Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect world where every need is provided and every choice, every decision is not his to make. A world that is organised b...moreJonas lives in a seemingly perfect world where every need is provided and every choice, every decision is not his to make. A world that is organised by set of rules and filled with what may seem like happy and content citizen. The person who defies those rules will be “Released”, but what this “Release” truly is and what happen during the process is not something known by every individual in this community. On December every year, comes one ceremony that has been happily and anxiously awaited by everyone in the society. A ceremony that is held to celebrate children from one to twelve years old.
Among all these ceremonies, the Ceremony of the Twelve is the most important one as this is where every twelve-year-old child is assigned with their specific assignments based on some prolong evaluations. This assignment depicts the person that they will be and the career that they will venture in as they grow up. This is where Jonas learns about his future, where his life drastically begins to change and where he starts learning the truth – fascinating, startling, mind-boggling and bone-chilling truth – about the world that he lives in. How does he feels bearing secrets such as this? And what can he does with a knowledge this big?
What more can I say other than admitting that The Giver is definitely a masterpiece. I was more than a little sceptical upon starting this book mainly due to its small size. I let myself thinking that it is impossible for a 179 pages book to deliver much, let alone boggle a person’s mind. I was wrong – totally wrong! Lois Lowry has skilfully created this one unique world that closely resembles ours yet when examined closely is different in many ways. I truly appreciate how slowly Lowry reveals the storyline, letting readers munching every detail bit by bit, allowing them to understand this community and churn the meaning of life that they live in.
One thing that truly fascinates me is how she came out with all these perplexing rules that the community must obey and justify them with profound reasoning. For instance, children are only allowed to start wearing front-buttoned jacket at the age of seven, which is the first sign of independence. Before that age, they can only wear jackets that fastened down the back as this will encourage them to help each other dress and learn the concept of interdependence. Another aspect of the book that I found interesting yet chilling is the truth behind “Release”. At first, readers are lead to believe that those who are “Release” will be banished and sent to live outside the community. Though the actual event that happens is extremely horrifying and still brings chill down to my spine every time I think about it.
The Giver is indeed an intelligent book that is full with suspenseful mysteries and packs with unthinkable, plausible questions that will continue raking your brain even long after you finish reading. The book gives an example of how life could be like without choices, love, pleasure and hardship, left readers to wonder if life does have any purpose, any meaning without them. I was not thoroughly satisfied with the ambiguous ending at first though after reflecting back the things I have been reading, I think it was bittersweet and suits this book perfectly. In some ways, the ending reflects real life, in which we take the risk yet there is no way we can predict what will come out of it. Such a splendid piece that I think ought to be read by everyone.
About a Boy is a story about an awkward yet immaculate relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and a 36-year-old man-child. It is a story about gro...moreAbout a Boy is a story about an awkward yet immaculate relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and a 36-year-old man-child. It is a story about growing up, about changes and about coping with the hardship in life. Hornby's view on social relationship and its impact on a person's life is pretty interesting to read yet I don't really feel that the book has enough insight and substance to make it really stand out from the other contemporary books out there.(less)
It is hard to believe that I ended up enjoying this book so much. It started off incredibly slow and it definitely takes a little bit of time for me t...moreIt is hard to believe that I ended up enjoying this book so much. It started off incredibly slow and it definitely takes a little bit of time for me to get used to the language and the author’s style of writing.
The story was about the Last Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, as he made his quest across the desert in pursuit of the Man in Black and ultimately reaching the Dark Tower (Which does not happen in this first book, of course). Throughout this journey, he met quite a few interesting characters which include people in the town of Tull (Alice was one of them) and also a boy named Jake that Roland ended up really cared about. A lot of things happened (sweet things, gruesome things – you named it!) to these characters and in one way or another, it seems like all of them serve some specific roles in the whole story. However, what the roles really are still remain unclear.
Although the story might be confusing at first, it is hard not to feel enchanted by this alternate world that King created. It is also impossible to feel not attracted to the mysteries that revolved around Roland and the Man in Black. I think this was the essence that keeping me leafing through the book, pages by pages. So many mysteries involved and so many mysteries yet to be solved. I believe that if you’re a big fan of The Lord of The Rings, you’d also be glad to join Roland in his quest to the Dark Tower.(less)
What do you think a secret can do to a relationship – strengthen it further or cause it to fall apart? This is one of the many question marks that Edw...moreWhat do you think a secret can do to a relationship – strengthen it further or cause it to fall apart? This is one of the many question marks that Edwards engraved in her bestselling book, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. The book chronicles the life of a family in the span of 15 years – from the year of 1964 right through 1989. The couple, Dr. David and Norah Henry, leads a happy and serene life right until the night the doctor is forced to deliver his own baby in the middle of a blizzard. His first son, Paul, was born perfectly but the twin – his daughter, his Phoebe – one that he does not know exists was born with Down’s syndrome.
