Not Alice In Wonderland

“What about Alice? Did she have a happy ending?”

It’s no secret that I love Christina Henry’s take on Alice and have been eagerly anticipating to read its sequel, Red Queen. Being a lover of the darker arts (I hope this does not change your sunnier opinion of me) (I am no sunny person in any way), Henry’s dark and grotesque version of wonderland hyped me up to read more from her. Yet, as all sequels are, there are bigger things to expect and my high expectations for Red Queen left me enjoying the novel less than its predecessor.  Continue reading

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Walking Teenagers… Again

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“But right now I can’t help thinking this universe is a mystery that wants to be solved; a mystery trapped inside each and every one of us.”

I’ve been thinking for a long time what to say about this novel. I have finished Beneath Wandering Stars months ago and I have so much to tell you guys about it but whenever I face  computer screen or paper, I am at loss of words. This wasn’t any other YA novel I have ever read and at the same time, this was everything a YA novel should be. Sure, this novel doesn’t have handsome fairies, vengeful queens, witches or wizards. It’s no fairytale retelling or dystopian fiction. It is about a girl and a boy walking a pilgrim, as simple as that. And yet, it extends even further into something complex and deep and wonderful at the same time. I also read a similar book long ago which features walking teenagers as well. No one dies horribly in this book, though.

Beneath Wandering Stars approaches spirituality and philosophy that I don’t get to see enough in recent YA fiction, not unless we’re talking about the angst-driven coming-of-age novel which main philosophy is to hate the world and all those living in it. Beneath Wandering Stars isn’t written with hate and despair, it’s written with longing. Continue reading

Top Ten Reasons Why I Hate and Love ACOTAR and Sequel

I have kept my feelings welled up inside me– I have many times considered tearing the book apart were it not for my parent’s peaceful upbringing. So, I had to settle on tearing potato chips with my teeth as I scan the book and write my review.

Because I HATE A Court of Thorn and Roses yet, at the same time, I LOVE it.

Damn you Sarah J. Maas. Damn you.

I intended this as a different post but when I saw that TTT is having a freebie week, I decided to put the two together since I was having a hard time organizing my thoughts. The post shall contain rants and praises and god knows what else. Maybe profanity unless my zen upbringing proves stronger than I thought. At the moment, I’m listening to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, thinking of the time when fairytales were simpler but memorable; ACOTAR is anything but simple and its impact to me is as powerful as an ant crawling inside my ear. I think it is a brilliant book that subverts common fairytale cliches such as Instaromance and Happily Ever Afters into realistic affairs and turns innocent kisses to hot, steamy sex scenes. At the same time, it is a flawed book, which makes it more or less an interesting book to discuss. I’ll be talking about BOTH novels so there are spoilers of course.  Continue reading

The Camorr Travelogue… And This Other Guy

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying… (Goodreads)

I am thinking.

I am thinking on how to approach Locke Lamora because touching it would be akin to touching a thin, slide of glass. If its plot were tangible, I would have broken it into tiny pieces with my tiny pinkies.

I finger my invisible moustache and agree that your crafted world could determine your novel. I see nothing wrong with that. The City of Camorr is vivid and colorful, brimming with crime and dark politics. The novel is much more about the city than Locke himself, who just happens to get tied into its ceaseless energy and complicated street mobs. There is nothing wrong with that.

Continue reading

Desperate Housepeople

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Little Children by Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta’s thirtyish parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There’s Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed “The Prom King” by the moms at the playground, and his wife, Kathy, a documentary filmmaker envious of the connection Todd has forged with their toddler son. And there’s Sarah, a lapsed feminist surprised to find she’s become a typical wife in a traditional marriage, and her husband, Richard, who is becoming more and more involved with an internet fantasy life than with his own wife and child.

And then there’s Mary Ann, who has life all figured out, down to a scheduled roll in the hay with her husband every Tuesday at nine P.M.
They all raise their kids in the kind of quiet suburb where nothing ever seems to happen – until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could ever have imagined.

Coined as a dark-comedy, Little Children explores modern families and its ups-downs in an introspective and ridiculous manner. We have a couple of seemingly cliched but absorbing bunch of characters: Sarah is a whiny woman who enters an affair with the young and handsome Todd, also a whiny man who seems as lost as she is. Sarah’s husband is a porn addict and Todd’s wife is a career woman who acts more like Todd’s mother than his wife, pushing him to take law even though he doesn’t want to. Larry, a retired policeman, is obsessed in catching ex-convict Ronnie in the act– The book is rich of unlikable characters and polarizing imagery that Perrotta writes with a crisp and fresh voice. Continue reading

A Story About The Most Compatible Couple of the Century and How Compatible They Are

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story. (Goodreads)

The Time Traveler’s Wife has a very interesting premise. It has romance AND time-travel.

Continue reading

Rowell Writes A Fanfiction

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

You may know the fictional Simon Snow series that Cath fangirls about in Fangirl. Well, Rowell made a book about it titled Carry On. Unlike Rowell’s other novels, Carry On has magic, monsters and the most predictable mystery ever that sometimes you’d wonder how these characters could possibly not know what’s going on. But then, I expected a lighter read after The Dark Tower and this novel didn’t fail me. Carry On was easy to read, a feel-good book and it was light alright but it also didn’t have any meat in it.

The book is full of jumpy characters and jumpy scenarios. Nothing grows in this book, not the characters, the plot, or the world of Carry On. The mystery and fantasy aspects of the novel are squeezed in and didn’t have much time to grow into the story. The first-person narratives was an interesting touch at first but quickly becomes trivial and bothersome, especially when majority of them are ‘Simon-centric’ and it gets quite repetitive and obnoxious(ly Simon). The action scenes were dragging and confusing as Rowell does a lot of ‘telling’ than ‘showing.’

That said, the romantic tension between Simon and Baz were well-written and their exchanges were fun to read. This is Rowell doing her magic here, I thought. Lucy’s story was a tragic one compared to Simon and Baz’s love story and it served as a sad and hushed-up climax unrealized that only made her story more haunting and tragic.

Rowell also did it great job on writing her characters outside their stereotypical roles, especially Agatha, the ‘Ginny’ of the novel who is aware of her unimportant role in the story, her friends’s ridiculous activities and her necessary relationship with the hero Simon. In retrospect, the book satirizes common fantasy tropes that reminded me a lot of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Rowell adds her own twist of magical elements such as spells out of lyrics, nursery rhymes and other pop cultural references and fantasy creatures with their own quirks and culture that I wished she could have integrated interactively in her story instead of just telling us who and what these creatures are.

The Verdict: 3/5 Stars

A good, light read with lots of promise but falls flat and forgettable in the end. The blurb summarized it nicely.

I still don’t understand why it’s called Carry On.


About the Author

Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons. Goodreads | Website