RSS

Category Archives: Review

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks | Blabber

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
The Lightbringer series, Book 3
846 pages
Hardcover/audio book
Read Feb 16, 2017 – Jan 12, 2018
Spoilery blabber

This series just keeps getting better and better.

I first read The Black Prism, book one in this series, a year ago – it made my top books of 2017 list, as did its sequel, The Blinding Knife. And while it took me nearly a year to read this one too, that didn’t mean I loved it any less. This series is one that I savor. I actually ended up restarting this book half way through, which is why it took me so long. I originally was reading a physical copy, but I missed the narrator’s interpretation: Simon Vance does a spectacular job narrating this audio book. He’s just fantastic. He hooked me onto following narrators, like, looking for books narrated by a person, and then listening to that book specifically for that voice. I looooove Simon Vance’s voice. So as I said, I savor this series while I read it. It’s just so delicious and wonderful and I wanna be in it forever.

My favorite thing about this series is the magic system and how it’s incorporated so very deeply into the economy, the government and the well-being of pretty much everyone. Being able to draft luxin is probably the most marketable and influential skill one could have – even if they were complete shit at everything else, being able to draft a bit of blue or a bit of red would feed them and likely their families as well. It’s just fascinating.

And my second favorite thing is the cast of characters. All of them, whether I love them or hate them, they’re good characters. Like Kip for instance – he went through a lot of character development in this book. He went from being somewhat unsure of himself but slowly getting there, to a leader of a group, smoochin’ girls and feeling sure of himself. Leading accidental revolutions! Killin’ people! Kip is a good egg.

john nobleAlso, Andross Guile is a right git, man. I love him. He’s such a bastard  I think what makes him so wonderfully awful is that in his mind, he thinks he’s doing what’s right. Like, his driving force behind his actions is the desire to see his country run in a way that would bring peace. And I mean, technically, it will, but like… that’s a lot of lives, man. He’s so intelligent, so manipulative, always one step ahead of basically everyone else. I love him, but I wanna through a brick at his head. Augh he’s just so great. I’ve totally fan-casted him too. John Noble, all the way. He’s definitely my Andross Guile. And I don’t know yet if his uh.. goals, become darker in book four, but from the events at the end of book three, I’m thinking they might. I think he’s the best kinda-noble-villain I’ve ever come across. Definitely Lawful Evil.

The other characters too, get a bit more screen time for us to get into their minds. Zymun even got a bit. I think, at the moment, he’s the only character who’s really underdeveloped. All I’m picking up from him so far is ‘chaotic evil just because’. I have yet to discern his motivations, so hopefully that’ll happen in book four, now with him as Prism Elect. He has to get more chapters from his POV right? Right? wah.

Liv as well, I kinda missed reading more from her POV. She didn’t get many chapters this time around but the ones she did get were rather satisfying. Obviously she’s been in rank with the color prince for the past what, two books? Finally, finally, she’s seen sense. Goodness. And now she has to go crawling back to the Chromeria in hopes that she can be forgiven. I know that if they don’t wanna forgive her, her dad would take her in in a heartbeat (her dad btw, is one of my favorite characters. He’s just such a hulking teddy bear cutie pie).

I’m predicting she’ll run into Kip’s group, they’ll do a bout of ‘can’t we trust her?’, she’ll do something to prove herself, and then all will be well. Watch, I predict it.

 

And then finally, we come to The Order of the Broken Eye, the group the whole book revolves around. This group is such a weird, mysterious thing. And Weeks definitely led me into a false sense of security concerning them. I thought, ‘Oh, they’re trying to infiltrate via Teia and doing assassinations via Murder Sharp (who is the weirdest guy by the way) but lol nope. Nope nope, the ending of the book absolutely blew me away man.

Best ending ever. We find out that Ironfist, one of my favorite characters, the one that everyone seems to trust implicitly, has been in on it the whole time. The whole time. And Grimwoody man. I was at work when I was listening to the end of the audiobook – I listen while I code.

And so I’m sitting there, working and listening, and this big plot twist drops. And I sit there and my fingers still on my keyboard and my eyes bug out. And in my otherwise silent room with my two coworkers, I basically yell, ‘OH NO WAY.’ And then I pause it, get up and take a lap around the building because I just couldn’t handle it, man. I needed to move! My brain was like WHAT IS GOING ON?!

