“Destiny isn’t the judgements of providence, isn’t scrolls written by the hand of a demiurge, isn’t fatalism. Destiny is hope. Being full of hope, believing that what is meant to happen will happen.”
ebook, 352 pages.
Read from October 4, 2021 to October 17, 2021.
An 8 Sentence Review:
If you’ve played the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, this book fills in some interesting pieces of that game that aren’t mentioned or discussed, however, the plot differs in terms of the main antagonist.
Continuing from where The Tower of Swallows left off, Ciri finds herself in an unknown realm on her own. The realm is unfamiliar to her and the elf inhabitants are unpleasant and indifferent to her despite their apparent vested interest in her as the child of prophecy. She is held captive by the elves and needs to find a way to escape this realm and find her way back to Geralt, despite the dangers she still faces in her own realm both from the war that is raging and from the Bonhart, who tortured and is still chasing her.
This read was an exciting end to Geralt and Ciri’s story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ciri’s times with the elves and the escapades it took to get her out of that realm. These last two books were the best in the series so far, next to The Last Wish (still the best Witcher book, in my opinion) and if you play the games, these books provide interesting details on characters and additional storylines that aren’t explained in the games. A solid read and a great finale to the series.
“Every man you ever meet in nothing but the product of what was withheld from him, what he feels owed.”
ebook, 236 pages.
Read from March 20, 2022 to March 24, 2022.
“The West you talk about doesn’t exist. It’s a fairytale, a fantasy you sell yourself because the alternative is to admit that you are the least important character in your own story. You invent an entire world because your conscience demands it, you invent good people and bad people and you draw a neat line between them because your simplistic morality demands it. But the two kinds of people in this world are not good and bad, they are engines and fuel. Go ahead, change your country, change your name, change your accent, pull the skin right off your bones, but in their eyes they will always be the engines and you will always, always be fuel.”
An 8(ish) Sentence Review:
This novel came in fourth during the Canada Reads 2022 debates. This novel was not the author’s first to grace the debates and his strength as a writer along with his personal refugee experience offer readers a rich and unique read.
What Strange Paradise follows the struggles of a young boy named Amir, who is the only survivor of a refugee boat crash. Every day new boats, wreckage, bodies and people show up on the shores of Vanna’s country. Vanna is a teenager but she is watching this humanitarian crisis unfold and can barely stomach the way her government and military are handling it. Luckily for Amir, it is Vanna that finds him and is willing to help him. The narration of the story moves from present to past, allowing the reader to slowly build the events that led to Amir’s arrival and meeting with Vanna.
This story puts a human face to those that have been forced to leave their homes for fear of death or persecution. Beautifully written, the author successfully creates a moving story, though it fell short of meeting the theme of the debates. I would highly recommend this novel to those looking for a novel on current political topics with a rich and engaging story.
“My heart clutched – it was one of those moments when you feel time is a rug that’s been yanked out from under you; everything around you has changed so gradually that it is only all at one you look up and realize how different your life has become.”
ebook, 432 pages.
Read from September 13, 2021 to September 17, 2021.
Okay crew, I am officially 20 books behind on my reviews and have some serious catching up to do. It’s been a shit show over here in Hong Kong the last two months and my schedule has been turned upside, yet again, for what feels like the millionth time. I’ve got some time so I am going to try my best to get through my backlog even if it means writing shorter reviews.
If someone had told me I would read a fictional story about Hilary Clinton and love it I would have called them bluff. Enter Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld…
What if Hilary Rodham didn’t marry Bill Clinton? How would the world of politics fare? What would have changed and would it have been for the better? These are the questions that author Curtis Sittenfeld answers in writing this book as she reimagines Hilary’s life and career after opting not to marry Bill. This isn’t Sittenfeld’s first time writing a political-alternative narrative as in 2008 she wrote a book called American Wife that echos the life of the First Lady that is reminiscent of Laura Bush’s time in the Whitehouse.
Sittenfeld clearly did her homework when writing this book in order to get the wider picture of both Hilary and Bill. The first part of the book encompasses Hilary and her family and how she meets Bill while at Yale. The ensuing sex scenes feel awkward at first since you know that these people aren’t just merely characters in a book but actual people with a real romantic history. There is a sexy naked saxophone scene that I will forever remember, for better or for worse. While the sex scenes themselves lose their awkwardness you become enthralled with the inner workings of Hilary and her ambitions. The writing is concise, exciting, and introduces you to this intricate world of politics and the scandals behind them.
Sittenfeld carefully shaped this story around real quotes and real historical situations and made Hilary’s alternative life seem so real. The book is meant to dismantle the misogyny that the real Hilary has faced her whole life and attempts to show reasons why Hilary may have stayed with Bill after his infidelities.
Some of my favourite parts of the book include cameos from Donald Trump and how he would have fit into this alternative narrative. The way Sittenfeld wrote Trump and his dialogue felt so comically accurate. The ending of the novel was also immensely satisfying and moving.
Sittenfeld has clearly found her niche as I could not put this book down. If someone can make me read a book about political figures and love it, they must have some serious talent. A highly recommended read for anyone looking for something different and thought-provoking.