was easy enough to read. I had gotten bogged down before in the second section when poor old Lucy is being slowly drained of life by the Count, and no one except for Van Helsing understands why. I suppose that there’s an air of mystery and suspense that might pervade this section if you don’t know the signs of vampirism, and I get it that Stoker invented
the genre with this work…but it’s likely the reason that I never made it through this one in the past is that none of it is as surprising or thrilling as I suppose it must have been when it was first published. I’m glad to have read it, but doubt I’ll do so again.
by Andy Weir was a fun, quick read. Unlike his first book, The Martian
, which was the truest example of science fiction I’ve ever read–in that it was fictional, yes, but grounded in science and something that could realistically happen in a decade or so–Artemis
is a little more speculative, set in the 2080s on a colony on the moon. Weir’s writing and style, though, is chockfull of hard facts about astronomy and physics to ground the fictional setting in a satisfying sort of realism. And the story about conspiracy, Moon Station politics (yes, I know how that sounds), and intrigue was fun and fast-paced.
A Column of Fire
by Ken Follett is his latest–and probably his final–novel taking place in his fictional cathedral town of Kingsbridge. I have a soft spot for The Pillars of the Earth
, which was my first introduction to Ken Follett, and read it first when I was 11 or 12 years old, inspired partially by the medieval history unit we were doing in Grade 6 history and (admittedly) by the R-rated content in the book. A Column of Fire
takes place 500 years after The Pillars of the Earth
and focuses mostly on the succession of Queen Elizabeth and the Catholic/Protestant turmoil and violence of the era.
It has all the obligatory tropes from a standard Ken Follett work, and in that way, was a bit like reading Dracula–you know that the sinister French Catholic villain will at first succeed and then come to a bad end; you know that the star-crossed lovers initially married to other people will ultimately end up together in their late-middle age; you know that there will be the requisite amount of sex, violence, betrayal, and at least one irredeemably evil character. Still, Follett’s books are successful for a reason, and I enjoyed Follett’s depiction of the St. Bartholomew’s massacre, the Spanish Armada, and the Guy Fawkes incident. It captured the depth of the Protestant/Catholic strife of the era in a resoundingly engaging way.