Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Across The Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn (2002)

3 stars

I had to read this book for my english class aand was pleasantly surprised by it.

The book is told from alternate perspectives of Takeo and Kaede, I prefer Takeo's perspective mainly because Kaede is a bit of a wimp for most of the book and Takeo's storyline is more interesting. I found the storyline interesting, but thought it was dragged out too long over the middle couple chapters. My favourite character was probably Shizuka, she was super cute but kick ass when she had to be. I would recommend this book to any fantasy fans, also people that enjoy intricate plot history.

Tomasu's tribe is wiped out by Iida, but before Iida can kill Tomasu he knocks him off his horse and runs away where Shigeru finds him and saves him from Iida's guards. He then changes his name to Takeo and gets adopted by Shigeru who trains him to read and write. He soon discovers that his father was from "the Tribe" so he has inherited many abilities like invisibility and super hearing, Shigeru then uses these abilities to train him to be an assassin. Shigeru is hung from the tower when they discover he was a traitor and Takeo kills him out of mercy then goes to kill Iida only to find that Kaede has already stabbed him in the chest. Takeo then leaves with the Tribe.

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Big Trip - Lonely Planet (2011)

3 stars

My friend bought me this for my birthday in preparation for my travels next year. It is published by Lonely Planet - the largest travel guide publishers in the world.  It outlines lots of useful things like; how to book planes, to pack and staying in touch with friends and family back home. It explains all the options available and the tricky things like round-the-world tickets. It also has chapters on common destinations and goes into details on tourist highlights and interesting out-of-the-way adventures.

It was really useful and gave me a lot of insight into my own travel next year.  It's written and aimed at young people, so it includes lots of anecdotes of hilarious travel mishaps (which may not have been so funny at the time.) It is written in a very casual, laid-back language, with the author talking to the reader. It was definitely a good read as it is very up-to-date and beautifully illustrated.

(The summary would be boring and very long - so I'll quote an amusing section for you)
10 ways to use your guidebook
1. To prevent snoring - simply prop it under their head for some elevation.
2. To escape with your life - hit them on the head
3. As toilet paper - desperate, but its better than a leaf!
4. As kindling
5. As bug control - swat them down
6. To block a mouse hole
7. To keep a window open - jam it between the sill and the glass
8. As roach material
9. As insulation
10. To get girls - play the lost tourist

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A Game of Thrones - George R.R Martin (1996)

4 stars

I read this for numerous reasons. It's becoming really popular - so I feel I have to at least try it, Clare said it was good, I wanted to watch the TV show without spoilers and my boyfriend raves about it. It won the 1997 Locus Award for best fantasy novel and the 2003 Ignotus Award for best foreign novel. It was also nominated for the 1997 World Fantasy Award and the 1997 Nebula Award. It also became a New York Times bestseller in January 2011, and reached #1 by July. So basically, it was considered good in smaller circles at the time of publication, but it took 15 years to reach mainstream popularity (no doubt assisted by its popular TV adaptation.)

I was reluctant to read this. It is massive, and each book in the series only gets bigger. And if I liked it, I'd be seriously involved in a series that would take me literal months to read. But it's worth it. It took me a little while to get into it - there's just so many characters. Thankfully I managed to find a useful little app that lets me look up just about everything. The day I finished, I went out and bought the next in the series. I'm so excited to find out what happens to all the characters! A great read - I'd recommend it to anyone (keeping in mind there's adult content).

Thanks again ClareBear for the summary! That would have been fun to write.

The Casual Vacancy - J.K Rowling (2012)

2.5 stars

I bought this book because I think J.K Rowling is an amazing woman and I was super excited to see how she would write a book that wasn't Harry Potter.

Although the writing is excellent, I found this story to be a little boring and it didn't really resolve some of the storylines. I think that may have been what Rowling was trying to do as some problems don't just disappear in life, but I still thought some of the stories could have had more depth and explanation in the end. I did not have a favourite character in this novel because I didn't really like any of the characters in the novel consistently, they all did something to annoy me at some point in the story which once again I think was the point J.K was trying to make, that hardly anyone is consistently good their whole lives. I would recommend this book to older readers who like drama.

Barry Fairbrother, a parish councillor, dies of an aneurism. He was one of the few people on the Pagford council that was fighting for The Fields, a housing development next to Pagford which homed many drug addicts and children of drug addicts, to keep them as part of Pagford and allowed to attend their school. His death causes an election, where Simon Price, abusive father to Andrew, Colin "Cubby" Wall, the school vice principal with OCD and father to Fats, and Miles Mollison, son of Howard and Shirley Mollison, both already on the council and the leaders of the anti-field party, all wish to run for his spot. Andrew learns how to hack in computer class and hacks into Barry's old account on the Parish Council website where he changes the username to The_Ghost_of_Barry_Fairbrother and posts about his father's backdoor deals. Simon then withdraws from the election, after giving his sons and wife a severe beating and losing his job. Sukhvinder then hacks into the website and posts about how her mother, Parminder another supporter of Barry and pro-fields councilmember, was in love with Barry and only voted how he told her. Fats then hacks the website and posts about how his father constantly worries about touching students innapropriatley which causes him to have a psycological breakdown. Miles then wins the election and Andrew teaaches his dad how to hack the website so he posts about how Maureen and Howard were having an affair. Shirley then steals an EpiPen and plans to stab and kill Howard with it, however once she gets home he is having a heart attack, at the same time Krystal and Fats were having sex while Robbie was nearby, however Robbie wandered off and fell into the river. Sukhvinder dived into the river to save him but Robbie drowned anyway. Krystal then felt she had nothing to live for without her brother and kills herself, everyone continuing to hate her in her death, especially Shirley who thought that Howard, who survived, may have gotten to the hospital sooner had two ambulances not needed to come, getting the operator confused.