Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for Nicola Tilley > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Nicola Tilley
Top Reviewer Ranking: 50,299
Helpful Votes: 1466

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Nicola Tilley (Northampton)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-12
pixel
Be With You
Be With You
Offered by UKMusicFiendz
Price: £10.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor rendition of Sissel's classic., 13 Sept. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Be With You (Audio CD)
I guess the only consolation about this poorly packed single is that it is cheap - you get what you pay for. It's a two track single; the main song and the instrumental version. The packaging is in an album sized jewel case, with a leaflet that has seven year old photos of Sarah from the 'La Luna' era, with lyrics of the song in both Japanese and English (it being a Japanese import after all). The main track is the main theme song from the upcoming new Pokemon movie and she sings with Chris Thompson, who some Sarah Brightman fans may recognise from her 'Fly' album.

I am a huge Sarah Brightman fan - I have all of her cds, obscure and mainstream, but this single is the biggest disappointment I have had from her. There are several reasons for this, but the most alarming reason is that Sarah's vocals are really not that good, she is too soft with no signs of power that she displayed previously in other recordings. She is drowned out by a sometimes out of tune Chris Thompson, who sounded brilliant on her 'Fly' album, but after over a decade, his voice has grown more husky and just sounds odd.

I have a few Sarah singles, and all of them have some kind of credible b-side or remix - this one has a poor instrumental version which brings nothing to the table. The arrangement is from the film so her upcoming album might have a new arrangement - this one, however, is sugary with chocolate drops (as you would expect from a kids movie).

My last complaint is that it isn't a new song at all, it's a cover. I'm not against covers or anything, but what a pointless song to cover when you bring nothing new to it, or a new interpretation. Whilst this version lacks anything that makes it memorable, the original version by Sissel with Espen Lind is exceptional. Sissel's vocals are powerful, Espen's, complementing. There is no contest here. This is a wonderful song, but only Sissel's version from her album 'All Good Things', there, named 'Where The Lost Ones Go'. Other people have started to cover this lately, including Katherine Jenkins and Cortes, but they all pale in comparison.

If you are a devout Sarah Brightman fan, you have already made your mind up to buy this, I suppose, and at such a price, why not? Might as well take a chance; may be worth something later on. But if you are just curious about her new sound, wait for her next album which comes out early 2008. Maybe on the album the arrangement of this song may be different making it a little bit better. Whilst you are waiting for that album, but Sissel's 'All Good Things' to hear how this song should be done.


Atonement
Atonement
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, dull story., 10 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Atonement (Paperback)
Listening to the hype, I went out and read this as fast as I could and planned to see the film adaptation immediately after. I succeeded in doing this.

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this is probably the must beautifully written book I have had the fortune to read. He plays with language venturing into emotions, philosophies and imagination. His descriptions are vivid with his unique set of similes and metaphors, along with adjectives you would not expect to be teamed up with certain objects and landscapes. His exploration into a thirteen year old child's mind is extraordinary - he creates an atmospheric strangeness about her, contrasting her imaginary world and wild thoughts against the straightforward minds of the adults.

Equally, I never felt the hardship that soldiers went through in the wars until I read this book. McEwan effortlessly depicted the pain and struggle that Robbie goes through in northern France in the most heartbreaking manner. The true horrors of the period are brought to life by McEwan's brilliantly crafted arrangement of vocabulary.

Despite the outstanding writing, I did not enjoy this book much. It had its moments of excitement and suspense, but all in all, I found it difficult to turn the pages. Sometimes, I felt it was, perhaps, too arty as ninety per cent of a page could be a description or taking the reader into philosophy. I appreciated it, but personally, I wanted a story, and if all of the diversions were taken out of this book I believe it could have been a sixty paged novella. As it is, McEwan's style is relied heavily upon to pull this story through.

I do see the fuss, but if you are after a plain good story, this is not the book to satisfy you. It's simply about a thirteen year old girl that witnesses things she does not understand, and fabricates an idea of what she thinks it means, and ends up destroying the lives of her sister and her lover. It's a fine exploration of guilt and forgiveness, of making mistakes and learning from them. So, if you are after a very well written book, and want to marvel at the pure genius of a writer, this is the book for you. I personally found a lot of it a struggle despite appreciating the talent on display.


Armadale (Penguin Classics)
Armadale (Penguin Classics)
by Wilkie Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another Collins "must-read" classic., 5 Sept. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
No, this is not as good as 'The Woman In White' or 'The Moonstone'. The pace and the style of writing is really quite different (Collins was immensely ill whilst writing this book). There is something lacking in this novel that the other three big novels of Collins had plenty of.

