Book Review

Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng | Book Review

Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be reviewing Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng today! If you do not know who Celeste Ng is, she is the author of Little Fires Everywhere, a book which I absolutely adored and Everything I Never Told You is her debut novel.

So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article!

Synopsis:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Review:

Where do I even begin, Miss Ng? You annihilated me with this novel and I am immensely grateful that you did because this turns out to be one of my favourite books of all time. I cannot stop thinking about this book ever since I had finished it because it left an enormous impact on me that I do not think that it will get off me anytime soon. In other words, this novel is a masterpiece that leeches on your brain after you finish and I am about to explain to you the ‘why’ and the ‘how’s.

Although this book may sound like an exciting thriller with a pace faster than the maturity of an instant noodle packet from the synopsis, it is not what it seems. In fact, it is the polar opposite of what this book is. This novel is categorized in the literary fiction genre and it is slow-paced. It is a character-driven story that focuses on the everyday life of the Lee family and how the very core or essence of the family crumbles as they face the death of a loved one and how the family recovers from this tragic event when all hope of recovery seems lost amid grief.

The writing style of this book is similar to what she did in Little Fires Everywhere but, it is milder and more natural in every way possible and let me illustrate why. In Little Fires Everywhere, we get perspective from everyone and by everyone, I mean people who are not even that relevant to the story and they have mini flashbacks that we, the readers, do not fret about. In Everything I Never Told You, there are only flashbacks and perspectives from the Lee family and it does not only make the story progress better, but it also makes the story less saturated with insignificant narratives. With that aside, the writing style is elegant with sentences twine together effortlessly which is stunning to witness.

This book consolidates racism, sexism, challenges of interracial marriage. Although it has all of those, none of them is the prime focus of the novel however, they are tied deeply into the story. For example, Lydia’s mother – Marilyn – faces sexism in her University and at her mother’s house that she vows to teach Lydia not to become her mother and to be a doctor in a field dominated by men. With that comes parental pressure and parental expectations which send Lydia spiralling down a dark path. As with racism and interracial marriages, there’s negative stereotyping, open intimidation, friendless as they stand out in a school filled with white people, disapproval of a family member and insults such as racial slurs.

The book has its prime focus on loneliness, resentment and jealousy. Loneliness befalls due to the lack of friends the Lee children experience. Resentment and jealousy transpire as the parents focus more on Lydia than Nath and Hannah. For example, every time Nath – the son – has something distinctive to declare like getting admitted into Harvard, it is proclaimed promptly with reactions that are short-lived from the parents and the focus will expeditiously return to Lydia instead. Hannah (the youngest daughter), however, has little to no reaction from the parents as they often forget that she even exists. These three qualities fuel this novel with rich family drama that forms cracks in a broken family that did not know they are crumbling from the inside.

The first 15 pages of this novel managed to evoke emotions from me and towards the end of the novel, I was bawling my ass off because of how incredibly relatable the characters are and how the story almost hit too close to home for me. So, if you are looking for a good cry, do pick this book up to read.

My final verdict for this book would be a whopping 100% (A+). Going into this novel, I did not expect it to leave as much of an impact than it did on me and that’s what makes this book so special to me because the characters are deeply relatable, there’s realistic flaws in the characters, the deep character study that Celeste Ng explores and the focus on the crumbling of a family after the death of a loved one and the recovery of a broken family.


This is the end of my review for Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Burn By Patrick Ness | Book Review

Hey Everyone! My name is Max and I will be reviewing a novel christened Burn by Patrick Ness today! If you do not know who Patrick Ness is, he is the author of The Chaos Walking trilogy which comprises of The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer and Monsters of Men. He has also written A Monster Calls, More than this and The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Burn is the latest novel he had written and published.

I would like to thank Definitely Books for sending a copy of this novel to me in exchange for a review!

Well, without further ado, let us get into this review!

Synopsis:

On a cold Sunday evening in early 1957, Sarah Dewhurst waited with her father in the parking lot of the Chevron gas station for the dragon he’d hired to help on the farm…

Sarah Dewhurst and her father, outcasts in their little town of Frome, Washington, are forced to hire a dragon to work their farm, something only the poorest of the poor ever have to resort to.

The dragon, Kazimir, has more to him than meets the eye, though. Sarah can’t help but be curious about him, an animal who supposedly doesn’t have a soul, but who is seemingly intent on keeping her safe.

Because the dragon knows something she doesn’t. He has arrived at the farm with a prophecy on his mind. A prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents in hot pursuit—and somehow, Sarah Dewhurst herself.

Review:

Before we commence this review, I would like to state that Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors of all time. Although this novel is not his most immeasurable work to date, it is still entertaining and fun. It does not have that emotional punch that A Monster Calls and Monster of Men have but it has cardinal topics on racial inequality and sexual orientation and I wish Patrick Ness had veered in that direction of the story instead of what has actually transpired in the story but we will speak more on that later on.

