Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 290
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 8, 2015
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

From one of the greatest writers of our time: the most spellbinding, entertaining, wildly imaginative novel of his great career, which blends history and myth with tremendous philosophical depth. A masterful, mesmerizing modern tale about worlds dangerously colliding, the monsters that are unleashed when reason recedes, and a beautiful testament to the power of love and humanity in chaotic times.

Inspired by 2,000 years of storytelling yet rooted in the concerns of our present moment, this is a spectacular achievement--enchanting, both very funny and terrifying. It is narrated by our descendants 1000 years hence, looking back on "The War of the Worlds" that began with "the time of the strangenesses": a simple gardener begins to levitate; a baby is born with the unnerving ability to detect corruption in people; the ghosts of two long-dead philosophers begin arguing once more; and storms pummel New York so hard that a crack appears in the universe, letting in the destructive djinns of myth (as well as some graphic superheroes). Nothing less than the survival of our world is at stake. Only one, a djinn princess who centuries before had learned to love humankind, resolves to help us: in the face of dynastic intrigue, she raises an army composed of her semi-magical great-great--etc.--grandchildren--a motley crew of endearing characters who come together to save the world in a battle waged for 1,001 nights--or, to be precise, two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights.

My Review:

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, I have never picked up a Salman Rushdie story before, and yet I have heard so much about his amazing writing and this book truly appealed to me with the magical idea it gives readers in the synopsis. This book is inspired by years of storytelling, and is narrated by people over many years.

I was truly interested in what was happening in this book, readers are taken on a journey of descendants of the djinn's over many years. The way Rushdie describes "The War of the Worlds" is truly intriguing, a strangeness begins when descendants of the djinn begin to show their powers and it opens up this other world. A battle begins for the survival of the world and these magical descendants are the ones who can save the world.

I will admit that this is the type of book that takes a lot of focus, it's not one of those that you can do other things at the same time. I found myself needing to re-read sections at times because I was a little lost as to what was happening. It's a short story but you want to take your time with it so as to fully immerse yourself in the world that Rushdie brings to life. I thought the writing of this story is beautiful and really brings the magical aspects to life in such a way that you can imagine all this happening around you in this world.

At times I did have difficulty because I felt like I was reading a history textbook, learning about the djinn and their past. And yet, despite these long historical passages, they did really add to the story and how everything came to be. This book combines mythology with current pop culture and it is a story for generations to come.

Truly take a chance to experience this beautiful book, that shows readers in a time of chaos and war there is always a way to find beauty and love. I can see why Salman Rushdie is one of the greatest writers of our time, it felt like I was reading a fairy tale at times but a very real one, more for adults than children.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Series: Six of Crows #1
Pages: 480
Received: Received an e-copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 29, 2015
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

My Review:

Gah!! That is my first reaction to how awesome and enthralling this book was... how have I waited so long to finally pick up a Leigh Bardugo book?!?!?! I've had her Grisha trilogy waiting to be read, but then this one popped up and I picked it up first, and I am in love right from the beginning. This book is filled with action and romance throughout and I was definitely on high alert, I just wanted it to keep going, I will be sad to see this series end, it's one that I want to go on forever.

This book is a lot about a quest, not only a quest for retrieving something, but also one of revenge for some characters. What I really loved about this book is that it is basically about a group of ragtag criminals coming together to get a job done. We meet each of these other characters one by one, and slowly learn more about them and how they met Kaz in the past and why they are so willing to help him with such a dangerous plot. Each of these characters has a different skill and they all work so well together to help pull off this heist.

It was interesting to see how Leigh Bardugo differentiates each of her characters in such a large way, not only does each of them have a special skill but their personalities are all very different too. Kaz is the ringleader of this group, in a way he has saved each of them from a worse fate than where they are now, it's interesting to see how each of them view Kaz as a person. It is fun watching these characters try to work together without killing each other, there are a lot of arguments that add a great humour element to the story.

A lot happens in the story and I found that I got to learn a little bit about the world but there is definitely still more to learn about where each of these characters came from. I love that Bardugo gives readers perspectives of each of the characters, it brings us closer with them, it seems like a lot but Bardugo really makes it work for readers. Every one of the characters are tricky in their own way, you can never know what they are thinking, but each of them shows of how smart and strong they truly are. And the ending... that just got my heart and I need more from Kaz and his group ASAP!!!

I can say that I loved every minute of this book and I think many people will, it's the type of book that can grab at many different genres. But this is definitely for fans of speculative fiction, Bardugo has a way with her magical characters that make the different types of people seem so real. Definitely pick up a Leigh Bardugo book, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review: Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 336
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 14, 2015
Buy From Chapters.ca / Buy From BookDepository.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller and 2014 Edgar and Anthony nominee Reconstructing Amelia comes another harrowing, gripping novel that marries psychological suspense with an emotionally powerful story about a community struggling with the consequences of a devastating discovery.

At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, including a string of unreported sexual assaults that goes back twenty years.

Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and now missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.

Told from the perspectives of Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, Kimberly McCreight’s taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth about the baby’s death revealing that these three women have far more in common than they realized. And that their lives are more intertwined with what happened to the baby than they ever could have imagined.

My Review:

I had heard a lot about McCreight's first novel Reconstructing Amelia but I haven't had the chance to read it, after reading this one I'm more interested to know what her other book is like as well. Kimberly McCreight keeps her readers intrigued and trying to figure out the mystery, the story keeps jumping around and it is hard to know who is involved. There are so many stories that intertwine with one another and all come together to solve the mystery of this baby.

The way Kimberly McCreight writes these characters is amazing, each of them has their problems, I found it hard to truly like any of them... but that is what made this book so good. Molly is the journalist trying to figure out what happened, but this is a case that hits a little too close to home for her. Molly is taking a huge risk for her health by accepting this job, but at the same time it helps her through her depression a bit.

This is a small town with a lot of secrets being hidden and Molly works hard to uncover these past secrets. This story goes between the perspectives of three different women, each with their own issue, but all of them have something in common and relate to the mystery of this baby in one way or another. Because this is a mystery book it is very hard to talk about what happens without giving away too much of the story...

I love how Kimberly McCreight takes her readers around in circles and can turn things around so quickly in her writing. The story keeps you interested as things continue on and you really want to figure out the mystery, but it is the type of town where everyone has a motive and everyone has their own secrets. Definitely an amazing mystery book, and I absolutely love her writing style to draw readers in!
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