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Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

Laureth, 16, and her younger brother, Benjamin, go in search of their missing father in an attempt to discover what happened to him and bring him home. The only barrier to their search is the Atlantic Ocean, Laureth and Benjamin are in London and their dad was last seen in New York.

I read this at the recommendation of a friend who invited me to go to Marcus Sedgwick’s recent event at Waterstones so I thought I would try and read the book in time. Also, the reviews on Amazon use words like ‘original!’ ‘fast-paced thriller!’ - I was excited. 

Laureth is blind so it was really interesting to read from a blind person’s perspective and it isn’t something that you read very often. She is described in the book as brave and determined and while flying to the US without an adult when you are blind is definitely a brave thing to do, there doesn’t seem to be much else to support this description. Sedgwick doesn’t give us much of Laureth’s character before she’s off on her crazy mission so I didn’t really feel like she was well-established enough for me to get behind her. She’s not that much of a character, I fear I will have forgotten about her in a couple of book’s time as I didn’t feel particularly invested in her plight. I was curious to find out what had happened to her dad but that was it and my curiosity wasn’t enough to make me enjoy the book.

Laureth’s dad has an interest in coincidence which dominates much of the book. However, all of the supposed theorising about coincidence is effectively the author just discussing the same points over and over, there’s not really any progression. By the end it all feels meaningless rather than profound.

This has great reviews on Amazon so I fear I have just missed the point entirely on this one but I wouldn’t recommend this book.

Rating - * 1 star

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Review: David by Mary Hoffman

Did you ever wonder who was the model for Michelangelo’s famous statue of David? Me neither! But Mary Hoffman’s imagined story for him will make you think again. 

In early sixteenth century Florence, Gabriele arrives and finds himself in a city ruled by deadly politics. He soon finds himself working as a stonecutter and an artist’s model for his brother, Angelo. Despite wishing to remain neutral, he is drawn into the dangerous political games being played out in the houses and streets of Florence.

Mary Hoffman’s Stravaganza series was a favourite of mine as a teenager so I was curious to see what else she had written. David is a very light historical fiction with an interesting concept. I had never thought about the models for all of the great works of art we see in museums so I like the idea that Hoffman based her story on this. I was in the V&A today and thinking of this book made me think twice about the sculptures I was seeing.

The writing is easy to read and you’ll probably get through this fairly quickly. The story has an interesting base but there were quite a few Italian names and political factions that I kind of lost track of a little bit. Gabriele is popular with the ladies and his numerous affairs are quite amusing, whether they were meant to be or not. 

It’s a nice, light read if you’re looking for something along those lines but I would recommend Hoffman’s Stravaganza series over David.

Rating - ** 2 stars

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(Spoiler-free) Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

The end is here! For those of us who have read The Mortal Instruments for years, it’s been a sad week as the sixth and final book of Cassandra Clare’s addictive series is finally out. Whether you’ve read it for years or are new to the series, it’s been a tense wait to find out who would survive as we all know she’s not afraid to kill off a character or five…

City of Heavenly Fire picks up the story with Sebastian being at his strongest and the Shadowhunter and Downworlder alliances being at their most unstable. Sebastian’s fiendishly clever mind plays out his power games as he tries to turn Shadowhunters against one another as well as against Downworlders. When a great betrayal is revealed, Jace, Clary, Simon, Alec and Isabelle have to go to drastic lengths to save the people and values they hold most dear.

It feels like this book is a great achievement and a gift to Clare’s readers. Cassandra Clare has a strong presence amongst fans. You can tweet her, ask her a question on tumblr and she is brilliant at giving detailed answers about the Shadowhunter world and her upcoming projects. I love that this book is huge. It really tries to tie up as many loose ends as possible. There are so many moments where unexpected pairings of people have conversations that you never even realised you wanted them to have. It’s impressive that with City of Heavenly Fire, Clare manages to tie together characters across three series in a seemingly effortless way. Nothing feels forced, every character has a reason to be a part of this epic conclusion. It reminded me slightly of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because of the way in which every character in this vast and detailed world rallies around for a final battle. 

