Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Rating:  ★★★

Lord of the Flies is an example of what might happen when boys are isolated without adult supervision for an extended period of time.  I read the deluxe edition in which Stephen King wrote a wonderful intro.  The book’s influence on King, one of my favorite authors, was obvious right from the beginning.  Their styles and the element of supernatural happenings all felt incredibly familiar (in a good way).

I can also see how this book inspired the many other fantasy dystopians that came later.  It felt like a prototype for The Hunger Games and Red Rising.  What happens when we are reduced to our basest selves?  Who do we become?  What is necessary for group survival?  Would you change yourself to become a part of that group and what does it say about you?

There is a lot of ominous foreshadowing, and the symbolism goes on for days, but in the end, I just wasn’t all that entertained or even shocked by it.  It gets off to a very slow start, with nothing really terrible happening until halfway through.  And then when things start happening, they really aren’t all that shocking.

I’m sure it was shocking in 1954.  But that’s where the book dates itself.  If you’ve read anything by Stephen King.. there’s really not much to see here.  I don’t want to say it’s not graphic, because it is, but Golding also manages to dance wonderfully around specific actions.  There’s no doubt in your mind about what’s happening, but the how of it is vague.  For example the scene with the mother pig… I had to read in one of the essays at the back what Golding was trying to tell me.  I knew what was happening- the boys were killing her with their spears- but not where the spears were going.

I just think scenes like that are more powerful when they’re direct.  Make me cringe, make me look away, force me to put the book down for a few minutes because I need a break.  Instead, I kind of shrugged, said “poor momma piggie” and moved on with my day.  The essay at that back?  Yeah, that made me cringe.

Anyway- I’m glad I read it, and I didn’t find it to be a difficult read at all (which I always worry about with classics).  But if Lord of the Flies is not something that interests you for its literary importance, it’s pretty safe to skip.  It’s been done better in more recent years.  If you do decide to pick it up- I highly recommend the deluxe edition.  I got a lot more out of it with the intros and extra texts.

Lord of the Flies can be found on GoodReads and Amazon.

Book Review: Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle #1) by C.L. Polk

Witchmark C.L. Polk

Rating:  ★★★

Blurb (from GoodReads): C. L. Polk arrives on the scene with Witchmark, a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this book, and it’s no wonder, having been nominated for the Nebula, Locus, and Lambda Literary Award.  Having been nominated for all these awards may have been a detriment to the book in the end.  I was expecting a lot.  Something like my reaction to The Wolf in the Whale.

I’ll be honest and say that I read most of this in one day, so it certainly started on a good note.  When I finished the book, I initially rated it 4 stars, but upon reflection felt like I should lower the rating.  It had an enchanting and cozy feel to it.  It feels like historical fantasy, but it’s technically a secondary world that feels a lot like London (though Kingston makes me think of Jamaica which would have been awesome).

The world building all seems very solid on the surface.  There are rules.  It’s not a free-for-all.  There’s structure and status.  However, by the time I reached the end, I was questioning how coherent and consistent those rules really were.

Some minor world-building spoilers ahead:  The super wealthy elite are all mages from powerful families, meanwhile, witches are persecuted.  I’m confused about a few things in this regard: A) Do the non-magical people know that the wealthy elite are mages? B) If they do know, why persecute witches and not mages? and C) If they don’t know- am I expected to believe that the mages are just immune to witch trials due to their class status?.  Either B or C is fine and acceptable, but it was never really explained and I felt like it was integral enough to the plot that it needed to be explained.  I kept reading thinking the author would get around to explaining it, but as I neared the end I understood she was expecting me to take it at face-value, which I didn’t appreciate.

Another issue I have is the conflicted messaging.  There are themes in this book pertaining to slavery, and the more I reflect the more issues I have with it.  I just don’t think the overall message was clear.  We know where Miles stands on the issue, but one of the antagonists in the book isn’t clearly an antagonist (she feels more like an annoyance), and their stance on the issue is very murky.  They say they want to help, but they have extremely misguided ideas on how they should help.  It just made me feel a little icky inside.

The romance was sweet, but definitely not as major a factor as I had expected. I enjoyed it, but wished there was more.  Additionally, the ending was super abrupt and a lot of the end scenes confused me.  One minute I thought we were in one setting, the next I was in a different place.  I had to reread a few times to see where the scene transition was and still couldn’t find it.  It could have used just a few more pages.

