I rated this a 5 star because of the impact it had on my life rather than the actual content of the book itself.
So this isn't really a review but mor...moreI rated this a 5 star because of the impact it had on my life rather than the actual content of the book itself.
So this isn't really a review but more of an account of the impact Harry Potter had on my life.
I was about 12 years old when this book came out and prior to this, I had a very vague interest in reading which to my family is a bit worrisome since they are all such voracious readers. I used to read a lot of comics (manga) and also what my sisters would call "childish" books like Sweet Valley Twins with large print that wouldn't hurt my eyes. My sisters tried to upgrade me to Enid Blyton (like Famous 5 and even Malory Towers) but I was turned off by the small words and didn't even bother with them. So my sister in a last ditch attempt to get me to read 'proper' books (and knowing how much I loved reading manga) decided to get me Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone. She literally told me that Harry Potter is a lot like Manga stories but in book form.
So Harry Potter became the first 'proper' book I read as a 12 year old kid and thankfully not the last. After that I was hooked to reading! I started reading all the Enid Blyton books that my sister had bought for me (Famous 5, Malory towers, Secret 7, St Clare's) and was wondering what an idiot I was to have ignored all these books. By the time I was 13, I had definitely upgraded in reading and started reading all the classics (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Women in White, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Robinson Crusoe, Count of Monte Cristo, Dracula) in my family's library.
Since then, it's always been tradition for my sister to give me a Harry potter book on the day of its release (all the way to Deathly Hollows even though by then I was full grown adult).
As an adult, when I read the first harry potter book I can't help but smile (even though my adult brain keeps screaming about all the inconsistencies, the plotholes and stock standard side characters) because of what the first Harry potter book did for me as a 12 year old kid.(less)
Wow, I have just finished my reading this book and I don't know where to start. It's been one hecka of a ride for Iron Fey fans and definitely Iron Kn...moreWow, I have just finished my reading this book and I don't know where to start. It's been one hecka of a ride for Iron Fey fans and definitely Iron Knight is no different and that's where the sad bit comes in, I absolutely feel wretched after reading the last page that this saga is at an end.
Anyhow, it's interesting to note that Julie Kagawa had intentionally planned Iron Fey as a trilogy, ending with the ultimate sacrifice of Meghan as the new Iron Queen. But her editor convinced her otherwise that fans (and Meg and Ash) deserve some sort of an ending rather than the abrupt one in Iron Queen.
So ultimately this is what the book is about, it's about creating resolutions for all the characters we know and love (specifically more so for the Ice Prince that we've all grown to love and adore).
The book is Ash's journey to find a way to get back to Meghan's side. He has decided that being mortal/human is the only way to go about it and is helped by Puck and Grimalkin in his quest. To become mortal he basically has to journey to the End of the World and take the ultimate test in the Testing Grounds before he finally gets his ultimate wish, his soul. There's plenty of action as they venture deeper into the wyldwood to get to the End of the World so we get to see more of Julie Kagawa's highly imaginative Nevernever. Lots of these elements are inspired by actual folklore and it's refreshing to see these folklore elements presented in new ways.
Somewhere along, the group gets 2 extra travelling companions from Ash's past. No spoilers but it is absolutely heart wrenching after this point. From a swashbuckling action adventure, it slowly becomes into an emotional soul searching journey for Ash preparing him for the ultimate test when he reaches the Testing Grounds. He has many unresolved emotional tensions that need to be solved before he can move forward (Freud would be so proud!). Giving a not so spoilery example is him coming to terms with his former camaraderie with Puck and the vow to kill him. Julie Kagawa definitely doesn't let her characters off easily that's for sure. :)
After coming to terms with most of his emotional torment and problems, he is now truly free to pursue the quest for his soul. Most of the soul test he has to undertake involve him living as a mortal so he can fully understand his decision and the price it carries.
Now onto to the characters: 1. Ash: Oh my lord, I couldn't think it was possible to love this character even more than I did at the end of Iron Queen but man, Iron Knight blew me away. Julie was initially afraid of writing a book based on his POV because she was afraid that fans would know the 'real Ash' and not the Ash that we see from Meghan's eyes. She was afraid that we wouldn't like the real Ash but honestly, I don't know what she had to be afraid of because the real Ash is so earth shatteringly beautiful. Seeing things from his POV (and seeing flashbacks of certain scenes from the past books) just adds so much more depth and colour to his character. There are a lot of difficult decisions he has to make and I love the fact that despite him being souless, he's so human at the same time. There's a vulnerability to him that makes it endearing yet he has such inner strength. I'm so happy that we really get to see everything the real Ash is about in this book and I mean everything!
