Thursday, 25 June 2015

Quickie Review Time

It's holiday season, so that means I've been reading books without the aim of having a lot to say about them. That doesn't mean I don't want to share a few thoughts though. There's a tiny chance some of this contain spoilers for previous books, so beware! Here's what I've been reading...


I read the second and third Geek Girl books at the airport/on a plane as they’re such fun reads that don’t require too much concentration. In Model Misfit, Harriet jets off to Japan, though heartbroken she may be. She’s already worried about being pushed out of her family by the new baby, she might as well go somewhere fascinating. Life is never that easy though, and Harriet’s shoots start to go wrong. Great supporting characters, some surprises thrown in and lots of great facts and giggles.

Following on from that is Picture Perfect where Harriet moves to America. I did appreciate reading this coming back from the states, as there were several observations Harriet made that I did too. At the end of Model Misfit, Yuka tells Harriet she kept her sheltered from the real modelling world because she didn’t want her becoming ruined by it. Now that Harriet’s flown the nest, we start to see that happening when she gets drawn into other model’s schemes to sort out her life. I found some of it a bit cringe-worthy, although I can see how easily someone like Harriet would be led astray. I found the overall story a bit weaker and it is starting to get a bit predictable, even if still super fun. Who couldn’t love Harriet?


I barely give a second glance at the unsolicited crime fiction that drops through my door but I thought maybe I should give them a second chance. I had heard a lot about Sarah Hilary and had the first two books in the series, so Someone Else’s Skin seemed a logical choice. Although it did subvert some gender stereotypes, I found the overall story very generic, and once a few things had been revealed it became a bit predictable.

Why does every fictional detective need to have things lurking in their past and emotional issues that affect their jobs? Anyone would think our entire police force is completely messed up. And please, stop going into potentially dangerous places alone without calling for backup/telling anyone where you are. I know a huge amount of people like this kind of fiction though, and I don’t think this is a bad example of it, just not exactly what I‘m looking for in my reading these days.

It’s kind of nice to read a trilogy within a few months rather than waiting a year between instalments. I’m sticking with the middle book as the best of Laini Taylor's, which is surprising to me too. Dreams of Gods and Monsters had a few too many new threads for a final book. Its purpose is to reveal more of the history of the seraphim and chimera, which I loved; I would seriously read a history book of Eretz. It shows how easily history that is forgotten can be woven through myths to create prejudice and misunderstanding. I wasn’t too keen on the introduction of a new character with their own plotline though, and a little of the unbearable mushiness came back. Don't get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoyed this whole trilogy, one can’t expect all three books to be perfect!


Half Bad had some potentially interesting parallels with some of the things Nazis did in WWII. The laws that are released to restrict Nathan reminded me of the way the civil liberties of the Jews were removed. It starts off with small, if completely unfair, decrees. With each one, they get a little bit harsher. Then before you know it, your life has been taken away from you.

And we know at the start that Nathan is in shackles for some reason. All is left for them to take is his life. However I'm a little bit bored of the style of story that starts with a scene from later in the narrative, then I spend the next few hours impatiently waiting for it all to catch up. The ending was pretty flat too, although I had forgot it wasn't a standalone. I lost interest in the characters a bit, they live in a very prejudiced world and I felt sympathy for Nathan but not much else.

The second person narrative, although in small doses, didn't seem necessary. I'm capable of putting myself in a character's shoes without it. Reasonable fantasy but nowhere near what I was expecting from all the love it has received.

The Cat with a Really Big Head is sort of a kid's book for grown-ups, I think, though I'm sure some older kids would love it to bits too. The stories are a delightful in a silly and a bit gross way, but also rather tragic. I loved the artwork, it actually managed to shock in a small way (so no giving to young children who would probably be traumatised). Roman Dirge was the co-creator of Invader Zim, a cartoon I loved but no one else ever seemed to have heard of. So I’m please there’s other outlets for his work.

1 comment:

  1. Nice quickies, Ellie! The last book looks wonderful, and I'm curious about the artwork now :-)

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