Book review | April 2017

Book review | April 2017

Apologies for this blog post going up so late, but I’ve been a little jetlagged so my schedule has gone completely haywire. I still wanted to get this post up though, so better late than never. I read 4 books in the month of April and am still making good on that Goodreads goal of reading 50 books in 2017. In fact, I am still 2 book ahead of schedule. Woohoo! Here’s what I read in April.

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Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep
Leigh Bardugo – Ruin & Rising (Grisha #3)
Catherine Arnold – Underworld London
Marissa Meyer – Fairest

There is a mix of a little bit of everything again. From a classic detective story to some YA fantasy and some non-fiction again.

Leigh Bardugo – Ruin and Rising

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Ruin & Rising is the final installment in the Grisha series. Where I thought the first book in this series to be too focused on romance, this was much more action packed. This book starts where book 2 finished: in the White Cathedral after the battle at the Little Palace. I don’t want to give too much away, but Alina and Mal go in search of the final amplifier and embark on a journey featuring a rogue crown prince, the everlasting malicious Darkling and the penultimate battle for The Fold.

These books got better with each sequel. I liked this one better than the first two as Alina finally decides what she wants and stops being a romantic sob. The ending and twists and turns to reach that plot’s end are all a little too convenient, but it’s still a YA read. Overall I enjoyed the series and I think this final book rounds everything off quite nicely.

Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep

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Philip Marlowe is a private detective in 1930s LA. Tasked with finding out more about a blackmailing scheme on a rich LA family, he sets off trying to do his best. In the mean time he is outsmarted, witnesses murder and becomes involved with the LA underworld. It is all in a days work for Marlowe though and in the end it’s his keen eye for observation and knowledge of the human psyche that sees him triumph in the end.

This was a difficult read. Filled to the brim with cultural references to 1930s popular culture, combined with a writing style that leaves a lot of room for interpretation, this was one of those books where you had to read pages twice to fully grasp what was going on. There were leaps in the narrative and Marlowe’s thinking process is not explained, leaving you in the dark at crucial moments in the plot. It hence took me some time to read. However, as far as detectives go this is a good one and in the end the narrative and storyline start to make more sense.

Marissa Meyer – Fairest

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Lunar Chronicles 3.5, this is the book that tells the tale of Queen Levana and her obsessive nature. Always playing second fiddle to her older sister, Levana has a hard time carving out a place for herself in the world. She resolves by creating her own elaborate fantasy world, but where does fantasy end and the real world begin?

Before diving into the final installment of this series, I thought this novella would be a good way of keeping up with the story while not continuing it just yet. It nicely entails how Queen Levana becomes the woman she is today. Since this is a first person narrative, you tend to believe and sympathize with her right till the very end. That’s when her sinister plot and sad, yet scary, outlook on life truly reveal itself.

Catherine Arnold – Underworld London

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This historical non-fiction novel tells the tale of criminals, prisons and the justice system of London throughout the ages. To the public hangings at Tyburn, to prison conditions in Newgate Gaol, court proceedings at the Old Bailey and the reasons for abolishing the death penalty.

I read this on the plane home a few days ago. I had started it briefly one morning, but I simply read the whole thing in one long stretch on the flight back to Holland. Like the previous book in this series, Bedlam, about how the mad were treated in London throughout the years, this book feels quite comprehensive, yet it isn’t dense and fairly entertaining.

What books have you read this month?

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