Clary and Jace have always been the vital heartbeat of The Mortal Instruments and this book is no different. What gives the series progression is that Jace and Clary are no longer separated by various and ever more angsty reasons. They are a couple, a team of warriors who make decisions together and are in no way any less interesting for it. It’s great to see them like this. The series has had so many ups and downs when it comes to relationships that this is what we needed to read. Clary and Jace finally get to put all of their talking and professed morals and values into practice. It’s the perfect time for the emotional payoff from the pain of the last five books!

I didn’t know what to expect from City of Heavenly Fire and I certainly didn’t know what I wanted to read but somehow it was exactly what it needed to be. It’s impressive after so much expectation has been laid at Clare’s door from fans. The best thing about being a fan of Cassandra Clare is that when one series ends, you just begin the wait for the next one. Long may it continue.

Rating - ***** 5 stars

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Review: Half Bad by Sally Green
As you may have seen me mention, I bought this book because I liked the cover. I’m ok with admitting that. There’s no blurb on the back but it was in the young adult section and I decided it was a safe bet that I would like it. I was very lucky. The insides meet and exceed the quality of the attractive cover. In a UK where witches are real and are governed and monitored by a Council, Nathan is faced with the problem of being a half White Witch and half Black Witch. White Witches are trusted, Black Witches are not. Soon he will be assigned one label and whatever it is, it will change everything.
Nathan comes from a family of White Witches but is drawn to the mystery of his father, Marcus, one of the most notorious Black Witches. The question of nature vs nurture is raised and is a question that surrounds Nathan’s life. As the Council becomes more and more eager to control Half Codes like Nathan, Nathan’s life and future hangs in the balance as he must make a decision about who he will become. As some White Witches become more and more hostile, the lure of the Black Witches becomes very tempting.
I loved this book. I didn’t know what to expect at all and I’m so glad that it was what it was. This isn’t high fantasy. Aside from the witch element to the story, the descriptions of various locations in the UK and Europe feel very normal and that becomes quite unsettling. The addition of witches feels entirely possible and very real. Sally Green’s writing is quite claustrophobic and tight which works brilliantly for Nathan’s growing unease with his identity. The story is so dominated by this lore of the witches that you become engrossed very quickly. An easy book to get into, I challenge you not to become addicted.
This is a refreshing take on YA fantasy. It’s a book about Witches that fantasy and non-fantasy fans alike would enjoy. If you read this or have read it, let me know what you think! I’m intrigued to hear other people’s opinions because I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the sequel.
Rating ***** 5 stars

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

As you may have seen me mention, I bought this book because I liked the cover. I’m ok with admitting that. There’s no blurb on the back but it was in the young adult section and I decided it was a safe bet that I would like it. I was very lucky. The insides meet and exceed the quality of the attractive cover. In a UK where witches are real and are governed and monitored by a Council, Nathan is faced with the problem of being a half White Witch and half Black Witch. White Witches are trusted, Black Witches are not. Soon he will be assigned one label and whatever it is, it will change everything.

Nathan comes from a family of White Witches but is drawn to the mystery of his father, Marcus, one of the most notorious Black Witches. The question of nature vs nurture is raised and is a question that surrounds Nathan’s life. As the Council becomes more and more eager to control Half Codes like Nathan, Nathan’s life and future hangs in the balance as he must make a decision about who he will become. As some White Witches become more and more hostile, the lure of the Black Witches becomes very tempting.

I loved this book. I didn’t know what to expect at all and I’m so glad that it was what it was. This isn’t high fantasy. Aside from the witch element to the story, the descriptions of various locations in the UK and Europe feel very normal and that becomes quite unsettling. The addition of witches feels entirely possible and very real. Sally Green’s writing is quite claustrophobic and tight which works brilliantly for Nathan’s growing unease with his identity. The story is so dominated by this lore of the witches that you become engrossed very quickly. An easy book to get into, I challenge you not to become addicted.

