As I mentioned before (in my progress updates), I had this book recommended to me by a coworker, who was very passionate about it. He told me tha2.5/5
As I mentioned before (in my progress updates), I had this book recommended to me by a coworker, who was very passionate about it. He told me that the movie sucked (but it has Eric Bana and Olivia Munn, so at least it has eye candy... - well, he didn't tell me that), but that the book was really great. So, in I went with these great expectations...
Some reasons I didn't like it: - way too much focus on religion - the tone seemed patronizing, holier-than-thou, but also very boastful (and then the narrator suddenly would say he's just a regular dude with shortcomings, yadda yadda) - the narration didn't sit well with me - it wasn't interesting, all over the place and often rather awkward when some of the narrator's thoughts would suddenly appear in italics - there were a lot of inconsistencies, particularly on the demonic lore and Christian teachings - heaps of repetition - something explained earlier doesn't require another explanation in exactly the same words in another chapter
Overall: didn't like it. It wasn't even worth the creepiness factor, because it was minimal. Sorry Mr. Coworker, my tastes differ from yours, but thanks for lending me your book!...more
4.5/5 (I wish Goodreads would let users rate by halves, too).
This one sucked me in, gripped me tight and wouldn’t leA Darker Shade of Magic V.E. Schwab
4.5/5 (I wish Goodreads would let users rate by halves, too).
This one sucked me in, gripped me tight and wouldn’t let me go.
"For those who dream of stranger worlds."
Fantasy comes in all sorts and shapes - this one involved interesting magic based on the elements, inter-reality travel and monarchies. Unlike the many thick tomes I’ve become familiar with (I’m looking at you, Brandon Sanderson), it is all wrapped up in a surprisingly brief book for a non-YA fantasy, but detailed and satisfying nonetheless. It’s imaginative, clever and adventurous - altogether an unforgettable book.
Kell is a great character - the “good” guy who’s well-intentioned, but makes mistakes. He has a somewhat mysterious background and sometimes seemed a bit too cool for my tastes (a royal with a one in a million magical ability, so yeah). I loved Lila, the thief and aspiring pirate, as well. The more peripheral characters were also interesting, although some of them I would like to know better (those in Grey London, for example).
It’s a pity the author couldn’t expand on the universe without getting off tangent, because the alternate worlds and their geography are very intriguing. I loved the parallels and the ambiguity of how they’re actually related. I understand why she wouldn’t go into too much detail about each world and their set up; she still has upcoming sequels where she will be able to do that, too.
This is a book where I’ll be looking forward to the next installment and may pre-order it. I actually went and ordered Vicious, another title by the same author. Great read - recommended if you like fantasy books with a heavy dose of elemental magic, spiced with some political power play and kingdom rivalry.
“I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
Questions about plausibility and scientific credibility aside, this book was quite the page turner. Most of it comes in a journal-type format and we fQuestions about plausibility and scientific credibility aside, this book was quite the page turner. Most of it comes in a journal-type format and we follow the story of Mark Watney as he logs his days after he gets stranded on Mars. Most people who got put off by this book seemed to have an issue with this format; as for me: I thought the first person point of view was great this time (I’m really not a fan of it, usually). There’s an excellent reason to use it and in this book it works brilliantly and brings us closer to the main character. Before long, I found myself rooting for him (cringing along as he encountered yet another malfunction with his space paraphernalia).
There’s a lot of excitement - most of it stemming from Mark’s multiple mishaps and clever solutions, spiced with a healthy dose of cussing. Some of the explanations get really (pseudo?) technical and most of the numbers and calculations flew over my head, but I got the main gist. Overall, I don’t think understanding that is essential to enjoy this book. Just keep in mind that it’s science fiction.
While it got tiring sometimes to read another chapter starting with an “uh-oh” situation, I really liked the chill way Mark logged his adventures. It’s a reminder of that even though he is a world-famous much-admired highly-trained professional, he is basically still a dorky botanist (his words). It’s something that applies to a lot of “formal” professions, where people expect a person to maintain a professional attitude at all times, when all they want to do is let loose a bit and be themselves (speaking from personal experience, huh).
