Book reviews

Book Review | The Hounded

Title: The Hounded

Author: Simon Butters

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Publisher (Wakefield Press)

Synopsis: 30370600On his fifteenth birthday, Monty is at rock bottom. Ignored by his parents, bullied at school, and with a brain that’s prone to going walkabout, he’s all by himself.

Until he meets the black dog for the first time.

It’s just like any other dog, except that only Monty can see it. And it talks. And Monty’s not sure whether it’s a friend – or a foe.

The black dog gets him talking to pretty, popular Eliza Robertson for the first time. It takes him to places he’s never been.

Eventually it will take Monty, and the people around him, to the very edge.

The Hounded is a novel that explicitly tackles contemporary social issues and makes it relevant by narrating these issues from the perspective of an everyday Australian teenager’s perspective.

I was most impressed by the way the novel was written. Being the author’s first published novel I believe Simon did a very solid job of creating an engaging and fluent narrative. Monty, the protagonist, has this unique voice that is consistent throughout the whole novel.

As for the plot I believe it was an interesting story however, at times it felt like the author was trying to pack in too much at once. I mean it’s amazing to write so openly about suicide and mental illness and cyber bullying but it felt like each of these issues was never completely in the spotlight because there was so much other stuff going on as well. There were also a lot of circumstantial events in the novel as in there wasn’t any build up to that event, they just appeared and I don’t know how I feel about that. At the end of the day, it was an honest story, there was no over dramatization or anything.

The Dog was a very interesting metaphor. I’ve rarely come across creative pieces of work where there is such a solid metaphor for mental illness or suicide. The Dog makes you think and I like that. A lot of the things in the novel were left open to interpretation so as not to overload the reader but also so the reader had something to ponder over.

Rating

4

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Book reviews

Book Review | The Sword of Summer

Title: The Sword of Summer

Author: Rick Riordan

Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1

Genre: Fantasy/ Mythology

Source: Puffin Books

Synopsis Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . .

 

Magnus Chase was like a throwback to my Percy Jackson reading days (which weren’t that long ago..). It was the same witty sarcasm that Riordan is renowned for on his Twitter and in his books but wayyy funnier.

The book is basically a Viking Encyclopedia in disguise, any Riordan fans would expect to know everything about the Vikings by the end of the book, seriously why can’t he be my teacher? I’m actually learning stuff whilst having fun, yeah guys that’s a thing.

The plot is packed with adventure and cause and effect events that leave you turning pages. The dialogue is unbelievably funny with some important life lessons hidden within (if you know to look for them).

Magnus’ voice is distinct and his emotions are explored analytically, his actions and decisions are also not left without being explained.

Riordan does a very good job of adding diversity into the book through characters with different religions and disabilities. He also manages to give the sidekicks “screen time” by explaining their pasts. I have a feeling he is going to add another POV in the sequel.

Speaking of the sequel, the novel thankfully did not end on a cliffhanger however, there is much to be explored I can tell.

Rating

Capture

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Book reviews

Book Review | Ink & Bone

Title: Ink & Bone

Author: Rachel Caine

Series: The Great Library #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: 26 August 2015

Source: Allen & Unwin

Synopsis Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar… but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life – and soon both heretics and boooks will burn..

This book had an interesting concept and the Historical aspects of the Library had me hooked all the way throughout. This novel is like a dystopia but set in a historical world filled with wars and riots and I found it very intriguing how it mirrored our own world.

The concept of the Library and its role in Jess’ world still remains vague to me but I believe that will be expanded on in future books. Bottom line is, the Library exercises control and the Resistance movements and the Black Trade that Jess’ family is part of offer an interesting dynamic. It makes you think about what is going on in our own world and how certain authorities might not be as truth worthy as they seem..

I thought Jess would be the ‘special one’, you know the typical YA Hero, the underdog who has special powers? well, in some ways he is but I like how in most ways he’s just average, the ‘special’ powers in this novel are equally divided among other characters which is great.

Apart from one horrifying experience that Jess has in his childhood (I believed this would make more of an appearance in the novel than just the beginning but it didn’t..okay.), I didn’t exactly connect with Jess. I couldn’t truly come to empathize with any of the characters, maybe it was the third person narration? I don’t know

The plot at the beginning of the book is slow going however, the action picks up through the middle and the book finishes at quite an interesting note. I also like the Diversity present in this novel, it’s not set in the US thank God and people from all different cultures are there to add that something more.

Rating 

3

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Book reviews

10 Things I hate About The Catcher In The Rye

I recently re-read this renowned classic and I didn’t like it the first time and my opinions have not changed since and here’s why

  1. Holden is annoying,
  2. He’s judgmental, I mean he just goes around making assumptions about everyone and everything and thinks of himself as a saint.
  3. He’s unreliable- the whole novel he keeps saying “If you wanna know the truth” but are you really telling us the truth Holden really?
  4. He’s unrelatable. The thought that people can empathize and understand this guy just, is beyond me.
  5. There is no plot to the book. Countless times I have asked myself “where is this going again?” oh that’s right nowhere, it’s just a boy who gets kicked out of school and mopes around in New York. Seriously.
  6.  It’s difficult to interpret– I see myself as quite adequate when it comes to deciphering metaphors and the message of the book and whatnot, but this book just, it’s so obvious but not obvious in the message it’s trying to get across about the whole “growing up” thing I don’t know.
  7. People think all teenagers are like Holden, this book has become such a huge symbol of youth culture that many people I’ve come across are under the impression that all teenagers are like Holden. Which is NOT TRUE. I’m a teenager and I am not like that boy
  8. The book is too mundane. I mean the author just describes Holden catching the train, or Holden in his hotel room throughout the whole novel and as a result
  9. It’s too boring
  10. I had to read it for school. I mean if that isn’t reason enough to hate it I don’t know what is

Those are my reasons. Remember these are my opinions, if you did like the book try and convince me in the comments!

