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Alex Cabe

CitizenCabe@books.theunseen.city

Joined 9 months ago

It's not like I'm a preachy crybaby who can't resist giving overemotional speeches about hope all the time.

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Alex Cabe's books

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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (2017, Vintage) 3 stars

Excellent Choice of Subject and Well Reported and Researched, But Didn't Quite Come Together

3 stars

This was a fascinating choice of subject and an underexplored topic in American history, and you could clearly see the author's passion for the subject and the volume and depth of work he put in to the reporting.

Outside of Tom White, I felt the various people's characters could have been fleshed out better. I didn't feel like I knew a lot about Mollie's inner life after her section, so it lacked an Osage point of view character. I also would have liked to have known more about William Hale.

The third section is supposed to be the core revelation of the book and the bulk of the new facts the author uncovered, but the way it's written seemed quick and somehow perfunctory.

Overall, a lot of great ingredients were there, but they weren't put together in a compelling way. I look forward to seeing what the movie can do …

I'm the Girl (2022, St. Martin's Press) 4 stars

All sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis wants is everything, but the poverty and hardship that defines her …

More Plot Driven Than Most Courtney Summers Books

4 stars

This was kind of a slow start and I didn't find the protagonist as instantly likeable/relatable as most Summers books, but I thought it had a stronger plot and the best developed romantic relationship that she's written.

A really strong theme that ran through the book is that abusers will use vulnerable people's dreams and aspirations to exploit them, which is a good message that needs to be said.

In a way the ending isn't a surprise, but you're more along for the ride of how Georgia figures things out and reacts to them. The antagonists are pretty hateable, and you'll spend a good amount of time internally yelling at Georgia not to trust them.

Stick with this on and it pays off.

Battle Cry of Freedom (2003, Oxford University Press, USA) 4 stars

A military, political, and social history of the Civil War.

Deserves its Reputation as the Best One Volume History of the Civil War

4 stars

This is a long and comprehensive history of the Civil War. It makes an excellent first book for people who are interested in the subject and want to get in depth. McPherson does a very good job mixing in strategy and battle descriptions (with a middling amount of depth that worked well for me) with sidebars about other issues like POWs, battlefield medicine, diplomacy with Europe, etc. It gives a clear explanation of the back and forth flow of the war and helped me learn a lot more about US and Confederate internal politics during the war. I got some flashes of personality from the players, but would have appreciated more fleshing out beyond the very top leaders.

It includes a lot of the run-up to the war, but ends abruptly after Appomattox and leaves the Lincoln assassination and reconstruction to other volumes.

The maps weren't very useful in an …

Sovereign (2017) 5 stars

Only nine months after her debut as the superhero Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a …

Deep Continuation the Builds Out a Great Character

5 stars

Pros:

More than perhaps any other author, April Daniels has somehow figured out how to write hand-to-hand combat in a way that's both understandable to me and fun to read. Usually my eyes glaze over for those scenes, but here I could follow it and was excited to see what was next.

Danny continues to be a very sympathetic character, and it was engrossing to read about her struggling with her anger and trauma.

Would love to see the conclusion of the trilogy, but, even if we never get it, we came to a satisfying stopping point.

Cons:

Kinetiq is barely a character. I know they're a nonbinary anarchist and have some kind of light powers, but beyond that we get almost nothing of their background and personality.

There were a lot of subplots going on, and they fit together satisfyingly, but there was maybe one too many for the …

Disney War (2005, Simon & Schuster) 4 stars

The dramatic inside story of the downfall of Michael Eisner—Disney Chairman and CEO—and the scandals …

Much More Readable and Personality-Driven Than Your Average Business Book

4 stars

More than anything this is a business biography of Michael Eisner, and no matter the depth of Stewart's access, he remains mysterious throughout. At times it was difficult to tell if people were behaving so bizarrely because that's how top level executives are, or if Michael Eisner is just that odd a person.

Stewart is great at giving senses of each profiled person's personality and juggling a huge cast of characters in a way that keeps everyone relevant.

It was a great idea to make this book about Disney because it anchors complex business intrigue in a company the reader is familiar with and cares about.

Criticism here is that, narratively, the book ends too early and doesn't show the end of Eisner's tenure. You get the climax of the Roy Disney campaign, but not the denouement. It seems like that, in the years since, the author could have added …

The Cabin at the End of the World (2018) 3 stars

"The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts gives a new twist …

Entertaining but Ultimately Pretty Average

3 stars

An entertaining read that was fun and went quick, but didn't break a lot of new ground for me.

I can't help but compare this to the movie (which was also pretty average) and ultimately think the choices the movie made worked better. Leonard's personality also came through much more in the film.