This is a refreshing take on YA fantasy. It’s a book about Witches that fantasy and non-fantasy fans alike would enjoy. If you read this or have read it, let me know what you think! I’m intrigued to hear other people’s opinions because I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Rating ***** 5 stars

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Review: Divergent (film)

It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this review but I’m glad I’ve had time to think about what I liked and didn’t like about the film. I was excited to see what they would do with Divergent because I read it a little while ago so was looking forward to being reminded of how much I liked it. 

I was impressed with how closely it stuck to the book. There may have been small changes that I didn’t notice due to not remembering all the small details of the book but it seemed to stick to the story well. I really enjoyed the small details that were kept in to explain larger or future plot points. For example, I liked when Tris made to defend the boy who was being bullied in the queue for the Choosing ceremony and how Caleb stopped her. A small thing but it helped show why she might have wanted to join Dauntless. Also the bit where she just looks at a factionless person on the street after she has taken the aptitude test spoke for a couple of plot points - Tris’ reluctance to be as selfless as Abnegation requires and her society’s fears about being factionless. You can see that thought went into setting up the society’s extremely structured system. 

I’m guessing this may be a pretty unpopular opinion (I haven’t read any reviews yet…) but I didn’t think that Theo James and Shailene Woodley had much chemistry. I’m sorry! Four and Tris are a good couple in Divergent because they challenge each other and their developing relationship is great to read but I didn’t really feel this came across. The only time I felt much emotion from them was their fight scene towards the end, (I don’t think that’s too much of a spoiler.) Shailene was a really good Tris though. I don’t really know what I expected but she brought out Tris’ rebellious spirit and made it seem like Tris was a fun character to play.

The film is quite like the book in that there is a lot of action and it felt very fast-paced. I think this worked for the film but it might have been nice to see a few more quieter moments, such as Tris talking with Al to set up the reasoning behind why he turns on her later.

I’ll look forward to seeing what they do with Insurgent…

Rating *** 3 stars

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Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

In a world dominated by a military lifestyle, Kestrel, the General’s daughter, is trying to find her place. When she pays over the odds at auction for a slave, for reasons unbeknownst to even herself, she sets off a trail of events which force her to make some important decisions about her future. The slave, Arin, has many secrets which will impact upon Kestrel’s life and the lives of those around her.

This book is set in a militaristic alternate world which owes a lot to the Greco-Roman traditions. I really like that while this is still a kind of fantasy, it’s almost an alternate history because some of the traditions and social systems can be found in our own history books. What is particularly refreshing about this book is that Kestrel is not an amazing fighter by any means, but she does have a brilliant mind. She thinks through strategies and shows her intelligence. The way in which she reads people’s emotions and motives reminds me of Katniss in The Hunger Games. It is always good to read about a YA heroine who is valued for her sharp mind.

The characters are well drawn, particularly the two main ones, Kestrel and Arin. Kestrel and Arin’s interactions are dominated by what the slave/mistress dynamic means to them and how it changes everything. This makes for interesting reading as their relationship is constantly shifting and they cannot take any truth for granted. The plot moves on at a fair pace and is certainly one that you’ll be thinking about when you’re not reading it.

This is the first in a trilogy and it is set up brilliantly for the next book. When I was reading, I could not think how there could be any kind of ending to this but Rutkoski manages it and is able to really open up the story to leave you wanting the next instalment right away.

Well worth a read! Check it out when it is published in the UK on 3rd July. The perfect series to begin reading this summer.

Rating - **** 4 stars

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Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Em and Finn are trapped in cells next door to each other and the only way to change their situation is to travel back and change the past. The stakes are pretty high for these two teens as they attempt to thwart the controlling influences which have so dramatically impacted on their lives. In a world where time travel has become possible, Em and Finn must ensure that the power to control the past, which has fallen into the wrong hands, is used only for the right reasons.

The plot is interesting and I like the ideas that it presents. Em and Finn must avoid running into their younger selves even though they play pivotal roles in the mission they have to complete. They also have to try and change different elements of their recent history to see what has the greatest effect in the future. The book is fairly fast-paced and will ensure you are eager to find out how the complexities can be resolved.

