Book Reviews: February 2020 Reads

A literary classic, a children’s novel, an urban fantasy, and an absurdist collection of short stories on love. This month’s book picks are an eclectic lot. But interestingly, they all portray dysfunctional relationships in different ways.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (by Patrick Süskind, 1987)
5/5

“And scent entered into their very core, went directly to their hearts, and decided for good and all between affection and contempt, disgust and lust, love and hate. He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men.”

Jean-Baptise Grenouille is different, and hated for it. He is taunted for his ugliness and reviled for his absence of scent. Hate forges evil. He begins an obsession for what he does not have, and in his fervour for scent reveals his desire for affection and acceptance.

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Book Reviews: January 2020 Reads

After leaving reviews on Goodreads for some time, I have decided to do a monthly round-up on this blog. So here’s me trying to keep up with my reading goals, life in the way and all.

City of Stairs (by Robert Jackson Bennett, 2014)
4/5

“The Divine may have created many hells, but I think they pale beside what men create for themselves.”

Old Gods return to the ravaged lands of Man in the epic fantasy, City of Stairs. Robert Jackson Bennett presents a rich introduction to a divine universe, built on the charm of ancient magic and thrill of conspiracies. Exposition works to its full advantage. Readers are able to immerse entirely in the fascinating knowledge of its rules, politics, and theology.

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Book Review: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

The Long and Faraway Gone (Lou Berney, 2015) – Haunted by their past, two survivors of unresolved cases continue their search for closure twenty five years on.

4/5

Death is harder on the ones left behind. Two decades could not erase their pain, as two survivors continue their search for elusive answers, unknowingly falling back into the past at the great cost of the present.

A powerfully written novel, The Long and Faraway Gone is about guilt and grief in the aftermath of unexpected tragedies. Author Lou Berney puts us in the ragged souls of the ones left behind, such that we long for the answers as much as they do.

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Book Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman


The Magicians (Lev Grossman, 2009) – Quentin Coldwater learns that magic, along with the land of his childhood novels, is real.

Verdict

Magic for young adults has never been more angsty and tedious.

3/5

Review

Part Harry Potter and part The Chronicles of Narnia, The Magicians is an amalgamation of fantasy clichés. Young teenagers walk through the proverbial wardrobe and emerge in Brakebills, a boarding school for magic, where they finally find their sense of belonging.

Well, sort of. Magic in Lev Grossman’s world is not that easy to love. It is low on the sense of wonder, difficult, and painfully dull. Tons involve the tedious learning of various languages, repetitive spell-casting, and constant barrages of self-doubt.

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Book Review: Destroy All Monsters by Jeff Jackson

Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel (Jeff Jackson, 2018) – A murder epidemic spreads across Arcadia, where musicians are the victims.

Verdict

Music has the power to connect, as it does to destroy. It is in our nature to do the same, and Destroy All Monsters puts it all on display.

5/5

Review

Arcadia is suffering an inexplicable wave of murders at concerts, and the epidemic has strangely little to do with the politics of gun violence. The horror is however real. Jeff Jackson’s prescient terror tale sees the sanctity of music getting tainted for reasons unknown.

Suddenly, rock n’ roll loses all of its meaning – joy, liberation, pure adrenaline – as it becomes nothing more than a harrowing death trap. At the centre of it are young musicians Xenie, Shaun, and Florian, whose sanctuary no longer feels safe. What else then do they have to hold onto?

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