This book was ... disappointment. I was very excited to read this trilogy (I own all the books too!), but alas, let down I was once again. It's not even the hype that Im blaming this time. No. This time I'm blaming Foundryside.
“Scars are windows to bitterness—it is best to leave them untouched.”
Foundryside is Bennett's most recent fantasy book and it is amazing. And I've read it and I've loved it. So I guess what I'm saying is that going from Foundryside to City of Stairs was like going backwards in time. Back when plots weren't really cohesive, characters not very engaging and writing very, very unpolished.
“Forgetting... is a beautiful thing. When you forget, you remake yourself... For a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it must forget it was a caterpillar at all. Then it will be as if the caterpillar never was & there was only ever a butterfly.”
Shara could have been my favorite character. When I started reading her I thought "this girl drinks just as much tea as I do. I love her!". But I didn't, not really. Something was missing for me. I just couldn't connect. But I did enjoy her machinations at the end of the book ,and am interested where she could take book 2. Or where the book 2 could take her, I suppose.
Sigrud was a singular saving grace of this book. Sigrud is great. Sigrud is amazing. he's got character, he's got back story - yes! If book 2 has a lot of Sigrud I will read it! The cover of the book promised that readers would love Sigrud, and hey, at least it delivered that!
The fighting scenes were a bit too unpolished. I could definitely see a lot of Mistborn and even Elantris influences. So I think that Sanderson was a big inspiration, and I love Sanderson, but it still wasn't enough for me to enjoy the book. I felt disconnected, and bored at times.
I'm not even going to get into religion and politics this book builds upon, because this is Internet and we would be here for days just talking about it. It's definitely up to the reader how they want to interpret those musings, but I did feel that they were quite one sided and even biased at times.
I think the highlight of this book (besides Sigrud, of course) was Oslos, for me. That was a great turn of events and a great scene. Very calm, after the storm.
That said, I decided to continue on with the series, but not right away, as I originally planned (I thought I'd binge read the whole thing). But hopefully book 2 picks things up to the next level.
“Historians, I think, should be keepers of truth. We must tell things as they are - honestly, and without subversion. That is the greatest good one can do.”
Ahhh, Blake Crouch and his time/mind bending games. He's very good at it! If you pick up Dark Matter, or Recursion (when it comes out) I suggest you clear your schedule, because his books demand to be finished in one siting. Two at the most.
My feelings for this book can be broken down into two parts. First part of the book- when I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. When I wanted to highlight every sentence because it contained profound wisdom.
And the second part of the book, when I lost the character connections. When the plot blew up too big, tried to be too much. And what with that ending? Inception much?
I say Inception (the movie) because this book has the same vibes. Bending time, traveling through time, trying to fix time, and trying to fix things that would fix time, while holding onto your human feelings that are the only things tethering you to this earth by that point.
I enjoyed Recursion. It certainly wasn't as strong, or as engaging as Dark Matter was to me, but it was still page turning good. Dark Matter, besides having fantastic plot, had a lot of feelings. And that's where Recursion fell short for me. It definitely tried, and while it really worked at some instances, at others I just didn't feel it. I can pinpoint the exact point in the book when I lost all emotional connection to the characters. I gained it back by the end, but it wasn't nearly strong enough.
In conclusion, the two halves of the book felt like completely different books to me. The objective was different at the beginning. The story was going one way, but then it went completely opposite way. It's clever, but it didn't exactly work for me. I still very much recommend it though. It's definitely a ride worth riding.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an electronic arc of this book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart. Recursion comes out on June 11,2019.
“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”
It's 2019, and that quote is more true than it's ever been. It's truly terrifying to read a book in which some things are so real, that for a moment you don't know which reality is yours. Sure, our food isn't rationed and we have enough razors for shaving, but the collective mindset is very much the same.
If only Orwell knew how prophetic his book turned out to be. He meant it as a warning, but it tuned out to be more of a manual. The idea of Newspeak is especially funny to me, because although it isn't called that - English language nowadays is definitely at a stage that is more slang than an actual language. and it's only getting worse with years. I mean if we already add words such as "selfie" "derp" and most embarrassingly "twerk" into the Oxford dictionary, what is next? No, no, don't tell me, it's too horrible even to imagine.
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
With the social media being the monster it currently is, we long forgotten any right or even need for privacy. People catalog everything about themselves on the web - engagements, weddings, births, divorces. Nothing is secret, nothing is sacred anymore. And the worst part? We enjoy doing it. We enjoy sharing. We tell ourselves we share, so our relatives in other states, or countries, can see it, but in reality we all pine for likes. For some stranger to adore our lives, to think that we have it so good.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
I never had to read 1984 in high school, I didn't grow up in the United States, but I know many of you did. I am surprised that this book was only only allowed, but required for reading. This book is a mirror for many current political and economical tactics and machinations. But maybe we are too comfortable to listen. Maybe the horrible things that happened to Winston are too bizarre for our pampered and spoiled minds?
