Thursday, 24 December 2015

Book Review- The 100

Title: The 100
Author: Kass Morgan
Pages: 323
Series: The Hundred #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Rating: 3.5/5

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.-Goodreads

I started watching the American tv series The 100 a couple of weeks ago, and I've only watched 5 episodes, but I really like it. I thought I would pick up the novel and see if it's as good as the tv series!
I discovered that there are actually quite a lot of differences between the novel and the tv series, both in terms of the plot line, and the characters which feature in them. Having started the tv series first, I actually think I prefer it to the novel, the changes that the tv series made have improved the story, and the characters that were added and removed are enjoyable to read about, or not really missed.
In terms of characters, many of the main characters exist in both forms, Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia and Wells all feature as main characters in both the tv series and the novel, although there are some differences in personality and situations between the two. Clarke is one of my favourite characters in a tv series that I've watched this year, she's so kick ass and no-nonsense, and I really like her. She's fairly true to this in the novel, although I didn't like her quite as much as I did in the tv series. Bellamy is a bit different in the tv series and the novel. He's still Octavia's brother, but he's not nearly as arrogant as in the tv series, and isn't immediately in control and in charge of The 100, as he is in the show. I do like him in both forms, and he and Clarke make a great couple in both! Octavia is one of the characters who is quite noticeably different between the tv show and the novel. She is only 14 in the novel, and although I don't know how old she is supposed to be in the tv show, she looks at least 18, definitely not 14!! This makes the way she behaves, and the way we take the decisions she makes differently in the novel as opposed to the tv show, and changes the way that the other characters treat her in the novel compared to the show. 
There are also a whole host of characters that feature in the novel but not in the tv show, this includes Glass and Thalia. Glass was apparently Wells' best friend, and I don't know if she appears later in the tv series, but she was an interesting character to read about. She is the point of view we get from onboard the ship in space, and allows the readers a better insight into how society works in space, and the difficulties the humans are facing to survive. Thalia is a girl that Clarke shared a jail cell with when she was imprisoned, and is consequently her best friend. I like Thalia, and although we don't get her perspective in the novel, her interactions with Clarke were enjoyable to read.
The plot of this novel is fast-paced. There is a lot of action to keep track of, and the author's use of the split points of views makes this action move fast, and the novel was very easy to read for this reason. The split narrative allows the reader to see the action that is occurring on earth and in space simultaneously. However, this split narrative means you never really get to know any of the characters and their thoughts and situations that well, as you're always skipping away to another character. This makes the novel feel a little jumpy, and scenes could take many chapters before you reached the conclusion of them. This novel also has probably the most cliff-hangers I've ever read in one novel!!! Many of the chapters ended on mini cliff-hangers, and the novel itself ends on 2 massive cliff-hangers. This was a little frustrating as I hate not knowing what happens next, but it did make me continue reading the novel to find out what happened.
Overall I gave this novel 3.5/5 stars. I thought it was a pretty good read, very quick to get through. Perhaps if I hadn't started watching the tv show first my rating would be higher, but I feel the tv show makes a better job of telling the story than the novel itself does.

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Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Shelf Control #1



A weekly features celebrating unread books on our shelves! Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up.
This is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

My choice this week:

Title: Under the Greenwood Tree
Author: Thomas Hardy

Description:
"Under the Greenwood Tree" is the story of the romantic entanglement between church musician, Dick Dewey, and the attractive new school mistress, Fancy Day. A pleasant romantic tale set in the Victorian era, "Under the Greenwood Tree" is one of Thomas Hardy's most gentle and pastoral novels. -Goodreads

When/how I got it:

I've had this book in my possession for about 5 years, I'm fairly certain my mum gave it to me, but I'm not sure if it's hers, or if she bought it for me. 

 Why I want to read it:

I want to read more Victorian novels, and my old English teacher used to recommend Thomas Hardy novels to everyone, so I guess that's had an effect on my wanting to read it. Also a "pleasant romantic tale" sounds like an easy and nice read!

