I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I finished this yesterday, but everyone and every thing conspired against me this weekend and I was unable to update/post except in 15 seconds bursts. My apologies to Moonlight Reader for letting down the side a bit.
Talk about conflicted about a read. I both loved and hated almost every page.
As is typical of all the Mary Russell books (so far), Ms. King is not in a hurry to set the scene and the story. Almost the entire first half is setting up the events to come and until Holmes' and Russell's arrival in India the reading is rather drab, although not completely dull. Once we're in India though, the writing is so rich and illustrative and alive it's hard not to feel you're there with them, simultaneously fascinated and wishing to be somewhere...cleaner.
When we arrived (and it was, to me, "we" - as I said, the writing really comes alive off the page) at the maharajah's palace, the extraordinary excesses and luxury hide at first the rot underneath. Truly the rajah is the poster child for "idle hands are the devil's workshop". The level of detail the author includes when describing the rajah's "toy room" must have required an astounding amount of research into both esoteric and prurient bits of history; I can't even talk about the gun-room: it made my skin crawl.
Overall, the writing and the story are outstanding, so why was I conflicted? My personal trigger is anything involving animal cruelty and this was a prevailing thread running through the rajah's psychology. I hated every freaking word and had this not been a buddy read, I probably would have stopped. I would have missed an outstanding read, but I wouldn't have continued.
But I did and I was in for a rousing, adventure filled, fantastic ending with a very satisfying closing chapter. The author packs in so much in so few words, I was almost exhausted myself by the end.
So, an outstanding book I'll likely never, ever read again - but if you don't share my triggers, I can't sing the praises of this book's writing highly enough.
(Note: this is only the second Russell book I've actually read, as opposed to listened to. I suspect I both gain and lose something in listening vs. reading.)