But overall, the entertainment value is always the most important factor for me, and it delivered in that regard. I found it hard to put down, and the writing was decent.  Polk did a good job of keeping me in suspense regarding the murder mystery and some of the strange happenings around Kingston.  There are pretty high stakes.  I’m currently undecided about whether I’ll continue with the series or not.

Witchmark can be found on GoodReads and Amazon.

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas

Title: Dahlia Black

Author: Keith Thomas

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 288 Pages

Publisher: Atria Books

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Blurb: For fans of World War Z and the Southern Reach Trilogy, a suspenseful oral history commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Pulse—the alien code that hacked the DNA of Earth’s population—and the response team who faced the world-changing phenomenon.Voyager 1 was a message in a bottle. Our way of letting the galaxy know we existed. That we were out here if anyone wanted to find us.

Over the next forty years, the probe flew past Jupiter and Saturn before it drifted into the void, swallowed up by a silent universe. Or so we thought…

Truth is, our message didn’t go unheard.

Discovered by Dr. Dahlia Black, the mysterious Pulse was sent by a highly intelligent intergalactic species that called themselves the Ascendants. It soon becomes clear this alien race isn’t just interested in communication—they are capable of rewriting human DNA, in an astonishing process they call the Elevation.

Five years after the Pulse, acclaimed journalist Keith Thomas sets out to make sense of the event that altered the world. Thomas travels across the country to interview members of the task force who grappled to decode the Pulse and later disseminated its exact nature to worried citizens. He interviews the astronomers who initially doubted Black’s discovery of the Pulse—an error that critics say led to the world’s quick demise. Thomas also hears from witnesses of the Elevation and people whose loved ones vanished in the Finality, an event that, to this day, continues to puzzle Pulse researchers, even though theories abound about the Ascendants’ motivation.

Including never-before-published transcripts from task force meetings, diary entries from Black, and candid interviews with Ballard, Thomas also shows in Dahlia Black how a select few led their country in its darkest hours, toward a new level of humanity.

Why I’m excited for it: I love first contact anything.  I love the unexpectedness of it- how it could go either way.  Maybe the extraterrestrials are benevolent beings, maybe they want to help us poor lost humans out, maybe they want to banish us from the universe and steal all Earth’s resources.

I also love seeing how the characters in the book/movie/whatever learn to communicate with each other.  Maybe it’s through math, maybe it’s through intercepted news and media signals, maybe it’s through music or language absorption or psychic powers.  Who knows?  First contact is a theme that comes with predetermined issues, but allows the author countless space to be creative and unique, and provide the reader with scenarios they might never have imagined.

I do find it a little odd the author used his own name as one of the character’s in the book though.  It totally threw me off and I had to keep looking to be sure it wasn’t some kind of typo in the blurb.  But I’m also hoping that’s a sign that the book is quirky and different.

This is going to be told in an oral history format, similar to World War Z by Max Brooks.  Sometimes this format works for me, sometimes it doesn’t.  World War Z which I listened to in fabulous full-cast audio, came off as a little dry.  The problem was, everyone who was telling their part of the story, you already knew they had lived. Still, I do like this format every now and then, and I’m hoping the different type of conflict will allow there to be more suspense.

Lastly- elevated humans?  I’ve only read a handful of books with elevated animals.  It’s kind of a bizarre thing but I like the possibility it provides for ethical discussion, and I can’t wait to see what the humans are being elevated to, exactly.

Dahlia Black can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.

What about you?  Which new releases are you looking forward to?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite books of the past decade

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

First- a belated Happy Memorial Day weekend to all my American friends!  I hope you enjoyed it!  I’m sorry to kick this week off with a T10T when I haven’t posted a single review in weeks, but it was a hectic weekend for my family, filled with grilling, guacamole, sunshine and sprinklers.  My huge library book haul seems to be doing the trick as I will have a couple reviews for you all later this week.

Anyway, I’m looking at this topic and relieved because it seems easier than some of the last topics we’ve had this month, but I’m also wondering if I have a favorite for each year of the past ten.  I guess we’ll find out!

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

2019: The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky.  I’ve read significantly less 2019 releases than probably most other book bloggers- but I don’t foresee this changing.  I read this all in mostly one sitting. Not bad for a 500+ page novel! Honorable mentions to: The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, and Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald.

