Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bulk reviews

The Magician's Apprentice (The Black Magician Trilogy, #0.5)The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer. Her mother would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn.

When the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage get violent, Tessia unconsciously taps unknown reserves of magic to defend herself. Lord Dakon, the local magician, takes Tessia under his wing as an apprentice.

The long hours of study and self-discipline also offer more opportunities than she had ever hoped for, and an exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants - and, to Tessia's delight - regular trips to the great city of Imardin.

But along with the excitement and privilege, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. For great danger looms on the horizon for Tessia and her world.

- Read the Black Magician trilogy before this and was entertained and like it well enough to warrant to read the other series. So far this is OK as it have all the elements of the Black Magician trilogy that I like. Simple, straight storyline, story of a girl finding her own path.

- I find it a bit repetitive with some of the storyline in the Black Magician trilogy. Not exactly the same, but I felt like I had been this road before.

- The characters are mostly straightforward.

- The ending feels a bit ambiguous, but we did know what is gonna happen afterwards as this book is more of a prequel.

- Also the ending feels a bit rushed and anti climactic. It feels flat after all those chasing. Ini je ???

- Overall, entertaining read for YA. Not groundbreaking but worth a read.

A Cloistered War: Behind the Convent Walls During the Japanese OccupationA Cloistered War: Behind the Convent Walls During the Japanese Occupation by Maisie Duncan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads : A Cloistered War is a coming-of-age memoir set in Malaya before and after World War II. Maisie Duncan brings us back to the delightful times of curry tiffins, porcelain dolls, Cantonese amahs, and (not-so-delightful) castor oil Sundays. This happy state of affairs changes dramatically when the author's mother dies and the author remarries. Maisie and her siblings are sent away from the family home to CHIJ insitutions and Christian Brothers' schools, where they spend the next 14 years of their youth traversing Malaya as boarders in these cloistered worlds.

Bought this as I am always interested in books of first hand account of the WW2 war. Especially one in Malaya. Read it at one go masa kat hospital beranakkan si kecik ni lagi

- I don't feel drawn in to the writing. Was interested, but I feel no empathy or much else towards any of the people in the book.

- Ms Duncan writing and description is simple and to the point which I appreciated, but maybe this is also why I don't feel much when reading it.

- However the book portray what I feel as a realistic view of a people living in an occupied country. There is terror, hardship, but there is a glint of humor and jokes to be found here and there which just shows that no matter what, life goes on.

- Enjoyed the book very much and it was enlightening to know some of the things that happened.

The History of LoveThe History of Love by Nicole Krauss
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he's still alive. But it wasn't always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book. Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together toward a climax of extraordinary depth and beauty

- Haunting story of lost love in various form, however... I don't understand it and it confused me.

- Writing is undeniably beautiful, but I am weary of the feeling of hopelessness in it and the many description of love. Not really my thing kut.

- Also what I mean by not understanding it, there are a lot of characters in the books which you find confusing and towards the end, I appreciated how they interconnect with each other, but some of them leave me questioning their motives and even existence!

- A beautiful book, but I don't appreciate it.

A Long Way DownA Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary taken from Goodreads.. Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.

- I always like Nick Hornby writing. There is something honest in how he portray his characters, their voice and thoughts. This is one of the book that I felt is honest on how life is and maybe how depression works. Though for the life of me, I can't say I know what it is like to be depressed. Really depressed.

- Nick Hornby also don't dabble in happy ending. Everything towards the end is not tied in a neat happy package, or even neat tragic package. It is more like ambiguous, ambiguous in the way of you know somehow the characters is gonna be ok, for now.

- I love how different each character are. The only one that I felt frustrated with is Jess. Maybe because I don't get her.

- This is a great book actually. Refreshing. Though not to be read while depressed.

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset (The Hunger Games, #1-3)The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: I think you know kut. Katniss Everdeen, takes the place of her sister as a tribute to participate in The Hunger Games, the annual games set in an apocalypyse future where children are chosen from each district to kill each other for amusement.

I watched the movie and like it very much. Read the book and love it. A lot of the things in the movie was not clear or immediately clear to me, on why does the children's are chosen as this sick type of entertainment, why the segregation, the motives of various characters.  Reading the book, now I kinda get it.

Sebab malas nak repeat myself, I am gonna reviewed all 3 books sekaligus.

The first book, Hunger Games was awesome. It was fast paced, the action was nice, the description of the a future apocalypse North America was perfect. I can understand how it can be so.

A lot of the characters I am in love with, we are only familiar with Katniss and Peeta in the first book. But the next books, a lot of the characters are brought forward, and a lot of them are developed nicely. I have no complain in the character development. I love Katniss. I like how Katniss actually represent a true person. That she is not noble, she is a survivor, a fighter and to be that successfully she is selfish, prideful, resourceful. I think this is Suzanne Collins biggest strength in this book... on how she writes her character. It is like she understood them, even the nemesis. I love how the character develop, I got annoyed with Katniss hysterics towards the end, but I understood it.

Book first was full with action and laced with a little humour. Especially from Peeta ( whom I love, love, love ). The second book seems fraught with high nervous energy and a feeling of something is gonna happened. The third book is the weakest I guess. Maybe because Katniss and Peeta is weakest here. The writing and description feels clunky. Felt a bit improbable too, but it is a YA so I am going with the flow. I also like the ending, because this is a dark story no matter how Team Peeta I am.. so to end it with that note, is apt.

Why I didn't give it 5 star is because, while I think this is one of the books that I will reread over and over again, the writing at time is too simplistic and sometimes I feel like it is not just there. It is not subpar nor horrible, but I feel like it could be improved. But it does not deter from my enjoyment of this marvelous book. Just a small complain really.


kak aidah said... Akak suka baca reviews byk2 macam ni. Macam shopping buku je rasanya. Last weekend baru pergi kinokuniya beli 2 biji buku, so buku hunger games tu utk next kuota. Hehehe. Thanx dik for the reviews.

dils said...

Hunger games tu memang best sungguh kak. Farah anak akak gu pon mesti suka.

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