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Customer Comments

Jeffrey Bluhm has commented on (47) products.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician King

Jeffrey Bluhm, July 13, 2015

This review will be for the series as a whole and, in short, it is simply outstanding. While clearly, sometimes explicitly, paying homage to the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter, there's more mature themes as are found in, for example, Catcher in the Rye and Less Than Zero. Yet none of those laudatory comparisons should in any way detract from the superlative originality of this series. Strong and interesting characters, ideal plot pacing, and dialogue that never strikes a false note. Magic, materialism, platonic and romantic relationships, introspection and thoughtful contemplation, and climactic conflicts and battles - I wouldn't have thought there were books that could comfortably sit on my shelves between Tolkien and Irving, but this series is worthy of that spot.
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The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magicians

Jeffrey Bluhm, July 13, 2015

This review will be for the series as a whole and, in short, it is simply outstanding. While clearly, sometimes explicitly, paying homage to the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter, there's more mature themes as are found in, for example, Catcher in the Rye and Less Than Zero. Yet none of those laudatory comparisons should in any way detract from the superlative originality of this series. Strong and interesting characters, ideal plot pacing, and dialogue that never strikes a false note. Magic, materialism, platonic and romantic relationships, introspection and thoughtful contemplation, and climactic conflicts and battles - I wouldn't have thought there were books that could comfortably sit on my shelves between Tolkien and Irving, but this series is worthy of that spot.
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The Magician's Land (Magicians Trilogy) by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land (Magicians Trilogy)

Jeffrey Bluhm, July 13, 2015

This review will be for the series as a whole and, in short, it is simply outstanding. While clearly, sometimes explicitly, paying homage to the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter, there's more mature themes as are found in, for example, Catcher in the Rye and Less Than Zero. Yet none of those laudatory comparisons should in any way detract from the superlative originality of this series. Strong and interesting characters, ideal plot pacing, and dialogue that never strikes a false note. Magic, materialism, platonic and romantic relationships, introspection and thoughtful contemplation, and climactic conflicts and battles - I wouldn't have thought there were books that could comfortably sit on my shelves between Tolkien and Irving, but this series is worthy of that spot.
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In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Jeffrey Bluhm, June 6, 2015

This forgotten but fantastic episode of American history and Arctic exploration is brilliantly reconstructed and engagingly told by author Hampton Sides. Starting with the backgrounds of the wealthy but eccentric backer, James Gordon Bennett Jr., and the almost obsessively focused captain of the USS Jeannette, George Washington De Long, the story proceeds chronologically through their research into approaches to the Arctic based on the prevailing theories of the late 1800s, acquisition and preparation of ship and crew, and the cruise to Arctic waters. Once they become trapped in the ice, where they'd spend many subsequent months, we gain insight into not only how they staved off boredom and maintained discipline, but also how various crew members dealt, successfully and not, with the privations of their situation. When the icepack crushes the Jeannette and they begin their journey back south to try to find safe haven, the heroism of both individuals, and the crew as a whole, becomes evident. The passion of the worldwide public fascination with the undertaking is counterbalanced by the pathos of De Long's patiently waiting wife. While he did not bring back all of his crew alive, the parallels to Shackleton and Antarctic exploration put this story on par with such classic tales of exploration and adventure.
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The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

Jeffrey Bluhm, June 6, 2015

I approached this book with high hopes as a story to share with (future) grandchildren. Perhaps I expected too much, but I found the content lacking, the characters not very engaging, and some elements (a girl beaten, even if specifics are glossed over, so badly that she her ears become deformed and her hearing impaired) distasteful. Time to look elsewhere...
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