Armadale is not as mysterious as the other novels. The only real secret kept from the reader until the end is the truth of Lydia Gwilt's past. This secret of her past is not something that I craved or cared that much about, all I cared about is what she was going to do next which she always clearly spells out what she is going to do, pages or chapters before she does it.

All this said, it is still a fantastic read. It took me a long time to get through because this novel seems to be split in two, and the first part is quite tedious. Midwinter is an admirable character, but Mr Armadale is extremely annoying, and Midwinter, in turn, for caring so much for him is quite annoying. As a reader I was really willing Miss Gwilt on, and agreed with her on every count of Allan Armadale's character. The pair that consists of Armadale and Midwinter somewhat mirrors the pair of Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie from 'The Woman In White' where one is incredibly strong and the other is weak, needing constant care and attention from the stronger of the pair. The first part of the novel focuses on their relationship and foreshadowing dreams. Even Midwinter's character becomes a bore when he obsesses over fate and destiny.

The second half the novel consists mainly of Lydia Gwilt's point of view whilst being introduced to new characters way of thinking, such as Mr Bashwood and Mrs Milroy. The novel picks up here and becomes a lot more interesting. There are a few instances when we think we know where the story is going, but then takes a different way completely. She gains our sympathy as she tries as hard as she can to be moral and honest, only to find her efforts useless and forced back into her old ways.

This is worth a read, and some think this book is better than the more popular TWIW and TM, but I don't think so. The pacing is uneven, and some things are just too overly detailed and obvious. I was oddly dissatisfied when I had finished reading it though the character of Lydia Gwilt is a genius one. I'd advise to give this book a go, and to hold out until Lydia arrives on to the scene.

On a more thematic note, there is a lot in this novel (as with his other novels) about identity, the role of women, technology, geography, money and alienation. And where would a classic Collins novel be without opium?!


Liar / Dead Is the New Alive
Liar / Dead Is the New Alive

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A release for the die-hard fans., 17 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was the last CD I purchased from Emilie Autumn as the two songs were not the most special ones from the album 'Opheliac'. Due to the extra tracks, though, I gave it a go, expecting the same quality that came with the second disc of 'Opheliac'. This is probably her weakest release. Remixes are never great at the best of times. Whilst some of the remixes create a different atmosphere, I sincerely doubt anyone preferring them to the originals.

There are four original tracks not found on other albums - they are not of the quality you found on the second disc of 'Opheliac'. 'Mad Girl' is quite nice, and probably the best track on the album, it has a similar tempo to 'Thank God I'm Pretty' and the same kind of style, though 'Mad Girl' is less tongue in cheek. 'Best Safety Lies In Fear' is like a part two of '306'. It's mostly a jumping record of somebody saying 'If he says he loves you' and 'Best safety lies in fear' with a brooding background. 'In The Lake' and 'Let It Die' are live recordings and the production isn't great. They are of low quality in general, the first is repetitive to the point of irritation about a girl that has been buried behind someone's else in a lake. Typical Emilie topic, but not typical production wizardry, it being down to just her voice and one instrument (either acoustic guitar or Mandolin). 'Let It Die' sounds a lot like the other live performance.

Also on this disc is a preview to Emilie's latest album (which is out now) - an electric violin instrumental called 'Unlaced' which used to be a primary reason to get this EP, but now that the other album is being released this EP may not be worth it. Do you remember 'Thank God I'm Pretty' from disc two of 'Opheliac'? She has put a cover version of it on here from an artist called 'Spiritual Front'. If that means something to you, great, if not, it sounds like the song is being sung by Leonard Cohen. The version is quite interesting, but lacks the humour and irony that Emilie provided. Plus, it's a bit strange for a man to sing such a song clearly written from a woman's perspective (do men smack other men's arses?).

There is no tracklisting to this EP on here, so here it is:
1. Liar (Album Version)
2. Dead Is The New Alive (Album Version)
3. Mad Girl
4. Best Safety Lies In Fear
5. In The Lake
6. Let It Die
7. Liar (Murder Mix by Brendon Small)
8. Liar (Manic Depressive Mix by ASP)
9. Liar (Machine Mix by Dope Stars Inc.)
10. Liar (Medical Mix by Angelspit)
11. Dead Is The New Alive (Velvet Acid Christ Club Mix)
12. Dead Is The New Alive (Manipulartor Mix by Dope Stars Inc.)
13. Thank God I'm Pretty (Cover by Spiritual Front)
14. Unlaced

Bearing in mind, this EP is full of forgettable remixes and only four tracks you will find nowhere else, it is questionable if you should invest your money in this (which are quite weak). There is not much to take from this album but to complete a fans collection. I think this EP is more for the die-hard fans. Try to hear some previews before committing to this.


