For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Friday, September 17, 2021

I'm Reading: What We Buried, The Wolf and the Woodsman, The Plot

 


I started What We Buried by Kate Boorman ~ Goodreads I believe it's a thriller and I thought I would kick off spooky reading season and clear a physical book off my TBR list. I made it through about 2 chapters when my 2 library holds came in so I moved to those instead. The clock was a ticking!

So here are my thought's on those while I get back to What We Buried and will hopefully have that wrapped up by next week!






In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant. ~ Goodreads

My thoughts: I'll be the first to admit that fantasy is not really my preferred genre. But I've been able to enjoy quite a few on audio. Several people had recommended this one but, unfortunately, I could only get the e-book. 

I may have enjoyed it more on audio but I don't think so. While I liked the ambitious premise and some specific chapters (like the encounters with various magical, dangerous beings from the forest, religious bigotry and conflict/refugeesthere was so much repetition of words and phrases (blushing, turning pink - 33 times, stomachs roiling/turning @47 times according to my Kindle search), the metaphors and flowery language grew tiring.

"Her cloak is precisely the same color as her hair, white as a carp's belly..."

"A bit of grief leaches into me, like rainwater through roots."

"Yehuli words float  through the air in whispers, thin and pale as dust motes."

"Gaspar's face is hesitantly open, like the very first crocus to bloom." 

And on and on and on...

As for the magic - the King is desperate get magic but like....every single character had some? lol I can see why a seer's magic would be prized but some characters had near immortality or other valuable skills and no one seemed to care - or use it to stay alive. It was just weird and not explained enough for me.

I had other issues as well with the pacing (stopping to tell folktales, stories of the Gods - while interesting - it put an abrupt halt to the narrative and often didn't often mean anything in the larger scope of things), Evike is constantly rehashing and agonizing over everything she does. For example, I don't know how many times she regrets saying something to Gaspar only to do it again and feel guilty days later. Again. 

She grew up in a very abusive village with only one good friend - yet she thinks of the two people who tortured her most (a valid feeling in the context of the story) but not once of her best friend. 

Again...not a big fantasy reader so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. Check out Amber's 4.5 star review here where she calls "The Wolf and the Woodsman was the perfect blend of magic, religion, politics, and romance."


Hailed as breathtakingly suspenseful, Jean Hanff Korelitz's The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.
 ~ Goodreads

My thoughts: Mysteries/thrillers are another genre I don't often read or enjoy but wanted to try on audio and it does seem the format helped.

The Plot has a pretty decent hook. Jacob Finch Bonner is a published but not widely successful author - now teaching in a MFA program. He just can't seem to get an idea for his next novel.

A brash student, Evan Parker, comes to his course declaring that he has THE best story idea. A guaranteed, cannot fail, best selling plot. Although Evan keeps the story very close, he does share a few pages with Jacob before his untimely death. 

Fast forward...and Jacob is a best selling, Oprah's Book Club author of a book with a very familiar sounding plot. Someone else has noticed too and starts sending Jacob "I know what you did last summer" kind of emails. "You are a thief" they say and Jacob is paralyzed with fear wondering who this person is, waiting for his life to unravel if it were to become public.

The Plot tells Jacob's story while also telling the fictional novel. It's an interesting choice at first but with a great payoff.  You can easily figure out the who at a certain point but the why go to such lengths is still up for grabs with a satisfying end. 

I will say, that as with most thrillers I've read, I didn't really connect to any of the characters. Jacob is such a milquetoast type of guy - just floating through life passively. Neither his failures nor his successes seem to make a blip on his personality. I think these stories are more about getting you from point A to point B and less about loving or investing in the people but as a die hard romance /YA reader - I'm always looking for that. lol

Also, The Plot occasionally gets down in the weeds of the craft/business side of writing and publishing. That could make it more or less interesting depending on the reader. 

Nevertheless, I was interested in the story, the outcome and liked the ending. I even had a laugh at the diabolical nature of it.

33 comments:

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  2. I learned a new word today: milquetoast! LOL, seriously. I had to look it up. Gotta love a review with unusual words in it!

    I read a few reviews of The Plot, and they seem to agree with you. Thrillers are funny that way, more often than not. They're more about the whodunnit (and even more about their motives) than everything else, so they have to be perfect in that department in order to compensate for the things that get sacrificed on the plot's altar. It's not easy.

