Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Review: This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

Name: This Savage Song
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Date published: June 2016
Rating: 5/5


Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city - a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent - but he's one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who's just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August's secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
- From Goodreads.

This Savage Song has a very unique world with an intriguing plot and backstory. I have found that a lot of the distopians that I have read (and I suppose that you could call this book a distopian?) are sort of realistic, or more science-fiction (which is not a bad thing, because that is an interesting way to do it), but this story had more of a fantasy element, with the creatures and monsters, and it felt quite new and unique and I found it really exciting.
I also liked how information was revealed slowly over time, because obviously Kate and August knew about their own backstories, but they do not reveal everything they know at once, which I think helped with the suspense and stopped me from feeling like I was having a load of information just dumped on me and helped me to slowly come to understand what was happening.
I was scared to start reading This Savage Song because I was worried I would not like it, and I really wanted to, but then I did and I sped through it a lot more quickly than I thought I would, I was so absorbed in the story. There was so much imagination involved, so many interesting ideas, and I loved the descriptions and the way words were used in this book. Language was really used to its full effect. The plot was so clever and mystifying, and now I am very excited to read what happens in the next book!

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My copy of this book was received from Maximum Pop Books as a prize from a giveaway.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Review: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Name: The Princess Bride
Author: William Goldman
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date published: 1999
Rating: 5/5


Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken.
- From Goodreads.

The Princess Bride was funny, witty, satirical genius. I was first introduced to this story when my friend brought the movie with her to a sleepover at mine and we watched it and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Then, I cannot remember how much time it was later, but I was in an independent bookshop with the same friend that I had watched the movie with, and I saw the book and I decided I had to buy it. I did and I am very glad I did because this book is now definitely one of my favourites and its characters  are definitely some of my favourite fictional characters (if they are, indeed, fictional...).
It was a story that I kept reading because I always wanted to read what came next but I also did not want to finish it just yet because I was enjoying reading it so much. I really like it when the narrator of a book has personality and interrupts the narrative and makes an impact, and this book does that fantastically. It flows easily because of its humour and conversational tone, which meant it did not drag, and instead of forcing myself to pick it up (which I admit I had to do for some of the books that I read for university this year) I had to force myself to put it down when I needed sleep.

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Monday, 4 July 2016

Rambles (#4): On Reading Anne Frank's Diary

I read Anne Frank's diary recently, and I wanted to write about it but I thought it would be, I suppose, disrespectful to write a review. After all, this isn't a fictional novel, this is Anne's very thoughts, ideas and beliefs, this is how she recorded her life. Consequently, I thought it would be better to simply write down all the thoughts I had about it, in one of my Rambles, which I feel would be a better way of honouring Anne, as it is similar to the way she wrote down her thoughts in her diary.
I found every page of her diary emotional, insightful and beautiful to read, but especially so in light of recent events. Anne lived in a time of horror and violence, violence which was directed towards her and those like her because of their religion. Now, in June alone, 49 people were killed and more were injured at a club in Orlando because of their sexuality, and British member of parliament Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed in West Yorkshire because of her political beliefs. 52% of Britain then voted to leave the European Union, which feels like a move against peace and unity, and has pretty much driven the UK into chaos. And that's not even everything that seems to be wrong in the world at the moment. The present almost seems to be reminiscent of the time that Anne Frank was writing in, and one of the most upsetting things is that we don't seem, in this climate of hate and war, to learn from the past that the way forward is not through intolerance and violence.
However, reading Anne's diary showed me that despair is not the answer, and that perhaps, like her, I should keep hope in the face of all these horrible events happening. Anne may not have survived the war, but she lives on through the legacy that her diary left. I could never truly understand how it is to be in Anne's position, I know that I could never truly comprehend the pain of how she and her family were treated, but the wonderful words that she left behind show that she was far better than any of the intolerant people who lived then and who live now, and than any of the people who caused her death.