Laced/Unlaced
Laced/Unlaced

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album release of the year, 14 July 2007
This review is from: Laced/Unlaced (Audio CD)
If you know Emilie through Opheliac, or the Liar/The Dead Is The New Alive EP, I should tell you now, that this album is not like that. This album is purely violin and production wizardry you would come to expect from Emilie Autumn. That is not to say that this album is completely different, as the second disc sounds like a complicated instrumental version of the Opheliac album. If you enjoyed Emilie's 'Dominant' from Opheliac and 'Unlaced' from the EP, there is no reason why you won't like this.

About the album though. Generous as always, there are twenty-two tracks on this album. They come in two discs. The first disc is simply a re-release of the extremely rare first album of hers 'On A Day...' only, it has five unnamed live bonus tracks. This first disc is purely classical, based around her violin, most of which are compositions by well known composers such as Bach. Three of the tracks are her own compositions which sound very much like they go hand in hand with the other timeless classics on the album. These tracks were recorded when she was merely seventeen years old and showcases what a young talent she was. Personally, I prefer this first disc to the second, she throws her own arrangement and interpretation on to the pieces. Whilst she plays the baroque violin with charm and style, she is backed up with her distinctive other sounds of the lute, harpsichord and the baroque cello - just to make sure you get the full Emilie Autumn experience. She is distinctive, even with pieces that have been played by so many others.

The first disc was recorded in 1997. So ten years on, what does the new disc, recorded in 2007 have to offer that is different from her first? Out with the old, in with the new. Emilie abandons the baroque violin in exchange for the electric violin. This time round, everything you hear on this disc is down to Emilie, she plays all of the instruments (including that distinctive harpsichord she is so well known for) and produced the whole thing on her own. I may be bold in saying, this is a disc that you have heard nothing like before. Genius in composition (she wrote all the tracks on this disc) and flawless in their execution, Emilie delivers a sound to excite the mind. It opens with 'Unlaced' which was a sampler for this album on her last EP which is dark, brooding and atmospheric. The albums continues in the same vein, there are no weepy violin solos here. All packed with energy, some dark, and some just plain bouncy such as 'A Cure?' 'Face The Wall' is probably the most fascinating piece on here as it is solo electric violin and is the demonstration of Emilie's refreshing technique with the violin.

I see Amazon does not provide the track listing here, so I'll supply it:

Disc One:
1. La Folia
2. Recercada
3. Largo
4. Allegro
5. Adagio
6. Tambourin
7. Willow
8. Revelry
9. On A Day...
10. Prologue (Live)
11. Sonata for Violin & Basso Continuo (Live)
12. Chaconne (Live)
13. La Folia (Live)
14. Epilogue (Live

Disc Two:
1. Unlaced
2. Manic Depression
3. Leech Jar
4. A Strange Device
5. A Cure?
6. Syringe
7. Cold
8. Face The Wall

Both discs take some listening in order to appreciate the talent on display here. Some tracks may immediately jump out, whilst some are subtle. There is not one bad track on here. I'd highly recommend it to 'Opheliac' fans even if the fact there are no vocals puts you off - the style of the second disc is very much the same. If you love the violin, then there should be nothing stopping you here, as this is a new fascinating way for it to be heard. There is nobody quite like Emilie Autumn. I own a lot of violinist albums and no one comes anywhere near Emilie - not even Vanessa-Mae.


Opheliac
Opheliac

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Genius has landed., 21 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Opheliac (Audio CD)
I found Emilie through Last.FM and the first album I bought was her classical/electronic violin album 'Laced-Unlaced.' After listening to her original compositions, and her own renditions of classics such as 'Largo' it was obvious she was a very well accomplished classical musician. So what did I expect of 'Opheliac'? Not this, that's for sure!

