Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

I'm giving this two stars for the cover.

Getting straight to the point, the writing is so simple that it should've been a quick read but it's just so didactic and filled with ... religious righteousness which ruined the plot for me. And the prose, oh my god the prose is sooooo boooorrrinnggg. 

Normally, I like historical fiction and it doesn't matter that I'm not from the continent where the history happened but this just doesn't make sense. Yes, I guess it's kind of cool to be given a chance to see how the world changes 700 years from now and that (apart from the cover) was what drew me in, but the idea of travelling through time here was just thrown in there like ... nothing. Like it isn't a big deal. Like hey-whatever-let's-do-this-because ... nothing.

This should've been written better. Is it interesting, yes? Is it worth your time? I'd say no. I seriously think I wasted mine.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Sometimes I’m glad I (literally) judge a book by its cover because I discover gems like this cover-love-purchase-that-delivered.

I have read The Room and although I liked the story, I also remember it dragged a bit (for a short book). For that I did not expect much from The Wonder despite its mysterious plot (and I do love a good mystery). There are similarities between the two books when it comes to style but for some reason I find I like this better. The author kept the number of characters to a minimum for both books which I suppose is also the reason why a lot of people complain about the seemingly overflowing monologue. That is where good writing comes. Emma Donoghue knows how to keep me engaged even with the “overflowing monologue” so 

I’m no Irish but I was born and raised in a mostly Catholic country where, in the early 90s, a teenager claimed the Virgin Mary talks to him. Although the kid in this book does not claim to witness an apparition or carry any message from the silver city, it reminded me of that hullabaloo because of the inclination of the people to blindly believe in something without proof. It’s a very controversial issue. More controversy comes in when the reason for the kid's solemn oath to fast was revealed. 

There's only so much my heart can take.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Soul Music (Discworld #16) by Terry Pratchett

Magic is the genius way of explaining (or not) the effect of music on people. Also why people go gaga over musicians. You might like this book if you love music (thus the five stars). And while music is the antagonist in this book (it has a life of its own!), it also made people -- reflect, at the very least.

"every note was as sharp as a bell and as simple as sunlight so that in the prism of the brain it broke up and flashed into a million colors ... and then the music unfolded in his head ... the fall of the notes conjured up memories of the mine where he'd been born and dwarf bread just like mum used to hammer on her anvil, and the moment when he first realized he'd fallen in love ... and more than anything else he wanted to be home ..."

I love the puns and references to Elvis (or in this case elvish which means elf like), rock music (Music/Band with Rocks In - hah!) and people throwing their underthings on stage. I think this book is brilliant. Wait, I think most Discworld books are brilliant. 

I recently went back to listening to audiobooks to catch up on my reading list. I would put my earphones on during my commute to and from work. This, however, is not a book I would listen to in public. It makes me snigger in the most awkward moments and let's face it, anytime you snigger without people knowing the reason why is awkward.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox

Elijah's Mermaid is about the same as the Essie Fox's first book, The Somnambulist. I know that doesn't sound particularly enticing but I wasn't looking for anything new, really, so it worked for me. The story is still full of intrigue and of juicy, shocking tabloid material scandal. The gossip monger in me wasn't disappointed. 

It's not an I-cant-put-it-down sort of book, though. It was only a bit engaging towards the end when all the secrets were coming out. There was even a part where I cried (but I think it was also because I was hormonal, heh). Admittedly, though, there are some pages where I feel like just stopping altogether. And I did, actually. I had to try a few times before I can really get to it. 