2. Puck: I love seeing bits and pieces of the real Puck and not the facade that we know (although his facade is awesome and I wouldn't have it any other way). So it was such a delight to see more of his real character emerge in certain scenes and understanding how much depth he has as a character. I also love the relationship between Puck and Ash and how this journey eventually mends it not to what it was before but definitely into something different.
3. Meghan: We get brief glimpses of her here and then so Meghan fans won't be disappointed. If anything her character has come to full maturity now that she's the Iron Queen. I admit, I hated her character in Iron King as she was so insipid, naive and backboneless!
(view spoiler)[ 4. Ariella: Wow when this character arrived I was astounded, it was such a gamble to introduce this character and I wasn't quite sure where it was going to go. To a not so stellar author, this type of plot device could have turned us away from the actual story being told but Julie Kagawa touches the subject with such sensitivity. I am grateful that she also didn't sugar coat the interactions between character Ari with Ash and Puck making them as realistic as possible. I'll be honest, I was almost downright angry that this character was introduced but after reading the journey and this character's role, I have to applaud Julie for being able to write such resolution and came to terms that this character needed to be there even though Ash, Puck (and I guess even myself!) didn't want it. I can't help but feel sad for Ari, having to see the love of your life fall in love with someone else and giving him up again and than sacrificing yourself to give him a soul to be with another. Wow that's just heart breaking. (hide spoiler)]
Iron Knight is one of the best neatly tied up resolutions/endings I've seen in a while (actually the whole book is about tying up all the questions and problems raised in the previous books). It ended at exactly where it needed to end and the characters themselves were at a point where it should end. Doesn't make it less sad though but I'm grateful that Julie had written such complete and lovely resolutions (not necessarily happy) for each of the characters, after all they've been through they deserve that much.
"Julie Kagawa gives us the quintessential ’Hot Boy with Sword’ in the Iron Fey series with her Winter Prince. He’s the bad boy. He’s got an attitude. Plus, he has that whole tall, dark and handsome thing going on." Yeah with a description like that? Totally sold.
The story is about Meghan a 16 year old girl who's step-brother gets kidnapped by the Fey. She is helped by her best friend Robbie Goodfell who turns out (as if the name wasn't a huge give away) to be Robin Goodfellow a.k.a. Puck (yes the same Puck from Shakespeare's a Midsummer's Night Dream). There she: meets the Summer and Winter Fey court, finds out the secret behind her heritage, gets asked for a dance by a handsome Winter Prince called Ash, tricks Prince Ash into following her into the Iron Fey Kingdom to rescue her brother together with Puck his mortal arch nemesis and nearly getting herself killed every second of the way.
I know it really sounds like a cross between Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland (which it is actually) but luckily it has it's own interesting themes (which I'l get to) that sets it apart so it doesn't feel like a copycat but rather a homage.
I really love the rich world Julie Kagawa has created, her writing style is imaginative and wholly descriptive. It's really easy to get lost in the pages as images pop into your mind scene after scene. Her interpretation of age old concepts of faeries is refreshing to read. A lot of its based on Shakespeare's Midsummer's Nights Dream as well as fae folklore (Tir Na Nog, Queen Mab, Titania, Oberon) while she may have borrowed their names she definitely recreated these characters and places as her own.
I also love the fact that's she reinterpreted fairies in a modern concept by creating the Iron Fey which are fairies created out of technology and science. They're element is Iron which we all know in folklore is dangerous to the traditional fey. The Iron Fey realm is wonderfully imaginative, a cross between gothic and steampunk.
Moving on to the characters, I admit... I cannot stand the main character Meghan. To me she is insipid, spineless and just downright boring! She's really your typical Damsel in Distress when she gets to the Fey Kingdom and honestly it really gets boring after she gets attacked for the 100th time! Most of the times, she ends up in deathly situations thanks to her own stupidity. She does grow a bit of a spine towards the climax but even then just by maybe a couple of bones :P I can't help it, Damsel in Distress characters don't really appeal to me. I prefer my heroines to have a bit of a spine in terms of character.
What really kept me reading was really the 2 love interests: Puck and Prince Ash.
