A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.
We pick up A Torch Against the Night where An Ember in the Ashes left off. Laia and Elias are running for their lives, the Commandant is up to her usual evil ways, and Laia’s brother is trapped inside Kauf prison.
Like all traditionally published YA novels, this was well-written and suspenseful, and it had me wanting to turn page after page even when I was exhausted. I really enjoyed the incorporation of the Tribes into the story, the relationship development between Elias and Laia, and the struggle that Helene, now Blood Shrike of the empire, goes through in trying to choose between her friend and her duty to the empire. Honestly, the development of Helene’s character in this book was in large part why this book rated so high with me.
However, there were a couple of story lines that did not feel complete to me, and I found that a bit surprising considering how many hands this went through prior to publication. I think this book may have tried to accomplish way too much in too few pages.
- The love triangle from book one carries over, but it’s sketchy and thoughtlessly handled.
- Not nearly enough time is spent explaining the world of the jinns and the Waiting Place, which I assume will play a large role in book three (or at least, I hope it does).
- That twist at the end felt a little cheesy, but all right I’ll go with it.
Despite these issues, I still enjoyed it very much, and want to know what happens with Elias and Laia in book three.
I picked this book to fulfill the Read Harder Challenge #20, A Book with a Cover You Hate. I know why Tahir wanted to change the cover design, and I respect that reasoning. I just think the execution (specifically the single color and the Throne of Glass knock-off style) was poorly done.
Which one do you prefer?
Fossilized Gods by J. Simon
Where to begin with this one? I’ve seen people refer to this as absurdist. And it is absurd in the Merriam Webster sense: illogical and ridiculous. But in philosophical terms, the absurd is the conflict that arises between trying to find meaning in life and not finding any. I don’t really think that’s what’s going on here.
Perhaps one could argue that the relationship between Samantha and Professor Harrington satisfies the philosophical requirements for absurdism — Harrington seeks meaning through someone to love, a daughter. And maybe Samantha fills this role for him, but the unfortunate circumstances that follow their meeting cancels out their finding each other in the first place. I dunno.
That said, while I was reading this I could not get Salvador Dali and Magritte out of my head. The surreal imagery and schizophrenic dialogue of the gods in this book made me picture melting clocks, desert landscapes, and apple faces.
I didn’t like it. A surrealist painting is one thing. It’s still, and the mind has time to take in and parse out its various elements, but this book was chaotic and decidedly lacking in terms of a plot. A group of gods is playing cards in the in-between and suddenly they’re pulled down onto some sort of earth-like terrain except the rules are wonky. They end up at a college, with a museum full of dormant gods. There’s a necromancy department on the campus, and it is apparently possible to resurrect dead things. But the dialogue is very difficult to follow, and for the first 50% of the book I was wondering what the point was.
The only reason I’m giving this three coffee cups is because many of the lines were indeed quite funny. Simon has a wonderfully ridiculous sense of humor. The problem is there is no restraint. Witticisms are only effective when used sparingly. Otherwise, the writing comes across with an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink affect. For a better idea of what I was thinking and feeling while reading this, check out my updates.
This book isn’t my taste, but I would encourage you to read some other reviews on Goodreads or elsewhere because many people really enjoyed it.
I received this novel in exchange for an honest review.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
“He wanted her to sense the boundless possibilities offered by books. They would always be enough. They would never stop loving their readers. They were a fixed point in an otherwise unpredictable world. In life. In love. After death.”
Oh my gosh, this book was so sweet!!! I had all the gushy, fuzzy feelings reading this. Following are my various GoodReads updates, complete with gifs.
This book warms my heart!
I had no idea a simple caress could be so scintillating. Whew!
Then for the rest of the book:
This book makes me feel a serious range of emotions. So. Many. Tears!!! I’m enjoying every minute of it!
Okay, if you made it this far, this book is so incredibly moving. I don’t normally like books that are so overtly romantic and sentimental, but I didn’t want to put this one down. It made me grin. It made me giggle. It made me blush. And it made me CRY! Like, a lot!
I read this as part of the Read Harder Challenge 2017, #3, Read a book about books. I mean, it was pretty much guaranteed that I would like this challenge. I ❤ reading books about books!
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
2017 Read Harder Challenge Stats: 8/24
I’m failing at life right now, and it’s #NaNoWriMo so it’s unlikely I’ll be posting any reviews this month.
I’ll try I swear! But, ya know, don’t hold me to it.
Technically it’s Monday; I know. The long weekend has me a bit thrown off, but here’s a Sunday Quotable for you, on this lovely Monday morning. It’s a little snippet from Edna St. Vincent Millay that holds a lot of meaning for me — it’s been a crazy few months.
Here’s to those of us who are always burning our candles at both ends. Cheers!