Book Review

Book Review: Assassin’s Apprentice

77197

Rating: 4 Stars
Date Started: May 18, 2017
Date Finished: May 26, 2017
Pages: 448
Genre: Fantasy

Sometimes, deciding if a book is 5 stars or 4 is as easy as pressing a button. But sometimes it’s more difficult. This was such a time… But ultimately I’m going to settle for 4 stars.

 

It took a while for me to get into the writing style, even though there’s nothing that really sets it apart from others. And yet, don’t you find that there’s always a bit of an adjustment period whenever you read something by someone new? So even though I can’t really say what the difference is between Robin Hobb and, say, J.K. Rowling, I know it’s there.

That’s not too say one is better than the other, or that they should even be compared. I found Robin Hobb’s writing extremely immersive and descriptive, and it was so easy to get sucked into the life of Fitz.

The pacing of the story was almost leisurely, and nothing terribly exciting happened for most of it. She seems to have focused mostly on world and character building, with the result that after a while, you feel almost familiar with everything and everyone.

Although I like Fitz a lot, he’s still a teenager in this book and acts like a typical teenager a lot of the time. Granted there’s a lot more going on and he’s actually pretty mature for his age in a lot of ways, he still irritated enough to sigh and roll my eyes at him. My favorite character is actually Burrich, even though he’s a stubborn old shit and I probably wouldn’t like him as much if I was Fitz either. And Verity definitely shone as another favorite, even though he took his sweet time to do so. Honestly I just really like all the characters… even Regal.

Ok maybe not him.

A lot of time is also spent on world building, but at the end of the day you feel like you’ve actually been to these places. It gets to a point where you even wonder if you could smell the scents of Buckkeep if you could just focus enough! Even though much of their world is still obscure and they don’t know much about the rest of the world other than their little corner of it, you know it’s all there and will all come into play soon.

Initially, I thought the main plot of the book would be the Red Raiders. Hint, it’s not. But even when I thought that, it was more of a background danger that aided more in the character development than actually being something that you’re constantly thinking about. I’m assuming again, but I think the Red Raiders will be the running plot of the series and probably only be resolved in the last book of the trilogy. Just a guess, and probably wrong, but it’s all I’ve got. I really want to know what’s behind the Forging!

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, although I’m probably one of the last people to read this. Even so, what turned out to be the main conflict was not as much of a surprise, even though I wasn’t expecting it to happen quite so soon. It was a satisfactory conclusion to a story arc, though I think it was also a bit anti-climatic because it had to be handled so diplomatically. I really felt like a certain someone deserved to die a slow and painful death!

I can tell this is going to be one of those series that just gets better as it goes along, and I’m thinking that all the character and world building done in this book is only laying a solid foundation to one of the most loved series I’ve heard fellow readers raving about. I’ll definitely be starting the next one as soon as I’ve finished this review!

Advertisements
Book Review

Book Review: Beartown

33413128

Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 9 May 2017
Date Finished: 18 May 2017
Pages: 432
Genre: Contemporary

Sometimes I think it would be better to voluntarily stab myself in the heart rather than read a really good book. This is one of those times.

This is my first Frederik Backman, but I’ve heard people rave about his work so much that when this book came up on Netgalley I requested it without even looking at the description. I started reading and wasn’t sure that I would join the ranks of my fellow readers because they structure of the book was different than I usually enjoy, although the writing was good enough to carry me through the initial phase of getting used to it.

Pretty much the whole first half of the book focuses on Beartown and it’s passion — Hockey. I know much more about hockey than I ever wanted to, but vibe of the town was pretty familiar. Late nights at the local sports field, screaming my head off for our local boys to run just a little faster, celebrating success after a great game… I come from a rugby town. I know exactly the kind of expectations can be placed on a team. The adrenaline rush that can carry a whole community along on a wave of euphoria. I could identify with the characters in that way at least.

Backman definitely took his time building the temperature of the story and the characters. There are a lot of players and you get to know them all. Even the nameless ones; Kira’s colleague who is simply referred to as her colleague throughout, the pack of men in the black jackets who are loyal to the bears, the bass player who allows a boy to express tenderness. I loved many of the characters, and I didn’t even hate the ones who were ‘bad’… not really. That’s a whole other moral discussion though.