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Book reviews

Book Review | An Ember In The Ashes

Title: An Ember In The Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 446

Source: Harper Voyager

Synopsis

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

goodreads

Wow haven’t done a book review in ages.

But that’s okay. I’m back in full stride baby.

This was such an elating read considering my last book was kind of meh. An Ember in The Ashes is everything you’d expect from a fantasy novel: Action, supernatural and a revolution. But what sets it apart is that it goes beyond the limit, in everything and I mean everything. To the point where even the sharpest reader won’t see it coming.

Plot

This book does not wait a moment. Every paragraph there is something happening that is crucial to the story. There’s action and emotion all exploding along the 400 pages of this novel.  At the beginning I thought I could predict how this novel was going to go down but I was so wrong. This novel does not hesitate to test its limits and I love it. I would give you an example but the spoilers, gah, let me know if I should do a spoilery post.

But yeah, in the end everything comes together neatly, the revelation or the explanation of what really happened was well done, it didn’t waste time or drag on.

Characters

The character development was of a very high quality. I’m not kidding. From the way that Laia, the female protagonist, is a self proclaimed weakling at the start and then as the story progresses she grows into this rebel. She grows stronger as she develops new relationships and her determination to save her brother becomes that much more powerful.

And then there’s Elias, the male protagonist, he was very easy to sympathize with from his views about the Empire to his regrets and simply put, with him you feel all the feels.

I also like how the relationship between Elias and Helene, childhood best friends , was explored. I mean what happens when one starts developing feelings or when you have to choose the greater good over your best friend. Really well done.

An Ember in The Ashes is a unique book in the way that it puts characters, major and minor in the spotlight. Even the bad ones get a chance at explaining themselves or showing their softer side and I like how they’re not ignored or overshadowed by the main guys.

Writing

Sabaa Tahir’s writing is so raw and honest. I like how she doesn’t spend so much time on defining the action but the emotions the characters feel as they’re taking a life or are losing someone. The world building in this world was also amazing as the history of the Empire, the different “castes” etc. were explained and I didn’t happen to get confused!

As it is highly obvious, I loved this book and it was a powerful read. First time in a very long time I was actually engrossed in my reading.

Rating

5

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Book reviews

Book Review | The Wise Man’s Fear

Title: The Wise Man’s Fear

Author: Patrick Rothfus

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 994

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of his family, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

Now, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time

 

The day has arrived when I have finally managed to finish this hunk of a book.  These thousand pages are packed full with adventure, high fantasy and the most intriguing kind of magic (we all love a bit of that!)

To avoid confusion read my review of The Name of the Wind so I don’t have to repeat things because that’s bleugh.

Plot

Interestingly, the story follows the day to day life of our protagonist Kvothe where he goes to school or kills a bunch of bandits or falls in love and it is so mundane yet so interesting because our narrator has a certain way with words that make everything seem so put together. Faraway lands are discovered in this sequel where we leave the halls of The University and explore realms (sometimes magical).

However, there is also a deep emotion setting in that indicates that this story inevitably does not have a happy ending. Book readers might know what I’m talking about and it’s still sad.

Writing

Very rarely if ever do I come across sequels that have managed to sort of stay on par with the prequel. I mean to say that Patrick Rothfus’ writing is so consistent that I feel like the game wasn’t stepped up or down in this book but kept the same. This is such an admirable thing because it must be so difficult maintaining that level he set with the first book in this series.

I highly enjoyed the dialogue written throughout this book as there were some rather deep discussions about morality and politics and the like. Believe me, it was a lot to take in but I could tell that the narrator didn’t expect me to understand those complicated discussions as it wasn’t going to affect my understanding of the story.

I know people get intimidated by fantasy because of the writing style but Rothfus has this flowing, not confusing dialogue that just captivates the reader.

Characters

I believe our narrator more than anything revolves his story around the people he meets and the lessons they teach him. Kvothe, our narrator is witty, tempered and humorous which make him realistic. He certainly matured throughout the novel in many ways by making mistakes or brash decisions and I truly felt like he was just another sixteen year old boy you know.

There were a LOT of new characters introduced most only staying for a period of time then leaving but I enjoyed most everyone’s presence as they bought that little something to the story and revealed a different side to Kvothe and a different perspective of him.

People who’ve read the book especially! There is a point in the story where it is revealed that Kvothe might be twisting details while telling his story? This made me wonder whether he might be an unreliable narrator and I’m not sure I like that. But hey, tweaking things a bit never hurt anybody.

The Sequel

As for the third book, it is yet to be released but I’m pumped to see the end to it all and I’m curious as to whether the story will pick up from present day where Kvothe is narrating his story or?

Rating

5

You may or may not notice but this is my last post of 2014 and I’m so grateful for everything my blog has become this year and it’s because of everyone who follows or likes or views so thank you and have a lovely year ahead!

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