Tag Archives: Reviews

2014 Reading Challenge and 5 Book Reviews!

29 May

My reading challenge for 2014 is to read 25 books, and I’m using GoodReads to keep track of my progress. I chose to for 25 as I haven’t been sure of how this year would be like for me, how much energy and time I’d have, so I thought it best not to set the bar too high. Right now I’m on 14 read books, and have 4 unread ones waiting for me, so I’m well on my way, 4 books ahead of schedule 😉

I thought I’d give a quick review on a few of the books I’ve read so far this year, there are definitely many I’d recommend, and some that were quite disappointing.  I do usually write a full review on the books I read on Goodreads, so if you want to read them a bit more detailed, just head over there, as I will keep it quite short in this post.

Metro 2033 – Dmitry Glukhovsky

Metro 2033 quickly became one of my favourite reads, I found the story really interesting and exciting. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where the few survivors in Moscow has taken refuge in the city underground, forming small societies in the different stations, all based on different ideologies. Some are at war, some at peace, some are overrun with mutants and horrible creatures. Life in the Metro is never particularly safe. I’ll be the first to admit that Glukhovsky’s writing style at times can become a bit repetitive, but I feel that it fits the tone of the story, and the plot itself is so strong that I’m willing to overlook this fact. A recommended read for anyone who likes dystopia, post-apocalyptic, exciting and thrilling novels!

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

I’m sorry to say that this book was such a disappointment to me! I’ve heard many people praise The Night Circus, so my expectations were high, but sadly they were just not met. A story about a mystical night circus being the arena of a fierce and dangerous competitions between two young magicians sounds incredibly promising and exciting, so I was actually quite sad to discover that there wasn’t really anything exciting about this novel at all. My main problem was with the characters, they were all so underdeveloped and none of them really memorable. If I were to describe any of their personalities I’d actually come up short for every single one. I was quite annoyed by how it seemed like the author spent too much time making everything seem very pretty, and not enough time moving the plot forward or developing the characters and their relationships. Everything in this book is described to  detail, and yes, that part is well done and I can imagine being there and seeing all the wonderful things, smelling, tasting and sensing, but it’s so frustrating that that’s pretty much the whole book. In conclusion The Night Circus is not a book I’d recommend, but I know I’m in a minority there, so I’d suggest if anyone’s curious about it you should look it up and read more reviews before you decide.

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Reading Me Before You was almost the opposite experience of reading The Night Circus. I had quite low expectations as the cover looked super cheesy, and it didn’t sound all that interesting. Still, a lot of my friends had good things to say, so I gave it a try, and I’m so glad I did! The story centers around Lou Clark who finds herself in the need of a new job, and therefore becomes the personal assistant for former daredevil, now wheelchair-bound Will Traynor, and how their relationship develops and affects other aspects of their lives. What I really liked about Me Before You was that the characters were believable and dynamic, although not necessarily sympathetic all the time. Jojo Meyes also does a fine job using clichés in a good way, they are present, but they don’t take away from the story and it’s not over the top. A recommended read for anyone who likes reading about human relations, and doesn’t mind a bit of crying 😉

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire

Aah, what can I say. I REALLY wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t. It was so frustrating how the writing style changed throughout the entire book, and not in a natural dynamic way, it was just chaotic. The characters had no consistency, and Maguire keeps pushing symbolism and metaphors in the readers face in almost every single paragraph. I like when stories are meant to represent something from our world, but gosh, be more subtle about it. I did actually like the first few chapters, and I think the story would be so much better if it was more about life at Shiz and Elphaba’s (the wicked witch) relationships with her fellow students. I think this might be the only occasion where I’ve liked an adaption of a book more than the book itself, so instead of recommending this read to anyone, I’ll rather go with: Watch the musical instead!

On Beauty – Zadie Smith

Howard Belsey is an Englishman abroad, an academic teaching in Wellington, a college town in New England. Married young, thirty years later he is struggling to revive his love for his African American wife Kiki. Meanwhile, his three teenage children— Jerome, Zora and Levi—are each seeking the passions, ideals and commitments that will guide them through their own lives. (From Goodreads). Zadie Smith is the queen of characterization, there’s no other way to put it. She creates characters that are so real, so versatile, so believable, and they all have their own distinct narrative styles and way of describing the world and others around them. I love how in On Beauty we start forming a picture and opinion on a person based on the point of view from one person, but then it completely changes (or develops would be a more correct term, as she’s not inconsistent) throughout the book, through the eyes of a different character. The people are all like an intricate puzzle, and each chapter provides a crucial piece to putting the puzzle together. A book I would recommend to everyone, but be aware that you shouldn’t expect to sympathise with the people you read about all the time!

 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

14 Dec

The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugI went to see The Desolation of Smaug at the cinema yesterday, and I absolutely loved it! I am a huge fan of the Tolkien-universe, I read the books every year, watch Lord of the Rings Extended Edition about 2-3 times a year and love to discuss the “fandom” online, so of course I’ve been eagerly anticipating the second Hobbit movie for a while now. And I was not let down. As a book reader, of course there were things I missed and that I had pictured differently, but I’ve accepted that that’s how it is with book to film adaptations, and I didn’t ruin my experience at all. I actually found The Desolation of Smaug a tad better than An Unexpected Journey, the flow  and the feel of the picture was just a bit more “together” if that makes sense.

I thought I’d put together a list of what I really liked, what I miss from the book and what I didn’t quite like, instead of writing a full review. Some minor spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the movie yet, but nothing major 🙂

What I really liked:
-Smaug!
Absolutely LOVED Smaug, and Benedict Cumberbatch did such a brilliant voice job! The animation is very smooth and realistic, the dragon is impressive, fierce and terrifying. The dialogue between Bilbo and Smaug is superb, very well written and acted!
-Tauriel. I was pleasantly surprised, as she is a character created for the movies, and I didn’t expect to like her, but I did, even though I’m not overly fond of how her character is being used (see dislikes). She is a very charming elf, and a badass fighter.
-Showing what Gandalf is up to when he’s not with the dwarf company. Makes it easier for non-readers to connect the happenings in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and it gives Gandalf more screen, which is a good thing.
-The barrel escape/race/fight. It was over the top, it was completely unrealistic, it used cheap humour and it was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! I want to watch that part again please!

What I missed from the book:
Introducing the dwarves to Beorn! It’s my favorite scene from the book, and I was really looking forward to seeing it on screen, so I was quite disappointed when they chose to portray it in a completely different way. It all happened to quickly I think, and I don’t think non-readers will remember much about Beorn at all after seeing the film. Mikael Persbrandt is a fine actor, but he didn’t have much to work with as Beorn, his character was sadly neglected. Shame.
-Nothing else really 🙂

What I didn’t really like:
-Using Tauriel’s character as a way of introducing more romance in the film.
Completely unnecessary! Why is it that when a new female character is introduced, she has to be linked to some romance plot?
-Stephen Fry. God, it pains me to write this as I ADORE Stephen Fry, but I just don’t feel he fit this role, it was quite distracting actually. Please don’t shoot me 😦
-Azog. You’re annoying, please go away.