    What We Buried is, indeed, a thriller, but it's also a book that wildly crosses genres. I loved it. And I was invested in the characters. I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

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    1. I've had better luck with YA thrillers. It seems odd but they tend to have other elements besides the mystery. Like coming of age or familial/romantic relationships or friend dynamics.

      I think I need that to be truly hooked.

      And you know I like law without order 🤣🤣

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    2. Don't remind me...I don't know how I can be friends with someone who goes to sleep halfway through a L&O episode! 😂

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    3. There can be world peace if we are able to coexist and be friends! Bahaha!

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  3. Love seeing these reviews of these here. Fantasy is such fun to listen to on audio, Most narrators tend to do a real good job with it. Sounds like that one was a disappointment for you.

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    1. This really had more to do Werth the writing in this case. I doubt I would like it in any format but audio does make fantasy better for me.

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  4. I am impressed audio format made mystery/thrillers better for you. I am always only half-listening when I play audiobooks, so those genres are challenging as the details are important.

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    1. With thrillers, my brain airways slips ahead and figures things out too soon. The audio feels more immersive.

      Having said that, I did drift a few times lol like I said, I need a character or couple to root for and thrillers rarely have that.

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  5. What WE Buried has a freaky cover. I am honestly looking forward to getting my scary on this autumn- hopefully will find some good scary or at least suspenseful reads.

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    1. It does! It's not my typical read but I'm curious.

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  6. I've read a couple of reviews for The Plot and that does sound like a good read.

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  7. I liked What We Buried, so I hope you do too! I think that flowery (and clearly repetitive!) writing for Woodsman wouuld be a huge turnoff for me too, so I am glad that you mentioned it! The Plot sounds like it might be worth it, though why the heck are thriller characters usually so blah?! Great reviews!

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    1. I'm not a huge fantasy reader so it could have been that but I've enjoyed several recently. This was just a total miss for me.

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  8. Sorry that The Wolf and The Woodsman didn’t work for you. If you don’t read a lot of fantasy then when someone writes in a style you don’t love it’s going to be way more obvious. It might have been a better on audio. I sometimes flowery language easier to tune out when I’m listening to it, especially as I;m usually doing other things while listening, my brain focuses back in when important things are happening.

    The Plot sounds like it could be good, I don’t always love being able to guess the who in a whodunnit, but it would help you’re trying to figure out the motivation at the same time.

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    1. I do SO much better with audio for fantasy but there wasn't much I liked about this one so I'm not sure it would have mattered.

      Having said that - I will only do audio for the genre from now on though.

      I've guessed the twists from summaries before lol so I'll take at least enjoying the ride with thrillers if I can.

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  9. I have moved to listening to fantasies. I just seem to be able to digest them better in audiobook format. Reid's book sounds interesting, I may need to look into it. Thanks.

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    1. Most people loved it! Definitely audio though.

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  10. Lol, I am sure I do not notice things like that when I listen to at 1.8, the blushes breeze through

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    1. I can't go that fast yet but I let a lot more go with audio.

      But then if it's too boring I drift lol

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  11. Repetition in books drives me *insane* so I know I would have had the same issue as you with the fantasy one. I'm reading a book now with a lot of repetition and it's like now that's all I can concentrate on. LOL

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  12. I'll forgive you for not loving Woodsman. But only this time!

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    1. Ha! I'm SORRY.

      We'll just focus on our mutual adoration for The Love Hypothesis.

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  13. I have an ARC of The Plot that someone sent me from a giveaway, and I really need to check it out. I am ready for all the spooky and mystery reads!

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I know you like mystery/thrillers more than me so you should love this one. Especially with the literary plot.

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  14. I couldn't get into The Wolf and the Woodsman either. I didn't even notice the repetitive words, I just never really felt anything for the characters *shrug*

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    1. That's interesting. Did you listen or read a physical copy?

      I was kind of surprised because I enjoyed the beginning and then it just went downhill but everyone I know LOVED it.

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    2. Audiobook. Yeah, it had sounded like it'd be good! Just not for us, I guess.

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  15. I have wanted to read The Wolf and the Woodsman, but I hate repetitive descriptors and phrases. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 📚

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    1. I don't know if I would trust my opinion lol

      I'm really not a fantasy reader but this one annoyed me more than usually lol

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  16. I enjoyed what we buried a lot as well. Can someone explain to me the ending? i still cant wrap my head around it hehe?

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    1. I'm almooooost done! I know it's open ended so I'm ready but I hope it's not too irritating lol

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