Books, Little Reviews, Reading, Review
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Little reviews // February 2016

This is the first of what might become a recurring monthly post (we’ll see how bothered I am). Basically this is going to be a round up of any books I read in a particular month that I couldn’t manage to write a big long post for, but that I feel like I need to say something about.

AshalaWolfThe Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Genre: Young adult (sci-fi/dystopian)
Release Date: July 2012
Rating: ★★

To begin with, I should say that I’m not the ideal reader for this book; dystopian young adult isn’t what I usually gravitate towards (unless there’s a film adaptation on the way), so I may have been negatively geared towards it without meaning to. Having said that, I had some issues with this one that I haven’t had with the other YA books I’ve read.

I liked the general idea of the book – a dystopian future in which people with supernatural abilities are persecuted, these people forming The Tribe and fighting against their oppressors; the world of this future is one in which technology is what caused the downfall of humanity and in which it is now closely regulated. I like all of that. And that’s where my like ends.

The main issue I had was the fact that I didn’t particularly care either way what happened to any of the characters. I didn’t feel at all invested in their futures and I would have slept ok if I didn’t find out what happened to them. Also, I found the narrative voice very irritating. Then there was the problem that things that should have been shocking twists just felt like conveniences. All in all, there was everything I would expect in a young adult novel and I felt like I’d read it before – but better. [Goodreads]

TheSnowQueen_largeThe Snow Queen

Author: Hans Christian Andersen (translated by Misha Hoekstra, illustrated by Lucie Arnoux)
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Release Date: 1 October 2015
Rating: ★★★★

This is a new edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fable but with illustrations and unfortunately the e-galley I received didn’t have the illustrations in the book; instead there was a selection supplied in a media kit, so I can’t really give an opinion of how the final product looks. Instead, I have to look at each component individually.

First, the illustrations I saw were really beautiful. They were in black and white (not sure if that’s how they like in the final version of the book) and quite simple, but I think that they would have supported the text well. So it’s a shame I couldn’t see the two side by side. In terms of the text, I loved it. I really enjoyed Hoekstra’s translation, and I’d be interested to revisit the translations of this story from my childhood to compare them. Anyone not familiar with the story upon which Disney’s Frozen is based might be surprised by how different they are – there’s far less fluff in the source material – but if you and the kids don’t go into this one expecting talking snowmen and cute trolls, then you’ll be ok. [Many thanks to Pushkin Press and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy.] [Goodreads]

OutlanderOutlander (originally published as Cross Stitch)

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: 1 June 1991 (my edition is from 2011)
Rating: ★★★★

I gave this 4 stars but I’m super torn about it; I don’t know that it was that good. Really it’s probably worth a 3, but I LOVED the historical aspect of it, so that probably pushed my rating up. Also, it has a 4.18 average rating on Goodreads from 441,343 ratings – so I may have even felt a little peer pressured.

Don’t get me wrong – for the most part I enjoyed it. It felt like it took ages to get going though and when it did get going it moved along at a decent pace. I liked the main character, Claire, even though her narration was a bit annoying at times. I did have a big issue with some aspects of the relationship between she and Jamie though.

Jamie’s kind of a jerk – I can see why the ladies love him but I think his charms blind us to his not so great side. My biggest problem was that he’d beat Claire to punish her, and she’d be angry about it but then get over it in two seconds. I realise that the treatment of her is probably a fairly accurate portrayal of the times, but if Gabaldon was going to write a male character that was so different to the other men of his time, why didn’t she just go all out and not have him beat her? And Claire? It really pissed me off that as a “modern woman” who is clearly unafraid to speak her mind, she got over it so quickly. Anyway, history and a good plot will forever stand in the way of Claire knifing Jamie, but I’m onto him – I’ll not be fooled by that Scottish brogue and beautiful hair and the rest of his physical perfection (but where do I go to get one of those?) (without the beating, obviously).

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13 Comments

  1. So I’m not the only person who didn’t read Outlander ages ago, eh? For some reason, I’ve been hearing about it a ton lately and have been meaning to read it, but I didn’t know there was physical abuse. Even for the time period covered, that surprises me a bit. Huh. Well, I think I’ll read it this year, so we’ll see what I think. Do you think you’ll continue the series?

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    • I liked the historical aspect of it, but the rest of it I’m a bit ambivalent about (aside from the abuse). I’ll definitely read the rest of the series though – I bought all of them when they were about $5 each in a Kobo sale, so I have them there ready to go. Hopefully the series gets better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The round up//February 2016 | Bits & Books

  3. I read Outlander several years ago (pre-Goodreads days for me), but probably would have given it a 3 stars, meaning “good enough”. I know everyone seems to love this series, and I tried giving the second one a go, but just couldn’t get into it. I think it’s just going to be one of those things I just don’t “get.” Or at least one of those things I’m not willing to prioritize. I love mini-reviews! If that gives you any motivation to keep doing them 🙂

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    • I think it’s definitely more in the 3 territory. I really liked the historical aspect of it, hence the 4 stars, but aside from that nothing else really stood out. Unfortunately I bought the entire series when there was a sale on Kobo, so I have all of them to read. But like you, I won’t be prioritising them!

      I think I’ll definitely try and do more little reviews – they’re good for just getting your thoughts out without exploring those thoughts too much (if that makes sense).

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  4. I would have a difficult time with Outlander so I will take your advice and thoughts and pass on it. It does sound a big like Lost in Austen.

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    • I just googled Lost in Austen – I haven’t heard of it before, but there do seem to be some similarities.
      I’ll probably continue with the series (because I stupidly purchased all of the books when they were on sale) but they won’t be a priority for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this idea. I think I’ll be stealing this. I did something similar for my “Read like my book club” summary, but I think people want something more substantive. I need to find some type of middle ground between long posts, and super short ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please, go right ahead and steal it 🙂
      Sometimes I just don’t have that much to say about a book, but I feel strongly about it, so it was so nice to just get my thoughts out about some books without feeling like I need to expand on my thoughts too much.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha – I definitely will! I bought the whole series when they were on sale with Kobo, so they’re there when I’m ready to push on 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to give Outlander another shot, I actually became rather bored with the book and started reading something else in the middle. However, so happy you think Jamie is a jerk too!

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    • It got a lot better by the end, but I’m still really questioning whether it was worth 4 stars. I’m very conflicted by this.
      I think I’ll rethink my rating of it after I read the next book and compare the two.
      Hopefully Jamie is better in the next one!

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