“He was the thing the world had suffered from most in her four billion years of existence: a stupid man with power.” – Burn, Patrick Ness.

Patrick Ness’ writing style is freaking beautiful. The way he weaves one sentence to the next and the word choices are astounding. He allows the story to flow seamlessly with his writing and it certainly feels like silk reading his books and Burn is no different. I will provide a quote below for you to witness the beauty of it yourself: 

“Prophecy is slippery, dangerous, open to fatal misinterpretation.” – Burn, Patrick Ness.

However, towards the third quarter of the novel, the writing style does not feel as natural as the first two quarters. Perhaps the perspective from the Goddess makes the writing style asperous due to a plethora of exclamation points used. I thought that the Goddess’s perspective could have been completely discarded from the novel or the author should have made her more of a villain instead because she literally confabulates like an eight-year-old trying to destroy her brother’s Lego set. Thank you, next.

The pacing for this novel is flawless. It does not dawdle too long on a scene or breeze right through a scene like nobody’s business. I read it in a few days and it kept me entertained throughout the days that I was reading it. If you want something that you can read in a few days, you should pick this book up.

The characters in this novel consist of Kazimer (the Russian dragon), Malcolm, Sarah, Jason and Sarah’s father. I delight in the fact that the parents of the teenage characters except Malcolm’s are actively present in the story because usually, parents are absent in YA books which does not make any sense whatsoever. Therefore, I am delighted to tell you that they have huge roles in this novel.

Kazimer is hired by Sarah’s father to help with the farm as they are running out of money to maintain the farm and he thought that he could trick the dragon with the payment, therefore, he pays one-quarter of the agreed value before the work inaugurates to make the dragon trust him. Although it might seem that Sarah’s father is deceitful, he is not. He is very loving and protective of his daughter. His character growth up until he [spoiler] is very conspicuous.

My favourite perspective is from Malcolm. Initially, he is an assassin from a dragon cult and he is assigned to kill this girl from the farm – Sarah – to “save” the world. Well, without spoiling anything, I would like to say that I love his relationship with Nelson even though it is pretty insta-lovey but I would disregard that because I like the way they converse and how both of them teach each other to love. Malcolm has an exponential character growth throughout the novel, he learns from his mistakes and decides to go against the lies he has been fed and ultimately, becoming a hero.

Sarah and Jason have solid characterization but it is a little more slumbrous compare to Malcolm’s characterization. The discussion on racism revolves around Sarah and Jason. Sarah is mixed race – half black, half white – and Jason is a Japanese. The amount of racial attack they got from people in town is enraging. Jason is brave and Sarah is headstrong. These two characters did not really grow as much as I would have loved to see, they pretty much remain congruent throughout the novel.

The discussions on topics like racism, interracial marriage and sexual orientation are some of the most fascinating parts of the book. If you take out the dragons and the urban fantasy elements, these topics will illuminate the most in the book. If the story were to diverge more into this direction, it would probably gain more accolades from me because I love discussions on these topics and the author shows that he is capable of handling these topics well in this novel. For example, under sexual orientation, there is self-loathing as the characters could not love the way they wanted due to societal “views” which infuriates me because people should be able to love whoever they want. Under interracial marriage and racism, there is negative stereotyping, open hostility and intimidation and isolation. I absolutely adore the way the topics are handled in this novel and I hope the author would write more stories on these topics without the fantasy elements in the future.

In conclusion, my final verdict for this novel is 70% (B). I did enjoy some parts of this but there are also several segments that I did not particularly enjoy. I will still read Release which was his 2019 release by the end of this year and a review will head your way soon for that. 


This is the end of my review for Burn By Patrick Ness! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

It is wood, it is stone By Gabriella Burnham | Book Review

Hey Everyone! My name is Max and, I am finally back from a long hiatus. The reason for my departure is that I was having my A-levels exams and I wanted to place all my attention upon it. Therefore, I sincerely apologize for not publishing new content on my blog.

Anyway, I will be reviewing a novel called “It is wood, it is stone” by Gabriella Burnham today. “It is Wood, It is Stone” is her debut novel and, I would like to thank Times reads for sending a copy of this novel to me in exchange for a review!

Well, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article.

Synopsis:

With sharp, gorgeous prose, It Is Wood, It Is Stone takes place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, in which two women’s lives intersect.

Linda, an anxious and restless American, has moved to São Paulo, with her husband, Dennis, who has accepted a yearlong professorship. As Dennis submerges himself in his work, Linda finds herself unmoored and adrift, feeling increasingly disassociated from her own body. Linda’s unwavering and skilled maid, Marta, has more claim to Linda’s home than Linda can fathom. Marta, who is struggling to make sense of complicated history and its racial tensions, is exasperated by Linda’s instability. One day, Linda leaves home with a charismatic and beguiling artist, whom she joins on a fervent adventure that causes reverberations felt by everyone, and ultimately binds Marta and Linda in a profoundly human, and tender, way.