I love those kinds of endings. They’re the best.

So yeah, I loved this book.

5/5 stars

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on 01/20/2018 in Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby | Blabber

We Are Never Meeting In Real LifeWe Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
275 pages
Nonfiction/Memoir
Read Dec 27th 2017-Jan 4th, 2018
Spoiler free blabber

I bought this book because of the cat.

I was in Connecticut, visiting a friend who had moved away a couple years ago, and we were perusing the shelves in a local bookstore in New Haven, CT, when I decided I wanted to buy something different. I had been eyeing a few fantasy novels that have been on my radar, but who knows when I would get to them. So I wanted something that I knew nothing about, that would remind me of the trip due it being different to what I normally gravitate towards.

And then there was this book: bright yellow with a soggy cat on the front. And it spoke to me. I grabbed it, skimmed the back and saw that Roxanne Gay had blurbed it and that was enough for me. I bought it and began reading it that night.

This book was pretty much what I expected it to be, once I read more thoroughly what it was about. It’s one of those books that makes me want to write a book full of my blabberings, because that’s what it is. It had elements I found similar to Yes Please, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) and many other modern memoirs of women living in various states of life. I tend to like those kinds of books, so I ended up rather enjoying this one as well.

Samantha Irby strikes me as a person that I felt, what, partially similar to? I guess? Parts of her writing had me in hysterics from how close it hit to home. I was laughing way, way too hard at parts of this book, and the urge to meet this woman and shake her hand was really strong. Other parts I didn’t relate to, so I read those bits with interest, getting to see another perspective on things that I held a different opinion on, and expanding my world view at the same time.

Hey, it’s almost like we’re two people with our own thoughts and feelings, haha.

Overall though, I liked this book. Irby goes through various different stories of her life. A couple of them had me laughing so hard, a couple of them had me reading them out loud to my husband, trying not to crack up while I read, and seeing him shaking his head and smiling at me, waiting to see if I’d crumble under my giggles.

One of my favorite parts was the cat, Hellen Keller, whom the author brought home mostly against her will and then grew to grudgingly love. Helen was hysterical. The way she was narrated reminded me of every single female cat I’ve ever owned. She had such a ‘tude, I loved it.

Samantha Irby’s book will stick with me, I think. And that’s what I wanted when I bought it – a good experience reading that I could associate with hanging out with my friend in that one bookstore in Connecticut. So thank ya Ms Irby, you gave me a good few days as I read your writing, trying to keep my cat Nina from walking on the book like you had to finagle around Helen cat.

3.5/5 stars

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 01/14/2018 in Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat| Blabber

Captive Prince (Captive Prince, #1)Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat
270 pages
Fantasy, M/M Romance
Read Dec 15-17, 2017
(Mildly) Spoilery Blabber

I think I went into this book expecting something other than what it was.

This book, when lent to me by a friend, gave me the impression that it was a PWP book. (Plot? What Plot?) Basically I thought it was going to be a book written with the veil of ‘sure there’s a setting, but we know why we’re all here’. A lot of romances fall into this category, and considering that’s what I was in the mood to read, I was good with it. I didn’t go into this book expecting to be blown away by beautiful writing or fascinating plot development, let’s put it that way.

And so I started reading… and was pleasantly surprised. There is plot in this book. Like, actual plot. And a bit of world building. And some character development was well. In fact, the whole ‘gosh Emily, read it, it’s gooooood *eyebrow swaggle*’ I got from my friend when she lent it to me element took a back seat. This book is a fantasy with a romantic (would you really call that ‘romantic’?) subplot, not a thinly veiled excuse to write a bunch of sex scenes. It was interesting.

Now granted, this book can be graphic at times. The culture that is set up is very… intense. Citizens from different nations are slaves (this happens across the different countries with each other’s people), and many of those slaves and the nobility as well are uh… basically all over each other at all times. There are public shows of sex, there are depictions of same sex rape. This book is not for children, and not for the weak of heart.

It all creates a gritty read. Everything is written in a way that makes you vaguely uncomfortable, and it’s written that way on purpose. The tone of the book says ‘this is happening, this is the world, and it’s not good’. So what I’m saying is, while the culture that this book is written about celebrates these things, the tone of the book does not. It’s hard to explain. But at no point did I get the feeling that the author was trying to say ‘yeah sexual assault!’ She wrote it in a way that it wasn’t romanticized, but was written as ‘this is part of the culture’, I guess. So if that’s something you’re not okay with reading, I would avoid this book like the plague.

