Thursday, 20 August 2015

Recent Reads #3

Second Life - S J Watson
This wasn't the best book in the world: the plot was slightly obscure, the twists a little bizarre, and I didn't like any of the characters. But I couldn't put it down, and that must count for something. I felt like this novel was really about the dangers of the internet, disguised as a thriller, and this was actually quite interesting. We follow the life of Kate, whose sister has just been murdered in Paris. Kate's hunt for her sister's murderer very quickly becomes lopsided, and we're drawn away from the theme of death to one of sex. It's in this world, one of secrets, lies and adultery that the plot develops, thickens and finally explodes. Whilst part of me didn't care about the ending, because I wasn't rooting for anyone and the story had become slightly far fetched , I was absorbed and read this for 6 hours solidly. It's not as good as Before I Go To Sleep but it's not far off. Definitely worth a read. 
3.5 / 5

The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
This is a really difficult book to review. I did enjoy it, eventually, but I really, really struggled with it. The novel is split into 6 chapters, following different parts of Holly Sykes' life. It's very cleverly written in this way but, for me, the sections didn't link up closely enough or quickly enough. I felt like I was reading very separate stories with no real plot or ending. We started with teenage boyfriends and ended with global apocalypse - and a very complex, difficult journey in the middle. So it did all come together in the end, and I could definitely appreciate how well thought out and prepared the novel was, but I just didn't really enjoy it as I was reading it. Having said that, it was funny, mad, but amusing and varied. David Mitchell produced a technically spectacular novel and I want to recognise that, but it just wasn't really my cup of tea.  

3 / 5

Wise Children - Angela Carter

I love Angela Carter and I love Emma - and this was one of her summer read recommendations. But this is absolutely, definitely, 100% not a book to read on a Kindle. Ever. It's confusing, it's bizarre, it's blurred, and it's magical. It's a novel you want to flick back and forth through (hence why you shouldn't read it on a Kindle) because there are so many characters and so many ideas that it's impossible not to lose track of who everyone is and what they're up to. What I love about Angela Carter is that her novels are seemingly childish and fantastical in their style, but twisted, challenging and totally sexy in their content. Wise Children is no different. It's riddled with Shakespearian references, directly and indirectly (so a knowledge of Shakespeare helps!), which I loved and follows a completely crazy journey down memory lane with Dora and Nora. On the way, we engage with dysfunctional families, theatre, incest, rejection, responsibility, growing out - to name but a few. It's insane. Crazy but joyous. A novel to be troubled by, and inspired by. A novel so succinctly summed up in its final words: 'what a joy it is to dance and sing!' 
4 / 5

The Versions of Us - Laura Barnett

I had really high hopes for this one, and I was pretty disappointed. I am going through an ultimate period of 'fear of missing out' and 'what might have been' and this novel explores these ideas through 3 parallel narratives - the same situations with different outcomes. But it just lacked. The narratives, for a start, were too similar. I often felt like I was reading and re-reading the same bits over and over again; I don't mind a bit of repetition but it just seemed a bit lazy and uncreative. It was another novel where I struggled to relate to the characters. Where is your character development?! So I found myself fairly disinterested in the lives of characters who didn't seem real and who I didn't really like. I did like that it followed a couple's life, together and apart, and explored the different priorities and experiences at different times of life. 
Ultimately it was a really good idea not pulled off especially well.  
2.5 / 5

Have you read these? What are you reading? Recommendations always welcome! X


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