The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin Book Review | A Crash Course On Earth Bending & Geomorphic Shit Storms With A Relevant Social Commentary

Related image

Title: The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1)

Author: N.K. Jemisin

Publication Date: August 4, 2015

Rating: 4.50/ 5.00

Synopsis:  

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter

Add it on Goodreads | Buy it on Amazon

Banner (1).png

Hello there, allies, archenemies and, everyone in between! This is my first successful read this month and I feel all the dirt and gunk in my skin clear out. I feel rejuvenated my friends! I decided to read this book blind (best decision); I didn’t even check the blurb all I know is that this has been raved a lot by my favorite SF/F reviewers. I trust them with my life.

ALL THINGS WEIRD AND WONDERFUL

This was such a weird book mainly because of how it was constructed so unlike from the usual SF/F books I’ve read. It was a jumble of this and that and whatnot that made it all the more intriguing. It was weird and confusing but it carried a sense of impending doom that you can’t just stop reading because hello why would you?! Jemisin has such a unique voice and she carried it in succinct and well drawn out intervals. 

GROUNDED WORLD-BUILDING AND MAGIC SYSTEM

This is by far its greatest strengths! The magic system of orogenes and their sessapinae where absolutely my favorite parts in the book. Not only that but you will kind of get a crash course on the sciences related to the earth. Literally about tectonic plates, volcanology, earthquakes, the properties of the earth, crystals and stones, obelisks you name it.

At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if N.K. Jemisin is actually an Earth bender! She’s a fcking genius because she was able to ground her world-building in the real world while simultaneously creating a fresh take on geology incorporated in the magic system. I mean really????? This is insanely unique I can’t stress this enough!

ENGAGES THE READER TO THINK ACTIVELY WHILE READING

Because of the uniqueness of the plot construction, I was persuaded to pore through the details and happenings. I was able to formulate theories spot on while enjoying its narrative, its as if the gaps in the initial chapters were there to push you to think and piece out the story bit by bit. This is usually a good sign because it engages us readers rather than just flow with the book’s predicated direction!

A BREADCRUMB TRAIL OF SUBVERTED TROPES AND PLOT TWISTS

As it turns out most of my theories were correct!!!! I was screaming with glee when the crucial events unfolded clearly. There’s a perpetuating sense of mystery in The Fifth Season and it will never fail to surprise you with the countless twists and turns that will actually skewer your heart at some point. Not only that but there were a lot of subverted tropes in here which of course I won’t be divulging but it really elevated the whole book! This has such a unique flavor and I’ll forever remember this book because of this.

REVEALS AN IN-DEPTH EXAMINATION OF HUMANITY’S SURVIVAL INSTINCT IN DIFFERENT FACETS

Jemisin knows how to flesh out human emotions through her words in ways I can’t even start to explain! SHE IS A TALENTED WRITER. One of the core narratives here is about our survival instincts and I just realized how neatly Jemisin examined these in different ways. First is on how we, as humans, resort to numbing and deflection to negate the onslaught of emotions (e.g. grief and pain), as well as how we instinctively react to external forces and foreign threats physically. This theme revolved all throughout the book and I find myself bowing relentlessly to Jemisin’s artistry.

OFFERS A SOCIAL COMMENTARY ON RACISM AND SEXISM

Last but not the least, The Fifth Season offers a very much needed social commentary on racism and sexism. The parallels were quite obvious (e.g. orogenes having derogatory names like rogga) and I love how unapologetically true it was. There were times when I have to stop reading and just gasp with how every chapter strikes you with urgency as if repeatedly calling out to you that WE MATTER (i.e. orogenes who represented black people) There’s one specific part in the book that encapsulated the contrasting mentalities of the orogenes on their self-concept.

He’s made it. not that she hadn’t known it before: that she is a slave, that all roggas are slaves, that the security and sense of self-worth the Fulcrum offers is wrapped in the chain of her right to live, and even the right to control her own body. It’s one thing to know this to admit it to herself, but it’s the sort of truth that none of them use against each other–not even to make a point–because doing so is cruel and unnecessary.

