My overall favourite this week, and a strong contender for favourite of the year was The Growing Season! It is just amazing scifi. I also really loved the beautiful The Museum of Words by Georgia Blain and middle-grade mystery, The Lie Tree.
The Growing Season – Helen Sedgwick (5 stars)
I read The Comet Seekers earlier this year, also by Helen Sedgwick. I loved the writing, but wasn’t 100% sold on the story. However, I still thought I would give her another try. And I am THRILLED that I did! This book is phenomenal. It takes place in a world like ours, only pouches have been developed so that women do not have to carry babies and face the pain or risk of childbirth. Instead, the burden of carrying the pouch can be shared between parents. In this world, the task of child-rearing is more equal too. But FullLife, the company behind the pouches, has been hiding things. And Eva, an anti-pouch campaigner, is determined to reveal it to the world. Together with her ex, journalist Piotr, she searches for the truth. Why is FullLife suddenly promoting natural birth? The story was fascinating! Told through audio logs from an unknown older woman who developed the pouch, through the eyes of Eva and Piotr and Holly, the first woman to carry her child in a pouch. Beautifully written and a completely fascinating science fiction about women. Pertinent issues about abuse and misogyny were also raised, though more on the periphery than as the central story. Fascinating and completely brilliant.
The Truants – Lee Markham (3 stars)
This was my book club book. Sadly, I wasn’t the biggest fan. It started off really well – with a vampire trying to die, but accidentally infecting a number of people. He then manipulated children and made them eat some adults, which was creepy but I could get on board. And then it just got a bit spiritual and there was an orgy and a riot, but nothing was explained properly? Loved the beginning, got confused by the middle, and the ending felt like something out of Twilight… An interesting take on vampires, but not the most entertaining story out there!
Revenger – Alastair Reynolds (2 stars)
I found this very similar to Zenith, which I enjoyed a lot more! It’s about a young girl whose sister convinces her to sign onto a ship for adventure, but everything goes awry and her sister is kidnapped by the most terrifying pirate alive. So Fura embarks on a crazy revenge mission to get her sister back. I struggled through this book… It was just not super exciting, and it really should have been! The only character I really loved was a robot!
The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman (5 stars)
This tore my heart into tiny little pieces. Also, I never realised as a child that this book is basically about a sexual awakening. Still loved it, even being able to see that now. 😛
The Museum of Words – Georgia Blain (Australian author) (4 stars)
A beautiful, devastating memoir written by Georgia Blain as she began to deteriorate with a brain tumour. It is a story of family, of language, of mortality. As Georgia loses her language, she still manages to turn out such beautiful turns of phrase, depicting her journey through illness. She also reflects on her mother’s illness, and the difficulties intelligent, academic, literary people have when they begin to lose their grasp of language. Incredible.
The Woman in the Window – A. J. Finn (3.5 stars)
Coming out in January, this is a pretty exciting crime novel. (Yes, even the non-crime reader thinks so!) It definitely beats Girl on the Train – I will never ever understand why people adore that terrible book… Anna Fox is a recluse, but not by choice. She cannot leave her home. But she is entranced by her new neighbours, and spies on their lives. She believes that there is something sinister going on, but no one will believe the mad woman! The twists and turns were always surprising!
The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge, illustrated by Chris Riddell (4 stars)
A really gorgeous middle grade about a little girl struggling in her time. Faith’s father has been ruined – his biggest archaeological discovery was a hoax. So they move to a tiny island where few people will know. Only, they find out very quickly. And then Faith’s father is murdered, and everyone believes it to be a suicide. Determined to save her family’s reputation, Faith sets about solving the mystery. But along the way she discovers weird and wonderful things about science, including a tree that thrives on lies. A fantastic story, made so much more awesome by Chris Riddell’s beautiful illustrations.
What have you been reading this week?