Book Review: Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy with Matt Hollingsworth

Batman: White Knight by Sean Gordon Murphy is a batman tale that ask the what if scenario what if the Joker went sane and became the former gangster lackey Jack Napier once again. Napier is out to save the city from the true villain of Gotham, Batman. This story drives deep into the psychological relationship of the Joker and Batman and the way their relationship is intertwined. It also highlights Joker’s relationship with Harley Quinn, and what she does for him is hold him back from what he’s really capable of. Artistically you will see all version of the bat-mobile from television, I personally liked seeing the 1960 bat-mobile in action.This comic series is packed with some really great moments and one off puns, I liked Bullock insulting the Penguin by calling him happy feet.

The Plot: Batman chases the Joker to a pill factory, in his chase Batman causes a lot of damage and almost injures an innocent bystander that Nightwing saves, as Batman risk everything to track down the Joker. Once caught the Joker threatens Batman that they need each other and that if he goes sane that it would destroy Batman. Joker has a set of pills that were designed to do just that, Batman challenges his threat by forcing the pills down Joker’s throat. The pills seems to work turning the Joker back into Jack Napier, the man he was before he turned into before he took a chemical bath. Napier has all the Joker’s intelligence and focus without the Joker’s craziness. His target is exposing Batman for the true villain that he is to Gotham. The Joker charges Batman with assault saying the police just let him get abused, and he target’s all of Batman’s collateral damage to property, and that there is a 3 million dollar fund to clean up all the damage. The joker proposes Batman should stop being a vigilantly and give all of his resources to the police. Napier’s plan divides Batgirl and Nightwing against Batman who they see going off the rails as Alfred is sick and Batman needs him as his moral compass. Harley Quinn who doesn’t like what her Joker has become turns herself into Neo Joker and will not stop till her Joker is back. How will this story end? Is Joker the White Knight of Gotham that can truly save the city?

What I Liked: Really good character work on Batman, the Joker, and Harley Quinn. There’s two Harley Quinn the original and the replacement, it works with one wanting the Joker sane and the other as his insane old self. I like that Harley is added to the whole Jason Todd Robin story, since she wasn’t created when the original story took place, I like what role she played in it. The line Batman gives to the original Harley Quinn about, “you held him back from the real danger that you know he’s capable of.” All iterations of the Bat-mobile are represented. The story and concept are great, I would’ve enjoyed a longer version of the story, I feel this concept could’ve been expanded on.

What I Disliked: When Joker reverts back Jack Napier it changes back to original skin color, I think this should have been done with make up, to mirror Batman who is always Batman but puts on the Bruce Wayne persona, to say that Jack Napier is always the Joker. I didn’t like the Jack Napier running for councilman, I thought it was too rushed.

Recommendations: I will totally recommend this Graphic Novel as a great what if story, that really expanded the Joker/Batman relationship. The final twist reveal reminded me of the excellent The Long Halloween storyline. I just read the excellent No Man’s Land that expands on Batman and James Gordon’s relationship as a good contrast to this Graphic Novel. I rated this 4 out of 5 stars.

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Book Review: The Burglar by Thomas Perry

The Burglar by Thomas Perry is a meticulous thriller, that tells you every street and road the character turns on to get away. The meticulousness works for the character up slows the action to a crawl. at times it felt like I was reading a scripted version of “The Californians” SNL sketch as every freeway is listed. I lived in Los Angeles, CA for eight years so I knew a little of where the character was going, but I can see others get buried in all the details. This thriller is a snoozefest until the last 80 pages which it finally gets good, really good. But I had already given up on the character’s situation, the story reminded me of the Sandra bullock thriller The Net, just not updated and feeling very 90’s.

The Plot: Elle is a small 24 year old burglar, her cover is a collage athlete returning home. We learn of her routine for robbing the rich in LA neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and Bel Aire, and it is detailed and meticulous. Her routine is shaken when she does all the checks for no one being home and a security system she can override, everything is going great until she notices the three bodies gunned down executioner style, she finds a recording with a red light knowing she’s on tape, she takes the tape to cover her own self, but soon realizes that the tape also captured the murders as well. How that she has stolen a key piece of evidence what does she do with it? Elle maybe the only one who could solve this murder.