This is why she hates [redacted] not because he is more powerful, not even because he is crazy, but because he refuses to allow her any of the polite  fictions and unspoken truths that have kept her comfortable and safe for years.

FAVORITE QUOTES

“Even the hardest stone can fracture. It just takes the right force, applied at the right juncture of angles. A fulcrum of pressure and weakness”

“You’re not used to having a life follow you when you leave it behind.”

“This is what you must remember: the ending of one story is ust the beginning of another. This has happened before, after all. People die. Old orders pass. New societies are born. When we say the “world has ended,” it’s usually a lie, because the planet is just fine.

But this is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

For the last time.”

Overall, this book for me was the epitome of the word U N I Q U E. Please do yourself the favor of reading this work of art.

4

  • Have you read The Fifth Season? Tell me more about your feels please!
  • Do you know any SF/F books that delved on the themes like this one?

Banner (3)

Buddy Review | Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

A1z+6G9fj9L

Title: Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2)

Author: Marie Lu

Date Published: January 2, 2018

Rating: 2.75/5.00

Synopsis:  Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Add it on Goodreads | Buy it on Book Depository

Banner (1).png

Hello there allies, archenemies and, everyone in between! This is the second buddy review that I’ll be doing with Justine! We’ve actually done a buddy review last month with Wonderwoman: Warbringer, which is the first book in the DC Icons series. And now, it’s Batman’s turn.

CHRISTIAN BALE MAH MAAANN

1. We all have heard of Batman since we are young; plenty of versions out there… What do you think made Marie Lu’s retelling version unique?

Marie Lu’s retelling fleshes out a young Bruce Wayne in the cusp of adulthood yet still could not navigate its rickety road without the guidance of Alfred. You know what, when you think of it, he still kinda does. We see him in a new lens where he has ACTUAL friends and talk about mundane stuff and to be honest he’s less glamorized here. More flawed and less confident without the whole cape and shebang! However, it wasn’t what I expected. Marie Lu had the chance to make this a whole lot more amazing (and duh? Batman??? we ALL have high expectations) but somehow failed??? :<

Very awkward Batman

2. Have you read other Marie Lu books? If yes, how do you feel about the writing, does her writing sparked something back from her previous one? Or noticed something new?

I’m a fan of Marie Lu’s writing and had worshipped The Young Elites series and read Warcross in time memorial. This book was in fact very reminiscent of Warcross especially during times when the dialogues leaned on the technology aspect as well the pacing. (That car chase scene was perfect!) For me, her writing is very distinct and I could pick on it quickly which is probably why I’ve read this in just a day.

3. Describe your reading experience through 8  Batman GIFs.

I’m going to tell you my reaction all through out my reading progress!!!

And finally!!!!

Well, there you go!!! I don’t know if these GIFs articulated my feelings accurately but you could never go wrong with Christian Bale! NEVER.

4. If you were to cast a teenage version of this retelling. Who would you cast?

AIDAN GALLAGHER. OH. MY. LERD. I MEAN JUST LOOK AT HIM!!!!! So most of you would probably know him from The Umbrella Academy (MAH FAVE!) and I’m just smitten with Five’s character I can’t help but see him as teenage Batman as well.

 

Related image

Related image
I mean those eyes man. Those eyes.

5. Overall reaction?

This was clearly not my favorite book by Marie Lu. I really love her writing style and how the events initially unfolded. Keyword: INITIALLY. By the time I get halfway through and with the climax??? Everything just fell short. Though I love the fact that there was a Filipina character here! Overall it was okay-ish because of the writing but plot-wise, uhmmm meh.

4

Banner (3)

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley Book Review | An Unlikely Literary Masterpiece

Image result for skullsworn

Title: Skullsworn

Author: Brian Staveley

Date Published: April 25, 2017

Rating: 4.50/5.00

Synopsis:  Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer–she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her Trial, Pyrre has fourteen days to kill the seven people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one you love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre is not sure she’s ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The Priests of Ananshael, however, don’t look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth, the place where she long ago offered an abusive father to the god and abandoned a battered brother—in the hope of finding love… and ending it on the edge of her sword.

