Books, Review

Book Review: The Hurricane Party – Klas Östergren ****

the hurricane party klas ostergren

Hanck Orn’s son is dead. When they come to the door they tell him it was a heart attack, he knows they are lying. So he travels to the archipelago at the outermost reaches of the land to find out what really happened. He lands on an island and is met by a young woman, hair streaked with blood, raving like a lunatic. She is one of the sisters, who tell him the story of how his son died in the great hall of the Clan, the Norse gods, who were holding a party. But the festivities soon got out of hand, the guests began to argue with one another, and the mischievous shapeshifter Loki dealt a deadly blow. Set in a dystopian future that recalls Orwell and Zamyatin, Klas Östergren has weaved a dizzying story of magnificent scope and foul play. Moving from the golden halls to the depths of the underworld, it is about one man’s search for justice for his son in a world on the brink.

This book had been on my TBR for at least a year, so it was about time I picked it up.

As you may or may not know, I adore the Marvel movies that have come out in recent years. I especially love the Thor ones. Complicated characters are my favorites and Loki fits that description perfectly. He’s not just some lose canon, it’s obvious that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Now I’m eagerly awaiting the new movie ‘Ragnarok’, which is coming out in two weeks, and I know it’s going to be amazing, but I needed something to help me fill the void until that movie comes out. The Hurricane Party sounded like the perfect filler.

The book starts off somewhere in the future. There have been some big changes. Sickness has killed a lot of people and the environment has been utterly destroyed. You now have two seasons: the rainy season (which drowns everything) and the dry season (which burns everything). Food is scarce and people have to make do with what they have.

Hanck lives in the city with his grown-up son who’s a chef and cooks for the richest part of the population, the Clan. Hanck himself repairs machines and listens to “The Organ” in his spare time. Doesn’t sound very interesting but they still managed to draw me in.

The first part of this book is mainly getting to know the main-character and the situation he’s in. It’s also about figuring out who killed his son (it takes a loooong time before we get to that part). I guess this book is about family and love more than the murder itself. Things are not straightforward or pretty. They are depressing because the situation is depressing. I actually really liked this dystopian part, the world-building and the character dynamics.

I also enjoyed the writing. It’s a bleak world he’s portraying but he does it extremely well. I could imagine myself there. Although I’m not entirely sure where ‘there’ is. Some say it’s Stockholm, which I can understand, but I guess I’m just thrown off by the mention of Dutch and Flemish people. (Loved that by the way, I don’t often see Flemish people in these kinds of books)

The second part of the story is where the Norse Mythology comes in. Like I said, I adore Norse Mythology and this book didn’t disappoint me. I actually learned a lot and I loved the way he wrote Loki. He’s not a likeable character, but he’s interesting. There were so many myths in here and normally I wouldn’t have wanted it to end…but……….. it slowed down the entire story and I still feel like the glue, that was meant to keep the two parts together, wasn’t strong enough. They still felt like two completely different stories to me.

So would I recommend it?

Maybe.

If you like Norse Mythology and dystopian stories like I do, then you’ll probably like it a lot. If you like Swedish crime novels, this could also be something you’d enjoy because it has the same atmosphere.
If none of these things are your cup of tea, maybe you’d better read something else.

Cover: Goodreads
Buy? Bookdepository

Books, Review

Book Review: Eliza and her monsters – Francesca Zappia *****

“You found me in a constellation.”

Eliza and her monsters Francesca Zappia

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

If you haven’t read any blurbs or heard anyone talk about it, I want to stop here for your sake. I feel like the blurb on Goodreads spoils a lot of the story… and I’m glad I went into it not knowing too much.

I have this thing where I pick up popular contemporary YA fiction on a whim whenever I feel like it. Saturday was one of those days. I remembered Eliza and her monsters, looked it up and started reading. It could have gone either way but in this case I didn’t stop until I finished it.

So this is Eliza’s story as she tries to survive her last year of high-school. All her free time is spend on making her webcomic which is hugely popular. Her parents do not understand what she’s actually doing and keep trying to get her out of the house more.

There was so much in this story, I don’t know where to start.

I think it’s a great example of how too much of anything can never be good. Eliza spends every second of every day working on the comic. Yes, she’s very good at it and yes, she enjoys it but when someone asks her what her plans are after the comic is finished, she doesn’t know how to answer that question. When something takes over your life like that, maybe you should take a step back every once in a while.
(I know that’s easier said than done, though… I have to remind myself to step away from some things too.)

Another thing this book does brilliantly is show anxiety and how it can manifest in different ways. I understand that sometimes being around other people is exhausting. Groups can make me feel trapped. I allow myself to feel these things but I have to remember to be careful. You can’t let them ruin your life.
The panic attacks were recognizable, although mine have never been that severe, I get why she reacts the way she does.

But what I liked most of all were the moments where they talked about creativity. Because that’s exactly how I feel. That feeling when a piece of dialogue or a line comes to you and you get so excited. That’s me.

