Currently Reading // September 9th 2017
Currently Reading // September 9th 2017
It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was
1774, though not for very much longer.
Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their
crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate
ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and
her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although
a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in
one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her
mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in
I was really excited to read
this book for the longest time. First of all – time-traveling pirates. That’s
the best thing imaginable. Secondly – the cover is just so incredibly beautiful
(I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover), that it drew me in. In the
end the book may not have quite lived up to my expectations, but it was still
an enjoyable read.
The concept of this story is
spectacular and unique. It’s such a cool idea that a person would be able to
navigate to any map, be it real or imaginary. My first thought when the
characters described how they travelled between times was of course: “So if they
had a map of Hogwarts or Narnia, they could just go there?” That made me very
excited. Do you have any idea how often I’ve dreamt of being able to do that?
However, navigating, as they call it, it a bit more complicated. The map has to
be hand drawn and made in the contemporary time, so a map of India in 1774 must
have been drawn in 1774. And in order for them to travel to a mythical or
imaginary land the person who drew the map must believe the place is real. This
makes it sound like mythical maps are extremely rare, but apparently not. On
the ship the crew has a bunch of magical objects from different myths, such as
a bottomless sack from an Irish story and luminescent herring from a
Scandinavian myth explaining the Northern Lights. They even have a crew member
from an imaginary city.
The crew is able to navigate
to these strange and magical places all thanks to Nix, our main character. The
girl is like a walking encyclopaedia of myth and history. I am myself a big fan
of mythology, but there was still so much mentioned in this book that I had no
idea about. Still, you could keep up with the story without knowing all the
facts beforehand. And for the very curious (like me) there is a handy dandy
author’s note in the back detailing the origins of most of the myths and
objects mentioned in the story.
The story mostly takes place
in Hawaii in the 1800’s. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, so learning more
about its history was really fascinating. This was a story I had never heard
before in my life. I am starting to realize what an interesting history Hawaii
has, and would really like to learn more.
I found the main character to
be extremely smart, but a bit hard to relate to. She keeps herself at arm’s
length from the other characters, and also from the reader. The rest of the
characters in this story are very diverse, which always makes a story better in
my opinion. The ships motely crew come from all over the world and from all
different times, which makes a very interesting mix.
This is most of all an adventure
story, but from the blurb I thought it would also have quite a bit of romance
in it. I mean, the front reads “A journey through time. A journey to love.”. In
spite of that, I do not think this was a love story at all. Sure, there was
some romantic tension between a few characters, but not at all enough to call
it a romance. This turned out to be the complete opposite of most YA, where
there is usually more romance than you expected. Instead, this book focuses
more on the love within families, which is refreshing.
I really enjoyed this story.
It had plenty of adventure and lots of myth and history. I adore the
time-traveling concept, and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the
story in the next book (I believe this is a duology?). I recommend it to all
history- and mythology nerds out there or to anyone looking for an entertaining
adventure story. Also, how could you say no to time-traveling pirates?
//love from L
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
has been destroyed. Juliette does not know if her friends or any of the rebels
are still alive. The only thing she knows for sure is that she will no longer
sit by and watch when she has the power to change things. She will do whatever
it takes do bring the Reestablishment down, and she will do it with Warner’s
help. The person she never thought she could trust. The person who saved her
life. If Juliette is to discover the true strength of her gift, she will also
have to face the truth about her feelings.
This was by
far my favourite book of the series. I waited for two book for this to happen,
and I’m so happy we got there: Juliette has finally realized what a badass she
is and it is awesome! She is so sure of herself now, and it makes me so happy
for her. The cross-outs that were so frequent in the first book are all gone by
the end, which really shows her brilliant character development. Another
character who has had some extreme development is Warner. I don’t believe I’ve
ever changed my mind about a character as completely as I have with Warner. It
really shows how important perspectives are for how you view a story. Another
character that I fell in love with in this book is Kenji. At first I just
thought he was the comic relief but in Ignite Me he becomes such an amazing
friend to Juliette. Any scene with him in it made me happy. Now, as you can
probably tell by my ramblings, my favourite part of this book was the
characters. They are all so broken and twisted in so many different ways, and
we get to see them break down and pick themselves back up again, and it’s
really great. I really loved the relationship between Juliette and Warner, as
well. I mean, how can you not! They are adorable and they complement each other
so well. Also, how beautiful is this cover!? It goes so well with the symbolism
of Juliette’s character development. I flew though this book, I loved it even
though the ending was rather abrupt, and it is one of the most interesting
series I’ve read.
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Part two ofthe Shatter Me series, part one here.
