Title: Lonesome Dove
Author: Larry McMurtry
Page Count: 858
Series: Lonesome Dove, Book 1 (Book 3 chronologically)
Publishing Date/Publisher: June 15, 2010 by Simon Schuster (originally published 1985)
Review: This book was a slow burn for me. I didn’t love it at first, but somewhere in the middle I started to. I would caution readers, however, that this is essentially the Western equivalent of Game of Thrones. If you cannot stomach violence, abuse, and sudden death, this is not the book for you. It felt like every time I would grow a deep attachment to a character, they would die in some horrific way. What I really enjoyed about this book though is how well the author interconnected all the characters at some point in the novel. His writing had a very satirical tone, and he really brings to light the fickleness and folly of human nature. Everyone is driven by something, and in such a gritty world, many are driven by basic human need – food, water, sex, and companionship. Some characters have more complex motivators, but in the end, you are left with a sense that their efforts were all for naught. It is frustrating and fascinating at the same time.
I found the ending of this book to be a bit perplexing. I was satisfied by the ending in one sense, but I tend to like books that have a definitive end. This book seemed to cut off in the middle of a conversation between two characters. It was an interesting choice, and I wonder why the author chose to end it in this way. Nevertheless, it is easy for me to see why this book is revered as a classic and considered a cornerstone of the genre.
Title: The Everlasting Rose
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Performer: Rosie Jones
Length: 10 hr, 19 min, 4 sec
Series: The Belles
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2019 by Blackstone Publishing
Review: After being completely enthralled by The Belles, I was very excited to check out this audiobook. I eagerly waited weeks for my turn in the holds queue and when I finally got it, well I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t nearly as good as The Belles. I still enjoyed it immensely – the author really has a poetic way with words and I could listen to the reader to all day. Rosie Jones could narrate the dictionary and I probably wouldn’t be able to stop gushing about her talent.
Unlike the first book, the plot of this book is incredibly drawn out. The first 80% of the book was essentially just Camille evading capture, and it didn’t get really juicy until the end. Although Sophia is still the villain of this story, she was only present from afar for most of the book. Part of what really made the first book special was her direct role in the plot development.
The conclusion of this book was very satisfying. I was actually a bit surprised when I saw on Goodreads that there is a third book scheduled to be released sometime next year. Perhaps it will focus on another character? It really felt like Camille’s story was wrapped up nicely, and there were not a lot of loose ends, if any, left to be addressed. All I know is that I will definitely be checking it out, because I enjoyed this world well enough to be immersed in it a little longer.
Title: Blood and Sand
Author: C.V. Wyk
Performer: Brittany Pressley
Length: 8 hr, 58 min, 58 sec
Series: Blood and Sand, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by MacMillan Young Listeners
Review: I really enjoyed the first half of this book because I thought the author did a great job introducing the time period, setting, and characters. The second half of the book is where she started to lose me. I would say that this book is more strongly categorized as historical fiction rather than fantasy. I typically enjoy both genres immensely, but I hesitate to even call this fantasy. It’s more like unrealistic historical fiction. The only thing that could qualify this series as fantasy was how preposterous the fight scenes were in the second half of the book. One scene in particular, the most pivotal in terms of driving the direction of the story, was a monumental disappointment because quite frankly it made no sense. The fallout of this particular scene was equally disappointing. A lot gets thrown at you at the end, and the puzzle pieces just fit together too perfectly to be realistic.
All criticisms aside, I think that Wyk is a talented writer and I enjoyed enough things about this book to continue with the series when the next book is published.
Finally, I thought the reader for this eAudiobook had a nice voice, but in my opinion wasn’t well suited for this particular book. I’ve heard her narrate other books and liked those performances far more than I did this one. Perhaps this is because I did not care for the character voices and accents she chose for some of the main characters, particularly Attia.