MatthewSean Reviews

Book reviews, movie reviews, and other writing

Book Review – Edge of Eternity – Ken Follett — January 24, 2015

Book Review – Edge of Eternity – Ken Follett

Book Review – Edge of Eternity – Ken Follett

edge of eternity

Facts:

  •    Book: Edge of Eternity (Book 3 of the Century Trilogy)
  •    Author: Ken Follett
  •    Genre: Modern Literature
  •    Year of Release: 2014
  •    Read 1098-page hardcover edition in December 2014.

Book Description:

In this third novel of the Century Trilogy, we continue to follow several families from Russia, East and West Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as they have interactions with each other and with the complex and key events of the 1960s through 1980s, from the Berlin Wall divide to rock and roll cultural revolutions to civil rights politics and corruption in the USA to the slow decline of communism in the USSR.  We see the emotional depths the multitude of characters will go to, in order to achieve various goals and make changes in the world around them, as well as trying to find a sense of personal happiness.

Book Review:

This third novel by Ken Follett was truly masterful.  Follett has built upon an amazing series of characters in his first and second books of the Trilogy, which now spans the entire 20th century, and has allowed the characters to flourish (or in some cases diminish), and the result is a wide cast of characters who have connections and who come into contact with each other.  Follett does readers a service with a family tree chart at the beginning, so we can continue to refer to how these various characters are inter connected.   Follett does a great job of showing, not telling, the various key events of this time period, by showing us the events through the characters eyes.  As we care about the characters, we therefore feel a greater connection to the events transpiring around them, whether it’s major global historical markers, or the more personal events of an individual’s life story.  These characters are fascinating for the reader tag along with.  They bring different viewpoints to the table, and often make us think about issues in different ways.  Although in some ways it may come across as too convenient, our characters being with the high powered leaders and movers of the century, as well as sometimes casually connecting with each other, it isn’t truly as outlandish as one might think.  Follett’s writing is really enjoyable for us to read with, and although one small complaint might be this huge novel may have been edited slightly, given there was some issues of slow pacing earlier on, it really was an enjoyable and educational read.  Follett has definitely done his research for this novel.  Wrapping up a huge sweeping trilogy can be difficult, but Follett does a great job tying up loose ends, giving justice and time to characters without making it feel too long or fake. Overall, this is a fantastic series and a fantastic novel, and is enjoyable from a purely entertaining read and also as a way to think about the historical events of our recent past through the eyes of different people and perspectives.

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

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Movie Review – Into the Woods (2014) — January 10, 2015

Movie Review – Into the Woods (2014)

Movie Review – Into the Woods (2014)

into woods

Movie Synopsis:

In this Disney film, we see a collection of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, all creatively mashed together to create one cohesive story. The musical on screen is based on a play, and follows a variety of known characters, some previously brought to the screen in prior Disney films.  We see this mix of characters, along with some new folks, all brought together, and interacting together, inside the mysterious, dangerous, woods.

Movie Review:

This was definitely an enjoyable and fun movie to watch. Although I went into it unsure of how it would be pulled off as a musical of many stories brought together, I thought the team of actors, writers, and producers did an admirable and creative job of fusing different elements together through visuals and song.  The story was fascinating, and it was especially enjoyable to see the dynamics of fairy tale characters we know from various stories meeting each other for the first time, across storylines.  The introduction of new characters and “fairy tales” also made for interesting and new material for the viewer.  The cast did a great job with the musical style of the film, and the film crew did a great job designing and presenting the foreboding woods to the viewer.  One slight complaint was the length of the movie, which felt a little too long at over 2 hours.  The story was fun but not always fast-paced, and some editing work may have been helpful, particularly the long extended ending after what we thought may have been an ending, but wasn’t.  That being said, the ending of the story was very satisfying, as it wasn’t a perfect end for all, and therefore felt more real, and in keeping with the darker tone of the film and the woods.

Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.