So if you’re still reading at this point and haven’t backed out from losing all interest (I wouldn’t blame you if you had), here is a bit of a plot overview:

This book follows a prince, Damen, whose illegitimate brother overthrows him, fakes his death to the citizens of his country, and ships him off to the country of Vere to be a pleasure slave to its prince, Laurent, under a fake identity. Damen’s motivation to reveal his true identity is minimal, as he slaughtered Laurent’s older brother in war between the two nations a handful of years beforehand.

So the book follows Damen as he tries to navigate being a slave for the first time in his life to a man who is frigid and cruel in a culture that says whatever goes.

And honestly, I rather liked this book.

I wasn’t expecting to, but I did. It’s one of those books that you buzz through really fast because the writing is addicting. You know what you’re reading isn’t five star material, but you get sucked in and you just can’t stop and you need to know what happens next.

I think that’s why my friend lent it to me, telling me it was good while swaggling her face. It is good, just not in the way that she had suggested. The ‘romance’ between the two main characters I wouldn’t even call a romance. If it is, it’s a slow burn that must developed in later books, because I didn’t get a sense of it at all in this first one. The two hate each other and the don’t do so much as hold hands, let alone jump each other’s bones the whole book.

It was an interesting dynamic between the two – hate fulled their interactions and weirdly led them to cooperating towards the end of the book. Hatefully, haha. I could definitely see the ‘hate to love’ trope appearing for these two eventually, but I would not by any means call this first book a romance, even though it is categorized as such. It was a fantasy, based in geopolitical intrigue for sure.

The prince of Vere is the prince, but his uncle, the Reagent, currently holds the thrown. The man, while initially appearing to be almost decent, later shows himself to be a disgusting, manipulative individual, and you find yourself almost rooting for Laurent, who has a few major personality flaws of his own. It was weird how the author got me to like a character I would normally strongly dislike.

So even though there were so many reasons why I should find this book appalling, listed above, I found myself buzzing through it and, for the most part, liking it. The writing is addictive, the characters, at least the main two, are weirdly fun to read about, and the setting, while hard to read sometimes, drives the plot forward. Overall, I dug it. It was good.

I want to read the other two in the trilogy – hopefully will borrow them as well. I hope, I hope I hope I hope that the culture the book is written about is turned on its head, that the tone that author creates of ‘this is gross’ is a predictor for it being overthrown. That would be super neat.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 12/18/2017 in Blogmas, Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss | Blabber

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
994 pages (43 hours)
Audio book
Fantasy
Listened Sept 5 – Oct 8, 2017

Spoilery Blabber

I’m so torn over this book.

I’ve never gone back and forth between ‘I hate this’ and ‘I like this’ so often while reading something before. There are parts of this book that I absolutely loathed. Other parts I found pretty decent. At no point was I ‘loving it’ but there are definitely parts that somewhat redeem that awfulness that was the middle of this book.

I warn you now, this is going to go into detail about events and character development. Major spoilers ahead.

Reading The Wise Man’s Fear is like eating a jelly donut full of peanuts. You get the smooth, lovely donut – the setting – but then every second chew, you hit your poor little tooth on a peanut – Kvothe – as he performs yet another completely ridiculous act. It throws off the jive of the donut. It makes you less likely to enjoy the soft, chewy gooyiness of the donut because you constantly hit little Kvothe-peanuts and get them stuck in your teeth.

That being said, I really really like the world this book it set in. The overall plot points are really good, the side characters are great, the lore is awesome. If it wasn’t for the main character, this book would seriously be a 5-star read for me.

But Kvothe just has to put his foot in everything, doesn’t he. He’s magically good at everything, including getting on my nerves.

