Night of the Hunter by R.A. Salvatore

“Is that not the whole point of gaining experience, to use it to make wiser choices, to temper destructive instincts, to find better resolutions?”

3/5 stars.
ebook, 410 pages.
Read from September 4, 2019 to September 11, 2019.

You know, I never thought I’d make this far into the series. I really should slow down the rate I’m reading this series as I know I’ll mourn not being able to fall back onto these new adventures when I need to escape reality. Though it has probably been more than a decade since I read the first book so at least I can look forward to re-reading it.

After a miraculous rejoining, The Companions must return to Gauntlgrym to help their old friend Pwent escape the curse of his vampirism. Bruenor is also convinced that he erred in his previous life and that making a truce with the orcs was a big mistake. Everyone else seems to agree too, though Drizzt only reluctantly because there isn’t much that he wouldn’t for his friends. Artemis and Dahlia have also found themselves wrapped up in Gauntlgrym too unfortunately so have the major houses of the dark elves. The dark elves are plotting something big as they scheme over Gauntlgrym and of course, themselves, in order to please and understand their chaotic goddess, Lloth.

I have to say, I am surprised that Bruenor is going to go after the orcs again and that everyone seems to be on board with the idea. It just doesn’t seem like something these wholesome characters would do but maybe they’re right, that the orcs are just biding their time to attack…regardless, Salvatore is going to have to do a lot more to convince me that this isn’t out of character for the companions and that it’s a smart decision going forward in the next few books. I also have to say, I really enjoy this laidback version of Wulfgar as he has shed all the burdens and seriousness of his past life he finally has a chance to live his best life in this one.

I did enjoy that a good portion of this book focuses on some of the big houses in the dark elf realm as it made for an especially gruesome and exciting read because the creatures of the Underdark are always nightmarish to envision. I’m interested to see what direction the plot takes next and hope that there are few twists and turns with the anticipation of Bruneor eventually returning to Mithral Hall. Overall, another solid Salvatore read.

Moving the Mountain by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It’s hard to believe that this novel was written in 1911 with some of its modern and forward-thinking concepts. What’s sad, is that some things still haven’t changed…

3/5 stars.
ebook, 118 pages.
Read from September 1, 2019 to September 3, 2019.

Having loved The Yellow Wallpaper, I was intrigued when I saw this trilogy of feminist books on sale for a really cheap price. How could I say no?

Moving the Mountain is the first book in the Herland trilogy which is based around a feminist utopia. While the last two books in the trilogy are chronological, this book while carrying similar sentiments, is in a different setting and with different characters. This book is narrated from the perspective of a man who has been living abroad for the last 30-years and when he returns home has come to find that his country has completely changed. His sister is thankfully there to fill him in on all of his outdated ideas and views. Women have taken a prominent place in society and have turned it into a completely functioning utopia. The narrator finds it all hard to conceive at first but he slowly comes to see the benefits of this new society.

This book is a novel with long essay-like passages explaining exactly why the variety of different aspects of this new society are successful. The author seems to have thought of everything with this new society and takes you through a debate about why her setup for this new world is ideal. Other than the blatant suggestion of eugenics, this reformed society sounds pretty darn nice. The ideas in this story must have been so far ahead of its time seeing how this book was published in 1911! Ms. Perkins must have been quite a woman.

The majority of concepts in this book are intriguing but I did find myself at times scrolling aimlessly through a few pages that went on a bit too long. The ending, however, was immensely satisfying. If you’re into feminist reads, I would consider this one a must.

 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

“We’re stretched thin, all of us; we vibrate; we quiver, we’re always on the alert. Reign of terror, they used to say, but terror does not exactly reign. Instead it paralyzes. Hence the unnatural quiet.”

4/5 stars.
ebook, 378 pages.
Read from September 11, 2019 to September 17, 2019.

The much-anticipated sequel of The Handmaid’s Tale is finally here! I couldn’t wait for a library copy for this one so I went ahead and splurged and got the ebook on its release date.

The Testaments follows, not one, but three different female characters that are apart of or connected to the highly moralistic realm of Gilead. This time, however, instead of focusing on the Handmaids, you finally get some insight into the lives of the Aunts and Wives and the general upbringing of girls in Gilead. Like in The Handmaid’s Tale, the story is narrated like a diary, journal, or rather testament from each character with a concluding academic look at them afterwards in which historians are studying these testaments as a piece of ancient history.

The Commanders and Aunts, and those who run Gilead are attempting to reclaim a baby named Nicole, whose mother snuck her out of Gilead to Canada through an organisation called Mayday. A high standing Aunt, who is at first anonymous, divulges all in a forbidden journal as she discusses the horrible trauma of how she was forced to be an Aunt and learning to survive under the new Gilead regime, as well as her desire to overturn it…  Daisy is a teen living in Canada and learns all about the strange and morally uptight people who live in Gilead. However, Daisy’s life changes forever when she attends a protest rally against the Gileads during some rising political tensions between the two countries… A young upper-class girl named Anges lives in Gilead and discusses growing up under the strict eyes of the Gilead regime and the expectations that she would be a wife at barely thirteen years of age… and of course what about Offred from The Handmaid’s TaleThe Testaments is the story of how all these women are connected.

The book clearly places in Gilead in the United States, likely on purpose considering the political atmosphere around women’s rights in the last few years, with Canada being the country that those from Gilead escape to. The writing style is consistent with The Handmaid’s Tale and it feels like you finally get a full picture into the world of Gilead, especially with how it all started and was maintained. I think the only thing I didn’t care for, which is something really petty, was that Daisy expressed love interest in Garth. It felt out of place and almost made me feel like I was reading a YA novel. What was worse is that literally nothing came out of it was dropped later on in the book. Besides that, the story was highly engaging and I especially enjoyed reading the Aunts testament since it was a perspective that wasn’t touched on in The Handmaid’s Tale.

This book is a must-read for those that enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale and even for those who haven’t, as you could easily pick up this book without having read its predecessor, though I wouldn’t recommend it if you truly want the true scope and power of this story.