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Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

“We are all stardust and stories.”

I adore The Night Circus, and have been eagerly anticipating Morgenstern’s sophomore novel for eight years. I really should have tempered my expectations. The Starless Sea is the type of book that, in the beginning, I believed would strong feelings. You should either love it and be completely entranced by the atmospheric quiet of the tale, or be bored to tears by the apparent lack of action and a more common pacing. That’s what I expected when I read the first few pages. Unfortunately, if fell short for me. Instead of either loving or hating it, I mostly just find myself disappointed by it.

“If all endings are beginnings, are all beginnings also endings?”

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Book Review: Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Book Review: Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Non-fiction, Philosophy, History, Science

Pages: 464 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 8th September 2016 by Harvill Secker (UK) & 21st February 2017 by Harper (US)


Not as good as Homo Sapiens but Homo Deus did provide me with additional informative knowledge and intriguing speculations told in an engaging and thought-provoking style.

“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”

I will first say that Harari is a good writer, he really knows how to make interesting topics more compelling and he also kept me focused on information that would’ve been boring to read usually. Frankly speaking, there were indeed some sections in Part II—liberalism—that in my opinion was super dull and dry to read, but Part 1 and Part 3 of the book was superb; I found the majority of my attention grabbed by the way Harari discussed topics that evidently relevant in our society. Unlike Homo Sapiens which mostly dealt with facts and how humanity progressed—or stay the same—from the past up to the present, in Homo Deus Harari tells and speculates what comes after; what kind of futures humanity might be facing or going for based on the data and theories gathered from our history and present timeframe. There are so many topics that I could talk about here, but I feel like talking too much would diminish the benefit of reading this book itself; I’ll refrain from doing that and gives a bit of my opinion regarding one of the topics discussed: the power and curses of social media.

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Book Review: The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

Book Review: The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

 

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Published: 03 October 2019 (HQ)

Bad people win. They win all the time.

Rain Winter was outraged by the not-guilty verdict that allowed Steve Markham to get away with killing his wife and their unborn child. Her investigation of the murder had left her with no doubts about his guilt, the injustice of his freedom and the inevitable media circus that gifted him the celebrity spotlight leaving her feeling sickened and powerless. Taking time out from journalism to care for her husband and baby seemed like a welcome and necessary step, a break from all the madness. But now Markham’s dead. Butchered by the same method he used to get rid of his family. And word is that it’s not the only time this vigilante has acted. That the first was actually Eugene Kreskey, the man who tried to abduct her as a child. The man who killed one of her friends and tortured the other.

If there’s a link, a story, she needs to find it. All of a sudden, she’s right back in, bringing to light all kinds of secrets that should have stayed buried. Especially her own.

 

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Book Review: La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)

Book Review: La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)


La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

La Belle Sauvage is an interesting revisiting of Lyra’s world as developed in Pullman’s original series, His Dark Materials. Instead of continuing the story from where it left off at the end of The Amber Spyglass, we go back to the very beginning. Lyra’s beginning. We see that the wild adventure of her life didn’t start in The Golden Compass, but mere months into her life. The events that befell her before she had even spoken her first words are enough to put most adults in therapy.

“Words belong in contexts, not pegged out like biological specimens.”

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Book Review: The Books of the South by Glen Cook

Book Review: The Books of the South by Glen Cook

The Books of the South by Glen Cook

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company (Book #3.5-5 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy, Military fantasy

Pages: 670 pages (Paperback)

Published: 10th June 2008 by Tor Books (US)


Great stories and character development for The Lady, but I still have mixed feelings towards Cook’s prose.

The Books of the South consists of Shadow Games, Dreams of Steel, and a spin-off called The Silver Spike. Same as the previous omnibus, I’ll be doing a short spoiler-free review for each book.

Shadow Games: 3.5/5 stars

The Books of the South begins with Shadow Games, which is the fourth installment in The Chronicles of the Black Company. The story continues with the member of the Black Company marching south to Khatovar, the place of the Company’s origin. During their mission, they’re chased and hounded by a new group of enemies called the Shadowmasters. Croaker is back once again as the main narrator, and honestly, although I’ve gotten used to reading his first-person narration, I also have to admit that I get tired from reading his POV quickly. His cynicism and sarcasm are fun in small doses but not for long. Just to give a bit of data, Shadow Games is 220 pages long in this omnibus, and it took me three days to read it; I usually read around 200 or 300 pages a day. I think what made this book a bit boring was the travelogues. Almost the entirety of the novel is The Black Company marching. That being said, I enjoyed reading the characters development in this book, especially for Croaker and The Lady. The last section of this book was filled with battle and eventually ends with a cliffhanger.