Puck is awesome as a character, he's the stereotypical best friend in love character who's goofy and can't be taken seriously, or rather that's what he wants you to believe. It's so refreshing to see the goofy best friend character reinterpreted as Puck. What's different about him is that yes he may be goofy, yes he may be the best friend in love but there's also a darkness to him that he controls very well. The thing is his character doesn't have to develop in the book (he is Puck after all and is centuries old) unlike a lot of stereotypical best friend characters, his problem is showing you the 'real' side to him. The serious side, the crazy dangerous dark side to him that if push to the edge can snap.
And Prince Ash, oh where do I begin! He's the perfect bad boy but unlike the stereotypical bad boy characters who end up being rebels without causes, there's perfect reason why he is a bad boy. He was born in the harsh cold Winter court. His queen (and mother) isn't the warmest person on the planet, his brothers are all out to outdo each other to curry favour with their queen and emotions are seen as weaknesses amongst the winter fey. No wonder the poor boy is so cold and messed up. What I did find unbelievable was how he feel for Meghan so quickly. I felt that it could have been developed better rather than bham wham thank you maam we're in love (which to me is quite out of character for him given his coldness and lack of emotions).
Things to like: Setting, Prince Ash, Puck, the Folklore, the steampunk Iron Fey, Things to dislike: Meghan! (hahahaha sorry meghan fans!), the pacing (at times it feels like certain scenes could have been omitted cause it doesn't bring anything new to the table. Like seriously, how many times does Meghan need to be attacked by XXXX and saved by Puck/Prince Ash).
But overall, it's an extremely enjoyable book! (less)
Honesty I was expecting a lot more from Bloodlines but it failed to deliver all that I had hoped.
First of all let's with the rather non existent plot....moreHonesty I was expecting a lot more from Bloodlines but it failed to deliver all that I had hoped.
First of all let's with the rather non existent plot. It's boring honestly, lacking any of the emotional ups and downs that Vampire Academy had. The ending was a total whacked curve ball that just explodes upon you. I was wondering to myself where the heck did that come from?!
And Sydney is no Rose we all know that but I think Sydney herself doesn't. Her actions and motivations are similar to Rose but well It's like reading a watered down version of her which I suppose makes this book even more frustrating. Sydney's saving grace is that she's grown a lot as a character since VA but well really not interesting enough to make her the lead heroine.
Jill's okay I suppose but the problem is that she never really grew as a character from VA. It's like reading the same Jill we knew from VA. despite everything that's happened to her, you'd think she'd grow a bit but no Richelle has kept her exactly the same. While that's all good in VA cause she was a minor character, it's gonna be a huge problem moving forward for the bloodline series as a lead character.
Eddie is severely under utilised in the book which is sad cause he's got great potential. He's there somewhere in the background even though he's in nearly most of the scenes but hardly speaks a word or has his presence acknowledged. And when he does get mentioned, i kept wondering what? He was in this scene?! At times I kept having to reread paragraphs to even realised he was there at all!
Adrian's about the only thing done right so I suppose if your huge Adrian fans you wouldn't mind Bloodlines so much.
I'll probably still read the next instalment cause Adrian's one of my favourite characters and hope he gets the ending he deserves. (less)
I really really really wanted to like this book but alas I can't.
The premise is really interesting where Romeo betrays Juliet in order to gain immort...moreI really really really wanted to like this book but alas I can't.
The premise is really interesting where Romeo betrays Juliet in order to gain immortal life. He gains immortal life by sacrificing her life (murdering her) to the Mercenaries, these ancient beings that seek to destroy true love soul mates. On the opposite camp you have the Ambassadors who's job is to protect these true love soul mates that the mercenaries seek to destroy.
600 years down the line we come to the present day story where Juliet has taken over a new body - a girl named Ariel where she has to take care of Ariel's bestfriend Gemma who is at risk of getting lured by the Mercenaries.
The main problem I have with the book is the writing. Juliet is way too emo for her own good and there is way too many paragraphs dedicated to her emoness. After a while it gets really draggy and you just want to shake her to stop wallowing in self pity.
The romance between Ben and Juliet also doesn't seem (at least to me) genuine? I keep thinking that there's something sinister about Ben. Compared to Romeo who is the most honest (ironically) character in the book.
Anyway the ending felt super rushed and loads of Deux ex Machinas everywhere. It got to a point where it wasn't very logical and hard to follow.