So to rant about celebrate Kvothe being Kvothe, I bring you the following:

The (mostly) comprehensive list of things that Kvothe is ridiculously, unbelievably good at:

  • Music! Kvothe is an expert musician. He earned his pipes at a musician’s guild after trying only one time because he had two years of practice with a broken instrument. Of course, those who have been playing for decades have nowhere near his skill because of this.
  • Sympathy. The magic system in this world, sympathy, is super difficult to learn and even harder to master. But alas, as a twelve-year-old, Kvothe got instruction for a couple months from an arcanist that was travelling with him. Therefore three years later after being on the streets and not practicing at all, he was miles ahead of his 18-20 year old peers who were trying to get into the university as well. He even got paid for it!
  • The Heart of Stone. Associated with sympathy, it allows a user to divide their mind into sections to maintain different focuses at once. Kvothe, the darling, can do four, five, even six divisions while the average arcanist can do maybe three. Four if they’re really skilled. Of course, he could do this after only a year in the university. His professors are likely tenured, but that’s no comparison to Kvothe’s mighty experience.
  • Being a douchebag. And I’m not talking being an asshole character, no. He’s actually got a decent heart (one of the few positive things going for him that didn’t annoy me to bits). But the douchebag bit comes from being around Denna. Denna herself isn’t an awful character. She’s not great by any standards, but she’s (more) realistic than Kvothe is. But when he’s around her, he gets this damn smugness. Denna constantly has men around her, dating her, yada yada. They never last long, but Kvothe is constantly there. And while he’s obviously in love with the girl, he won’t make a move. Instead, he watches these men come and go and then gets smug because “he’s known her longer” He’ll outlast them. I’m not even kidding. That’s a direct quote. The friendzone only exists if you effing put yourself there, man.
  • Skimming over things that I would have found interesting. Namely the court hearing and the shipwreck. Seriously, those were some prime opportunities for character development, and instead you just go ‘that happened and it’s over. Not gonna give you any possibility to learn that I’m not entirely a butt nugget, sorry’.
  • Sex. Yep, you heard it. For the entire first book and about half of the second, Kvothe dropped the line ‘had no experience with women’ about fifty damn times. Flirted at? No experience. Winked at? Lol I have no idea what I’m doing. But suddenly he sees a Fae, jumps her, sleeps with her and then admits to her that he had never done that before. And you know what she says? Do you know what the sex-goddess-fae-that-seduces-men-to-their-doom-for-hundreds-of-years-fae SAYS? She says ‘LOL I DON’T BELIEVE YOU. YOU WERE WAY TOO GOOD AT THE SEX FOR THAT TO BE THE FIRST SEX’.
  • Sex. Yep. You heard it again. And also smoldering, apparently. Because as soon as he finishes his sexy sexiness with the sexy sex fae of sex, he returns to the human world and tells the humans what happened. And then you know what happens? All the women in the room effing swoon because he looks like he knows his way around a woman and then they decide they need to prove that human women can be just as sexily-sexed as fae. Commence more sex. Goodness gracious. I’m all for people doing what they want with their bodies, but like… these women were like we can’t let a fae beat us. This single human’s opinion matters way too much for us not to jump his bones. Yeesh.
  • Getting away with stuff. In the middle of being with the sexy-sex fae, Kvothe ventures away and finds the Cthaeh. It’s this creature that lives in a tree, knows the future and is constantly guarded because of it. It can influence world-wide events through subtle manipuation. Therefore, it’s constantly watched and any who come near it are killed to prevent any of its schemes from coming to fruition. Except that one time that Kvothe found it. ALSO, the whole ‘Any who are drawn in by the sexy-sex-fae never return. They’re doomed.’ Except Kvothe.
  • Memorizing stuff. At one point, Kvothe gets a sword. And not just any sword, he gets the Harry-Potter-wand-equivalent of swords (weird, huh. I was so totally shocked) and has to memorize its 3000-year history. How long do his teachers, the ones who have been doing this their whole lives expect him to take? Just shy of a week. How long days he take? A day and a half.

I feel like I can’t write this list anymore. It’s making me too irritated, haha. Along with Kvothe’s amazing feats there were a handful of situations he found himself in that magically solved themselves because he’s just so good at what he does, which is everything. He was taught to fight a secret fighting style that nobody outside the culture is to know. Totally was accepted into the group. Repeatedly bullied and was bullied by a rival. Neither one of them permanently harmed. Had to learn a new language. Did it in two weeks. Went out to kill five men, totally killed 20-something without issue. The list goes on.

So, shortly after deciding that there was no redeeming this guy, I went on the internet to see if I was alone in feeling this way. Luckily, I’m not, but I did read some interesting theories regarding his blatant Mary-Sue-ness:

1. Kvothe is a badly-written Mary Sue. This is one theory. This is the one that has the most evidence, but at the same time, the rest of the book is written so well. I kind of find it hard to believe that Rothfuss took such a nosedive by accident. He has to know what he’s doing, here. He has to know that his main character makes me want to punch a brick.

