Monday, October 06, 2014

Review: Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I'm going to tell it - but take care not to smile at any part of it.”
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is that kind of dream. You read it, you never forget it and it will stay with you forever. Very few books have managed to become instant favorites of mine, and this one has made it to that group.

I understand why people hate it so much, really, I do. But I cannot bring myself to hate it. What is it with this book that has haunted me for all the weekend until now? (I finished it on Saturday).

The atmosphere is dark, violent, depressing and beautiful. The sort of book I would normally read. Also, it is not a book I would recommend to everybody, since it's a black/white book. That is, you either like or you hate it. If you can handle with unlikable characters, then go ahead, read it.

If you ask me what the book is about i would say: It's about Heathcliff, a gypsy that was beaten and treated badly just because of that. It's also about his intense love for Catherine Earnshaw and all the consequences of the actions he took because of that strong feeling.

The plot sound really romantic, doesn't it? Well, I don't think Wuthering Heights it's just a love story, I don't even tag it as "romance" (but we can't deny the romance is not in there). Wuthering Heights is more an exploration on humanity, of how love can lead to rage, to violence and to madness.

Speaking about that leads me to my next point: The characters. I love how they are so perfectly unperfect. Sounds weird, huh? Well, the thing is, they are realistic. They could easily exist somewhere out there. Heathcliff is not the oh-so-handsome-and-chivalrous guy. Neither is Catherine or any other character in the book.

I love the darkness in the book, the moors and the solitary environment in which it is set. Besides, the era in which it was written adds a slight touch of gothic into it. I also love the drama, the romance, the wilderness, etc. Emily Brönte manages to tell a tale of trust and betrayal without boring me or making me roll my eyes.

Anyway, I could keep listing things I loved about the book, but if you knew me, you would know that my greatest stuggle is with writing. I can read as many books as I want, but it is very cery difficult for me to print my thoughts about it in a review, especially if I love it as much as I love Wuthering Heights. So I end by saying the same thing I said at the beginning (and what Catherine said to Nelly): Wuthering Heights is a like an unforgettable dream. It goes through and through you until it has changed the colour of your mind.

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once upon a time, there were YA books in which the protagonist was a strong female. The Hunger Games is that kind of book.

I remember, back then, when I was fourteen, that I totally fangirled over this book. I remember I loved it so much that i said it was the best book ever written. Not that I don't think anymore that it is good, but, umm, well, it's not "the best book ever written".

I think this was my first book that got me days and nights thinking about it. Everything is good in it.

I really love Katniss. I think she is my favorite female protagonist. She's strong, brave, fierce and she's protective over her little sister. Once for all, the elder sister is not presented as a wicked person, but instead as an example to follow.

The concept it illustrates is very interesting. Back when I first read it, in my History class, we were studying Rome, so that increased my interest. Well, just by the description of the book and that I've just said, you can guess that it is like a modern version of gladiators that fought at the Coliseum.

I know the idea is cruel, but I think the message in the book is clear: The media manipulates people. They, providing people with entertainment, make them forget they are being ruled by a tirant. It can be explained with the quote "Panem et circenses". You don't know what it means? It means "bread and circus". The elite provided the people with entertainment and food if they gave their responsibilities to the people in charge of the society.

Anyway, I'll leave this here. My recommendation is that you read it before you watch the movie, but it's probable you've already done it. It's probable too that you've either read the book or promised that you will never read it, and that would make this review completely useless, but I just thought it good to write one, since I liked it so much. It doesn't hurt to express my opinion. 

The end.

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Review: The Iron King

The Iron King
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hmm, this is one of those books that fall in the category of "meh". The concept was interesting, but, umm, it was a bit boring for me at times. I didn't like any single character in it, the exception is the cat Grimalkin. Meghan is stupid, Ash is an asshole, Puck (don't even mention it) is kinda idiotic, etc. It's just not my kind of book. I don't care if it has references to William Shakespeare, but this book didn't do for me.

Anyway, maybe you don't have the same reading tastes as I, so you might enjoy it. It's in your hands to take the risk.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review: Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

*sighs* Yet another book infected with iuvenes-adult genre morbus. The symptoms are clear: The guy is an asshole, the protagonist an imbecile, the plot concentrates mainly in the romantic, the relationship is an abusive one, etc. *sighs again* We really need a cure for this sickness, because it is becoming an epidemy: Too many books are suffering from this.

