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review 2016-06-16 18:16
The Invisible Library
The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

This sounds like it would be just my thing, but for some reason, it wasn't.

It's got good writing, concerning both the prose and the plot, but the world-building, while interesting, felt very discombobulated. It tried to explain itself: the Language, the Library, and the fey, creatures of chaos, and dragons, creatures of order, but it wasn't working too well for me.

Also, the writing mostly evokes a Victorian feel to it (though less than the cover would indicate), but the combination of modern technology here and there and modern phrases scattered throughout, while it made sense far as the story was concerned, didn't actually mesh very well in the story. (Congrats if you understood that. Have a cookie.)

As far as Irene and Kai go, I really have very little opinion of them. Kai felt rather one-dimensional and I didn't really...care about Irene? But Vale was pretty cool, and I'd love to see more of him in future books.

As far as the plot goes, I liked the clever bits dealing with Alberich, but I don't quite understand his motivation (they kinda explained it) but even less so how it would work. Kicking myself I didn't write down the page number for this.

To be totally honest, I think I would have liked this best if it had been a completed standalone, rather than at least a six book deal. But I liked this passably well, and am just interested enough to give the next book a go.

This is a bit of the stuff I garnered about the things I wanted more info on:

The Library does what it does for the love of books. Simply to collect books, all the books in all the alternate worlds, and store them and protect them, so that if that book should ever be lost to time or disaster, there will still be a copy to make more from.

The Library exists out of time, so the Librarians are essentially ageless, except when out on book missions, when time passes for them normally.

The Language the fully initiated Librarians use is apparently heard by those who don't understand it in their own language, but with a certain unplaceable accent. The Language is sort-of magic, but it works best when directing something to do what it naturally should be doing, or that it naturally is designed to do (unlocking a door and such). The Language is ever evolving, adding grammar and vocabulary, as most books brought back to the Library are studied and the words or phrases or cool descriptions of the color black are added to the Language. (Or the Language itself evolves from the newly gathered literature???)

Chaos can infect a world, and after the world has been infected and corrupted, then the Fey can manifest to wreck more havoc. But thenDragons are like super chill and creatures of order and often show up to help restore order to the Chaos-corrupted world. Dragons can also take humanoid form.

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review 2016-06-14 18:18
After Alice
After Alice: A Novel - Gregory Maguire

I wanted to love this, I mean, I even tried to love it, but it wasn't working for me. To be honest, though it has been years since I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass, I'm pretty sure everyone would just be better off reading the original. Oh, sure, there are occasionally very clever bits and the writing, while often overly pretentious, is pleasant enough and even sometimes quite lovely. Alas, beyond that, there is very little of which to speak well. The narrative, while omniscient, skips back and forth between Ada, who tumbles into Wonderland and basically has a small collection of adventures Alice has already had, and Lydia, Alice's oft frustratingly dull older sister, and also Siam, a rescued slave-boy who wanders behind the Looking-Glass.

There are innuendos aplenty, and even an F-bomb, which I'm fairly certain is not quite in the vein of the original. (And yes, I realize this is "adult" fiction, blah.)

Really the only good bits are Ada in Wonderland, which I feel is basically what one could garner from reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass. Also, there wasn't all that much of Ada in Wonderland for this being nearly 300 pages.

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review 2016-06-12 02:35
A Decent Interval
A Decent Interval - Simon Brett

Simon Brett's books had been on my radar for quite some time, so when I found a BBC radio production of A Decent Interval - starring Bill Nighy - I had to give it a shot.

 

The story basically focused on an out-of-work actor who finds work as a minor part in a production of Hamlet - to his annoyance the leading roles are given to two reality tv "celebrities" who can't act. As the story goes on, Hamlet is found seriously wounded and Paris (the actor) is dragged into the who-dunnit.

 

As far as murder mysteries go this one was decent, but nothing to shout about. I am not sure it would have held my interest if I had read this in book form.

