Thursday, 24 January 2013

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen (2006)

4 stars

Mac bought this for me for my birthday a couple weeks ago and I'm not really surprised it became a movie, but even though it was historically based, I found it really engrossing and hard to get bored by.

The story is told from the perspective of Jacob as an old man and when he sleeps, his time in the circus is told from his younger self's perspective. Because of the flashback way the story is told, it reminds me a bit of the notebook, but because of the circus aspect it gave the old man telling a tragic love story some more interest than a normal romance novel. There are authentic circus photos at the start of each chapter which I like, but I think that the writing was descriptive enough on its own to leave them out. My favourite characters were Jacob and his nurse Rosemary, Jacob was a moral, easily understood main character and Rosemary was a lovely presence in his current life.  would recommend this book to any people who enjoyed The Notebook or who enjoy romance novels.

Jacob Jankowski is about to finish his college education becoming a vet when his parents both die, he leaves during his final exam and ends up on a circus train. He soon joins the crew as a vet looking after the animals and develops a crush on one of the performers, Marlena, who is married to the animal coach, August. Soon the circus acquires a stubborn elephant named Rosie who August harshly beats many times as she won't perform. Jacob soon learns that Rosie was trained in Polish and only responds to commands in it, after they make this discovery Marlena and Jacob get closer, however when August attacks Jacob and beats Marlena because he thinks they're having an affair when they're not it just drives them to start having an affair together. Marlena plans to leave August and falls pregnant, but he continues to find her and try to beat her into returning to him. Some men that were thrown off the circus train return and untie all the animals during a performance creating a stampede in which Rosie kills August by whacking him over the head with a stake. Marlena and Jacob move away and have many kids and grandkids together.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Pure - Julianna Baggott (2012)

5 stars

I bought this book for a friend about a year ago and she has been bugging me to read it ever since then, I finally got around to buying it and I wish I'd listened to her sooner.

This book was a really excellent dystopian novel, with no frustrating love triangle or predictable endings. I really loved how it made the world seem realistic and actually dystopian whereas in some other novels I've read I really can't understand how the world would be so hard to live in. The book was really well written, with a world that I can picture and characters that I had real emotion for, Baggott did an excellent job and I cannot wait for the next book in the trilogy. My favourite character was probably Pressia, she was strong willed and consistent and her perspective made me really appreciate her, and her emotions were really complex and interesting to read about. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels and doesn't mind a bit of gruesome details.

For a plot summary, see Mac's earlier review.

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde (2001)

2 stars

A friend of mine did a speech on this book for english and it sounded really good so my sister bought it for me for Christmas this year, however I was extremely disappointed.

I think this book would have been more enjoyable for someone who has read Jane Eyre or Martin Chuzzlewit as they might have understood some subtle references and jokes that I didn't. Otherwise I thought there was a lot in the book that didn't need to be and it took too long to get to where she enters the book and when she did it was not as action packed and long enough to redeem the earlier boringness of the plot. I didn't really have a favourite character in this book, there was no-one that I was really invested in or I thought brought any extra value to the novel. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy literature and/or nonsense worlds where not much is explained and you have to work lots out for yourself.

Thursday Next works for LiteraTec, the police division that works on literature crimes. When her uncle creates a portal that can bring people into books, he and the portal are stolen by Archeron Hades and he holds Martin Chuzzlewit to ransom after stealing the original manuscript. Thursday's uncle burns the manuscript so Hades gets Jane Eyre instead. Thurday then follows him into the book and tells the other LiteraTecs not to open the portal again until they read the words "sweet madness" somewhere in the book. She eventually kills Hades and "rewrites" the ending so Jane will come back to Rochester who says sweet madness so Thursday can return and marry the man she loves.