Been a while hasn't it? I started back at University at the beginning of October and so have been pretty much absent from the blogosphere while I've gotten back into the swing of things. If you're a fresher this year definitely have a look at my homesickness post from a few weeks ago. I'm having a good time, though the work's actually starting now so there's no days spent in bed watching rubbish on Netflicks (probably a good thing)
These are a few books I've read over the last year that I never got round to reviewing for whatever reason, so I thought I'd throw the reviews together in a post, as they were three really unusual reads for me and I definitely feel they're worth reviewing and sharing with you.
Have Mercy - Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
Based in a fictional world where mechanical dragons fueled by magic are used in warfare, Havemercy tells the story of four men living in the capital city of Volstov as it nears victory from it's long war with neighbours the Ke-Han. This was a book I'd heard very little about going into and therefore really didn't have any expectations either way. In the end while this book had some amazing plot points and really interesting, conflicting main characters, it lacked a certain something. One relationship seems to develop far too quickly, and reads a little like fanfiction of some other book, while another takes forever and is never fully formed before the book ends, leaving on something of an unsatisfactory note. I definitely enjoyed it, and would recommend as a fun, adventurous read with some really sweet romantic bits if you don't want anything too heavy. I just wish that it had maybe a little more depth and time taken to explore the characters. However this is the first installment in a quartet and so I'm hoping when I get round to reading the second which I fully intend to, due to my love of the world created and it's characters, we might get a little more depth and expansion. After all, the Darren Shan series had a really shaky debut novel and became one of my most beloved childhood series.
Spindle's End - Robin McKinley
First off can we just take a second to appreciate the loveliness of that cover... and the crappy rendition my camera has decided to give me. Sad day. Anyhoo, Spindle's End is a retelling of the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty was one of my favourite childhood stories and my Dad still knows all the words to the 'Once Upon A Dream' song because I made him watch it with me so many times so I was really excited to give this a try.
The story itself was charming and full of lovely characters and really interesting plotlines. It's only downfall for me was the twisty-turny, often contrived and very overdone narrative style. Obviously world building requires a lot of explaining and description, but I believe the phrase 'Show don't Tell' would have been useful here. Far too often we'd be engrossed in the story, watching the scenes play out and it would be like someone had pressed pause and stood in front of the characters and started to explain all of these different bits of backstory and 'world' information, going off on tangents, using odd confusing phrases and generally being slow and a bit annoying. By the time they got out of the way I'd lost track of the story and, particularly during more action-y scenes, felt that the pace had been completely thrown off by this big chunk of boring-ness.
It's actually quite disappointing because the plot was a really lovely refreshing take on the fairy tale (The heroine in this is far more complex and pro-active without being the worst trait of all: 'feisty' *shudder*) and the story is really beautiful, but if you like pacey novels and witty dialogue this might not be your cup of tea.
How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran
Last one! I read this one very slowly over a long time, dipping in and out of it between reading other books, but that's not to say I didn't absolutely love it. I am a feminist. Not a flag waving, man are evil and women are better feminist, just someone who would like to promote the radical notion that women are people too.
There's a lot of feminist literature out there, much of it angry and dramatic and emotive with good reason, these are women who've been subject to great prejudice. However Moran takes a different view: she, in a lighthearted manner, takes us through some of the issues that women deal with, from being overlooked in the workplace to the pressure to be entirely hairless from the lower eyelids downwards, all of the time. There is no great anger, no preaching, just a woman throwing her hands up and going "remind me why this is ok again?" Some of her best chapters tackle strip clubs, and the 'horror' that is being fat. It puts in a really articulate but chatty way feeling's I've had for a long time, just not known how to express and opened my eyes to other ways in which both men and women are constricted and trapped by patriarchal ideals. I really enjoyed this and would definitely urge anyone who is confused about feminism or doesn't think it necessary anymore to have a flick through and just consider the ideas being presented, if it doesn't change your mind that's fine, but we'll both know at least you've considered another point of view.
Let me know your recent reads, or if you've tried any of these books tell me what you thought!