It turns out that this album is pretty dark, and has elements of... well, I don't know what of! All I know that this album is one hell of a ride. Gone are her violin instrumentals, in with her vocals which range from beautiful, to bizarre, to down right terrible. Terrible in a good way. It appears that she doesn't care much if she sounds good or not, rather, she just wants to get her point across. I should try to describe the sound to you. There is classical violin, acoustic violin, and electric violin, mixed in with heavy beats and electronic mixing. Any authentic sound is probably some form of a string instrument. She hasn't the best singing voice in the world, but it's hardly the point here, she can still sing okay, and she mostly sings straight, but she has some unique vocal techniques and interpretations too. Worth checking out. It's a dark but catchy album. I'm not gothic, or listen to gothic music (the odd WT or Nightwish, but nothing serious) and I'd normally run a mile from anything like this, but it works.

This album seems loosely based around the Victorian era and literature. Considering the connotations of the Victorian Era you get gothic like literature, murder of prostitutes, repressed women, darkness, industrialisation, etc. It's all here. How she conveys all in a sound I will never know, but as a Victorian Literature student, I think she pulls it all off amazingly well.

There are two discs. The first disc is consistently dark. It's about madness, suicide, murder, rape, anger, alienation, death, stalking and the like. The one exception to this is the light-hearted 'Swallow' where you'll be forgiven if you initially mistake it as an early 90's Madonna record. It's very oddly placed on this album, but you won't regret it being on here. 'The Art of Suicide' is another one. It's not that happy, but the music is a contrast to the lyrical content. I understand people may criticise her lyrics, and since they are about such extreme things, it's a little wonder, but I DO wonder if those people understand the point of what she was trying to do, or how much they know about the Victorian period. There wasn't a lot of happiness for the Victorians, especially when translated into history. I think the lyrics are fantastic. Some people may recognise the story (and title) of 'Shalott' which is a direct rip off of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'The Lady of Shalott'. Considering it's my favourite poem of all time, I was wonderfully surprised to hear it, and her lyrical adaptation is altered very well to fit in nicely with the rest of the album.

The highlights of the first disc are definitely 'Opheliac' (Ophelia was a character in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' and I think it basically means madness in this songs context), 'Swallow', 'Liar', 'I Want My Innocence Back', 'Misery Loves Company' and 'Let The Record Show'. For 'Opheliac', you will hear a song quite unlike you have ever heard before. It's repulsive yet appealing at the same time. She growls in the chorus, and I usually hate growls but it really works for that song. 'I Want My Innocence Back' is nothing short of terrifying, do not listen to alone in the dark. 'Let The Record Show' is sung from a point of view of a murdered prostitute. Although the content is dark, it's mega catchy. Her vocals on the verse is genius. The chorus is proper jumping if you have it up loud. Again, you wouldn't have heard anything like it.

Now for the second disc. There's not a lot here (three songs, two violin, three spoken poems). Put aside 'Largo' and the three poems, which are all okay, I suppose, but not a great listening experience, you have the genius of 'Dominant', '306', 'Thank God I'm Pretty' and the hilarious 'Marry Me'. 'Dominant' is easily the best track on this disc. It's an instrumental with the violin and electronic mixing, it sounds like it should be part of a dramatic film score. '306' carries on from where 'Dominant' left off, it's not as good though'. The next two songs are comical. 'Thank God I'm Pretty' is Emilie's sarcastic gratitude for being pretty, it's not laugh out loud, but will make you smirk. 'Marry Me' is absolutely brilliant. Not only does she sing really well in it, it's also hilarious, and is based on Victorian upper class marriage. I suggest you find the lyrics and read along with the song, as there are very funny moments it. It's light hearted as well and her vocals verge on operatic during the chorus.

The last thing I should mention about Emilie is that she does albums practically by herself. She doesn't have a team of songwriters, musicians, mixers and a production team she does it all herself. She writes, performs and produces everything. She is immensely talented, I hope she doesn't stay in the shadow of obscurity for too much longer even though I understand why she does. I doubt an album like this could ever be widely accepted by a mass audience.

If you want to hear something different, you must buy this album, and do so with an open mind.


Treasure
Treasure
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.55

14 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bland material, bland arrangement, bland singing., 21 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Treasure (Audio CD)
Treasure is Hayley's third international outing, whilst her fifth album over all. So what has changed since her first release in NZ 'Hayley Westenra' and her fifth album 'Treasure'? Not that much really. Of course, her voice has grown immensely. Only natural for a girl back then who was thirteen, and the woman now who is at the end of her teens.

Her first album contained covers, mostly of musical numbers, traditional songs, pop covers and a few classical numbers. Her first international album (her third album) contained traditional songs, pop covers, a few classical numbers and the odd original song. Her fifth album had traditional songs, classical numbers and the odd original song. The growth based on material is pretty much non-existent.

