A War of Gifts

So I just so happened to read this before Christmas, and turns out it was a Christmas story in the Enderverse. It deals with Zeck, who comes from a very religious family, a Puritan one, who rejects electricity and certainly Christmas as from the devil. But Zeck is a genius, he has a perfect memory, and can make people like him. So when he goes to Battle School he causes a bit of trouble.

Continue reading A War of Gifts

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Related Problems I Have

Top10TuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday is ‘Ten Book Related Problems I Have’.

  1. There are too many books! I just know that I’m never going to read all of them, and that so many good ones are going to be missed.
  2. There’s so many books I do want to read, and I want to read them all right now, but I have to wait
  3. Trying to get the books I want to read, and having to wait for them to come into the library because
  4. It can be expensive. Sometimes the books are over $20, easily, and that’s alright if you buy a couple, but you can’t go buying too many. Well I can’t. And hardcover are more expensive, and they are so much more awesome.
  5. Wanting to at the same time breeze through a book (for two reasons, so you know what is going on, and so you can have more time to read even more books), but wanting to savour it.
  6. Deciding on what to read next, and there’s always so many recommendations from people
  7. Finishing a series is always tough
  8. Rating books I find really tough. That and ranking them. For people to ask me what’s my favourite book, I struggle.
  9. Making lists like these… I seem to always struggle to get to 10!

What book problems do you have?

Metro Winds

This is Isobelle Carmody’s second short story anthology, the first being Green Monkey Dreams.
Overall it was a great collection of short stories, not as thought provoking as Green Monkey Dreams, but some very interesting and varied tales, and some beautiful stories.

The title story: Metro Winds

A lovely story about a girl who belongs in the country who is moved to the city and just can’t find her place. The contrast between the girl’s mother, and her aunty who lives in the city is quite striking. The Metro Winds – the winds from the underground network, help the girl find her place. Well, actually her wings, as she is engorged by this beast and transformed.

The Dove Game

Just like in Metro Winds you can get a feeling that Isobelle has a little contempt for cities, and how oppressive, and disconnecting they are.

“Cities smothered the land, he reckoned, stopping it communicating with the people who lived on it, though maybe it was more that cities reflected people’s desire not to hear the land.”

“…[H]is father had said sadly that cities were as confused as the people who lived in them, and that you needed maps for dealing with the people as much as for finding your way around the streets”

It certainly was an interesting story, to see how this young man’s life was changed because of a dying man’s wish. And just how he was lost, and found himself in a foreign city, where he is so disconnected compared to before when he was in the outback. Of course the story of the dying man, and the person he was supposed to meet is also very interesting and mysterious, and turns out to be very haunting and sad.

The Girl Who Could See the Wind

Instead of leaving Australia, this time we have a story where a family comes to Australia, seeking the end of the world. Well really an escape from a promise the mother made to a witch, that promise being her first born daughter in exchange for the man she loved, who died. Certainly was interesting to see Willow see things others just couldn’t, and then the contrast of Rose who saw people more clearly than anyone else. Is Isobelle trying to say there are two (or perhaps three if they are blind to both) people in the world, those who see other people clearly, and those who see the world clearly?

But the story thickens as Rose disappears and their mother is found dead in the winter park, which only Willow and her mother seem aware about – because it’s magical. Eventually Willow goes into the park with her policeman friend to try to find Rose, they end up meeting the witch, who explains the deal, and how her mother had Rose to try and trick the witch and take her instead. And we find that Rose is up in a tower awaiting her rescue by the prince, who is actually her half-brother, who has been through some trials to get there. At the end of it all, the prince is turned into a cat, and he can either leave and be a man, or stay and be with Rose. He chooses to leave, and then immediately regrets it and goes back just before the way closes. While Willow also gets a happily ever after as she and the policeman fall in love also.

I always love how Isobelle can twist old fairytales and stories and come up with something original.

The Stranger

I know from Isobelle’s blog that she has been to Santorini, and I think I can really see her personal experience shine through here. She talks of the smell of the eucalyptus trees, and the feeling of a long flight from Australia, and of Santorini so vividly. For a very long time it was a bit of guessing game to see how this story would be ‘fantasy’, which I liked. Because fantasy doesn’t need to be full on all the time, and in fact this story could nearly end without the fantasy ending, which involved vampires, who once a century find one person to join them to ensure they remain in touch with humanity.

