“I can turn to that day as though it were a page in a book. It’s written so deeply upon my mind I can almost taste the ink.”
If you are looking for a fast paced, action packed, sinister novel - this book is NOT for you.
This is a novel about a woman sentenced to die. Her days are recollected and described in painful agony of everyday tasks as she waits to be slaughtered.
“There are times when I wonder whether I’m not already dead. This is no life; waiting in darkness, in silence, in a room so squalid I have forgotten the smell of fresh air."
It is blunt. Unforgiving. And as depressing as it is moving. And I cannot recommend it enough!
Hannah Kent does not shy away from details - details of stench of an imprisoned body, rolls of fearful sweat down somebody's back, sound of urine when it's passed in the middle of the night into an iron pot, a rustle of skirts that have been lifted against one's will.
All of these details create an unbelievably atmospheric novel. You can almost feel the cold of Icelandic moors, can hear the crunch of snow and ice, can smell the stuffed air of dirty houses and can almost hear the wails of hungry children.
“They see I’ve got a head on my shoulders, and believe a thinking woman cannot be trusted.”
This novel has so many messages that I believe not only help us to learn and understand about the past, but are still very much prevalent in our present. I am actually very surprised that this book is not talked about more - I got some very nice feminism vibes from it. I am not labeling this as a feminist book, no, but the vibe is definitely there, lurking just beneath the surface.
“No matter if you tried to do what was best. No matter if your innermost self whispers, ‘I am not as you say!’—how other people think of you determines who you are.”
It is 1900 in cold and isolated area of Iceland. Surviving is hard, but surviving as a woman is even harder.
If a woman is not wed by the age of 20 she is disposed in the eyes of a society as unwanted, faulty and too old.
If a woman is forced to give herself to a man who overpowers her she is viewed as too loose in the skirts.
If a woman is intelligent and knows how to read she is labeled as a witch.
“They will see the whore, the madwoman, the murderess, the female dripping blood into the grass and laughing with her mouth choked with dirt."
I have been very lucky in my August reads, as every novel seemed to leave a piece of it deep in my soul. Agnes will definitely be staying with me for a long time. Once you read her story, it is not easy to shake, impossible to forget. Agnes's story is a sad tale of an orphan who was never truly loved or wanted. She was never given a fair chance in life, but she grasped at all of the chances she could get. It is impossible not to be gripped by her, impossible not to sympathize with her and impossible to stay idle as her story unravels.
I've only got one complaint with this book - I honestly wish there was more of it. I didn't want it to end, because I knew what was coming. I felt like I didn't get enough time with Agnes, I didn't want to let her go.
I've also felt unfinished. Like something in me wasn't quenched after I turned the last page. I wanted more of a resolution. I wanted more of people's reactions and actions.
The blurb also claims the novel to be a telling of the last execution in Iceland - I wanted to know why it was the last one. How it came to a stop? I've had many questions and I was sad not to see them answered.
If only Agnes had more time...
“I've been half-frozen for so long, it is as though the winter has set up home in my marrow.”
Attention, future and current fantasy writers. Here is a book that has zero:
- foul language
- sex scenes
- make out sessions
And it's an absolute and phenomenal pleasure to read. While those things are vital in many instances, most use them as shock factors that would hopefully attract more readers. Read and learn from Sanderson, the man knows how to write good (pshh, no, not good - GREAT fantasy!).
( in my humble opinion).
“Our belief is often strongest when it should be weakest. That is the nature of hope.”
It's going to be very hard to say something about The Mistborn series that hasn't been said before.
I've heard people say that if you are true fantasy genre fan and haven't read this series then you have no right to call yourself that. And I have to say that I agree.
I've heard people calling Sanderson an absolute genius. And once again I have to agree.
I'm going to go ahead and say that I completely spoiled the ending for myself. A fool that I am I stumbled upon things I shouldn't have and thus I knew the 2 very major things that were going to happen. If I didn't, I would have been bowling my eyes out when they did happen, but my eyes only misted (see what I did there?) since I already knew. However, that didn't dampened the book experience at all! Even with knowing the spoilers I was still blown away.
The experience however was dampened by the gigantic amount of info-dumping in the beginning. The first 200 pages were so very slow - I kept slugging through. But I made it, and man, oh man, I'm glad that I did. Now, I was also just sluggish in general so it may have something to do with that (but just wanted to give you a fair warning).
