erth was (a) hated by their father and (b) in the army.  Martin, the brother, is a spoiled and impulsive young man who  has a hot temper. He is nearly the only suspect for the whole book — and I feel that Ms. Heyer does not play fair with the reader, for there are few or no clues that lead to the culprit, even if one re-reads the relevant scenes again.  While Heyer’s romances are not always quite believable, this book is one of the lesser lights in her ouevre. The declarations of love are nearly as unexpected as the identity of the would-be murderer.

If you happen to be a Heyer fan, this is a perfectly cromulent book. The reading is excellent, and it redeems  the lackluster plotting. If you aren’t already a fan, this should be put off until you have tried some of  Ms. Heyer’s better books (suggestions include Venetia, Sprig Muslin, Cotillion, and False Colours).

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Rogue One: a Star Wars Story novelization byAlexander Freed

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by [Freed, Alexander]

This novel was a must-buy for me after seeing Rogue One twice in the theaters in one week.  I had to know if it gave any insights into the characters and I needed to spend more time with Cassian, Jyn, Chirrut, Baze, Bodhi and Kay-Two. So how did it stack up?

The writing was smooth and competent, so there was no hindrance to just picking up the book and sailing through the story. It was a quick read.  The plot and story beats followed the movie closely, with very few (if any) scenes that we hadn’t viewed on screen. Where it shone was in giving us the internal musings of many of the characters — both Jyn and Cassian gained more depth with this additional information.  Baze and Chirrut did not fare so well, with only one or two scenes giving us insight into their thoughts, but I hear that a junior novel about the Guardians of the Whills is coming out this spring, so I have hopes that we will see more about these mysterious men.  Bodhi also did not get as much pagetime as I had hoped. Several mysteries remain about character motivation and backstory,  which is disappointing.

My verdict: Definitely worth reading if you loved the movie and wanted to know more about the characters. Probably worth reading if you just wanted to know what the hype was about but didn’t want to watch the movie. If you don’t care about Star Wars, then… probably not something you’d want to pick up.

Taking the plunge, or, reviewing books

So, certain folks I know (*cough* Ken and Lisa *cough*) seem to think I should share my book reviews with a wider audience. And, hey, lord knows I have opinions about books. I have been dithering over this for a few months, but decided that it was worth doing, since I read enough that it wouldn’t hurt to have a centralized place to post said reviews, rather than putting them on my LJ.

 

As an introduction, let me first say that I’m a long-time genre reader, and that I like books. A lot. I primarily read in the sf/fantasy, mystery, and romance fields, although I also read whatever strikes my magpie-ish tastes. So there might be reviews of Golden Age mysteries one day, and the newest Bujold the next, with some detours into histories of Winchester College (the public school, not the actual college) and how to declutter. It all depends.