Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Book Review - Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.” 

I really, really, really, really, wanted to love this book, really. Everything about it just screamed 'You will love me', the cover, the idea, the fact that Tim Fucking Burton (his true name) is making a movie out of it. I thought, finally, a creepy novel I can get into.

This is the reason you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is about 16 year old Jacob, who after witnessing a family death goes on a journey to Wales to discover the crumbled remains of Miss Peregrine's home. What follows is a very peculiar adventure.

Firstly, I would like to say, this isn't a scary book, not even mildly. I have read some reviews of people that adore this book (most people do, it seems to be the in Instagram and Tumblr book right now, so please don't hate me for my feelings on this!) and they all seem to find it really creepy. 

I suppose the photographs could be creepy, if they weren't so obviously fake, but the plot itself just isn't. The whole plot just pans out really blandly. There are teases of some depth to the world of the peculiar children, including the town raids, but they are merely mentioned and passed over. I would have loved to have seen an actual raid, to see the darker side of the children, who feel the need to vent their frustration out on innocent town members, hurting them, burning their homes. Plus I think there would be more to the characters if, perhaps, instead of being perpetual children, mind and body, that they aged mentally inside of their childish forms. I know this would make Miss Peregrine a little redundant as a teacher, but it makes more sense.

The relationship between Jacob and Emma is also.... just plain weird. That is all I have to say on that.

Like I said. I really wanted to like this book, and I know so many people adore it, but, I found it boring. And also really easy; I finished it in a day. Because of this, I give it a 2 out of 5. I will be seeing the movie, in the hopes that Tim Burton can save the plot, but I won't be reading the sequels. 

Friday, 22 July 2016

Book Review - The Girl In The Spider's Web - David Lagercrantz

“Those who spy on the people end up themselves being spied on by the people.” 

Having read, and loved, all of the previous Millennium series, I was hesitant to read the latest installment written by a new author. Stieg Larsson died suddenly, at the age of 50, in 2004. This, sadly, meant he was never here to see the success, and joy his books would bring to the world. Following his untimely death, the rights of the Millennium series were passed over to his estranged family, who, though to the protest's of Stieg's partner, hired a new author, David Lagercrantz, to carry on his works. 

The Girl In The Spider's Web follows Blomkvist, who, after receiving a call in the dead of night from a source claiming to have secrets that endanger his life, finds himself once again on the hunt for the truth alongside super hacker Lisbeth.

Though I believe there could have been more to the story after the trilogy's end, I don't think this should have been done by another author. I do not know the true intentions of the family when carrying on the story, however, I do believe there was an air of riding on the success of the first three novels. No one can know the truth of the characters aside from the original author. And I felt this while reading the book. 

I love Lisbeth, I know she is flawed, but she is a character with so much depth. I don't think this came through in this book - perhaps I am being biased, but some of what she said, I just couldn't picture coming from her mouth, and, to me, sometimes she just came across as mean, something I don't associate with her now knowing her character.

The story itself is so-so. I think it took too long to get into. I'd got about three quarters of the way through the book when I thought to myself, wait, nothing has actually happened yet. I also think it was rather predictable. Not that the books before had many twists, but this story offered an air of mystery and then gave away the answer to soon.

Did I enjoy this book? It was OK, perhaps I would have liked it better with new characters as a standalone novel, but following such a strong series? It falls flat. Overall, I would give it a 2 out of 5, this might seem harsh, but towards the end I honestly struggled so much to bother to finish the story. 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Book Review - The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling)

I've had to use a stock photo as my book cover has pretty much rubbed off and you can't tell what it is!

“A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt as dangerous.” 

I only, eventually, read this book because it fell into my lap once my mum had finished it. If I’m honest, I never really thought about going out to buy it; I thought J.K Rowling (or Robert Galbraith as she is known on this book) couldn’t write for adults. Which was silly really, just because I was a child when I read all the Harry Potter books, didn’t mean that adults hadn’t enjoyed them as well, and as I grew up with the books, they seemed to grow up too.

The Cuckoos Calling follows Cormoran Strike, a private detective who, as early as the first page, is living in his office on an old camp bed, living off of instant noodles. He hasn’t had any cases in a long time, debt collectors are chasing him up, and he has just had to fire his last secretary from Temporary Solutions. Following a mix-up at the temp agency, he is sent Robin, a recently engaged girl, who is relishing in the idea that she can work a couple of weeks in her dream job of private detectives. After a very awkward introduction; which involves Strike saving Robin from falling down the stairs by grabbing her breast (?) They both set to work on the case of Lula Landry, a celebrated model who plunged to her death from her balcony window. Was it suicide like the police ruled? Or did something more happen, like so many of her close friends, and brother, believe? And what the hell was on that blue piece of paper!

I love crime fiction, I think I have mentioned it before, and no doubt I will mention again in the future - because I love crime fiction! I love the mystery that it entails, and the usual twist at the end. And I really enjoyed this book too.

A lot of people said that they guessed the ending way before they got there. As an avid mystery reader I thought I would too, and at one point I did, but I dismissed it as a silly idea and went back to trying to guess what else could have happened. Even though I enjoyed the book  I feel like this isn’t the kind of novel that you would enjoy so much once you had guessed the ending, I think it would seem somewhat tedious after that. It does follow a similar format throughout, they get a lead, Strike talks to them, he goes back to the office, and gets another lead, I think this is only interesting if you are still guessing what happened, and not just reading through to prove that you’re right.

I also have to admit, I didn’t enjoy the way the ending came out. It seemed to come out as a long, 3 page lecture, with Strike boasting that he knew everything from the beginning, instead of a quick, snappy, surprise like most twists.

What I really enjoyed about the book were the characters, Rowling really knows how to bring her characters to life. I’ve seen a few people complain that they don’t enjoy Rowling’s descriptive writing style, but personally, I really like it. Sometimes it does get a bit silly, every noun in the paragraph will have an adjective, and that adjective has to be slightly obscure, but overall I don’t mind it.

When my mum was telling  me about the book, she told me that at points she was laughing out loud at it, especially the scene where Strike and Robin meet. Personally, I just found that scene awkward, how can you save someone from falling down the stairs by grabbing their boob? Unless they were absolutely huge, which by the way Robin is described they’re not, it doesn’t make sense to me, it just seemed to be added in to assert that 'yes, this was written by a man, no multi-millionaire authors here'. Having said that, there were a lot of scenes that were slightly funny; I’m not a huge ‘LOL’ person when it comes to books, but there were parts that made me smile, and Strike, though huge and grubby, does come across as a big softie - sort of Mad Eye Moody in a way.

Having, personally, enjoyed this book, I would give it 4/5. I can see why some people gave it less, but if you’re not amazing at guessing endings of mystery, and you want a lighter hearted read than other crime fiction, then I really think you will enjoy this book. 
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