Tuesday, 9 September 2014

August Reads

Hello! A few reviews today, of what I read August-wise. 


The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

After the events of The Raven Boys, Blue is being sucked further and further into the lives of Adam, Gansey, Rowan and Noah and the quest for lost Welsh king Glendower. But there are more secrets, more changes and more hidden things than Blue has realised ...

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I had to wait for ages before I could get my hands on it, but it was everything I could ask for in a sequel and has me clawing for Blue Lily, Lily Blue (to be released in October!). Can we make a quick list about what to love in The Dream Thieves? I knew you'd say yes. 

~ The frikking dream thieves. Oh. My. Word. I love magic and Maggie Stiefvater's take on this, through the character of Ronan, was just perfect.

~ The bromance. Adam and Gansey specifically. I love the Raven Boys' friendship :3 My Adam feels were really on the up:

The only rub was, Blue was another troubling thing. She was like Gansey in that she wanted him to explain himself. What do you want, Adam? What do you need, Adam? Want and need were words that got eaten smaller and smaller: freedom, autonomy, a perennial bank balance, a stainless-steel condo in a dustless city, a silky black car, to make out with Blue, eight hours of sleep, a mobile phone, a bed, to kiss Blue just once, a blister-less heel, bacon for breakfast, to hold Blue's hand, one hour of sleep, toilet paper, deodorant, a soda, a minute to close his eyes.
        What do you want, Adam?
        To feel awake when my eyes are open.

^This is basically my favourite passage in the book and, just, ugh, ADAM. THE FEELS. That is all.

~ The romance. I'm not giving any spoilers from the first book, but there was so much to ship and grieve. If you've read the book, you'll understand. 

~ The plot twists. Maggie Stiefvater and her extreme cliffhanger endings!! MY WORD. When is Blue Lily, Lily Blue coming out again??? ~slavers~

All in all, The Dream Thieves was a fantastic sequel and I would rate it very highly indeed! Have you read it? FANGIRL WITH ME!



The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hailed as the supreme American novel, The Great Gatsby is the story of dreams, love and loss: a stark portrait of a society drunk on the money, sex and alcohol of the Roaring Twenties. Nick Carroway, our narrator, is intrigued by the life, wealth and famous parties of his neighbour Jay Gatsby, but he does not know all that is present behind the facade of luxurious contentment.

I had to read The Great Gatsby for English - I will be studying it next term - but that is not to say I was not expecting to love it. A book this famous and acclaimed is difficult to "review", but here are some of my thoughts.

These are the things that I was expecting about The Great Gatsby:

~ an extremely emotional and powerful read.

~ the beautiful, lyrical prose that everyone's always going on about.

~ a staggering look at the decadence of the Twenties and the hollow nature of the American dream.

Were these expectations fulfilled? Yes. It was definitely a thought-provoking (not to mention depressing) book that I will not be forgetting any time soon, with a brilliant portrayal of the American Dream. and there were some stunning lines. When I'd finished it there was part of me that didn't feel quite as bowled-over as I was expecting; I mean, I have a friend who told me that The Great Gatsby "changed his life", and for that I didn't find it that affecting. However I think this was largely due to the very high expectations that the opinions of others had set up for me, which I guess is the price any classic, or any well-loved book, has to pay. Overall though I loved it and it's a novel that I'd definitely recommend.


Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion is Austen's last, often considered her best, novel. At twenty-seven Anne Elliot is by far her oldest heroine; unlike Austen's other young women characters, such as Elizabeth Bennett and Elinor Dashwood, Anne has loved before and lost that love. Persuasion is the story of her life when she leaves her country home for Bath and watches the romances of her cousins and friends.

I love Austen, a lot. Her writing is just so perfect, her social commentary astute and brilliant, and I love all her main characters. I also love the romances. (Because I am a sucker for romance - Pride and Prejudice to Tangled to Georgia Nicolson to Shrek, I love it.) Persuasion was pretty great -- it was the most subtle of her works that I've read. In her other novels -- Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility are the three I've read so far -- I was able to predict at least part of the ending midway through the book, but not so for Persuasion. It was completely gripping and I could not stop reading! My one issue (and I would love some discussion in the comments for this one) was that when the ending came, I couldn't visualise it as much as in her other books .... I can't really say anything without giving spoilers, but please tell me if you've read it and we can chat. Anyway, the long and short is that Persuasion is fantastic and you should definitely read it! 


Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Justice is an American ATA pilot fighting for the Allied forces in Britain. A budding poet, she translates her feelings through words, but in the end Rose must face a reality more terrible than anything she has seen, written, heard of or imagined.

ROSE UNDER FIRE ASDKFASDLKFJ. It's not a secret on this blog that I love Elizabeth Wein's first book, Code Name Verity, so of course I loved this series. Because this has been quite a list-y review post so far, let's make a list on what I loved.

~ the poetry. We're going to take a break from the list to share a couple of the poems:

To A Young Poet by Edna St Vincent Millay

Time cannot break the bird's wing from the bird.
Bird and wing together
Go down, one feather.

No thing that ever flew,
Not the lark, not you,
Can die as others do. 

This poem was the dedication in the front of the book. Throughout the book Wein references Edna St Vincent Millay, who is Rose's favourite poet, including some of her work -- the book is written in the form of Rose's diary so she sometimes copies out poems she loves.

Triolet for Irina by Rose Justice [Elizabeth Wein]

Rigidly spread, like taut wings, fly
her open hands. Above her head
mute ruthless fingers slice the sky
rigidly spread like taut wings, fly
while forty thousand women lie
in frozen cinders, blind with dread,
rigidly spread. Like taut wings fly

her open hands above her head.

