Category Archives: Books

Nation – Terry Pratchett

Terry_Pratchett_Nation

“No more words. We know them all, all the words that should not be said. But you have made my world more perfect.”

This is a quote from one of my favourite books ever – I sound like such a fan girl. I read this book  when I was about 15 and has been in the top 10 ever since. Terry Pratchett – Nation.

This is such a beautiful book – I hate sounding so hipster but it is. The book begins with young boy Mau returning to his village after living on ‘Boy Island’ where the boys of his nation become men. Soon after his home, village and nation are wiped out by a tsunami. Mau has to rebuild his nation from nothing now that he is a man. However, he is not alone. Educated young English rose Daphne, who has been raised on social etiquette and good manners, or ‘Trouser Man’ has been washed up on Mau’s island and together they rebuild his nation, learning about each other and using the past to help create a new future.

Mau is guided by his history of the Nation and the voices of the ‘Grandfathers’ who will not go peacefully. Daphne has to learn the ways of the village while teaching Mau her own lifestyle to what seems like an uncivilized boy. 

Throughout this enchanting story we watch as two young people are forced to grow together and adapt to a lifestyle they never thought they would have to face.

Pratchett wittily demonstrates his ability to create a past, present and future for this world he has created. The novel will make you feel devastated and elated at the same time as you mourn for a past that will never be again and rejoice for a future that’s so promising. 

The book takes the youngsters through many challenging events such as; learning each other’s language, coping with the other villagers, such as Ataba the priest of the nation who is set in his ways of religion and refuses to adapt, escaping the God of death Locaha, and Daphne being kidnapped by mutineers. 

This quote sums up the book and I would high recommend that everyone reads this book, it’s a great, however, slightly different, coming of age book. Although, as ironic as this sounds, this book is for all ages.

“They didn’t know why these things were funny. Sometimes you laugh because you’ve got no more room for crying. Sometimes you laugh because table manners on a beach are funny. And sometimes you laugh because you’re alive, when you really shouldn’t be.”

imageI’m currently reading books that aren’t paranormal/fantasy/romance, so the reform is well on the way. However, I’m still halfway through reading said books so here is a review on the current paranormal/fantasy/romance series that I’m engrossed in. The Fever series by Kate Marie Moning. Which is also rumoured to be turned into a film after DreamWorks bought the film rights.

This series revolves around young and pretty Southern-belle MacKayla (Mac) when her world is ripped apart after her sister is murdered in Dublin, Ireland. The novel begins with Mac’s world being turned upside down when she goes to Ireland to find her sister’s killer and bring them to justice. However, when arriving in Dublin she discovers the existence of Fae, the war between the Seelie and Unseelie, and how she is stuck in the middle of this twisted reality. Mac finds out she is not who she’s always believed she is and discovers many things about herself she would never have imagined. She is aided by the dark, handsome and dangerous Jerricho Barrons, who has more mystery surrounding him than Justin Bieber’s prostitute number.

I am currently on the fourth book of this series and was kind of reluctant to review it due to the fact it came out in 2006. I asked one of my friends if they thought that was okay and he said he had reviewed a film that came out last month. There’s a wee bit of a difference between a month and 8 years but I’ll take what I can get. However, the series is ongoing.

This book really captivated me at the beginning, I was drawn into the mystery of Mac’s sister’s killer and because of the blurb I knew there would be paranormal business involved. Moning begins the book with Mac narrating events from the past, giving the reader a little insight into what is going to happen before being plunged into present tense. However, I’m four books in and I can stay I’m no closer to unravelling this mystery than to understanding why Jedward presented Ireland in Eurovision. There has been some things that have been cleared up but more twists appear. That’s what I love and hate about this book. THERE’S SO MANY TWISTS. I suppose this keeps the reader interested, determined to clear the shroud of mystery.

I thoroughly enjoy the plot, it’s a strong mix of fast and slow paced. With the Fae becoming less mysterious and more of an annoyance throughout the novel, at least the minor ones. The Fae in this story are inventive and fascinating, ranging from V’lane, the Seelie Prince that Mac has christened ‘death-by-sex faery’ and the ‘Gray Man’ the ridiculously ugly Fae who uses a glamour of a beautiful man and steals the beauty of woman until they are almost as ugly as him.  The change of Macis gradual but amazing: the happy ‘rainbow girl’ and into the girl who ‘despises pink and loves red and black’.  You see the character shape throughout the dark events unfolding in this novel. However, if you expect a fast-paced romance, as I was, you will be disappointed. Mac fluctuates between Barrons and V’lane. She never commits to one or really open up to or get involved with any.

The romance is slow and gradual but it does build tension. My  for books is when  the protagonist and their obvious love interest get together to quickly and ruin the tension and the build up. The Fever series can not be accused of that. The series really is unique in the paranormal/fantasy category. Which is extremely hard to do now. I’ve read a few books that is essentially the same plot with different names and species.