The writing isn’t brilliant, particularly in the first half of the book. There are a few dodgy similes when a simple description would’ve sufficed. I enjoyed the plot and the fact that it kept me interested but its conclusion left me slightly baffled. I won’t give away any spoilers but it wasn’t as clear and satisfying as I was hoping for.

It’s a diverting read and will engage you but it’s not quite what I feel it could’ve been with a little more editing and character depth, perhaps.

Rating - ** 2 and a half stars.

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Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas

In Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass, we are introduced to Celaena Sardothien, a trained assassin who is fiercely independent and rebellious as well as being lethal. For those of you who fell in love with her in that book, you have to read this one. The prequel, The Assassin’s Blade, tells the story of how Celaena came to be a prisoner in the salt mines of Endovier. This is where we first meet Celaena in Throne of Glass so it’s fitting that readers should get the chance to see how she got there. It’s an interesting story and one that deserved to be told.

While these books have been out as ebooks for a while, if you’re anything like me, you might have been waiting for the release of this book. What I hadn’t realised is that the five novellas carry on from one another so you don’t really feel like you are reading separate stories because the plot is continuous. Maas’ pacy writing and character-building is to be found in this novel as much as in her others. The Assassin’s Blade and Throne of Glass are so memorable because Maas’ eye for Celaena’s character is so good. This book would not be as captivating with any other heroine. Celaena is unpredictable and mesmerising. Her backstory is equally so. The things which we find out about how Celaena became such an infamous assassin really help to explain why she acts the way that she does which is very satisfying. It’s good that the prequel is an addition which supports and grows upon the Throne of Glass series rather than being just an extension and a chance to tell a few more stories.

Celaena’s adventures before the events of Throne of Glass are very fitting and Maas has chosen well which stories to tell. I didn’t realise I was curious about her history until I started reading The Assassin’s Blade and found I couldn’t put it down. Celaena gets herself into dangerous situations and will have you squirming as you read about them.

For fans of the original series, there are a few tidbits relating to Throne of Glass which you will definitely enjoy. Much as Cassandra Clare has done with her prequel series, you can play spot the original character with The Assassin’s Blade, which is always fun.

For me, this book achieved that one thing that a prequel should achieve - it made me want to go and pick up the original book straight away.

Rating - **** 4 and a half stars

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Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This is the story of a boy who dies and then awakes to find himself alone in the world. To tell you any more would give away some serious spoilers!

Having your main character die on the first page of the book is a gutsy way to begin a story and it works well. I was immediately hooked. Especially once Seth has woken up in this other world completely alone. The world he wakes up in is very dystopian as everything in it is broken, old or burned away.

As time progresses, Ness drip feeds us information which is great. It’s paced very well. It wasn’t so slow that I didn’t care but the plot was well-drawn out and revelations and discoveries are made at various points. Seth’s character is developed through glimpses of the world he left behind as well as his attempts at making his way in this bleak, lonely world. What I loved was the insight into his old life. The backstory is very well-written and as you slowly come to realise how and why Seth died in the first place, you become more and more invested in his potential second future.

I love that I could never guess where this book is going. When you read a lot of books, you feel like you can guess the plot of most books but Ness really outsmarts the reader and keeps you guessing with every new piece of information. As for the rather ambiguous ending, I can’t make my mind up about it which is, I imagine, what Ness wanted. I would’ve preferred a clearer ending but that’s personal preference.

This is well-worth reading if you like dystopia. It’s not a full-blown dystopia, really, but it’s close enough that if you fancy a bit of a change then you’ll enjoy this. There’s a great deal of emotions and drama teeming under the surface. Seeing as the book has a quote from John Green on the front, you can probably imagine in what vein this book is written.

Ness’ writing is crisp, clear and never overly descriptive. There’s a perfect balance to his style of writing. I really must read his Chaos Walking series.

Rating - *** 3 and a half stars.