Hayley Westenra, by this point, is highly predictable, and as you slide this CD into your CD player you will not be blamed if you think to yourself 'Hey, I've heard this all before'. We have some eye rolling tracks on here, like 'Shenandoah', 'Danny Boy', 'One Fine Day', and 'Abide With Me'. But it's not without its credit. It has some original songs, and some songs are quite unusual - but even then, you get this sense with 'Pure' when Hayley first did this kind of thing. 'Pure' had an eclectic selection which Westenra can't seem to top with her two later releases as each song was drastically different to the next throughout most of the album. It's not the case with this album - they wash over you as it sounds like the rest of the album.

I'll mention a few songs here. Songs I don't mention you can take to mean as 'bland'. 'Let Me Lie', partly written by Hayley herself, is very pleasant and gives a 'May It Be' feeling from Hayley's previous album. By no means is this a bad song, but it's lack of lyrical content, and the music not really taking it anywhere, it becomes quite repetitive very quickly. This leads to 'Le Notte Del Silenzio' (a duet with Humphrey Berney) which again, is not a bad song at all, but sounds very similar to the first song, and it's also 'Treasure's answer to 'Odyssey's 'Dell'Amore Non Si Sa', (a duet with Andrea Bocelli), only 'Treasure's answer is a mere echo of the superior Bocelli duet. 'Summer Rain' is an Enya-esque exciting piece. Hayley also co-wrote this - it's like an upbeat version of Miriam Stockley's 'Perfect Day' (the theme song to Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit animation adaptations). 'One Fine Day' was brave. Loved and cherished by audiences everywhere as the beautiful aria from 'Madame Butterfly' Hayley decided to do something different with it. Her fragile voice is no where near capable of taking it on as an opera piece, so she makes a chill out version of it (like the rest of the album). The result is making a beautiful piece of music sound insipid. 'Sonny', like the rest of the album, is chill out, but Hayley's vocal stands out for once and she saves this song from the terrible arrangements that are present throughout the rest of the album. 'Summer Fly' is like a nightmare. One will either love or hate this song - it's the standout of the album simply because it's upbeat (as upbeat as the horrible arrangements can go, at least). All the other songs sound strikingly similar to each other.

With the material out of the way, I'll say the arrangement, like on every other single album of hers, is awfully bland. There's not a drum beat in sight on this album, rather, it relies on the guitar or Mandolin to get the song going, indeed, percussion only has a place on five songs on this album, and it's very light use of it too. As to Hayley's performance, I'll repeat what I said in my review of her last album. It's very sweet, yes, she technically hits all the high notes, through she strains at times, but it has no energy, power of emotion. It does not command your attention.

What 'Treasure' leaves me wondering, is why didn't I just pick up the Celtic Chillout in the Woolworths Bargain Bin for 50p, rather than spend £10 on this, which has less varied selection, one bland singer, one bland way of arranging and has, more or less the same kind of booklet, as booklet of this album is a fold out with info on songs like any compilation would. I like the fact that Hayley has ventured out to compose a little herself, but other than that, I'm not sure what the point of this album was.

If new to Hayley Westenra, pick up 'Pure', not 'Treasure'. Her talents are wasted on this recycled material and arrangements.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2008 1:07 AM GMT


Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World's Classics)
Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World's Classics)
by Samuel Richardson
Edition: Paperback

11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste of my time., 15 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It honestly shocks me that this was a best seller at the time and it caused a storm with the eighteenth century audience. Were they brain dead? It reminds me how the audience now went crazy over the Da Vinci Code, but really, it's just a load of rubbish.

Granted, it was different at the time. 'Robinson Crusoe' was also madly popular, and the public wanted more of this new 'novel' form. This book is mainly an epistolary novel (pioneering attribute in the novel) that tries to convince its readership that there is truth in the words, and that the readers should go away and think about what a good girl Pamela was, and how she was rewarded in the end. So, ladies of the eighteenth century, did you get that? Be pathetic, a lap dog and worship and love those that try to rape you and kidnap you, and you will be rewarded by marrying your kidnapper! Great one!

What is terrible about this book is the character of Pamela, who is overly pure and perfect, who takes everything that is thrown her way, is tormented by Mr B constantly, but then decides, that in fact, she loves him! So she goes back, and takes torment from his sister instead! Very good. The character is immensely unbelievable and serves only as a message to the women of the time to obey their men and be like Pamela (which they wouldn't and couldn't have been; no human being can be like Pamela).

