Although I've been reading just as much as ever, my review writing and posting has kind of gone out of the window since the start of the new academic year! Rather than go back and write individual reviews, I've decided to just write brief thoughts on some of the books I have read recently.
Amina met her new husband, George, on an online dating site in which Western men can meet non-Western women. After leaving behind her life in Bangladesh for a new one in America, Amina has the complexity of a marriage to deal with, as well as getting used to a brand new culture.
I found The Newlyweds to be a simply stunning book. It was well written and showed life in full technicolour glory, with all it's trials, complexities and disappointments. Despite the unconventional way that George and Amina came together, the ups and downs of their marriage and the development of their relationship is one that most people would be able to relate to. The issue of infertility was dealt with sensitively and realistically, and all of the characters have to face some hard truths. There was a wonderfully bitter-sweet ending, in which all of the characters got what they thought they had wanted, only to question whether they wanted it at all. Don't expect a fairy-tale. 5 out of 5 stars.
I am a big fan of the Song of Ice and Fire Series, so was keen to pick up Fevre Dream for the RIP VIII challenge. Abner Marsh is a destitute steamboat captain on the Mississippi river when he is offered a lucrative proposal by Joshua Yorke, a man has odd eating habits and keeps strange hours. As you might have guessed, Joshua is a vampire and Abner is soon pulled into the murky and blood-thirsty world of vampire politics, when Yorke comes into contact with a vampire that leaves a trail of horror behind him.
If you like Anne Rice, you'll love Fevre Dream. It's got the same atmosphere and I loved the idea of vampires on steamboats on the historical Mississippi. It had some genuinely creepy moments, the story moved on at a decent pace and Martin may have come up with the idea of True Blood before the TV show. All in all, it was good fun and an ideal autumn read. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Another RIP read. There is a parallel London alongside real London, populated by the people that have fallen through the cracks of modern society. When Richard Mayhew takes pity on an injured girl, Door, he becomes sucked into London Below, full of monsters, angels and knights. There really is an angel at Islington and friars at Black Friars tube station. As he helps Door find out what happened to her family, he comes up against danger at every step.
As always with Neil Gaiman, I was in awe of his creativity and the genius of his ideas. However, something about Gaiman's writing just doesn't click for me and this prevents his books from being truly enjoyable. I admire them, but I don't love them. I did enjoy Richard's character growth and the choice he eventually makes about who he wants to be, but I just couldn't connect with the writing and that made the whole experience sadly underwhelming. 3 out of 5 stars.
In the last volume of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Percy, Annabeth and the rest of the half-bloods must battle to save Mount Olympus from the invading Titans, and the Prophecy about Percy's 16th birthday is finally played out.
I don't want to say too much about this one as I don't want to spoil the ending of the series, but I found it to be a most satisfying finale to the whole thing. As always, the events were fast paced, the plot was action packed and there was a good amount of character development mixed in for good measure. In fact, the whole thing wrapped up so nicely that I'm not sure why Riordan went on to write the Sons of Olympus series, featuring some of the same characters. Although I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as The Battle of the Labyrinth, it still gets top marks for being such a great final volume. The whole series was such fun and I loved racing through them. 5 out of 5 stars.
Have you read any of these books? If so, I'd love to know what you think of them.