“Every ounce of my cynicism is supported by historical precedent.”

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Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5) by Pierce Brown

Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5) by Pierce Brown

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Red Rising Saga (Book #5 of 6)

Genre: Science fiction, Space Opera, Dystopia

Pages: 800 pages (UK Hardback edition)

Published: 30th July 2019 by Hodder (UK) & 30th July 2019 by Del Rey (US)


Gory (literally) damn insane, violent, bleak, and ruthless. Helldivers, prepare your soul to be hell-drilled by Dark Age’s brutality.

“During war, the laws are silent.”—Quintus Tullius Cicero

Two things first. If it has been a long time since you’ve read Iron Gold or Red Rising Saga, I strongly recommend you to reread the entire series before you read Dark Age. I didn’t do this and I truly believe that my reading experience of this book suffered from it. Secondly, throughout the years since Red Rising publication, many people still insist that this series is for YA audience; by the time you read this book, you’ll probably be traumatized or maybe even loathe this book for its extreme darkness. Seriously, Dark Age is one of the darkest, bleakest, and goriest novel I’ve ever read in my life; the humor and heartwarming aspect of the series that’s usually common to find are close to non-existent in this installment. I will edit this review in the future when I’ve reread the series from the beginning in preparation for the sixth and—maybe—last book of the series, but for now, this is my thoughts and opinions on my first read-through Dark Age.

“With every new endeavor, there’s always the hope that you will find happiness, be less lonely.”

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Book Review: Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Book Review: Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company (Book #1-3 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (US Omnibus edition)

Published: 18th September, 2018 by Gollancz (UK) & 13th November 2017 by Tor Books (US)


The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook is a series that Steven Erikson has praised intensely for a long time now, it’s even considered to be his inspiration for Malazan Book of the Fallen and after reading this omnibus, I can certainly see why.

There were many aspects that displayed them; similarities between the Bridgeburners and the Black Company, a storytelling style that drops readers into the midst of the plot without any clear explanation, just to name a few without spoilers. The differences between Erikson and Cook would be that Erikson’s series is gigantically more massive in scope and difficulty. Chronicles of the Black Company omnibus comprises of the first three books in the series: The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose. These three made up for the first story arc in the series: Books of the North story arc. Same as my review for Riyria Revelations omnibuses, I won’t be writing a full review for each book but I’ll write a mini-review for each book in this volume instead.

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Book Review: Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, #2)

Book Review: Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, #2)

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Witcher (Book 2 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy

First English translation published: May 2015 (Gollancz), Dec 2015 (Orbit)


The compelling characterisation of Geralt and imaginative world of Slavic lore and fairy-tale retellings continue in Sword of Destiny, the second collection of prequel short stories in The Witcher series.

Sword of Destiny was published after the first three full-length novels of The Witcher series. As a new reader to the series, however, I was able to read the books in chronological order which is quite essential as this instalment served as the bridge between The Last Wish and Blood of Elves.

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Book Review: The Dry (Aaron Fawk, #1)

Book Review: The Dry (Aaron Fawk, #1)

The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

If I were asked to describe this book in one word, I would reply with a single syllable: meh. The Dry is a lauded debut with a respectably high rating, but I was obviously missing something. It wasn’t a bad book, I just couldn’t quite manage to connect.

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Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) BY R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) BY R.J. Barker

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: September 26th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 24th, 2019 by Orbit (US)


Highly imaginative world-building with a large focus on sea voyages and naval warfare.

Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of Barker’s debut series: The Wounded Kingdom trilogy. I gave each installment in the trilogy a 4.5 stars rating and ever since I finished King of Assassins, The Bone Ships has been on my list of priority books to read ASAP. This is why I’m genuinely sad that I have to give this book a below 4 stars rating, but I have to always be honest with my review. I still had a great time with the book but The Bone Ships is a totally different sort of beast—that’s sadly not too suitable for me—compared to The Wounded Kingdom and I had expected to love this book more. RJ, if you stumbled upon this review, please don’t read it.

“No sane woman or man wishes for war, and those that do never would if they thought it would leave paint on their doorsteps.”

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