A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange

Published in: 1962
Pages: 212
Edition read: Hardcover

Book description:
A vicious fifteen-year-old “droog” is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent film of the same title.

In Anthony Burgess’s nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends’ social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to “redeem” him—the novel asks, “At what cost?”

My review:
Wow, the language in this book is insane. I mean, I know slang, but this is insane. The slang is crazy, there was a helpful glossary at the back of my book which I didn’t find until I had FINISHED THE WHOLE THING (so annoying) but there was a lyrical quality to the slang that I really enjoyed. The feel of the book was something electric, I really enjoyed reading it, but the subject was so disturbing and I hated that I liked the character of Alex. I really still hate that I ended up liking his character. He’s a viscous 15 year old rapist and murderer – the exact kind of person that you know you hate. But there is just something about how this is written that makes you not hate Alex. I mean, you hate him, but not in a “you should burn in hell” kinda way, but in a “you suck, but not as much as I thought you would”.

I think the way that they spoke really got to me, the use of such interesting language – a mix of Russian and Slavic words, Shakespearean phrases and words (O my brother; thou), and a lot of teen angst and self-righteousness that just made everything work. Plus there’s the use of classical music throughout, Alex is so infatuated with the classical music in a way that most people never feel about music. He hates the pop music of the day, but big clashing classical symphonies, he cannot get enough of them – and I totally get that.

It’s just such an interesting book to read, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it like I did.Now I just need to see the movie adaptation, because that’s got to be insane, if it’s anything like the book was.

Final review:
A Clockwork Orange rating:
7/10
Would I re-read it? Yes, I actually would.
Who would I recommend it to? anyone who has seen the movie, fans of classical novels but who aren’t easily offended.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/227463.A_Clockwork_Orange
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange_(novel)
Book depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Clockwork-Orange-Anthony-Burgess/9780241951446

Advertisements

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Gods Behaving Badly

Published in: 2007
Pages: 277
Edition read: Hardcover

Book description:
Being immortal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Life’s hard for a Greek god in the 21st century: nobody believes in you any more, even your own family doesn’t respect you, and you’re stuck in a delapidated hovel in north London with too many siblings and not enough hot water. But for Artemis (goddess of hunting, professional dog walker), Aphrodite (goddess of beauty, telephone sex operator) and Apollo (god of the sun, TV psychic) there’s no way out… Until a meek cleaner and her would-be boyfriend come into their lives, and turn the world literally upside down.

My review:
This was a light and easy read about the Greek gods living in modern day London, living in squallor and slowly losing their powers, and two poor mortals who get mixed up in their shenanigans. I was pleasantly surprised to find some of the characters were portrayed in ways I’d not come across before – Athena is shown as batty, when she normally is a brainiac (being so smart, she is unable to portray her ideas in simple terms, meaning nobody can understand her smarts); Ares, my favourite of the gods, is a level-headed super smart strategist (whereas normally he is a beefcake with more muscles than brains); Zeus is a crazed old man; Hermes is the most successful of the gods because he’s so busy with overseeing the money of the world and ferrying the dead to the underworld. It was refreshing to see these gods in ways they normally aren’t shown.

The story was a few classic myths jazzed up to the modern era – Apollo is tricked into falling in love with a mortal named Alice, whom he has Zeus kill through trickery when Alice rejects him, and then Neal, Alice’s mortal crush, has to travel with Athena to the underworld to try to free Alice and bring her back to life. It’s cute, it’s a little funny, it’s charming in it’s simplicity, it was enjoyable to read. After a recent spate of less-than-enjoyable books, this was what I needed to get me back into the reading swing.

Final review:
Gods behaving badly rating:
7/10
Would I re-read it? Yes, this was a fun read and I’m a sucker for the Greek gods
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of Greek mythology, fantasy, humour, romances, light fluffy reads.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2365897.Gods_Behaving_Badly
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Behaving-Badly-Marie-Phillips/dp/0316067636
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gods_Behaving_Badly

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the FliesPublished in: 1954
Pages: 336
Edition read: Paperback

Book description:
William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them- the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories- and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible.

My review:
What the actual hell did I just read? What even…

Ok. So. Children are marooned on an island following a plane crash, which apparently had only one adult on board, the pilot, whom they find at a later date and he did not survive. That is the unlikely premise, and then these children basically screw around for a few months on this island, failing to get rescued on numerous occasions because they suck at basic things like keeping a signal fire going, or building adequate shelter, or having a proper leader. Then they end up killing a number of the children and it all culminates in a hunt to the death for the previous leader by the crazed new leader because… they are children?