What I Liked: When there is actually action and thrills, it is written really well and puts you in the character’s perspective. The couple of twist in the mystery are clever. The dialogue when spoken feels real, there’s not a lot. The deaths are thrilling and described well. The end is written well, and you can see Perry’s talent, which made me mad the whole book wasn’t written like this.

What I Disliked: There’s way too many tangents that ruin the flow of this book. The pace of this book is so slow. Way too many details when it comes to driving show us her routine a couple of times, but don’t share details about it ten times, we already know how detailed and careful the character is. Something really horrific happens and the character immediately goes on a date looking for a distraction, I hit my forehead in reaction. I hate when we have a brilliant character continue to do stupid things, like keep returning to a bar after people she doesn’t know keep asking about her there.

Recommendations: I will ask you to pass on reading this one, I feel like I’ve done a favor to all my followers, with this one. I’m curious and hesitant to check out Perry’s other work, will definitely use other review site to see which to avoid. He’s written over 25 books so they all can’t be this bad to still have a career. I will always give an author another chance, and I saw a potential for good in those last 80 pages. I rated this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu: The Adventure of the Deadly Dimensions By Lois H. Gresh

Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu: The Adventure of Deadly Dimensions by Lois H. Gresh is the showdown that you never thought possible for a man like Sherlock Holmes who does not believe in the supernatural. Gresh has a really clever quote for this instance. “Superstition has no place in the world, Watson, only science. What we perceive today as otherworldly, we will know as science tomorrow. I am certain of it.” This book mixes the writing of two literary masters Lovecraft and Cohan Doyle, and has joy playing at themes they both never tackled. The Lovecraftian part is vicious brutal and outright otherworldly, where the Sherlockian is smart and witty. These two worlds don’t fit in as seamlessly as I would have liked but the mystery angle works, and is quite compelling. From the Sherlock world we get Moriarty, Inspector Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, Mary Morstan, Mycroft Holmes is mentioned, and of course Watson as the Narrator of this Holmes adventure. From the Lovecraft world we some of the otherworldly creatures, the Order of the Dagon, and corpses in piles.

The Plot: Sherlock is called out on a strange case of a furniture makers death, this is not an ordinary death the skeletal remains are stacked in a stack with some weird skeletal orb on top. Holmes can’t seem to find a logical reason for this happening. Then Holmes and Watson investigate a another murder with the same MO, only the worker who is accused of the murder swear the machine did it. Murder’s keep happing with few clues and all point to something otherworldly Cthulhu and do not fit into Holmes’ logic. Can he stop these murders before the call to Cthulhu goes out?

What I Liked: The relationship of Watson and Holmes is there and really good, Holmes shows great concern when Watson is in trouble. I liked the word describing the gore, make you picture it and feel the horror in your soul. The Watson and Mary relationship is cool to see since he’s married in this and was only ever engaged in the Cohan Doyle books. The machine was descried well and I loved the mystery behind it. I liked the final twist, it really makes me want to check out the next one. I like how Moriarty was involved in the story.

What I Disliked: This novel tells different the story mainly through Watson, but once and a while it will tell you the story from others point of view that the reader and Sherlock and Watson have never met before. This is a horrible way to tell the story and really throws you out of the story as you have to figure out who they are and what they look like. This book has some boring parts you have to power through to get to the next part of the mystery. The chanting in a language you can’t understand fills like 4 pages total it’s way too much. I thought the two worlds meshed okay when it was just the body parts, but when the Order of Dagon is involved it didn’t gel right.