Add it on Goodreads | Buy it on Book Depository

Banner (1).png

Hello there, allies, archenemies and, everyone in between! We all know that there’s a thin line between bruised purple prose and a lyrical masterpiece. Skullsworn, in fact, is the fcking embodiment of the latter.

If I would ever want to become a full-time writer in my life, I will hone my craft incessantly until I reach the tip of Brian Staveley’s level of artistry. He definitely belongs in the God Tier with his exceptional and beautiful writing skill. The word beautiful doesn’t even cut it. Neither does any other synonym. Which begs the question: “How can I ever justify this book’s beauty in a review?” The answer is I can’t.

There is a perfect blend of unerring bluntness and mellifluous cadence in the storytelling.

It is evident that there’s a certain level of mastery present in Staveley’s literary prowess that sets the bar high for epic fantasy writing. His is not the simplistic and conversational type that hooks the reader’s attention easily, nor is it too ornate as to confound the reader of its elitist nature. It is weaved in such a way where one can enjoy the rhythmic ebbs and flows of the plot while still consciously appreciating the meticulous writing that painstakingly holds the strands of the book altogether. It’s. So. Fcking. Beautiful.

But it’s not just simply decadent for the sake of beauty alone, without knowing it you’d be surprised with the bittersweet aftertaste of reality in his writing. There is a perpetual balance of softness and bluntness that makes the reading experience all the more compelling. I’ve never read anything as beautiful as Staveley’s prose.

Here is an excerpt from the book that I particularly love.

My god is a great lover of music. Not the still, finished forms of painting or sculpture, but music. Music is inextricable from its own unmaking. Each note is predicated on the death of those before. Try to hold them all, and you have madness, cacophony, noise.

A song, like a life, is all in the letting go, in the knowing, the moment you begin, that it will end. And of all music’s variegated forms—fiddle and drum, harp and horn, plangent or joyous—Ananshael loves the human voice, the sound of the instrument giving song to the knowledge of its own impermanence.

Meticulous approach in discussing religion, colonialism, and power dynamics

Skullsworn is heavily navigated by the compass of religion; in fact, it is this certain aspect that elevates and coherently glues the world building. Right off the bat, you could already see East Asian references in the setting; from the forms of cutlery, fixtures, clothing, and climate. However, it is not what molds the geography alone. It is how Staveley stitched the various belief systems of the people in Dombang connect to their mundane activity, motivations, and perceptions. Religion makes Skullsworn’s narrative all-encompassing and grounded in the real world.

The effects of colonialism are also discussed here without ever being glossed over. It’s not a haphazard depiction and it somehow accurately displays it. As a Filipina, I know that my country’s history is riddled with colonizers and reading Skullsworn in the context of colonialism made this all the more relatable or in a sense understandable.

There are a lot of historical references and world events that aligned in some of the parts in the book. The power dynamics presented was also an intriguing part of this one and contributed more to the richness of the narrative that made up for the world building.

Unconventional morally ambiguous characters and confounding yet compelling relationships

I know this would probably sound redundant. Morally ambiguous characters are afterall unconventional by nature but in my reading experience there are somehow formulaic representations of these types of characters that they become forgettable and repetitive. In Skullsworn however, the cast might be few but they were all distinct and well fleshed out that makes them stand out more from the roster of all the other fantasy books I’ve read.

Pyrre our MC most especially is quite a study in this book. She’s a devout acolyte, an experienced assassin and so much more flawed. What I find endearing in her part was how she constantly becomes progressive by breaking and reforming her belief system through her experiences. Her development and monologues were a sweet one to see unfold.

All the other characters had held their own distinct flavor in the story but I won’t discuss them, however. You just have to read the book to see them for yourself!

The relationships present in the book were sparse but because of that, there was room for delving in deep with their developments. This was probably the most confusing yet utterly realistic aspect of the book. Up until now, I still pore over the relationships in this book and how one thing led to another.

Atmospheric Narrative in the concept of Death and Love

I have honestly no words left for this. To put it easily (for my part ahhahaha) let me show you two excerpts from this book on death and love.

“Love is not some eternal state, but a delight in the paradise of the imperfect. The holding of a thing is inextricable from the letting go, and to love, you must learn both.”

