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
I’ve read just four novels in the past two months. Three of which are Robin Hobb’s, whose books I am now obsessed with, and all of which I enjoyed tremendously. How has your reading month been?
Assassin’s Apprentice/Royal Assassin/Assassin’s Quest (Robin Hobb, 1996 – 2002)
I think myself cured of all spite, but when I touch pen to paper, the hurt of a boy bleeds out with sea-spawned ink, until I suspect each carefully formed black letter scabs over some ancient scarlet wound.
Trilogies often falter mid-way, but the Farseer series suffers none of that. Robin Hobb’s words enrapture and immerse us into the arduous journey of FitzChivalry, growing up as a lost orphan into a reluctant protagonist whose heroics go unseen in the shadows.
It is everything a fantasy story should be – sprawling, exciting, and moving. There are strong bonds forged and broken, sacrifices made out of complicated love and in silence.
Continue reading Book Reviews: January 2021 Reads
It’s almost time for me to start writing my big year-end lists of favourites! That means it may get quieter over here in December as I bury myself deep in my pop culture reflections.
Now, does anyone know where I get an extra 25th hour a day for all these writing, art and music projects that I’ve left hanging…
Set My Heart to Five (Simon Stephenson, 2020)
I asked Dr Glundenstein if he thought humans and bots could ever understand each other the way Rick Deckard and Roy Batty had come to understand one another.
‘Ha!’ he said. ‘Ha!’ I replied. With hindsight, I really do not know what we were Ha-ing about. Humans and bots failing to understand each other is not funny. It is the great tragedy of our times. At least, it is for us bots.
Jared the Android has become depressed, though he doesn’t quite understand why. He decides to embark on a quest to figure out what his new emotions mean, where the world of cinema becomes his teacher.
Continue reading Book Reviews: November 2020 Reads