Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

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Sorry, but not sorry for this little bit of science poetry...

Review
4.5 Stars
The Ten Thousand Doors Of January
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January has a title that immediately made me want to read it. However, this always unnerves me a little bit, because I'm afraid I will be disappointed by a book that I'm looking forward to reading so much. I got it in an end of year sale, and planned to read it in January, as the title suggested, but in the end ended up finishing it just in February.

Luckily I didn't need to worry, because once I started reading I knew it was going to be a good one. Immediately I was drawn to January and her Doors (and other capitalized words). I don't want to say too much about the story, for fear of taking some of the magic away. But I will admit I recommended this book already to people, while I was only half-way the book, even to those who normally steer clear from Fantasy.

What I didn't know at that point though, was that it would touch me as much as it did. Definitely recommended and three euros very well spend.

Review
3.5 Stars
Truthwitch
Truthwitch - Susan Dennard

I had completely missed Truthwitch when it was first released. But last month it was the Tor Book Club book, so I gave it a try. It is an action packed story, right from the start where the two main characters flee, and actually don't stop fleeing for the remainder of the book.

While there are definitely some major flaws in Truthwitch, not in the least the romance which is so obvious from the start that even a blind man should have seen it coming, this was the kind of book that I needed at the moment. A quick, better not too much thinking kind of book with a lot of action, and a magic system that could either become rather interesting, or just a way too easy plot device.

The jury is still out on that one, but I would like to try at least one sequel.

Review
4 Stars
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Tell-Tale Heart - Edgar Allan Poe

This was my first time reading Edgar Allan Poe, I know it is a shame. I'd been planning to read some of his works for a while though, ever after I read Ray Bradbury's story Usher II in the collection The Illustrated Man. Luckily, this short collection contained two of the stories that were very important in Usher II.

This is dark fiction as dark fiction is supposed to be. In The Tell-Tale Heart the narrator is desperately trying to prove how he is completely sane, which will only result of course in proving his insanity. Really nice stories, I want to read more.

~Little Black Classics #31~

Review
2 Stars
Olalla
Olalla - Robert Louis Stevenson

Olalla was my first venture into the literary works of Robert Louis Stevenson and it was not a very good one. I have a lot of friends who keep telling me to get to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde so I had high expectations of this one, but I don't know. I don't think the story was very good, or that much happened for that matter. I know Victorian prose has a tendency to be slow but this is taking it to a new level. No thanks.

 

~Little Black Classics #19~

Review
4 Stars
Jason And Medea
Jason and Medea (Little Black Classics #18) - Apollonius of Rhodes

The story of Jason and Medea, in the larger story of the Argonauts, was another one I had seen in class, but never read myself completely. If you're unfamiliar with the story though, this might not be the best place to start as it sort of starts in the middle and these Little Black Classics have a tendency not to bring you up to speed but rather throw you right into the story.

 

That being said, I enjoyed it a lot and it made me want to read the full thing.

 

~Little Black Classics #18~

Review
4 Stars
Caligula
Caligula (Little Black Classics #17) - Suetonius

Suetonius and I go way back. In Latin class, we were forced to watch these less than inspiring documentaries on Roman Empires that were filled with quotes from, among others: Suetonius. As such, I was looking forward to reading this Little Black Classic. Also, because if there ever was a mad man in power, it has to be Caligula, who allegedly planned to make his horse a consul in order to ridicule the senate (which would be one of the least cruel things he did).

 

It made an interesting read. It is of course written quite some time after his death and as such it is flavored in the politics of that time, but it is absolutely clear how cruel the man was and how unfit a ruler.

 

~Little Black Classics #17~

 

Review
2 Stars
Travels In The Land of Serpents And Pearls
Travels in the Land of Serpents and Pearls (Little Black Classics #16) - Marco Polo

I hope Marco Polo was a better explorer than he was a writer, because this was not good. I'm now going to tell you what was bad. The writing. I've now told you what was bad. The booklet is filled with these completely unnecessary sentences where Polo explains what he is going to say in the next or has said in the last paragraph. Maybe the people of his time had a short attention span, but it really annoyed me. Also, unicorns in this supposedly non-fiction report.

~Little Black Classics #16~

Review
3 Stars
A Hippo Banquet
A Hippo Banquet (Little Black Classics #32) - Mary Henrietta Kingsley

This was an interesting read. The Hippo Banquet features travel stories by Mary Kingsley, being an explorer in a time where female explores where very rare. So for that I found it interesting to read about and she actually writes quite well. However, her views are very Victorian (obviously) and I've found that I never like these travel stories very much.