Recommendations: I would recommend this to Lovecraft readers more than Doyle readers. There’s more Sherlock than Lovecraftian but I feel it nails this and the style of his writing more than Doyle’s. If you like crazy mash ups this this is for you. This book is the first in a trilogy and it ends in a pretty good little cliffhanger. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars, this is one of the better candidates for a 3.5 stars because there were parts I really enjoyed and parts that didn’t.

Wrap up: March 2019 Book Reviews

This Month I have read 6 books, with two five stars reviews, one four star and three three star reviews to even out my month.

Five Star Review:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins – This was a great novel easily one of my favorites, I was drawn in to the story so quickly.  I like how it used the life of Marilyn Monroe combined with Elizabeth Taylor to develop a story of love, betrayal, secrets, and fame set during the Silver Age of Hollywood.

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – An excellent sequel to The Five People you Meet in the Heaven, is a good sequel where it expands on characters from the first book, and catches up new readers that don’t have to read the sequel to know what happened.  This novel will give you the feels, and I think it makes a great case for what happens to pets in heaven.

Four Star Review:

Batman: No Man’s Land by Greg Rucka – This novelization tells the tale of DC comics epic one year Batman storyline the stretched over 80 comics, into a 400 page book and it not only back sense but is good as well. Where after devastating earthquakes Gotham and it’s bridges it is now an island  declared No Man’s Land as the government gives up relief and the gang and bad guys take over.    It has too many great moments to mention, this storyline is is currently the background for the finale season of Gotham.

Three Star Review:

If, Then by Kate Hope Day – This novel is all about the counterfactual statements such as if so and so happen then this happens. A strange phenomenon happens where three neighbors start seeing vision of themselves in a possible future. All the neighbors have to ask if they see this vision, then will they have this future. I felt the ending didn’t answer all the questions I had, but the character’s

Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey – This is a science fiction story that compares a lonely lighthouse keeper to a Beacon keeper in the middle space that keeps a gravity shield to protect starships that pass by.   This book looks at isolation of a wounded soldier, it’s a pretty good character study.

 A Bad Day For VooDoo by Jeff Strand – This is my second Jeff Strand and boy do his books take you on a ride.  When Tyler Churchill learns there’s a Voodoo doll of him he will do anything to take the power that others have over him. This book takes any story you have read with voodoo dolls to a whole new level.

 

 

Book Review: Batman: No Man’s Land (novel) by Greg Rucka

I was pleasantly surprised how well written this novelization of the Graphic Novel Batman: No Man’s Land. Greg Rucca does incredible work on characterizations on Jim Gordon, The Huntress, Batman, and Oracle, really adding some depth to the characters. The novelization does a good job of catching you up on all the milestones in DC the at the time, Batman had his back broken in Knightfall at the hands of Bane, In the Killing Joke Joker tries to make Jim Gordon a good man go insane with Joker shooting his daughter Barbra Gordon who is Batgirl in the back crippling her, and she now goes by the Oracle and keeps watch over Gotham from the clock tower, Dick Grayson original Robin now goes by the name of Nightwing and other small bits it keeps you up to date on. I’m a little bit more then a casual fan but it did a great job of up dating me of events I might have forgotten. This Novel was written almost 20 years ago and still holds up really well. My reason for checking this story out is it is the background for the current storyline on Fox’s Gotham TV show and was used for the movie The Dark Knight Rises, the novel is way different but the situation is the same.

