Overall, A Medicore Read But Has Promise
Finally finished the book. I found it to be so-so overall. To break it down a little more:
1) it wasn't TOO action-packed, but did have enough action to keep me reading. I'm hoping that the next book has more scenes of fighting/training just because that's part of the joy of reading a martial arts novel.
2) The mystery was interesting with regards to the historical context and it's relationship to the social pressures of that time (it is about Jews living in Victorian England). But as an actual mystery I wan't that engaged for some reason, and the final resoluation of the mystery felt a little bit like a cop-out to me. I didn't see it coming, but when I read it I was like "****, seriously?"
3) The setting is very enjoyable with regards to the author painting a picture of Victorian London, as well as the references to other historical stuff going on at the time. The protagonists home and domestic life are interesting too, in a very Nero-Wolfe-Meets-R.F. Burton kind of way.
4) What really saved the series for me was the characters. They're interesting, and the narrator is relatable, while the protagonist is mysterious and interesting.
I hope that in the next book, however, Barker isn't quite so invincible. He had a little bit of Seagalian "I am never really in danger because I know deadly martial arts and also happen to know all random bits of esoteric knowledge" vibe.
Overally I'd recommend this to any Nero Wolfe fans, fans of historical mystery stories, or those who want a quick and easy read with a little bit of a martial arts twist.
Just a quick update for those interested in this book series: I recently finished the second book in the series
The book pretty much follows most of the tropes and patterns of the previous novel, and if you did, or think you would, enjoy that one than I would recommend this one. Personally I felt that this book was a little bit stronger than the previous, particularly in terms of developing the two main characters. There is still an issue with Seagal syndrome (e.g. Barker seems pretty much perfect and unbeatable) but the narrator was less useless this time around.
In terms of martial arts, this book features irish stick fighting. It happens to have a pretty amusing cameo by W.B. Yeats.
Will tells us that the very long-awaited next installment of the series will be published in 2014. It will include a sub-plot in which the protagonist opens a self defense academy in London's Shaftesbury Avenue (which just happens to be where the real-life Bartitsu Club was located).
This available to buy in ebook format?
All of Will's books are available in e-format on the Kindle, if that helps.
I am applying for my visa card in a few days, so I hope soon I'll be able to buy this soon. It can be a little difficult in China to to get a Bank card with a VISA logo on it.
Originally Posted by DdlR
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO