Monday, April 25, 2022

Marissa Meyer: Gilded

In the first in a new series, Marissa Meyer ventures into the old fairy tale world with a haunting retelling of Rumplstiltskin:

Before Serilda was born, her father knew that she was going to be different as she had been blessed or cursed by the God of Lies. This "blessing" allows Serilda as she grows older to tell not only tell lies, but the most fantastical stories but yet the stories seem true. Serilda is put to the ultimate test one night, when she ventures outside her home during the Night Hunt, and it stopped and questioned by the Erlking about the quarry he was hunting. Serilda's choice to tell a  lie, weave a story changes her fate forever. Now she garnered the Erlking interest and on the next Hunt he summons her to his castle to prove she can indeed spin straw into gold. With the her fate, that of her fathers and her village in her hands, Serilda unwittingly summons a boy who can do as she is tasked, but only for a price.

I can say that I am not very familiar with the Rumplestiltskin  fairy tail other than the spinning of straw into gold and I would venture to say that most readers do no remember many details of it either. This gives Meyer a lot of room to develop this story, characters and world in her own way. And lets say that Meyer takes things to a fairly dark side of things, which was unexpected but appreciated, but as i write this I realize that there was not lightness in this book as all. The whole book reads really severe throughout.

The begining and end of this book were really well done. Meyer does a great job of hooking the reader with her character Serilda, her ability to tell stories and the idea that her fellow town folks are wary of her not only due to her stories but her strange eyes. When we reach the middle part of this book, it becomes fairly long winded. Yes, Serilda has the ability to tell stories by do we need a new one, or continuation of the last one every few pages. I understand why the stories are in the book as they hold many hidden secrets, there just seemed to be a lot of them, that I felt I was drawn more to the story that Serilda was telling that her own story, like I want to know what happens next too, who cares about Serilda anymore. To me this made the book feel very long winded.

The best I can say about Serilda is she is an interesting character, is very much 16 in the book, which is fine, but frustrating at times. Like each time she is summoned to spin Gold, she seems so shocked that Gild is once again going to have to ask for payment. I mean he told you all the other times that the magic requires payment, why would this time be any different. Also I do not know how many times her strange eyes need to be mentioned, at least once a chapter I swear. We get it she has strange eyes, but this does not need to be constantly reinforced, we are not going to forget I swear.

I loved all the different creatures that Meyer presents within this book and after reading some information about the book, most are from German folklore which is really cool and an awesome addition to the story. I like that Meyer took the time to do the research into these creatures and the tails behind them. The Night Hunt is also an interesting concept and for the time this book appears to be based in would be something to fear but also wonder about.

Don't get me started on the insta-love, but hey at least there is no love Triangle, so I guess I need to pick the trope that I like better? I mean why couldn't they have been friends first, God knows that Serilda needs at least one friend.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and that cliffhanger at the end, I know i will be picking up the next book in the series. I just hope that there is more of a focus on Serilda's story and not so much of her telling stories to have the reader get lost in. I think if you have enjoyed Meyer's other series you will like this one too, but be warned I thought it was fairly different from the other series by her that i have, darker for sure, I would say more mature in this content, especially when you near the end.

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Sunday, April 17, 2022

Louise Candlish: The Other Passenger

Louise Candlish show me how fast people can go from strangers to friends to enemies:

Jamie Buckby had an incident that leaves him with a fear of the metro. He now travels to work via ferry on the Thames. He has been taking the ferry for awhile when he starts to see the same people and they become friends. He becomes closer with Kit who’s wife turn out to work with Jamie’s common law. This is the beginning of a tremulous relationship between the two couples, especially at just after Christmas Kit is not one the boat. The police suspect that Jamie had something to do with his disappearance as he has reason to want him gone. But what can they know about their private lives, and who is this other passenger who is pointing the finger at Jamie. No matter the coincidences that might have occurred Jamie swears by his innocence, but just how innocent is he?

This is the first book that I have read by Candlish but I had heard that she was great for twists and turns but I felt like this book just plotted along with not really much happening. It was basically a domestic “suspense” (I use that term lightly) of two couples who were friends then have falling out but yet the husbands still see each other everyday on the ferry and are still chummy with each other even though they dislike each other. Fun times, not really.

I didn't like any of the characters, everyone just seemed so self-centered, and just together for money at times . I mean I do not have to actually like characters to enjoy a book, but all the characters just seemed dreary and dull, even the affair that occurs is not overly exciting except maybe one scene.

The overall plot is clever but I was able to figure out most of it, and it just takes a long damn time to get twist to the first major twist.

This book wasn’t for me. I didn’t mind Candlish’s writing style or overall plot but it was just too boring to get to what was happening. I’m torn if I would read another book by Candlish, maybe someone can recommend an amazing one?


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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Chris Hadfield: The Apollo Murders

In his debut fiction novel Chris Hadfield explores the power one can have if one controls Space:

The USSR were the first country to make it to space and ever since the USA knew that they needed to be the first ones to the moon. This was the creation of the Apollo program. But Space is not limited to just the Moon, and in 1973 the USSR launched a new satellite, one that could have deadly consequences for the USA and add a whole new aspect to their Intelligence gathering capabilities. Apollo 18 now has a new mission and that is to not only fly and land on the Moon but disrupt anything that the USSR may be doing in Space. But these order put the Countries against each other once again and with deadly consequences.
This is the first fiction book that Hadfield has written and I was a little worried going into it. Hadfield has a difficult job as he is an astronaut so he knows what he is talking about when it comes to most thins involved in space travel but he needs to make it understandable to the general public, so not too technical. I am happy to report that he succeed. I found when Hadfield was getting a bit technical that I wasn't understanding all the scientific terms, he some how was able to turn it around with a laymen explanation. Did this mean that information was imparted to the reader twice, Yes, but I did not find that this took away from the flow of the story, just helped me understand it better.
I mean really who doesn't like a good USA vs the USSR book. I love the spy game that is occurring within the book, and how each Country does have respect for the other one in whole scheme of things. And the things that are different in this book from what actually occurred at this time, feel real and could have actually happened. That is how well this book is written. And I appreciate at the end of the book that Hadfield saved me the Google search to determine which facts and people in the book are real and which are not.
I feel like character development started off well with Chaz but when more character POVs were added his character development went away as the focus became more on Chad (wish he would have picked a different name as it is close to Chaz). But we really do not get to know either character really well, mainly surface things, this is much more of a plot propelled book than a character one.
I really enjoyed this book and i think partly due to the fact that I do not read a lot of historical fiction or ones with a sci-fi / scientific twist. I look forward to reading another fiction book by Hadfield and I look forward to what he comes up with next.

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