2. Since the book is told from Kvothe’s POV, he’s exaggerating to make himself seem cool. Maybe these events didn’t happen exactly how he’s saying. Maybe he’s an unreliable narrator… if that’s the case, he’s still a douchebag that is so insecure that he feels the need to embellish everything he’s done in his life to make himself seem neat.

3. This is the one I hope is happening: Kvothe, in present day, still has not defeated the Chandrian and his making himself seem foolish in his story so people don’t read it later and endanger themselves. Since the third book isn’t out yet, this is pure speculation. But with the skill of writing in the rest of the book, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case. Evidence to this comes from present-day creepies running around killing people. I’m thinking that Kvothe never does defeat his foe and now he’s trying to make himself sound like an idiot so nobody else follows in his tracks. I hope this is what’s happening, so so badly. Another add-on theory for this is that the Cthaeh actually is manipulating him into telling his story like a ding-dong. I feel like him running into the creature once and everyone freaking the eff out about it except him is too convenient. The Chandrian and the Cthaeh. They have to be making him act like a dolt. It has to be them. Right? RIGHT?! D:

Because if it’s not… gah. Just yuck.

That being said, I did mention Kvothe had his good parts. He’s never attacked or been lecherous towards a woman, even when under the influence of drugs or had obvious advantage over them. He’s always maintained a level of human-decency that I really like about him. That, and he’s good to his friends.

Though honestly that’s about all he’s got going for him, at least in my opinion.


So overall: I really liked the plot, the world, the lore and the side characters. Kvothe can jump off a cliff.

Will I read book three? …Effing probably. I need to know if my theory is correct. Dammit Rothfuss, you make me crazy but I still wanna read your book. Dammit dammit Dammit. I guess that’s what make a good writer. Grr.

Overall Rating: 2.75/5 stars

 
17 Comments

Posted by on 10/09/2017 in Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 by Peter Clines | Blabber

14 Blabber

1414 by Peter Clines
469 pages
Science Fiction
Read Aug 10 – Aug 19, 2017

This book is really weird.

I’m talking… really weird. But it’s weird in the ‘what in the world is going on’ kind of way, not the ‘I can’t follow this’ kind of way. It was easy to follow along with what was happening, but everything was happening was just so bizarre.

I really enjoyed it!

14 opens on the main character Nate, who’s looking for somewhere new to live. After receiving a recommendation about the Kavach House, a historical apartment building, he moves in. Shortly after doing so, he starts noticing little oddities about his apartment. You know, the usual: padlocked doors on random apartments, bright green cockroaches, a landlord that is weirdly protective of the building… Then he notices other oddities in neighboring apartments. And things just keep getting weirder and weirder from there.

Having read another book by Peter Clines that I knew was somewhat related to this book (The Fold) I kind of knew what I was getting into writing-style wise, character-development-wise and so on, so nothing in either of those categories really appalled me or blew me away. Clines isn’t a purple-prose writer, but he’s a pretty good one I think. He’s able to construct chapters in a way so that the last sentence makes you go ‘Damn it’ and flip the page to the next chapter. His books are really hard to put down.

That, combined with just the morbidly fascinating development of the plot had me reading this book at every available moment – I was on honeymoon when I picked this thing up, so that’s telling you something. Honey, want to get dinner now? Hold on, lemme finish this chapter! Sweetie, wanna hop off the cruise boat and tour the town? Hold on, two more sentences on this page! My husband was very understanding though, thankfully. (And now as I’m writing this, he’s picked up the book and read nearly a third of it last night – unheard of for him, haha).

To be fair, the reviews for this book are mixed. Most of the negative ones mention the pacing. The pacing is indeed a bit slow at the beginning. The weird stuff isn’t super in your face, it’s more little things that you read and go ‘huh’… they eventually delve into ‘wtf’ level weird things, but yes, the pacing is a bit slow. It’s well worth the wait though, in my opinion.

In addition, I always find it strange and somewhat forced when a romantic subplot is forced into a book that is definitely nowhere even close to romance. There’s one in here and at times it’s a bit ‘ehh’ to read. It’s minor though, so it shouldn’t ruin your entire read of the book.