“Our human flesh is better than most things at keeping pace with its own decay, and yet it takes so little—a tiny knife dragged across the windpipe, a dropped roof tile, a puddle three inches deep—to unmake a man or woman. It’s amazing, given everything’s fragility, that we don’t live in a smashed world, all order and structure utterly undone, the whole land heaped with bone, charred wood, carelessly shattered glass. It amazes me sometimes that anything is still standing.”

All in all, this was such a beautiful work of art and persuaded me to read more of Brian Staveley’s books!

4

Banner (3)

Buddy Review | Wonderwoman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

 

A1zsNrjoDIL

Title: Wonderwoman: Warbringer

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Date Published:  August 28, 2017

Rating: 4.25/5.00

Synopsis:

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Add it on Goodreads | Buy it on Book Depository

Banner (1)

Hello there allies, archenemies, and everyone in between! DID YOU WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE???? DON’T YOU DARE READ ON WITHOUT WATCHING THAT CINEMATIC WORK OF ART! If you did welp, you’re welcome to continue.

It’s my first time to do a buddy review with the ever so patient and kind book hooman Justine, this was actually inspired from a buddy review by Tiffany @ Read By Tiffany where we basically ask each other questions about the book in our blog. Head over to Justine’s nook as well to read about her answers!

1. What was your initial expectation prior to fully delving into the book?

Wonder_women_by_yinyuming_by_yinyuming-dao76jo
Art by  yinyuming

I WAS DEFINITELY STOKED WHEN I FOUND OUT I COULD FINALLY READ THIS BEAUTY. I’ve watched the movie and although I didn’t particularly love it (I mean, how is she still gorgeous after emerging from a freaking wreckage?? NOT EVEN A SMUDGE. HAHAHA But seriously though, not the best one.) I automatically visualized Gal Gadot; she’s just so dang perfect for Diana’s profile, and thanks to the movie franchise she’ll forever be the Diana Prince I’ll see. I don’t usually seek visual aids before I read books, but I found that it really helps me be grounded while reading.

2. Which aspect/theme of the book do you like least/best?

I really love the world building of Themyscira and tbh, I wish the whole plot was situated there instead. The magic system and sisterhood present on this island was easily the best aspect for me. It’s not too technical but carries a sense of intrigue that will hook any reader! You definitely have to read it to know what I’m saying. AND OF COURSE THE FRIENDSHIP. I- JUST. FCKING. READ. IT. *sobs*

MAKE WAY FOR THE FCKING AMAZONS!

The least favorite aspect of mine would probably be…a spoilery one, so I’m not answering that HAHAHAHA. Nevertheless, this book was the bomb!

3. How do you feel about Alia and Diana’s friendship?

starthatshine deviantart
Photo Manip by starthatshine

Friendships are the heaviest and compelling theme in this book and, honestly, I love that I get to see this kind of sisterhood represented in literature. Alia and Diana’s friendship was authentic and relied more on their shared experiences. They didn’t have an easy start that’s for sure but the fact that their friendship wasn’t constricted by their differences in culture, in their physical appearance, and strengths, make it all the more compelling. They were women who fought their own wars in their own terms and, they supported each other unwaveringly.

“Sister in battle,” murmured Diana, “I am shield and blade to you.”
“And friend.”
“And always your friend.”

GAHD I HAVE GOOSEBUMPS AND ALMOST TEARED UP READING THIS Y’KNOW?

4. How would you compare Bardugo’ writing among her other books?

Leigh Bardugo had been canonized as one of my worshipped authors ever since I drowned in the epic beauty fo Six of Crows. SHE’S MY QUEEN OK? And I’m not disappointed with how she weaved her words in this book. I think Bardugo delivers a different style every time she writes a new book, Wonderwoman: Warbringer was definitely not overridden with purple prose as opposed to her other book The Language of Thorns, and it wasn’t as fast paced as Six of Crows. It was a different taste but the one thing that makes it Bardugo-esque was how the book was very easy to read. LIKE  YOU CAN’T JUST STOP READING KIND OF EASY.

