What a masterful storyteller! Helene Wecker captures your attention and keeps it till the very end.
The Golem and the Jinni tells the story of two unlikely beings who find themselves in a strange world. Chava and Ahmad develop a beautiful timeless friendship under the most unlikely circumstances. Both are supposed mythical creatures who find themselves in New York CIty of all places, navigating the daily trials of life in the big city in the year 1899. Chava is a golem who was created for the sole purpose of being a wife. She was created in Poland by Yehudah Shaalman- a shady rabbi- known to delve in dark arts, but doesn't awaken until she is on a ship boarded for America with her soon-to-be -husband. However, shortly after awakening he dies. Chava who has never been around humans, doesn't have a clue about what to do. She gets by on her new found ability to understand what humans are thinking, and she reacts to their desires by playing everything by ear.
Ahmad is a jinni who has been trapped in a flask for centuries. He is accidentally released by a tinsman named Arbeely. Enraged and unable to take his true form -due to the iron band placed on his wrist by his capture,-he too is lost and unable to understand where he is or what is expected of him. His last memory was of the Syrian dessert where his kind lived and ruled the dessert. He also remembers the wizard who trapped him in the flask, but little else about where to find the wizard, and how to break his band. Trapped in human form, the Jinn begins his life in New York working as apprentice to Arbeely. True to his nature he creates all sorts of mischief, both intentional and not.
This story was so rich. These characters were endearing as they discovered the in and outs of the human world. How to blend it and deal with emotions, both their own and others. After Chava’s master dies on the boat to New York, Chava finds that she can hear people’s thoughts. As if she wasn’t already confused, now she has a million voices to deal with, all consumed with their own fears and desires. She is saved by Rabbi Meyer who recognizes what she is instantly. He shelters her from harm and helps her adapt to the human world. Their relationship becomes that of father and daughter, and it was one of my favorite things about the novel.
Ahmad is a little arrogant at first. He’s a jinni who is accustomed to glass castles and is made out of fire. Conformity doesn’t suit him. Therefore, he ignores the well meaning advice of Arbeely. As a human man, he lives his life much the same way he would if he were still a Jinni. Freely and unconcerned about others.
Ahmad’s transformation is another favorite things to see. How he learns to feel regret towards the people he’s harmed whether directly or inadvertently. Compassion for those whose lives’s are not the best. And Loyalty towards those he grows to love.
This is a pretty big book, but I honestly didn’t notice. The plot moves at a very even paced. It alternates between the past and present, as well as giving us multiple view points. All this enhances the story and kept me entertained until the end, where everything comes full circle. Helene Wecker’s writing is poetic almost to the point of being almost fairy tale like. From her descriptions of the rough Danzig cold, to the growing metropolis of New York, and the sparse landscape of the Syrian dessert, everything is richly detailed. The switch between the angles of the story was genius. I was never confused by what was going on, and in a story this big and complex it happens often.
Here I'm about to get a bit English major, but I felt that this also makes you look at the whole nature/ nurture debate. Both Chava and Ahmad struggle with what they are, and if that is their sole definer. Which I feel begs the question, are we all destined to behave certain ways because of our genetic make -up, or can we break away from that and make our own choices based on what we learn? This is what makes this story so much more than just a fantasy/historical fiction novel. It makes you think, and entertains. What more could you want from a story? As a representation of the immigrant experience, this felt very authentic, and it also went in line with much of what I've learned.
Lastly,I would have appreciated a more conclusive ending, but I wasn’t disappointed by it either.
Overall if you like whimsical story, historical fiction and great characterization, then I think you’ll enjoy this one!
"She was right more often than not, and tried to take her failures personally. She was coming to realize that some people, for whatever reason, would never be satisfied."
Preach it Golem
Absolutely amazing!! I have no idea how I am just coming across Octavia E. Butler. Everything in Blood Child and other Stories is pure gold. I was continuously blown away by this short story collection which is Sci-Fi at its best. From aliens and plagues, Blood Child and other Stories manages to capture human experience, fears, joys, and sentimentality so vividly.
