Recent Reads

11 Mar

Destiny’s Captive by Kate Lyon

I was really looking forward to reading this novel because I liked Lyon’s Hope’s Captive a lot. Sadly, Destiny’s Captive didn’t live up to my expectations. Sure, partly it might be because my expectations were too high, but I dunno. IMO, Destiny’s Captive felt different and was missing most of the things I liked about Hope’s Captive. With Destiny’s Captive, I liked the prologue, yes, and that Lyon again conveyed a sense of the time and history in the novel. Or that the hero had loved his first wife. But other than that?
The romance felt forced and I didn’t get a feel for it. I thought the characters were bland and generic. In particular, I had problems with the heroine. I admit, stubborn (spirited, feisty,…) heroines always have it a bit difficult with me but really, the heroine here says one thing and does another a few times too often for me to not think her a silly cow. Throw in a too jovial governor, servants who are nearly friends, spirit guides, and a few loose ends, and my impression of Destiny’s Captive went slowly but steadily downhill after the prologue.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go is written in a simple, understated style and told in a conversational tone. It’s set in a world resembling ours and sharing its history but with something that feels a bit off right from the start. The novel follows the lives of three people who grew up together at a kind of boarding school and is told by the only one still living at the end of the novel. I think of this novel as a dystopian novel although I often see it called science fiction.
There’s a strange passivity in Never Let Me Go. The characters seem detached from the “normal” world around them. They do what they are told, and even after the reveal-all near the end – that mostly just blows (IMO) and is far from having the great impact on the characters (and the reader) than one might expect from such a scene – they more or less meekly go on with their life. There’s no explanation why the characters just accept their fate even though they are clearly educated and can (for some time at least) roam freely (this is even more true before the reveal-all near the end). There’s also no explanation how this world works. Never Let Me Go “tells and not tells,” “asks and not asks.”
But honestly, I can’t make up my mind about this novel. What I know for sure is that I loved the writing and I liked to read the dissection of actions and emotions that take so much room in this novel. I also liked that, like the children in the story, the reader is “told and not told” what is going . Never Let Me Go is like an elephant that is missing its legs and its trunk and now is just floating. Depending upon my perspective, I either think it offers a lot to think about, or it’s somewhat pointless because it’s resting on nothing much. Really, it’s back and forth for me.

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5 Responses to “Recent Reads”

  1. Wendy Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    Ditto, ditto, and ditto on Destiny’s Captive – although I admit to liking the governor 🙂

  2. nath Friday, March 12, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    Awww, bummer for Destiny’s Captive 😦 Sucks no, when the book doesn’t measure up to our expectations. I wonder if it’s because we set the bar too high?

    Hmmm, Never Let Me Go doesn’t sound like a book for me.

  3. Taja Friday, March 12, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    Wendy – the governor was a last addition to the list. *g* He’s just a bit too convenient IMO and also too fond of calling the hero “son” – too much for me.

    nath – yes, that’s certainly the case sometimes. And as I said, it might be the case here in parts. Destiny’s Hope was serious, poignant and the characters felt real. (Compared to that) Destiny’s Captive is utter fluff IMO. Sadly not the good kind.

    “Never Let Me Go” – I’m still not sure I would recommend it, at least not without qualifications. What I gathered from reading other comments yesterday evening, most either think it’s brilliant or the opposite. *shrug*

  4. Kristie J Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    Darn – that’s a bummer. I loved Hope’s Captive and Time’s Captive by this author. I knew Wendy didn’t care for Destiny’s Captive either. Now I’m trying to remember if I bought it -Yikes!! I’m losing track of books!!

  5. Taja Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Kristie J – I think losing track of books is part of the pleasure of being a reader. 😉

    I haven’t read Time’s Captive but I really liked Hope’s Captive. I had the impression that Destiny’s Captive is connected to Time’s Captive. (Am I the only one whose head spins because of all these captives? *g*).

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