Mini-reviews: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King; Genesis by Bernard Beckett; and The Likeness by Tana French

All of these books were so good – definitely good enough to warrant their own reviews. I got very behind on reviews when we were in the hospital, though, and so I’m resorting to my old stand-by of mini-reviews to help me get caught up.

Title: Never Let Me Go
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: My name is Kathy H.

I’ve been wanting to read Never Let Me Go for a couple of years, but it was seeing the trailer for the film version that prompted me to pick it up and read it now. It is just as good as everyone says. It is dystopian fiction that focuses more on the characters rather than world-building, which means that the way Kathy’s world works was revealed one bit at a time. The premise wasn’t difficult to guess, but that didn’t take away from the pleasure of reading. The only thing that bugged me was that I felt like Kathy was a bit detached emotionally from the story she told. I think this was intentional on the part of the author, but it kept me from being as emotionally invested in the characters as I could have been. Still, it is a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to see how it translates into film.

Title: The Language of Bees
Author: Laurie R. King
Genre: Mystery, historical fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: As homecomings go, it was not auspicious.

There is nothing like the book equivalent of an old friend to comfort you in times of stress. The Language of Bees was the book that accompanied me to the hospital with Natalie. Only Russell and Holmes could have taken me away from my present reality enough to give my mind some rest from the constant stress and fear of sitting with a sick child and comforting her while she is poked and prodded in ways usually reserved for 40-year-old adults, not 13-year-old girls. This foray into the world of Holmes and Russell deals with a figure from Holmes’ past, was one of my favorites of the series, and ends on a cliff-hanger. I was languishing on the hold list for the next book, God of the Hive, when the lovely Laura from I’m Booking It said she’d put her ARC copy in the mail for me. Don’t you love book bloggers?

Title: Genesis
Author: Bernard Beckett
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Mariner Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy borrowed from a friend
First line: Anax moved down the long corridor.

My friend Michelle loaned me her copy of Genesis, telling me that it made her think more than any book had in a long time. It is a deceptively small book – only 150 pages or so – and yet it packs a huge wallop. Beckett deals with the issue of what it means to be human – and then kicks you in the gut with the ending. A must-read.

Title: The Likeness
Author: Tana French
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: Some nights, if I’m sleeping on my own, I still dream about Whitethorn House.

I was one of the readers who was disappointed in the ending of In the Woods, even as I acknowledged that the writing is brilliant. People kept telling me that I would love The Likeness even more – and they were right. The character of Cassie Maddox is a wonderfully complex one, and this was one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long, long time. Literary writing and a creepy mystery with vivid characters – I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series: Faithful Place.

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33 Responses to Mini-reviews: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King; Genesis by Bernard Beckett; and The Likeness by Tana French

  1. Jeane says:

    I had the same feeling about Never Let Me Go- it was just not very emotional. I suppose that fit in with what the characters were, but it made this reader a bit less invested in the story.
    .-= Jeane´s last blog ..Moobli =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Jeane – I wonder if it was the author’s way of showing the character truly didn’t have souls – the question Hailsham was trying to answer?

  2. Harvee says:

    Ishiguro is one of my favorite authors tho I’ve not tead this one of his as yet. Thanks for the suggestion of The Langage of Bees as a good mystery. I have a set of books I just got in the mail and from the library: Here are mine.
    .-= Harvee´s last blog ..New and Older Books- Just Arrived =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Harvee – this was my first Ishiguro – but I hope to read more.

  3. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I am SO excited for the movie release of Never Let Me Go. I don’t get jacked up over many movies, but this is one of them. I really liked the book, and while Kathy was distant, I understood why and felt this urge to want to reach out to her. I LOVED The Likeness on audio…oh those accents! I cannot wait to get my hands on Faithful Place.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday- Grand Canyon 3 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I love Irish audios – hope the library gets Faithful Place on audio and print!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I wasn’t a big fan of Never Let Me Go but I absolutely loved The Likeness–my book club just discussed it this past Monday!
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..The Sunday Salon =-.

  5. Heather @ Book Addiction
    Twitter: BookAddictHeath
    says:

    So happy you loved The Likeness! Never Let Me Go is another of my favorites. Mini-reviews sure do get the job done, don’t they? ;)
    .-= Heather @ Book Addiction´s last blog ..The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      heather – yes – now I can quit looking at all those drafts piling up and feeling panicky!

  6. Serena
    Twitter: SavvyVerseWit
    says:

    Sounds like you got some great books!
    .-= Serena´s last blog ..Silver Lining to the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge Failure =-.

  7. Holy cow! You’ve been doing some good reading lately! They all look fantastic!

  8. Belle
    Twitter: msbookish
    says:

    Some great books on your list. I still have to get to The Language of Bees – I was so looking forward to that book last year when it came out, have it in both hard cover and in audio, but have just never gotten to it! I liked In the Woods much better than The Likeness, though. I’m happy to know a new book in the series is coming out!
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..The Passage- by Justin Cronin =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Belle- I love the Russell/Holmes books on audio – but my library only has a few that way. :(

  9. Aarti says:

    So glad Russell and Holmes stay great in the mystery series! And good to know about Tana French, too- the third book comes out soon!
    .-= Aarti´s last blog ..CSN Review Coming Soon =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Aarti – It’s always nice to find a series that maintains it’s quality all the way through – which I have found to be the case with the Russell/Holmes series so far.

  10. heidenkind says:

    Aw, no full review for Language of Bees?

    I WISH I could get behind on reviews. ;)
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Tasha – I know – it really deserves one, but I was getting too stressed!

  11. softdrink says:

    I was also severely disappointed by In the Woods…The Likeness was much better. Very creepy and suspenseful, and it made sense!
    .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Who wants to read The Brothers Karamazov =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Jill – exactly! After reading The Likeness, I am very excited for her new one!

  12. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads
    says:

    I thought Genesis was a must-read too. I’m been meaning to get to Never Let Me Go.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Review- All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Beth – did you figure out the ending – what Anax was? I was totally caught off-guard, but my dad figured it out before the end.

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  14. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    We read Never Let Me Go for an online book club. Not everyone loved the book but it was one of the best discussions we ever had.

    I was another who liked The Likeness a lot more than In the Woods. Can’t wait for Faithful Place to be released.
    .-= Marg´s last blog ..Twilight- The Graphic Novel Vol 1 – Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Marg – i bet Never Let Me Go would make for really interesting discussions!

  15. Michelle says:

    Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed Genesis. It’s one of my all time favorite dystopians. :)
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Leah Cypess – Mistwood =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Michelle – for such a small book, Genesis sure packs a punch.

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  18. I love the repressed emotions of Ishiguro’s novels, particularly this one. I’m pleased to see so many people share my feelings about it (http://bit.ly/jMaDcG)

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