I just finished reading The Night Circus last night (Wednesday), after getting it from the library on Tuesday. I was totally hooked from beginning 'til end. I have not been so entranced by a book in years, probably since Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Travellers's wife.
Even from what I had already heard and read, this book managed to surpass my expectations. The story is wonderful, with magic and forbidden romance, and the use of two different narratives running parallel was very well done. Of the two narratives, one starts several years later than the first, leaving us wondering what has happened in the meantime, but of course, all is eventually revealed. I found this a fresh and interesting way to write the story.
The prose is lush and beautiful. The descriptions of the circus are wonderful, keeping you intrigued. When I read books, I often find myself disappointed in the descriptions, feeling that the writer has built a place up to be something more than it is. It's hard to explain, but say an author describes a place as truly divine or magical and then their prose fails to really evoke this, it is hard not to feel cheated. but Erin Morgenstern's imagination is truly breathtaking, the circus feels a perfect evocative whole, none of the elements jar or seem misplaced. It is an amazing whole, the kind of magical circus I always dreamed to visiting, but that has never existed in real life.
This book is an amazing flight of fantasy, and has already made it's way into my heart and list of favourite books! A must read!...more
The Clockwork Angel is a Steampunk prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. While I did really enjoy the original series (or at least the three of them I read, apparently there is a fourth now) I feel that this book is far superior to the initial series. First of all, I enjoy the use of sarcastic humour on the parts of characters Jem and Will. Their wry comments made me laugh many times and I'm not someone who is really into humour. This made them both likeable, despite their secrets and hidden darkness. Although I loved that too.
I enjoyed the setting. I love things set in Victorian England, but I enjoy the Steampunk element because it allows for strong, emancipated female characters, and anachronistic technology and social mores. Clare seemed to have a good handle on both creating the characters and understanding where their behaviour differed from social behaviour of the time and making the reasons for it clear. For instance, the main character, Tessa was surprised at the familiar way that Shadowhunter adults addressed each other by their first names. I also liked the references to Boadicea, the warrior queen.
Tessa is a likeable character because she is strong and determined. She does what she has to to survive, acting with great bravery and initiative. I also liked the characters of Will and Jem, the possible love interests. Although I feel that one is really put forward more strongly as a love interest than the other. Unlike with Simon in the original series, I liked both the main characters in this. Both had a great sarcastic sense of humour, and they both had darkness and tortured pasts, which always makes characters fascinating. It's that sense of wanting to know their secrets and save them from their darkness that draws you to them. I can't wait to learn more about the past of one of them that has not yet been revealed.
I also liked Charlotte, head of the institute and Sophie, and would like to hear more of their stories, and perhaps the back story of Charlotte and Henry. There is some good steamy romance also, although never getting past the PG level, although there are references to sex (assignations).
There hasn't been all that much Steampunk technology yet, nothing out of the ordinary, and the supernatural elements from the earlier books are still at the forefront of the novel, but I think all the elements in the plotline have been well woven together. As usual with Clare's books, I am much more interested in the interplay between the various characters than the particular plots and machinations of the seedy underworld.
I am currently on the library waiting list for the next novel, and very much looking forward to it....more
Tom is a third level apprentice in the museums of London, a city on tracks that moves across the Hunting Grounds of what was once Europe, 'eating' other cities, tearing them apart for scrap metal and resources. Tom finds his job boring and wishes he could be an airship pilot, and travel around finding artifacts of the past, like his hero, head historian, Valentine. Little does Tom know what lies beyond the peaceful sheltered world that he knows, but he will soon begin to learn...
Mortal Engines is a book set in an alternate future, when mankind has nearly destroyed itself through warfare, and those that remained took to moving cities, while searching the ground for ancient technologies of the past that are barely understood anymore. Things like computers are alien to this world, and old technologies such as 'seedys' have become collectors items and museum pieces. The airships resemble zeppelins more than planes.
I loved this world that was so painstakingly created down to the smallest detail. You really feel that you are immersed in this world, and all the different inventions and machines all fit together so well to create a believable setting. The characters were well written, I liked Miss Fang, who was mysterious and adventurous, Hester and Katherine. The main character, Tom was likeable, if a little naive. Sometimes he found it hard to deal with the truth, but he would still try to do what was right, and his unwavering loyalty to his friends was touching.
This book definitely left me wanting more, although thankfully, it did not end on a cliffhanger. I am really looking forward to reading the next in the series, Predator's Gold. ...more
I just finished reading Phillip Pullman's Once Upon A Time in the North this morning. It was a real treat, a short little adventure about Lee Scoresby, long before the events of His Dark Materials. I was always fond of Lee and his daemon Hester, so I really enjoyed this, as well as getting to know some of his past adventures. I would recommend reading this after His Dark Materials, as that is when Lee is first introduced, but I think it is possible to read this one as a stand alone book, although some aspects of the world and cultures may not be immediately apparent. ...more
There are two sides to Finley Jayne's personality. One is sweet and meek, like a good Victorian girl shoudl be. The other is fast and strong and enjoys violence. It is this part that protects her when her employer's son tries to force his unwanted attentions on her. Terrified of what will happen to her for hurting a rich and important young man, Finley flees. Which is the best thing that could have happened to her. Knocked down Duke Griffin King's velocycle, she soon finds herself part of his team...
The Girl in the Steel Corset was enjoyable and difficult to put down. It has good pacing and action, strong female characters that are likeable and somewhat relatable, and smouldering young men who make you weak at the knees.
Finley is a great character because she is not passive. She doesn't just let things happen to her, she fights back. I like proactive heroines who don't just wait around for men to rescue them. I also love Emily who is an inventor, wonderfully intelligent and very spunky.
I also enjoyed the references to Jekyll and Hyde, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the descriptions of the Aether. I've always loved Victorian mysteries and horror stories, and science fiction of the past, such as HG Wells. I enjoyed the loving friendship between Griff and Sam, it's nice to see a friendship like that portrayed between men.
I enjoyed this book completely, it had all the elements I love: A Victorian setting but with strong, modern, intelligent women who can take care of themselves; supernatural/ mystical elements (the Aether) and cool technology....more