The premise of the book had great potential but just wasn't executed very well.(less)
Note: This is the same review across the first 3 Mortal Instruments books as I reviewed them as a trilogy rather than separate books
Overall the Mort...more Note: This is the same review across the first 3 Mortal Instruments books as I reviewed them as a trilogy rather than separate books
Overall the Mortal Instruments series is a really fun and entertaining series but it's as deep as a Hollywood Action flick. It's all pretty much just smoke and mirrors as there's nothing emotionally invested in it.
I would recommend this to anyone who needs a light entertaining read as I had a really good time reading the book (well as good of a time watching stuff like The Expendables or The A Team. Cassandra Clare definitely knows how to pace well, there was never a moment of boredom and everything was zippy lightning fast. She's got an interesting enough plot that will keep you turning the page and wanting to devour the book in a couple of hours. That is her ultimate strength as a writer, the way she trails you along with interesting plot points and twists. Also, she really knows how to write steamy scenes between Jace and Clary and also how to draw the sexual tension. I guess she really knows her audience (teen crowd), what makes them tick and how to write for them.
I couldn't really care much for the characters though, Jace's arrogance really got to me (ok I admit, in the last book I felt a bit more sympathetic towards him) and I was pretty much indifferent to Clary. As for Simon, oh dear lord he annoyed me so much esp after what happens to him in the 2nd half of the book.
However, I really can't take this book seriously and I'll tell you why: growing up I read a lot of manga and watched a lot of anime (I live in Asia, it's the thing to do growing up). It's very clear that Cassandra Clare is an Otaku (person obsessed with Anime and Manga and/or Japanese pop culture). The little cameos she places throughout the book are easily recognizable by Otakus (even Naruto makes a cameo appearance). There's a lot of weird fandom concepts also lingering around like for example an official slash pairing (Magus and Alex) and Jace is quite a dead ringer for the arrogant shoujo manga 'Prince' male stereotype. And also why must the characters fight with Japanese weapons? Really now in this day and age, Japanese weapons like Katanas and Shurikens and Naginatas aren't the most effective against demons (plus how on earth are you going to carry them around without attracting attention?!). Again this all stems from the fact that Cassandra Clare is probably a huge otaku fangirl and couldn't resist putting things like this into her book which makes me (ex otaku fandom geeks yes I admit I was a huge otaku fangirl growing up. Not anymore though) shake my head because I get where these cameos and references are coming from.
Overall, this is a really light zippy and most of all entertaining read. Just ignore all the Otaku references (if you even catch them?) and you'd be fine.(less)
It's been a long time since I couldn't finish a book but Revolution did it for me.
I know a lot of people in the YA community love this book to bits, b...moreIt's been a long time since I couldn't finish a book but Revolution did it for me.
I know a lot of people in the YA community love this book to bits, but I just really couldn't get into it because the main character just annoyed me.
First of all the book is just too depressing for my liking. There's just tio much melancholic emoness (and for what I think is no good reason too) going around that I really wanted to shake Andi to stop wallowing in self-pity!
I have to admit, the narration is written very poetic, even haunting at times but I need a reason for the emo to happen. As it is, there's way too much pointless emoing for me.
The only thing I really did like was the intense research the author did on France as well as on Music (Andi's whole thesis paper is such a music geek thing!). It's very clear that the author researched a lot on both subjects in order to write about them.
So after 7 chapters of Andi's self-wallowing emoing (whether it's being forced to move, the way she's treated in school, her relationship with her mother and her father, etc...) I had to give this book up. Apparently it gets better when Alex is introduced but sorry I couldn't really get pass Andi as a main character. (less)
Initially I had rated this book 4 stars because I really liked it but then after a while, I do realize that they were things that I just couldn't get...moreInitially I had rated this book 4 stars because I really liked it but then after a while, I do realize that they were things that I just couldn't get pass that made me drop the rating to a 3 star.
While I do really like the book, but there are parts of the book that I absolutely hate that just made the experience less than stellar. There are a lot of reviews that give a good synopsis of the book so I won't go into that, I'll just go straight into the review instead.