At the end
of Shatter Me, Juliette, Adam, James
and Kenji all manage to escape to Omega Point, the rebel base where people with
all kinds of abilities like Juliette’s live together, hiding from the
Reestablishment. In Unravel Me, we pick up with a Juliette who is still afraid
of her own power. She still feels like an outsider. Escaping was supposed to
set her free, but now she has to battle her own demons. She needs to face her
past and learn to control her powers. Most of all, she needs to stop running. Before
it’s too late. Before the war arrives.
still a very problematic character. She is overreacting and shutting other
people out. She has the power to literally crush walls, but she is too afraid
to see it, which is very frustrating. Her relationship with Adam is getting
increasingly unstable, which is not making things easier for her. Thankfully,
she gets some extreme character development, which is one of my favourite
parts. Unravel Me really picked up
about halfway through, when the really exciting things started happening. It
had some great plot twists that left me so incredulous. That’s what really kept
the story going for me, the constant twists and turns and the urge to know what
would happen next. It deals with some pretty deep motives of ethics and morals,
which I was not expecting but loved nonetheless. The best part of this novel,
however, was that it made me realize that villains are often the most
interesting and complex characters. If you read this, I would recommend keeping
the next part of the trilogy, Ignite Me,
close at hand. This ending will leave you desperate to know what will happen
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Juliette hasn’t spoken to another human being in almost a year. She is locked up in an asylum for a crime she did not intend. They locked her up to keep everyone else safe. Juliette’s touch is lethal, and no one knows why. Isolated since childhood, Juliette has never known affection, warmth or any kind of human contact. She has almost lost what little hope she had to begin with, but everything changes when she gets a cellmate. The Reestablishment, who promised everyone to fix this broken world, has plans for her. Plans to utilize her powers as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. Plans to fight back.
I didn’t have very high expectations for this book when I picked it up, but it surely surprised me. Reading it was a thrilling ride and after the first hundred pages I was unable to put it down. Juliette was a really interesting character to me. She has been isolated her entire life and has zero experience of other people, so seeing her respond to the events that take place made this novel even more capturing. Some might say she is overly dramatic and naïve, but I’ll have to put that down to her imprisonment. When you have never felt anything but your own loneliness every experience and emotion is bound to hit you like a tidal wave. In the beginning she is very fragile, but she goes though some serious character development when she discovers the truth about her fatal touch. My favourite part of this book, however, was the prose and the writing style. The whole book is filled with crossed out sentences. These are the things Juliette is trying to stop herself from thinking or saying, and it gives an entirely new perspective of her. The prose reminded me a bit of Matched. It’s very poetic. It takes some getting used to, but it is absolutely beautiful and makes the story flow. Shatter Me is in many ways a dystopia, but it is also very focused on romance. We get to follow the very first relationship Juliette forms, and as it is the first everything is very intense. To me the romance in this novel was not so much about two people, but a portrayal of what it feels like to fall in love for the very first time. The poetic prose really makes these scenes come alive. Juliette’s discovery of the freedom that comes with this love and the strength that comes with her powers really makes this an unforgettable read.
//Love from L
On a barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop, or rather a
‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possess a rare gift for sensing
which books will soothe his customers’ troubled souls.
The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. For
twenty-one years he has nursed a broken heart – and never dared open the letter
his love left behind. But the arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour inspires
Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for
Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.
I went to Paris a few months
ago and fell in love with quite a few bookshops over there. I had not heard
anything about this book before – I picked it up solely based on the title. It
just seemed like the perfect combination. It was both that, and a lot of other
things I did not expect.
As the blurb said, this story
is about a man going on a journey to heal his broken heart. As the title
suggests, it is also a story about books. However, it has less to do with Paris
than you would expect. The story starts out in the city of light, but pretty
soon it becomes a road trip story taking place on a boat through the French
country side. Along the way Jean Perdu meets a bunch of unique and hilarious
people, who all bring something vital to the story. The most prominent of these
being Max; the young author of a bestseller, now on the run from his publishers
and fans who demand he write something just as great this time. However, Max
has had writers block for years. Out of all the characters, he is the one I
could picture the most clearly in my head (namely Ben Whishaw as Q).
This was a surprisingly sad
story. I won’t give away details, but the story takes a turn for the melancholy
after a little while, which I rather think a reader should know before picking
this book up; especially as it was marketed as a feel-good. However, this book
manages to mix the sad parts with hilarious and thrilling adventure in a
beautiful way. And all the while there is the underlying focus on books and
their healing powers. This is as much a story of the power of literature as it
is of lost love. As a certified bookworm, I loved the bookish parts especially.
This was a bittersweet read,
both gloomy and uplifting. As it is not YA which is what I usually read, I
found it a bit harder to relate to the characters and their issues, as they are
all quite a bit older than me. I would recommend this book to all the
booklovers out there who believe in the magic of reading, and are looking for a
//love from L
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