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Review: Life After Life

lifeTitle: Life After Life
Author: Kate Atkinson
Release Date: April, 2 2013
Pages: 529

First Line: “A fug of tobacco smoke and damp clammy air hit her as she entered the cafe.”

“On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.” – from Goodreads

My thoughts: I see how this idea was a cool one. I was really curious about this book when I heard about it. But it wasn’t really what I thought it was going to be. I, unlike some of the other reviewers I’ve read, actually liked the beginning of the book the best. Even though it was a little repetitive, we were learning something new with each visit to birth day, and each day she died. And in the beginning, Ursula at least has feelings or some intuition of things to come, and found ways to avoid them. But then as the book goes on, it’s like she loses that, I guess because she’s older? I’m not sure, but I think what I was expecting was for her to remember more and more of past lives rather than less and less. To me, that is what made the book redundant. Even though we, the reader, see that Ursula is reliving her life over and over again, if she doesn’t realize that, we are really just reading the same life… over and over again. Yes, this book showed how different traumatic events or choices we make can affect our lives in such significant ways, but that’s something we knew already. What I wanted was for Ursula to know that. I wanted her to remember. I wanted her to change the outcome of her life because she remembered her mistakes and because she wanted to. I didn’t want to just watch her stumble into different fates without understanding why. Once I realized that was not what this book was, and it wasn’t going to happen that way, I could enjoy the beautiful writing for what it was without the high expectations of something spectacular happening in the story. I think the prologue threw me too, because (it’s not really a spoiler if it’s in the prologue, right?) after you knew you could kill Hitler, would you ever live your life another way?

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality:4/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: The Silver Star

silver starTitle: The Silver Star
Author: Jeanette Walls
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Pages: 288

First Line: “My sister saved my life when I was just a baby.”

“‘Bean’ Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who ‘found something wrong with every place she ever lived,’ takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.” – from Goodreads

My thoughts: This book was a quick and easy read, though it did deal with some uncomfortable situations as Jeannette Walls’s books always do. I did like Bean’s character, but I grew more and more disappointed with Liz. Not that Liz needed to be more mature because she was still a child as well, but Liz took care of Bean without complaint at the beginning of the book so I thought that would continue throughout the story. Instead Bean ended up taking care of Liz, even before the trauma Liz had to go through. It was just kind of a weird change of characters I guess, but I still enjoyed the story. I just wish we got a little more out of the other characters. I think they all could have had more to say, including the girls’ uncle and Bean’s cousin and aunt.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality:3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: The Great Hunt

hunt

Title: The Great Hung
Series: Wheel of Time (#2)
Author: Robert Jordan
Release Date: November 15, 1990
Pages: 705

First Line: “The man who called himself Bors, at least in this place, sneered at the low murmuring that rolled around the vaulted chamger like the soft gabble of geese.”

“The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. For centuries, gleemen have told of The Great Hunt of the Horn. Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages.

And it is stolen.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I’m terrible at reviewing fantasy books I think. As much as I read, I did poorly in reading comprehension in school. I get caught up in the story and forget about all the details and stuff, and I don’t really like rehashing everything. I just talk about how I felt about it I guess. So I hope no one comes to this blog for a summary of anything, because I just pull that from Goodreads, hehehe. But anyway… on to the book. I really liked this book! I have to say I liked it a lot more than I liked the first one I think. The characters have grown on me now. It took me a while to find a liking for them in the first book, but I liked them all at least at some point in this one; even Nynaeve had a pretty awesome part, and usually I can’t stand her. And whereas I was pretty indifferent about Egwene before, now I like her as well. I think right now though, my favorite is Loial. Loial is awesome. So based on this book, I’m expecting the series to just keep getting better and better. 🙂

My Ratings:
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Subject: 5/5
Originality:5/5
Kept me interested: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5

Review: Eye of the World

WoT01_TheEyeOfTheWorldTitle: The Eye of the World
Series: Wheel of Time (#1)
Author: Robert Jordan
Release Date: November 15, 1990
Pages: 657 pages

First Line: “The palace still shook occasionally as the earth rumbled in memory, groaned as if it would deny what had happened.”

“The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: My husband has been bugging to start this series forever, but I was hesitant because of the commitment. The books are big, and there are.. like… FOURTEEN of them! But I finally decided to just go ahead and dive in. I’m not sure how fast I’ll get through the series, because I have a lot of YA books to keep up with, but I will try to get to each book before I forget everything that happened in the previous one. Wouldn’t want to have to start over after all! Anyway, I did like this book, especially now that I feel like I can appreciate fantasy more than I used to be able to. I do so love maps. 🙂 I did have a hard time finding love for many of the characters though. Nynaeve annoyed me, but my husband was quick to point out that apparently not many people do like her. I’m not really sure why, but she’s just kind of crabby. I also didn’t like Mat, but I was informed that he gets much cooler as the series goes on. To be fair, I mostly didn’t like him because of something that wasn’t entirely under his control. I felt almost nothing for any of the other characters until near the end of this book. then I started liking Rand more, and Moiraine, and especially Perrin for some reason. I was disappointed when they all got separated, but I suppose that’s to be expected occasionally. I do like the magical elements (especially as women are empowered and men go CA-RAZY when they try to gain power). It’s kind of hard to write a review for something so complicated, so I’m really just writing about the elements/characters that struck me I guess. So after finishing this one, yes, I will definitely continue with the series. I think it will only get better from here really. Oh, and I sincerely hope Thom comes back eventually and is not dead!

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Review: Necessary Ill

illTitle: Necessary Ill
Author: Deb Taber
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Pages: 352

First Line: “At ten thirty on a weekday morning the restaurants are as empty as they’ll ever be.”

“Jin, the neuter protagonist of Necessary Ill, begins the novel as a designer of plagues intended to set the world back into balance—a balance of population and resources, creation and destruction, choice and certainty—a balance more important to it than any individual life, including its own. Sandy, a young woman thrust violently out of her farm life into the dispassionate science of neuters like Jin, discovers her own need for balance—a balance of safety and adventure, art and science, self-protection and love. But Jin and Sandy find that human life is full of change, and as the world is thrown off balance for all, each questions their ruling assumptions and must learn to see in new ways for the survival of friends and enemies alike.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: Good to read something for adults every once in a while. I liked this book, but the way Taber switches between past and present tense for each chapter kind of bothered me. I’m not the kind of person that hates present tense, but I had to get used to it every other chapter, and I’m not sure why. Interesting story though!

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5