Let's start with the good parts: 1. I really do love the whodunit mystery and the layers behind the mystery of Harriet's disappearance. That story arc itself was really interesting when it starts to develop into something bigger. 2. The action towards the 2nd half of the book was pretty good, it was quite exciting and riveting. Extremely hard to put down after it was revealed the motive behind Harriet's disappearance. 3. Lisabeth Salander is quite an interesting character. Lots of depth but gets a bit almost stereotypical towards the end (esp when it's revealed how she gets her sources).
The bad: 1. The pacing: The first 100 pages or so is interesting to read but from 100-200 or so it becomes a chore! First of all you're not quite sure how everything fits and it feels more like background information than the plot itself. I think for the purpose of the genre (as it is marketed as a mystery thriller), it would have been better if these background stories were intermingled with the plot so readers kinda know what to expect and can wonder about the mystery. The mystery only picks up when Mikael heads to Hedeby Island which happens like halfway through the book. 2. Mikael: I have a huge problem with how this character is written! It's almost like a self-indulgent Gary Stu. Every woman in the book is attracted to him, he's smart, funny and witty and he has no faults. Seriously now? And if you read the author's biography, you'd realize that he has modelled the character after himself. A total Gary Stu. =/ 3. The POV's: I had a hard time figuring out who's story this was, Lisbeth's or Mikael's? Eventually when it was revealed about who was investigating the mystery, I really wanted to skip the other person's POV because it was distracting, disjointed and just took away from the actual mystery. 4. The ending: Honestly it should have stopped at the the Whodunit mystery. The whole thing with Salander hoping around the world is a bit ludicrous. 5. The details: While details are good but I'm not sure why the writer had to overindulge us with pointless details. For example he describes characters reading books, the exact number of sandwiches a character eats, the time it takes to pour coffee and all of this frankly doesn't bring anything to the table. Perhaps these type of details are good in Swedish and that they're lost in translation? Who knows. 6. Lisbeth and her rape scene: This scene disturbed me a lot. I don't know if it was Lisbeth's reaction to it or the fact that it seemed so out of place? I understand the author wanted to depict her as a rape victim but the placement of the rape scene was just inappropriate I felt. Not to say it shouldn't be in the book at all but it was lodged in between two very riveting chapters that when I read it, I was thinking to myself when is this gonna be over? Can I get back to the main mystery now?
I think the main problem with this book is that it suffered from a lack of editing. I mean it's quite hard to edit a dead man's book purely out of respect since these were publish posthumously. A 100 or so pages could have been effectively cut out to make the story tighter (cut off the fat you could say). And therein also is the problem, the books don't seemed finished and seemed more like drafts.
Which is sadly really, a little polishing and refinement and this book could have been an absolutely amazing mystery.(less)
I'll admit... I was actually afraid to review this because I just love this book so dearly that I may end up doing a fangirly ramble instead of an act...moreI'll admit... I was actually afraid to review this because I just love this book so dearly that I may end up doing a fangirly ramble instead of an actual review. Oh and also because I'm deathly afraid that my review wouldn't do this book any justice whatsoever.
Initially I was a little sceptical when I read the synopsis because it was just too eerily similar to a hit Japanese movie called Battle Royale but after reading a lot of good ratings and having nearly every adult YA reader recommend this (and also because I enjoyed Divergent so much) I decided to give this a go.
To sum it all this book is like Spartacus meets Battle Royale meets Gladiator.
First of all the setting itself (24 teens that have to fight to the death, oppressive government, poverty stricken district, etc...) makes for a very good story. I absolutely love the premise (even though the 24 teens fighting to the death is just a bit too similar to Battle Royale for my liking) and the world building is really top notch. The districts are very clearly thought out and so is the central oppressive government of Panem.
What I really love most about The Hunger Games is the deep human emotions you feel for the characters and how real they all seemed really fleshed out. The writing is also top notch as it just makes your heart bleed at every page: “I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.”
“One more time? For the audience?" he says. His voice isn't angry. It's hollow, which is worse. Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me. I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go.”
And the action is just one heck of a roller coaster ride. There's plenty of suspense and given the premise, there's plenty of situations that just bleed raw human emotion (the singing scene especially absolutely wrecked my heart there).
I also love the pseudo-relationship that Peeta and Katniss have. You can't help but wonder if it's all real or if it's just all a show for the games. Just when you think you've figured it out, there are glimpse that show it is real and times that betray that it isn't. You wonder if it is possible that someone could love another so deeply and completely to the point of self-sacrifice? I do also like the fact that Suzanne doesn't quite outline Peeta's true feelings at all so you're left guessing as to what his true intentions are in regards to Katniss (oh Suzanne, you and your mind games!). Won't spoil anything so I guess you're just gonna have to read to find out :) (don't click the spoiler after Peeta if you don't wanna know)
But most of all, I think it is Katniss and Peeta that absolutely make me love this book so much.