I’m sorry, but how is any of this believable? I understand they are children, but there are 12 year olds in the mix and they are smarter than this book gives them credit. They would be little barbarians, sure, but to this extent? No, I do not think so.

I didn’t like any of the characters, I couldn’t understand the motivation of most of them, I was happy when the book ended. I got so angry when the silly kids decided to burn the island to the ground because that seemed like a good way to hunt the child they were foolishly hunting – what the hell are you doing? That’s short term thinking you morons. I’m getting so angry just thinking about this book, it infuriated me so.

Final review:
Lord of the flies rating:
3/10
Would I re-read it? Er no. Not unless I needed to get really angry at something and was searching for motivation.
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone wanting to get angry? I dunno. I couldn’t think of anyone who would enjoy this book, to be honest.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/526.Lord_of_the_Flies

The Silver Chair by C S Lewis

The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia, #4)

Published in: 1953
Pages: 243
Edition read: E-book
Book series: Book 6 in the Chronicles of Narnia (Chronological order)

Book description:
NARNIA…where owls are wise, where some of the giants like to snack on humans, where a prince is put under an evil spell…and where the adventure begins.

Eustace and Jill escape from the bullies at school through a strange door in the wall, which, for once, is unlocked. It leads to the open moor…or does it? Once again Aslan has a task for the children, and Narnia needs them. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, they pursue the quest that brings them face to face with the evil Witch. She must be defeated if Prince Rillian is to be saved.

My review:
This book features Jill and Eustace as the main characters, and they were interesting characters both. Eustace has mellowed out since his first visit to Narnia, and he is almost  endearing now as he navigates Narnia again, but this time with his friend Jill. They meet up with a crazy frog-like character called a Marshwiggle, whose name is Puddleglum, and he’s this cynical depressed sarcastically sassy character that I bonded with from the get go. He made this book, in my opinion.

Puddleglum and co make their way through Narnia to the giant’s lands, then underground, before finally defeating an evil queen and saving the missing prince of Narnia. It was fun to read, but honestly what kept me turning the pages was Puddleglum. If he turned up in more books, I’d be happy. He was just so depressed and cynical, it was amazing. I had not thought I’d find a character like that in a 1950’s childrens book!

Final review:
The silver chair rating:
6/10
Would I re-read it? Yes, for Puddleglum’s moments of amazingness.
Who would I recommend it to? Children and young adults, fans of the series and the author, anyone whose seen the movie adaptations.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/65641.The_Silver_Chair
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silver_Chair
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Chair-C-S-Lewis/dp/0064471098

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

The Secret Chord

Published in: 2015
Pages: 302
Edition read: hardcover

Book description:
Peeling away the myth to bring the Old Testament’s King David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected.  We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.

My review:
This book is told through the eyes of a prophet writing down the life of David, who is this intriguing character, he is hard to like, while being likeable. He is a musical genius who inspires loyalty in his men by being normal and flawed, and by golly is he flawed. He is prone to rages, he is deceitful and scheming, he is petty and a womaniser, he is also completely blinded by his love for his sons, and this leads to some really bad moments for poor old David.

The story goes through David’s life and times, shows his many wives and sons, his misfortunes and triumphs, and it was all vividly told. However, I found myself wishing David would die multiple times throughout the books, and feeling so sorry for his poor wives and his poor daughter – what happened to his daughter was disgusting, and his son that did all that, his death was too good for him. His son Slomo (Solomon) though, he was a spark of hope in the darkness of David’s later years, and I’d like to read a book about his life and his achievements, as it seemed that he was what the people of Israel needed after David’s reign.

It was an interesting read, but I had issues with some parts of the book and the characters, and it didn’t quite engage me as I had hoped it would.

Final review:
The Secret Chord rating:
6/10
Would I re-read it? Probably not
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of historical fiction and biblical fiction/stories.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24611425-the-secret-chord
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Chord
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Chord-Novel-Geraldine-Brooks/dp/0143109766

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1)

Published in: 2017
Pages: 323
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 1 in the Winternight trilogy

Book description:
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.  And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

My review:
So I joined a bookclub (yay me!) because one of my best friends joined a book club, and this was the book they were reading during March. I had literally 3 days to read the book before the bookclub meeting, so boy golly I sure managed that feat, and managed to discuss this book with others who also had read it and bookclub is honestly like heaven. It’s amazing. I never get a chance to discuss books with people.