The Mere Wife Maria Dahvana Headley

2018: The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley.  I also haven’t read that many 2018 releases apparently.  In my review, I only gave this 4.5 stars because the ending disappointed me, but months later I find myself craving more fierce, unapologetic fiction like this book, and wishing for ANYTHING with a similar voice. It really does deserve five stars. Honorable mentions: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, and The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark.

tmato_jk

2017: The Moon and the Other by John Kessel.  I think this is another that I gave 4.5 stars to instead of 5.  My reason for including this and The Mere Wife (above), is that in the end, I’ve held these novels to a higher standard.  If we’re going by literary accomplishment, I have more respect for them than I do for some of my 5 star reads for 2017.  The Moon and the Other is beautifully written, metaphoric, entertaining, and manages to give lots of food for thought. Honorable mentions: The Will to Battle and Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer, and Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell.

TLtL

2016: Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer.  This is a weird one for me.  I absolutely will not recommend it to anyone to read, but it remains as a favorite.  I think if you can read it with buddies who can help you understand the intricacies of the plot and the world building, you’ll get more out of it.  If you are patient, this is one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read. Honorable Mentions: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

2015: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  I suspect I’m not the only person to slot this for their 2015 favorite.  SoC is the reason I will still occasionally pick up a YA novel despite being disappointed with most other YA offerings (it’s not them, it’s me).  It’s dark and gritty with just the right touch of romance. Honorable mentions: The Just City by Jo Walton and Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell.

tb_sdc

2014: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. These books are fast paced and the characters and their banter are fabulous.  There’s not a lot of magic- but a little, and I’m more than okay with that.  Fun fact: the author is an actual fencer, and his dueling scenes are better for it. Honorable mentions: Revival and Mr. Mercedes both by Stephen King.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

2013: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.  This is about a vampire from Christmasland.  I know that’s odd.  Don’t question it.  Just go with it.  Honorable mention: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie and The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

Gone Girl Gillian Flynn

2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I know Amy Dunne is a sociopath, but she’s a disciplined and brilliant sociopath.  For some reason- along the with The Mere Wife, I’ve been thinking a lot about Gone Girl and wishing there were more stories like this available.  Honorable Mention: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson and The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.

PoT_ML

2011: Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. Much like Amy Dunne, I find Jorg to be a very compelling as a character.  Also- this is just a delightfully wicked book. Honorable mention: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.

Sh*t my dad says by Justin Halpern

2010: Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern.  So this is a weird place to end up.  Anyway- apparently I didn’t read much and definitely wasn’t tracking my reading in 2010.  Don’t let that stop you from checking out this hilarious book. Justin’s dad is definitely a guy I wouldn’t mind drinking a beer with.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“On [Justin’s] Response to Having [His] Tires Slashed ‘Oh, don’t go to the goddamned cops. They’re busy with real shit. I don’t want my tax dollars going to figuring out who thinks you’re an asshole.'”

And that’s it!  What about you?  What are your favorite books of the past ten years?

 

 

Library Book Haul

How do you bust a reading slump?

Read ALL the books.

So I went to the library and got ALL the books.

Okay not really.  Here’s what’s up next:

Witchmark C.L. Polk

Witchmark by C. L. Polk

Initial impressions: The writing is excellent.  I only read the first chapter but it was super atmospheric.  It was very easy to picture the setting: people riding bikes and horse drawn carriages in the streets.  A bustling city with soldiers coming and going.  The shadow of war hanging over them all.  The intrigue level is super high.  Nothing is really explained.  It starts out normal enough with a doctor leaving work for the day, and an emergency patient coming through.  And then the magic and witchery starts.  I was expecting more magical realism than straight up magic (which honestly is not really my thing) but I like it so far.  It seems to be hinting at an underground mage society so I’m excited to see where that leads to.  A promising start!

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Initial impressions: First of all- GoodReads told me this was 182 pages long.  It’s not.  I’m willing to forgive it in lieu of the fabulous introduction from Stephen King.  When he found this book, he said he was looking for a book about “how boys really are.”  Golding’s influence on King is obvious.  As I read through the first chapters I kept thinking it felt familiar. Finally I realized it was because it feels like King.  The characters feel real, the prose isn’t overly flowery (though more flowery than King’s).  I’m a little confused about how these boys got to this island, but so far that first chapter is the one that resonated with me the most, so I’ll be continuing with this one before the others.