“Plots behind plots, plans behind plans. There was always another secret.”
The characters were absolutely phenomenal. All of them. Maybe that's why it's so hard to pick a favorite.
Kelsier is hard to describe - you just have to meet Kelsier yourself. He's both infuriating and quite mesmerizing. Selfish and the most selfless. The happiest of all and the saddest one alive.
“I've always been very confident in my immaturity.”
Vin portrays the greatest character growth and development I have ever seen. Vin is a powerhouse in a body of a skinny and scared 16 year old girl. Vin is phenomenal. Her background makes such perfect sense in the way she acts and thinks. Vin is quite paranoid, but she is no coward. Vin is very skeptical, but she's not a traitor. Vin is loyal, Vin is blunt and spunky.
“That's kind of what trust is, isn't it? A willful self-delusion.”
Breeze and Ham - I had to put these two together because their banter is life!
“Be warned - Hammond does tend to be a bit optimistic about these kind of things. If the army were made up of one-legged mutes, he would praise their balance and their listening skills.”
Elend is, well, if you are a true book worm and don't fall involve with Elon then something is not right.
“She wasn't trying to spy on me -- she was just trying to rob me”
Yeden, Yeden who? Nobody cares for Yeden.
Dox is easy to overlook, but he is pretty awesome too.
Marsh. Oh Marsh, is a badass,and I'm just going to leave it at that.
Sazed is a whole new world which you have to discover for yourself as well.
"There's always another secret."
“Sometimes Vin imagined she was like the ash, or the wind, or the mist itself. A thing without thought, capable of simply being, not thinking, caring, or hurting. Then she could be...free.”
I also would recommend buddy reading the series. It makes it at least 10 times more fun. I read it with my husband and we spent so much time just taking it over, coming up with theories and just talking in general about the magic system.
Which is not really magic, but it's very complicated. Let's just say that my husband is a physics geek, so he loved it to infinity. And me, well sometimes I was quite confused, as it was a bit hard to follow at first. But once you get it - it's impossible to get out!
The Mistborn series is a complex and beautiful world, which doesn't even feel fictional at times - it's so enveloping. No wonder that Goodreads is so hyped up about it! And let me tell you - the hype is real! I cannot wait to pick up the second book and see where the story goes from here.
“Troublemaking is just about the only thing I’m good at”
I keep saying that I don't like contemporary. That I am a fantasy-mystery kind of girl only. But this summer, I have been reading a lot of contemporaries. So that statement is totally a lie now.
Especially, now that a women fiction contemporary has just made my all-time-favorites-list.
To understand a prickly pear you must become a prickly pear.
Or be one already.
I have been told that I am prickly, but Eleanor is prickly x100. But she has very good reasons (whether I do not).
Before I get into the review I just want to say that this book was bloody brilliant. It had heart. It was full of life, and emotions. And it was moving.
"I took one of my hands in the other, tried to imagine what it would feel like if it was another person's hand holding mine. There have been times where I felt that I might die of loneliness."
Eleanor Oliphant doesn't feel fictional. She feels real. Like a co-worker that won't talk to you, or like a neighbor that you never see. But real, nonetheless.
After I finished the book I was devastated - I didn't want Eleanor to be gone from my life yet. I felt as if I've came to know her over those 325 pages. I wished I could have kept reading for at least 325 more.
“I simply didn't know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.”
I have not been very happy lately. Call it summer rainy-days-blues, or a mild depression, or a "I'm nearing my 30s crisis". I don't know. But I wasn't all sunshine and happiness.
Neither was this novel. And you know what? Turns out that it was exactly what I needed. I just needed some pain to come at me from the pages, to live somebody else's sorrow and fears. Feel somebody else's depression, to cure whatever sadness I had. It doesn't make any sense, but it worked.
It was at times scary how much I could relate to Eleanor's principles and views on the world.
“I find lateness exceptionally rude; it’s so disrespectful, implying unambiguously that you consider yourself and your own time to be so much more valuable than the other person’s.”
At first, you spend some good chunk of the book wondering if Eleanor is just a nut-case, which she herself never denies. But the more you read the more you realize that her views make such good sense. They are clear, concise and no-nonsense.
She questions why women should wear so much make-up to try and look better. She questions why when people ask you "how are you" they don't actually care for an answer. She questions why people lie, and pretend just to be liked. Eleanor questions everything that is wrong with modern society. And damn, she is so right!