The prose showed occasional flashes, but was ultimately pretty straightforward. The author tried some innovative things with point of view, including narrating the last chapter in third person plural, but I don't think they really paid off in a significant way.

I enjoyed the writers notes at the end about particular symbols and the writer's process, and I wish more books would do that.

If this were a Stephen King book, it would be in about the 40th percentile of Stephen King books.

Lost in the City (Paperback, 2004, Amistad) 4 stars

The nation's capital that serves as the setting for the stories in Edward P. Jones's …

Great Character Work With a Deep Sense of Time and Place

4 stars

(Reviewed together with the companion volume All Aunt Hagar's Children)

What struck me the most about these books were Jones' ability to write believably and memorably across different ages, genders, classes and time periods. His characters are only united by race and place, but they have distinct yet harmonious voices.

Jones gives very specific, granular detail for where in Washington DC his stories happen, down to frequently giving intersections and street addresses, and as someone who knows and loves the city, it added an extra layer to me to imagine the stories happening in specific places I'd been and could visualize. I don't know if this would add anything for non-residents, but it worked for me. Refreshing to book about DC that rarely mentioned the Capitol or the Monuments or the Smithsonian.

Favorite story from this collection: Young Lions

All Aunt Hagar's Children (2007, Amistad) 4 stars

In fourteen sweeping and sublime stories, five of which have been published in The New …

Great Character Work With a Deep Sense of Time and Place

4 stars

(Reviewed together with the companion volume Lost in the City)

What struck me the most about these books were Jones' ability to write believably and memorably across different ages, genders, classes and time periods. His characters are only united by race and place, but they have distinct yet harmonious voices.

Jones gives very specific, granular detail for where in Washington DC his stories happen, down to frequently giving intersections and street addresses, and as someone who knows and loves the city, it added an extra layer to me to imagine the stories happening in specific places I'd been and could visualize. I don't know if this would add anything for non-residents, but it worked for me. Refreshing to book about DC that rarely mentioned the Capitol or the Monuments or the Smithsonian.

Favorite story from this collection: The Root Worker

Dreadnought (2017, Diversion Publishing) 5 stars

What happens when a trans girl who is not out to her family accidentally inherits …

Pure Power Fantasy for Girls Who Could Really Use One

5 stars

There were a lot of familiar superhero tropes here, but the protagonist was from such an underrepresented perspective that everything felt fresh.

In interviews, Daniels will directly say this is a power fantasy to make trans girls feel strong, and Dreadnought sticks to that mission. However, Daniels resists the temptation to give her hero a perfect transition, and she deals with both fantasy and down to earth versions of realistic struggles.

It's always tricky to create a new superhero continuity from scratch. It's easy to see the fingerprints of Marvel and DC, and difficult not to feel like you're reading the store brand. The most successful attempts, like the Incredibles, stay tightly focused on the central characters. Daniels (mostly) succeeds here, but I'll be interested to see how the world evolves as the focus broadens a bit.

Looking forward to the second book (already in my Kindle) and hope we …

All the Rage (2015) 4 stars

After being assaulted by the sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, Romy Grey was branded a liar …

Very Well Written Characters, Average Story

4 stars

My third Courtney Summers book, and it's become clear to me that her biggest strength is creating complex, difficult protagonists that are easy to relate to, but you want to rescue at the same time. Another great protagonist, story was fairly conventional and ended a little flat, but I really enjoyed the journey.

Sky in the deep (2018, Wednesday Books) 2 stars

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, …

Conventional love story with a ton of violence

2 stars

A fairly conventional love story with a lot, lot of violence that makes the protagonist very hard to relate to. It can be effective to involve a character in a war, but Eelyn kills dozens of people, which is just cartoonish. Story doesn't cover a lot of ground and is generally predictable.

The prose is generally very well done.

The Project (Hardcover, 2021, Wednesday Books) 5 stars

Propulsive Thriller with a Great Villain for Anyone Who's Interested in Cults

5 stars

Really enjoyed this one for the villain and the insight into cults. Lev felt like a cross of Jim Jones and a Junior Hannibal Lecter.

It was creepy but sympathetic to read about the cult manipulation tactics used on the characters. Lo as a main character wasn't as interesting as Sadie, but still a good point of view.

Sadie (EBook, 2018, Macmillan Audio) 4 stars

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial—like podcast following the clues …

Works Best By Far as an Audiobook

4 stars

Content warning Ending Spoilers

Tracy Flick Can't Win (2022, Scribner) 4 stars

Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New …

Worthy Followup that Deepens Tracy's Character, but Doesn't Mention Others

4 stars

Content warning Character spoilers