Do you ever read a book, and end up feeling slightly jealous at how much smarter the characters are than you? Well, prepare to feel that way when you pick up Kubrick's Game. Derek Taylor Kent has woven a story that is full to the brim with puzzles. Shawn and his friends are lead through twists, and turns, all tying into this insane game that focuses solely around Stanley Kubrick's movies. If you're a fan of books that make you ponder, then this one is definitely for you.
First off, I need to point out the fact that Kent obviously knows a lot about Kubrick and his cinematic legacy. Each and every part of this story is like a love letter to that creator, and his works. As Shawn delves deeper into the mystery surrounding this game, more and more love is given to the puzzle itself. There are so many clues, expertly created to lead right into the next. My head was spinning after the first few had been uncovered. As a person who has definitely seen Kubrick's movies, but isn't a raving fan, I can say that this book definitely prompted me to want to watch them again. I keep wondering if I can pinpoint all the clues myself.
Which of course, means that this book picks up speed and then won't let you slow down. Shawn was put in some fairly terrifying situations, all in the name of solving the mystery. I'll be honest, I didn't like him much at first. His blunt personality, and inability to understand relationships annoyed me a bit. Following him through this puzzle though soon made me appreciate his particular brand of focus. He was able to pull himself away from situations, and really see into what he needed to do next.
The absolute only reason that I rated this four stars, rather than five, was the fact that the ending felt rushed to me. After so much build up, so many puzzles cracked, and so much time with Shawn, I couldn't help but feel like the ending came and went without a big finish. There are strong ties to all manner of conspiracy theories here, and I would have loved to see some more of those really coming life. The villains here just felt flat, and I wanted more.
Overall though? This book was fairly fantastic. As I said, it's a testament to how well written this puzzle is that I was always five steps behind Shawn. He is a brilliant mind. I'll just step away, and let him do his thing.
I need someone to follow me around while I'm checking my email and smack me on the hand every time I agree to do a new blog tour. *sigh* Pretty much all of these books are review books for tours, or that I agreed to read for the authors themselves. It's not that I'm not excited about most of them! I am! I'm just bummed because somewhere in here I also have to fit some bingo books. September is going to be a challenging month.
Cool things about next month though:
* The IT re-read is with the Horror Aficionados group on Goodreads, which I'm super stoked for.
* Esio Trot is part of a HUGE blog tour in honor of Roald Dahl's birthday next month, which is going to be really really awesome! A ton of prizes will be given away.
* Kubrick's Game is a new book by an author that I helped out a ton before he worked his way into YA (he wrote MG books), and I get to provide one of his first 10 reviews. I feel special <3.
Wish me luck! This is going to be an intense reading month.
Kommer du tycka om mig nu? is, without a doubt, a book everyone will be able to identify with. It's about feeling like an outsider, about not fitting in, and self-discovery.
To be fair, I knew close to nothing about the author. Here's what I knew about her: she's been on television. That was it. I remembered her name and that it had been mentioned on TV, but I couldn't remember in what context. A quick google search gave me this: She was the principal (or Headmistress, if you'd like) at a school where only 55% of the students had grades that would not qualify them for high school (or gymnasium, as we call it in Sweden). The school was known for troublesome students and it had a bad reputation. Three years later, that procentare was 75%.
Color me intrigued. I still didn't quite know what to expect from her story. I expected it to be about those years at the school, but in truth this is the story of four different stages of her life. First, it's her as a child, struggling with her identity and other's perception of her. Second, it's about her struggles with fitting in in her teens, due to several reasons. She had troubles learning, and was more or less told she couldn't do better. Third, it's about her after her years at university, her first job, and realizing what she actually wants with her life. And, lastly, it's about her years at the school.
It's a fascinating story. Her determination as a young teen to get good, no, the best grades. Then, as she grows, her determination to be true to herself and with others. It all comes together in the end, during her telling us about the years at the school. These pieces of her story shows how her youth and early adult life shaped her, what her motivations are and come from. Let me just say this: I admire this woman. I'm practically in awe of how strong she is.
Because, another thing that permeates this book is the frustration and longing. As a child and teen, she has a goal: the future. In the future, she's going to live. She's going to be herself. She'll be what she wants to be, without people questioning her. But that's always in the future, after years of school when she's able to make decisions on her own, as an adult. And when she reaches the future where she can make her decisions, even if people greet her openly with what she wants, there are still obstacles that postpone her future further, and she's left wondering if she'll loose her early twenties, a time she thought she'd be happy in.
Kommer du tycka om mig nu?, while inspiring, could also have done with better editing. While the story itself is fascinating, the structure and writing style wasn't as good. Jumping between the four parts back and forth got tiresome (especially when some of them started to overlap). Perhaps it's a bit drawn out too (which could've been solved by another round of editing). But this is my only complaint, and it's a rather small one seeing how others might find this structure a good choice for telling this story. In the end, the book's message makes up for the, at times, stilted writing.