The Trick is set in two separate times. The first setting is in World War 2 Germany where a Jewish boy is taken with the stage and becomes an illusionist. The second is in present-day America where a young boy, Max, desperately wants to keep his parents together. Max is taken with the hope of finding the Great Zabbatini who recorded a spell of true love on a new scratched and worthless record.
The book is wonderfully written. The characters are very realistic and easy to keep clear. I had a vivid picture of everyone in the novel. The novel starts off a bit slow. The two storylines are not connected and are vastly different at first. It was jolting to go back and forth between the two. However, less than halfway through the novel it is very apparent how they are connected, at least partially. The story has a lot of different connections throughout, including one at the ending that I really did not see coming. Looking back there was build up for it, but it could have been better without giving it away.
By the end of the book, I was completely invested in both the characters and the book. I did not want it to end and was moved when it did. I was left feeling a little jilted. It just seems like something was missing, I wouldn’t want to speculate since that would give away too much of the book. Overall, a great read. It is an interesting perspective on World War 2, however, it is more a novel about people and how people and their interactions with each other.
Life After Life is an intriguing work by Kate Atkinson. Ursula Todd, the main character, is born in 1910 and dies. She is then born again and again living out a variety of themes on essentially the same life. The novel brings into question how much free will does an individual have. It also looks at how our choices shape our future. The very construction of the novel is unique and will leave the reader with much to think about.
Atkinson is a wonderful writer. She brings her characters to life (and then to life again). She can tell the same story in new ways making it interesting all over again. There is no question that she is truly talented.
However, I did not, especially, like this novel. There was no growth. I am fairly certain that this is at least part if the commentary that Atkinson is making in Life After Life. Yet, even with that speculation, I am left unsettled. Life is growth, without growth is Ursula really living. It could be argued that she is growing in each life, or there could just be changes in her lives. Yet any growth is not followed up with the ending of the novel.
This is a rare novel. It is both brilliant and lacking at the same time.
Fire Wars is the first book in the Fire War Trilogy by T.T. Michaels. The book would best be classified as a military dystopian novel. It is set seventy years in the future when, due to terrorism, the United States joined with Canada to become a union. However, that was not enough power for President Meyers who made it his mission to unite Mexico with its North American companions and close the borders for the good of all citizens.
Michaels has a light and easy read writing style. The wording and story flow quite well making for an enjoyable read. The characters are real, although not entirely believable. I have a really hard time believing that one of the best snipers in the Marines could possibly be that dense. While it would have hurt the flow of the plot if he caught on earlier, there were too many clues and too many insights for him to have been so blind sighted. As a reader, you will catch on clear at the beginning of the book.
My other concern is the timing of the book. It took seventy years for the transition of uniting Canada with the United States, and only four years for it to turn into a totalitarian government. There was a comment in the book about the characters not missing elections. However, elections were already moved to every six years, so it would not make logical sense for the characters to feel a loss of something that would not have already happened. While there were plot issues that stuck with me, I found Fire Wars to be a very enjoyable read. I would absolutely recommend that you check it out if you are in the mood for something light. I look forward to seeing how Michaels grows in the sequel.
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