The Plot: After a massive earthquake hits Gotham ruining water and power and knocking a bridge out, the government gives the city of Gotham a cutoff where the city will be cut off from the federal government of the US and be known as “No Man’s Land”. a could deal of people stay behind with little effort from the government to remove them, the rest of the bridges are blown for Safety, which keep the people on the island of Gotham ( think Manhattan). Jim Gordon, his wife (also with the police), and a handful of his police officers stay to give aid, of the officer’s in the Batman cannon most notable are Montoya and Bullock. Batman has not been seen or heard, Bruce Wayne Batman’s alter ego has been fighting diplomatically for months to get government aid, this is a big catalyst for a fractured Jim Gordon and Batman relationship. All the Arkham Asylum patients are released as a humanitarian effort, which leads to them creating gangs and marking off territory of Gotham. The Police with Gordon have a small chunk, but have to deal with the gangs in Batman’s absence. There’s a mysterious figure taking up the Batman mantel a mysterious woman that’s there to try to keep the name a live but is she a friend or a foe? The oracle survives in the clock tower with a string of spies who report to her to she can keep track of all that goes on in Gotham. Both Robin and Nightwing were told to keep away, and have done so with his blessing as they deal with the resident that have left Gotham and live over capacity in the new town. Jim Gordon struggles with leadership and not much weapons makes tough decisions that lead in death and defection as he makes alliances with criminal’s to survive while Batman is gone. Will this destroy the character of Jim Gordon or can he hold out until Batman gets back?

What I Liked: Amazing characterization, there’s a scene where Oracle see’s the the new batgirl save the day for the first time since her accident, and goes a little crazy aiming the gun at her wanting the new batgirl to feel the same pain. The scene where Joker meets and talks to the new batgirl. The scene where Jim Gordon makes a plan that he knows will get people kill and to punish himself listen to the aftermath of every gun fire and scream. The scene where Jim Gordon and Batman have it out and Gordon tells Batman that he can’t get hired anywhere else because he needs a vigilante to do the job, there’s a couple more scenes that are just great. Really great stuff with the Huntress’s character and her need to kill. The new Character of Cassandra the mite who’s a spy for Oracle has a cool background story and some neat reveals in the book. The Writing of the Oracle’s journal that acts as the unofficial narrator, really worked, I had a little issues with how it started but it was really effective. Really clever twist that I did not see coming.

What I Disliked: The whole government plan to abandon Gotham was a little bit murky and could’ve been explained way better. I really disliked that in the Oracle’s journal’s on day one she reveals who batman is, Day one! I know why they did it for the reader, but if I die here’s somethings you need to know Dad, but day one! No Man’s land last a while and could have been more relevant when Batman does come back. I have a problem with how loose some character’s are with secret identity. Poison Ivy owns a big chunk of Gotham the park and she never gets dealt with. I did not care for the Harley Quinn dialogue, it felt really forced.

Recommendations: I put this up there with my favorite Batman stories, The Long Halloween, Knightfall, and The Court of Owls. If you want to read a book that really adds to the mythos of Batman then this is the book. Greg Rucka also did a fantastic job with his new 52 run on Wonder Woman which I would also recommend. I rated Batman: No Man’s Land 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand

Wow is a word for A Bad Day For Voodoo, this is my 2nd Jeff Strand book, so I thought I was prepared for by how bonkers it could get, but I was wrong. This book takes any story you have read with voodoo dolls to a whole new level. These voodoo dolls are super charged when a pin pricks it the orifice explodes in bloody fashion. Every character is slightly deranged. This book like the excellent Wolf Hunt is written like movie, the pace is so fast you should have a popcorn in hand. This story reminded me of a teen sex comedy involving voodoo dolls and no sex.

The Plot: Tyler Churchill is an average 16 year old just trying to make it through high school. His best friend is Adam, who’s kind of a deranged slacker, his girlfriend is Kelley one of the smartest girls in school. They all go to history class together with the ruthless teacher Mr. Click. Mr. Click gives Tyler a zero on a test he spent studying the whole weekend for because the dumb jock cheated off him. Tyler tries to persuade Mr.Click showing he knows the knowledge but he says like life there are no second chances. Adam consoles his best friend and comes up with ways to get revenge on Mr. Click, Adam’s ideas are all too extreme Tyler. The next day Adam comes to school with a voodoo doll of Mr. Click. Tyler reluctantly takes it and not believing anything will actually happens stabs the leg of the doll, and Mr. Click’s leg is severed, shooting off his body in a bloody mess, freaking out the whole class. Adam and Tyler both freaking out while handling the doll, Adam wants it but Tyler kind of fears what he would do with it, and refuses. Adam grows paranoid and does the only thing he can think to do and makes a voodoo doll of Tyler. Adam immediately realizes his mistake and he Tyler and his girlfriend go to reverse it. But problems start as Tyler’s gets car jacked with the doll inside. Can Tyler and his friends find the doll before he is accidentally harmed?

