Review Round-Up!

Hi everyone!

I last posted a month ago and that is way too long! I’m so sorry for the lack of posts on here, as well as on Instagram. In September I got hired in three different jobs: one full-time, one part-time, one occasional. I’m still trying to organize my time for when to post and write reviews, but I have been keeping up with my reading which is good!

I thought it was best to do a Review Round-Up of some of the books I read over the summer/recently.

js

 

Publication: March 22nd 2016
Publisher:  J.P. Putnam’s Sons
Pages:  416 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Historical, Gothic, Romance
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤

The back of the book calls Jane Steele a “Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre” which is what first caught my interest for this book. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels, and I was interested in reading a retelling focusing on a darker, serial killer Jane (though I still love Plain Jane Eyre very much).

Calling Jane Steele a retelling is inaccurate, because Jane Steele is it’s own story with a somewhat similar plot to Jane Eyre. It follows the life of the woman Jane Steele, who after reading the novel Jane Eyre has come to see certain similarities between herself and the heroine, and has decided to write a memoir of her life because of it. I enjoyed this angle to the book because it’s one many readers can relate to, not just with Jane Eyre, but with any novel. Their are books we read that stay with us, books where we relate to the protagonists because they remind us of ourselves, books where certain situations mirror what has happened or is currently happening in our lives, books that make us feel at home.So calling this novel a retelling simply doesn’t work, because it would mean anyone who has any connection or finds any similarities between their lives and that of a book or fictional character that their lives are retellings of such stories, which is ridiculous.

While not a retelling, Jane Steele is still an incredibly enjoyable book. Faye does an excellent job writing in the voice of the time, for making Jane such an interesting character, and for keeping me guessing! I always love a book that keeps me guessing and surprises me, and that’s exactly what Jane Steele did!

tcc

 

Publication: July 31st 2016
Publisher:  Little, Brown, U.K.
Pages:  327 pages
Source: Coles Midnight Release Party
Genre: Fiction, Children, Fantasy, Magic, Play
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤

The more and more I think about The Cursed Child, the less I accept it as canon. This is stupid of me, because the book is canon, but it’s also fanfiction. A 327 page, $40 fanfiction.

Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the play, I actually enjoyed parts of it and a lot of the first half (I guess that means Part 1?). Scorpius was nothing like I accepted him to be, but everything I didn’t know I needed. Same with Albus Severus, but he was like angsty Harry from Order of the Phoenix 24/7. I was pretty disappointed we didn’t get to see more of the extended family and Weasley/Potter/etc. cousins and children, especially Albus’ and Rose’s brothers and sisters, don’t siblings hang out more at Hogwarts?

The characterization also felt pretty off for a lot of the characters. Harry seemed to revert back to Mr. Angsty, and I would’ve liked more from Ron than jokes all the time. But some of the characterization was dead on, especially Ginny and Draco who seemed to leap right out of the epilogue from Deathly Hollows.

There were a couple annoying points that J.K.Rowling/all the authors because I can’t prove anything, put in to make a few glaringly obvious points about the book:

  • Making Snape a “good guy” by helping Scorpius in the weird Voldemort rules world. We get it, you want us to like Snape, but guess what? Not everyone is going to like Snape. He was kind of creepy to Lily, and super mean to Harry, Neville, and numerous other Hogwarts students. Stop trying to make us like him.
  • Hermione. Would. Not. Have. Been. A. Snapeish. Mean. Defence. Against. The. Dark Arts. Professor. If. She. Didn’t. Marry. Ron. Hermione has always been an intelligent badass, and if he married one of the Patil twins Hermione still would have been Minister of Magic. I get it, this was done for the fans after the whole “I regret putting them together” blah blah blah, but a pining Hermione? Come on!

Things I liked:

  • At some points you could really tell it was Rowling writing. I don’t have any particular quotes at the moment, but it was such a feeling for her voice, a feeling for the story, and a feeling of being at Hogwarts again.
  • I loved reading about Draco’s love for Astoria, and was very sad she wasn’t in the play much (I don’t think she had a speaking part?). It felt a lot like the James and Lily romance, in terms of love not how they fell in love. I was incredibly sad that she died, and didn’t think Draco deserved that.
  • The relationship between Albus and Scorpius was amazing. I’ve never been a huge shipper, and this isn’t a shipping post. I know a lot of reader’s have read their friendship as more than friends, and I can definitely see why they read it in that way, but I’m also against always reading any male affection towards another man as gay because it means men who show affection towards one another are gay and ones who don’t are straight. Men can show affection towards other men and still be friends, it doesn’t always have to equal romance. I’m not against the shipping, but I think it is something to think about. That being said, the fact that Scorpius had to think of Albus to conjure a patronus instead of his dead mom doesn’t help the whole shipping thing.
  • I really liked Delphi at the beginning. She started out interesting, but I wish her story had taken a drastically different turn.