5. Share your fav quote from the book.

I CAN’T JUST GIVE ONE QUOTE OKAY??? THERE WERE SO MANY BEAUTIFUL QUOTES THERE.

My favorite one would probably be:

“If you cannot bear our pain, you are not fit to carry our strength.”

This single quote reminds me so well of women’s strength!

HONORABLE MENTIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

“We can’t help the way we’re born. We can’t help what we are, only what life we choose to make for ourselves.”

“Truth means something different when it’s given freely.”

“You do not enter a race to lose”

“Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”

6. Overall reaction? (But really though, How. Do. You. Feel. About. That. Ending!?!?!?!)

Yes, that was me when I finished the book. It’s kind of anticlimactic yet super satisfying?????? IDK WHAT I FELT. JUST THAT I DEFINITELY LOVED IT AND YOU WILL TOO ONCE YOU READ IT.

4

Banner (3)

Of Fluffy Night Trips & Problematic Romantic Views | Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch Book Review

25756328.jpg

Title: Love & Gelato

Author: Jenna Evans Welch

Date Published: May 3, 2016

Rating: 3.00/5.00

Synopsis: “I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

Add it on Goodreads | Buy it on Book Depository

Banner (1).png

“You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”

“What?”

“Love and gelato.”

“Amen.” Howard said.

Hello there, allies, archenemies and, everyone in between! I think I’m on a reading streak which is fantastic!!! I’ve read two YA Contemporary Romance in a row and it’s filling my heart with all the fluff and mush. What’s more is that I get to have a bonus trip in THE ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY OF FLORENCE, ITALY!!!! 

Related image
Ponte Vecchio “Old Bridge”
Image result for boboli gardens photography
The Boboli Gardens
Image result for boboli gardens photography
Pitti Palace

 

Photos were all taken from Google.com

I looked up on the Internet all the places mentioned in the book to get a more solid visual while reading. I was surprised that most of these places were actually discussed in my Architectural Planning class and were even subjects for final plate exams in our Visual Tech. class. I WAS ECSTATIC AND BLUBBERING WITH JOY BECAUSE YOU KNOW??? THE TWO THINGS THAT I LOVE MERGED. Architecture and Literature!!! 

Anyway, I’ll stop with my arki whims and let’s get on with the actual review!

CHARACTERIZATION: 4.00/5.00

There were only quite a few characters and I really connected with the main ones. This is actually the reason why I love this so much! There wasn’t any drastic character development but more of a necessary revelation to the character especially to Lina in the last parts. I was really attached to them and welp! Let’s get to know some of them the non-spoilery way.

Lina – She’s not really the best and unique MC that’s for sure, but she’s also an endearing one that just happened to be stuck in a crucial time in her life. Her actions are perfectly understandable and all I can say is I FEEL YAAA GURL! She’s not that memorable and she could be pretty stupid in some ways. Pretty much a typical teenager but not a two dimensional one.

Howard – I LOVE THIS GUY. Such a nice fluffy one and I hope he’ll have all the love in the world, and that he’s happy now in his life *sobs* (I mean he’s fictional but ??????)

I won’t be tackling the other characters because it may give away a loooooott so yup!

PLOT EXECUTION AND CONCEPT: 4.00/5.00

Objectively, the whole concept of the journal journey isn’t an original one but was effectively executed here. It was timed perfectly and although there were times I just wished Lina just finished it in one sitting to avoid all the other mishaps, I think it was necessary and duh??? Half of the book would probably not exist.

My favorite part will, of course, be the night trips in Florence! It really elevated the whole mood of the story and I find myself gawking in awe while reading BECAUSE. I’M. ACTUALLY. IN. ITALY. RIGHT. NOW.

(of course in my own mind but reading counts duh???) I fell in love with the place even though I have to admit that some parts were vaguely described and I have to look it up instead. I guess this has more to do with my preferences as an architecture student, I have no doubt that anyone reading this will love the scenery as well.

The dialogues and monologues were also great here and I have to commend Welch’s fluent prose for that. It’s really easy to read but it’s also not very bland or simple. I’ve read this in 4 hours straight and it’s thanks to the beautiful writing style!