So, this is my recommendation: If you're starting a book, and a hot, mysterious, harsh guy appears, then leave it. I repeat: LEAVE IT. It might be infected withiuvenes-adult genre morbus and it is very contagious.

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Review: Limón Blues

Limón Blues
Limón Blues by Anacristina Rossi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Limón Blues was quite a pleasant surprise...

It is clear that Anacristina Rossi took her time to write this book. The setting is well done, I mean, the descriptions of the era she's describing sounds very vivid: I could almost assure I was living in there when it all occured. The edition I own even has some kind of bibliography where she got all the material to make the story believable.

The plot is not that complex. It is about the life of Orlandus, a guy living in the top of the discrimitation mountain (metaphorically). He, being a black guy, is excluded from everything, so he, along with other people, fight to gain their rights. But the book is not only about that. It also includes his romantic life and all its complications, which make the story even more realistic.

Anyway, I don't really have a lot of time today, so I'll end up here with this: Limón Blues is one of the few academic books I've enjoyed (yes, I read it because it was an assignment) and I managed to read without struggling, even when it took me more than a month to do so (*coughs* college *coughs*).

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: The Club Dumas

The Club Dumas
The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first time I read it, I hated it, that was four years ago. I decided to re-read it because many of my friends loved it and I didn't, you see, I was 12 years old, you can't expect someone that age (and like me) to enjoy a book meant for adults (*coughs* school assignment *coughs*), so I thought I had perhaps misjudged the book.

And it turns out I did...

Lucas Corso is a book detective who is entrusted a copy of the original manuscript of The Anjou Wine (see The Three Musketeers) to verify it is indeed original, but at the same he is commended to do that same thing for a banned book from the 17th century, "Of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows".

If you are a fan of The Three Musketeers and a fan of mystery book, then this is a book just for you. There are numerous intertexts from this book I mentioned along with other Dumas' books and Sherlock Holmes.
The writing is good. It is kind of metaphorical sometimes, but it is not difficult to follow. The author uses many book references, so if you're not familiarized with classics, you might not understand them. Also, if you haven't read The Three Musketeers, you may want to read it first, it is not necessary, just a recommendation because, as the plot involves a chapter of that book, there is a lot of talk, which includes some spoilers, about The Three Musketeers.

The way the dual plot is developed is really good. Both plots include different characters that at some point of the story meet but not entirely. The connection between the authentication of The Anjou Wine and the line of narration of the book is well done. Also, I love that all the characters of the The Club Dumas are compared to one of The Three Musketeers, so in that way they decipher their movements (not their reasons, but the way they act).

The mystery part of the book is paced in an incredible way. Pérez-Reverte does that through many pictures taken from the already mentioned book "Of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows", written by Aristide Torchia. We see how Corso's reasons to continue with his work with this book changes: He, in first place, only accepts the job because of the money, then he continues it because he doesn't want to leave it unfinished and in the end, he is truly interested and caught by the book that he wants to know all the answers (and trust me, he was not the only one).

The characters are interesting. They all have a secret reason for doing what they are doing, possibly, the most intriguing was Irene Adler. And yes, you read it correctly: Irene Adler. Didn't I tell you something about the intertexts?

It contains many quotes with which I felt identified, I mean, Corso is a book detective, so you can expect him and his bibliophile friends to love books:

“One is never alone with a book nearby, don't you agree? Every page reminds us of a day that has passed and makes us relive the emotions that filled it. Happy hours underlined in red pencil, dark ones in black...”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing. And when I want to know something, I look it up in books--their memory never fails”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

“Becoming a book collector is like joining a religion: it’s for life.”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

“Whenever I got any money, I invested it in books. When my savings dwindled, I got rid of everything else—pictures, furniture, china. I think you understand what it is to be a passionate collector of books…”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

Well, I don't know if you feel yourselves in those quotes, but as for myself, I do.

Anyway, now that I've read it with some maturity level and some reading experience, I can truly understand why my spanish teacher and my friends loved it. I had judged the book in a wrong way, but I'm glad I re-read it, because now I can talk about The Club Dumas in a rational way.