Things I disliked:

  • Deatheater Cedric. No.
  • Why did the writers like Goblet of Fire so much? I like it to, but if you’re going to do time travel you have seven others books you could go to.
  • Since when can you transfigure yourself to look like another human being?
  • Fucking Delphi. I knew from the beginning she was at least a Black because her name sounded too much like a damn constellation, and after that realization I got incredibly scared that they were going to make Voldemort the father and they fucking did. No. No. No. NOOOOOO! I could write an essay on why Voldemort and Bellatrix weren’t busy making a baby while trying to take over the world, but for the sake of this review I will be brief. It simply wouldn’t happen. Delphi started out so interesting, I almost wished she was a Diggory. God damn this storyline.
  • On the note of Delphi, why was she the only one who in the Albus is a Gryffindor timeline who knew what was happening? She didn’t go through the timeturner with Albus and Scorpius. I get that she’s a weird Superwitch, but it didn’t make sense.

So yeah, in short The Cursed Child was nothing like how I expected, and it disappointed me quite a bit. But as a separate piece of work it can be fun, though some parts will leaving you screaming in annoyance.

tht

Publication: 1985
Publisher:  Anchor Books
Pages:  311 pages
Source: Goldenlake Used Bookstore
Genre: Classics, Fiction, Sci-fi, Dystopia, Speculative Fiction, Feminism
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤

I love Margaret Atwood. I think she’s a brilliant writer and she has a great talent for writing stories that make you think about our world.

I’ve wanted to read The Handmaid’s Tale for a long time and finally did over the summer, and it was amazing. I enjoyed reading from Offred’s voice about how her world changed from a woman in the 80’s having freedom to a literal walking womb who’s only purpose was to have children.

At times the book was hard to read, not because of subject matter though I suppose for some it could be triggering as their is mention of rape and violence against women, but because of the disjointedness the narrating voice seemed to be. The reason for this was explained in the final chapter which made me completely rethink what I had just read and made me want to re-read it over again!

The Handmaid’s Tale is an excellent novel about women and freedom, and it was fascinating to and notice similarities to how women were treated in the past of the novel compared to now, and what has and hasn’t changed.

aid

 

Publication: June 28th 2016
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Pages:  475 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Historical Fiction, Romance
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤

I haven’t read a book by Kiersten White since her first novel, Paranormalcy, came out but she’s quickly becoming a new favourite author of mine.

This book was flooding my Instagram feed, so I knew I had to read it, and the idea of retelling history with Vlad the Impaler as a woman was too good too pass by.

It’s hard for me to exactly word why this book is so amazing, so awesome. Maybe it’s because their are such few books with female leads that are violently strong, where female leads aren’t beautiful, but those are the reasons I love Lada. She’s an incredibly well-rounded character, and from reading about her character from her birth to her growth as a young woman readers can’t help but grow attached and feel for this character they’ve literally seen grow up.

The book is incredibly action-packed, and well researched. While White includes an Author’s Note in the back of the book explaining the sources she used to write And I Darken, it was clear without it that White did as much research as she could and had so much passion for what she was writing about.

This is also one of the few books where I enjoyed Lada and Radu’s separate chapters equally. Usually when a book focuses on more than one character, reader’s usually attach themselves to one character or find one storyline of one character more interesting than another. I loved the differences between Lada and Radu’s chapters, and watching them grow up differently and how their past shaped them who they were by the end of the novel.

I’m very excited that this is a series but so sad that this book is still so new which means it will be a long time before the next book in the series comes out!

11

 

Publication: September 9th 2014
Publisher:  Knopf
Pages:  336 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Apocayptic, Shakespeare
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤

I’ve wanted to read this book for quite a long time but only got to it now. The beautiful cover, the apocalypse, Shakespeare, what more could an English major want? But Station Eleven didn’t turn out to be the book I thought it would be, and that isn’t a bad thing.

It’s hard for me to describe what this book is about considering it jumps from the past and present and follows multiple characters. It’s about a famous actor who dies on stage as King Lear the night the apocalypse begins, it’s about a young man and former paparazzo learning his life’s passion and hiding away in an apartment building with his brother when the virus hits, it’s about an ex-wife and her artwork, and it’s about a child actress who saw the actor playing King Lear die and who is now performing in a travelling symphony which only performs Shakespeare.

It took me a bit to finally get into the novel, and while it wasn’t everything I hoped for, there is something charming about it. Maybe it’s the Shakespeare, or maybe it’s because of the survivors, because that’s what the book focuses on: survival. It focuses on the characters who experienced the apocalypse and made it through to their new world, or those that did die it focuses on how they stay alive through writing, through artwork, through memory.

While many dystopian or apocalyptic stories focus on survivors, Station Eleven seemed more realistic. It talked about those who survived in the old world, and those born into the new world and the differences in understanding between the two. It seemed more real to see these people born into an apocalyptic landscape unsure of what airplanes, wifi, internet, telephones, etc. was while for the survivors they were clearly understood things. There aren’t many post-apocalyptic novels that take place so soon after the destruction or changing of the world, but maybe it’s time we had more of this genre.

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