Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

About the book:
Title/Author: The Magicans by Lev Grossman
Publisher/Year Published: the Penguin Group 2009
How I got it: I bought it
Why I read this book: it's about a boy studying to become a magician at a school for magicians, aka: I thought I would love it.

High school senior Quentin Coldwater is just like everyone trying to get into college. When he goes to the house of a Princeton alumni for an interview he gets the scare of his life when upon entering the house he finds the dead body of said alumni. It all gets even a bit more weird when one of the paramedics hands him a package containing the sixth book in the Fillory series, books which Quentin has read over and over again, and because of that he know there only ever were five of them. When he tries to read it, the wind blows it away and following it, he ends up at Brakebills school for magicians.
After this we follow Quentin throughout his carreer at Brakebills, the people he meets and the girl who becomes his friend and later on his lover. Quentin can't forget about Fillory, a world he knows from the books he read about it. They're about the Chatwin children, of which every time Fillory is in trouble 2 or more of them get sent there to fix things and be the kings and queens (2 each) of Fillory. The oldest one, Martin Chatwin, disappears in one of the books and when Quentin and his friends find a way to travel to that world (which does exist after all) they decide to go look for him.

Does Fillory sound familiar at all to any of you? Cause I couldn't stop thinking Narnia, Narnia, NARNIA the whole time I was reading about it. Which was incredibly annoying, cause it seemed like such a rip off of those books (which I loved). They even had two wise rams (the Gods of Fillory) who sent the Chatwin children home when they were no longer needed there. Aslan anyone?
But this was not the only issue I had with the book. Quentin is just not a likeable character. He whines, he's never happy with anything, even though he gets what he wants every time, he's arrogant and just plain lazy and ungrateful. And the author made it seem like this was standard attitude for all of the magic community. I couldn't sympathize with him and I was extremely annoyed by the selfish, stupid things he did. Half the time he's drunk out of his mind, they all are actually. I so wanted to kick his butt and tell him to do something with his life!
The only one I liked was Quentin's girlfriend Alice, who was the only one that showed a caring and mature side.

Probably the only reason I finished this book is because I bought it and I have a hard time not finishing a book and was really waiting for it to get good, which for me didn't happen.
My rating: 1 star

If any of you have read this one and liked it: PLEASE TELL ME! I always feel horrible not liking a book and maybe you can make me see the good sides of it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Top Ten All-Time Favourite Books

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This will be in no particular order except my number 1:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I've read this one so many times (and watched the movie, the mini-series and the series Lost in Austen way too many times) and I still love it. I will love Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy forever.

2. The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling: I grew up with these books and have and will again reread them over and over again. J.K. Rowling is a true genius for creating them.

3. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: only recently discovered, but so beautifully written I swear I heard hallelujah-sounds. I'm also very excited about the series.

4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: Kvothe is such a likeable character and the world Rothfuss has created truly magical. I'm not-so-patiently awaiting the sequel.

5. Juniper and Wise Child by Monica Furlong: I've loved this books ever since I was little, I've read them over and over again and recently purchased them cause I want to be able to read them to my future children. I wanted to be both Wise Child and Juniper.

6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: this is AMAZING! I've read it in one go, even my brother (who doesn't read much) finished it in two days. I've already preordered Mockingjay.

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: I love it more everytime I read it.

8. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman: I couldn't help but love Lyra and I want to have a daemon of my own..

9. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: what can I say, this one is just a classic and I love Scarlett's southern charm. It's been a while, I think a reread is due sometime soon.

10. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: a very promising start of his series and I'm hoping the rest will live up to it. For reasons, check out my review.

This was hard! I had to leave some off, but they know I love them anyway.
What are some of you favourite books?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top Ten Favourite Covers

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

In no particular order:

Catching Fire by Suzanna Collins: very bright and the cover just literally seems to catch fire (also loved the book itself!).

Wise Child by Monica Furlong: this is my Dutch version, I've loved this cover and the book ever since I saw it as a child and still do.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: also my Dutch version. Just love the monotone color and the scene with the father and son.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin: look at it, it's just awesome.

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray: I love historical fiction and movies with all the dresses and such.

Mistwood by Leah Cypess: I love this cover and am dying to read this book!

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin: same story as Mistwood.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: loved this book and love the simplicity of the cover.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier: bought this book because of the cover, it's currently sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat: I know I just reviewed this one, but the cover just makes me laugh :)

So, what are some of your favourite covers?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat

About the Book:
Title/Author: Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat
Publisher/Year published: Hodder & Stoughton, 2009
How I got it: The title caught my eye and I bought it
Why I read this book: Look at the title! I just HAD to read this.

