The Labyrinth (or yet another book I failed)

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I tried so hard to get through The Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (no, not the model) by I utterly failed. This is another book that belongs on the pile somewhere near Ulysses, or The Female Eunuch. To be fair to the author, it really wasn’t her fault. The idea was wonderful, the prose was beautiful, the characters mostly interesting. I started to wonder, why can’t I do this? Then I felt like I was a sham of a reader. Then, I thought about it and came up with the following reasons  (in no particular order):

1. When you start a reading challenge at over 500 pages, there’s the same feeling as when faced with a massive bowl of porridge and told we have to eat it one day of every week. The stomach tightens and we are half full without eating a mouthful. Yuck!

2. The secondary plot was set in the time of the Cathars in 1200 and something. How do you relate to a story and characters who don’t have a lot of relevance to the world we live in? I thinks I run with the idea that if they are probably dead by now, then there’s no need to eleborate too much on the past. That’s just my preference. I don’t read historical fiction.

3. When you love one story or character but it’s interrupted by a less interesting story / character, it’s tempting to flick to the next instant with your beloved  (which I did many times).

4. Lastly, everyone in the industry raves about this book. Maybe their revenge for having to have read the thing is trick others into suffering the same misery.

All the above make up why I put down the book and watched the mini series instead. Warning – mini series does not explain the book very well. It’s terribly made and answered few of the questions the first 300 pages asked.

So now I have reached the end of that journey and I ll chalk it up as a literary disaster. I need to go read some Agatha Christie’s Poirot now to dilute the sour taste in my soul.

Pretty Little Liars (Books, not TV Show)

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Currently, I’m riding the wave that is the world of 5 teenage girls – commonly referred to as the Pretty Little Liars. I was a big fan of the tv series since the beginning, but I have been on and off that particular ride because of how drawn out it is. Just when you think you know what’s going on, they spin the story on its head and get it to break – dance for you. So, I thought, Sara Shepard has already written the books, I think I’ll give them a go.

The first thing that grabbed me was the order of events. The end of the first book is parallel to the end of the first episode. This doesn’t mean that the story runs verbatim, however. No. We are introduced to nearly every important character in the series and she sets up a lot of the secrets that are to be unfolded throughout the rest of the books.

I have to say that I love the books and I’m a huge fan of the author. I understand that the intended audience is young adult, but it really brings me back to my teenage years and the problems I can empathize with are universal.

It is a little grating how often she repeats facts from one book to the other. I’m eating through them so fast that I can do without it, but maybe with the time taken to write one, Shepard felt it was necessary to remind her readers of things that came before. So, with this in mind, I try not to hold it against her.

I am now up to book 6: Killer, and I don’t think it will take long to find out the big secrets. With 10 books in total, the ending better be good or the disappointment will make me ill.

Has anyone else read these books? Without spoilers, what do you think? I’d love to know what others think.