This is probably my favourite of Rose's poems that she writes during the book. The language and rhyme is just gorgeous, and read in the context of the story it's so beautiful and compelling.

Now to continue with the list:

~ I loved the character of Rose. She was so honest and optimistic and likeable.

~ The friendships!! One of my favourite things about Elizabeth Wein is that whilst she's a YA author, she's not obsessed with romance; instead, she bothers to build strong friendships among the characters.

~ The style -- written as Rose's diary, with letters and snippets from others written in. It is so cleverly done, and Wein uses her style to express the plot.

~ The historic aspects. I've always loved historical fiction and this was a stunning example of WWII fiction. The most affecting thing for me was learning about the Polish Rabbits, so called because they were used like rabbits for experimentation; these were girls, war prisoners in concentration camps, who were essentially tortured in the name of science. Doctors simulated battle wounds or gangrene in them to find better cures for their soldiers, but largely the operations and experiments were not followed up and thousands were left dead or mutilated. I had no idea that this went on - it is yet another facet of the terrifying truth about WWII.

~ The links to Code Name Verity! I hadn't realised that Rose Under Fire was a sequel of sorts, but it was. I loved it because the main character changed so I didn't have to remember lots of details from the last book (yes I'm lazy like that), but it was so cool to see what had happened to a few of the characters. There was a lot of feels involved. Far too many feels.

Overall Rose Under Fire was just amazing - I could not stop reading and I would utterly recommend it (though, read Code Name Verity first!). 

And that is what I read in August. What did you read; what was your best book? Link me up to your review posts! And in the comments, if you've read any of these, please tell me:

~ Who do you ship in The Dream Thieves?? I'm going crazy here!!
~ What are your thoughts on The Great Gatsby? Have you ever read a book that was so praised beforehand your expectations were too high?
~ What did you think of Persuasion's ending? Do tell!
~ DON'T YOU LOVE THE LINKS BETWEEN CODE NAME VERITY AND ROSE UNDER FIRE??? Fangirl with me!!!

Emily x

12 comments:

  1. THE DREAM THIEVES!!! EEEE!!! I love that cast of characters! And the dreams, oh my goodness yes! I just loved it all, especially that weird relationship between Rowan and Kavinsky!

    There, fangirling over, haha.

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    1. THE DREAMS! I looooved the bit with Ronan and Kavinsky, the pills, the cars, you know what I'm talking about! <3

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  2. I have to keep this short because I'm super pressed for time, but ... OMG I'M STARTING RAVEN BOYS AND I'M AFRAID BECAUSE SHE'S GONNA FALL IN LOVE AND KILLLLLL PEOPLE.

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    1. AAAGGGHHH TRESKIE YOU HAVE FEELS AHEAD MY GIRL I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT!!!

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  3. Oh man, reading your fangirling reviews for The Dream Thieves and Rose Under Fire simultaneously makes me SO excited and yet SO bummed!! Excited because I have both those books on my shelf and I am positively dying to read them, especially after reading raves like yours here, but bummed because sadly I know I don't have the time to get to them! Not super soon anyway. Bleerrrgh so many great books, so little time...

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    1. Ugh I have that problem - my shelves are so crammed with books, and there's so little time to read them. Book blogging does *not* help, every time you go online you're convinced you need to read 10 more of the books you see raved about!

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  4. I really do wish Blue Lily, Lily Blue would get released early! I really must read Rose Under Fire. Great post!

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    1. Me too! It's next month though. Not too long! Rose Under Fire is fantastic. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  5. THE DREAM THIEVES! I SEVERELY NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON IT AND START READING AND RAVING!

    I've already read a few blogs where people have claimed that The Dream Thieves is, I quote, "the best novel that you'll read this year"... Sigh. I haven't even read The Raven Boys yet. Must stop procrastinating with inseverities like GCSEs and homework, and get down to the real business of reading books.

    Must set priorities straight.

    Amy; The Blog Hermit

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    1. YES! READ AND RAVE! I'm not sure it's quite "the best novel you'll read this year", but it is actually up there. Ugh. School. Forcing us to give reading the back seat. Inconsiderate or what??

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  6. OMG YES ROSE UNDER FIRE SQUEE FANGIRL ETC ETC AKISJHUGFBNJKSNDHFBGCJKSDHFJXK I NEVER ACTUALLY REALIZED THIS WAS A SEQUEL OF SORTS AS I READ IT FIRST AND THEN A YEAR LATER I READ CNN SO FAIL.
    Also The Raven Boys series. PEOPLE KEEP YELLING AT ME TO READ IT I GUESS YOU WILL TOO? uGH #PROBLEMS
    I have no time
    I've started college.
    DO YOU FEEL MY PAIN?!
    P.s remember that post 'a sea of pages' you wanted to read..WELL IT'S UP NOW. GO LAUGH AT MY CRINGE ATTEMPTS AT NOVEL WRITING.
    If you like.

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  7. YES YES YES IT IS EXCITING YOU SHOULD REREAD THEM BOTH YOU'LL HAVE TWENTY MILLION HUNDRED FEELS I PROMISE YOU.

    YES YES YES I'M YELLING AT YOU TOO HAWWA GO GO GO

    college?? But yes I feel your pain. I'm doing my Higher year, ie BIG EXAMS in Scotland, ie MY WHOLE FUTURE RIDES ON THIS, so I am way in at the deep end. Yikes I'm meant to be doing an essay right now .... haha ,... ~cough~

    I WILL READ IT!!!!! Though really I need to do this essay. But AT SOME POINT, I will!

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Thanks for commenting! :)