If not for the many info-dumps, this book unfortunately (writing wise) subjects the reader to, I'd have given it 5 stars. 1984 is brilliant. Scary so. It also doesn't read like a classic. For being written in 1949, it's very modern (albeit boring at times) in its language and execution of ideas on paper.
Having never read this book before, I didn't know what to expect from the plot, but there was no happy ending. And if we aren't careful, we might end up just like Winston, drinking bad alcohol, starting mutely at a tv screen and believing everything the "big brother" tells us.
“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”
“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.”
I read this months and months ago, yet somehow I forgot to write a review on it. Not that this book needs another review. So here is a very short one.
The Return of the King is personally my least favorite one of the trilogy. It's not a weak book per say, but the pacing is all over the place, and it really dampened the mood of the story for me. I wanted more depth to the things that were glossed over, and some things that were overly explained I wanted way less of.
“And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.”
I was very grateful for book's version of the love story between Eowyn and Faramir. They both are my absolute favorite side characters, and obviously my absolute favorite couple to ever walk the Middle Earth. Faramir is the purest soul ever created, and Eowyn is the embodiment of female grace and strength.
I absolutely love how their love story wasn't instant. How it took Eowyn a long time to realize that what she wanted wasn't at all what she needed. That she was able to admit her first love for another person and then grow as a character and turn around to find her true love. I don't know any other character in any other book who does that. On the battle field and in her heart, Eowun is a true warrior, and I adore her. And Faramir is a precious dandelion and I love him.
On the other hand I wish Aragorn and Arwen's love story wasn't fitted into two sentences. Literally. The movie expanded it beautifully though (at the price of cutting back on Faramir and Eowyn, so I guess you can't have both, ever?).
I found the ending chapter tedious and unnecessary. It felt like the story was over about two chapters ago and yet it kept going. I understood the resigning behind it, but I just wanted to be done at that point. In all honesty I skimmed on the chapter where the hobbits take back the Shire. I know they had to prove themselves, without the company and magic, and all the help, but did it have to be so tedious?
“But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”
On the whole, Lord of the Rings trilogy holds a special place in my heart. It is the standing stone of classic fantasy, and it's also the epitome of it. The writing, the setting, the ultimate battle between good and evil - it has it all. And despite there only being a very few female characters, they are all very important to the story. I am still surprised that in the midst of all this male dominance here, Eowyn managed to get such a good story arc. You go, Tolkien!
Also, Sam is the true hero of the whole story. I mean, how could he not be?
“Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.”
5/5 OR more accurately all the stars in the world!
“To live is to have worries and uncertainties. Keep them inside, and they will destroy you for certain--leaving behind a person so callused that emotion can find no root in his heart.”
I will be honest. I expected to like this. I knew I would. I just didn't expect to love it so, so much. Elantris might just have jumped to be my #1 favorite Sanderson book. Sure, I adore the first Mistborn trilogy (I'm not comparing them, but I think Mistborn is the first thing people think of when they hear Sanderson's name). It's breathtaking. I love Kell, and Vin, and Sazed and all of the gang with all of my heart. They are my favorite, they are irreplaceable. But I spent three books with them. Three very hefty books at that. Raoden and Sarene stole my heart completely and unabashedly in just one book.
“Is human nature to believe that other places and other times are better than the here and now.”
Elantris is a story of a city, yes, but first it's a story of three amazingly different characters. Raoden, who is the most pure and beautiful soul in probably all of the universe. And not just Cosmere. Sarene who is so headstrong and stubborn, she would probably move a wall with just her will if she had to. And Hrathen, who seems intimidating and scary, but in reality is lost and scared. Their stories are so different, but they intertwine in the best of ways.
Elantris also has a very cool magic system, but it isn't explored much until about the last third of the book - which plot wise makes the perfect sense, but also leaves the reader hungry to know more. Which now we can, because Elantris 2 is a thing that will happen. One day. I loved that it was inspired by Chinese lettering, something that has always fascinated me.
Did I mention that a lot of dialog is positively hilarious?
“So, using his pride like a shield against despair, dejection, and-most important—self-pity, Raoden raised his head to stare damnation in the eyes.”
I can see how Elantris can be a bit hard to get into in the beginning, because of the extensive terminology that is thrown at the reader. All of it is of either religious or political nature - two forces that drive the book. But it isn't confusing, it's just a lot to take in, but once you do - you will feel as if you are yourself are a part of all of the schemes.