Initial Impressions: This is confusing as hell.

Seriously- why do authors think writing without quotation marks is a good thing?  Not cool man. I had to re-read a paragraph like eight times, move on, and then double back when I realized there weren’t any quotation marks (and honestly I’m still not sure I understood the conversation).  Otherwise, the prose is spot on.  I’ve highlighted a couple quotes I love already, and if it wasn’t for Lord of the Flies, this would have been my second pick to continue reading.  I’m not sure what the judge’s deal is. I know he’s the big bad in this novel though, so I’m excited to see what it’s leading up to.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Initial impressions: I just read a book where a man gets shot in the chest, kills another man dead for taking his shoes, but pulling the wings off a fat little bumblebee bothered me more.  There’s something wrong with me right?  Anyway- I was immediately sucked in by the premise.  A little girl meets a strange man.  There’s something sinister happening with the strange man (Harper Curtis).  That much is obvious from the start.  He seems to hint that he’s acting under orders from some other organization, but that doesn’t make you like him any more.  The writing is great and I’m curious to see where it goes.

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Initial impressions: I think I’ve only really read the introduction and the prologue so far, but I’m a little disappointed.  I’m still coming down from the high that was The Mere Wife, so I had high expectations.  My favorite type of writing, my favorite type of book, is one that I like to describe as unapologetic.  The author writes in a way that’s bound to make the reader uncomfortable, exposing all the ugly truths within a person or a society or practice, but so far this isn’t that.  It doesn’t carry the same level of force that The Mere Wife does. Still, I haven’t read much so I’ll remain hopeful.

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Initial impressions: I wasn’t really interested in The Queens of Innis Lear when it first released.  The title, the name… it seemed like a pretty generic fantasy to me.  It looked and sounded similar to Four Dead Queens and Three Dark Crowns, which all released at about the same time. But I recently stumbled across the title Lady Hotspur which I added strictly because of the title.  When I checked out the blurb of that, it referenced this.  So I doubled back to TQOIL and read the blurb, and thought what the hell.  I liked King Lear, who not give it a go?  I hope it maintains the humor and wit of King Lear throughout.

So that’s ALL the books.

Have you read any of them?  Are they on your TBR?

Also- please send help.

 

 

 

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Gamechanger by L. X. Beckett

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.Gamechanger L. X. Beckett

Title: Gamechanger

Author: L. X. Beckett

Publisher: Tor

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 576 pages

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Blurb (from GoodReads): Neuromancer meets Star Trek in Gamechanger, a fantastic new book from award-winning author L. X. Beckett.

First there was the Setback. Then came the Clawback. Now humanity thrives.

Rubi Whiting is a member of the Bounceback Generation. The first to be raised free of the troubles of the late twenty-first century. Now she works as a public defender to help troubled indiviudals with anti-social behavior. That’s how she met Luciano Pox.

Luce is a firebrand and has made a name for himself as a naysayer. But there’s more to him than being a lightning rod for controversy. Rubi has to find out why the governments of the world want to bring Luce into custody, and why Luce is hell bent on stopping the recovery of the planet.

Why I’m excited for it: First and foremost- it’s Tor.  They are without a doubt my favorite publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  I’m almost never disappointed with what they put out, and they publish many of my favorite authors (Jo Walton, Ada Palmer, and Ian McDonald to name a few).  They are also pretty good to their fans, with generally low priced ebooks, a new free ebook offering every month, a short fiction newsletter quarterly, and more short stories easily available on their website.

Something about this cover reminds me of Too Like the Lightning (I have a feeling the cover artist is the same) and I’m hoping the contents of the book will feel similar too.  What I loved about TLTL was the picture it painted of what the world might look like 400 years in the future.  Aside from all the cool tech- Palmer totally reimagined government and societal values which was the most fascinating piece (to me).  Gamechanger seems to be imagining a world 200 years in the future after it’s survived an apocalyptic event.  I can’t wait to see what the author does with it, but I’m hoping for something that’s a vast departure from the world we currently live in.

Additionally- with a title like Gamechanger, I’m hoping for a high-stakes political game, twisting turning secrets, and a plot that will make my head spin.  By the way- who decided September was the best month to release all the good stuff?  My TBR is already full for September!