Knowing the fate of his daughter and the possibility of complications that might follow as the girl grows up; he makes an ultimate decision to send his daughter to an institute that manage children like her. He hands the little girl to the nurse, Caroline Gill, and prepares to tell his wife that their daughter was born dead. This is where the future starts to change; this is where the landslide begins. While Caroline runs away, trying to raise his daughter on her own, the secret that David keeps from his wife morphs into a hedge that separates the two of them and later cracks the family. How could people do the unthinkable thing while convincing themselves that it is for the best? How does this one lie has the ability to affect the life of so many?
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is indeed an interesting and thoughtful read but admittedly, I do have a mixed feeling about it. Edwards’s style of writing is so beautiful, so poetic and she definitely has an excellent way in visualising the scenes, capturing the atmosphere and most importantly, revealing the life of people in those 15 years in great detail. One thing that I appreciate most from her writing is that she has this deep emotion towards the characters that she created to the point that she managed to persuade me to have some compassion towards them as well, when the truth is, I did not fully second the decisions that they made and the actions that they had taken. She makes me understand them, put myself in their shoes and sees the obstacles through their eyes.
What falls short – for me – is that Edwards seems to be focusing more on the difficulties that both David and Norah faced rather than those suffered by the other victims of the situation: Caroline, Paul and Phoebe. Yes, I can understand David’s guilt and Norah’s depression but I think the impact of the deception towards these other three lives should also be pin-pointed and described in length. There are some stories about them but the intensity doesn’t seem to match David’s and Norah’s. I strongly believe that if the stories about these separate lives are being laid out in a more balance way, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter will be even more heart-wrenching, mind-blowing and poignant read. Nonetheless, the book is still good, complete with interesting storyline and characters that can be likeable at one point, but totally hated at another.
After reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, I can understand that it is not really a candy to just about everyone. It is one depressing book that talks about deceptions and the dominoes effect that is initiated by just one big secret. A book about grief and a vivid detail on what could possibly happen if one is not allowed to grief openly and freely. There is a lot to ponder in this book which makes it an excellent choice for a book club as it is the kind that is meant to be dissected and deeply discussed.
Salem Falls is definitely my favourite book by Picoult thus far. She had – again – successfully incorporated a tinge of romance, a tinge of courtroom...moreSalem Falls is definitely my favourite book by Picoult thus far. She had – again – successfully incorporated a tinge of romance, a tinge of courtroom drama and a tinge of mystery into her writing, which in the end, made up a beautifully written story. As the other books by Jodi Picoult, this is another issue-oriented novel in which she tried to bring forward topics such as Megan’s Law abuse (A law that requires law enforcement to make information regarding registered sex offender available to public) and false accusations to readers’ eyes.
In Salem Falls, we were introduced to a character, Jack St. Bride, who spent eight months of his life behind the bars over crime he didn’t commit. When he arrived in the small town of Salem Falls, New Hampshire, all he intended to do was to run away from his past and start anew. Landed a job as a dishwasher at a local diner, romance soon started to bud between him and Addie Peabody, the diner’s owner. As the thing from Jack’s past was made public, the people of Salem Falls treated Jack with such hatred. Through this ordeal, the relationship between him and Addie continued to blossom and they learnt quite a lot of heartbreaking things about each other. However, when a girl from a Wiccan group that practiced Pagan ritual accused Jack of raping her, everything began to shatter. Jack relived his nightmare once again but this time, he swore to himself that he won’t plead guilty like he did before. Will he survive against this brutal allegation this time?
Diving into this book was like peeling an onion. Secrets were carefully revealed, layer by layer, as you go through page after page. The plot was well thought out and seriously engaging. Even though it was a little obvious how the trial might end, the whole processes and characters behaviours made me thoroughly involved with the story. The revelation about Wiccan and their ritual really caught my interest because I’ve never really heard of this thing. Besides that, there was also a shocking revelation towards the end of the book which made me read back few chapters and reanalyse certain characters motives This book was totally unputdownable and the fact that I finished it in one day really tells a lot.(less)
I have to admit that it is difficult to write review for this book without giving anything away. Without doubt, The Pact had gripped my attention from...moreI have to admit that it is difficult to write review for this book without giving anything away. Without doubt, The Pact had gripped my attention from cover to cover but the fact that there are things that were stated with no clear explanations make me not thoroughly satisfied. After the tragedy that happened on that night in November, the life of the Golds and the Hartes were completely torn apart. The Golds was devastated with the fact that they have to live life without the presence of their beautiful, smart and artistic Emily; while it certainly wasn't easy for the Hartes to see their son was yanked away from the house on his birthday night, being put in prison for months and being tried for murder for the crime that he might not commit.