What I Liked: The novel starts off with a bang, I thought there was gonna be more of a tease with the voodoo doll, but no Mr. Click’s leg is off 15 pages in. I loved the Basers, they’re a group of character’s who cover their bases by believing in all forms of religion, so human sacrifice, but also forgiveness, they were a lot of fun. I liked the side effects of a dog violently shaking the voodoo doll and the effects on the target. This novel has some pretty good shocking moment. The humor was sometimes too much but sometimes it was just right, and I really enjoyed those moments.

What I Disliked: The excuse for Adam to get a voodoo doll was really weak, Strand is a good writer of getting out of sticky situations like he demonstrated in Wolf Hunt, so I was a little disappointed. The book becomes self aware and breaks the forth wall, which I have no problem but it should’ve been done or alluded to at the beginning not in the middle. It was done more for comic effect then served the story. The book was already funny it did not need forced funny.

Recommendations: I think if you’re in the mood for wacky and a book that does not take it’s self seriously, a lot of the side character’s felt like they came out of an adult Lemony Snicket book, then this could be the book for you. Strand’s Wolf Hunt is one of my favorite of all time, so if you haven’t read that I would recommend that as a better starter for his work. This is a good book for a reader that does want that fast paced action. I rated this book 3 stars out of 5 stars. I still love Jeff Strand his writing and ideas are unlike any I’ve ever read before, and will definitely continue to read his work.

Book Review: The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom is a sequel to the immensely popular The Five People You Meet in Heaven, this Novel acts as a sequel to the original by expanding Eddie’s story but also is a new thing where we get the version of Annie we glimpsed in the final pages The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The story follows the same Narrative structure that tells the present in Heaven and the past through people that life has interacted with. This book gave me the same chills and welling in the eyes that the first one did. Albom has created another fast paced tear jerking novel, I’m awed at how few descriptions are used in both these books, but my mental picture is still strong as ever. The author does state in the preface that he has know knowledge of what heaven is like that the novel is really a wish fulfillment. This Novel like the Five People You Meet in Heaven is about heaven but not overtly religious and not judgmental, it shows us a life with all the bumps in the road, like secrets and misunderstandings. I like a novel that makes me think once the novel is done and on my shelf and I can’t not think if this version of heaven was real who my five people would be.

The Plot: Annie is the girl who was saved by Eddie as pushed her away from a falling rail car that killed him in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Annie who was very young has seem to block out most of that incident, except she has a scar where her hand was detached by sharp debris. Annie has now grown up and is getting married, but the audience soon learn that this happy day will end in tragedy as it puts an hourly countdown to heaven just before the ceremony. The tragedy is brutal with lots of little twist and turns about how it goes down which I won’t spoil. Then Annie is in heaven, but because of the circumstances of the tragedy is not whole and trying to pull her body back together, as she meet her five people. Annie life is told to her but she’s more concerned if a sacrifice she made durning those final moments was worth it.

What I Liked: The character’s are instantly relatable. I like that if you read the first book you get more insight and closure, but this book is written in such a way you don’t have to read the first book for this one to make sense. Albom keeps everything that works and manages to have the same structure but tell a completely different story. I liked that he came up with a really clever way too show dogs in heaven, which is he makes a dog version of The Five people You Meet in Heaven, I’m so there. I secretly like that Albom can connect me to these characters so much in such a quick way that I can well up for both happy reasons and sad reasons. I love the just right amount words used to describe the scene for my mental mind picture. The twist and secrets the character’s revealed are so good at the end you will read faster just to find out how this novel ends.