Elantris made me cry, and it made me laugh. A lot. It's a story about how our parentage doesn't define us. It's a story about being lost without a purpose, and finding it in the most unexpected places. It's abut coming together and building a better community. It's about embracing who you are and believing that people who truly love you, will love you no matter what. And as weird as it feels for me to say - the romance in here will make your heart turn to goo, because it's so beautiful.
“One cannot seperate truth from actions...Physically inevitable or not, truth stands above all things. It is independant of who has the best army, who can deliver the longest sermons, or even who has the most priests. It can be pushed down, but it will always surface. Truth is the one thing you can never intimidate.”
It's January already, but better late than never. I just realized that picking the best book of 2018 is so hard for me, because there weren't that many. Almost half of the 5 star books were re-reads for me! Which his very sad. I really did not have a good reading year.
I'm going to very quickly mention the re-reads:
I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for the very first time in 2018 and fell in love with it.
The writing is exquisite.
The story is fascinating.
And I'd love to read more books by her.
Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson is a prime example of how to write a second generation series that doesn't suck, but quite the opposite - shines almost as bright as the original. Did I miss the original cast: Elend, Vin, Breeze and the rest of them? Of course I did! I love them all to pieces. Did I wish for them to be in this book instead of the new characters? Heck NO! I loved the new ones right off the bat, and now I have more characters to add to my ever-growing bucket of ...well favorites.
Ohh, look another Brandon Sanderson book. This time it's a Warbreaker.
The problem with reading Brandon Sanderson is that after you want to read more Brandon Sanderson. I've tried reading two books after, but nothing just holds up.
If there ever was a book that played me for a fool - this is it. I spent 60 percent of the book rooting for the wrong guy and hating a very decent character. I still don't know how I let myself to be so blinded.
I mean I'm already on Brandon Sanderson roll, so here's one more. This is technically 3 novellas in 1. And each one is my favorite.
The writing is as always - amazing. And the ending of the third book broke me completely.
I still prefer his fantasy books from him, but this sci-fi was done so well.
Sci-fi with a lot of heart if you will.
“We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if'.”
Some books make me tear up, some books made me cry, and some books make me wail like a baby. The man called Ove by Fredrik Backman is definitely in that last category. I had trouble seeing the last couple of pages of this book I was crying so hard. Did this book break my heart? Absolutely! But in the best possible way.
Since we are talking about grumpy old men, here's another prime example.
I don't know what's it with me and books about old depressed people. But I love it! I really identify with them. I know I'm internally actually a 70 year old grumpy woman myself, so.
Hendrik Groen is as funny as he is insightful. I loved this book from start to finish.
Lying in Wait was so much fun. Sick and twisted, but fun nonetheless!
Is there anything worse than smother-mother? No. And apparently there is also nothing more terrifying than a smother-mother either. The format is quite different, as the main murder and its murderers is given away right in the beginning, so in the sense the mystery is already known to the reader.
With that said, I devoured this book in 24 hours.
You do the math!
This was my last book of 2018 and what a great way to end the year! The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was just the sci-fi mind bend that I was so craving!
In the acknowledgments of this book it says that the author wished to write a novel worthy of Agatha Christie. When I was reading this I literally described it as "Agatha Christie on steroids with a sci-fi twist". So, Mister Turton, mission accomplished.
There is hope for YA dystopian books! And that hope is Scythe.
Never have I read 400+ pages book so fast. I just couldn't stop - it was readable, entertaining, unpredictable and just plain awesome.
“Everyone is guilty of something, and everyone still harbors a memory of childhood innocence, no matter how many layers of life wrap around it. Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true.”
I am a middle book person. They tend to be slower, they tend to have more background and usually by the end they escalate so fast, having left you hungry for more. In Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson book 2 was my absolute favorite, in Hunger Games book 2 was the best one in my opinion. And now The gods of Vice - I just couldn't get enough of this book, and when it was over I jumped into the 3rd one right away.
The best secret was kept till the very end, but it was well worth it, because it blew my mind. Literally. Brain explosion! Kaboom! Just when I thought I knew characters and was beginning to trust them - things got turned around 360 degrees and I didn't know what to think anymore!
I do not like young adult books much anymore, especially contemporary young adult, and especially young adult contemporary coming of age stories with romance (whew, that was a mouthful). And The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series is all of those things. And somehow I really enjoy it. Girls in Pants is the 3rd book in the series, and so far my favorite one. I lost some faith in the book 2 (I didn't like it much), but book 3 came back and definitely brought it home for me.
I'm not saying that this trumps Jane Eyre for me, but it's on the same level! Wow! Why did I wait so long to read this book I have no idea. I might have read something by Wilde in high school, but that was so long time ago and in another language that I just can't remember. But no matter because I will definitely read more by him from now on.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is simply a masterpiece. The writing, ohhh the writing! Think of gooey, dark and smooth chocolate being poured gently and delicately over some fresh strawberries - that's what his writing feels like!