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Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

My first book and first review of 2014 is of Requiem, the final installment of the Delirium trilogy. This review does have spoilers for the first two novels, Delirium and Pandemonium. The trilogy is set in a world where love is a disease for which every teenager is eventually given the cure. For some though, it is too late, love has taken hold and they won’t give it up. Our heroine, Lena is one of these people and the fight for her heart is a fierce one.

Requiem makes use of that which seems more and more popular at the moment: the split-narrative. This decision can work well or it can annoy readers and that really depends on the book, the writing and the story being told. Having thought I would hate it, I actually quite enjoyed it with Requiem. Hana had a much more interesting story to tell than I feared. Lena’s and Hana’s narratives allow us to see what is happening on both sides of society in this world which was particularly useful in this novel. It had been a while since I had read the first two novels so it was good to be able to get to know Hana’s character again.

I enjoyed this novel and I’m trying to work out why because there were actually quite a few bad features to it. The plot is the standard fare of third-books-of-dystopian-trilogies; rebel group, strictly controlled society, cracks begin to appear in said society, eventual revolution with a few deaths thrown in for good measure. Think Mockingjay, think Allegiant and you’re about there. This series isn’t quite as engaging as those two series. It is, however, different. The best way I have thought of to describe Requiem and the Delirium trilogy as a whole, is quiet. In a good way. It’s quietly majestic and idealistic in its ideas about freedom, love and friendship. I don’t mean idealistic in a disparaging way, it’s really quite refreshing for someone who reads a lot of bleak dystopian fiction. There is more violence, particularly in Requiem, perhaps Oliver wanted to keep up with the death and destruction of the aforementioned Mockingjay and Allegiant types but she doesn’t really need to. What kept me reading was a need to find out what happens to the characters at the heart of the story, particularly Lena’s choice between two loves.

The ending to this novel brought about dread, as I realised there were only 50 pages left and too many things that needed to happen. Unfortunately, the end of the novel is rushed and there isn’t enough of an emotional conclusion. It’s very bizarre because that is what Oliver has been best at elsewhere in the series. The choices that Lena makes, while not entirely random are still not explained satisfactorily which is disappointing. It was an odd end to a story which has a lot of potential for drama and emotion.

While that did all sound fairly negative, I did enjoy Requiem. I think this is mostly because of my memories of the first book. I remember feeling overwhelmed by Delirium and recommending it to a lot of people. In my opinion, it would have worked perfectly as a standalone book. Yes, the ending is heart-wrenching but it is so memorable.

Rating - *** 3 stars

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Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Celaena Sardothien is a heroine whose story you’ll want to read. In a life that includes the brutal murder of her parents and years training to be a skilled assassin, she now find herself in a slave labour camp where she has developed a hard heart that will take a lot to soften. When offered the chance to earn her freedom by fighting in a tournament to become the King’s Champion, Celaena reluctantly decides to journey to court and live amongst those who caused the defeat and suffering of her people.

It should have been a simple deal, fighting against other skilled soldiers and criminals to become the King’s Champion, serve for four years and then gain her freedom. What she find though is that there is a great deal more lurking at the heart of this castle and its corrupt court than she could ever have imagined.

Celaena is a great heroine. She’s feisty, witty, skilled and entertaining. She’s also arrogant, brutal, vain and self-centered at times. I love that when reading Throne of Glass, you probably won’t like her all the time. It makes her and the story much more interesting because you can’t always guess what’s going to happen. As she arrives at court, many want to know about her past, this will include, you, the reader! I’m hoping we find out more about all that has happened to her in the next book(s).

The story has a very similar premise to Poison Study by Maria V Snyder so if you enjoyed that, you’ll like this too. It’s not quite as good as Poison Study but it’s still very good. The world Sarah J Maas creates is captivating and as the book goes on, the world opens up to reveal that there is more to it than you may first think. Maas’ writing is a great balance of description and dialogue which makes for a page-turner.

The love story seems fairly standard when it’s introduced but it does become more interesting as it goes on and you’ll certainly be rooting for one of the two men in her life. The play for Celaena’s heart becomes particularly complicated with the final twists and turns of the book.