Onto the story. This book was… weird. It took me ages to get into the book, it’s a ‘slow burn’ meaning that the book takes forever to really build up to anything. The action basically happens in the last 30 pages, so up til then, it’s all world-building. It was fascinating in that it had Russian folklore throughout, a lot of which I had never heard of.

Having discussed it in BC, I found a lot of people had the same issues I did with the book – in that it was super slow to begin, all the action was at the end, and there were so many characters that frustrated them (Konstantin was the most hated character overall), and there was this point about halfway through the book where you can tell the author went from ‘this is a one-off’ to ‘hey, this could be a trilogy or series’, and then we got all sorts of random things thrown into the story to make it longer. That was frustrating.

Thing was, by the end of it, I was enjoying it. Vasya was a strong character that I liked, she did what she wanted and didn’t care what the villagers thought of her, and I want to see how she does in the next book.

Final review:
The bear and the nightingale rating: 6.5/10
Would I re-read it? I really don’t know. It was interesting, but it felt quite ‘first book’ to me, and there was a lot of things that irritated me… so I don’t know if I would read it again.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of fantasy,historical fiction, and fairy tales.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25489134-the-bear-and-the-nightingale
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bear-Nightingale-Novel-Winternight-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00X2FDZKW
Book depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Bear-Nightingale-Katherine-Arden/9781785031045

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)

Published in: 2015
Pages: 348
Edition read: e-book
Series: Book 6, final book in the Bloodlines series

Book description:
Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.

When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.

My review:
This series peaked in book 4 and 5, and it’s all downhill from here. Reading this book, you can feel the wrap-up all throughout. Things are nicely finished off, ends are neatened, everything just gets a bit more convenient. It’s nice that the characters get this happening and all, but it leaves the book a bit underwhelming as a result.

Now that Sydney and Adrian are together and the world knows, their romance lacks the fun that it used to have (for the reader anyways). Now that Sydney is no longer an Alchemist, I find her kinda dull – I mean, she still kicks ass and has some serious skills as a witch, but there’s less excitement than there was in previous books. Even when hunting down Jill’s kidnapper and trying to rescue her, the story seemed less exciting than it would have been in an earlier book.

The only really exciting thing to happen was the birth of Declan and what he brings to the world, and I really wanted to explore that more. In fact, a series around that would be really great, but Declan was basically kept quiet for most of the story and just came in at the end to show Sydney and Adrian playing happy families, which was annoying. That was a serious storyline that could have been explored! That was honestly interesting and had so much potential! But no.

Even so, it was a good book to read, I was still pretty invested throughout and enjoyed reading about the characters and their shenanigans, and felt happy and sad at the ending.

Final review:
The Ruby Circle rating:
8/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series and the author, paranormal romances, vampires, witches, young adult fiction.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8709528-the-ruby-circle
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Ruby-Circle-Bloodlines-Novel-ebook/dp/B00KWG5Z4I
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodlines_(series)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3)

Published in: 1952
Pages: 248
Edition read: E-book
Series: book 5 in the Chronicles of Narnia, chronological order

Book description:
Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the Dawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true.

My review:
This book took me a long time to get through, for some reason it didn’t grab me like the others had. I knew most of the storyline from seeing the movie previously, but that didn’t seem to help the story along for me. It just felt like it was lacking something. The adventure was there, the characters were there, Caspian was there, but something was lacking for me and I cannot figure out what.

The children have adventure after adventure throughout the seas of Narnia, Eustace is a drip at the beginning but becomes more humble and likeable after he is turned into a dragon for half the book. There is a mystery as Caspian hunts down men that were sent on a similar voyage years previously and never returned, and as they find the trace of these men and their adventures, the story gets weirder and weirder, culminating in the boat travelling through flowers at one point (or something to that effect). It just get a bit weird towards the end.

While I enjoyed bits and pieces of the story, it just got a bit too much towards the end, and like I keep saying, there was something lacking in this book.

