Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

This is the second time that I have read these two stories. The first time was a number of years ago, and if I remember correctly I read them on my Nintendo DS after buying a 100 classic books ‘game’, which was not at all game like, but just shows what a child I was. Though I think I ended up reading 4 of those books, which says perhaps more about me? Anyway, this time, I once again read them electronically. Which is actually quite rare for me, I don’t have a dedicated e-reader, nor any tablet. So I was reading them on my phone, which is something I am not inclined to do that often. The brevity of these two stories (and their free-ness in ebook) are what made me read them like this. I do have to say though it is so convenient to just pull out your phone and keep reading, as opposed to needing to carry about your book. But I don’t think I’d find a dedicated e-reader that more convenient compared to a book, cause you still need to have that with you. I’ve spoken about ebooks previously, so I’ll leave this there, and move on to the actual books.

Original illustration (1865) by John Tenniel
Original illustration (1865) by John Tenniel

Both of these books have spawned a lot of movies (23 of them in fact), and they have been extremely influential works for the fantasy genre. The thing is that for modern audiences, I don’t think there’s much enjoyment from the stories themselves. Due to how exposed we have been to the stories already, reading them doesn’t really add a whole lot. We just have to deal with the differences in writing, which are more a detriment than anything. The real interest is to see what the original source material was, and how the movies differ.

They really are very nonsensical stories, and their endings are so abrupt. The various poems and songs littered throughout the stories were interesting, but sometimes became a bit too much. And the number of references that modern readers no longer get is quite high.

Overall, I will not be reading these again. They became more of a chore to get through than an enjoyment.


The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman

I’m writing this review having finished this book nearly 2 months ago, so I’m struggling to remember exactly what happened within it. However, I do remember that I liked the book, and overall I have liked the series. It is a very satisfying series, with a satisfying (and sad) conclusion. 

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I certainly heard a lot about this book in 2015, nothing content wise, it just kept popping up everywhere. And I think it is with good reason. It’s a good book, it’s not perfect, but it’s really well done. One of it’s bigger drawcards is it’s more unique format. It is set out as a dossier of files and transcripts about the attack by one company on another’s illegal mining operation, wiping out most of the planet’s inhabitants, and leaving the others on a damaged spaceship, which just so happens to have a mad AI, as well as a virus which turns people into killing machines, and is being stalked by one ship of the original attackers. So there’s a lot going on. 

Continue reading Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman

Ah the middle book of a trilogy, a tricky place. You’ve introduced your characters, but the resolution is far away, and it’s time to set the pieces in place for the finale. Pullman does a good job here, broadening the universe further by literally adding countless alternative universes, all the while giving us a literal war with God. So uh, that religion thing, not subtle about that one was he, no wonder he copped flak (and I haven’t even seen what he’ll do next).

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Northern Lights (AKA The Golden Compass) by Philip Pullman

I watched The Golden Compass movie starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman a number of years ago, I don’t remember it too well, but I don’t think I was that impressed. So when I saw the book later, I wasn’t interested. There was also the associated ‘religious’ controversy which also made me stay away – not because I am religious, but because I thought the book was overly religious and was less interested (got that the wrong way round didn’t I). I then saw it a few times over the years, and thought yeah, maybe I should read it. It was only when a group of friends kept going on about it, that we decided to read (or reread) the series together at the start of 2016. And I’m disappointed that it has taken me so long to read them.

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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The second book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, I read the first one a little while ago, and wasn’t amazed by it. It was okay, but I really expected to like it more. I thought that perhaps it was the fact that I had seen the movie of it, which meant I knew what was happening, so didn’t enjoy it as much. Given that I actually did like this one, this may be the case. The alternate is that perhaps I was in a different mood compared to last time. Whatever it is, I’m glad I decided to read the sequel.

Continue reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe