* Cath - a slash fanfic writing hermit with zero social skills, who just wants to be left alone in her room with her laptop and her S...more3.5 stars
* Cath - a slash fanfic writing hermit with zero social skills, who just wants to be left alone in her room with her laptop and her Simon Snow memorabilia (I can relate to that, more than I'd like to admit)
* The thinly-veiled nod to Harry Potter in the form of Simon Snow and his magical world
Simon Snow is an 11-year-old orphan from Lancashire who is recruited to attend the Watford School of Magicks to become a magician. As he grows older, Simon joins a group of magicians — the Mages — who are fighting the Insidious Humdrum, an evil being trying to rid the world of magic
(The "spells" made me laugh out loud! Observe - "Up, up and away!", "Presto chango!", "Olly olly oxen free!" and a seventh-year spell that requires you to click your heels and say "There's no place like home!")
* The utter lack of exploration of any relationship apart from Cath's and Levi's. Seriously, even that of Cath's and Wren's (her twin sister!) left much to be desired. Her absentee mom? Nada. She came in abruptly and left just as abruptly. Nothing beyond that.
* Abrupt dismissal of Cath's Fanfic Magnum Opus. Where the hell is the story she was desperately trying to meet the deadline for? Whatever happened to it?!
* Extracts of Simon Snow books added in between chapters. While entertaining, they were unnecesary and jarring.
I'm going to be honest here - I hadn't even heard of this book until the Internet went crazy over the reveal that Jo wrote it.
Two things - a) Jo wrote...moreI'm going to be honest here - I hadn't even heard of this book until the Internet went crazy over the reveal that Jo wrote it.
Two things - a) Jo wrote this. b) It's a whodunit involving a private eye. So, naturally, I simply HAD to read it.
Somehow, branching out (again) and writing a crime-mystery novel seems natural for Jo (because, come on, who saw that Peter Pettigrew plot twist in PoA coming, amirite?). Not surprisingly, she manages to pull it off with panache. For those of you who have read The Casual Vacancy, after the bleak world of Pagford, it is a pleasure to see Jo's dry wit on paper again. While it is certainly less "adult" than TCV, fair warning - there is still a healthy sprinkling of f-bombs throughout the book (but, honestly, that should hardly matter at this point)
Imposing and, yet, vulnerable at the same time, the bear-like protagonist of the novel, Cormoran Strike, private eye, is immediately likeable. He is exactly opposite to Poirot in appearance but just as sharp when it comes to details. It is such fun to watch him piece together the clues to the murder of one Lula Landry, along with the help of his personal assistant, Robin, who, I might add, is perfectly adorable. The relationship between Strike and Robin is extremely endearing, and can I just say, I ship them SO HARD!
While the plot of the book is not exactly fast-paced, it has enough things happening to keep the reader from getting bored. Fans of Agatha Christie will find nothing new in this novel and, indeed, will have guessed the killer(s) way before the big reveal, but Jo has taken a tried and tested story and turned it into a refreshing read nonetheless, with her trademark writing. The level of detail in each description is amazing and her gift of creating solid, complex characters - as always - astounds. Observe -
“Another minute passed, and then a small black man was suddenly crossing the floor towards Strike, catlike and silent on rubber soles. He walked with an exaggerated swing of his hips, his upper body quite still except for a little counterbalancing sway of the shoulders, his arms almost rigid.
Guy Somé was nearly a foot shorter than Strike and had perhaps a hundredth of his body fat. The front of the designer’s tight black T-shirt was decorated with hundreds of tiny silver studs which formed an apparently three-dimensional image of Elvis’s face, as though his chest were a Pin Art toy. The eye was further confused by the fact that a well-defined six-pack moved underneath the tight Lycra. Somé’s snug gray jeans bore a faint dark pinstripe, and his trainers seemed to be made out of black suede and patent leather.
His face contrasted strangely with his taut, lean body, for it abounded in exaggerated curves: the eyes exophthalmic so that they appeared fishlike, looking out of the sides of his head. The cheeks were round, shining apples and the full-lipped mouth was a wide oval: his small head was almost perfectly spherical. Somé looked as though he had been carved out of soft ebony by a master hand that had grown bored with its own expertise, and started to veer towards the grotesque.
Brilliant. I loved it. Looking forward to the sequel!(less)
A short, but compelling story that will make you think and question the world you've come to know and trust. Actually, no, let...moreThis, then, is dystopia.
A short, but compelling story that will make you think and question the world you've come to know and trust. Actually, no, let me correct myself. It is not so much a story as a subtle revelation of the fragile existence of mankind which throws a harsh light on just how much we think we know and how much we actually do, on how everything we think or say or do has consequences but how largely ignorant we remain of that fact, and how we still fear that which is unknown and to what extent we let this fear govern us.