 

 

W A R N I N G: MAJOR Spoilers will be discussed onwards. You may read on to know what I found problematic in the book though. Please continue with your own risk! 

 

 

 

Cue drumroll!

Okay, so let me get this straight. I REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK. I CRIED OVER THIS BOOK. I LAUGHED WITH THIS BOOK. But! There’s one teeny weeny problematic thing here. AGAIN, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

If you’re still here then okay! It’s totally you’re fault if you got spoiled with the whole plot!

I didn’t like the fact that Ren and Lina fell in love in a matter of five days. I mean I LOVE REN SO MUCH OKAY?  And I think they’re really cute but I can’t believe five days was enough. Love is such a strong word and I think they’re more on the “like” stage. I don’t know fam! I’m just not a real fan of rushed romance plots. However, this wasn’t even my major problem.

What I really hated here and took that rating a notch down was because it kind of romanticized cheating. Not really romanticize, but more like let it slip through easily because of circumstances? I was halfway through the book when I sense the red flags coming in my peripheral vision. This book reminded me a lot of Anna and the French Kiss and, YES! That was also a favorite of mine IF ONLY THERE WASN’T ANY CHEATING INVOLVED.

Ren has a two-year relationship with Mimi when he stumbled in the dorky and completely new Lina! IS THIS SETUP FAMILIAR? Yo becha ass that he broke up with his longtime girlfriend because of this new love interest! Okay, I really think Ren and Lina are compatible but what about Mimi????? She wasn’t really fleshed out in the book. She’s just thrown here and there. Let’s not forget that she’s viewed as a possessive girlfriend with the extremely good looks and icy demeanor to make a contrast with Lina. I mean, I hoped she was really horrible and all BUT THE AUTHOR DIDN’T EVEN TOOK HER TIME TO BUILD MIMI’S CHARACTER. It’s as if she’s just that one plot device that needs to be taken out of the equation and it’s sooo sooooo unfair for her, she did not deserve it! No one deserves to be dumped that easily like some kind of unnecessary obstacle to achieving their one true love. That’s just shitty. 

I’m so sick of villainizing these girlfriends because they are actually legit??? They have valid feelings too?? Don’t they have the right to grieve and be mad because their longtime boyfriend just realized that they’re suddenly not enough? Imagine your significant other breaking up with you just because a new “belle” made them feel something more than you ever did??? AND IT’S JUST IN A SPAN OF WHAT? FIVE DAYS MORE OR LESS? UNACCEPTABLE. OH MY GLOB TIME FRAME PEOPLE. I’ll have you know that I hate insta-love and don’t believe in love at first sight.

I think Ren’s feelings towards Lina are valid, but the fact remains that he acted on his sudden feelings towards a new love interest without ever thinking about the implications to his current relationship. I know it’s inevitable that they fell “in love” (which I still think bordered more on “like”) with each other because of their situation (They’re just really cute together okay and that chemistry??? OHMYGLOB I JUST FEEL SO CONFLICTED) but there wasn’t even a sense of guilt on Ren’s side that was explicitly shown in the book. Or a part where Mimi was given a proper explanation?? It’s just so hard to accept because I’ve seen this picture before in real life and believe me when I say that it’s just really horrible for the other party, okay????

If I were Lina here, I would constantly feel anxious that Ren would leave me because there might come a time when a new “belle” who’s tons interesting and funny that will sweep him off his feet and replace me! Love is not a choice, or a mere feeling that just comes and goes?? IT’S A PROMISE. A FCKING DECISION. TO STAY EACH AND EVERY DAY WITH SOMEONE. YOU DON’T LOVE BECAUSE. YOU LOVE DESPITE. (Thanks Set It Up! It’s really a nice movie.)

“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.” 

― Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

I’ll just leave it here.

P.S. I have never been in a real relationship before (If by any chance you like me PLS CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY LOLJK AHAHAH) but I have friends who do. So I’d like to believe that I have “experience” because of them ahahahahha.

Phew! That was cathartic. HAHAHAH I really love this book and I just really wish what I disliked here was eliminated. It would have been a sure 4/5 star for me.

