June 2016 Book Review

The last day of the month is the perfect moment to give another overview of what I’ve been reading. This month had a bit of a general theme going on. Generally, I was craving fantasy and mystery. I think that pretty much sums up all these books in one go. I also read my first comic book in years and that’s how I managed to stay on track with my reading challenge for the most part. Life is mayhem at the moment, and I’m having little to no energy to read. So I find myself reading what I love most in the weeks before the summer break: books that are easy reads that allow me to escape life for  a moment or two. It’s so tempting to grab for my old favorite in these dire times: the Harry Potter series, but so far I’ve managed to keep pulling something new from my shelves. Two more weeks before the maelstrom stops. Here’s to hoping I won’t cave before that time.

June 2016 Book Review

Sarah J. Maas – Heir of Fire
Ben Aaronovitch – Body Work Vol. 1
Ben Aaronovitch – Foxglove Summer
Jonathan Stroud – Lockwood & Co and the Whispering Skull

Sarah J. Maas - Heir of Fire

Sarah J. Maas – Heir of Fire

Celeana is back for part three of the Throne of Glass series! After leaving Adarlan for Wendlyn, Celeana has to discover another side of herself before she can gather the information she so desperately seeks. In the mean time Crown Prince Dorian is desperately trying to hide his magic, while Chaol tries very hard not to conspire against the king by helping the rebels. Oh and don’t forget our introduction to Iron Witch Manon: a vicious witch of the Blackbeak clan who is vying to become wing leader with her band of Thirteen and their wyverns in a murderous competition with the other Iron Witch clans.

For the third installment, I found this book served its purpose in a series, but I also already know this won’t be my favorite. The intention of this book is to continue building the world and as a reader you are introduced to completely new characters, realms and lands. For existing characters, this book serves mostly as an exploration to further develop the characters. Especially Celeana’s character is given quite some space for some soul searching and overcoming her lifelong grief. This lead to this book being quite slow at times. There was a still a good deal of action and it was still an engaging read, but this is definitely an inbetweener to set up the rest of the series that is to come. I cannot wait to read how it all comes together.

Ben Aaronovitch - Body Work Vol. 1

Ben Aaronovitch – Body Work Vol. 1

Peter Grant is called to the scene of a man who mysteriously drove his beloved car into the River Thames. The trail leads to a car dealer who sold different parts of one seriously haunted car. Up to the Folly to figure out how a car could decide to kill its driver.

This was my first graphic novel/ comic book that I read since being a kid. Having read all previous books in the series, I found this lacked the context and character development of the actual novels. There was just far less storyline to follow and because the story jumped about a little, it was sometimes difficult to follow the flashback and flashforwards. Also, the way the characters were depicted hardly lined up with my imagined versions of these characters, which made it difficult for me to really get into. It just didn’t suck me in the way a paper book does and I guess it is safe to say that I prefer to fill in the blanks myself.

Ben Aaronovitch - Foxglove Summer

Ben Aaronovitch – Foxglove Summer

When 2 little girls go missing, Britain is up in arms. Since missing children sometimes means that the supernatural is involved, Peter Grant goes up to countryside to find out whether that is the case. At first everything seems normal: just your run of the mill child runs away from home situation. But then someone mentions ponies, invisible ponies which puts a strange twist on the case. It isn’t until Peter is nearly speared to death by one of these ‘ponies’ (in fact, they are bloodthirsty unicorns) that the case takes a turn to the seriously weird. In a world where alien spotters are the norm and superstition, backhanded gossiping and small town rural life are everyone’s bread and butter it is up to Peter, with a little help of Beverly Brook to figure out truth from fiction.

Which the graphic novel not being the biggest of successes, I decided to pick up a proper old book. Not having gotten as excited about Broken Homes, the previous book in the series, I didn’t have very high hopes. But those vanished into thin air the minute the dry sense of humor, witty observations and just overall insanity of the story kicked in. The plot is a tad ridiculous perhaps and feeds off of mounting stereotypes of English rural life, but I enjoyed every minute of this. A who-dunnit with a fascinating twist combined with some good character building and setting up a storyline that can be continued in the next book, I thought this book has all the ingredients that made me fall in love with this series in the first place. A little bit of weird, a little bit of no-way and a little bit of level-headed detective is all I need to keep me entertained in any case.

Jonathan Stroud - Lockwood & Co and the Whispering Skull

Jonathan Stroud – Lockwood & Co and the Whispering Skull

After their success at Combe Carey Hall, Lockwood & Co is now an almost thriving business. With more cases to solve then the trio can handle and DEPRAC still breathing down their necks, it is business as usual for Lucy, Anthony and George. Ghosts are teeming left and right and when an excavator and his assistant ask for their help, they get straight to it. Little did they know that their clients have ulterior motives. So they go about their business, setting free a ghost and a mysterious bone glass mirror with so much psychic power that just looking in it will kill you, while simultaneously taking on their rivals of the Fittes agency in a race against time. All in a day’s work really. But what’s up with that mysterious ghost jar that George keeps experimenting with?

The second in the Lockwood & co series is another thoroughly delectable read. If you like detectives combined with a more modern take on ghostbusters than this one is for you. Set in an alternative London where ghosts have become ‘A Problem’ that can only be detected by children and adolescents, I already enjoyed the first one. This second one is even better. Setting up even more interesting cases filled with action packed scenes, the story comes  to live even more and becomes even more believable. What is so clever about this book is how it is pretty description heavy, from the cold experienced when a Visitor is near, to the way people look. Yet, never do those description become tedious or longwinded. The pace is just right and the book balances sword fighting, dialogue and introspective thoughts perfectly.

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