And I don't get why the title has Elijah's name on it when he played such little role in the development of the story. He was the reason for the biggest conflict in the story but what did he really do other than that? Well, I suppose Elijah's Mermaid is a better title than Pearl.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I thought it's safe to start reading Strange the Dreamer because I only have to wait until October for the Muse of Nightmares to come out. Should've waited longer before I did because this book ended with the mother of all cliffhangers. Am I'm exaggerating? Yes. Is the ending a cliffhanger. A big fat YES. I haven't really read like really, really, really read in a long time and I thought Laini Taylor will save me from this reading slump. She did. But at a price. The one star I knocked off is for the ending (d'oh). I loved the book, of course (because Laini Taylor). I mean, I can't not love a book that makes me want to ugly-cry in public (as in inside the tram while I was heading home from work) merely because of the words that it used.

I'll be honest. The concept can be compared to the Smoke and Bone trilogy if you think about it. 
One species falling in love with another ... remember the whole "Once upon a time, an angel fell in love with a devil" thing? In Smoke and Bone it's angels and monsters. In Strange the Dreamer, it's humans and gods. The beauty, however, lies in how she created a whole new world (not the song, heh) that somehow equals the Smoke and Bone trilogy. Something THAT amazing is hard to top but lo and behold, she creates another world that you cannot help but care about with a whole new set of characters that you cannot help but fall in love with. I don't mean to be poetic (wait, is that poetic enough?) so ... gaaaaaah for the lack of more coherent words.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Oxytocin. Social interaction. Empathy. Attachment. Emotional memories. I loved the concept of how a certain hormone that is responsible for so many positive human emotions can be turned into a scary sci-fi/horror disease stimulant because it's not really far from the truth. I'm not talking about spontaneous combustion but the fact that oxytocin triggers protective instincts but can also trigger possessive and demanding attitude. It turns belief into obsession. It promotes social connection but can also be the reason for mob mentality. Moral of the story? Individualism, ladies and gentlemen. Okay I kid but you get the gist. It's something so positive but if you don't get a good grip at it it can turn sideways very easily.

The story sort of mimicked Harry Potter in a sense that it covered tyranny and I thought it was brilliant how two stories can tackle the same issue in two very different, very elaborate ways.

I mentioned HP because the author dedicated it to J.K. Rowling. Now, I can't tell if reading the inscription helped me understand the book or if the fact ruined it for me. Don't get me wrong, I love J.K. Rowling and the HP series but I found there's too much reference to it and most of them I found ... off. Also, I'm not sure why the title is Fireman. Shouldn't it be Harper?

I loved this book as well, hence the 4 stars, but I would've given it more if not for the constant mention of Dumbledore and other works of British authors. It's like the author wanted the story to revolve around books but not really so he only did it half-heartedly throwing in a title or a character whenever he seemed appropriate. Except it didn't seem appropriate for me. But that's just me.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Love is Red (Nightsong Trilogy #1) by Sophie Jaff

I always thought great story telling is better than a great plot. I haven't met a book that proved me wrong. Take this book for example. Some parts were told in first person and some in second. Yes, second person. I mean who does that?! In fiction no less! I understand how the book is told in different perspectives and for some books that can work. The story telling has to be full proof, though. And whose voice does the second person story telling belong to? If that's not enough there are a couple of chapters towards the end that were told in third person. I blame artistic freedom. If you can get over the constant switching of voices you might like this.

Or not. Because Love is Red had such great potential if it didn't try to put so many ideas in one book. The birth of Jesus Christ and the alien wise man (I SHIT YOU NOT), some Wiccan tale which didn't really relate to the ... colors (don't even get me started with this), and of course the main mystery. This is the first book of a trilogy, if I might add. I got more questions than answers when I'm done. I'm hoping these will be clarified in the next two instalments, not that I'm holding my breath for those. Okay sorry but the colors ... the colors should've at least been mentioned at the beginning not in the middle with no explanations whatsoever. I'm not saying the writing isn't good.

It is ... for the most part. I wouldn't finish it if not. And I also kind of understand why this is in first and second person because there are a couple of chapters written in 3rd person and this is how one sounded like: 

Chapter 28: The woman opens her eyes. Her eyes are open in the darkness. It is too dark in here.

I rest my case.