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inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
[personal profile] inevitableentresol
I finished two books this week, which is good going for me recently.

Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc (the link takes you to the free ebook version on Gutenberg) is a collection of short stories about the eponymous gentleman thief and master of disguise. In these light, implausible tales, Lupin is an almost unstoppable force against the bumbling French police force, reducing the tension considerably.

In the final story, the cast is enhanced by the surprise appearance of a fictional character that most people will recognise, and which I won't spoil in case you decide to read this.

The collection is topped and tailed by Lupin's meeting with a potential love interest. This adds a much needed vulnerablility as he wrestles for seemingly the only time with his criminal career choice because it may put him in an unfavourable light with her. All in all, an amusing read. 7/10

Hyperion by Dan Simmons, on the other hand, is a longer book, a dense science fiction tale with many literary references and a lot of world building. The main structure is based on the Canterbury Tales, with seven travellers on a pilgramage telling their stories. I admired the ambition to the book. It truly is a tale spanning time and space. The action sequences are very well done, something I didn't expect given the careful use of language in the more philosophical passages.

However, the writer is kind of obsessed with breasts. I gave up counting how many times he used the word, or how many ways he described them. This was just an amusing oddity until the last tale of the book. Then it unfortunately became enough to outweigh most of the good stuff, especially as the author was so intent on telling us about some barely legal breasts, their colour, their weight, the shadows falling under them, about when they were wet, or in the sun - oh, and by the way, did he mention yet that these breasts were barely legal and belonged to a "childwoman"? Only a couple of times each page. Not to mention that this passage was supposed to be presented by that woman's grandson. The rest of that final tale was a similar mismash of absurdity and unbelieveable motivations. Not that the sex scenes in any of the other tales were much better. There was a sex scene told from a female character's point of view in which her greatest moment of transcendental ecstasy is when the man comes. Some writers just can't write sex, yet insist on doing it. 6/10 (for the ambition and worldbuilding, I won't be continuing with this series)

Currently reading: Carmen by Prosper Merimee, which shouldn't take me long. It's barely a pamphlet.
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inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)

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