All posts filed under: Review

Review: The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

“You called a god, and the god answered.” The Poppy War may actually be the adult fantasy debut of the year. Everyone and their mother is raving about it, five-star reviews are littering Goodreads. And though I may not have ended up quite as obsessed as the rest of the bookish community, I was still immensely impressed. If you’re a fan of Chinese-inspired high fantasy, pay attention. The Poppy War draws from the culture in so many different ways, ways that make it stand out from other books in the genre. It draws from the rich folklore of course, but touches more on lesser known legends, creatures of nightmare and notably DEITIES. There are copious martial arts here, if you’re into that, but most importantly, the story itself is based on true Chinese history (and a very interesting history, at that.) Author R. F. Kuang sums it up perfectly: “This is, as I’ve always conceived it, a war story. It draws heavily on the Second Sino-Japanese war which–if you know anything about Asia–was one of …

Review: White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht

“I am a haenyeo. Like my mother, and her mother before her, like my sister will be one day, her daughters too – I was never anything but a woman of the sea. Neither you nor any man can make me less than that.” This novel captivated me in a way I really wasn’t expecting. I had been looking for some more Korean-based WWII lit since I my disappointing affair with Pachinko left me gasping for a story I could connect with more easily. If you had similar feelings towards Pachinko, read on my friend, because White Chrysanthemum could end up being the story you’ve been searching for. ______________

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. One was the usual birds and bees. […] The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me.” This book should be required reading. Not for schools, for everyone. The premise is simple but powerful, the characters are every day people but they are excellently written. The message is one we’ve heard a million times before but we still haven’t heard it enough. The story follows sixteen-year-old Starr, a private-school student who has always felt out of place. At school, she is one of the few black students. Back in her neighbourhood, she is mocked for going to school outside the area – with white people nonetheless. Although she feels like she lives in two different worlds, she’s determined to prove to herself that both of her lives can co-exist.

Review: Brave by Rose McGowan

I’ve always enjoyed Rose McGowan for the fiery individual she appeared to be on screen. Even though she states in her memoir, “for those who knew me as an actress, I must inform you I was never that person”, she’s still a damn queen, I know it. Her fire comes across from the very first page. Her words are fierce, they demand attention, and damn right. For a survivor of abuse to come forward and tell her story, I would expect nothing less. “I was told I had to have long hair, otherwise the men doing the hiring in Hollywood wouldn’t want to fuck me, and if they didn’t want to fuck me, they wouldn’t hire me. I was told this by my female agent, which is tragic on so many levels.” Brave is less of a memoir, more of a social commentary with McGowan’s own experiences as the starting point. It’s a story about women and the abuse of women; it’s a painful and, yes, fairly triggering account, but it’s the kind of book …

Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

“Life in the bush is hard work, but you can’t beat the taste of salmon you caught in the morning, drizzled with butter you churned from your own fresh cream. Up here, there’s no one to tell you what to do or how to do it. We each survive our own way. If you’re tough enough, it’s heaven on earth.” This little slice of magic really did tick my boxes. Survivalism against a glorious Alaskan backdrop with intense family drama and characters that made the heart melt? I am all over that. Kristin Hannah is best known for her award-winning WWII family drama The Nightingale, a book that still lingers on my to-read pile but not for much longer. Perhaps those who enjoyed The Nightingale for its family dynamics in a high-stakes setting will also find appeal in The Great Alone. It’s hard-core, it’s emotional and it’s exciting. But most of all its core character drama packs an immense punch and I do not say that lightly. I can count on one hand the number …