After Victoria hears she is to be queen, the first thing she encounters in her bedroom is a demon trying to kill her. A woman, claiming to be a member of the Protektorate (a team of highly trained professionals, dedicated to the monarch), chases it off. Life just got a bit more complicated for Victoria, who already had to deal with her overbearing mother and her mother's secretary Conroy trying to take the throne by controlling her. But Victoria isn't one to be put into the corner and decides to take action when some demons take her love Albert hostage.

First I have to confess I'm a bit of an anglophile. I'll read anything that centers around Queen Elizabeth and after watching The Young Victoria, I became interested in her too. I'd recommend reading up about her before reading this book, cause otherwise you'll probably be a bit lost.
I enjoyed the writing style and the fast pacing of the book. However, I thought the gruesome details about the zombies eating people was a bit much and I'm not really one to be squeamish about that kind of stuff.
Victoria is portrayed as a strong woman here, mentally as well as physically, and I think that much is true about her, she would have had to be to reign as a female. It also shows the love she and Albert shared, which I found to be rather endearing. The rest is of course not based on any real events, but nevertheless, this was a very enjoyable read.
After reading this you'll never look at this woman or the whole royal family in quite the same way.

My rating: 3.5 stars (cause I can't decide whether it should get 3 or 4)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Most Intimidating Books:

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: this book scared me before I read it because I heard other people just got stuck. Rereading it still scares me.

2. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan: the sheer vastness of this whole series scares me. And on top of that I couldn't get used to the writing style and story, but maybe I'll have to try again someday, cause I've heard such great things about it.

3. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: again, it's the size, but I'm currently reading this one and LOVE it. It's actually a fast read.

4. The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas, or actually anything by him. They're such epic tales and I'm afraid I won't enjoy them properly.

5. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: my grandmother loved it and I'm afraid of not liking it because of that.

6. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult: I've heard it's incredibly sad, so I'm a bit anxious about reading it.

7. The Iliad by Homer: will I make it through the language?

8. East of Eden by John Steinbeck: another fat book, besides I've heard you either love or hate Steinbeck and I've never read anything by him before.

9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: this one is so well loved by a lot of people I know, it gets intimidating.

10. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: before I read it, the size of it intimidated me. Not anymore, I'm really glad I read it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

About the Book:
Title: A Game of Thrones (#1 of a Song of Ice and Fire)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Publisher/Year Published: Voyager Books, first published 1996
How I got it: I can never resist a nice and shiny cover (I bought it)

Synopsis: As warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand (chief counsillor to the king, rules when the king is not available). His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, now what he must... and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, a vengeance-mad boy has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities beyond the sea. Heir of the mad Dragon King deposed by Robert, he claims the Iron Throne.

"When you play a game of thrones, you win or you die."

Martin paints a world in which on one side you have Eddard Stark, man of extreme honor, and his family and on the other side the courtiers and their intrigue. The family is thrown right into the middle and noone comes out unscathed, not even the children.

King Robert has taken his throne by force, slaying the whole family of the former king except one boy (a prince) and a pregnant woman, who dies giving birth to the last princess of that line. Eddard finds Robert has changed over the years, a substantial part due to the influence of his conniving wife and her family, and doesn't recognize his friend from the past in the decisions he makes. His acception of the position of Hand of the King breaks up his family and we follow them in their different struggles, while also seeing everything through the eyes of the 'enemy' princess, who was raised outside the Seven Kingdoms.

With everyone fighting for the crown, it's no surprise people get hurt.

If you are a fan of epic fantasy, or any kind of fantasy for that matter, I'd strongly recommend this book to you. It blew me away with its amazing wordlbuilding. It had just the right pace for me. First Martin takes the time to introduce the characters to you and then he starts weaving his epic plot. It changes point of view each chapter, which made me connect with all the characters and come to love them. As the plot progresses, we see not only strong men, but also strong women who truly make a difference, definitely a winning point to me.

Martin made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me gasp in horror and astonished me at unexpected turns. In other words: this books goes on my all-time favourites list and I am definitely reading the rest of the series.
I give it 5+ bright shiny stars.

I reviewed this one for The Broke and the Bookish


I've recently been bit by the blogging bug and decided to try it for myself. I love books with a passion and my blogging will mostly consist of reviews of recent reads and lists about books.
It's all a bit empty now, but will soon be up and running!