Friday, 9 November 2018

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights
by Philip Pullman

Summary: When Lyra's friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him.

The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies - and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her - something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights...

Well... This book was, in a word, disappointing.

I've been hearing so much hype about the book from pretty much everyone for years and years, and I don't know if that was part of the problem or if it's just one of those book series I'd have liked more had I grown up reading it.

But yeah, it was pretty thoroughly underwhelming.

I won't deny that it was well written or that it had an interesting cast of characters and elements of the story that were appealing (loved the daemons, for example) but overall I found it to be a bit on the boring side most of the time.

I am going to stick with the series, because I hate leaving them unfinished once I start, but the book didn't really leave me craving more or particularly caring about what happens to the characters after the first book ended.

I didn't feel invested in it and I'm hoping that maybe the second book will make me get what all the fuss was about.

My overall opinion of this first book can be summed up in three letters: meh.

It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't the spectacular read it was made out to be by everyone that spoke to me about it. I'd rate it 2.5 stars out of 5.


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Sadie by Courtney Summers

by Courtney Summers

Summary: Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

I'm not sure how to even begin to review this book. Given the subject matter, to describe it as good or great or whatever -- it just doesn't feel like the right words. But I don't have the right words.

Basically, this was one of those books that cracks you right open. It makes you care and it makes you hurt.

I loved the format of it, the way it did the Then vs Now thing in a different way than I've read before. And I really cared about the characters a lot, especially Sadie. I always love Courtney's characters and these were no exception -- she writes them raw and rough around the edges, and thoroughly impossible not to care about because she makes them feel so human.

The ending of the story bothered me. But I think maybe it was supposed to bother me. In real life, cases like this do haunt you. They do keep you up at night wondering about the what's and the why's and the how's. And this book was like that too -- it left me wondering, and it haunted me a bit. It was more realistic for that, so I can appreciate it even though it was frustrating.

To sum up: this is one of the best books I've read this year (and I've read quite a few good ones), I'd rate it 5 stars out of 5. It proved, once again, why Courtney Summers is on my insta-buy list.



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