I was really pleased with this book and was craving something I would really get into and not be able to put down. I think it speaks for itself that I finished it yesterday, went out and bought the sequel, Crown of Midnight, and am now halfway through…

Rating **** 4 stars

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Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (film)

Wow. I finally saw this on Sunday and I’m still reeling. I really like The Hunger Games film so I’m really glad that Catching Fire continues to impress and ups the ante.

As with THG, I’m impressed with how closely the film follows the book. It was also so involving and entertaining that I wasn’t constantly keeping track of what had been left in and what was left out like I normally do with adaptations. I could only sit back and enjoy the thrilling story play out.

The acting in this film is amazing. In my opinion, there’s not one person who lets it down. Obviously, Jennifer Lawrence is the perfect Katniss and you won’t be able to take your eyes off her. By the end of this film she has cemented herself in this role and you can see what she will become in the next two films.

The effects on this film are stunning too. Now I am the greatest advocate for reading books, I think they’re awesome. But I have to say, I don’t think I really got the full effect if how horrific the Quarter Quell arena is until I watched this. The poisonous fog scene was horrible to watch and the ravenous monkeys were terrifying. Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Sam Claflin were suitably terrified in those scenes and really made it believable.

If I had to pick something I wasn’t wholly satisfied with then I think it would be the balance of the love triangle. I won’t say much in case there are genuinely people who don’t know what happens and who Katniss ends up with. But considering who she ends up with, I’m not sure it will be completely believable. I think the emotions of the love triangle are slightly underplayed. On the upside of that, the political and social themes are really brought to the forefront which actually makes a welcome change from relationship drama in films! So really, I’m not complaining about the lack of feeling for Katniss/Gale/Peeta because other things are being prioritised and that’s good.

One small thing that I particularly liked was that the film ended with the same line the book ends with. Small detail but it works well in the book so why change it. I for one am very ready to watch Mockingjay!

Rating - **** 4 and a half stars.

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Review: Ender’s Game (film)

I read Ender’s Game recently, you can find my review here. I loved it and had high hopes for this film but feared the worst. I didn’t think that Orson Scott Card’s vision of a Battle School for children in space could be realised on the big screen without becoming laughable. I had a pretty specific vision of many scenes from the books and I just couldn’t see how this film might work.

Thankfully, I was wrong. I was really impressed with Ender’s Game.  The producers/directors/anyone in charge actually included all the complex ideas that make Ender’s Game so memorable - the manipulation of children, fear for the future, fear of our own darkest potential, friendship. I was worried that they would ‘dilute’ this and make the most child-friendly version possible but they didn’t. As such the film is still suitable for children but appeals to an older audience too.

Asa Butterfield is brilliant. He managed to portray Ender’s young age while still believably transforming into a strategic leader and then dealing with the consequences of his actions. He really encapsulated the two sides to Ender and blurred the line between where one ended and the other began. He is such a believable young actor. During scenes with big names like Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, I was watching Asa because he was the most interesting. Perhaps that’s because of the character but I think Asa was a great pick for the character.

The Battle Room in the film is excellent. I had imagined something much more primitive but the version in the film is just beautiful. The special effects are impressive and you have to remind yourself that it’s not real. There is a particularly triumphant battle scene which has some suitable dramatic music that is so memorable. The music in the whole film was very emotive.

I was impressed that the film showed Ender’s isolation and the adults’ manipulation of him so well. It can never be as good as experiencing it through Ender’s eyes in the book but it transferred to the film well.

The last 20 minutes or so were really good. It was all very dramatic but also understated in a way, the drama and excitement wasn’t at the expense of emotion.

Overall, I was very impressed! I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like. I’d still recommend reading the book first, just because it’s so good.

Rating - **** 4 stars.

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Review: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

The Time Keeper explores the myth of how humans first began to measure time. The eponymous time keeper is Dor, or Father Time. He becomes obsessed with measuring time and before he knows it, man is measuring every second of every hour of every day. This book tells the story of the legend who prompted man’s fascination with time.