And lastly, it reminded me that it’s okay to take some time off the internet because one of the reasons I get stressed out is because there’s too much information coming my way. Too many impulses. There’s so much pressure on our youths. We also put ourselves under a lot of pressure. In the end, it’s no wonder that anxiety has become so widespread. We’re always busy, always gathering new information, always in touch with other people. I think our brain gets tired and when we let our guard down we get bombarded with negativity.

I can only speak from my own experience here.

This book was everything I didn’t find when reading Fangirl. It made me happy and sad at the same time.

Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough.

Love

Ellen

Books, Review

Book Review: Artemis – Andy Weir ****

Artemis Andy Weir

Like most people, I was completely blown away by The Martian.
It was funny, full of sarcasm and very, very clever. It made me feel smart while reading it. As if I know anything about growing potatoes on Mars. (Well, now I do.. at least a little..)

When I heard about Andy Weir’s new book “Artemis”, I could only hope it would live up to my expectations.

It did.

You see, it had all the elements I liked in The Martian:

  • Snarky and sarcastic main-character? CHECK
  • Lots of fun all the way through? CHECK
  • Clever Plot? CHECK

Even the potatoes were mentioned!

Something I find very important in a story are ‘setbacks’. Mark Watney, everyone’s favorite Space Pirate, had lots of them (things blowing up mostly). Let’s just say that life isn’t easy for Jazz Bashara either. But she makes it work. She’s not some kind of Superwoman. She’s human, she makes mistakes. I really liked her.

There are some great side-characters too. Since most of them live on the moon, where the livable surface area is a bit on the small side, they all know each other well. They all have history, they all have a story to tell.

Maybe the plot isn’t as strong as The Martian was but honestly, what’s the use in trying to figure out if one is better than the other?

This book was so much fun!

You know it’s a good book when you devour it in a day. And that’s exactly what I did.

I hope you’ll enjoy it too!!

Artemis will be available on the 14th of November 2017.

 

I received an ARC through Netgalley. This has not influenced my opinion in anyway. You know me by now.. I say it like it is…

 

Books, Review

Book Review: Strange The Dreamer – Laini Taylor *****

“I turned my nightmares into fireflies and caught them in a jar.”

book review strange the dreamer laini taylor

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Hurray!! I have found my first 5-star book of the year. From the first page I knew I was going to love it. The way it is written is so beautiful and so magical. It was brilliant!!

First of all, let’s talk about the sweet gem that is Lazlo Strange. He was so relatable, the way he cherishes stories and doesn’t want to do anything other than read. I caught myself smiling whenever he would talk about books.
I also think his character arc is beautiful. From the boy fighting shadows to well.. you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Then there are all the other characters and the roles they play. (I’m being really careful here because I don’t want to give anything away.) Of course, this is only the first book in a series, so there’s a lot left to be told in the next books. They are such a varied bunch of people and they all have their special abilities. You’re always going to like one more than the other but overall, they were all a perfect fit in the story.

And then it all comes back to the writing which, let me tell you, was something else. Laini Taylor’s writing is so vivid and lyrical and downright beautiful. I loved it more than I can tell you. Honestly, how can I even put this into words…

Even though the ending broke my heart, it was perfect in its own way. It all just comes crashing down once you realize what’s going on. So, so cleverly done!

I wish I could just pick up the next book.

So now… we wait…

 

Books, Review

Book Review: Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier **

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

book review rebecca daphne du maurier

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…

I’ll just say it like it is. I did not like this book.

While I was reading it, I kept hoping that it would get better, hoping that it would pick up, hoping for an amazing twist. Nothing came.

Let’s start at the beginning. The protagonist is a child and acts like a child. She falls madly in love with some man who’s much older than her. They marry, right there and then.

He takes her back to Manderley where he used to live with his wife, Rebecca, who has sadly passed away. Everyone loved her, everyone still loves her. This is repeated over and over again. Nothing has changed it the year since her death and our child is blown over and accepts all of it.

Then there’s a lot of whining and sighing on the protagonist’s part because she can’t get used to being the lady of the house. She hides from the staff and visitors. Seriously, couldn’t you have thought of that before you jumped into marriage? Oh, wait.. you didn’t think, you just married him on the spot.

Then, finally, the twist comes and what a disappointment it is. There is no way, at all, that you as the reader could have figured this out. The protagonist says that “suddenly all the pieces fit together”. NO! Everything is put into context, a completely different context that you could know nothing about because there was no build-up to that twist. None. It was just thrown at you.

I guess that’s what annoyed me most of all. I love a good twist. I love going back and seeing how it was done. How, if you paid really close attention, you could have known. But that’s not how it was done here and I hate it so much.

Then after everything you’ve learned. Nothing happens. Apparently, some things can just be forgiven? Just like that? Really? Oh right, because she loves him…

I actually don’t know how I managed to get through this book and I don’t understand why so many people love it.

If you love it, please explain to me why. Am I missing something?

I’m sorry for the rant. I did not mean to offend anyone. But why can’t I like the books everyone else seems to like??

Love

Ellen