 

~Little Black Classics #32~

Review
3 Stars
Lot No. 249
Lot No. 249 (Penguin Little Black Classics) - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is credited for being the first to write an evil mummy story. This is that story. I thought it was an interesting read, not in the least because these type of Victorian horror stories would hardly be called that today. The story is in fact rather slow. But what I liked about it most was how it showed the total craze for mummies/everything Egyptian that was ongoing at the time.

~Little Black Classics #121~

 

Review
2 Stars
How To Be a Medieval Woman
How To Be a Medieval Woman - Margery Kempe

How To Be a Medieval Woman was like the polar opposite to last week's Little Black Classic: The Suffragettes, and it was a terrible read.

Maybe if the main character was not called 'said creature' the entire time, THIS creature would have somewhat enjoyed reading it. This was what put me off right from the start but it was also heavily repetitive and Margery main skill seems to be weeping, which she does a lot and at everything.

I still gave it two stars. Not because I enjoyed reading it, I did not. However, this is still the biography of a woman who managed to convince men to write it for her (as she was illiterate) in a society which would just as easily (more easily perhaps) have burned her at the stake for not submitting to their rules.

~Little Black Classics #95~

Review
3 Stars
Curse
Curse - Steven James

Curse is the final book in the Blur trilogy, featuring Daniel who has been seeing 'blurs', which are basically hallucinations, or are they? In the previous books, he has been thrown into several murder cases because of this ability, but in Curse there is very little going on besides Daniel solving crime through his ability. Only, this time he is not only helped by his friends but also by some like-minded kids. By which I mean, they have special abilities as well. And these abilities just happen to be the exact ones they need to crack the case. What a coincidence, right?

 

This was another fast read, but I get the feeling more and more that I don't completely understand the YA mystery genre. Teens solving crime seems weird to me under the best of circumstances but where is the police in all this? The ending did not surprise me, but left me wondering because Daniel didn't really receive a way to better handling or accepting his blurs. As such, I had hoped Curse would bring more closure to the story.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
Knights of Sidonia Vol 3
Knights of Sidonia, Volume 3 - Tsutomu Nihei

This third volume was the last one I have in this series and frankly, I don't think I will continue after this. While I'm a bit intrigued whether they will at some point be able to communicate with the Gauna and what they would learn from that, I don't think it is worth it continuing the series.

 

More battles that are hard to follow, interspersed with some seemingly random scenes which do little however to develop the characters further. There's a couple of flashbacks as well, and one of them did confirm some of my suspicions, while another one left me with more questions and less answers still.

 

Interesting premise, but it didn't really work for me.

Review
2 Stars
Knights of Sidonia Vol 2
Knights of Sidonia, Volume 2 - Tsutomu Nihei

Continuing Knights of Sidonia, volume 2 mainly is more of the previous. There is a lot of battles against different types of Gauna, which is the alien races fighting the humans. There is a lot of inexperienced people who have to do important jobs. The main character goes from hero to zero and back again in the span of chapters.

I find the drawings are a bit full which sometimes make it more difficult to follow the story, especially during all the battles where there's so many tentacles and other things that it sometimes becomes a bit of a blur. I'd rather see a little bit more character development.

Review
3 Stars
Knights of Sidonia Vol 1
Knights of Sidonia Vol 1 - Tsutomu Nihei

I got the first three volumes of Knights of Sidonia (couldn't help but think of Muse's Knights of Cydonia) a while back and have finally come around to reading them. It's a space opera Manga about a self-sustaining colossal ship Sidonia and its mecha fighters that battle against an alien, shape-shifting species dead set on destroying humans.

This first volume is like many first volumes. Some things are promising but a large part of it is dumping characters and information about the world on you as you try to figure out what will become important later. The main character at this point was this typical nobody with a mysterious past that I'm sure will become important at some point.

Review
4 Stars
The Gurkha And The Lord Of Tuesday
The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday - Saad Z. Hossain

First book of 2020! And what a lot of fun it was.

Melek Ahmar, an imprisoned djinn king and among other things The Lord of Tuesday, who has just woken from a millennia long slumber in his prison and is completely forgotten by all but himself, is dead set on retaking the rule of at least some of humanity. Climate change however has caused all humans to drone together in big mega cities where the air gets cleaned all the time by an army of nanobots.

The closest city and an easy starting point for Melek Ahmar is the city of Kathmandu Inc. ruled by the AI Karma, who has abandoned money in favor of Karma points. Together with Bhang Gurung, a Gurkha soldier even the djinn is a little bit afraid of, he travels to the city in order to start a revolt and take over but also to have a good party.

Like I said, this was lot of fun. It is impossible to put this novel in a genre or even try to begin to explain what makes it so much fun. It was original and it never failed to surprise me. Besides, many times I found myself grinning. Would recommend to everyone who wants to know what all the fuzz is about or wants to read something else for a change.

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