Posted in 2018, Book Review

The Dark Army (2016) book review

25493815After a one on one battle against an enemy assassin costs him his life, Thomas Ward the Spook rose from the dead after the unexpected appearance from a strange creature who is a part of the light. He ends up leading an army with the witch assassin Grimalkin’s direction against the rising dark threat. Everything goes wrong and the situation seems hopeless until Thomas’ former ally Alice, a powerful witch turned to the dark appears. They manage to escape and are chased by the dark threat back to their familiar lands. Going home brings back old friends and old enemies.

This is the second book in the Starblade Chronicles by Joseph Delaney. I read his Spooks Apprentice series a while back and I enjoyed every book. Then I discovered that he was writing a new series with both old and new characters and I read those as well. This book is exactly what I hoped for. It has the near hopeless tone the later books in the Spooks Apprentice series had while also revealing a hint of hope in this world of light encroached by the dark.

I recommend this book to anyone who has read any of Joseph Delaney’s other books, however if you have read none of his other books I would recommend either reading the first book in this series which is A New Darkness or starting with The Spook’s Apprentice which is the first book in his Last Apprentice series. These books are easy to read and great for younger readers, while also being great for older readers. Though both series do get a bit dark and gory every now and then.

Final Rating – 44/50

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Posted in 2018, Book Review

The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Burglar (1907) book review

Arsene Lupin is an infamous gentleman thief in France during the turn of the century. His nemesis, Ganimard is trying very hard to capture the thief and bring him to justice however Lupin always seems to be ten steps ahead of him. Justice doesn’t always have to prevail. This is the first collection of stories written by Maurice Leblanc. This is also the oldest piece of fiction I have yet to review on this blog. I really enjoyed reading this book and its been put together really well as a collection.

This book sets up a few things for the sequel collection which is Arsene Lupin Vs. Sherlock Holmes. First of all Sherlock Holmes shows up though he’s not that important to the plot of the story he appears in. Lupin’s backstory is explained so that readers would be more attached to him in the sequel. Lupin’s Watson (as in the fictional writer of his stories) is introduced. In addition to this all the stories that were selected help develop Lupin’s character which isn’t that complex because of the time period he was created in.

Again I really enjoyed this collection and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes because I can tell that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work was in inspiration for Arsene Lupin. Also if you want to know where the character of Arsene Lupin originated from I would recommend reading this book.

Final Rating – 40/50

Posted in 2018, Book Review

The Child Finder (2017) book review

32223884Three years ago 5-year old Madison Culver disappeared while her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. The authorities have already given up hope, but Madison’s parents believe that she was kidnapped. Refusing to give up hope they call upon Naomi, a private investigator who has a knack for finding missing children. She takes the case and in the process ends up working close to the town she grew up in. In her past she in a position similar to that of Madison which allows her to better understand these children. Her memory of the past is fragmentary at best, and while she is taking this case she may be forced to begin confronting the demons of both her remembered and forgotten past.

This is an excellent book to read if you enjoy mystery stories. Naomi is smart and refuses to give up when looking for a missing child and I feel that she is an amazing character. She is dynamic, developed, and is mysterious, what better protagonist for a mystery novel. The best part about The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld is one of the perspective characters. There are two, Naomi and someone else. I will not tell you all much more about the other perspective character because of the surprise.

Of course since this is a mystery I should talk about the main devices and aspects of such a story. There is a lot of foreshadowing and a good amount of Chekhov’s gun. Almost every aspect of the plot fits into two categories, the main plot which I think is the case, and the subplot which focuses more on Naomi and her past. Everything fits together. I love it when that happens.

I recommend that you read this book if you enjoy mystery novels and books that delve into the psychology of the characters. It looks like this is going to be a series which I’m excited about because I really want to learn more about Naomi. There is still so much to learn.

Final Rating – 44/50

Posted in 2018, Book Review

The Wildings (2012) book review

15746512There is a small band of cants who lives in the streets and alleyways of an old neighbourhood in Delhi. These cate fear no one and live their day to day lives with nothing to threaten them, though some of the older cats still remember a time when all cats in the old neighbourhood were in danger. Complacent in their safety, they are shocked to discover a small orange kitten living with humans. This tiny kitten holds a remarkable power that hasn’t been seen by these cats for a very long time and will set off a series of events which will change the world of the wildings forever.

The first thing I thought when reading the description for this book was that it sounded a lot like the Warriors series by Erin Hunter only set in India. There are cats who form groups and do cat things. However in The Wildings the cats act a lot more like cats than they do in Warriors. For instance the cats are mostly loners except when it comes to kittens, and fighting each other. A lot of them are also jerks who wanted to kill a poor defenseless kitten because it annoyed them. These cats don’t answer to any other cat but themselves. however they do respect those cats who are stronger or faster than them and personally I think that this is more cat-like than what the cats in Warriors do.

The characters in this book are believable and interesting, and as I read the novel I felt like I was a part of this world where cats communicate with each other through their whiskers and roam the streets of Delhi. It also has a fantastical element with the powers of the kitten. Nilanjana Roy was able to weave a beautiful and suspenseful story about cats with a lot of twists and turns.

