Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Rosie Project VS The River of No Return: Dubuque Tournament of Books, Round One

This week we'll be posting the judges' decisions for the first round of the 2nd Annual Dubuque Tournament of Books. To see an overview of the judges and contestants, check out this blog post.

Judge: Sue
The Rosie Project is a humorous romance written from a male character's point of view by Graeme Simsion. It seems rare to encounter a romance story from a male perspective. Professor Don Tillman (Australian) is  extremely intelligent genetics professor, but has a hard time with personal interactions. It is not really spelled out for you in the book, but Don has Asperger's Syndrome which makes it harder for him  to pick up on verbal and facial social clues. Most of the story revolves around Don's inept behavior with women as he searches for a wife. He decides to make a questionnaire to filter out unsuitable women in his search, and calls it the Wife Project. When he meets Rosie, a bartender who contacts him for genetics advice in tracking down her biological father, he agrees to take on a new task--the Father Project. Rosie does not meet the requirements of his questionnaire, but he has the best days of his life when he's with her.

I found myself thinking about Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and Spencer from Criminal Minds throughout the book. They are both lovable characters and so is Don.

I think one of the reasons the story is so appealing is that it's written by a man, from a man's perspective.
This wasn't a traditional romance novel, but I enjoyed the romantic aspect of this story quite a bit. There was also a fun and interesting journey with Don and Rosie gathering dozens of samples of DNA to determine who might be Rosie's biological father. It made me laugh quite a few times!

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway was an interesting time-travel book with a romance at the heart of the story. Lord Nicholas Falcott is about to be run through with a sword on a Spanish battlefield when he is hurtled two hundred years into the future. He wakes at the mercy of The Guild, a seemingly benevolent organization that supports people who find themselves displaced in time.

In this story, time travel wasn't just an excuse to get a modern person into a previous century or vice versa, but rather a concept that was used throughout the whole book. The purpose of the time travel is what kept me drawn in through-out the story, a hope to save the world. Not only was there time-travel, but also stopping time, and manipulating time. That was all very interesting, but at times hard to follow.

So, I chose The Rosie Project over The River of No Return because The Rosie Project was ultimately more readable for me and kept my attention.  There were "slow spots" in each book but fewer of them in Rosie.

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