The Wolf Prince

A very complicated story with lots of flash backs and flash backs within memories, but really engrossing. Definitely get the sense of fairytales being woven in, with curses turning men into beasts, only saved by princesses, and the hunt for these princesses which is very complicated. Then the huge mattresses, for a second I thought there was going to be a pea involved, but there wasn’t.

But again, of course given it is the title, we have the theme of cities, and how they hide something more sometimes. Like the passages to the faerie world, this time though it seemed to be Venice which Isobelle was talking about with its canals, but it doesn’t have to be a real place at all.

The Man Who Lost His Shadow

Again another journey to a foreign place, searching. This time for the man’s shadow, which he noticed disappeared not long after his retirement, but the question is how long did he simply not notice? I do like that he went to doctors and the like about not having a shadow and how they just couldn’t comprehend it. Instead he heads to Transylvania?? or somewhere where darkness is strong, after some random interaction with someone who led him there. He gets kidnapped by some criminals for a little while, before being allowed to go on his way, and he ends up having an encounter with a roadside prostitute who is able to give him his shadow back because it’s in her breasts. Yeah, a bit weird.

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

Top10TuesdaySo this week’s top ten is about romance, and what I want to see more of (like) and what I want to see less of (dislike).

  1. I know for a start that I want to see less love triangles – Hunger Games, even Chaos Walking threw it in for a little while. I just do not like them at all, and they bore me.
  2. I’ll also be the party-pooper and say overall, I’d prefer less romance. Not in general, but, I’m not the biggest fan of romance in novels. Could never read a pure romance novel. Not saying I don’t like romance occasionally, but John Green’s novels are probably as romancy as I want things to get.
  3. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing less ‘love at first sight’, or ‘they fell in love and everything was magical’
  4. And less ‘their world was changed, everything felt right, I had found the one’

That’s about it from my end. What about you? What do you like/dislike about romance in novels?

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I didn’t want to expect with this novel, and I was most interested to see how it would work with two authors. I could see quite quickly that each author wrote alternating chapters, and later found out that they wrote their chapters individually, and then read each other their current chapter, before working on the next one (obviously a lot of editing happened to make it cohesive). And they really executed a good book. It took a few chapters for me to warm up to the story, and it wasn’t until the two Will Graysons (hence the name) met that I started to enjoy it. Overall I liked it, but I wouldn’t rave about it.

Continue reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t/Want To Read From X Genre

Top10Tuesday

So this week, I’m going to list the top ten books I can’t believe I haven’t read from fantasy/sci fi. I’m not really too sure about any off the top of my head. Like I’ve read Hunger Games, Harry Potter, A Song of Fire and Ice. So I’ve had to go looking to see what I haven’t read that seems to be a staple, maybe you guys can give me some suggestions.

  1. I’ll say Dune by Hank Hubert, because that’s the “finest, most widely acclaimed and enduring Science Fiction novel of this century”. At least according to the 2nd hand copy I bought last year which is sitting on my shelf. So it’s another book I want to read, but just need to get around doing so.
  2. Discworld by Terry Prachett, it is such a huge cornerstone series, that I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I own the first book, but as above, I haven’t read it.
  3. Fahrenheit 451, again another classic, large name (though I guess that’s the point with this list). And again it’s sitting on my shelf!
  4. His Dark Materials, guess what! I own one of these books as well, but it’s the third in the series, whatever.
  5. The Princess Bride by William Goldman. This is purely on here because Goodreads had it on a list, and it was a book that I recognised, but haven’t read.
  6. Anything of Stephen King! I’m really surprised I haven’t gotten around to reading anything of his yet. I do own Under the Dome because of the TV show though.
  7. Or anything of Robin Hobb’s, another really big fantasy name.
  8. Or Terry Goodkind, (once again I do have one book of theirs)
  9. Or Ursula K. Le Guin, another huge name
  10. Or Tamora Pierce. So many big name authors I have just not read anything of.

What’s on your list that you can’t believe you haven’t gotten around to reading yet, despite loving that genre? Any other fantasy/sci-fi names/books that should be on my list?