Death on the Nile – Poirot

This is my first foray into Agatha Christie and Poirot, I have never read any of her work, or watched any of the countless TV shows based on it. So this was quite exciting to see what this classic mystery author had in store for me.

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Chimera – Mira Grant

This is the finale for the Parisitology series by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire), my reviews of Parasite and Symbiont can be found there. While I enjoyed the previous books, the second book wasn’t as good as I hoped. But this conclusion was satisfying, and redeemed the series a bit. It still isn’t amazing, it’s good, but not quite up to the Newsflesh level of amazingness. 

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Guns, Germs and Steel

The reason why I read this book is because of the podcast Hello Internet, hosted by CGP Grey and Brady Haran, both of whom are educational Youtubers. They discussed this book on a recent podcast, mainly spurred on by the fact that Grey did a video on Americapox, and why the Native Americans were wiped out by disease when Europeans arrived, and not the other way around. You can see that video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEYh5WACqEk

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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. 

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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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