What I Disliked: I have a love hate relationship with the structure I love the pace and the flash back aspect, But I was a little disappointed that the sacrifice we have to wait until the end to see if it panned out like in The Five People You meet in Heaven with Annie and Eddie. I hate it as well that is still kind of works for the narrative.

Recommendation: If you loved the first one you must read the sequel, if you saw the movie you know more than enough to read this book. If you like stories like the Man Called Ove then you will absolutely love this. You want or need an good cry then read this with a box of tissues on hand. I rated this book the same number of stars as the first which is 5 out of 5 stars. I’ve only read the 2 Heaven books from Mitch Albom, but reading this makes me want to discover more of his work.

Book Review: If, Then by Kate Hope Day

If, Then is a debut author of Kate Hope Day, the novel is all about counterfactuals, which is an if then statement. It is statement about other possibilities in our world. For three neighbors facing a disaster they will be faced with these counterfactuals coming to life in real manifestations. The premiss for this book is awesome but I don’t feel it went far enough, and could’ve been used better. The character’s are all fully fledged out and easily relatable, they’re the driving force of this novel. A special thanks to netgalley and Random House publishing for giving me an advanced reader’s copy for an honest review for If, Then By Kate Hope Day.

The Plot: Three neighbors live their life not knowing there connection and how much there lives affect each other. Mark and Ginny Raise their son Noah. Ginny is a surgeon and Mark is a professor studying how animals react to natural disasters. Samara is not too far out of college and has moved back home to take care of her dad after her mother complications from surgery where Ginny was her mother’s surgeon. Cassandra left grad school to have a baby much to her professor and advisors dismay, he is famous for writing a book on counterfactuals and has not published another and believes that Cassandra’s insights and questions could be key counterfactual research, the professor has since had liver complications and his surgeon is Ginny. So they all connect and live with in a house’s distance from one another and recently have started having visions and seeing doubles of themselves, acting out of character. Ginny has an affair, Mark see him self dirty and menacing, Samara see’s visions of her mother still alive, and Cassandra sees herself pregnant again. If they see themselves this way will they then become their visions?

What I Liked: The characters are really described well, I felt like I’ve interacted with them in some way. There’s a car scene where everything goes wrong and Mark has to take the kids to work because the school, is closed, that is too perfect I’ve lived that day and found so many similarities. The use of counterfactuals was cool I do feel it could be used better but did make me question things in my own life. I liked that that everything connected.

What I Disliked: I felt life the counterfactuals could have been used better, I thought a lot of them were too safe. The synopsis of the plot kind of tells you almost everything, there’s was barely any surprises. There’s a twist in the story that was kind of dead on a arrival, I was only a little intrigued, I don’t think it was explained all that well. And I still have questions if certain character’s choices ad where that left them to other character’s relationships. Ginny’s affair with a woman comes in terms of a vision, was she bisexual before or did the vision turn her, because there was never that question of I’m a lesbian or bisexual? it’s just ignored like any other affair. I just read an the excellent The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo who masterfully explained why a character was bisexual and carried on with an affair.

Recommendations: I would like to recommend this just for the character’s alone, but I felt the plot was just not there enough to recommend. Its getting compared to the Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, which I agree on character’s but the plot was strong and pushed the narrative where If, Then slowly moves along. I do think this author does have a talent for developing relatable characters which will motivate me to read her next one. I rated this 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey

Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey is about a modern day lighthouse keeper but instead of on the ocean, it is in space and called a beacon. This is my second novel by Hugh Howey after reading Wool which see’s survivors living in missile silo after Armageddon. The author clearly has a thing for isolation themed stories. This novel is close to as mind blowing as Wool but Howey manages to ask and answer tough questions. This novel like Wool and his other Novels are told like a serial releasing them over time and this is the complete set of 5 short stories coming together to tell a larger story all involving Beacon 23.

The Plot – A man with no name, a former war hero suffering from PTSD chooses a post of isolation in Beacon 23 on the far reaches of space. The beacon is like that of a lighthouse, and there’s lots of parallels, instead of the lighthouse warning ships of the rocky shore, the beacon has a gravity field that keeps ships from crashing into an asteroid field close by. The man is confronted by former commandos, hallucinations, scavengers, and the war he wanted to get away from.