Recommended for people who love mystery/thriller books and to people who love characters who also have a passion for reading.

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Review: The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had left this aside for a while because I didn't know what to write, but now I have an idea...

So..."The Three Musketeers" is about these four men (who met in the most hilarious situations) and their adventures. I wouldn't say there is a single plot in the book, since it addresses many issues.

Meet the Musketeers:

1) D'Artagnan: We all know he is the one out of the place here, he is not a Musketeer, just a wanna-be. The youngest of them all. Reckless and charming.

2) Athos: He is the eldest. Seems kind of immune to love but we know he is not...I mean, he was married to Milady (holy mother of God! Milady! I'll get to that later...) and is like a father to D'Artagnan.

3) Pothos: He is a little proud ("a little" I say, haha) and vain.

4) Aramis: Wants to become a priest. He is cautious talks very little and is very organized.

Now, meet the villains:

1) Cardenal Richelieu: I like him, although I don't think he is the real "bad guy", I know he is the one who plans everything but, still, I think the greatest villain is Milady.

2) Milady: Oh, God! I love her! She is to describe her...? Ah, I know, badass? Perhaps that's not the best word to describe her, but she is a perfect femme-fatale, seductive When she seduced Felton! And he was warned! Now imagine what she would do to obtain something from a man that doesn't know a thing about her. and so fierce. I love her as a woman and as a villain. And we thought she was the victim when Comte de Winter was shouting at her...hahaha, no.

3) Rochefort: The man with the scar. The one who stole D'Artagnan's letter of recommendation. Another of Richelieu's minions.

There were some funny parts In the war, when the Musketeers were having breakfast and some guys come to interrupt them and Athos goes out and tells them to hold fire until they had finished xD, I couldn't contain my laugh xD and also sad ones When Madame Bonacieux died, I was really sad by D'Artagnan's was so heart-breaking to imagine him crying like that...

Also, if you think the Musketeers were a group of perfect gentlemen, then you're wrong: They like drinking, betting and they enjoy putting up a fight, even (or specially, I should say) with the Cardinal's guards.

Read it, you will certainly enjoy it. It's not a light read but it's good enough to haunt you.

All for one, and one for all!

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Review: Obsidian

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Aliens are not my thing, I just don't get entertained by books about aliens. Of course there are some exceptions, such as The 5th Wave, but this is not one of those exceptions, and don't get me wrong, it is neither a book I hated nor found boring.

The plot was not original, I have to say it. It is similar to many books I've read, just they change the "normal people" (for example, Hush, Hush) into aliens called "Luxen" (or something like that, I read this last year and I don't remember a thing). There is indeed some kind of insta-love, or not necessarily "insta-love" but "insta-attraction" and "insta-obsession" from the part of Katy.

Talking about her brings me to my next point: The characters.

1) Daemon. Usually, I break up with paradigms. I understand that the majority of the people who read Obsidian love Daemon, but I just simply couldn't fall in love with him. Yes, I know he is sexy and arrogant and mysterious, and that is something most of people really like, but I'm not like most people. sometimes, there were points in which he exasperated me to the point I wanted to slap him in the face so he would shut up...and well, I guess you can disagree with me all you like, but I'll never love him.

2) Katy. She is funny and I like her, but she is not a "kickass heroine", as people out there say. She is just like a normal girl you can find at a normal high-school, nothing particular or special with her, except perhaps that she has some kind of alien DNA that Daemon transferred to her when he heals her (you will have to excuse me, for I remember barely a thing about this book). Something I loved about her? She is a book-lover!

Well, those two are the characters I remember the most. If I wanted to review the other ones, I would have to re-read the book, and I don't want to.

An issue I had with the book is that it concentrates too much in the romance part, but really? What could I expect from a "paranormal romance", as they say?

Anyway, Obsidian is a fun and entertaining book... for a thirteen-year-old girl. I won't say the series improves over the books, because they all felt the same for me.

Finally, I don't particularly recommend it, unless you are a fan of paranormal romance, but read it if you're looking for a fast and easy read.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Maze Runner is one of those books that keep you intrigued right from the beginning. I liked it very much and, in my opinion, it was the best book in the series. This book has a particular sentimental meaning for me: It was the book that started with my passion for reading books. After I read this one, I wanted to read more and more books, for this reason I give some credit to it.

