Another month, another pile of books devoured. This month I have mostly been reading books about otherworldy happenings, more dragons, labyrinths and supernatural powers than you can shake a wand at.
Ship of Destiny-Robin Hobb
The final installment of The Liveship Traders trilogy, and wow. Everything comes together in the end but in such a breathtaking way. Oh, and the dragons are back. Big time.
This Charming Man– Marian Keyes
A little light chick-lit for the holiday, or so I thought. I should have known it wouldn’t be just another fluffly read when (I saw it was by Marian Keyes) I read about her researching into domestic abuse. The novel is told from the POVs of four women, with some anonymous italicised descriptions of domestic abuse thrown in. These women each have their own tales to tell, Lola’s just been dumped and nearly loses her job, Grace wants Lola to spill the beans on her ex, Paddy de Courcy, Marnie seems to be struggling with life in general and Alicia suddenly finds herself engaged to PdC.
I really loved the different voices of the novel and felt that each woman had her own distinct voice. You also begin to trust each narrator, until the other narratives throw around some facts which make you reconsider any and every preconception about the characters you might have had. This aspect was handled very skillfully, though I can’t go into more detail without spoilers!
As well as the domestic abuse, and other issues, of the novel, it is also laugh out loud funny. I rarely giggle to myself whilst I read, preferring to appreciate novels in my head, but I couldn’t help myself at some points. I really warmed towards Lola and Grace and found them hilarious. I would read this again – and I don’t say that about many books.
Introducing Rousseau– Dave Robinson. Illustrated by Oscar Zarate
That’s right, illustrated. I picked up this gem in Fopp for £2 because I thought it would be informative, which it was. It’s also told via the medium of the comic strip. As an introduction to Rousseau it does exactly what it says on the cover, focusing first on biographical details and then delving a little deeper into his philosophies. The cartoons are also really good. I probably wouldn’t buy another of this series again, as I was hoping for a more in-depth intro, but it was an easy read which brought up some interesting points.
The Dark + The Key – Marianne Curley
The other two in the Guardians of Time trilogy. These books are apparently aimed at seventeen year olds, but can be read by anyone who doesn’t mind how, well, bad they are. The ideas are interesting what with the guardians of time, their special powers and protecting he past from being tampered with by the goddess of Chaos. There are also some great feats of imagination, such as the underworld and the prophecy. However, as is the case with many kids books, the characters are underdeveloped and despite going through some huge changes (finding out you’re an immortal and coming into supernatural powers? accusing your closest friends of being a traitor?), they’re not really analysed in depth by anyone. Action definitely trumps character development. If you’ve got a spare afternoon and these are lying around on your kid sister’s bed, give them a read. Especially if you could with a laugh.
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
I’ve only read two novels by Eco but I’m going to say he can do no wrong, and stand by that in a court of law. I had forgotten how complex The Name of the Rose really is, describing it to everyone as a murder mystery involving monks – which it is – but I had forgotten about the library labyrinth and the historical context which you find out about in GREAT detail. Need to know about the heretical Pope? Never new there was once a Pope in Avignon? Want to discover, in far too much detail, the many disagreements between the many factions of monks? This is the novel for you. If history was written like this all the time, I think we’d all be experts. Read it, read it, read it.