Katniss: She's a real super star. She comes from a very tough background having gone through so much hardships growing up (she nearly starved to death when she was 11) giving her a survivor attitude. Her love for her family knows no bounds (as proven when she replaces Prim in the Games) and her friendship with Gale is very sweet. I love her strength and her determination. Despite the hopelessness of their situation, she picks herself up and keeps on moving! She's just like the Mockingjay: “They hadn’t counted on the highly controlled jabberjay having the brains to adapt to the wiled, to thrive in a new form. They hadn’t anticipated its will to live.”
Peeta: I absolutely adore Peeta's character. He's described as a very eloquent speaker which naturally makes him very charming “You here to finish me off, Sweetheart?”. While some people claim that Peeta is boring, a lot of people have to realize that unlike Gale and Katniss, he never had as hard of a life so he doesn't quite have that survivalist attitude that both Gale and Katniss have. I think Peeta's reaction to situations in the book are realistic given his background. He does has inner strength but it's a different type of strength as compared to Katniss and Gale. While they are like fire, I would describe him as water - smooth, flowing, gentle yet strong. “"A little, Only... no offense, but who cares, Peeta?" I say.
"I do. I mean what else am I allowed to care about at this point?" he asks angrily. He's locked those blue eyes on mine now, demanding an answer.”
(view spoiler)[Most of all I absolutely love Peeta's devotion and love. He's unique in the YA universe, I don't think I've ever seen a male character as pure as Peeta. He doesn't care if others see him as weak or pathetic in love. It's so refreshing to see a main hero that's not macho, not arrogant and not a bad boy. Yay to Peeta for proving that Good Guys don't finish last! (hide spoiler)]
Overall, this book will make you laugh, make you weep, make you cry out, make you smile, make you angry at the unfairness but I think most of all this book will make you believe in love in its purest form (between family, friends and even lovers) - and how despite everything, maybe the deepest love can triumph it all.
This book is not for everyone, I'll put that as warning first.
If you don't like books that have no plot don't read this. If you don't like books that...moreThis book is not for everyone, I'll put that as warning first.
If you don't like books that have no plot don't read this. If you don't like books that are slow paced don't read this. If you don't like books that have tragic endings don't read this. If you don't like books that tell you the ending right in the middle so you know what to expect don't read this. Most of all if you don't like books that portray life as it is don't read this.
The Book Thief is a hauntingly beautiful book, with a subject material that may be sensitive to some (World War II told from the perspective of German civilians). There are many books out there that will tell of the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust but not many will dare tackle the suffering of the German civilians during this period. I know some people are against this "How can we humanize the very people that supported the killing and suffering of an entire race?". It's easy to lump everyone into one category, so it's nice to see how The Book Thief tackles the balance between the Nazi supporters and the ones who just support to stay alive. Also in war I believe there are no winners, just casualties. Everyone truly suffers in one way or another, even Nazi sympathizers.
“It’s a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl * Some words * An accordionist * Some fanatical Germans * A Jewish fist fighter * And quite a lot of thievery”
The book tells the account of Liesel Meminger's life on Himmel St and how her foster family hides a Jew in their basement. To be honest, it's a collection of little vignettes about her life on Himmel St featuring a colorful cast of side character neighbours and how they try to survive World War II. It's very reminiscent of another slice of life book To Kill a Mockingbird.
The most unusual thing about this book is the narrator and his narration style. Death as a narrator takes some getting use to... He likes to interrupt his own narration with little comments and footnotes. These little interruptions are highlighted very nicely with font changes and adds a lot of richness to the narration.
“She imagined herself reading the entire page in faultless, fluency-filled triumph A KEY WORD: Imagined”
Some may view them as unnecessary interruptions but I personally love them and it gives so much character to Death as a narrator.
As for Death personified? I've seen a number of personifications of Death before in books but I must admit, I do think Markus Zusak's version of Death seems the most human:
“In the darkness of my dark-beating heart, I know. He'd have loved it all right. You see? Even death has a heart.”