Aside from the pacing and the awkward romance, I really have nothing negative to say about this book – it’s exciting, unnerving, wtf-y, and the ending I think is pretty solid. Considering all the weird, seemingly unrelated stuff that happens in the apartment, I think the author did a rather good job of relating and wrapping it all up nicely. It was refreshing.

Overall, a good choice if you’re looking for something to keep you flipping pages. I really enjoyed it and if you pick it up, let me know if you do, too. :”D

Rating: 4/5 stars

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 08/20/2017 in Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb| Series Blabber

Copy of Blabber base


 

The Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb
Read Oct 16, 2016 – July 30, 2017
2324 pages
Spoiler-free blabber

This review has been a long time coming. I feel like this series has twisted my emotions into knots and then twists those knots into bigger knots. It’s been a while since I’ve read a series the whole way through and had it be so consistently good throughout – at no point was there bad writing or bouts of characters being out-of-character. It was all so consistent and persistent.

This series I buddy read with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and we’ve been both going back and forth now for months – we’ve been through a tornado of plot, character development, tragedy, action and emotional trauma. It’s been intense. So many messages back and forth full of nothing but capital letters and incoherent shouts (well… the in-coherency has been mostly me, hawhaw). But it’s been a lot of fun. :”D I totally recommend buddy reads.

The series starts off with the Vestrit family as they all gather around Ephron Vestrit, an elderly man whose life is about to fade away. This is an important event, as he will be the last of the three generations needed to pass away to cause the family’s Liveship – a ship made out of a mystical wood called wizardwood – to ‘quicken’, or come alive. With three generations of lives absorbed by a liveship, the figurehead on the front of it will awaken, retaining all the memories of those who have died on its decks. The Vestrit’s liveship, Vivacia, only needs Ephron’s passing before it can quicken.

So this is where the story opens – the family is rather large with various personalities contained within. Each character at the beginning is honestly a bit grating on the nerves, but each one (with… the exception of one) goes through major character development over the three books. Basically everyone that I loathed I ended up really liking by the end.

The world this series takes place in is the same one that Hobb’s Farseer trilogy does, but you don’t need to read that one to read this one if you don’t want to. The country that Farseer occurs in is mentioned a couple times but no background knowledge on it is really needed to understand what’s happening in this current series.

Otherwise, the world in this series starts out somewhat small-feeling but it quickly grows to encompass multiple cities, a satrapy, and a slew of islands. Each area has its own politics, sometimes ‘politics’, motivations and ways of life. I think the world is one of the strong points of the book – random POVs that seem just that come to light as to why they were even included later in the series. Everything pulls together so, so nicely without anything seeming forced. It’s really cool – really well thought out. I enjoyed it immensely.

The characters, as I mentioned above, feel like real humans. Each one has positive and negative traits – even the characters I loathed I could see their points of view and see their reasoning behind their actions. Most of the time, at least for the characters I hated, I totally couldn’t understand them… but I could at least understand them, if that makes sense. Sympathize vs Empathize, ya know?

Aside from the world and the characters, the most poignant part of this book is just the series of events that happens to these poor characters. This is not a light, fluffy book. Hardship after hardship happens to the Vestrit family and after a while, I found myself seriously rooting for them. Total mental anguish, man. It was so, so worth it though. I’ve said a billion times now that endings make or break a series for me, and this one totally made it.

I think the only thing I have to complain about in this series, the reason why it’s not five stars, is pacing. It’s all good writing but occasionally I found myself wondering why this scene or that scene was included at all. It dragged sometimes, particularly in books one and two. But like I said, it was all good, just… fast, then slow, then fast… then slooooow. A small thing, but once I noticed it I couldn’t not notice it. It was there, gah.

But overall, I generally love Robin Hobb’s writing and I hope it continues to be as wonderful as I continue through her Realms of the Elderlings saga. I plan to continue in September after I’ve had a decent amount of time to emotionally recover from the stress this trilogy put me through. Yikes yikes.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 
5 Comments

Posted by on 08/09/2017 in Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki | Blabber

Copy of Base Banner(2).png

A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Magical Realism, 422 pages
Audio book, listened June 3rd-20th
Spoiler-free

A Tale for the Time Being is a book that made me feel like crying the whole time I was reading it. I never actually did, but the tone of the book had me consistently feeling like I wanted to bawl. I always felt like I was right at the brink of something bad happening and that the next page would bring tragedy or heartbreak.