The story completely revolves around Mark - not unexpected, he’s the sole occupant of an entire planet, after all. He’s incredibly good at troubleshooting and has a great sense of humor and upbeat attitude, really not giving a chance for this book to get boring. Excellent read if you’re okay with your sci-fi being a bit on the casual side!...more
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
The story follows two (too) clever youIn one word: awesome.
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”
The story follows two (too) clever young men, Victor and Eli, who meet at school and grow an interesting friendship. As they develop “extraordinary” abilities, their truer nature and personalities show - leading to a course of events that changes their relationship into something much more complicated. With only sparse remnants of their friendship, resentment, ambition and self-righteousness overshadow their motivations and interactions. While superficially one may expect a story of a hero vs. villain, as is comic book staple, their roles are much more ambiguous. They both have such an interesting dark twisted side to them.
I bought this book because I enjoyed A Darker Shade of Magic very much. Reviews told me that Vicious would have a comic book vibe, but apart from it being about people with supernatural abilities and quite a big sprinkling of action, I don’t think there’s that much similarity. But I’m not that well acquainted with American comic books, so what do I know (manga used to be my jam).
“If he'd had to judge based on the two of them, then ExtraOrdinaries were damaged, to say the least. But these words people threw around--humans, monsters, heroes, villains--to Victor it was all just a matter of semantics.”
Despite going back and forth between the beginnings of Victor and Eli’s friendship and current time, the story flows well. The action sequences were engaging and well-written, too. The whole concept of “extraordinary-ness” is one often used, but reproduced with some interesting twists (e.g. how it comes to be and people’s reactions to it). It remains a quite vague concept throughout the book, but it’s to be expected, as it is an obscure thing in their world anyway. Since sequels seem to be forthcoming (not officially confirmed, AFAIK), I’m curious to see where the author will go with it. The supporting cast is really awesome too, and I would really enjoy reading more about them.
Judging from the shelving, others aren’t sure of what to classify this book as, either. Fantasy or sci-fi? Considering the supernatural powers, I guess urban fantasy fits, but the pseudo-scientific background makes it qualify as sci-fi, as well. The style is reminiscent of young adult novels, spiced up with more adult content (in terms of language, violence, and such). Not the best of descriptions, I know. Just go read it!...more
This is probably not the best title as an intro to the works of Murakami. It was interesting, though!
I'm tempted to create a 'strange' shelf, just forThis is probably not the best title as an intro to the works of Murakami. It was interesting, though!
I'm tempted to create a 'strange' shelf, just for this book. The whole story is odd, the narration is odd, the pictures are odd. The title is very fitting. It's a very visual experience, as about every other page if text is interspersed with an image. I think this book may not be for everyone - I suppose it'd attract certain types of readers only. I liked it more than expected, though - you might want to give it a chance if strange is your kind of thing......more
If anyone ever tells you that this is just a dystopian zombie book - don’t believe them. Perhaps, to some degree, you could call that. However, once yIf anyone ever tells you that this is just a dystopian zombie book - don’t believe them. Perhaps, to some degree, you could call that. However, once you read it, you’ll realise that it’s so much more!
Don’t you think the simple yellow cover with a silhouette of a girl incredibly eye catching? I didn’t know what to expect when I bought this book aside it being about one very special girl. I love that the back blurb didn’t give away anything, either.
Her room, her classes, the routines, her teachers and her ‘keepers’ are all that Melanie has known all her life. Then we get to see her interact with others - we find that she’s not a normal girl. Is she even a “girl”? But then… An unforeseen event happens and this curious, enthusiastic and clever girl gets thrown out of her little box, into the big outer world.
We learn along with Melanie what happened “out there” and why exactly she was put in that little cell. Melanie herself is young but growing up, as reflected by her internal struggles - she becomes increasingly conscious of the choices she has to make and the impact of them. But still, she’s a little girl at heart. Her devotion to her beloved teacher, Miss J, and her eagerness to make her happy is adorable but also becomes a huge factor in her choices.
Along with Melanie are a bunch of people, who are just amazingly well-defined characters. It’s impossible not to connect a bit with these characters; they felt real - each with their motivations, fears and (sometimes tragic) pasts. We get quite some of gore, thrilling action sequences and adventure - but most notable would be how the story revolves around these characters. This book is also thought-provoking, bringing up some philosophical themes and questions.