My favorite of the stories is "Speech Sounds" which takes place a in a destroyed Los Angeles where the inhabitants are suffering the fall out of an illness which has made the world go silent. Some people have lost their sense to speak, read, or hear. Those who have retained any bit of their senses chose to keep it hidden because they are targeted by others who are envious. The world is violent and in complete anarchy. "Trust no One" is basically the motto here.
Another one that really struck me was "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" which takes a look at the aftermath of a cancer cure and the repercussions it had on those whose ancestors took it. The effects of the cure lead to a disease known as Duryea- Gode Disease (DGD). This disease is extremely destructive and harmful that the carriers are treated as a sort of sub species to humans. I cringed at some of the imagery even though I couldn't look away.
It's these kinds of stories that cause me cause me real terror because I can imagine them really happening. Are we so far from these "stories" becoming reality?
"Blood Child" is also another work of brilliance and terror, as is "Amnesty". "The Book of Martha," "Crossover", and "Near of Kin "are very dark and somber, yet all three have oddly hopeful endings.
An awesome bonus to this collection, is that Butler includes an afterward after each story where she describes how she came up with the story.It's a nice treat to hear have her tell us in her own words what she wanted to accomplish with them, especially since sadly she is no longer with us.
In addition to the shorts, she also includes two personal essays in where she talks about her journey to becoming a writer. In Positive Obsession she takes up back to when the spark for reading and writing was lit. Her perseverance to make it into an industry that did not cater to her gender or ethnicity. And in Furor Scribendi she gives advice to young budding authors. If you are a writer yourself, or on you way there then I highly recommend these.
Overall brilliant, beautiful, amazing, and every other positive adjective out there! I cannot wait to read more from her
This book has been majorly hyped in my circles, so even though I was excited to pick it up, I did so with a bit of trepidation. It took me nearly a month to finish this 722 page monster. Now that I have I can see why The Name of the Wind is getting so much hype.
I only recently started getting into reading high fantasy, and in this short time I’ve begun to notice a pattern. Typically the beginning is very slow and drawn out. Authors try to give us a sense of the main characters, the world, and the conflict. Once these key factors are set aside, there is usually some gruesome scenes of violence, death, torture: some nobles thinking their better than everyone, a dash of misogyny, maybe a love interest, and magic sprinkled in to give things a little flair. Despite the repetition I am a huge fan of the genre. However, I like a little change every now and then, and Patrick Rothfuss manages to pretty much bypass all of these tropes and produce such a rich and complex story.
The Name of the Wind follows Kvothe, a legendary sorcerer who has been made so either by deeds he did and are widely blown out of proportion, or by complete fabrications. Now Kvothe is setting the record straight and telling his story in his own words. From his childhood growing up the son of troupers, his first teacher, his time spent living in the slums, and his admission into the prestigious University. His voice is eloquent and at times beautifully poetic.
While I'll say that I didn't entirely love Kvothe in everything, I did respect him and was intrigued by his story and the mystery behind his name. He can come off as little full of himself which annoyed me at times. Yes, you're clever, but no need to keep reminding us of that. However, putting that aside he is a very complex character who is so different from any other character I've come across in a fantasy novel. He is the underdog who you really want to win. He has flaws that he doesn't try to hide them He is also giving and kind to those he loves. However, I wouldn't recommend getting on his bad side. This is the first in a trilogy and I'm very interested to see how Kvothe changes throughout his adventures.
The world that Rothfuss created on the surface isn't anything special. At least I thought so at first. I thought it was very standard nothing out of the ordinary in a fantasy novel. However, when you factor in the magic, mythology, and culture you start seeing how much detail was put into this world. I was fascinated by the magic in this book. It has an almost mathematical and scientific quality to it. Also the Fae or Chandrian just made my hair rise thinking about them. The University was interesting and being the huge nerd that I am I couldn't help but just want to be transported there and roam the archives. However, I'm not entirely sure I would like to be a student there. The power trip among the professors is very cringe worthy.
The size of this book can be daunting especially when you factor in its companion novel which is even bigger. As I said it took me nearly a month to get through it. Some of it was because life got in the way, and another part was the slow start. I feel like much of the passages could have been condensed, or cut out entirely because they were more like filler material rather plot development. The plot does have a nice even pace after the initial slow start. The ending isn't a cliffhanger, but it does leave questions unanswered. Question which I am guessing will be answered in A Wise Man's Fear Rothfuss foreshadows and gives the reader an indication of where the story might be headed, but doesn't reveal anything.
