Monday, 31 January 2011

Random House - ReadersPlace

Hello everyone,

We're been put onto the readersplace website!

Final chance to fill in the survey

Hello everyone,

I'm going to take a report of the book club survey on 11th February so if you'd like to fill it in before then i'd be very grateful. Please don't fill it in again if you have already filled it in once.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Devil's Star

This months book came from Random House as part of their sponsorship for the first four months of 2011.

The one message we would give about this book is that it does not hold its own as a stand-alone novel. However, as part of the series of books it does seem to be quite good. Most of the book club did read it as a single novel and didn’t get on with it very well. The one member of the club that did read the previous two novels got a lot more enjoyment from “The Devil’s Star”. In order for more people to enjoy this novel it should be made more clear that this is part of a series and that the series does run together.

We mostly found the book very hard to get into at first, but enjoyed it more as the story went on. The section when Harry started to figure out the pattern of the murders was particularly enjoyed, in fact we felt that the very last part of the story was largely unnecessary. It seemed to go on for a long time after we thought it should have actually finished.

We felt that a great deal of the problems we had with getting into the book and understanding the characters may stem from the fact that this is a book in translation. Also, much of the back story of the characters wasn’t restated at the beginning of the book leaving us with story lines in this novel that we couldn’t really follow. Many of the club members said that they found it hard to picture the peoples faces as they read about them, there wasn’t much physical description to help us. Not sure if this was to do with it being part of a series or to do with the translation.

Certain sections of the book were really enjoyable, for example, the historical background to Sven’s humble beginnings. This is probably because it did stand alone as a section of great detail so we could enjoy it because it was understandable to us. However, other sections were very confusing, for example we were not sure what relevance the plaster story at the beginning had to do with the rest of the book.

Overall we gave this book 4 out of 10, with the only member of the club giving the book an 8 being the member who had read the previous books. This gives a clear indication that the books should be read as part of a series. We did all finish this book, this was mostly because it is after all a crime novel so we wanted to know what happened in the end.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Devil's Star - Questions

Hello everyone,

I hope you're all ready for the January meeting! Here are some generic questions to start us all off:

- How did you experience the book? It's not always helpful to talk about whether or not you liked the book, but rather how you felt as you were reading it? Were you pulled effortlessly into the book...or did you have difficulty getting into it? Why? Did you find yourself amused, intrigued, enthralled, disturbed, fearful, irritated, angered, or impatient?

- Are the characters convincing-do they come across as believable human beings with underlying motivations? Are they fully developed as emotionally complex individuals? Or are they one-dimensional, with little emphasis on their inner lives?

- Is the plot well-developed? Is it believable...or is it forced? Is it suspenseful or more contemplative? Does it unfold naturally, or do you feel manipulated along the way by coincidences, odd plot twists, or cliffhangers?

- Is the ending satisfying? Predictable or not? Does is wrap up the ends neatly? Is it too neat, too pat? Does it leave some issues unresolved, questions unanswered? If you could change the ending, would you...if so, how would you change it?