Gamechanger can be found on GoodReads or pre-ordered on Amazon.

Which upcoming releases are you most excited about?  Leave me a link below so I can drop by and check it out!

 

Book Review: Saga Vol. 4 – Vol. 6

I am not in a reading slump.  If I just keep telling myself it will be true right?  It’s a little difficult to blog about books if you haven’t read anything in two weeks.  However, over the weekend I did force myself to sit down and read the three graphic novels I think I’ve had checked out from the library for, I kid you not, nine weeks.

Rating:  ★★★★

I’ve reviewed a lot of books, and I like to think I leave decent, well-rounded reviews.  However, for whatever reason, it doesn’t translate well to Graphic Novels.  I think because there is less to comment on?

For anyone unfamiliar with this series, Saga is about two people who fell in love while they were at war against each other.  Everyone with a stake in the war wants them dead because it would be bad for people to know that there’s a chance that maybe they could all get along.  To top it off the couple gets pregnant.

I won’t spoil too much about the plot- it’s an interstellar adventure with some very tense moments.  I do think these last three volumes were significantly darker than the first three.  We see the deaths of some characters that I managed to get pretty attached to, and some of the characters arcs take hard turns into the darker side of things.

Along the way we are introduced to a few new characters here and there.  Some of which I enjoyed and others less so.  The representation Vaughan includes is pretty thorough.  There are characters of color and plenty of LGBTQ rep.

Fiona Staples is the artist and her work is amazing.  I love the way she uses color, and it’s always a treat when there is a full panel drawing or concept included.

I did have to wonder a little bit, with Hazel starting kindergarten and all, why the governments are still looking for them.  It seemed to me Alana, Marko, and Hazel would have fallen to the wayside what with the war going on and all.

One of my complaints about some of the previous volumes was that Marko talks in his own language which I’m pretty sure is made up.  That trend continued here.  I still don’t understand those panels, I’m not sure what they contributed, and I’m not sure why they were included.  There’s no other explanation of what might be going on.

All in all it’s a small complaint, and Saga is very much worth checking out.  I’m excited to see where these stories go in the next few volumes.

Top Ten Tuesday: Movies I Wish Were Actually Books

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Hello friends.  I don’t want to call it a reading slump- but life has been so busy I’m definitely on a little bit of a reading hiatus (I’m sorry!).  Trust me- I’d rather be reading.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Page To Screen freebie, and I’m going to do it in reverse, because most of you could probably guess which books I want turned into movies.

Prison Break

Prison Break: I loved this show when it aired.  I’m a sucker for characters who are geniuses, and Michael definitely fits that bill.  I’m not entirely sure it would work well in a novel, but I’d give it a shot.

The Departed

The Departed: I love anything that comes out of, or is set in, Boston.  Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg are two of those things, and anytime they get to act with their full, glorious, Boston accents, I’m pretty happy.  Also- this movie will fuck with you.  Dirty cops, good cops, gangsters… nothing is what it seems.  If someone could turn this into a thriller style book and nail it, I’d read the shit out of it.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams:  This is like the ultimate American movie, baseball, corn farming, and Iowa.  It spawned some of my favorite movie lines: “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa!” and has enough emotion and mystery that I think it could make a wonderful book.

Pitch Black

Pitch Black:  Laugh all you want, but I love this movie.  In case you haven’t seen it, Vin Diesel plays a convicted serial killer.  When the interstellar bounty hunters who arrested him crash land on a planet full of blood thirsty monsters, he becomes their only hope for survival.  If someone could please turn this into a Crichton style horror/sci-fi thriller, I’m going to read it.  I don’t think it even has to be that good.

Justified: This is probably one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and I’ve never actually watched the last season (I couldn’t watch knowing it would be over, it was just so unfair).  Raylan Gibbons is a US Marshall, returned to his hometown to put the smackdown on a bunch of old timey crime families.  Boyd is perhaps one of the greatest shades of gray characters ever written- and I’d read a novel just about him (but including Raylan would also be A-OK).

The Last of Us

The Last of Us: If you aren’t a gamer, then I’m sad for you, because I think The Last of Us has one of the greatest gaming narratives ever written.  It’s tragic, emotional and thrilling.  For 10-13 hours you play as Joel or Ellie.  When you get to the end, you’re punched dead in the face with the realization that Joel is not a good guy, and also, he is  terribly human.  I thought about that ending for days afterwards, and all these years later, with TLOU2 on the way, I’m still not sure how I feel about it… Which is why I think it would make a great book.