“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn't spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
She asks those questions with brutal naivety because she doesn't know any better. Because she was never taught how to behave in society. But we know better. We know, and yet we behave in most ridiculous ways.
Eleanor Oliphant might seem rude, delusional, naive and basically any word you wish to insert theat is the opposite of normal. But give her a chance. If her prickliness rubs you the wrong way - still, give her a chance. If you find her love-crush silly - give it time. Everything will be explained in time.
"And if a woman who's wholly alone occasionally talks to a pot plant, is she certifiable? I think that it is perfectly normal to talk to oneself occasionally. It's not as though I'm expecting a reply."
Every page is like a little punch.
To the gut.
To the heart.
To the soul.
“Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that there’s something very liberating about it; once you realize that you don’t need anyone, you can take care of yourself. That’s the thing: it’s best just to take care of yourself.”
I can see this novel being better received by female population, as, well it is women fiction to begin with, and it has a lot of things that male species might find absurd. Or just plain foreign.
The importance of a haircut. The awkward talks with a nail technician. The struggle of finding good shoes. Bikini wax.
We follow Eleanor as she tries to navigate in all of those areas, so alien to her. It's endearing. It's hilarious. And it's like watching Bambi learn how to walk.
“My hair was mousy brown, parted in the center, straight and not particularly thick. Human hair, doing what human hair does: growing on my head.”
This turned out to be my favorite read of the summer (so far). And an all-time favorite of the year (in this genre).
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine reads like a diary. But very well written. It's like gazing into somebody's life without fear of intrusion. It's a journey of a woman into a woman. Into herself. Her past and her future.
And it's so fantastically heartbreaking and healing at the same time.
“Not all knowledge comes from the mind. Your body, your heart, your intuition. Sometimes memories even have minds of their own.”
For a book geared towards middle grade readers The girl who drank the moon is exceptionally wise. There were so many hidden truths in its many quotable moments - I found myself taking my time with it. Trying to savor it.
I will say though that this book is probably not for everybody. It's quite different from other middle grade fantasy books - both in style of writing and structure.
Some things would take a really long time to happen, and some other ones happen too quickly. Points of view jump and differ and wave through time, and stories and memories. To be completely honest I was quite confused for the first 100 pages or so. But somehow I was okay with that.
“And the more they asked, the more they wondered. And the more they wondered, the more they hoped. And the more they hoped, the more the clouds of sorrow lifted, drifted, and burned away in the heat of a brightening sky.”
I would especially recommend this book to mothers, expectant mothers and families who are looking to adopt. The girl who drank the moon is bursting with motherly instincts, affection and family. And with love. So much love.
“Human babies are only tiny for an instant—their growing up is as swift as the beat of a hummingbird’s wing.”
Kelly Barnhill really understands motherhood and growing up. She is either a fantastic mother herself, or knows somebody who is. The bonds of a child and a parent were so beautifully and vividly portrayed here, if anything that is enough of a reason to read this book.
I also really enjoyed the other aspect of the book, which focused on how some people abuse power and twists the truths to mold the reality they wish to impose. If I think about it, this book got quite political, but in a way that was accessible to younger readers.
“Knowledge is powerful, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.”
A solid read with many beautiful messages, a definite must for young minds. As The girl who drank the moon tells that it's okay to grow up, that change is inevitable. It teaches to think for yourself and to question everything. It shows love for what it is - boundless, ever expanding and never jealous.
I will definitely be reading more by this author in the near future.
“Everything you see is in the process of making or unmaking or dying or living. Everything is in a state of change.”
"Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts"
I will be honest, this was not the easiest read. While the book itself is quite small, the old English language and the style is written in, made me re-read some of the paragraphs more than once.
That said, this book is full of wisdom. A hidden gem, if you will.
It makes you think of yourself in a way you might have never thought before.
It makes you question all of your choices, because somehow you are finally more aware of them.
It makes you question the government and it makes you question how you do life as a person.
“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”
“Nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust and ambition look ahead.”
It is as if someone exposed all of your dirty laundry and made you go through it after, in public. Lewis points out all of our human flaws, and he is not shy about it. But he also gives you the reasons of those flaws and how to overcome them.
“The claim to equality, outside of the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior.”
In the end, this book was nothing I thought it would be. It's not a light read, it's more of a "I gotta highlight the heck of some pages" kind of a read. I can't wait to go back and re-read some of the hard truths over and over again.