Overall I really liked it. It had everything I loved about the fantasy genre, yet it it was in a category all on its own. I can't wait to pick up The Wise Man's Fear
A great start to a series. I've never read anything by Kelley Armstrong, but after this one I not only added the sequel to my most anticipated books of 2014 list, but I plan to start reading more of her work.
Olivia Taylor Jones a.k.a. Eden Larsen is the main character of Omens. She is a rich girl from Chicago who has had everything in her life handed to her. However, she isn't a princess. She is fully aware of her advantages in life and doesn't necessarily feel guilty, but she also isn't comfortable doing nothing. As the novel begins, Olivia is engaged to a decent guy, and she is preparing to go back to school to earn her PHD in Victorian Lit. That is until she discovers that she is really the daughter of two notorious serial killers both serving out life sentences in prison. Suddenly Olivia is the focus of media scrutiny, and her family doesn't prove to make matters better for her. Frustrated and feeling alone she decides to take a break from of it all and discover her past. She ends up in Cainsville, a small and mysterious town where she meets Gabriel Walsh, her mother's former lawyer who offers her assistance in her search. Together they uncover old secrets about Olivia's parents, and about Olivia herself.
Omens is divided between fantasy and mystery. The combination works great. The fantasy is sprinkled in every now and then to remind you that this isn't your average solve-the -crime story. The lore behind the town of Cainsville is rooted deeply in Welsh history which I found fascinating. Many questions are left unanswered which is a bit frustrating, however, keep in mind this is the first in a series. The first half of the book really drew me in, and I couldn't put it down. However, I will say the middle portion did drag a little, but sped right back up towards the end. I also wasn't expecting the book to go in the direction it went, and in typical mystery fashion, I was surprised to discover who was really behind the crime.
The characters are different and complex even some of the side characters. I loved Grace's humor, and Rose is intriguing. Gabriel was a fantastic male lead. By the way there is no romance here, well at least not between Olivia and Gabriel. There is chemistry though and hints of something. Which I'm sure Armstrong will touch on later which I prefer. I also really liked Olivia. She was naive many times, but smart and quick to solve her problems. She matured throughout the course of this book, and I'm interested to see where this journey takes her.
Overall I really enjoyed Omens and I would recommend it to fans of Fever Series
Everything I've come to love from Gabriel Garcia Marquez is in this small but powerful story.
Chronicles of a Death Foretold is a tragedy and you know instantly that nothing will end well. I mean it's called Chronicles of a Death Foretold and Marquez wrote it, so what more would you expect from it right? However, as the story progresses you find yourself wanting the story to surprise you and switch directions from the obvious tragic route it's going through. The novel leads you into a haunting look at society. It forces us to look at our own participation in our communities, and our voices and what we chose to do with them.
The novel takes a close look at the murder of Santiago Nasar which occurred in a small town more than twenty seven years ago. The narrator interviews the towns people many of who could have prevented the murder had they simply spoken up or stepped up to the plate.
Marquez presents this tragic tale with elements of magical realism, a cast of kooky characters,and beautiful writing. The imagery in the last pages of the novel really hits you hard, especially as you realize the truth of the story.
Overall a good read with a very important message.
The Blade Itself is the first book in the The First Law trilogy. This had a slow start for me, and I almost abandoned it after about twenty three pages, but because I'm stubborn, and I hate to leave books unfinished, I kept at it. I'm glad I did.
I've read so much fantasy this year that I'm starting to pick up the pattern. Usually slow starts are the norm, and by now I have to remind myself to be patient. Usually it's been worth it.
The world of the The Blade Itself has a classic medieval fantasy setting and plot. There is war brewing between neighboring nations, old grudges to be settled, and of course magic is involved to stir everything up. The book has four main characters narrating, each very different from the other. The characters were interesting. Glokta in particular, he is a very complex and multi-dimensional character. It's difficult to make up your mind about him, and I found myself alternating between wanting to punch him, or giving him a much needed hug. I also enjoyed that Joe Abercrombie included some diversity. It shouldn't be so hard to find in SFF, but sadly it is. I'm interested in Ferro, and I can't wait to learn more about her story line.