The worst part of this novel isn't even the issues or morals it sends out, rather, it's the form and style of story telling that it uses. There is no denying that it started the epistolary trend and gave yet more forms of narrating for novel writers, but the context in which it is written in makes the story laughable. Pamela is constantly writing letters. That's right. She writes letters even when she knows no one will read them, and she writes letters as things are happening. She must be writing 20 hours a day. How does she have time to be raped and kidnapped? It's a wonder. It's just common sense. It astonishes me that an author in the time where novel writing was highly looked down upon, and so tried to make their novels seem real, adopted the very narrative that made his book ridiculous.

There is hope, however; not all eighteenth century readers were duped by this. If you do get yourself through this awful, dull and boring novel (which is about 500 pages long of nothing), you must reward yourself (you deserve to be rewarded when you torture yourself, remember?!) and read the humorous 'Shamela' and 'Joseph Andrews' by Henry Fielding who took 'Pamela' for what it was: a novel that lacked any credibility.

If you have to read this book to find out the roots of the novel, the roots of the novel is simply not worth knowing about.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 10, 2015 10:31 AM BST


Basil (Oxford World's Classics)
Basil (Oxford World's Classics)
by Wilkie Collins
Edition: Paperback

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but don't expect too much., 6 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
'Basil', being one of Collins earlier works, was never going to be as exciting or thrilling as his later novels 'The Woman in White' and 'The Moonstone'. I ventured to expect this when I voluntarily picked this book up to see the roots of the later masterpieces.

'Basil' is the beginning of the mystery thriller that Collins would adopt later on, and the inferiority of his treatment of this genre is easy to see. Whereas in 'The Moonstone' things were difficult to predict, and unable to see where things are going, the signs in 'Basil' are not discreet enough, there are no red herrings, what you read are the glaringly obvious hints that lead the story on and lead you to guess the subsequent events. This makes reading 'Basil' a lot less thrilling to read, and will pale in comparison to what you may have read in TWIW and TM. If you have not read these two novels, and you want to give Collins a try, this is not a good introduction (unless you take the length of the novel into account, which took me a day to read, whilst his later novels take three days). There is too much foreshadowing, and too much of it is made very clear.

'Basil' has a good basic plot, his characters well drawn out, but verging on stereotypical which is demonstrated on Basil's first dream of the two ladies in his life. One is dark, shrouded by wood in shadows, the other is pure and white, illuminated by sunshine and pleasant landscape. This is the basic concept of Margaret, his deceitful wife, and Clara, his virtuous sister. The protagonist can be difficult to like sometimes, his reasoning can be unconvincing, and his actions verge on stupidity, not on behalf of the character, but on behalf of Collins, on creating him. Other drawbacks are seen in the plot holes, and things that just wouldn't make logical sense of any person to act. Such as Robert writing a whole confession on everything he had done, leaving evidence of himself and Margaret to other eyes. On top of that, he chooses to omit certain details of his confession which seems nothing more than a scape goat of Collins as he cannot think of a decent enough argument that might have swayed Margaret to act as she did (though her motives are clumsingly added later on).

This early work has flaws, but it's only a short work, and if you wanted to enlighten yourself of Collins' earlier work, this would be a good place to start as it foreshadows many themes to take hold of later novels, and also seems to have quite a bit of autobiographical detail which can allude to his secret life with his mistresses (the protagonist also has the exact same interest as Collins regarding his career). By all means, pick this book up, it's surely inferior, but it's highly readable and satisfies many curiosities that one may have of the author.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 7, 2010 7:19 PM BST


Save Your Kisses
Save Your Kisses

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't be ripped off., 7 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Save Your Kisses (Audio CD)
First of all, Natasha is very young. She is based in Germany and her music is bubblegum pop, rather like Mandy Moore in her early days. Her voice is weak, but very sweet.

New interest is in Natasha because of the Lacoste adverts (A touch of pink), where she sings a song called 'Let Me Show You (The Way)' This song is NOT on this album.

Finally, you do not need me to tell you that her album is ridiculously priced by the sellers. Because Natasha is based in Germany, her CD is readily available on amazon.de for [...] euros (about £[...]). Her CDs are not worth £[...], especially when this CD is nothing special and it doesn't have the song that you are probably looking for!

Keep your money on this one. If you really want her CD, pop over to amazon.de where registration is (despite being in German) pretty straightforward/common sense.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-12