Happy belated Easter, I hope y’all had a great holiday weekend!
Due to a short work week, I had tons of extra reading time this week, which definitely came in handy since a lot of my time was spent dealing with getting my car fixed and calling the insurance company. Nothing a good book and a glass of wine can’t heal, though!
This week I’ll be reading the classic Brideshead Revisited, a novel I’ve put off for long enough. And, I finally got my hands on the audio version of Stardust! It’s going to be a good week. 🙂
What have you been reading lately?
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Let’s see, how do I describe Sharp Objects without giving anything away? At the novel’s start, the reader is introduced to Camille Preaker, a now thirty-something reporter living in the big city who grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets, from kid bullying to sexual abuse, but to mention such a thing to an outsider, or even the police, is simply not done (unless you want to be an outcast). Camille returns to her childhood home to report on the mysterious deaths of two thirteen-year-old girls, but finds herself unwelcomed by her mercurial mother and half-sister as her own secrets are exposed.
I first became a fan of Gillian Flynn after reading Gone Girl, but then again, who didn’t? The tone of both novels is strikingly similar as are the two leading ladies, but Camille, who is quickly revealed as a cutter, is not as inexplicably psychotic as the infamous Amy Dunne. As the investigation delved deeper into the town’s secrets, I was increasingly swept up by the unique cast of characters and the contemptuous positions they put themselves in. For fans of Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, you do NOT want to miss this!
Rating: 5 Stars
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Once childhood friends, an inexperienced witch and a computer genius meet again in the hipster capitol of San Francisco. But the world has been pushed to the limit as resources dwindle and weather conditions become extreme, wiping out all of North-Eastern United States, the friends will need to combine the powers of magic and technology to save the world.
Based on reviews, the novel is a deep emotional journey, a study on friendship, love, duty, and sacrifice set to an apocalyptic back drop, but midway in, I found myself questioning the writer’s intent as the story became unfocused and the tone constantly changing chapter to chapter. The first half held my attention as the young witch, Patricia, finds she has the ability to speak to animals and her friend, Laurence, builds himself a 2 second time machine the size of a watch, but as soon as the central plot unfolded, it was mottled beneath layers of family drama, classic school bullying, and outlandish plot twists that don’t even make sense in Anders’ alternate reality. It read as if she not only lost her focus on the central plot line, but lost her entire sense of the novel and its characters midway. Even the symbolism presented by the title is lost – Patricia’s first notion of her powers is through her conversation with a bird as a child, but only at the end is this truly incorporated into the story with more than a passing comment. Instead of developing the symbolism and its incorporation into the apocalyptic theme, the freedom and sign of the renewed life to come is ultimately absorbed by the plot and left meaningless. While an ambitious and unique novel, I think this might be better left on the shelf.
Rating: 2 Stars
Euphoria by Lily King
The novel begins as two anthropologists, and spouses, Nell and Fen, flee from the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo tribe in New Guinea. Despite both having Malaria, and Nell a broken ankle to boot, they are desperate to find another tribe to study after their stint with the Mumbanyo tribe failed to yield book worthy notes. Enter English anthropologist and admirer Andrew Bankson, who after being alone for some years studying the Kiona river tribe, is emotionally broken and suicidal. After a chance encounter, and sparked by a sudden interest for Nell, Andrew establishes the couple with a new Tribe, the Tam. But Nell’s capricious husband soon lands them into trouble as a fiery love-triangle ignites.
Winner of an Audie Award, the audio version of Euphoria is outstanding. Both enthralling and overwhelming, the listener is enveloped in the isolated world the characters have put themselves in. For a dominate portion of the novel, the primary focus is Nell’s growing relationship with members of the Tam, but slowly shocking details of her relationship with Fen are revealed as he loses himself to the tribe with catastrophic results. I don’t want to reveal all my thoughts on the novel as I’ll probably be writing a longer review later, but I can’t recommend this novel enough! A study of our deepest relationships and the effects of societal pressures, Euphoria is a smart, engrossing read and true page turner.
Rating: 4 Stars