The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2)

Title: The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2)

Author: Philip Pullman

Genres: Adventure | Fantasy

Length: 288 pages

Source: Purchased

Publisher: Laurel Leaf

Publishing Date: September 9th 2003

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

Lyra has travelled to a different world, a strange world with many things in common with her own but many different ones as well, and dangerous ones too. Her path will cross with Will’s, a mysterious slightly older child, and Lyra will come to know that her destiny and Will’s are intertwined. Once again going through perilous adventures, and never knowing who to trust, Lyra and Will fight their way through to the truth.

Review:

The second book of the trilogy starts with a different voice, as we accompany Will through his ordeals. As in the first book, we dive right into a situation that leaves the reader quite confused and where it is evident that danger is imminent. Then we rejoin Lyra and some of the characters from Book 1, each going through their own journey. At some point it is clear that they are all destined to meet but what does that mean?

Again the writing is enthralling. Where it could be easy to have Lyra just consult the alethiometer for every single decision, the author plunges the characters into the right amount of action and twists to prevent the narrative from going the easy way, while introducing new concepts and characters.

It is again amazing how he merges myth and science, from Lyra’s world and Will’s, giving an entire new sense to things we thought we knew.

As I flipped through the pages, I became aware that Will’s role in the story would be as important as Lyra’s and wanted to know what came next for them.

This is an action-packed sequel with no boring times, just many moments of unease. What exactly is going on in this new world? Who is friend and who is foe? What is Will’s role and what is Lyra supposed to do, pursue her own goals or help him?

I had a great time reading the book and raced through it. I do wish some concepts had been further developed, like how exactly Parry gained a daemon (wasn’t it supposed to be inside him?) or how he managed to become a shaman considering where he came from. The concept of spectres was also quite odd to me, as was the capability to control them.

Overall I found it an engaging read, not quite as good as the first book, but still a thrilling one, and quickly moved on to book 3.

Read from February 17th 2019 to February 25th 2020.
GR Review

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)

Title: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)

Author: Philip Pullman

Genres: Adventure | Fantasy

Length: 351 pages

Source: Purchased

Publisher: Laurel Leaf

Publishing Date: September 9th 2003

Rating: 4.9/5

Premise:

Lyra Belacqua is an orphan who lives in the grounds of Jordan College in Oxford University. Oxford is all she ever knew, and Lyra is very happy there, but her world is changing and Lyra will have an invaluable role in it, so that’s when her adventure begins.

Review:

I had this trilogy sitting on my shelf for quite some time, so when I heard this had been adapted to a TV series I figured, why not? I’ve always enjoyed reading the book(s) before watching an adaptation.

When I first started reading this book I was a bit taken aback because the author did not waste time setting the scene; the reader dives right into the midst of Lyra’s world. It is an extremely rich one, with many odd concepts to learn.

The avalanche of new terms, whose meaning was merely hinted at in the beginning, made me a bit impatient at first, as I had no idea what was going on. After a while though, I got used to the writing and Lyra’s character began to grown on me. I was enthralled. Soon I wanted to know where this little incredibly strong-willed, curious and resilient urchin would do or learn next.

I don’t want to give too much away because I believe the true pleasure when reading this comes from not knowing much about what you are going to find. I will say however that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the characters through Lyra’s eyes, and watching her tackle each new adventure, growing with each obstacle. I further appreciated how some characters were not obviously good or bad.

But I especially enjoyed reading about the bond every human has with their dæmon. This concept is so subtle in the beginning but as the adventure unfolds the more you learn about it and you begin to comprehend the depth of it. And it is so amazing how beautifully it is woven into everything else. About 25 pages or so from the end I have to admit my jaw dropped.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The world building is so ingenious and clever, the characters so well built, the writing with the right balance between description and action… I cannot wait to read the following two books in the trilogy.

Highly recommended!

Read from February 13th 2019 to February 17th 2020.
GR Review

The Primrose Path

Title: The Primrose Path

Author: Rebecca Griffiths

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery

Length: 400 pages

Source: Purchased

Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: August 11th 2016

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

Rachel just moved to Wales following a traumatic event. However, she never feels quite safe and, as pretty blonde girls much like herself start getting killed near where she lives, all the trauma returns. Is she safe? Can she finally be happy?

Review:

I have to admit I don’t understand the hype around this book. With such an interesting premise, I was extremely excited to pick it up. The writing is good, it’s enthralling actually. The prelude in particular absolutely blew me away. It set my expectations much too high.

However, first of all, the pace is dreadful. I though the book dragged on to the point where I actually felt like dropping it. When things began to show a modicum of interest, it would immediately become intensively descriptive again and I would think, ok what am I reading here? Surely not a mystery/thriller as I had hoped. Some parts annoyed me in particular, like a character’s numerous mentions of a secret, and never developing beyond that. There was just that annoying, repetitive hint, and that was it.

So you have like 95% of the book dragging on, developing in a crazy amount of directions. On the last 5% or so, the writer attempts to solve all the mysteries she has been developing. At least I think she tried, I’m not entirely sure. The fact is it was a dreadful attempt. Not only did it feel rushed, but many things didn’t make sense, and so, so much was left unanswered. With what she achieved in the rest of the book, I find there was such potential for real character development here and it was ruined, in my opinion.