4

Banner (3)

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco Book Review

30095464

Title: The Bone Witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

Date Published: March 7, 2017

Rating: 3.00/5.00

Synopsis:  Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Add it on Goodreads | Buy it on Book Depository

Banner (1).png

Hello there, allies, archenemies and, everyone in between! It’s time to review again, and this will be my third book for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019.

I’M DOING IT!!!! I’M READING BTCHES!

This book has a lot of mixed reviews and I did not expect that I was going to have a love-hate relationship with this one.

COVER ART: 4.00/5.00

First of all, that cover is the perfect visual representation of this book. From the gold art deco accents and the purple gradient, it just screams the whole vibe of The Bone Witch. However, try as I might, I can’t seem to find the artist responsible for this freaking work of art. Anyway, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! 

WORLD BUILDING: 4.00/5.00

This is by far the strongest aspect of The Bone Witch because I kid you not, you’ll definitely get your fill of escapism with the richly layered culture of the world here. Rin Chupeco certainly knows how to articulate this up to the minutest detail and, I appreciate how she did not gloss over the architecture, histories of a certain land’s development, and their culture.  They were all explained thoroughly with the same mellifluous cadence of its storytelling.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was how it managed to make fashion and art an integral and symbolic part of the asha’s lives. I seldom read fantasy books that put much detail or a backstory for the garments the characters don. The closest book that could manage this was probably Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, but so far, this one really stood out to me. AND I NOW ABSOLUTELY WANT TO DRAW HUAS!!!!! (I’ve read from another review that this was actually inspired by the ways of geishas.)

However, this kind of intricate world-building can be a double-edged sword. I have to take breaks in reading this because it could be overwhelming and dare I say– a little boring? I do understand now why most readers DNF it. There’s just a lot of unnecessary info and WORDS that slows down the whole book. I’m naturally patient because I’m expecting that this will all be worth it by the end (spoiler: it wasn’t). Rin’s writing is quite beautiful but too much purple prose could bruise the reader too, especially when there’s nothing happening????

PLOT EXECUTION: 1.00/5.00

Now here’s the part where I’m going to tell you why I did not like this. World building does not equate to a plot; and if you’re asking me, The Bone Witch happens to have a plot which is unfortunately covered in layers and layers of political introductions and asha culture. It’s a breadcrumb trail found in the few intervals of every chapter, AND IT’S NOT MY CUP OF TEA.

I was patient albeit semi-frustrated as well when I got to the 70% marker and already expecting some serious action sequences, but there wasn’t! I understand that this first installment will be more of a foundation for us readers to catch up on the world and magic systems, but is it worth it??? Nada sister! There was a lot of foreshadowing that I easily picked on which was nice, but was pretty anticlimactic when they were revealed. I skimmed through the climax and I hated the resolution presented by the end. See here’s the thing, I dislike it when some parts of the story conveniently pop up to fill the narrative and solve the “mystery” without even being ever introduced to the reader. It was only assumed that it was mentioned to the characters before BUT WASN’T EXPLICITLY STATED IN THE BOOK. 

I’m so sad because I’m getting mad over this and I know some of my friends do love this book, but I just can’t betray myself????

CHARACTERIZATION: 2.50/5.00

“Everyone is believed to have two faces—one they show to the public and one they wear in private. The first face is their shaxsiat, or their honor. The second face is their ehteram, their dignity.” 

If you love antiheroes with ambiguous natures then you’ll probably love The Bone Witch. There are also a lot of diverse minor characters that elevated the story for me. If I actually cared for these characters though, I would have given you descriptions of them. But sadly, I just felt too detached because the worldbuilding was such a show stealer. There’s a lot of foreshadowing about the character’s emotional ties and whatnot but when it came to finally be revealed, it didn’t have the same weight as what I expected??? I didn’t get to feel any connection with the characters, and that’s just very unfortunate because I have an affinity to character-driven books.

This has been quite a good read initially for I do love worldbuilding and purple prose (in the right dosage!). However, it just plummeted graciously by the time we get to the climax. I love that ending though, and maybe more of the plot would be revealed by the next installment. I just don’t think I’ll pick it up sooner. I’m tired of reading this man!

4

Banner (3)