Monday, 13 March 2017

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky
4 stars
Verdict: Very 'readable'.


It's my favourite type of narrator, the naive in a broken world. Charlie (if that is in fact his real name) watches, listens, and both understands more than others as well as fails to comprehend what is obvious to the reader. He's very different from others his age, more honest, possibly slightly autistic, and broken. Definitely broken.

The book is written as a series of letters from our narrator Charlie to an unknown receiver, and trying to work out whom could drive you insane. It's a character we don't know, a character who could be us, unless of course you did sleep with that girl just because you could. That aside, it's left purposefully vague.

There's not too much plot, just things that happen, the story bumbling along, and then a moment at the end that reveals a little more about Charlie, and then that's it.

A lot of the characters were pretty nice in this, including Charlie. Not the usual cliche bunch. I liked that. It certainly makes a change from the usual manipulative or just plain evil characters I usually read about.

I don't think I understand this book as well as I could. There's a lot to pick apart, to wonder, to discuss, but the book itself doesn't drive me to do that. Maybe the issues were too vast to focus on - homophobia, drugs, molesting, rape, racism, etc. It makes it very difficult to pin down what this story is about. That might be the point, but as I said, the book itself doesn't drive me to wonder for too long.

So it's quite good. That's about it from me on this one.

Source: Bought it!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Book Review: Ruin and Rising

RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo
2 stars
Verdict: Didn't really enjoy it.

The author has all the signs of an awesome writer, but I just didn't think it was an awesome book.

There’s a fantastic twist which links all three books together, and while it was amazing it doesn’t change the fact that I only enjoyed reading bits of this series. It didn’t seem so bad at the time, but I couldn’t read more than a couple of pages at a time before deciding I needed yet another a break.

There wasn't enough to get excited about, and even though there are some great sequences, they were too short and far between. A good book makes those mundane linking scene, like travelling, seem interesting, but the amount of travelling in this book was a tall order, and it ended up feeling as if a lot of irrelevant buffer material was plumped into the book’s sparse feathers.

I realised at some point that I didn't really like or connect with any of the characters, either. Alina talks too much inside her own head. She reiterates what’s just happened in a beautiful, almost poetic language, but says little of substance, telling us bits of the story instead of showing it to us. Mal bugged me because he seemed to love the idea of Alina but not who she was, and while Nikolai was interesting, his part in the book felt like a second thought. I didn’t really care for the new book three characters either. Too many, too late - they were what I expected to be darkling fodder, and I'll say no more.

Part of the problem could be me. I thought the book was heading in a different direction, and for that reason I feel the ending isn’t true to the nature of the story. Or maybe book two was too far misaligned for the series. The morals did seems a bit… skewed, and the overall message is murky.

I'm up for reading SIX OF CROWS, but this isn't a series I'll revisit.

Source: Bought it!