And finally, the blurb was so deceptive. To this point I have no idea what this refers to: Settling into the small community she is now part of, Sarah soon realises that someone is watching her. Someone who seems to know everything about her …

All in all, this isn’t a novel I would recommend. Maybe if you like nice prose, not as a mystery though.

Spoilers below if you don’t mind them:

1. The entire transition of Rachel’s character made no sense. The things she describes earlier in the book made no sense, even if she believed them then. It’s just not plausible, nor is thinking about herself as Rachel in earlier years instead of Sarah. 2. Who is the killer? What’s their story? What is the point of that character when nothing about them is explained? 3. Did Dai survive or not? 4. Is John Dai’s son or one of Beth’s brothers? 5. Who was watching Sarah in the car Tracy and Idris saw parked outside of her place? 6. What happened to Graham, or to Jennifer?

Read from November 5th 2019 to November 19th 2019.
GR Review

The One

Title: The One

Author: John Marrs

Genres: Science-Fiction | Thriller

Length: 412 pages | Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Hanover Square

Publishing Date: February 20th, 2018

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

A new DNA test guarantees that you will find the one person you are meant to spend the rest of your life with.
As we follow the lives of 5 different people, we find that not all is what it seems.

Review:

I actually finished this book ages ago, back in February, but I did not write a review because I honestly didn’t know what to write, and I had been in a reading and writing slump for a while.

I do remember that I enjoyed the story for the most part, at least until the plot twists came. I didn’t find some of them very believable, as well as some of the characters’ choices, so I was disappointed.

Still, I found it a very thought-provoking book and do recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from February 9th 2018 to ?
GR Review

On the Other Hand: The Little Anthology of Big Questions

On the Other Hand: The Little Anthology of Big Questions
by Renée Paule

Title: On the Other Hand: The Little Anthology of Big Questions

Author: Renée Paule

Genres: Non-Fiction

Length: 216 pages

Source: GoodReads First Reads

Publisher: RPG Publishing

Publishing Date: October 1st 2014

Rating: N/A

Three years later, I am once again a First Reads winner. Unfortunately I was not able to finish this book. I actually did not get past maybe a third of it, I don’t really know.

I dove into a major reading slump in large part because of it, since I found it incredibly pointless and even depressing but felt the obligation to post my review. I think it’s safe to say that after three months I do not intend to pick it back up.

I am going to try and find other books that interest me, to see if I can focus on making reading enjoyable again. Other folks may find this book quite thought-provoking so do feel free to give it a try, it’s just not for me.

Read from Feb 3rd to –
GR Review

I would like to thank the author for providing a free copy of this book through GoodReads First Reads program in exchange for my honest review.

Feeding Fersia (Conguise Chronicles, Book 2)

Title: Feeding Fersia (Conguise Chronicles, Book 2)

Author: L.S. O’Dea

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Science Fiction

Format: Mobi

Length: 171 pages | 2734 locations

Source: Author

Rating: 4.75/5

 

Premise:

McBrid is a scientist in Conguise’s lab. He made a grave mistake and in order to survive the Professor’s wrath he needs to create another monstrosity. But this experiment will be quite different. Does he have the stomach to go through with it?

Review:

Hello, ladies and gents!

I know, it’s been ages since I posted a review. That’s because it’s been ages since I actually read a book. As I posted previously my life has taken quite a turn over the past year and I haven’t found the time or energy to read but the author was kind enough to offer me this book to read and review and I am so happy that she did.

Well I have to say that Ms O’Dea did it again. This short book kept me entertained through and through. I loved every single character and their evolution. The story was touching, thrilling, exciting and although the ending was very well achieved and timed I was left wanting more because I was so enthralled by the story and wanted to know what came next for all of the characters. This is a quick read that will grasp you and not let go. I am extremely excited to see what comes next.

Please note that this is a spin off of the main series Lake of Sins and I believe you should read that in order to understand the world building and evolution better, otherwise you will not understand certain references.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from 7th to 11th May 2018
GR Review

Hanna Who Fell from the Sky

Title: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky

Author: Christopher Meades

Genres: Contemporary | Magical Realism

Length: 342 pages | 4059 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Park Row

Publishing Date: September 26th, 2017

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

Hannah is about to turn 18 and on her birthday she is to marry a man over twice her age.
A week before, she finds herself questioning for the first time in her life why things are the way they are and what they would be if she were to leave the tight community of Clearhaven. A cryptic story her mother tells her only intensifies her desire, as well as meeting enigmatic, Daniel.

Review:

I wasn’t too sure what to make of this book when I started reading it because even though I enjoyed reading about Hannah and her way of life there were quite some ramblings that, to me, felt pointless. I tried imagining how other characters would view her and could only think of an airhead.

I often found myself wondering who this Hanna was before we were introduced to her. Was she always this absent-minded? Is there really anything to her, besides not wanting to be married to a man more than twice her age and imagining a brave version of herself?

As the story progressed, instead of feeling more engaged I ended up disliking the character more and more, especially when she wanted to leave not because the entire concept of how things were done but because she was so speshul and therefore meant for so much more. And she wonders why other women hate her.

Sadly it was another instance of a very interesting premise being poorly executed. Even the ending was lacklustre and lacking the feeling of redemption I craved. Cannot say this one was a pleasant experience.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 14th to Feb 1st, 2018
GR Review