Posts tagged ‘book review’

April 25, 2012

Book I just Can’t Finish

I hate not finishing a book. I hate it. Really. I’m very much a ‘stick it out’ kind of person- possibly simply because I believe that a book deserves to be finished before you decide on its relative merits. So when I don’t enjoy the beginning of a book enough to the point of not being able to go on, it irritates me. And I am determined to remedy the problem.

My current pet peeve is The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimeus trilogy). I tried to enjoy it. I really did. Trully. But I’ve never been able to get past the first chapter. I’ve tried so many times I don’t even remember why I disliked it in the first place. Anyways. It is on my to-read list. I am determined to finish. Especially with a synopsis like this: (and when you read it, it’s like- that sounds like it would be good, I mean a witty and sarcastic main character? What more could I want?!)

Goodreads SynopsisNathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.” 

If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him. 

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine. 

In British author Jonathan Stroud’s excellent novel, the first of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the story switches back and forth from Bartimaeus’s first-person point of view to third-person narrative about Nathaniel. Here’s the best part: Bartimaeus is absolutely hilarious, with a wit that snaps, crackles, and pops. His dryly sarcastic, irreverent asides spill out into copious footnotes that no one in his or her right mind would skip over. A sophisticated, suspenseful, brilliantly crafted, dead-funny book that will leave readers anxious for more.

March 16, 2012

30 day book challenge- Day 16- A book you would recommend to an ignorant/close-minded/racist person

I don’t think that there is anything more humbling and equally inspiring than a man who spends 27 years in prison and comes out forgiving the people who put him there. Long Walk to Freedom is thus definitely a book for a close-minded/racist/ignorant person- if you can read it cover to cover and not be moved by this man’s incredible courage, strength and integrity then you have to be dead inside. Long Walk to Freedom recounts the life of Nelson Mandela- starting as the foster son of Thembu chief to the man who was instrumental in the ending of apartheid. Including details of his life including from the ending of his first marriage and his time as an impoverished student to the way in which messages were passed whilst at Robben Island, this book is both an interesting read and a moving one. Without a doubt the person I would most like to take to dinner and also a book I would highly recommend for a racist human being.

January 23, 2012

The Hunger Games- Book 1

First dates tend to fall into three categories- Amazing, Ok, and Fake-an-illness-to-get-out-of-Awful. Reading the first book in a series is exactly the same-except you don’t have to wear make-up and taking it to bed on the ‘first date’ doesn’t make you slutty.  But if you’re actually a bit of slut, like myself, having read many series before- you know that a good first book doesn’t mean that books 2 and 3 couldn’t still break your heart with bad writing and predictability.

My first date with the dystopian ‘The Hunger Games’ (see the trailer for the upcoming film) by Suzanne Collins has gone spectacularly well. Picture a post-acpocalyptic America- now divided into 12 Districts and controlled by the Capitol. As punishment for a long-ago rebellion, and as a reminder of the power of the Capitol, a girl and boy from each district are given as tributes to compete in the annual Hunger Games- a gladiator/big brother/survivor style occurrence where 24 children must not only attempt to survive harsh conditions (which could be anything from a forest, to a poisonous swamp, to artic conditions) but must also kill one another until only one is left. The book is too good to give much away- safe to say it follows Katniss Everdeen as she struggles through the bloodbath of the Games, and will give you 450 pages of pure suspense, a bit or romance and the inner workings of a rather flawed young girl, who had me when she questioned whether or not she loved her mother.

So my love affair has begun, and I can only hope that books two and three don’t let me down- I shall write a fuller review of the whole story arc when I’ve finished all three.  Until then, don’t forget to Donate! (world horse welfare needs you) (and go out and read this book.)