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review 2016-05-31 18:20
Baker's Magic
Baker's Magic - Diane Zahler Baker's Magic - Diane Zahler

**An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Don't bake angry!

Whatever mood Bee is in when she bakes is the same mood whoever eats her baked goods will be in. This magic can be useful, but sometimes pretty rough, especially when Bee bakes in a bad mood, and before they figure out that's the cause of the unusually ill-tempered customers. But Bee also is a pretty rad baker, and soon the royal palace wants Bee's baked good delivered to the palace, where she discovers a rather nasty arranged marriage in the making and dastardly plots ruinous to the country. She befriends the Princess Anika and helps her to escape so they can go inform the Mage Council of the unsavory goings-on in Zeewal. Along the way, they encounter a friendly gang of roving tulip pirates, father figures, and tree spirits. Oh, and Anika has a pet hedgehog, so that's cool.

I was so very pleased that Wil had a sort-of romance with Anika and NOT with Bee. #blessed

Overall, it was okay and there were some elements that I very much enjoyed, but it didn't bridge the gap for older readers as well as some MG books manage to, so that I would probably only recommend it for the intended audience.

I also got my hands on a hard-copy, so props to Capstone for their quality of publishing - the pages were thick and the binding was strong and tight.

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review 2016-05-30 07:08
Sleeping Giants
Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel

**An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Oh, and I also won an ARC copy of this through Goodreads Firstreads!! So pretty.

2.5 stars.

I less liked this book than I was intrigued. And even at the end (whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?), I'm only really going to be reading Book 2 because I kinda NEED to know what's going on.


The Writing

So the book is told through a series of interviews and takes place over a number of years. Books from this POV can be really rough, but it worked in this case. Probably even more so because most of the characters know as little as the reader does. So at least you aren't alone.

The Characters

I didn't connect with any of them, so weirdly plot is the only reason I'm keeping with this series. I can't tell you if I didn't connect due only to the characters themselves or if the interview style of writing contributed in any way.

I liked Rose the best of the bunch, but she died too quickly to really make it devastating for me. Ryan was pretty annoying, but he was actually chill in the last half. I felt sorry for Vincent and I liked him well enough, but Kara also annoyed me. BUT the Interviewer, whoever he is, at once made me hate him and like him and I'm just so conflicted?? He's so clever and mysterious and SUCH AN A-HOLE. I just really want to know who he is, where he came from, what he knows, who he works for, etc. Oh, and Mr. Burns was legit, though I have so many questions about him as well.

I thought the romance aspect of this, though it was definitely put on the back-burner, was hecka frustrating and really just didn't need to be in here. I guess maybe it was supposed to put a little more of a personal side to the story, but really it didn't help anything and I just want to know about the alien robots, okay?

THE PLOT

Haha, I don't actually understand it at all, because every time I thought we'd figured something out, then we'd find something else contradictory to what I thought we knew. So I am just gonna admit I know nothing. I also will admit I want to know everything. Basically, there's giant alien robots and we found one with pieces of it buried all over the earth and maybe it's from a more technologically advanced alien race that wanted to communicate with us but when they visited we were too lame to know what the heck they wanted to say so they left it for us to find once we were cool and now we have it but we definitely don't want to use it as a weapon because then the alien race will wipe us out because they only want us to use it for defense? If the alien race wanted to communicate with us and they would know enough to know we used it as a weapon, why aren't they communicating with us now?? Also, is this giant alien robot one from the giant race mentioned in Genesis in the Bible??? Or it is a Titan???? Or could it be both? (Because you know, the myth of the Titans doesn't actually have to be gods, they just would have been seen as them, because....they were giant alien robots.)

The Ending

....

Huh. I didn't see that coming.

(spoiler show)



So yeah, I'm SO there for Book 2, but I do wish I liked the characters more, because that was pretty much my only only complaint. (Also, if this isn't optioned for film nigh immediately, I'll be surprised.)

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