Please do pick up Genesis, if you are the kind that likes a book that makes you think and turn everything you think you know, upside down. If you aren't the kind, pick it up anyway. Afterall, "A society that fears knowledge is a society that fears itself."(less)
I'm not really the sort of person who needs to have all her questions answered by the end of the book. I don't sit and dissect every book I read, tryi...moreI'm not really the sort of person who needs to have all her questions answered by the end of the book. I don't sit and dissect every book I read, trying to figure out the allegories, once I'm done - I'm mainly in for the ride. Make the story and the world it's set in (not to metion the writing) plausible and I'm a happy camper. So, it's not wonder that The Archived (where, though the world-building is not fully explained away, it is enough to make you think "A library for the dead? Sure, why not.") compelled me to stay up half the night and finish it in one sitting by reading it for 5 hours straight. Yep, for me, it was THAT good.
How do I love thee, dear book? Let me count the ways....
1. Lovely characterisation. All the (main) characters are neatly fleshed out. Even Da, who is only seen in flashbacks, is written about in such a way that even the few scenes he's in, speaks volumes about him. 2. Oh, the brillaint writing! The crippling pain of the loss of a loved one, the aftermath where you deal with it and try to move on, and the mental anguish of seeing them again but knowing it's them but also not them, but just a record of their memories, is captured so beautifully that if you don't shed a tear or two at a particular point in the book (you'll know which one when you come across it), then I DECLARE YOU HAVE A HEART OF STONE. 3. Not only is the male romantic interest a charming, sweet, witty, eyeliner guyliner-wearing goth, who is also NOT tortured or angsty or broody, and has had a completely normal childhood (all things considering), THANK GOD, but also, also, the romance in the book is so subtle that it, refreshingly, doesn't intrude upon the main story. One extra star for this book, just for that. 4. I admit, I could have done with more info on the Archive, the Returns and the Narrows, how things work, how the Keepers, Librarians and the Crew are chosen, etc. etc., but did I mention it's a LIBRARY for the DEAD? (view spoiler)[(If you had the chance to see a loved one, who is long gone, again; remember how they looked, how their touch felt, again; spend just 5 minutes with them, again, even though you KNOW it's not exactly them but just an echo of who they used to be when they were alive, would you take it?) (hide spoiler)] 5. The mystery of the Archive, the rouge Librarian, the source of all the chaos happening in the Narrows was neatly done. It kept me guessing till the end (I was half-right) but the final reveal did shock me - it was not even close to what I was expecting. (view spoiler)[I think I've said too much. (hide spoiler)] 6. IT HAS A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
If Sherlock Holmes were a teenage girl, he'd probably be like Bee Ross. Bee likes to observe things and break them down into bullet points. She also l...moreIf Sherlock Holmes were a teenage girl, he'd probably be like Bee Ross. Bee likes to observe things and break them down into bullet points. She also likes mysteries and can list all of the original Nancy Drew book titles from memory (that won me over, that did). She works in the taxidermy department (when was that seen last time in YA?!) of a Museum - where she stuffs dead animals - alongside a cute nerd, who seems to know the ins and outs of the mating rituals of all the animals ever, AND her mom is a sixteen-year old D&D/Star Wars fanatic living in a grown woman's body.
(If all those tidbits didn't make you click the green "want-to-read" button, then what the hell are you doing on Goodreads?!)
Bee is one of the most unique and deliciously eccentric characters I've come across in YA in recent times ever! Half of me is desperately craving a sequel but the other half knows that anything more will simply ruin the perfection that is Bee and her story. I shall just have to comfort myself with more of Wilkinson's brilliant writings *sigh*
P.S - Just a heads-up : The tiger mentioned in the blurb has nothing to do with the plot.(less)
A good book is mostly made up of two things - a solid plot and believable characters. While the plot in Storm is not exactly earth-shattering (albeit,...moreA good book is mostly made up of two things - a solid plot and believable characters. While the plot in Storm is not exactly earth-shattering (albeit, still being pretty good), it's the book's mind-blowing characterization that makes it shine amongst the rest of the YA books. For a debut novel, this is absolutely brilliant.
If you ever want to know how to write about relatable, flawed and utterly real characters, take a leaf or two out of Brigid Kemmerer's books (Heh).(less)
Utterly charming. Made me terribly miss the days of snail-mail. I really, really wish Helene could have visited the store in London and met Frank - he...moreUtterly charming. Made me terribly miss the days of snail-mail. I really, really wish Helene could have visited the store in London and met Frank - he seemed like an amazing person. If only all book sellers these days were as passionate about books and their customers as he was (For nearly twenty years he was in touch with her! Who does that these days any more?)(less)