What I Liked: For a story about isolation and almost one character it moves pretty well and you can feel the isolation. The questions the novel ask are really big and ambitious, I don’t feel it answers them as well as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s The Watchmen who ask similar questions about war. Cricket the labrador crossed with a leopard alien creature who is an empath of emotion was really cool and my favorite character. There’s a twist involving the war that I really liked.

What I Disliked: The story has you questioning so much what is real and what is hallucinations, it loses the impact when real things would happen because I would be questioning if if this was really real or not. At the end all is revealed but lost impact. The relationship was too fast and I felt no connection there.

Recommendations: I would recommend this if you have already read the excellent Wool, but if not pease read Wool for the full existent of what this author can do. I might have been hoping for that magic too much to really enjoy this one. This story is just okay, where Wool leaves your mouth on the ground with it’s twist and turns. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars, there’s still something refreshing about how Howey writes that I will keep reading his stuff.

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is magnificent, just good old fashioned storytelling at it’s best. This book does a great thing of showing you on the surface tis is what Evelyn Hugo’s life is through the tabloids, then letting you hear in her own words what her life and marriages was truly about and it changes everything you know and perceived. I thought at the beginning that this book was headed one way focusing on the glitz and glamour of Evelyn Hugo’s life only for the story to take a turn and shows so much heart. Taylor Jenkins Reid shows us a character that we should all be jealous over then at the end you can’t help but feel sorry her and the anonymity of a normal life and the freedoms that we the reader have. It was awesome to see a book get so much hype, really and truly blow me away by how amerced I got with the character and the story.

The Plot: Evelyn Hugo is one of the bigger movie star’s of the silver age that she started in the 1950’s and a cultural icon, even though she has one an Oscar her career is over shadowed by the fact she’s been married a total of 7 times ( The Character of Evelyn Hugo is based on a amalgam of female actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and her 7 husbands, the looks and background of Marylin Monroe, and at least one screen role reflects Jane Fonda’s Klute). Evelyn’s life has been told in the tabloids but she’s never set down for an in-depth interview until now, on the eve of her daughter’s death from breast cancer, she’s donating dresses made famous to charity for breast cancer research. , and she wants more press for the event. She chooses a reporter Monique who doesn’t have much clout, so she can seemingly push her around, but Evelyn is quick to tell her there’s a specific reason she chose her and will be revealed at the end, also this piece is about dresses and will be her final interview. Evelyn reveals the truth behind all her husbands ad it will change the way the world ever thought about her and also change Monique’s life as well.

What I Liked: The way this book grabs you and puts you in Evelyn’s world, While reading it became jarring when Monique and Evelyn would talk, because I was so amerced in the story Evelyn was telling. The direction of the book was not one I was not expecting, but really enjoyed the ride and the character development that went with it. The look at the Hollywood during the mid fifties was portrayed really well, and the author clearly did a lot of research on the era. The character’s are all so well rounded and really stick with you even side character’s are memorable. The pace of this novel is incredible if I didn’t have things to do could easily have read this in one sitting.

What I Disliked: I would have wanted to see a little more Hollywood after the early years, but I know that came with the shift of focus that the novel switched to but it would’ve been nice. I did guess the reason that Monique was involved, a little early, I was still satisfied with it, but the moment when it was revealed was over too fast. I didn’t like the way Evelyn delivered the news.

Recommendations: I highly recommend this novel it’s just a great story from start to finish, and a new one to put in my favorites. If you like historical fiction this is a good well researched book on Hollywood in the 50’s and the rise of an ingenue. If you like Biographies then this reads like an in-depth Bio where the artist reveals her soul. This book has some LBGTQ character’s that are portrayed very real with all there flaws and triumphs. I rated this book a rare 5 out of 5 and added this book to my favorites.