Comprising Ted Chiang’s fascinating anthology Exhalation and the timey-wimey literary novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold, speculative fiction make up this month’s reads, warping reality as we know it. But before then, let me start off with two light reads that I am happy to recommend for YA fantasy fans.
The Aeriel Chronicles: A Flight of Broken Wings / A Call for Brighter Days (Nupur Chowdhury, 2019 – 2021)
Book 1 is available for free on Amazon and Kobo. Book 2’s review is based on an ARC, kindly provided by the author.
Six centuries after a lost war against humanity, the Aeriels are back on Ragah to steal a powerful weapon that could prove deadly to their own race. Their return to Earth stirs painful memories for Aerial hunter Ruban Kinoh, who arms himself not just to protect his city but avenge his family.
Continue reading Book Reviews: July 2021 Reads
Can you believe half of the year is almost over? Hope you are close to your reading goals, or at least found a new favourite book along the way. From perturbing horror to high fantasy, here are two vastly different choices I’ve made this month.
The Consumer (Michael Gira, 1996)
There’s a point when you wake up from a drunk, in perfect clarity. The synapses in your brain feel greased, and the distinction between your subconscious and conscious mind evaporates . A point where everything is hyper-vivid, your intelligence humming at maximum capacity, like a meditating Buddhist acolyte overwhelmed with sudden white light attainment.
Vile, disturbing, and unnerving. Michael Gira’s most prominent work has certainly earned its notoriety. The Consumer is the darkest collection of mad short stories that you may ever read, taking the worst things you can imagine and multiply it sevenfold.
Continue reading Book Reviews: June 2021 Reads
What better way to escape the semi-lockdown than into fiction? All that free time means 6 books on last month’s list, so let’s just jump into it.
Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein, 2012)
With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting.
Code Name Verity is a fictional war story told in 2 voices – of Julie, an agent under arrest and interrogation by the Gestapo, and of Maddie, her pilot best friend trying desperately to find and rescue her.
Julie’s account is a tense read with every event inked under watchful, prying eyes. In her supposed confession, her breakdowns reveal cruelty in her unseen predicament. In her recounting of their past, we also see her unexpected friendship with Maddie and feel the emotions of loss, now that they have been separated.
Continue reading Book Reviews: May 2021 Reads
Cheers to the bibliophiles out there as April marked the premiere of Shadow and Bone. Based on Leigh Bardugo’s enjoyable trilogy of the same name and her outstanding duology Six of Crows, the Netflix series brought the two worlds together to fans’ delight. It is rare that a series would one-up its source, but that was certainly what’d happened here.
April was incidentally also a great time for good reads off-screen. These are my books of the month, starting with one that I’d love to see adapted on film, somehow.
The Library at Mount Char (Scott Hawkins, 2016)
“When he disappeared he was working on something called regression completeness,” Peter said. “It’s the notion that the universe is structured in such a way that no matter how many mysteries you solve, there is always a deeper mystery behind it.”
The Library at Mount Char is an extraordinary place that exists outside the rules of the known universe and harbours all the knowledge of our world. It has been built by a God-like figure, who had adopted 12 orphaned children to inherit his life’s work.
Continue reading Book Reviews: April 2021 Reads
Readers of Patrick Rothfuss, beware. I’m afraid I didn’t quite enjoy his beloved duology. Certainly, a whole legion of fans can’t be wrong. Then I admit, this may come down to my personal taste that some may be right to call poor. If you choose to read on, you have been warned!
The Name of the Wind/The Wise Man’s Fear (Patrick Rothfuss, 2007 – 2011)
Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.
From his childhood that ended in devastating carnage to his teenage years barely scraping through his wizardry studies, brooding innkeeper Kvothe tells of his gradual becoming the notorious myth in The Name of the Wind.
It is the first of 3 days he is telling his tale, each book beginning with every sunrise. For a while, the Kingkiller Chronicle remains intriguing and lives up to the massive expectations built by the praise of Patrick Rothfuss fans.
Continue reading Book Reviews: March 2021 Reads
It’s been 3 days since March began and I’ve only just realised it. Is it just me or are the days getting shorter? Here’s me playing catch-up with the good reads last month.
Himself (Jess Kidd, 2017)
For the dead are always close by in a life like Mahony’s. The dead are drawn to the confused and the unwritten, the damaged and the fractured, to those with big cracks and gaps in their tales, which the dead just yearn to fill. For the dead have secondhand stories to share with you, if you’d only let them get a foot in the door.
A new-to-town stranger, the vanishing of a young woman some decades ago, and a small community weighed down by secrets. Himself has all the makings of a genuinely interesting mystery novel, and then some.
Continue reading Book Reviews: February 2021 Reads