I have mixed feelings about this book. Yes, it was so good, I had to read one chapter after another, but I'm also really confused. I'm not sure I liked it. Does it make any sense? How do I rate it?
I've been thinking about it. I liked the excitement and new characters. The story was well paced and the setting just as spooky or even more than in the first book. But still, I'm confused, and I don't like it - the confusion, and the fact I have to wait a few months until the third book is being translated into Estonian. Because I started it in my mother tongue, I'm going to finish the series in my mother tongue as well.
I still have my doubts but here and now 4 stars. You can be sure that five minutes from now it would be 3 stars. I am confused :(
What a train wreck! I'm sure it was meant to be comical, but everything bordered on such extreme ridiculousness that after 70% I gave up. And I generally don't give up on books so easily. I just didn't feel like going back to this one again. Reminded me of some of those Lynsay Sands historicals I stopped reading for the exact same reason; everything ridiculously over the top, which makes the story absolutely not funny.
I can see I'm in the minority here (from the reviews on goodreads and on amazon) so read at your own risk.
Last year, I decided that I wanted to try my best to learn about different countries and cultures. I became especially interested in China and their Cultural Revolution. (You may recall Do Not Say We Have Nothing.) To that end, I picked up The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited by Louisa Lim which is a work of non-fiction that culls firsthand accounts from those who lived through that time and documents how their lives were subsequently changed. The biggest takeaway I had from this book was that I know next to nothing about the history of China...and most of its people can say the same. There has been so much collusion and cover-ups that most people are unaware of the true nature of historical events that occurred in their country. And those that would tell the truth are hushed up one way or another. The government's control works under the guise of "stability of the nation" which keeps the populace blind and even afraid of digging deeper. There is also a fear of the West because of massive political and cultural indoctrination that has occurred over several years. The seasons of political and cultural change can easily be marked by the different people in power. The party 'line' made it imperative that change be accepted by each and every citizen. Firsthand accounts from those who participated in (or lived through) the Cultural Revolution (more info on that here) illustrates the power wielded by those in power. All of these people are still being monitored and silenced. They can never advance in their careers which in a money obsessed country like China spells a certain shunned existence. It was a powerful, eye-opening experience reading this book. It has only increased my interest in learning about new places and people. If you're not a huge fan of nonfiction because you find it too dry then this would be an excellent one to give a shot as it reads more like a work of literature. 10/10 for the obviously thorough research and excellent writing.
What's Up Next: The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg
What I'm Currently Reading: I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart