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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
The Samurai's Wife
Laura Joh Rowland
The Shadow of the Wind - Lucia Graves, Carlos Ruiz Zafón This book really went through a wide range of "stars" for me as I read it. At various points I'd have rated it 2, 3, 4, or 5 stars, so it's difficult for me to really rate this book as a whole!

Five stars for the language! This book was beautifully written, the words were chosen and used in the way that artists use color in their paintings. The words combined to create beautiful scenes that were playing out right before my eyes. The language had a very lyrical quality, very poetic, and it was used to great effect.

Four stars for the story and the arch of it. It was an engaging mystery/love story, that I couldn't unravel, which is always a plus for me.

Three stars for character development with the exceptions of Fermin and Fumero. Fermin was a five star character--I just loved him. Fumero was also very well developed, and certainly was a great villain. There were, however, many individuals in this story that I'm not really sure were warranted, or that at least weren't all that well developed. Chief among these was Clara--I'm not sure what her purpose was, other than to be the cause of Daniel's adolescent strife. I also never really warmed up to Bea. She was ok, but she seemed very flat to me, and I just couldn't understand where Daniel's love (as opposed to lust) for her was coming from.

And the two stars just showed up once in awhile. There were points in the story that felt *very* soap operatic, one of which was a major plot point. I think that point was meant as a blow, but I almost laughed out loud. It was just far to soapy. In addition, there were points in the story that dragged a bit, almost causing me to give up reading the book. But if I made it through The Moonstone I wasn't about to give up on this lovely book!

So after all these stars, in the end I'd like to give the book three stars, but the language was so beautiful and so well used that I'd have to add another star just for that. It was a pleasure to read just for the language alone.