Nicholas Sparks

My favourite college literature professor often cautioned us on keeping an author’s personal life and opinions from their work.

I did, and do, agree.

I enjoy Orson Scott Card’s Ender series immensely despite the criticism Card has received regarding his social views.

This latest information on Nicholas Sparks, however, is hard to ignore.



All the Light You Cannot See: Anthony Doerr

An orphan boy and a blind girl caught up on opposite sides of the maelstorm called World War II. ALL THE LIGHT YOU CANNOT SEE has all the makings of a trite, cliched pantomime. Instead, it is a searing portrait of WWII daily life, focusing on common people instead of major events and battles and heroes and villains.

Werner has charmed me forever.

It’s not often I agree with the majority (I’ve only ever voted for a successful politician once), but this clearly belongs on all the bestseller lists.

Babylon’s Ashes: James SA Corey

Still my favourite sci-fi series, with quality in plotting, characterization, and choice and arrangement of words throughout.

This one is a bit of a placeholder between what you can see are two parts of the series, moving from our solar system (the books up to this point) out past the Gate (what is to come). In fact, the final couple of chapters have little to do with the rest of the book, just setting up what is coming next, and thus felt a little forced (but necessary).

More damn fine pie.

Vengeful: VE Schwab

This book is about XOs, “extraordinaries.” Too bad the book isn’t. The authors’ own superpower is to takea cliched, tire-worn mediocre novel, chop it up, stick it in a blender, and then dump it on the pages.

It is almost like s/he storyboarded the book like a movie, putting each scene on mah jongg tiles, putting it in a felt bag, shaking it up, then dumping it on a table so that the scenes are all jumbled and confusing. It really made no sense to me until near the end.

Few would have that patience.

House of Spies: Daniel Silva

When you’ve been as prolific and acclaimed as Silva has been, it’s almost inevitable that sooner or later you’ll start to get sloppy, to slip. As Yeats said, “Things falls apart, the centre cannot hold.”

For me, it shows in the absence of tightness in the writing. The middle of the book is still highly crafted, but the beginning and end sees dense block of exposition, meaning too much telling, not enough showing, as I believe judicious dialogue provides.

Worse, it is too similar in plot to Silva’s previous offerings. Change a few names and details and you’d be hard-pressed to differentiate it from several of his most recent novels.

Not Silva’s best, but still very good. Your mileage may vary.