Review- Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Pages: 370     Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Neverwhere(1)“What’s it like being dead? It’s very cold, my friend. Very dark, and very cold.”

Richard Mayhew lives a boring life in London, working at a job that doesn’t seem to interest him and engaged to a woman who isn’t right for him. He comes across a girl named Door, bleeding and helpless on the side of the road, and decides to bring her back to his apartment. Through meeting Door, Richard is thrown into London Below, another version of London full of people who “fell through the cracks”. He turns invisible to everyone from his old life, but he meets incredible people living below– Rat-speakers, beast hunters, and bird sellers. Richard and Door embark on a journey to avenge Door’s family and help Richard get back to London Above; a life far less interesting than the one he has below.

This is such a classic Gaiman novel. I’ve come to love Urban Fantasy through reading his novels. If someone were to ask me what urban fantasy is, I’d just hand them this novel in silence. There’s no way to put it in words. People who have read any of Gaiman’s novels will know what I’m talking about.

This book is great. Richard is the perfect protagonist who you kinda hate for being so annoying but end up rooting for him by the end of the novel. Door, too, is a protagonist and a strong female character. I often find books that are centered around a male character and consequently fail to represent any female power. Door is, in fact, very powerful and an important character not just for Richard, but for the novel in general. Yay for prominent female characters!

It was interesting reading the discussion questions at the end of the book/interview with Neil Gaiman. He says that that the novel can be read as a satire and commentary on the lower class and homeless populations living in London today. I definitely didn’t read the book that way, but it’s an interesting point of view. I might go back and skim this novel with this new lens on it!

Advertisements

Review- A Time to Reap

A Time to Reap by Jonas Lee

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

22819890“There is going to come a day when the things you say are going to return to you faster than you send them. A wise person would make certain their words aren’t so sharp.”

At the age of 12, Carter found himself developing a strange power called “leaping”. He can essentially jump to different places along earth’s space-time continuum, mostly leaving him confused and lacking clothes. He attends a school for “special” kids like him, sharing a variety of powers, called Pemberton Academy. There, he befriends (and crushes on) a girl named Mo. Mo doesn’t share the exact same powers as Carter, but they are certainly strong. Together, this duo is called to action by some of the most powerful people to ever exist and change the world.

Wow, I’m really glad I read this book! I usually find myself bored halfway through most YA books, but this was an exception. I was drawn in by the 2nd chapter and found myself laughing out loud at the narration–the voice of Carter, a sarcastic, teenage boy. The POV was a very good choice on Jonas Lee’s part.

Carter’s character was extremely well-developed. I feel like I’ve known him for years! I wish that we got to see more of Mo’s personality shine through Carter’s narration. I still feel like I don’t fully understand her and what she was thinking throughout the novel. She was my favorite character and I’m dying to know more about her!

To me, the ending was a bit unsatisfying. But, then again, I think Mr. Lee is setting this up for a sequel? If that’s the case, then it’s the perfect ending and I really really look forward to reading the next book. I can’t wait to get my hands on a paperback copy of this book ASAP!

Review- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

MissPeregrineCover“When someone won’t let you in, eventually you stop knocking. Know what I mean?”

Following his grandfather’s strange and sudden death, Jacob goes on a quest to learn more about the old man’s mysterious childhood. He travels to a strange island off the coast of Wales and discovers an abandoned orphanage. As Jacob explores the place, it turns out that the not-so-abandoned orphanage was actually expecting his arrival.

The concept behind this novel was so A+. The first chapter immediately drew me in. The mixture of a creepy grandfather death and spooky old photos really did the trick. I don’t usually read fantasy or YA, so I was pleasantly surprised with how this novel took off.

Unfortunately, the execution of this A+ idea was not so great. I was bored half-way through the novel. I felt like there were so many plot additions piling up with no resolutions in sight. Despite this, I am glad that I finished the novel. The ending was definitely not a final one–a good set up for the sequel.

Idea: Great. Characters: Great. Plot: Meh.

I don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel, but then again, fantasy YA is not usually my genre of choice.

My 2015 top TBR

It’s the beginning of a new year, and I already have a long list of books I definitely want to tackle soon. I thought I’d share the top 5 books off of that list and link each book to Goodreads. It’s a mix of different genres!

1. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger – (Fiction) The Catcher in the Rye is my all time favorite novel. I’ve enjoyed every Salinger book I’ve read…which I think is every book except for Nine Stories.

2. Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler‘- (Science Fiction) This is the second book of the Xenogenesis trilogy. I read the first book last month and I’m, unfortunately, still waiting for the second and third books to arrive (hurry up Amazon)!

3. At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Niell – (LGBT Historical Fiction)- I try to read a variety of LGBT books every year. This book has been on my list for a while. It’s a coming of age story featuring two boys who develop feelings for each other. I know I’m going to love it, so I’m excited to finally pick it up.

4. My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni– (Myster/Thriller) I haven’t read a good thriller in a while, so I’m hoping this will do the trick. I’m glad no one has added this to a YA shelf, because I honestly can’t stand YA thrillers. Anyway, I have high hopes for this one as well.

5. The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber– (Science Fiction/Fantasy??) This book has been placed in so many different genres, which is what interests me so much. It has mixed reviews, but the confusion over genre intrigues me. I’m really not sure what to expect.

Review- The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Rating: 5/5 stars

 Pages: 293TheGraveyardBook_Hardcover

“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

Nobody Owens is a human boy raised by the ghosts of dead souls in a graveyard. He is free to roam around the graveyard as he pleases, learning to fade in and out of vision and able to jump into dreams of the living. He is told to never leave the graveyard, for there is a man named Jack who is on the hunt to kill him. Nobody meets many different types of people in the graveyard—witches, ghouls, and living people walking among the graves. These different beings take him on many adventures both inside and out of the graveyard.

This book read more like a collection of related short stories to me. Although fluid, the chapters could be read individually. Nevertheless, Gaiman’s writing is articulate, fun, and easy to follow for readers of all ages. Nobody is the perfect protagonist for a young reader to relate to and a way for older readers to reflect back upon themselves as children. I really enjoyed joining Nobody through his adventures in discovering the laws of the undead.

I found interesting parallels between this novel and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. At first I was worried that the two would be too similar, but Gaiman takes this novel into a completely different world than The Ocean. (By the way, if you haven’t read The Ocean yet, please go do so right away).

I didn’t really know what urban fantasy was before I read The Graveyard Book, but now it all makes sense. There’s no way I could put the genre into my own words, but this is definitely it. Since I don’t usually read “fantasy” books, I was hesitant to jump into this book. Now I am an avid lover of urban fantasy, a title that I embrace.

Neil Gaiman is fantastic. You probably already knew that. Hell, who doesn’t know that by now? The Graveyard Book is, also, fantastic. I got the book for Christmas and I’m writing this review Christmas night.