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

 

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

 

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks | Blabber

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
The Lightbringer series, book 1
Fantasy
Listened on audiobook Dec 29, 2016 – Feb 2, 2017

No spoilers this time around. Safe to read.

The Black Prism is the first book in the currently-four-book Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks. I had heard of the author before, but I hadn’t read anything by him until now.

Let me tell you man, I’m a fan. From what I’ve heard, his writing is polarizing in a way that you’ll either like his style or you won’t. Well, I like it. I really like it, actually. After I finish this series, I’m going to go hunt down his other one.

This series follows the Prism, a man named Gavin Guile who can fracture light into its individual colors and then draft those colors into physical matter called luxin, which can then be used like any other building material. This magic system is unique in that the more the wielder uses it, the faster it brings him or her to death. I’ve never read about a system that kills someone as they use it before. Other people in this world can use the magic as well, but most can only draft one or two colors. Some, superchromats, can draft more than that, but only the Prism can draft them all. I love the way Weeks described the magic system – I understood the mechanics of it without having to think much about it. It just flowed naturally into the story.

This book follows Guile along with three or four other characters, shifting perspectives as needed. I think this is the first time I’ve read a multiple POV book where I was interested in each character. None of the chapters were boring, none of them left me wondering if they were necessary. Each character contributed to the storyline and each one was understandable if not likeable.

Another main character in the story, Kip, Gavin Guile’s bastard son, was probably my favorite character. He was just so funny. An overweight teenager, his story begins in a small village where he’s being bullied daily by other boys living there. The story takes off quickly, him coming to interact with the other main characters and not feeling sure of himself while he does it. So what does he do? He resorts to humor to help himself cope. Kip is hysterical and I feel like I’d find him as a good person if he were to magically appear in front of me as a real human. Sure, he has the mind of a stereotypical hormonal teenage boy at times and the reader sees that when reading from his POV, but he’s not wholly crude and him noticing girls is also dotted with humor. He was just entertaining to read all around and I really enjoyed it.

The Black Prism aside from having humor and fantasy elements also has war and political intrigue elements. The Seven Satrapies, the land where this story take place, has a bloody past that’s not quite settled, leading to tension and torment and warfare. Each Satrapie has a unique culture that’s highlighted throughout the book, lending to the world’s fullness and development. And there’s a magic school! Well, it’s there. The book isn’t focused on it, but it’s there. Still enjoyable to read though. :”D

Overall, I loved this book. I loved this book. The audio narration just made it all the better, too. This is the first time I went out of my way to find out the name of the narrator and see what else he’s narrated so I can listen to him more. The version I listened to was narrated by Simon Vance. I know there are other narrators for this book who apparently aren’t that great, so if you decide to try out the audibook, get the Simon Vance version!! 😀 Oh my gosh, I’m smitten.

Favorite book of the year so far, I think. It’s tied with A Court of Mist and Fury. It was just so wonderful. I need to get a physical copy so I can reread it and love it and scribble in it and love it and love it.

Rating: 5/5 stars