What a disappointment! I had high hopes for this first book in the Cursed series, but I wasn’t even two chapters in before I was thoroughly annoyed. Linc is the damaged owner of tattoo parlor who is estranged from his family of politicians and lives with his lifelong best friend Daulton. Linc’s damage comes from an incident that occurred at Daulton’s house when they were nine. However, I haven’t been able to ascertain what exactly happened to leave him so traumatized and isolated from others. I am only 34% into the book, but so far all Linc has done is act like a whiny little bitch about his childhood without ever explaining it. I don’t buy him as traumatized. As his BFF says, I think the guy is just PMSing. There is nothing likeable about him.
At this point, Daulton is just a horndog who parties every night with a different girl or girls and manages to piss off Linc merely by speaking, existing, or being in the same room. Maybe there’s a chapter from Dault’s POV later, but so far whiny Linc is the only male POV we’ve heard from, so who knows what Dault is really like. I am not about to take Linc’s word for it. Frankly, from his behavior so far, I can’t believe Linc could actually have a lifelong friend or why Daulton would put up with such an unpleasant ass as a BFF.
Okay, I made it to chapter 10 before tossing this on my Did Not Finish pile.
Did I miss something? Is there a reason to keep reading this book? Use the comments section to convince me.
Book 1 in The Unknown Assassin series by Allen Zadoff; originally published under the title Boy Nobody
You know what I love about this book? The chapters. They are so short. Seriously, these are possibly the shortest chapters ever written. You can read an entire chapter between the natural blinks of your eyes. You never have to worry about starting a new chapter and having to stop in the middle of it because you will reach the chapter’s end in the time it takes to sneeze.
Okay, a little more seriously now. Ben, as we know him for most of the story, is a trained assassin. By the time we meet him, he is 16 and has been training and killing for The Program since the death of his parents four years ago. Ben feels nothing, wants nothing. He has no emotions, no aspirations, and no attachments to anyone.
Until he meets Sam, the daughter of his new target and a huge problem for Ben because now he’s feeling things he shouldn’t, emotions he thought were no longer part of his repertoire. His conscience is waking up and interfering with his mission. Ben lives in a kill or be killed world. The problem is, who is going to kill him? The strange presence that’s been following him? An enemy from his past? The Program itself? Or something else entirely? Ben is running out of time to complete his mission, choose his path, and decide if he should do what he is told or what he thinks is right.
Zadoff keeps the action and twists coming as the story plays out. I wondered up until the end if Ben would go through with his assignment. I enjoyed not being sure about the character’s intentions. While I thought the ending was bit abrupt, I am looking forward to learning more about Ben when book two is published next month. A twist at the end of this book ensures that Ben will have an extremely important mission in book two, and this time it’s personal.
This is quite a different approach to writing about the Titanic disaster, and I would know considering the amount of books I have read on the subject, which is why I picked up this read to begin with. The story of the most infamous shipwreck in history told through short poems from a variety of characters ranging from Captain E.J. Smith himself to Bruce Ismay, third class passengers, titan-of-industry John Jacob Astor, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, a ship rat, a baker, a stoker, an undertaker from Halifax, and even the iceberg itself.
I liked the little personal touches Wolf added for each character. Shipbuilder Thomas Andrews and his beekeeping back home. Violinist Jock Hume trying to decide which of the two instruments he’d brought on board suited him more, stoker Thomas Hart trying to make certain his stolen identity remained a secret.
What I didn’t like was the point of view of the iceberg. It is written as if the berg intentionally sought out the ship in order to wreck it, as if the ship is destined to hit ice and sink. This approach takes all responsibility off the shoulders of the captain and makes it seem as if no one is to blame for the disaster that killed over 1,500 people. A captain is always responsible for his ship. It is fact that E.J. Smith ignored numerous ice warnings from other ships in the area. Why make an inanimate object responsible for a disaster that was avoidable? This approach did not sit well with me.
And another thing that didn’t sit well was the book’s length. It just went on and on and on. Seriously, the Titanic sank in less time than it takes to read this tome. I found myself getting really tired of reading and felt that some perspectives could have been cut or lessened as they didn’t add much to the overall story. In fact, truth be told, I still haven’t finished this book. I’m going to some day. I am just a little tired of reading it at this point. That is not to say that the book isn’t good, or that the storytelling isn’t fresh. It’s merely a bit too lengthy to hold my attention for so long.
Past the Shallows is the story of three brothers: Joe, Miles, and Harry. They can’t change a past where their mother is dead, their uncle is lost to the ocean, and their father is stuck in an endless cycle of fishing, drinking, and hating. They face a grim future where hope seems nonexistent and where all they love will surely be lost.
Joe, the oldest, is escaping. He’s already out of his father’s house and now he’s built himself a boat. He’s going to sail away and leave it all behind.
Miles is stuck. Too young to escape with Joe, too old to get out of fishing with his dad. He sees his life slipping away, doomed to the same unforgiving profession as his dead uncle and his barely living father. The ocean is both foe and friend. He fears what lies in the depths where the abalone lie, yet his only love is the waves that build beneath his board and let him surf to freedom, no matter how fleeting that freedom may be.
Harry, the youngest, is the dreamer, the wanderer, the follower. Afraid of his father, he lets Miles be his shield from the abuse. Left alone while his father and brother fish, he explores the world around him until a single mistake pushes everything beyond his control and leaves tragedy and loss in its wake.
Parrett spins a tale that is haunting and sad and mysterious. Lies and deceits reveal themselves as the characters’ lives unravel. The unforgiving sea and the hard way of life of the town and its inhabitants are the perfect backdrop for the tragedy that plays out. This isn’t a sunshine and roses read. It is gritty, with little hope of a happy ending. Yet, Parrett writes in such a way that the reader is compelled to keep the pages turning and keep pursuing the truth that has eluded the brothers for so long.