I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
27/5 - Why oh why must Lamb and all the other military personnel he comes across (so far, at least) call the Germans Jerries? Did they NEVER call them Germans, or even Nazis just for some variety? It's really starting to feel repetitive, the nickname is in practically every second sentence, at least once in every single paragraph. As if Gale thinks we need to be reminded of who the Allies were fighting (we really don't, by the way, unless we're unlucky enough to have anterograde amnesia - can't make new memories, forget everything every minute or so). I enjoyed the first book in this series, but Jerry, Jerry, Jerry constantly could get old pretty fast. I hope over the next 100 pages 'Jerry' is mentioned about 75% less often. We'll see and I'll be back tomorrow. To be continued...
29/5 - I'm a bit disappointed with a scene that I see as being done for the shock value alone. It has almost no basis in reality. When I read this particular scene I was disbelieving that it would happen, but I don't know the military as well as my father (Australian war history buff) and grandfather (WWII veteran). So I set the scene for them and asked them if there was any way events would have happened that way in real life. My grandad wasn't in Greece at any point during the war, and so didn't deal with the British as much as those who were, but he did say that there was no way a life would be wasted in this way when they needed every man they could get. Dad said that there is no way a British officer would, in essence, murder an Australian soldier no matter the circumstances (they might have in the first World War, but definitely not the second). Why wouldn't a crack to the head, sending the soldier into temporary unconsciousness, have worked just as well? It would have, so the only logical reason I (or my dad) can come up with for putting it in is that Gale wanted to shock his readers. I was indeed shocked, but not because of the blood and gore, but because of the sudden shift from historical fiction to fantasy. The whole scene has put a sour taste in my mouth. To be continued...
31/5 - I've noticed three glaring proof-reading mistakes in the 126 pages I've read, so far. Page three - there's been an air raid and a couple of Lamb's men have been injured
'Two sir. One's a goner. Spencer.'
Then 25 pages later this goner pops back up again, fit and healthy
'One of the men had hung back. Spencer. "Sir, just one thing."
"Sir, what exactly are we doing here? I mean, Sir, I know what you just told us, about saving the Greeks and all that, but why are we here?"
"We're sent here, Spencer. By the generals. To try to stop Hitler."'
There's no comment on Spencer's miraculous revival from near-death, so I have to assume the use of the name Spencer in the second example is a mistake.
On page 27
'One of the men spoke. One of the new ones, Hay, a good-looking East End lad on whom Lamb was keeping his eye for a future NCO. "Like the guards at Dunkirk did, sir. Didn't they?"
"Yes, Smith. Just like the guards at Dunkirk."'
There's only mention of one man speaking in this conversation, other than Lamb, Hay who mysteriously becomes Smith. This is quite an obvious error in the editing process.
On page 77 Lamb is trying to assist some British civilians escape the bombing runs at the Crete docks
'He began again on the orange, and as he chewed Miranda Hartley came over
"I say. What luck. A friend of Mr Papandreou's says we can stay with him. In his villa. Isn't that nice? Where are you staying?"
"To be honest, I was just wondering the same thing myself."
"Oh, I'm sure you'll find some lovely house somewhere. You officers always land on your feet."
There was a loud and insistent 'parp' from a car horn. "That'll be for me, I expect. Better go. Mustn't keep them waiting. See you soon, I hope, Captain. And thank you for all your help."
She shook his hand and then ran off towards where Hartley and the others were waiting in two long, elegant, highly polished convertibles. Watching her go, Lamb smiled and summed up their current situation to himself.'
Now, did everyone else get the idea that she got in the car and the car drove away? Because that's how I read it. But three pages later it says this
'Lamb walked along the waterfront to where he had last seen Miranda, but she was not there. Another ship was unloading its cargo of refugees. It was a bizarre sight - the four civilians, waited on by a waiter bearing wine and coffee, surrounded by groups of broken men. Lamb walked up to them. Miranda Hartley saw him coming.
"Captain, will you join us?"
"No thank you Mrs Hartley. I'm afraid I have to leave you here. We have orders to proceed to our assembly position outside the town. I'm sorry. You'll just have to do the best you can."
"Oh, we'll be absolutely fine, Captain. Mr Papandreou here has a friend with a villa outside a place called Galatas."'
Didn't they already have this conversation?
These are silly continuity problems that are easily fixed with a simple read through. If an untrained, unpaid reader can pick them up, then imagine what someone who went to Uni and now earns a good salary doing this as a career might be able to spot. This is not turning out as well as I would have hoped for a sequel to a four star first book. To be continued...
1/6 - Oh come on, this is getting ridiculous!! Page 139 Mr Hartley (Miranda's husband) suddenly becomes Julia instead of Julian. If I didn't know any better I'd think I was reading a SPA, but no, this is Harper Collins. And I have to ask myself "What was the editor doing? Did they take a sick day and leave it for the intern to do?" Because this is starting to feel sloppy and not what anyone would expect from a big publishing company like Harper Collins. The way things are going this might not even make it to three stars. To be continued...
2/6 - Despite the numerous bombings from the Germans I felt like nothing particularly interesting happened until page 154, when the full-scale invasion began. All the characters did was walk from place to place, occasionally hiding from a bombing. I'm not saying that this isn't a realistic portrayal of the events, just that when you write a book you need to make it interesting enough to keep the readers attention for the whole book. You can't leave it to the last half of the book, because for some readers that's 150 pages too long to be reading that might get interesting eventually. It sounds unlikely that a book set in the middle of WWII might be considered boring. How often are you likely to come across a book about a war that you are one step away from classifying as boring? In my case, never. Event the factual accounts, full of dry statistics and little character development, manage to keep my interest.
Overall, I'm glad I persevered, but not sure I should have needed to persevere. This should have been, I was expecting it to be, easy to read and a solid four stars, not just making it to three.