I definitely recommend this series due to the rapport between Mac and Barrons, the childish arguments and the obvious tension building. Yet, Mac’s obvious reluctance to trust him and Barrons mystery keeps the story going. Moning, did write the Highlander series before the Fever series and although there are links between characters and subtle references you would not have to read the Highlander series to understand Fever. If you like crime/fantasy/romance books that will last a while the Fever series is definitely for you.

So I have almost, kinda branched out from my sci-fi/paranormal cocoon. The novel I’m writing about is sci-fi but it is not the usual evident tension between a female protagonist and the dangerous good-looking (insert mythical something) type of novel. However, it is topical as the film based on the book is out this year. I will try my hardest to review the book without revealing any major storylines in the film. So here is my detailed, but in a minimalistic way, review.

Divergent by Veronica Roth is a novel that compelled me from start to finish. I became submerged in her haunting world where society is split into five factions; Dauntless, which the members are fearless, cloaked in black and excellent fighters. Candor, whose members always tell the truth, no matter how harsh it can be. Amity, dressed in yellows and reds and forever happy and peaceful. Erudite, the intellectuals of this warped society and finally Abnegation, the definition of selflessness, dressed in drab gray, never curious and anything that could be associated with cosmetics shunned. Basically, the factions are self-explanatory. Abnegation is where the protagonist enters, Beatrice Prior, who is later known as Tris.

Basically, everyone in this gothic type society is split into one of these five factions based on an aptitude test they have on Choosing Day, an exam that determines you personality, this is when the storyline develops as Tris reveals an aptitude test for not one but three factions, Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation. This makes her Divergent and therefore a threat to society. Tris shocks her family and herself by deciding to live in the faction Dauntless.

Throughout the novel you see that the fearless faction has many flaws in its society, or else there wouldn’t really be a story, and Tris is caught in the middle, the Dauntless faction celebrates suicide, abuses their initiates and makes their deepest fears a reality. Of course, no good novel is worth its literature salt unless there is the side-kicks and the miniature villain that isn’t necessarily into the major evil behind everything but terrorise the protagonist enough that you wish they were a real person so you could punch them in the face. Tris’ friends, Will, Christina and Al, are there to try to and help each other survive throughout the initiation while jealous Peter makes it his living goal to annihilate any chance they have of placing in the top ten. The top ten is a score board for the initiates placing them in order of their rank, if they make it into the top ten then they have earned their place in Dauntless. However, if they fall short they are cast out to the Factionless, a section of this society filled with homeless and starving people who belong to no faction, hence the name.

Of course, the love interest. (I’m not saying that a good book needs a love interest, I’m just saying that personally for me it makes a little bit more interesting). Four, named after only having four fears. However, this is not a typical girl meets boy novel, there are many themes that overshadow romance so therefor Four is not your typical boy. He is one of the mentors for the initiates, he is dangerous but also haunted, which you later find out why but I won’t tell you because if I did I may as well name this post Spoiler!

Four subtly helps Tris through her initiatiation while dealing with his own demons and this is when it’s all gone Pete Tong. The other faction’s are beginning to cast out Abnegation, the leaders and politicians of the society, with the hunting party being controlled by Erudite.

This is when the novel’s storyline becomes clear, a war breaks out and Tris must decide on whether to stick with her new but damaged faction or help her family in Abnegation and also fight against the antagonist of this novel, Jeanine Matthews, the leader or Erudite.

This novel is definitely in my top ten. I loved the way the society has been portrayed, it appears as though the individuals are managed and ruled by their factions but you can see the bigger picture, the strings being pulled. The strength of the character Tris pulled me in and almost demanded respect. There is no doubt that Veronica Roth is an excellent writer, developing this alternate reality where betrayal is everywhere and love and trust is something earned not given.

I highly recommend that you read the book, I’m slightly biased but I believe that the book is always better than the film as you get to know the character better, hear their inner thoughts. However, it isn’t fair for me to judge before the film has even been released but basically my point is if you like alternative society/paranormal/romance/awesome books then definitely read this book!!

An Intro to a bookworm in reform

I always believed that I was the ultimate bookworm and to be honest was a little bit snobby about it.

However, my rose-tinted intellectual glasses quickly shattered after one fateful afternoon involving a bored teenager and an iPhone. I’m an addict, it’s something I came to terms to when I reached level 26 on QuizUp, an app for quizzes, on Disney after playing it demonically for three hours straight. I saw that there was a quiz for Book Quotes and immediately clicked on preparing to thrash any opponent that dared challenged my knowledge on books. Unfortunately what I realised is even though I read a lot it happens to be the same kind of books.

If you ever want to know which is the best teenage/romance/sci-fi novel out then I can tell you in a heartbeat, name off my favourite characters and quote the book to you, essentially a walking talking book spoiler alert. However, when it comes to non-fantasy, serious books I know nothing. I got beat level after level of QuizUp quickly growing into a deep despair. I no longer felt like bookworm but a rip off like those people who wear fake beats.

So I set myself a challenge to read as many diverse books and novels as possible and actually restore my status as bookworm. I will put up a review of almost everything I read and see if I can change my one-track book mind. Of course, I will add my paranormal fantasy books because old habits die hard.