Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bring It On Home - (Dog On It - Final)

This is pretty much exactly how Chet is described in the book.

I finally finished the first book in my project. Actually, I finished it yesterday but I couldn't find the time to make a post the same day. So far though, finishing Dog On It doesn't feel so much like the first in a long project so much as just finishing another book that I'd been meaning to read. Perhaps once I have several under my belt I'll start to feel like I actually have a fully fledged project underway.

Anyways, final thoughts for Dog On It...well, it was good. If you've read my other posts by now you know my major gripes. The story moves fast, which might be a good thing for some people, many of the elements are cliche, which also happens to lend the story a sense of familiarity, and Chet, though constantly shifting his focus and drawing me away from the parts I wanted to know more about, is a like-able and upbeat character. That last part is really something of note. I haven't come across many characters that are as consistently upbeat and positive as Chet without also being a subject of dismay or dislike.

Overall, the story was good too. Not great mind you, but good. Bernie, at the end of this first book, which is apparently part of a fairly long series now (the next book is Thereby Hangs a Tail for anybody interested), did end up being the most complex character. Thinking back though, specifically to when I called Chet a glorified camera, I did miss the point somewhat. Chet and Bernie are more or less inseparable. Yes they may end up apart from time to time, but the point is that Chet and Bernie are a duo. In a sense they are two parts of the same whole and aren't really meant to be taken on their own. As characters they help complete each other to create a sense of balance. Chet is carefree, frequently distracted, and relentlessly positive while Bernie is focused, sharp, and deeply burdened by finances and a divorce. The story would not be the same without either one, and that is the real point. When you think of Chet there should inevitably be a Bernie. The rest of the characters on the other hand don't handle a candle to the amount of thought and effort put into developing Chet and Bernie, which, frankly, is a bummer. Not every character has to be deep and complex, but I at least prefer my bad-guys to have some human traits. Dog On It's villains might as well have been played by an ill-tempered fern.

As a whole the story was largely forgettable if not for Chet and Bernie, who pretty much hold the book up. For my tastes the book had a little too much action and not enough substance. If you are looking for a quick and fun read, however, you could do much worse than Dog On It. It's a New York Times bestseller so apparently some people liked it. The ending wrapped things up suitably with no real loose strings or unpleasantness hanging around. Nor were there any unresolved conflicts that weren't already unresolved before the story started. As a result though the book almost automatically flunked one of my major indicators of a good story. I'll put it in italics because this will definitely come up again: If a story or a scene gets stuck in your head for several days then it was good, even if you didn't like it. There are a few exceptions here and there, but as a rule of thumb this rule has proven exceptionally consistent. In the end Dog On It is an entertaining read, and I can give it some credit in that regard, but it isn't much more than that. Still, I'm glad I read it just to see how Chet worked out as the narrator.

Moving ahead my next book will delve into the realm of sci-fi fantasy. Well, technically this next one belongs to my wife but then again most of the unread books on my list do. The book in question is Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffery, who is quite a popular author so I am told. I would have to assume so even if I hadn't been told because this, well-loved, book was also a New York Times Bestseller apparently. I started reading it this afternoon but because my co-workers like to engage me in conversation, even when I have a book open, I didn't get much reading done. I'm only on page 15 and the text is tiny so it might be a little while before my next update.

Also, as a final note, I may start reading several books at once just in case I leave a book at work or something. I'm still undecided at this point but if I do move ahead with it I will continue to label my posts with the book title in parenthesis so it is easy to tell what each post is about.

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