Five books this week – looks like this is becoming the regular number; I suppose that makes 20 books a month, so not bad overall. 🙂 I read only fiction this week, but a nice mix between fantasy and contemporary. I really must get back into short stories and non-fiction though… Loved the absolute wackiness of The Last Dragonslayer – think this might finally inspire me to finish the Thursday Next series! I also adored Literally – it was a very fun, easy read.
Literally – Lucy Keating (4 stars)
Annabelle’s life has always been pretty perfect. But then she meets world-famous young adult author Lucy Keating and everything goes pear-shaped. Her parents are getting a divorce, and selling the house Annabelle grew up in, and then she meets a boy who can only have been written for her – it has to have been manufactured. Just when she thinks her theory that Lucy Keating is writing her life is too bizarre for words, she finds herself in a love triangle (typical), and the fight between author and character is ON! I loved that Keating spoofed and applauded the stereotypes of YA literature, while creating a vivid story which encapsulated some of the struggles which come with the writing process.
It Looks Like This – Rafi Mittledehldt (4 stars)
An incredibly touching story about a teenage boy whose family can’t accept him for who he is. Mike and his family have just moved to a new town. Mike is a disappointment – he’s too arty for his tough-man father. And then Mike meets Sean, and their friendship progresses into something more. But both boys are being watched, and the consequences of getting caught are dire. Mike is sent away to a camp to treat his homosexuality; he hates it, and it makes him dislike himself. It’s a devastating story about identity, family, and acceptance. It’s beautifully written, and heartfelt.
The Abyss Surrounds Us – Emily Skrutskie (2 stars)
I really liked the idea for this story. Cassandra Leung trains genetically engineered sea monsters, Reckoners, to protect ships. Her first solo trip is a complete disaster, however, when her Reckoner is slaughtered and the ship overrun by pirates. It turns out that the pirates have somehow managed to get their hands on an unhatched Reckoner pup. Cas’ role is simple: train the Reckoner and keep it alive, or else it’s her head on the chopping block. I really liked the story, and the f/f romance which permeates the pages, but the style of writing just didn’t agree with me. It felt stilted rather than fluid. A+ for story, D for writing style. It can’t have helped that I read this book in e-format, which is never my preference.
Life in a Fishbowl – Len Vlahos (3 stars)
Jared Stone has a high-grade glioblastoma multiforme in his brain. It’s a brain tumour, and his prognosis isn’t looking good. He wants to make sure that his family is cared for when he dies, so he decides to sell his life on eBay – he’s going to die anyway, right? A television network elect to film his gradual deterioration, with cameras on Jared and his family 24/7. It was a great story, with fantastic voices. I thought it was strange to have given the tumour its own voice, but came to appreciate and enjoy it. The book raised questions about reality television, grief, death, and euthanasia, the last being an issue close to my heart. I did struggle with its portrayal here a bit, however.
The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde (4 stars)
Jasper Fforde is a marvellous author of weird and wacky postmodern fantasy stories. I first fell in love with his Thursday Next series (even though I still haven’t finished it!). The Eyre Affair is one of my all time favourite books. The Last Dragonslayer is no different – it maintains the fantastic style, where Fforde mixes reality and fantasy incredible deftly to create a marvellous world. Jennifer Strange runs Kazam Magical Arts Management, an employment agency for magicians – but magic seems to be drying up and it’s hard to keep everything running smoothly. And then magicians start having visions, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. Jennifer was a fantastic character, and I loved her pet Quarkbeast. Just a very strange book, but truly magical.
What have you been reading this week?