Once the “main event” happened, all I could think about was last year and the Brock Turner scandal. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the inspiration for Backman to write this novel. It certainly has the same kind of elements.

As a woman who’ve been in certain situations myself, it physically hurt my heart and my psyche to read this book. Not only does it deal with an issue that is so fragile that people come to blows about it, but because it was written well enough for me to immerse myself in the story. I felt like I was right there and experiencing everything, and I felt an overwhelming sense disappointment and heart-soreness at the actions of people. It was made even more poignant because it keeps reminding me of similar stories I’ve heard about and read about, and the fact that it’s not just fiction… people actually do think this way and act this way.

The conclusion of the book is kind of anti-climatic, but honestly I don’t think there’s ever going to be a perfect way to end a story like this. Because at the end of the day, life goes on, but there are no winners and you will never forget.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Life of Pi

24852173

Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 3 May 2017
Date Finished: 15 May 2017
Pages: 460
Genre: Fantasy

Absolutely brilliant! The narrator did an amazing job here, and it just reaffirmed my love for audiobooks! The writing was so descriptive and immersive, and the narrator had the perfect tone and speed at all times! This was one of the times I watched the movie before reading the book, and I always loved the movie, but now I can really understand more about what the directors were trying to convey.

At first, I was a bit confused as the first part of the book deals a lot more with his childhood than the movie showed. It was very interesting though, and it definitely did add an extra layer and texture to Pi and his family.

Pi grew up in a zoo, and so I now know a lot more about zoo’s and the animals that inhabit them than I ever thought I would. It’s actually very fascinating, and if I ever go to a zoo again, I might look at it through a different perspective… though I still don’t like the idea of animals being caged and restricted like that.

I found Pi’s religious views very interesting, and I actually completely agree with him, even though he’s quite a bit more religious than me. Pi decided that he would be a hindu, muslim AND Christian, because he found something of value in each of them. They all proclaim to love God, and that’s the underlying belief throughout. And even though Pi is very devout, never once did it feel like a lecture on religion whenever the subject was broached. I loved that!

Pi was a great main character… Probably one of my favorites. Wise yet naive, brave yet terrified. I felt for him throughout the story, I mourned with him and celebrated his little wins. I know it’s fiction, but can you imagine what something like that must be like? I can’t even imagine where he found the will to go on. I’d actually like to read a true-life account of someone who went through a similar experience just to see if it’s possible to keep your spirits up and in fighting stance.

I think the ultimate question in this book is which story is the real story. Is Richard Parker real or is he a representation Pi’s inner strength that got him through the ordeal. I prefer to believe that Richard Parker was real, because if he wasn’t… if the other story is the real one… it would be infinitely worse.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: All the Birds in the Sky

29407051

Rating: 2 Stars
Date Started: 18 April 2017
Date Finished: 30 April 2017
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy

I really didn’t enjoy this book. I’m not sure if it was due to the narrator, or just because it’s one of those books that just wasn’t for me, but the whole time I listened to it I kinda wanted it to physically manifest so that I could punch it. I can’t even put my finger on exactly what p’d me off so much.

The Story

I don’t know what went wrong! It should have been sooo good. Science vs Magic is the ultimate battle even in the real world. Just substitute magic with religion and bam, you got a true life drama instead of a magical realism novel. But somewhere along the line it just got so fucking boring. The whole plot relied solely on misunderstandings and miscommunications, and was so thin it was see-through.

The Characters
Lawrence and Patricia are both idiots and I couldn’t stand either of them. Lawrence was a world class douche with an ego the size of a planet, and Patricia was a martyr that wanted to take on responsibility for everyone else’s stupid decisions. Honestly I don’t even wanna think about them. The only character I actually kinda liked was Changeme, and even he/it had a disappointing conclusion.

I have a couple of friends who’s opinions I respect and we usually have similar reading tastes who loved this book, so if you were interested in reading it don’t let this review stop you. As I said, I might have felt different if I had read it instead of listened to the audio… but honestly I don’t think so. I just didn’t like this book and that’s okay… but you might.