» The Suicide Club — Robert Louis Stevenson.

Saturday, May 19, 2012
8:31 AM

Been a while since I last reviewed a book. Hm.

The story follows Prince Florizel of Bohemia and his friend Colonel Geraldine, who encounter a young man giving away cream tarts. They soon learn that he has completely lost the will to live, but cannot end it himself. So he joined the Suicide Club, which is literally what it sounds like. It is a club where its participants get a chance to have an "accident" staged that will kill them. The role of the executor is given to one of the participants as well. Florizel and the Colonel join the ranks to figure out what the deal is, and of course things like that never go well.

The novel is divided into three parts — "Story of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts", "Story of the Physician and the Saratoga Trunk", and "The Adventure of the Hansom Cab". The part I enjoyed most is the first one. It was truly captivating and interesting. The whole idea of a Suicide Club is amazing and could have been taken even further. But Stevenson did a great job nevertheless.

The second story was quite boring and the protagonist appeared very weak. The third was better, but not as good as the first one.

I somewhat wish that Stevenson worked more with the first part of the book and made it into a whole novel of the Suicide Club and its activities. I did not feel like I would have missed out on anything by not reading the last two parts.

rating: ★★★★☆ 


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» Chosen — P.C. + Kristin Cast.

Thursday, May 3, 2012
5:11 PM

Zoey Redbird is most possibly the most irritating teenage protagonist ever in the history of young adult fiction. I sincerely hope she gets hit with a bus at some point in her useless existance.

The Casts open up with Zoey complaining about her birthday being right before Christmas, December 24th, and whining about how she constantly gets holidays-themed presents every year. Thus, everything goes downhill when her friends give her snowman-themed gifts. Since Zoey never bothered to tell her friends about dislike for such things, even though her birthday was coming up, it was her fault. She certainly had no excuse to be a brat about the whole thing, and just storm out of the room when she did not seem to like anything.

Our protagonist is then off to Starbucks to meet her grandmother, who will actually get her a cool present that is so much better than the Christmas-like things from her best friends. Once again we are reminded that the Cherokee word for "daughter" is "u-we-tsi-a-ge-ya" and how it "wrapped around" her. Then her mother shows up, and everything is once again going downhill for our poor Zoey who has never done a wrong thing in her life. Because she is so nice and pure and always does good, damn it.

Her mother makes an attempt to let her know she is still part of the family, which Zoey turns away without a second thought. She even returns the book in which it is scribbled. Of course her step-father shows up and poor Zoey and yadda yadda.

Throughout the whole novel it is stuffed down the reader's throat how Christianity is bad and how Nyx's religion is much better, and how Christians ( more specifically, the People of Faith ) are loud-mouthed, close-minded, psychotic people that do not tolerate other beliefs and believe that those that do not believe in their God go to Hell. Now they are the ones blamed for the murders of vampyres that began going on. The whole topic just irked me. Maybe it is because I am a Christian, maybe that is why it offended me personally. Well, okay then, Casts.

The plot is . . . wait what plot. Literally, most of the book is devoted to Zoey and her love life, exclusively. She still has three guys going after her, Heath, Erik, and Loran. She imprinted on Heath and keeps wanting his blood, and can never get through with breaking up with him. She needs to grow a damn backbone. Erik is her official boyfriend, whom she only thinks about once in a while and feels guilty about liking other guys. Loran is the sexy grown vampyre that she is sure loves her. Of course everyone wants her, since she is so amazing and lovely and perfect. Bah.

We did have little snippets of other things, however. Aphrodite I actually grew to tolerate, since she is her own character and actually has her own personality and a backbone. The Twins became annoying after a while with the dialogue, and constantly talking together. Can't Shaunee or Erin say something without having the other butt in? Jesus.

The ceremonies got a little boring after a while. The scenes did not hold a magical feeling for me, just words that I had to read through to get closer to the end of the book. The one star I gave this waste of trees was for the murders going on, because that did spice things up a bit. Other than that, nothing eventful really happened. Eh.

rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 


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» Felidae — Akif Pirinçci.

2:50 PM

This is a novel of murder, mystery, thriller, with detectives and riddles and many, many secrets waiting to be uncovered, as well as betrayal. Oh, and it is also about cats. 

Francis is our feline protagonist who moves into a new neighbourhood with his human named Gustav. He is irritated by the poor condition the house is in, as well as the laboratory-like smells coming from it. Very soon after moving in, he discovers a dead body of a tomcat, whose name, we find out later, is Sascha. Francis also meets a live cat, a maimed tom called Bluebeard, who is convinced it is the work of humans. 

As more cats are murdered, Francis becomes a little detective. He tries to figure out who is causing the deaths, with help from the friends he makes. The task becomes tougher and tougher as his theories contradict each other, riddles become unguessable, and the only witness is brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances. 