He constantly complains about how much work he has cut out for him since the war started. He does get snarky sometimes, other times he wonders about the injustice of everything. He does try to help as much as he can and there are some absolutely heart wrenching moments -such as when he describes the Jews in their last moments and how he tries to arrive earlier so they don't have to suffer (T_______T). Or how he hates to see children because he feels that it's such a waste of life: “Five hundred souls. I carried them in my fingers, like suitcases. It was only the children I carried in my arms.”
At one point he even steps on Hitler's photo on his way out when taking the soul of an elder woman! Got to love Death :)
I really do think that Death is an appropriate narrator because he has reason to have an overly preachy POV on the detriments of war without sounding overly judgemental. I think this is the author's intent and purpose, to give a commentary on world war II and its horrors without sounding too judgemental or preachy.
But do not despair, this book although speaks of the horrors of World War II, speaks more of the human will to live: “I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin. Their great skills is their capacity to escalate.”
I'll end this review with the last paragraph of the book that sums my whole journey reading The Book Thief very nicely:
“I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant...
I read this book when I was 15 and it absolutely absolutely changed my life (and the way I think) as it got me interested in philosophy. I still hold...moreI read this book when I was 15 and it absolutely absolutely changed my life (and the way I think) as it got me interested in philosophy. I still hold true to some of the concepts I learnt in Sophie's World, like the Socratic concept of "Wisest is she who does not know" (as paraphrased by Jostein Gaarder)and also "Nothing can come from Nothing" which is from the Natural Philosophers.
First of all, this book isn't really a fictional book. It's more of a short introductory course to philosophy but written in such easy clarity that even a 15 year old can understand it.
Prior to Sophie's World I had never ever read a book on philosophy and to me then it seemed absolutely complicated and wankey to a certain extent. Then I was given this book by my elder sister who insisted I read this. She just told me "Oh it's about a 15 year old girl and how she goes on philosophical adventures with her teacher".
What I really like about the book is that it's really good introduction to philosophy and it's history (bear in mind I was 15 when I read this). I also really like Sophie as a character, she seemed absolutely relatable and her questions mirrored mine exactly it was quite uncanny really, Jostein Gaarder does an amazing job of imagining the mind of a 15 year old girl. I also like the whole philosophical conundrum when self-realization takes place, it was interesting to see how the philosophical concepts learnt the past pages are now being used by the characters.
What's wonderful about this book is that, it's easy to appreciate it. Even though I'm much older now and have taken courses in philosophy in college - it's still easy to pick this book up and still see the wonder in it.
I would absolutely recommend this to any Young adult to open their mind to the wonderful world of philosophy.
Oh and because of Sophie's World, I've become a Jostein Gaarder fangirl reading every and any book he publishes. (less)
Note: This review is the same for all 3 books as I reviewed it as a series rather than stand alone books
Sorry I'm not a huge fan of the Shiver series....moreNote: This review is the same for all 3 books as I reviewed it as a series rather than stand alone books
Sorry I'm not a huge fan of the Shiver series. I just couldn't get into it. While I do see how a lot of people would appreciate Maggie Stiefvater's lyrical almost poetic prose, it was rather lost on me. I did like the different POV's in Shiver though. It was really nice to see the love story from both Grace's and Sam's side as it adds a lot more robustness to their romance.
I also don't really like instant love in my books as I prefer characters to fall in love (and stalking a girl as a wolf doesn't count for love development sorry!). That really bugged me a bit in Shiver how they were all ready quite set upon each other.
The pacing to was at times way too slow for me, I was always wishing something would just 'happen' but most times nothing ever really did. Then again it's probably my fault as I love my romance to be a part of something 'bigger' and I tend to get bored when the story just focuses on the romance itself. So again not a fault of the book since it was advertised as a romance story. I guess things started picking up in Linger when Cole and his back story was introduced but still too slow for my liking.
The characters were also a problem for me as I couldn't really get into any of them. Grace and Sam were ok (though Sam reminded me of a Hipster - guitar, skinny jeans and all) but I'm not entirely crazy over them, I'm still on the fence with Cole as I'm not quite sure if I like or dislike the guy. As for Isabel I thought she was quite interesting for a Queen Bee character, she grew a lot as the series progressed too bad I didn't like her as a character although I really did appreciate her character growth.
Guess this wasn't my cup of tea (I also didn't finish Forever, didn't really have the motivation to finish it).(less)