Full disclosure: I'm a librarian and I work in a public library. Neil Gaiman is the patron saint of public librarians. He loves us, we adore him. AnyFull disclosure: I'm a librarian and I work in a public library. Neil Gaiman is the patron saint of public librarians. He loves us, we adore him. Any opinion I have about his work will be deeply rooted in that reality. Sorry not sorry.
Now, on to the book. To be frank, Norse Mythology wasn't what I was expecting. This is hilarious considering that the book is in no way mis-represented. I was all jazzed up and ready for a new Gaiman novel. So I was a little flummoxed to discover that Norse Mythology is, in fact, (as the title might lead one to believe) a collection of Norse myths. You know, Thor and all that. Once I got with that particular program I stopped trying to read it like a novel and instead treated myself to one or two stories at a time. It was pleasant, I felt scholarly.
Gaiman has reworked these ancient tales for our reading enjoyment. I'm not a Norse mythology aficionado, but it seems to me that he used a light touch, meaning that these stories aren't changed all that much from the tales of yore. They aren't modernized or re-told from a modern perspective. They are exactly what it says on the cover. Go in knowing that and I think you're in for a treat....more
I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Quite simply, this book is a future classic and there's no way you won't be seI received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Quite simply, this book is a future classic and there's no way you won't be seeing it on some award shortlists in the coming year. The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting debut from Katherine Arden. Read it!
This story, which reads like a fairy tale, is set in 13th century Russia. It's a time of great change, with Christianity's growing influence wiping out the more traditional beliefs. Vasya was born with the sight and keeps to the old ways, but is at odds with her stepmother and the village's new priest who are convinced that Vasya consorts with devils. Vasya, who only wants to save her family, is caught not only between the old ways and the new ways. She's also a pawn in the ancient struggle between the Frost King and his one-eyed brother, the Bear.
I've seen this book recommended for readers who enjoyed Uprooted and I can't disagree. Both have strong female protagonists and an earthy, fairy tale feel. I'll be thinking about this story for a long while, yet. Cannot wait to see what Ms. Arden comes up with next.
The thing with this book is that it tries to do too much.
The premise is good, though, and the reason that I requested Every Mountain Made Low from NeThe thing with this book is that it tries to do too much.
The premise is good, though, and the reason that I requested Every Mountain Made Low from NetGalley in the first place. We experience the world through the eyes of Loxley, a young woman who suffers from something akin to (if not actually) autism. Loxley's mother has recently passed away and she is on her own in the Hole, a city that has developed in, you guessed it, a hole. In this either post-apocalyptic or possibly alternate history United States, the governing corporation (the Consortium), is drilling deeper and deeper beneath the mountains for lead (hence the title). This drilling has gone on for generations and families now spend their entire lives in this underground city. All of that on its own could make for an interesting story. But it doesn't stop there.
Loxley is not only autistic, but she can see ghosts. And we're not talking about Casper here, these ghosts basically want to eat her. Loxley is also a violin virtuoso, a sexually confused lesbian in an overtly homophobic world, and is very strong because of the gardening. I suppose this could all have added up to a pleasantly complex and engaging character but it didn't somehow. It just sort of made me dizzy.
The idea of a community developing in the wake of a huge mining operation held some merit for me. I also did feel pity for little Loxley and wanted to see her do well. But Loxley's character didn't develop so much as jump around from one state to another. She would be scared and distressed by too much noise one moment to cutting a deal with the club boss the next. Not to mention just straight up cutting people.
I wanted to love it but just didn't. 1.5/5 stars....more
This review is for the ebook edition from Open Road Media, scheduled for release on September 27, 2016.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an anaThis review is for the ebook edition from Open Road Media, scheduled for release on September 27, 2016.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an analytical reader. When I read, I read for pleasure. I'm looking for a good story with relatable characters. I want adventures and romance and wonderful flights of fancy. Guardian got off to a slow start but, by the time I finished the last chapter, all of those boxes were checked for me.
Rosa, whose story this is, is an intelligent, independent woman of means during the late 1800s. Early in the story she and her son, Daniel, escape her abusive husband and struggle to make a new life for themselves. Rosa's husband continues his search for years, ultimately pushing Rosa and Daniel into Alaska during the Alaskan Gold Rush. While there, Rosa meets Gordon, an interplanetary being who takes the guise of Raven, a Native American trickster god. Through a series of unlikely planet- and shape-hopping adventures, Raven sets Rosa on a path that will save humanity.
This story was a fun mix of historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy with a deceptively slow start. The staccato of Rosa's first-person narration took some getting used to. She endures and witnesses serious abuse at the hands of her husband, but the horror of the experience isn't relayed to the reader. She tells us of unspeakable acts as though sharing items on her shopping list. This is especially puzzling when we eventually learn that Rosa has become a well regarded authoress in her later years. Wouldn't her prose be a bit more engaging? Then, to compound the issue, the first half of the book (plus a few chapters), reads more like an historical fiction novel than anything else. Rosa teaches, Daniel grows up, and not much happens... until suddenly it does. The story shifts gears at breakneck speed around the 3/4 mark and then it's a sci-fi/fantasy thrill ride straight out of a Dr. Who episode. There is also a plot twist at the end that is mentioned so casually that you could miss it if you were to blink or perhaps sneeze during those paragraphs.
Overall, Rosa is a great character and the story, once it got going, was exciting. A bit more emotion from Rosa and an earlier entrance for Raven would have possibly added a star or two to my rating. There were also a few typos scattered throughout this ebook edition that, while not world ending, I did find distracting.
2.5 stars. In this non-fiction travelogue (of sorts) Bill Bryson recounts his seven week farewell tour of Britain. Bryson styles himself as a lovable2.5 stars. In this non-fiction travelogue (of sorts) Bill Bryson recounts his seven week farewell tour of Britain. Bryson styles himself as a lovable curmudgeon, which I could appreciate if the book were about 100 pages shorter. But 300+ pages of him harping on the failings of women, fat people, and modern British architecture just got to be a bit much. I appreciate that he's a talented writer and he does have a knack for turning a phrase. I even chuckled a time or two up to the passage in which he sagely explains to the reader how "fat people" eat. It wasn't a fair or flattering portrayal, nor was it funny. From that point on his humor just seemed a little too mean-spirited for my tastes....more