I really liked the book. You can tell that the author either did thorough research before writing it, or really loves cats and knew the information beforehand. The feline anatomy and behaviour descriptions only added to the plot and made the novel seem more like it was written from the point of view of a cat. Francis himself was an interesting character, quite different from the protagonists I usually read about. 

The author's description of scenery is very good, as well as houses and weather. Francis's dreams are also very creepy, and after reading the novel I actually had nightmares. No shit. 

The author's writing style was a bit . . . odd. I am not certain how to describe it. It was full of similes and run-on sentences that made it a bit tedious to read. But that is the only imperfection I saw. 

rating: ★★★★☆ 


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» The Silence of the Lambs — Thomas Harris.

2:27 PM

I have to think hard to come up with words that can accurately describe The Silence of the Lambs. Nothing comes to mind, really. This book is simply amazing.

Clarice Starling starts out simple. She is in college, she is going to be an FBI agent soon enough. A task is given to her to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter to fill up his file since he refuses to talk to anyone who has been talking to him recently. Dr. Hannibal is a psychopath, nicknamed Hannibal the Cannibal. He has been a known doctor for a while, until his insanity was discovered as well as his appetite for human flesh and organs.

Things start to get complicated as Clarice becomes involved in another criminal case. They call him Buffalo Bill, a peculiar criminal that has been committing murders for a while without ever getting caught. As we soon find out, he kidnaps large women, starves them, and carves their skin off. Quite the romantic, really.

Dr. Lecter has information on him, and it is Clarice's job to figure out what the hell he actually knows, while getting around his jokes and riddles.

I enjoyed the fact that the book did not fail to describe all the processes of investigating and such that some books leave out because the authors do not know how to approach this. Thomas Harris never had such a dilemma, and we are told everything. 

The novel also becomes descriptive in a very simplistic way. Small details that would not seem that important help flesh out characters, and their appearances and personalities are easily imagined. 

The novel never got boring, ever. I read page after page, and even in the middle when everything seemed to settle down in one part, it immediately exploded and became exciting and surprising. The book was completely unpredictable, and an amazing read. 

rating: ★★★★★ 


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» Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
1:05 PM

Billy Pilgrim is a man who does quite a lot of time-traveling. He gets to see his hospital stays, near-death experiences, death, his time of being a prisoner of war, and such. He was once kidnapped by an alien species called Tralfamadorians from Tralfamadore and put in a zoo. So it goes.

This is a deep novel. At first it seems very simplistic and comical, with humour being used often. It is the good kind too, one that made me actually laugh out loud in a room full of people that immediately wanted to know what the hell I was reading.

Some moments are just splendid. Such as the hospital scene where Billy lies with Rumfoord, and the older man tells him to pity the men who had to bomb Dresden. It appeared meaningful and logical. A look at the other side, I suppose.

Vonnegut's writing style was very original, and I really enjoyed it. I have seen complaints of "so it goes" being constantly repeated, but quite frankly, it did not bother me at all. I actually think it made the story flow better and seem more complete. I don't know.

I also enjoyed the time-traveling, and it was actually easy to keep up with Billy as he went from his nice home to planet Tralfamadore to World War II again. Also something very original, yet also made me ponder on whether or not Billy was actually sane.

This has been an amazing read. I am glad I picked up this book.

rating: ★★★★★ 


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» A Child Called It — Dave Pelzer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
12:22 PM

The first book in a triology by Dave Pelzer, A Child Called It describes the hardships and abuse the child ( apparently the author himself ) encountered in his youth. His life seemed perfect until suddenly, his mother began to abuse him in awful ways that made my jaw hit the floor. This novel describes what may be happening to a child right this second somewhere in the world. Hell.

The first star this book receives was for giving abused children some kind of voice. It makes people aware of such problems, and encourages some action to be taken whenever they encounter a child that might be having a horrific time at home.

The second star is for, well, vivid imagination. I am sure as hell the author exaggerated the abuse for effect, and the fact that he had enough to dream up something like this is disturbing and fairly hard to do. For effort.

The third is for the added information after the book. Not the plot ( what plot ), not the writing style. The emergency phone numbers in the back of the book deserve one whole another star. I suppose.

Now for the cons. The writing style seemed very choppy to me. The book seemed more like a collection of little situations of abuse rather than a real novel. It was like the author wrote down the ideas as they came into his head without bothering to check if it would flow with the rest of the novel.

He never describes his mother. He claims he cannot remember her, but the fact that he remembers the abuse so clearly and not the abuser strikes me as a little odd. Well, screw that. Why is he the only one abused? Why are his brothers treated fairly while he is treated like hell-knows-what? Also, the fact that his mother just, one day, turned cold and unforgiving does not sound realistic. Where did the abusive side come from?

It is powerful. Somewhat inspirational. Yet with the whole controversy surrounding the novel, there is much debate on whether it is a real account or a fictional story.

rating: ★★★☆☆ 


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