Lady Julia Grey Trilogy

Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia, #1)Silent in the Sanctuary (Lady Julia, #2)Silent on the Moor (Lady Julia, #3)

Okay, this isn’t an official trilogy, but since I’ve only read the first three books of this series and the third book would make a pretty tidy ending to the series, I’ll just call it that. I’m a little sad that the third book’s cover is so different than that of the first two books.

Lady Julia Grey is a classy lady. When we first meet her, in Silent in the Grave, it’s the night of her husband’s untimely death. She not only has to deal with her recent widowhood, but there’s also a crime that has happened and together with her new-found ally, Nicholas Brisbane, she has to get to the bottom of what exactly happened in her house.

Deanna Reybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series reads like a Jane Austen novel if Jane Austen wrote about characters that actually did something. The language and actions of the characters are timely with the setting, but still stand out as peculiar characters, especially Julia. She speaks her mind and is a bit more independent than the women around her, but she marginally fits in to the Victorian age.

Nicholas Brisbane as the romantic interest annoyed me in the first book, but that could just be the fault of clumsy character set up. In the first book, he’s almost too good to be true: knows many languages, makes the violin sing like an angel, is charming, handsome, has a majordomo named Thelonius Monk (or something like that), on and he’s pretty darn clever. He’s definitely more toned down in the next books in the series, which makes me like him more.

The only criticism I have about the series is the use of gypsies to further the plot along. Although Julia is supposed to be a modern (for her time) woman who’s forward thinking, there still seems to be a lot of prejudice against these people and the whole “having the sight” thing is a bit too supernatural in the story. The mystery would have done fine without it. Sure, some things would have been changed, but I think it’d make a stronger story without that deux ex machina stuck in all awkwardly.

Still, the Lady Julia Grey series is a wonderful set of books to curl up with on a rainy weekend. Each is a self-contained mystery, but after reading the first one, I liked the characters so much that I was eager to read the next book to see how they progressed. I liked that Brisbane’s story is revealed bit by bit throughout the books. What I liked most, is how Julia matures as a character in terms of her interaction with her own world as well as with her feelings for Brisbane. It makes me want to go back to the first book and read it over.

Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009 movie)

After reading the book, I knew I had to watch the movie. Usually, I’m apprehensive about movies based on books, but for some reason,I felt a little better about this one because like the book, the movie is Swedish.  Apparently, there’s an American remake in the works. I wanted to catch the Swedish version before it left theaters.

The Swedish movie was one of the better book to movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.  From watching the trailers, I thought that the actress who portrays Lisbeth Salander looked too old, but in the movie, she was frighteningly perfect! And kinda hot in a “oh my god, she’s going to break my neck” hot.

Unfortunately, I thought the actor who played Mikael Blomkvist wasn’t cast as well. He was a good actor, but he wasn’t who I pictured. From the book, I got the impression that he was quite suave and handsome, but the actor didn’t give off that vibe in the movie.

The movie stays very true to the book in terms of plot even though there are a couple of understandable changes.  It was kind of a cliff-notes version of the book, but not in a bad way.

It’s hard to say if I would have liked the movie as a standalone movie since I read the book before watching it. Will, who watched the movie without reading the book enjoyed it too and didn’t feel like he was missing key points of the story.  It doesn’t have all the car chases and explosions of a Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s a decent mystery/thriller.  I can’t wait for the sequel.

Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2) The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
3 of 5 stars

This second book of the Millennium series went by quicker than the first despite being a hefty, 300+ page book. It’s every bit as intense and thrilling as the first, but I thought the beginning started off a bit slowly — or maybe it was just the vacation vibe.

The mystery in this book is decent, but the delivery was clumsy and obvious. As I was reading it, I felt very much like the writer was dangling a mystery in front of my face explicitly by not mentioning it or skirting around the main part. And when that part was finally revealed, it wasn’t as surprising as I had hoped. There were so many hints around it, I half expected, half dreaded it.

What I liked most about reading The Girl Who Played With Fire was learning more about the characters, especially Lisbeth. Although nothing revealed about her was earth-shattering, it was interesting to see what made her tick. I have a feeling her sister is going to come into play in the third book.

Although it was hard to do anything else but read this book as soon as I started it, some thing about it keeps me from giving it 4 stars. It might be the sense of frustration about the ‘All That Evil’ being hinted at for more than 200 pages when really, it’s not that big of a deal.

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