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My Last Review

Monday, 21 December 2015

Making Up for Monday #5


This is a meme hosted by An Avid Reader, A Wannabe Writer. Every week there is a theme or game, or something fun to do that week. 

This week's question: Which book would you like most for Christmas? 

I know this question says which book, but I'm going to cheat slightly and say a collection of books. My Harry Potter books are extremely tattered, they were the one's I bought when they were first published, and they have been read and carried around a lot, and they've looked better. 



This is my favourite box set of the Harry Potter novels that have ever been released. I've no idea if it's still possible to buy this box set, I can only find it on eBay at extortionate prices!! 
If someone could buy me this box set for Christmas that would be lovely!!! :D

Happy Reading!!


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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Book Review- Annihilation

Title: Annihilation
Author: Jeff Vandermeer
Pages: 195
Series: Southern Reach #1
Genre: Sci-fi, Fiction, Horror, Thriller

Rating: 3.5/5

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything. -Goodreads

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley.
I had never heard of this novel before I saw it on Net Galley, but I thought the premise sounded intriguing, so I requested it.
This is a short novel, its only 195 pages long, and you could easily get through it in one sitting if you wanted to.
This novel follows a group of 4 women; a psychologist who is the leader, a biologist, an anthropologist, and a surveyor. They are sent to Area X, an area cut off from the rest of civilisation, to take samples, and see what the area is like. This sounds like an intriguing idea, and as a big sci-fi fan, I thought this sounded right up my street. The reasons it didn't get that good a rating was for a number of aspects of the novel.
Firstly, the interestingly described plot made very little sense to me once I had finished the novel. I realise this novel is the first in a trilogy, but I also think that the first novel should be able to stand up on its own to some extent, and this one really doesn't. I'm sure my questions about the plot will be answered by the end of the trilogy, but I found this extremely frustrating and I spent most of the time while reading very confused.
The second thing that let this book down for me was the boring narrator. The biologist is the narrator in this novel, and thank goodness it was a short novel as I don't think I could have suffered her for much longer. Even the instances where she or the others were in any danger were made boring by her overly long and detailed descriptions, and her constant mentioning of her husband and their boring relationship. We knew all about her, she was a well developed and rounded character, but all the descriptions and flashbacks were extremely boring too, she didn't come across as a solitary woman who liked to spend time by herself, but instead as a really boring and square character, with very little layers or interests! 
Another annoying aspect of this novel which relates to both of my previous problems was the unreliable narrator that the biologist made. I can enjoy a novel which has an unreliable narrator, The Great Gatsby has a very unreliable narrator, but is one of my favourite novels, but in this case, the unreliable narrator just made the plot even more confusing and difficult to follow. I spent parts of the novel wondering if what I was reading was true within the novel, and whether the ideas I had about the novel were completely off track!!
The characters were also a bit of a let down, none of them were well developed apart from the biologist. Due to the style of narration you didn't get any insight into the other characters, which meant that I had no real feelings about them and I didn't care what happened to any of them.
However, I did enjoy the way the author created a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere, this is definitely one of the most tense novels I've read, definitely this year. I spent the majority of the novel (thank goodness it was short) on the edge of my seat, I had no idea what was really going on, but whatever it was, it was tense!!!
Overall I think I would describe this novel as "frustrating". It could have been a lot better if only the plot and overarching ideas of the novel were a little clearer to understand, and the narrator had had some sort of spark to interest me as a reader. For these reasons I gave the novel 3.5/5 stars, and I may check out the rest of the trilogy at some point, but I won't rush to pick them up.