Final review:
The voyage of the dawn treader rating:
5/10
Would I re-read it? Maybe
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series and author, anyone who has seen the movie, young adults interested in fantasy and adventure stories.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/140225.The_Voyage_of_the_Dawn_Treader
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Voyage_of_the_Dawn_Treader
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Voyage-Dawn-Treader-Chronicles-Narnia/dp/0064405028

The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore

The Fate of Ten (Lorien Legacies, #6)

Published in: 2015
Pages: 416
Edition read: Paperback
Series: Book 6 in the Lorien Legacies series

Book description:
For years the Garde have fought the Mogadorians in secret. Now all of that has changed. The invasion has begun. If the Garde can’t find a way to stop the Mogs, humanity will suffer the same fate as the Lorien: annihilation.

There is still hope. When the Elders sent the Garde to Earth, they had a plan—one which the Garde are finally starting to understand. In the climax of The Revenge of Seven, a group of the Garde traveled to an ancient pyramid in Mexico known to their people as the Sanctuary. There they awoke a power that had been hidden within our planet for generations. Now this power can save the world . . . or destroy it. It will all depend on who wields it.

My review:
Holy hell, this book was insane. I need the next book ASAP but of course, I cannot find a copy at any of my libraries, nor can I find a good e-book version anywhere.

The Mogs have invaded, humanity is now slowly dying off but trying to fight with everything they’ve got, and guess what, humans are starting to develop legacies. For some reason, in between all this, 5 and 9 are fighting each other to the death – because why not – and the government is still not helpful even though they seriously are being defeated by the Mogs, so John and friends are stuck in the wrong place when the Mogs decide to head to and destroy one of the few places on earth where the spirit of Lorien exists.

There’s this council of new Guarde towards the end and oh my gods, I had chills throughout that part. It was just amazing. All these kids, with the ability to save the world, but having such a decision to make. It was this that made me need the next book and start my frantic searches to find the next book because it sounds like the Guarde finally have the armies they needed all along. Plus, there was a significant event towards the end that had me kinda cheering (thank god they finally did that, honestly that was long-overdue) and now I need to see how this plays out in the last book because knowing our luck,they will find some way to fix the issue and bring them back. That’d be annoying.

Final review:
The fate of ten rating:
8/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series, young adults, fans of action and aliens.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24488476-the-fate-of-ten
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorien_Legacies
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fate-Ten-Lorien-Legacies/dp/0062194763

 

The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore

The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies, #5)

Published in: 2014
Pages: 416
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 5 in the Lorien Legacies series

Book description:
The Garde have suffered an unbearable loss. Number Five has betrayed them. Eight is gone forever. Ella has been kidnapped. The others are now scattered.

In Chicago, John makes the unlikeliest of allies: Adam, a Mogadorian who turned his back on his people. He has invaluable information about Mog technology, battle strategies, and weaknesses. Most important, he knows where to hit them: their command base near Washington, DC. During the assault, however, John and Adam learn the unimaginable truth: it is too late. The Mogadorians have commenced their ultimate invasion plans.

With a front-row seat to the impending invasion, Ella finds herself in the hands of the enemy. For some reason she’s more valuable to them alive, and they’ll stop at nothing to turn her. Meanwhile, Six, Nine, and Marina make their way through the Florida Everglades, hot on the trail of the traitorous Five. With the development of a new Legacy, Marina finally has the power to fight back—if her thirst for revenge doesn’t consume her first.

My review:
Righteo. Had to remember how this book went, because I finished it and launched right into the next book because this book ends right in the middle of a massive battle scene just as someone develops a new legacy and it’s just like WHAT THE HELL – so clearly, I had to launch right into the next book and now they have blurred into one mega-book. Whoops.

So the characters aren’t together for very long in this book, they end up scattered all around the place- Ella is kidnapped by the Mogs and hating her life; 5 is being his usual dick self and you feel a little sorry for him, but not much; John is doing whatever it is he does; Marina is even more boring than usual because now she’s sad and angry and boy do I wish she had died; and 6 and 9 are the two stars holding everything together (not really, but they are my favourite characters and the rest can gtfo).

There’s a lot revealed in this book, and everything really happens in the last like 30ish pages of the book- the world learns about the Guarde, that there are bad aliens, that the government is corrupt, and then invasion happens and big battles and oh hey here’s like 3 cliffhangers for the book to end on.

If you read this, I highly suggest having the next book on standby, because you will get to the last page and seriously need to launch into the next book. It’s a doozy of a cliffhanger, that’s for sure.

Final review:
The revenge of seven rating:
8/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series, young adults, fans of adventure fantasy series featuring aliens

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19346451-the-revenge-of-seven
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revenge_of_Seven
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Revenge-Seven-Lorien-Legacies/dp/0062194739