I enjoyed this novel and it should be obvious by this post. I recommend you read this if you like cats, have read and enjoyed the Warriors series, and enjoy reading stories about war and the battle between whole and broken. I am for sure going to be reading the rest of this series.

Final Rating – 50/50

Posted in 2018, Book Review

A Silent Voice (2013-2014) book review

220px-koe_no_katachi2c_volume_1Shoya Ishida is a former delinquent who in elementary school helped bully a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya. After Shoko is forced to switch schools because of the bullying it all gets pinned of Shoya and he is branded a hateful person who no one should hang out with through the rest of elementary school and middle school. Now in high school, Skoya contemplates suicide and even makes a plan as to how he’s going to do it. He has had Shoko weighing heavily on his mind ever since the events of elementary school that changed his life. However after meeting Shoko again to give her her old speaking notebook he changes his mind and instead reconnects with Shoko. He then tries to reconnect her with himself and other people from elementary school as redemption for his actions.

I know that there is a movie but I won’t review it despite the fact I watched it. Besides I think the manga tells the better story. A lot of fun scenes are left out in the movie which help flesh out certain characters better. Among these is Tomohiro Nagatsuka who in the movie is nothing more than a guy who hangs around Shoya, however in the manga he is more his own character with aspirations as a film director and more. Yoshitoki Oima did a good job developing all the characters in this story and making them more than just flat paper cutouts of what you expect in a slice of life.

The best part of this manga is the complexity of the emotions of the characters and the fact that they react realistically to certain events in the ways their character should react and also how their pasts make them react. Shoya himself is an interesting character because he was only in elementary school when he was labeled a bad person who should be bullied and that caused a lot of psychological damage which is slowly healed as the plot progresses. Shoko has also been effected in a bad way by her past and that makes it so that even though it looks like she’s having fun in the manga she is actually deeply depressed, something that you can’t easily see and something that Shoya needs to help her with.

A Silent Voice is a beautiful story about a high school boy who can hear and is seeking redemption for what he did in the past, and a deaf high school girl who is still trying to recover from her past. The way that depression and anxiety is portrayed in this manga is realistic. I believe that this manga can help people who need help. I recommend the manga to anyone who either enjoyed the movie or is planning on watching the movie because to be honest the manga is the better experience by far. I also recommend this to anyone who enjoys slice of life.

Final Rating – 50/50

Posted in 2018, Book Review

Summer Knight (2002) book review

91478This is the fourth novel in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher and so far its my favourite in the series. In Summer Knight it has been a while since left town in order to deal with her newly acquired almost vampirism and Harry has become deeply depressed and desperate. When the Winter Queen of Faerie walks into his office she has an offer he can’t refuse and all he has to do is who murdered the Summer Knight in order to clear the Winter Queen’s name. However this is easier said than done because if a mistake is made it could mean war among the fae and that would not be very fun to deal with in the human world.

First of all I think the main reason why I like this book so much more than the other Harry Dresden novels (they’re all great by the way) is because I’m interested in the fae a lot more than I’m interested in the vampires, wizard politics, or anything else. If you noticed my current WIP is all about fae. Besides this I found the writing in this novel really good and the characters were all interesting. I found it interesting to read Harry’s mental recovery as he dealt with the case and the people he knows.

I recommend Summer Knight to anyone who liked the past Harry Dresden novels as well as to anyone who likes any mixture of fantasy and mystery. I enjoyed reading this and I hope to eventually continue with the Dresden Files series.

Final Rating – 48/50

Posted in 2018, Book Review

The Aviator’s Wife (2013) book review

13642950Anne Morrow first meets her future husband Colonel Charles Lindbergh when she comes home to visit her family in Mexico over Christmas. He had recently gone on his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic ocean, he was the first man to have done this, and he had gained a sort of celebrity aura in the USA. She believes that he hasn’t noticed her but after taking her in an airplane without either her mother or sister, she is shocked to learned that he sees something in her. Soon they will have a headline-making wedding and she would join Charles Lindbergh in several other headline-making events and feats, but she would still be seen as only the aviators wife despite the fact that she was amazing in her own right. The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a piece of historical nonfiction takes a closer look at the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh as she is stuck in the shadow of her husband.

I found this novel to be very similar to The Other Einstein, though that is not a bad thing. Instead its sad that there are multiple famous men from the early 1900’s who had amazing wives who were also stuck in their shadows. I guess its only natural when you look at how North American society was like back then. This novel was very well written and while I can’t be 100% sure of this, I feel as though many of the events in the novel were pretty accurate. A lot of research went into writing this novel and I think that this is a story that people should read. I actually learned quite a bit about American history by reading this.

I recommend The Aviator’s Wife to anyone who enjoys historical fiction as well as to anyone who enjoys the history of airplanes. It’s kind of ironic that I’m literally writing this review as I wait for my next flight. I really enjoyed reading this novel and I hope that you do as well if you choose to read it.

Final Rating – 45/50