The tone, therefore, is the most poignant part of this book. It gives it that longing feeling, the one you get when you feel like you’re missing something but you’re not quite sure what it is. Reading this, I felt like I was grasping for an unknown thing, a mood or an event or a memory that I never got to claim. And finishing it left me feeling… a bit empty.

This book is told is told in dual perspective: one being Nao, a teenager in Tokyo whose diary entries we read. She, like a lot of teenagers, is a bit lost in the void. Her family life leaves her feeling out of place, out of sorts. So she turns to writing the diary and through it the reader learns of her suicidal ideation and her father’s as well. We also learn of Nao’s century-old great grandmother, the anarchist, feminist, novelist, Zen Buddhist nun, Jiko, whom Nao decides write about. Jiko I think is one of my favorite characters. For such a frail, tiny person, she definitely has one of the most pronounced personalities out of all the characters in the book.

The other perspective is from Ruth (named after the author, I realized – the character’s husband has the same name as the author’s husband. Miiiiighty suspect!). Ruth at the beginning of the book finds a piece of plastic trash washed up along the shoreline where she lives. She picks it up to throw it away and inside finds Nao’s diary, ten years after she’s written it. The story bounces back and forth between Nao’s diary entries and Ruth’s reading of them. It was a pretty neat dynamic, honestly. I rather enjoyed it.

As I said before, the tone is the most pronounced thing in the book – it’s present consistently and gives the whole narrative a somber feeling. If this book could be described using a color, it would be gray. Reading from a suicidal sixteen-year-old’s perspective is a very draining experience, especially when along with her own feelings, has to deal with her father’s suicide attempts as well. The whole thing gave me the sensation similar to that when you’re waiting for someone to run into something or fall down – you just know it’s going to happen, so you’re wincing preemptively. That is what this book felt like. I was just waiting for something to happen. It made me feel anxious.

That being said, the characters in this book all had their ups and downs. I think Jiko and Ruth’s husband Oliver were the only two characters I really liked – everyone else was very uh… I don’t wanna say grating, but kinda grating. Nao, while invoking feelings of sympathy and sadness, also annoyed me. She was bullied relentlessly but didn’t hesitate when she was given the chance to be the bully herself to someone even weaker than she was. It made me lose a lot of empathy towards her and regard her more coolly. Ruth was more bearable I think, but I kept feeling like she took her husband for granted a lot of the time. Oliver, the character, is a quiet man interested whatever project has his attention – in the book, he was in the middle of trying to get non-native plants to grow in their area. While Ruth was obsessed with the diary, he was supportive but also trying to keep up his own thing. A lot of the time, Ruth would get annoyed about this. I mean really, the dude has to have his hobbies, let him be.

The magical realism element to this story is very subtle, at least throughout most of the book. It kinda jumps to the forefront after a while. That in itself was neat – I liked the whole aspect of it. When I picked up the book, I read the title as ‘A story for now’ or ‘A story for this moment’. But ‘Time Being’ will take on a whole new connotation by the time you’re done with this book. A Tale for the Time Being. I can’t think of it any other way now. Out of all the things about this book – the themes, the tones, the characters, this is the impression it has made on me. Time is not something we experience, it’s something we are.

The biggest complaint I had with this book is something I can’t go into detail on, because of spoilers. But I’ve said before that endings are make or break for me. And this one didn’t quite pull it off. Ten-minute explanations for things aren’t the way to end a book with as wide of a scope as this one. It was jilting, how quick it came, and then it was over. And it left a sour taste in my mouth. A sour taste on top of the emptiness I felt from reading the story as a whole. It was a weird combination, and I didn’t quite know how I felt about it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The ending, not so hot. The characters, hit or miss. But the tone, while it made me feel empty and uneasy, made me feel. It kept me reading, wanting to know what would happen. I appreciate any kind of book that can make me do that. So I liked this book for what it was and if you want a mellow, gray but at the same time weirdly addicting book, you might like it too.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 07/23/2017 in Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , ,

 
Emily's Escapist Books and Reading

Reader. Writer. Athlete. Adventurer

Ashley in Wonderland

books, travels, and musings

The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

Of Maria Antonia

Of Books, Photography, and Tea

NovelKnight Book Reviews

Slaying books and reviewing dragons

Beauty moments with Jess

Beauty and Lifestyle blog

BlogAlongWithMe

Just another WordPress.com site