This leaves the readers with quite a few questions to ponder: How could someone like Emily decides to end her own life when she actually had everything that everyone would like to have? What really happened that night - Was it really a double suicide gone awry or was it actually a murder? If it was a murder, how could Chris has a heart to put a bullet inside of his lover's head when he claimed that he loves her more than life itself?
Picoult certainly has a way to persuade readers to choose side when the trial began, only to cause them to re-think - re-choose sides - and redo it all over again. She was a complete genius in the way she captures the atmosphere in the courtroom and in the prison, in the way she describes Chris's feelings towards Emily and the way she makes several twists in her story. I just wish that she tied the loose ends in The Pact more tightly and give me, Chris, the Golds and the Hartes the consolations that we all need. But perhaps, this is how the end was meant to be - as in real life, most emotional dilemmas are rarely solved neatly, plus there will always be questions that needed answers. There is no such thing as "perfect ending" as in the end, there is no one that actually wins.
All in all, I could say that The Pact is not really a bad read. However, I won't recommend this book to person who looks for a solid ending, nor to those who think that there are enough dramas in real lives till it is unnecessary to let the same elements creep into their leisure time as well.(less)
I got into this book without any expectation as I've read multiple reviews that mentioned this book as the worst from the other three. I can truly see...moreI got into this book without any expectation as I've read multiple reviews that mentioned this book as the worst from the other three. I can truly see why some people might think so, especially those who expect more blood and heart pounding battles. Instead, Martin serves readers with a considerably slow pace story that focuses on court intrigues, schemes and development of minor characters in the series.
I enjoyed this volume tremendously and I feel that there are number of crucial things actually happened in it. Some secrets unraveled, some questions answered, some more questions arise and some new sides of my well-loved characters being explored. I seriously cannot wait for the next chapter in the series. (less)
Midnighter is the term used to describe those who were born at the stroke of midnight. Based on its basic concept, the Midnighters series is indeed on...moreMidnighter is the term used to describe those who were born at the stroke of midnight. Based on its basic concept, the Midnighters series is indeed one of the most original series that I’ve ever come across thus far. Creatively written by the author, Scott Westerfeld, this series is the cross-breed from multiple genres: fantasy, paranormal and science fiction to name a few. With the right combination of suspense element, woven together with some mysteries, lore and a dash of romance, the Midnighters series – without doubt – is able to engage the interest of multi layers of readers and its varieties making it a very interesting read.
The strange world of midnighters only occurs at the heart of Bixby, Oklahoma. While normally there are only 24 hours per day, there is the 25th in this world which is known as “The Blue Hour”. For ordinary people, this extra hour passes by in a blink of the eyes but for the midnighters, they could live in this hour like usual. Only difference is that, they have to live in it along with the sinister, ancient creatures known as the Darklings and Slithers. According to the midnighter’s lore, there used to be a huge bunch of midnighters who lived and protected the small town of Bixby. However, the numbers ceased drastically for an unknown reason and the lore itself stopped about fifty years before the beginning of the book.
The new generation of midnighters only consist of five young teenagers: Rex the Seer, Melissa the Mindcaster, Dess the Polymath, Jonathan the Acrobat and Jessica – the new girl in town – whose power is not yet known until the end of book one. Despite their different personalities, they work together to investigate the truth that happen to their predecessors, saving one of their own and also saved Bixby and the world from turning into the monsters’ buffet. What sort of things do they have to do to win this seamlessly impossible battle against these creepy creatures? And what kind of sacrifice that need to be made to make this happen?
The Midnighters series proves to the readers what a genius author Westerfeld really is. He integrates some mathematical and linguistics concepts into these books making them somewhat unique till it is hard to find something else to compare them to. The author brings forth the idea that number “13” and also words with thirteen letters are crucial in the fight against the monsters along with light/heat and anything that belongs to the new world and technology. Number “12”, on the other hand, is specifically associates with the Darklings. For example, Bixby located at 36˚00’00”N (which is multiple of 12) 96˚00’00”W (another multiple of 12) and the sum of individual digits is 24, another multiple of 12. It is said in this book that The Blue Hour only happens in Bixby because of these strong associations. This mathematical assimilation into this series totally intrigues me as it makes something that is supposed to be fiction feels totally real.
The row of characters is another thing that I admire. Despite of choosing only one main character, Westerfeld put all five of them alternately onto the spotlight. Throughout the course of this series, readers get the chance to know each one of them and the reasons that make them who they are. Among all five of these characters, I fell in love with Rex since the first book in this series. He is the self-imposed leader of the group and I see that despite the refusal from some of the members, they still turn to him when they face ultimate challenges. Besides that, Rex is also a selfless person with a dark past of his own. This flaw makes him more realistic and likeable.
In a nutshell, I cannot really find anything that I hate about this series. I completely enjoyed it as it has a bit of almost everything. I’ve to admit that it may be confusing at first and that it takes a little time to let the basic concept to sink in, but once that phase is over, these books will certainly be unputdownable.