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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

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Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
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Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
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The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
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A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
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Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes
Arsene Lupin - Maurice Leblanc Maurice Leblanc's Arsene Lupin books are my favorite Project Gutenberg find. This is the second Lupin book I've read, and, although I don't think it was as good as The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar (which is actually a collection of short stories, rather than a novel), it was still a lot of fun. Well, except for the gripes I have about the ending. And Sonia. But more about that later.Because I had some experience with how Lupin operated, I figured that he had to be disguised as somebody, and I guessed who he was disguised as almost immediately. I spent much of the book noting details the confirmed my guess, and Jepson and Leblanc didn't throw in a twist that proved me wrong. I also knew the exact moment when Lupin stole the coronet.Correctly guessing those aspects of the theft didn't ruin the book for me, however. I didn't know how many of the things going on were part of Lupin's scheme, so I was excited to see how everything was going to come together. When Guerchard was brought in, I was happy to see that he seemed to be an improvement upon Ganimard (the supposed great detective who appeared in a few of the stories in The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar and completely failed to impress me). Rather than assuming that Lupin was too good to have made mistakes, as Ganimard had, Guerchard actually examined the crime scene and was able to figure out a few things that the other detective on the scene did not. Of course, it turns out that that was because Lupin wanted him to figure those things out. Also, Guerchard made at least one stupid mistake because he assumed Lupin had made things more complicated than he actually had. Even so, I still thought Guerchard was a better detective than Ganimard.Throughout the book, I wondered how old Lupin was. I wasn't quite sure how long he had been involved in this scheme, but I figured he was in his late twenties or early thirties. It turned out I guessed well: late in the book, Lupin's age was given as 28 (at which point I was horrified to realize that, in only a few short months, I'll be older than him – yet another story character whose age I will have surpassed).I have a feeling that, even if he'd been older, Lupin would probably still have pushed things further than he should have with Guerchard. Another one of the exciting things about this book was getting to see Guerchard and Lupin butt heads. Guerchard was almost certain he knew who Lupin was disguised as, but, without proof, he couldn't do anything. Lupin enjoyed the thrill of being just out of Guerchard's reach.The things I liked least about this book stemmed mostly from the presence of Sonia. It was clear that Sonia and the Duke were interested in each other. While Sonia certainly seemed a better choice than Germaine, I'm guessing that differences in status would have made it difficult for her and the Duke to be together. Plus, there would probably have been social fallout – however awful Germaine was, she waited 7 years for the Duke's return, and it would probably have looked really bad for him to call off the engagement so that he could marry one of her servants.Doomed romance can be fun, but I just couldn't get past the way Sonia was always referred to as a child (I'm assuming she was in her early twenties, but I don't think her exact age was ever given). Said by the Duke: “'You're just like a little child one longs to protect.'” And another bit in the text: “She smiled at him—an adorable child's smile.” The Duke again, speaking to Guerchard: “'But still, a child like that—you're frightening her out of her life.'” I don't particularly like it when heroines in modern romance novels are in any way referred to as being delicate and childlike, and it turns out I'm no less tolerant of the same sort of thing in an older novel like this one. It just comes across as icky to me.I could probably have forgiven that, though, if Jepson and Leblanc had made use of Sonia the way I thought they would. A conversation between, I think, Guerchard and the Duke led me to believe that Sonia might be a trap for Lupin, put in place by Guerchard. I was looking forward to the moment when she would reveal her true colors...only to find myself at the end of the book, with everything wrapping up in such a way that I was left wondering if this was the last Lupin novel. I did some checking, and it's most definitely not the last book, not in any way, although I'm still unsure which book comes next in Lupin's timeline (my best guess, according to the timeline found here, is [b:The Confessions of Arsène Lupin|141193|The Confessions of Arsène Lupin (Arsène Lupin, #6)|Maurice Leblanc|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348025534s/141193.jpg|136167]).So, I didn't like Sonia, and the ending was so abrupt that it came as something of a shock. Other than those two things, I really enjoyed this book. I'm happy to say that Lupin is just as much fun in a novel as he is in short stories, and I'm happy that I have plenty more Lupin books loaded onto my Nook and ready to read.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)