Fast-paced action and full-thrilling moments is what characterizes The Maze Runner. But as most books, it is not perfect. I had many issues while reading it:

First of all, the writing is not very good, I'm not saying it's bad, although it does not convince me. It was lacked of sentiment and it felt the same during the book.

Secondly, the characters. They are not lovable. Thomas, who is the protagonist doesn't emanates that thing that makes protagonists lovable? (I really don't know how to put into words why I didn't like him). The author wants to portrait him as innocent, but I don't see him as that, I only see him stupid (sorry if you fancy him). Theresa is stupid too, she is supposed to be strong, as she is the only [important] female in the book (and one out of two in the whole series). She is manipulative and opportunist, maybe that might not be bad if you are surrounded by a group of sixty teenage boys and you are the only female, so I do not complain about that. The only character I learned to "love" was Minho. Sarcastic and brutally honest, Minho accomplishes to be the only character to whom I developed some kind of affection. Oh, I almost forgot, I did love one character, Chuck, but we know that he dies, heroically, I must admit. I think he was the bravest among that group of people.

Third, I don't understand how the boys couldn't figure out how to get out of the labyrinth, I mean, it was pretty obvious to me, and that when they were supposed to be the most brilliant guys in the country, now imagine if they were idiotic.

Finally, the ending happens way too fast. In a moment they are running from the Grievers and the next one they are out of the WICKED facilities and in a bus.

And now that I mention WICKED...WICKED? What a name for a company! I was like "REALLY!? Are you effing kidding me?" when I knew what the acronym meant, which is bad, also. World In Chaos: Killzone Experiment Department.


Anyway, I know that I sound like I didn't like this book, but I enjoyed it. I never gets you bored, you will want to read until the end and it leaves you with the feeling of emptiness (cliff-hanging end).

Useless fact number I-don't-know: It was also the book that started with my brother'spassion tolerance for books, so it has a special meaning for him too.

Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first time I read this book, I was 12 years old. I know, too young, but it was a school assignment. Anyway, I remember that I was haunted by this book for weeks until I couldn't stand it more and I read it again at the beginning of this year, that is four years after. But then, I was haunted again and I decided to read it one more time. This is one of the few books that make that effect on me, and if I could congratulate Arthur Conan Doyle, I would do it immediatly.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the fifth Sherlock Holmes book written. It is about this curse that has been on the Baskerville family since, Hugo, one of its members, locked a girl up in his mansion because he was in love with her. Now it's a hundred years later, and Charles Baskerville is found dead, and nearby his corpse are the footprints of the so called "hound of the Baskervilles", a supposedly demonic giant dog that kills all of the family members. This is yet a most singular case for Holmes, meaning, this hound is believed to be sent from hell, and the famous detective 1)doesn't believe in such things and 2)he has never confronted anything of the kind, so this might be a difficulty (but we know he prefers those kind of cases):

“There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

The book has many twists in its plot and that makes it even more enjoyable. There were many times I was sure the answer to a problem was something, but in the end, it turned out to be something entirely different. Like in many of Sherlock's stories, I was fooled. Doyle makes you think of an explanation to the problem that is not the real one (or, on the other hand, you have no explanation and you are puzzled most of the time while reading). And this makes it more interesting.

Of course I love the characters. Who doesn't love Holmes? Also, I'm in love with Watson, most people say he's useless and that he is just there for Holmes to insult. Well, that is mostly true, but he is not useless, in fact, in this book he is given an important roll, while in most Holmes' books he is mainly the narrator.

The writing is dark, as usual, and it made me shiver sometimes. There were moments were the narration was really really creepy (the climax, for instance, and when Watson and Sir Henry are looking for Selden . But I do not complain because I love gothic books.

However, The Hound of the Baskervilles is not just a frightening novel, it has also some hilarious parts, as in many of the Sherlock Holmes canon.

fiercely love 19th century books. And I like them even more if they are set in England. Furthermore, mystery/thriller is one of my favorite genres in literature, so that maybe explains why I like it that much (besides the fact that it is a Sherlock Holmesbook).