The writing in some instances was a bit awkward as where the transitional sequences . This bothered me mostly in the beginning, and contributed to me wanting to put the book down. However, once I was invested in the story I didn't mind so much, but I still had to re- read at times to try to make sense of things.
Overall a fun start to a series, and I will be continuing on with Before They are Hanged!
Considering how much I loved The Cirque Du Freak Series I was expecting so much more from this prequel. As a preteen I came across A living Nightmare, and I remember powering through the first five within the week. Then I waited every six months, or how ever long the release for the next book was back then. I credit my love for horror and vampires to these books, so naturally I was beyond excited when this prequel series was announced. However, it wasn't nearly as addicting, nor exciting as the Darren Shan Saga, but for a die hard fan like me it was still fun.
It was obvious that Darren Shan wrote these assuming that the fans of Darren Shan would pick it up. Therefore, he didn't bother with the action packed plot he normally delved into. He focused on the characters and sprinkled a healthy dose of foreshadowing I could tell he is working his way into the series and Birth of A killer was merely the jumping stone. The pace of this one was a too slow for me, however, and I found my attention straying.
I did enjoy seeing Mr. Cepsely and some old favorite characters.I had so much nostalgia while reading this book. It took me back to being twelve and obsessively devouring this story, and now ten years later I'm back again. I liked being back in this world, and I realized how much I've missed it.
I will continue on with the series because I know the way Darren Shan works. I'm sure we got some surprises in store for us. I can only hope the plot picks up a bit.
Overall fun for the fans of Darren Shan, but for those of you who haven't read them, I recommend you read those first, or you might get a little bored.
This is my first ever Neil Gaiman book. I read his short storyHow to Talk to Girls at Parties and as much as I enjoyed that story, it did not prepare me for the monster that is American Gods.
“You know,” he said, “I think I would rather be a man than a god. We don’t need anyone to believe in us. We just keep going anyhow. It’s what we do”
American Gods is difficult to explain. The story follows Shadow who is recently released from prison. He is serving out a six year sentence, but is let out after three years for good behavior. All shadow wants to do is go home to his wife Laura and rebuild his life; however, the day before his release he is informed of Laura’s death. Her death leaves Shadow dazed and confused which is how he finds himself accepting a job proposition from the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. Unsure of what he’s gotten himself into, Shadow agrees to do what ever Wednesday demands of him. The only thing Shadow really knows for sure, is that a storm is brewing and now he’s caught in the middle of it.
I think its best to go into this one with as little background as possible. That’s how I did it. I picked this up because I thought it was finally time I read some Gaiman. I am a huge fan of mythology and here we get bucket-loads of it, and not just the usual suspects like the Greek or Roman Gods. Gaiman touched on old African lore, Native American, Scandinavian, Indian etc. This even read like an epic poem, or a tragic heroic saga.
The novel is evenly paced giving just enough information to keep you intrigued. It wasn’t that the story was just enjoyable, but it was also so finely crafted. It had great attention to detail that my low attention span brain found easy to focus on, along with some gorgeous imagery. It had a healthy dose of humor. The most bizarre scenes were made so normal, and the writing had some very memorable quotes,
“So, yeah, my people figured that maybe there’s something at the back of it all, a creator, a great spirt, and so we say thank you to it, because it’s always good to say thank you. But we never built churches. We didn’t need to. The land was the church. The land was the religion. The land was older and wiser than the people who walked on it.”
"What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul."
“He had known a man in prison who had been imprisoned for stealing library books”
So here I am finally on the Gaiman bandwagon. From what I’ve gathered, Gaiman wrote this book to pay tribute to America and its vastness and its multi-culutral melting pot, and I believe he succeeded.
Overall a fantastic read.
Percy's life is getting darker and more dangerous as he battles his old enemies and gets some new ones along the way.