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Happy Reading!! 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Book Review- Dracula

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Pages: 488
Genre: Classics, Horror, Fiction, Vampires, Gothic

Rating: 3.5/5


When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. -Goodreads

This was the last novel I was required to read for last semester's English course, which is a novel I've never actually read. The word "ok" sums up how I felt about this novel, it wasn't great, it wasn't dreadful, it was ok. 
Most, if not every person is familiar with the concept of Dracula and vampires, helped in part by the revival of vampires into Young Adult Fiction in the past 5 years or so. Although I knew about vampires, and the idea of Dracula, I have never actually seen any of the multiple Dracula movies that have been produced, so I went into the novel with fairly few ideas about how the plot would unfold.
The only way the plot really unfolded was extremely slowly! The first 3/4s of the novel were so slow I struggled to get through it. Somehow even though action was taking place, it was so long and drawn out that any tension was completely eradicated. The story and style of writing was very descriptive, and bearing in mind that the novel was written in the late 1800s, it wasn't the same as action stories written today. I also don't think the style of narration that was used helped with the slow movement of the plot. The novel is told through diary entries from all of the main characters. This means that along with the events we are told about feeling distant and pretty stale, we also had to read about the same events from different characters points of views. Although this was useful at times, and gave us a better insight into the different characters, it got annoying at times, and made the novel longer and slower. Also telling the story in the past tense from characters memoirs takes a lot of the excitement out of any dangerous situations, as you know the character that is narrating must have survived to be able to tell the story, so I spent the time while reading any of the exciting moments thinking "well he/she must survive", so it wasn't nearly as exciting.
However, although the plot was a bit boring, the characters saved the novel from a much worse rating in my opinion. They were a great mix of characters, I felt sorry for some, disliked some, and I thought Stoker did a good job of writing a mixture of characters and personalities. I felt sorry for the character of Lucy, she is one of two female main characters in the novel and it seemed a shame what happened to her. The other female main character is Mina and I actually really disliked her. The rest of the male characters fawned over her like she was something special, but there was no sign of what exactly this "special-ness" actually was. She started off as a good female characters, she seemed strong and able to stand on her own two feet without the help of any men, but she soon became very arrogant in herself and thought she was much, much better than the rest of the characters in the novel. 
The first character we meet is Jonathan Harker who is our first narrator. He was an ok character, his narration in the beginning was very enjoyable to read, and he had bravery and common sense. But by the end he spent most of the time worrying and fawning over his wife (Mina), and that just annoyed me!
My favourite characters in the novel were either Dr Van Helsing or Quincey Morris. Dr Van Helsing was completely different to how I expected him to be, he is an older man in this novel, a professor at a University, he reminded me more of an Indiana Jones character, about the age Harrison Ford was in the most recent movie!! He was a pretty cool character, he talked about stabbing corpses hearts and chopping off their heads like it was no big deal to him. Quincey is an American friend of the other men, and he proves to be very sensible and level headed, he also seemed the bravest of all the men. 
Overall I quite enjoyed this novel, but I did struggle to get through it at times due to the slow plot, so I gave it 3.5/5 stars. However I am glad I read it, just so I can tick another classic off the list of books to read before you die!!

Thanks for reading, and happy reading!!

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

This Week In Books 16.12.15

First off, another huuuuuuuggggeeee apology for not having posted anything since September. Turns out its quite hard to get a degree and read books to review!!! I'm home for christmas and should have plenty time to post, but apologies again.



This is a weekly meme hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found in which we can share what we're reading, now, then and next!




Now

As I'm running behind on my Goodreads challenge, I'm picking up a few graphic novels in an attempt to make it to 30 books by December 31st. I bought this graphic novel a few months ago, and I'm excited to get to it.















Then

This was a novel I received from Net Galley a couple of months ago, which I just finished last night. It was a very short novel, only 195 pages, and is the first novel in a trilogy, which I might check out at some point. This was an ok novel, its quite bizarre, and the narrator is very irritating, but the idea of the novel is great!!













Next

This is another novel I received from Net Galley, and I am so excited to read this novel, all the reviews I have read about it make it sound amazing!!














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Let me know what you're week in books looked like, happy reading!!