Friday, April 9, 2010

Review: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Death on the NileHercule Poirot investigates a triple murder that takes place on a ship taking a tourist trip up the Nile. The murder of an heiress, one of the richest women in Europe, is only the top of the iceberg of intrigue and secrets that obscure the truth and lead to more deaths.

I think that Agatha Christie was at her best when it came to writing novels. Short stories didn't give her as much room to develop the plot and characters in that special subtle way of hers. I particularly liked this story because on the surface it is a mystery but underneath it all it is really a study in human character, the different types and manifestations of love and the role it plays in the lives of people.

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)Maggie Stiefvater is back with a sequel to last year's Shiver. No spoilers as the book isn't even out in the stores yet but I will tell you that this story is different from the last one. It doesn't have the quietness and the feeling of going with the flow and just being happy in the moment. It has the feeling of anticipation coursing all through it, anticipation of something you don't particularly look forward to but that is going to happen regardless because that's how life is, things happen. It also sets the scene for mystery, so I'm betting your gray cells will get a workout trying to answer all the why's before the last installment is on the shelves.
The characters have more depth to them, they aren't children any more, even if they were already 17-going-on-30. They're young adults making their decisions and choosing their path, even if they have to face the fact that they may be burning bridges in the process. The secondary characters are also multi-dimensional and interesting and they make the reader care about them. They also provide a nice contrasting backdrop for the leads.
What puts these books on my list of favorites is that so much of the story is real, the people, the situations, the consequences. If everything worked out perfectly for everyone all the time it would've been fake and Maggie doesn't write fake. What Maggie does write is real people living real lives with all their beauty and all their ugliness and she's not afraid to put it all out there. Writers who are afraid write rubbish and this is not rubbish, very far from it.
This is the kind of book I'm glad is out there for the young readers. They'll have a chance to read about real tenderness and caring and appreciation and devotion and relationships that aren't flashy and won't end up on the front pages of the social gossip columns or on TV but will make all the difference in the world in the lives of two people.
A word of caution - you will laugh some and you will cry some, so get the tissues ready.