Life for Percy is still hectic and just when he thinks he might get a little break it all spirals out of control again. In the The Titan's Curse, we meet some new characters including the goddess Artemis and her band of all female hunters. Her twin brother Apollo who as a
nack for haikus. Some of our old favorites like Grover are back. Percy and his crew are to do whatever is necessary to fight the Titans and save Olympus.
As always the humor in these books always gets to me. The story is picking up, and I look forward to the next installment!
This was a pretty meh read for me. I'm not sure if it's because I did the audiobook, and I just couldn't stand the guys voice that it ruined the story for me when I tried to read the physical book.
I usually go for this kind of story ghosts, physics, and mysterious,however, I found the story predictable, and the characters boring. I don't have any strong feelings towards Blue. I thought she was going to be interesting, but she didn't have much of a personality.
The writing had some really awkward sentences and phrases. There was one moment where I really didn't see that coming, and I thought the story was going to catch my interest, but sadly it didn't.
There wasn't any humor in the story,and I feel like a book with four teenage boys would have some fun silly banter going on. I did like the strong bond of friendship between the four boys even I didn't like the boys themselves.
Might do a full review if I have time.
Overall interesting premise, but I didn't enjoy the outcome
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a fun read for a nerd like myself!
My favorite types of books have always been the ones that teach me something. And I don’t just mean a moral lesson to which I can apply my own interpretation, but the ones thatI feel as if I just took a crash course in French history, or Nautical studies. Ready Player is a nerd's day dream.
Ernest Cline fills his books with vast knowledge of eighties trivia. From films to music and games, the novel is pretty much a geeks fantasy. The novel is set in the future where a virtual reality world exist called the Oasis. In the Oasis, humans can create avatars that allow them to recreate themselves as they want to be. The Oasis was created by James Halliday who upon his death set up an egg hunt within the Oasis promising to give the finder of the egg his vast fortune. With the stakes that high, he creates the worlds largest and most dangerous game ever played.
Wade is an interesting character that I felt I could identify with immediately. He is a lonely kid who spends his time reading , watching movies, or playing games just to escape the reality that he doesn’t fit in anywhere, and that his home feels foreign to him. The Oasis is his home. The place where he met his best friend, and where he educates himself on everything he wants to know. He is passionate about getting out of his drool life and finding the egg. He is a teenager who was learning things as he went and there were times where I wanted to slap some sense in that boy, but I was with him the whole way.
The novel teaches you to value intelligence and thinking outside of the box. I could definitely see how much of it parallels our own generation’s issues and benefits with the internet and technology What I liked about it, is that while it reminds you that technology isn’t a bad thing especially because many times you end up meeting great like minded people, and you have the advantage of being able to teach yourself many of the things you want. The novel also emphasis the need to value nature and real life connections.
Overall a fun read that takes you away for a bit.
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Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Really great read. Maggot Moon is an alternative historical sci-fi novel. It combines elements of World War II and Nazi Germany's purification ideology, and the moon landing. Even though these events in real history occurred at separate times, Sally Gardner fuses them together to gives us a cruel portrayal of a world that just might have been.
Standish Treadwell is a young boy who has faced nothing but hardships his entire life. Bullied for being different and slow, Standish learns to keep his head down and not attract attention. Then one day he has to confront everything he has tried to run from to protect those he loves, and to change the course of history.
I like these alternative history books because it makes you realize that these "alternative" histories could have been real. Thankfully Maggot Moon's reality if fiction, however, the impression it leaves on you is real.
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I don't really know how I feel about this one. I wanted to love it I really did just because it is in the Fever world and I really love this series, but it definitely let me down. I think one of the reasons is that I don't really like Dani's voice. I could deal with some parts of it in Dreamfever and Shadowfever, but an entire book from her perspective is a bit much. Also I was disappointed by the lack of Mac and Barrons, and I am trying to understand why they weren't such a big part in this book. We just got glimpses which was upsetting. Well up until the very end and then of course Cliffhanger! Also can I just say how creepy the men in this book are towards Dani. It was a bit uncomfortable. Especially Christian. However, there is a lot of action here which was fun to read and we meet some new players that will come up later I'm sure and discover new things about some of the old characters. I will still definitely continue on with the series. I just can't wait for Mac to take over again!