AND I’M BACK!!!!!!! Uni slowed down for the teeniest moment, and I took full advantage – 11 books in a week! I can’t wait until classes are over forever – imagine how many books I’ll read then! Maybe the dreaded TBR piles will diminish. 😛 Reviews this week are very tiny, otherwise this blog post would be waayyyy too long! The important ones will get longer reviews soon.
As always, you can buy any of these books from Booktopia.
The Diabolic – S.J. Kincaid (4 stars)
This book was really cool – it was set in space (already a tick from me), and it centred on a genetically modified humanoid called Nemesis whose purpose in life is to protect one human, Sidonia. When the greatest danger to Sidonia is travelling to the imperial court, Nemesis is trained to go in her place, and must feign a humanity she doesn’t believe she possesses. There are many intricate plots and hierarchies. I read it more slowly than I usually read books, and did guess some of the plot points, but I enjoyed myself immensely.
My Name is Book: An Autobiography – John Agard (4 stars)
An incredibly simple read, this would make an excellent gift to any primary-school-aged book-lover. It is told from the point of view of a book, as it traces its ancestry back to the time of clay tablets. Even I learned a fair bit about the history of the book, and I thought I was pretty well-versed in that trivia category!
Unrivaled – Alyson Noel (3 stars)
This was an incredibly cheap eBook I had on-hand for that moment when I was stuck without a physical book. I had expected it to be a bit crappy, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I anticipated. It’s about a group of teenagers competing for fame and fortune through publicising and promoting night clubs.
Freedom Swimmer – Wai Chim
(Australian author)(4 stars)
Freedom Swimmer is being marketed as YA, but I think it would also be appropriate for middle-grade readers. The story is based on the real-life experiences of Wai Chim’s father who swam from China to Hong Kong in the hopes of a better life. It was a totally fascinating story with roots in historical events.
The Diary of William Shakespeare, Gentleman – Jackie French
(Australian author)(2 stars)
Jackie French has always been one of my favourite Australian authors. I really liked her 2015 release, Ophelia, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and was thus expecting great things from her novelisation of the playwright’s life. However, I was sorely disappointed. The ending was exciting, but getting there was a total drag… I really didn’t need to read about Shakespeare’s bowel movements, despite French’s assertions that gentlemen of the day included that in their diaries all the time. Ewwwww….
Hilda and the Troll – Luke Pearson (5 stars)
I don’t normally include graphic novels or picture books in my weekly recap, but this one is way too cute not too share! Luke Pearson has worked on the cartoon Adventure Time, and I noticed a bit of similarity in the illustrative style. This story is about Hilda, a totally bad-ass curious little girl who is inadvertently a bit awful to a troll. IT IS SOOOOOO CUTE!
A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers (5 stars)
A companion novel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, this book was just incredible. It focused more heavily on artificial intelligence and the ethical implications of using sentient beings as servants, regardless of how they were created. I loved it, and I devoured it. I will review both of Becky Chambers’ books in greater depth soon.
Artie and the Grime Wave – Richard Roxburgh
(Australian author)(2 stars)
I sadly didn’t like this book at all. With other Aussie celebrities releasing excellent books this year (Isla Fisher with Marge in Charge, and Alan Brough with Charlie and the War Against the Grannies) I had expected greater things. Unfortunately, it just felt like a lot of silly jokes muddled together. There were some interesting weapons towards the end though – I particularly liked the imagery of the snot gun.
Cell 7 – Kerry Drewery (3 stars)
I expected better things from this book. The concept is that the justice system is run as a reality television show. Death row takes seven days, and it is the general public who make the decision based on very biased commentary. The story was told in many different ways – in first-person, in third-person, in transcripts of the television show. I liked the concept, and the style, but there was just something missing for me… I can’t quite put my finger on it.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu – Joshua Hammer (4 stars)
My non-fiction quota for the month! Although a little bit tricky to decipher in some places, this book was a fabulous insight into a part of history wholly new to me. Timbuktu, in Mali, is home to one of the most impressive collections of ancient manuscripts in the world. When the area was seized by Al Qaeda militants in 2012, a select group of librarians participated in a dangerous operation to sneak 350 000 precious volumes out of the city to safety. It was totally fascinating, and I can’t wait to learn more about the manuscripts through my own curiosity-fuelled research.
The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski (4 stars)
This one was a reread, at the behest of my sister. The story of Kestrel and Arin was just as good as I recall, and I have the next two at the ready! Their relationship had such an interesting dynamic given that Arin was a slave, purchased by Kestrel. Then there are so many other complications but I risk giving away the entire plot so I won’t mention it…
What have you been reading this week?