Rather than being science fiction, Albom’s novel reads like a fairytale as he uses simple language to explore a deep topic. Dor is shown to be a very human character at the beginning, before he becomes the mythical Father Time, allowing the reader to empathise with him. Albom’s time keeper is an unwilling one, once fascinated by measuring time, Dor is forced to endure humanity’s never-ending requests for more time. He discovers two people on either side of the spectrum, one who is desperate for more time and will pay any price to get it, and one who is very ready for their time to be up.

Mitch Albom’s writing is intriguing. His language is fairly simple, his novels are fairly short, yet his chosen themes are of extreme significance and complexity. The quest for more time is universal. What you may not have considered, is what if someone was forced to listen to those pleas? And so, The Time Keeper obliges with just such a story.

I enjoyed how different this book is and how it made me think about how short our time really is here. I love Albom’s message that man alone is governed by time and that this is both extremely useful and very limiting. There are countless messages that can be taken away from Albom’s simple yet memorable story, I think he intends it to be that way. Albom does not preach that we should appreciate our time or not become fixated with it, rather he portrays people whose lives have been taken over by an obsession with time.

An interesting read, one that won’t take much of your time but will make you consider how much you actually have.

Rating - **** 4 stars

…apologies for any and all time-based puns and overuse of the word time. It was unavoidable.

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Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

:: WARNING! Spoilers! ::

Apologies, I don’t normally write reviews with spoilers in but I feel that I can’t guarantee that this is completely spoiler-free.

Allegiant is the conclusion to Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy which introduced us to Tris, Four, Christina and many other characters who live in a city divided by factions, different social groups that each prize one attribute above others. This way of living presents its own challenges and allows questions of morality to arise in this dystopian world.

The story in Allegiant brings the reader to a point where everybody knows this dystopian world will be changed/fixed/improved in some way but no one can quite agree what should be done. As much as I enjoyed the dystopian world of Divergent and Insurgent, I wasn’t quite as captivated by it in this book. It’s inevitable that this book would be different as the protagonists go outside the city for the first time and learn about why their city is the way it is. I just felt that the series lost its sense of identity a little bit. I wasn’t really as invested in what was going to happen to any characters that were not the main ones.

In this book, Roth splits the narration between her two protagonists for the first time. Having read the end of this book, it’s quite evident why she does that. Unfortunately, Tris and Four are both quite similar characters so, particularly in the first half of the book, I sometimes forgot who was narrating unless it was obvious because of the storyline. They’re both strong and stubborn and determined and a lot of other generic descriptive words so it was a bit same-y at times. I love their dynamic in the first 2 books but once they’re fully together, it felt like drama was just created to keep their relationship interesting, Sorry, I know it’s harsh but hey, it’s my opinion.

There is a lot of politics going on in this book so a great deal of the story is planning and discussing. I’m not exactly an action junkie but I would have liked a few more exciting scenes such as the memorable ones from the earlier books (the ferris wheel, the zip wire, the fear landscapes).

So let’s talk about the BIG thing that happens at the end. I don’t want to say it outright because I really don’t want to spoil people (even though I’ve put a warning on this post). I was pretty shocked at Roth’s decision to include so much death and destruction at the end of this book. It’s a very brave decision and I can’t help but admire it because it’s so easy to end things fairly happily and write in a few token deaths of minor characters. Whether this particular death (if you’ve read it, you know the one I mean…) was the right decision, I can’t say. I only finished it this morning and I’m still not sure. Everyone will have their own opinion. It did feel like quite a bleak ending to be honest, even with those few hopeful tidbits thrown in. I did enjoy the final scene, it was nice that it echoed a Divergent scene and gave the series more of an arc, a feeling of an ending.

I’m writing this review now and then I’m going to read other people’s reactions, which is always how I write my reviews. I’m intrigued to discover what other people thought of this book, in particular.

Allegiant is well-worth reading if you’ve read the first 2 in this series. I would recommend rereading Insurgent if you don’t remember it very well. I didn’t do that and I feel like maybe I should have because then I would be slightly more invested in what happened in this book.

Rating - *** 3 stars.

Filed under allegiant veronica roth review books ya spoilers