Arthur Morgan Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption:  I love Arthur Morgan, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a book about John Marston either.  I’ve added Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West to my TBR this year, but I’m reasonably sure it won’t be the same.

300.gif

300: Before you get all righteous on me and tell me that this is based on a graphic novel- hold your horses, I know that.  I also know that the visuals were carried out exceptionally well, so it’s hard to imagine this being translated into a strictly novel format and working, but I don’t care, I want it anyway.  Someone could make it good.  I have faith.

Lagertha Vikings

Vikings: I feel like I haven’t mentioned this show in a couple months.. so here it goes again.  I want a Vikings novel told from Lagertha’s POV.  I want a woman warrior who claws her way out of the trenches and shows up every man that ever tried to take advantage of her.  It’s okay if it has romance- but I’d really rather it didn’t have a HEA or get all mushy.  I do not want Sky in the Deep (which IMO, tried too hard and came up way short).  Lagertha’s story is not a happy one- and that’s what made it so compelling.

Gladiator

Gladiator: Guess who else didn’t have a happy ending?  Poor Maximus.  Someone write a book on this guy.  Side note- can anyone recommend something similar?

That’s it!  I think.  If you have any good books to recommend that reminded you of some of these movies/shows/games, I’d love to hear them!  What’s in your T10T post for the week?

Book Review: Time Was by Ian McDonald

I’m in the process of job hunting right now, and life has been super hectic, so forgive me for not being present.  I’ve done almost no reading this week.  I’m still trying to keep up with all of your blogs though so forgive me if I miss a post or two!

Time Was Ian McDonald

Rating:  ★★★

From GoodReads: A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.

In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers…[Then] Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.

Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their disparate timelines overlap.

Time Was is a quick little novella.  I feel that the blurb is really misleading though, and the actual blurb on GoodReads contains a spoiler, so I’ve left it out here.  While this is in part Tom and Ben’s story, it’s actually more about a bookseller, Emmett, who stumbles onto their secret and becomes obsessed with finding them.

Much less exciting right?  The buddies I was reading this with all agreed- we wanted more about Tom and Ben!  The romance was lovely, but it was maybe 25% of the whole book.

The writing was sharp, concise, and atmospheric, as is typical of McDonald.  He’s very good at forcing you to read between the lines, so at times I became a little lost.  Especially the opening, which talks about digging around in a dumpster in LeBoutins for books, because I was still under the impression we were in WWII… and some of the POV/setting shifts weren’t incredibly obvious to me in those first couple chapters.

Both the buddies I read with guessed the ending (I did not) and were disappointed with that.  There’s also the time travel aspect, which was not explained at all, highly unscientific, and left a lot of us confused.

In the end, the writing was great, and romance was wonderful, but we were all left wanting more.  We had questions we wanted answered, and were sometimes bored with the main narrative.  If you’re interested in reading McDonald, while this won’t take too much of your time, I’d still recommend starting with New Moon.  I appreciate McDonald’s versatility, but this didn’t feel like a great representation of his ability.

Time Was can be purchased on Amazon here.

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Ninth House Alex Stern 1 by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Ninth House

Series: Alex Stern

By: Leigh Bardugo

Pages: 480

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Blurb from GoodReads: Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Why I’m excited for it: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are two of my favorite books.  I devoured them both in just a couple days.  I loved the characters, their banter was witty and fun, the plot was action packed, the pacing was perfect, the world was gritty, and the cast was diverse.  When I later tried to read the Grisha trilogy, I was less enthralled.  Maybe if I had read them first, I would have liked them more, but at the time they felt fairly generic.

From Leigh’s tumblr page book announcement: “I should mention that [Ninth House] is adult, not YA and will be published as such. It goes some very dark places and it is meant to disturb.”  Being an adult novel won’t make it inherently better, but I feel like Bardugo excels with dark and gritty.  If she’s going full adult I’m super excited to see what she can do with it.

I’ve also seen the words thriller, supernatural, and occult kicked around in relation to Ninth House, and there’s no better place to do that than New England!  It does seem like a vast departure from her usual fare, but I’m hoping that’s a good thing.  I can’t wait to see what she’ll do with it.

What about you?  What new releases are you excited for?