Anyway, this is a must-read for everyone. It's one of the best classics and the best Sherlock Holmes story. You will undoubtedly love it :)

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

P.S.: I love you, Sherlock! I'm gonna be a chemist like you some day!

Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, The Book Thief...

Hmm, I guess those pictures sum up the book, but I'll write a review anyway...

I cannot think about this book without bringing tears to my eyes (well, maybe not tears, but I get sad). I can't express my feelings about it, it is just so difficult.

To start, I have to point out that I really envy Markus Zusak, his writing, I mean. You see, he manages to write a complex story set in Germany during WWII. I can't even write a good essay and he writes this magnificent piece of art. Really, it's just unfair (you might have noticed my jealousy).

Everything was good for me. The characters, the writing, the story building, even the narrator.

Liesel was one of my favorites, I start with her because she's the protagonist, but I also love Rudy, Hans, Death and the others. She's just like a normal girl, who loves books (yay! :D). I love her relationship with Max. They form a really strong bond, it was very cute.

I don't want to talk about Rudy or Hans, but I leave it very clear: I loved them, just like anything else in the book.

Max...oh, Max *sigh*...see? I cannot put into words how much I loved this book. I don't find any words to describe Max. Mr. Zusak, can you lend me your ability to write for a minute or two?

I knew right from the beginning that it was going to be a soul-destroyer, heart-breaking, depressing yet wonderful book. I mean, did they all have to die? And the fact that Liesel was saved because she was writing --because of her love for words-- didn't make it any less saddening, in fact, it made it worse.

Death was also lovable. How could I not love him? I even pitied him.

“It kills me sometimes, how people die”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“My heart is so tired”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

See? This is his everyday life. I could not survive it.

He was an amazing narrator: How he describes the things that happen, his feelings, everything (and he tells you what is going to happen at the end halfway through the book).

Anyway, does all that I've already written say all my feeling about this book? No. Take this as a list of everything I have left to say, but I cannot because I'm really bad at writing (whether it be reviews, essays, etc.):

So, to end with this, read it. I'm not going to assure you will love it because there are people who hate it and find it boring. But I have to warn you: It is a little slow at the beginning, that might e why some people dislike it. As for myself, I did not find a problem with it being slow. Anyway, this book is perfect. I will undoubtedly read more of Zusak's works after this, since I've read they are also good.

100% recommended.

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

P.S.: I also loved the movie. The cast and the adaptation to the book was good, although some parts were missing, but for the first time in my life, I don't complain about it. The music was amazing, too.

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Review: The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 1 of 5 stars this one of those books that people read it just because of the cover or because it really interest them? It seems to me that it is the first one, I don't know, just saying.

I didn't read it because of the plot. For me, it sounded boring right from the beginning, and I had no expectations (neither good nor bad) of this book. That might be a reason why I didn't rate this with one or two stars: Because something that you don't expect to be good can't really disappoint you, does it?

Anyway, while reading this, I realised that not everything tagged as a "dystopia" is indeed a dystopia. You may think it is all exciting since it says that there is this city in which classes are divided by numbers, and the higher number, the worse your situation. So there comes our hero! America Singer! (guess what her special talent was? Yes! You're right! She sings! *rolls eyes*) She's in love with this guy that is lower than her, and marrying him would cause her to descend a level (hmm, that sounds like something that would happen in the medieval time, but, the story is set in the future)

And that was supposed to be all tragic. And then, when her boyfriend leaves her so she can have a good future and he insists her that she signs for The Selection "for her own good"...

Now, let's get serious.

I hated the characters. America, who is supposed to be the "kickass female" in the book, is just a stupid girl slightly hidden under a layer of stubborness. Maxon is not lovable! And really, we aren't in the Middle Age! Our present cannot transform into that reality of the book! Not in a million years! People can choose who to marry, and also, choose who to marry in the way of a competition? Really, are they in a Miss Universe contest?

Uh-oh! I'm starting to get mad...

If I hated it this much, why in first place did I rate it three stars? Well, it was at the time, entertaining. But you also have to understand that when I read this, I read books without really thinking. I mean, I read just to read. I never questioned what I was reading, so most of my ratings were high. That explains it.