Tuesday, 30 September 2014

September Reads

Hi! I've had a pretty rubbish reading month but here are a few mini-reviews. What have you read this September?

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

Following the events of A Game of Thrones [review here], Westeros is in chaos and five factions fight for control. Across the sky a blood-red comet paints its path, an omen or portent. From which god the people cannot say, as the competitors for the throne call on deities old and new to back their bloody cause. 

A Clash of Kings was an amazing book. I. Love. This. Series. It pulled me further and further into the world of Westeros and broke my heart and stitched it together again and gave me things to live for and took them away again I LOVE IT. My one issue? It was, like, way more graphic than the first book. Seriously Mr Martin. Not appropriate. But apart from that, LOVE LOVE LOVE. The library didn't have the third one when I went for it ~angry muttering~ but I'll get it on Friday. 



Anne of Avonlea by LM Montgomery

The sequel to Anne of Green Gables. Anne is sixteen and more responsible -- but the old Anne is still there, and will never leave!

What's the one thing I love more than Game of Thrones? ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! In my review of the first book here I talk about how perfect it is ... and that just continues. I had a lot of feels in this book. A certain ship was, if not quite sailing, definitely putting up its sails. I just ... I just. You know. Perfect, perfect, perfect. I'm sorry that this is a rubbish review but I just thought I should tell you about this gem of a book which made my September so much better. 

And the last passage. Has anyone else read this? Because the last passage. The last passage, though.


Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Mary Anning has always been different. Struck by lightning as a baby, she sees things that others don't; patterns, objects and meanings. Born into a poor family in the seaside town of Lyme Regis she makes use of her talents fossil hunting on the beach with her brother Joseph.

In London, Elizabeth Philpot is a woman resigned never to marry. When she and her other spinster sisters move to Lyme Regis she throws her life into a passion for fossils, and an unlikely friendship arises between her and Mary Anning. The years pass on the windswept beach, through scientific discovery, opposition and a love for the creatures once alive that are now trapped in the stone forever. 

Aaand, a book that's not a sequel. So a franker review from me.

I don't know if you've clocked this, but Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier is one of my favourite novels. It's a gorgeous, sparse, stunning novel which I just love insanely much. Perfect, perfect, perfect historical fiction.

Sad to say, the same cannot be said of Remarkable Creatures

That sounds harsh! I liked it, OK? But after Girl With a Pearl Earring?? A disappointment. The prose seemed stilted to me, and it didn't grip me overly much. Elizabeth was annoying. So was Mary. I just couldn't feel much empathy for them. And I was not a fan of the romance she brought in. I felt like it just got shoehorned in there, as if the writer felt like the only thing she could do with her plot was to put a man in the narrative and see what happened. 

More than this, I wasn't sure about the questions of religion. Chevalier was writing from the POVs of women raised in a Christian society but what I'm pretty sure are her own atheist beliefs were coming through as she explored the question of science's compatibility with God. This I did not enjoy.

Overall, Remarkable Creatures was good. Yes, it was, and I found it gripping in part; it "warmed up" near the end and I ended up reading the second half of it in the space of an evening  and a morning. But the first half took a week; it didn't thrill me or stun me or wow me. It really just .... meh'ed me. I'm sorry for the harsh review -- because you know I'd much rather rave about a book -- but it can't be denied.

After that, I started A Tale of Two Cities and I'm still only about half way through. It's really, really, really good, and gripping and beautifully written, but because I am a terrible person I'm not reading very quickly, hence why September was a pathetic three-book month. I actually read A Clash of Kings and Anne of Avonlea really fast! But then Remarkable Creatures dragged on a bit ... and know I'm reading Dickens criminally slowly.

So tell me: have you read A Song of Ice and Fire or the Anne series? FANGIRL WITH MEH. As for Remarkable Creatures; have you read it? Did you like it? Am I being too harsh? And also: what book did you read that disappointed you after the author's previous work was amazing? What's the best historical work you've read recently? And, how have your Septembers been reading-wise?? Link me up to your review posts!

Emily x

6 comments:

  1. Okay, deep sigh. I HAVE BOUGHT ALL THE GAME OF THRONES BOOKS BUT HAVEN'T READ A SINGLE ONE.

    I know, I know, I should really buckle down and read them but I just... can't. There's a lot of hype about both the books and the TV show, but there's just something, an unknown force, which is stopping me from reading them. I don't know why or how, but everytime I pick up the books I think of a reason not to read them! WHAT IS LIFE?

    I haven't read A Song of Ice and Fire, nor the Anne series. Or Remarkable Creatures. Oh Emily, what is happening to me? Gahhhhh!!

    Amy~~

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    1. YOU NEED TO READ THEM. YOU WILL HAVE ~breaks into song~ NO REGREEEETTTSSSSS!!!!!!!! THEY'RE SO GOOD.

      You also NEED to read the Anne books. Like FOR REAL. However, Remarkable Creatures? I'd give it a miss.

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  2. Great review! I love Anne of Green Gables <3 And I've kinda been meaning to read Game of Thrones but not really at the same time. I don't know. Haha sorry jut scrolled down and saw the She's the Man reference in your last post. Laughing now. New follower xx

    -M
    The Life of Little Me

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    1. I love Anne a lot <3 I would definitely recommend Game of Thrones; it's fantastic!

      Haha I couldn't resist putting that in XD WELCOME TO ILLYRIA / welcome to my blog! Thanks for the follow :) x

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  3. The Game of Thrones books are excellent!

    By the way, I've tagged you for the Book Cake Tag!
    http://never-anyone-else.blogspot.com/2014/10/book-cake-tag.html

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    1. Yeah they are!

      Thanks! I'll be along :)

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Thanks for commenting! :)