The apocalyptic aspects of this book have some sort of pseudo-science basis - fiction based on true science. I loved it. It was well-researched and makes really clever use of biological and medical facts; even knowing it’s fiction, it simply made sense and made the nerd in me hum in pleasure.
Lastly, the ending. Let me just say that it is unexpected and just so, so perfect....more
I caught the cycling bug almost a year ago - I’ve been in its hold ever since. I just really love cycling. To be fair, I barely know a thing about com I caught the cycling bug almost a year ago - I’ve been in its hold ever since. I just really love cycling. To be fair, I barely know a thing about competitive cycling and am not particularly interested in velo cycling. However, I’m well acquainted with the thrill and effort of road cycling. The reason of this boring personal intro - the cycling parts of this book were what I liked best!
The rest? Holy camoly drama galore. Of course, troubled friendships, dysfunctional families, messed up private lives, and scandalous public personas were not enough. There had to be cancer, too (yes, I can be a bit jaded - but then again I work in healthcare, so...). Too much drama for my liking, honestly. The blurb promises a much more exciting competition-oriented story and doesn't represent this book very well.
The narrative was good - we get a few different perspectives from different characters throughout the book. The characters were not likable to me, but pretty solid. Zoe was a bit too dysfunctional, I didn't get her until the end. She was too erratic and irrational (and the least consistent). Sophie... Well, I know that cancer would make her mature way more quickly than the average kid, and I guess the author tried to balance this out with her Star Wars preoccupation - but I still felt she acted or spoke inappropriately grown up sometimes. I haven't had much experience with such a precocious child, so maybe that's partly why. The others didn't leave too much of an impression, but I liked Tom - the aging coach - quite a bit.
The plot was predictable - the supposed twists and turns weren't all that surprising. The writing flowed well and the book in general was still a page-turner (while causing sighs and groans here and there, 'cause of course...). I kind of want to read the author's other well-known work, Little Bee, as it's supposed to have a similar style but better plot. Maybe someday!...more
Not my usual genre, but I really enjoyed this one as a fun light read. The eccentricity of all the characters, while rather unrealistic, is what3.5/5
Not my usual genre, but I really enjoyed this one as a fun light read. The eccentricity of all the characters, while rather unrealistic, is what made them so endearing and charming. The characters were definitely the highlight of this novel for me.
Despite some heartbreaking and sad moments, most of this novel was exciting and uplifting. The story is alternatingly told from the point of view of four different characters - oftentimes I noticed that not all characters were as well fleshed out as others. Even then they were still quite interesting due to their quirkiness. The romance was otherwise pretty generic.
As expected, this book has a happy ending... It made me warm and fuzzy inside, I think I really was in the mood for this kind of stuff, too. I'll definitely check out Jojo Moyes' other titles should the mood strike again. (I was recommended Me Before You by a friend...)...more
More than once I was later than usual for work during the few days when I read The Goblin Emperor - I got so engrossed...
Goblins are often overlookedMore than once I was later than usual for work during the few days when I read The Goblin Emperor - I got so engrossed...
Goblins are often overlooked in fantasy, I think. Whether because of the ever present influence of the big names like Tolkien and Feist (who probably thought goblins not cool enough) or the bad reputation goblins often get (as sneaky, ill-intending creatures) or some other factor - this fantastical species rarely gets to be in the spotlight. One of the reasons this book caught my eye is that our main character is of goblin origin.
The story follows Maia, who's lonely and isolated, and suddenly gets thrown into the intricate political world of the Imperial Court. Here, he's again lonely and isolated, as he enters the court directly at the topmost position, as the new emperor. Despite not being the only one of goblin blood, the majorly elfin society appears quite prejudiced towards goblins. Maia - kind hearted and earnest, but far from naive - gradually learns how to navigate the court and juggle his responsibilities as the new ruler. Maia himself was very endearing and his apparent growth as a ruler but also simply as himself was a great journey to follow. This book is very much a character-based story and therefore completely revolves around Maia (which may not be for everyone, but definitely worked for me).
I loved the unique nuances the author brought to the characters’ speeches with their royal plural (“we”) and the variants. It was really hard to keep up with all the names, but as is common with fantasy books, this one also has an appendix where you can take a peek if you need to.
[I rarely find standalone fantasy of this type and was very happy to find this title; kudos to Ms. Addison for wrapping this wonderful tale up in a single book.]...more