Review:

The cover design for this novel is pulchritudinous. The leaves and the perennials surrounding the two women are, intricately drawn and I adore how the shirts on both the women merge with the colour of the background. Not only that, you can see the outline of the shirts so, it does not camouflage in the backdrop colour. Overall, this cover is just a total eye-candy.

“I had lost my job.
I didn’t have my own money.
All of our friends were your friends from the university.” –
It is wood, It is Stone, Gabriella Burnham.

The protagonist of this novel is christened Linda. From the quote above, you would discern that she has lost her sense of direction and goal in life and this novel follows a series of events of her finding herself and in doing so, the repercussions that follow after. At the beginning of the novel, she has plans to leave her husband, Dennis, as she wishes to have some space to find herself but she decides against it and starts anew in Sao Paulo with her husband (Dennis is positioned there for work) as she assumes that she could not survive without him due to financial concerns. Therefore, she stays. However, in doing so, she faces boredom and desolation in this new country as she does not have anyone to talk to when Dennis is away and her maid, Marta, did not seem to fancy her as much. Her ennui has gotten to a point where she intentionally discharges ink on Dennis’ work clothes with the university’s insignia and washing and scrubbing it but it is already beyond repair.* Then, she decides to head out to the bar and that is where she meets Celia. 

Celia is a character Linda admires. With her, Linda can finally express herself and they quickly become best friends. Celia is courageous, headstrong and has an air of freedom that Linda craves. She has a backstory that is rather appealing and it adds a lot to her character. However, she is also “the other woman” and I do not really like that even though it added an extra layer to the story. Linda enshrouds this newly found friendship from Dennis as she wants something to keep for herself. Thus, she fibs about her whereabouts and the only person that knows about this friendship is Marta.

Dennis is associated with The Provost and his wife, Melinda through his work and they belong to the upper-class citizens. Melinda is a racist that looks down on people like Marta (she is a black woman) and makes senseless accusations that Marta performs voodoo on them and steals their jewelry even though nothing of that sort happens. Dennis feels the need to add on to what Melinda’s proposing and he chimes in by saying that the shirt damaged by ink was destroyed by Marta even though it is not true.

Without spoiling anything, Marta and Linda’s relationship with each other consolidates towards the end of the novel. Marta shares her backstory and it enumerates so many more layers to her character which I absolutely adore but I wish her backstory is longer instead of resorting to 20 pages of character arc.

From what I have written above, you may notice that this novel deals with loneliness and what it brings, racism and classism. Although this novel has managed to present these themes, the author did not actually execute them well. Especially the topics on racism and classism. Both of those topics go nowhere in the novel and our protagonist, Linda still hangs out with Melinda even though she knows she is a racist. The topic on classism manages to present itself throughout the novel but it is never actually discussed which irritates me because I would like to comprehend the repercussion of both classes clashing. Loneliness and what it brings are done pretty well since it is consistently mentioned throughout the novel.

The writing style for this novel is a little complicated but I will attempt to explain it to the best of my ability. The protagonist’s husband, Dennis, is termed as ‘you’ in the novel. Therefore, the writing style may seem like it is addressing the readers but it is actually addressing Dennis and you can actually think of the whole book as a long letter with excruciatingly long details. When a character other than the protagonist’s backstory is being written, it will be bolded and the font will be smaller to indicate that their backstory is currently being told. Other than that, I thought the writing style was beautifully poetic and the author can string sentences together with ease and the purple prose is beautiful to witness.

I have 2 criticisms about the novel and those are the pacing of the novel and my inclination to pick the novel back up to read. Every time I put this book down, I do not have the urge to pick this novel back up to read and I have to physically force myself to do it so that I can get through the novel. I still cannot place my finger on why that is the case but I can confirm right now that this book has no reread value for me personally. The pacing for this novel is a little off. I find myself speeding through several sections of the book and slowing down in others. It is inconsistent and I wish that is not the case.

In conclusion, I would proffer this novel a 65% (C). Overall, it is a pretty mediocre read and I would not go around recommending this novel to anyone unless they want to read about loneliness and what it results in.


This is the end of my review for It is wood, it is stone By Gabriella Burnham! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

The Vanishing Half By Brit Bennett | Book Review

Hey Guys! My name is Max and today, I will be reviewing a novel which has been getting a lot of buzz online lately called The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett who also wrote The Mothers which I will be reading soon because this book literally shattered my soul. Before we get into the review, I would like to thank Times Reads for sending a copy of this book to me.

So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article.

Synopsis:

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

My introspection:

“She hadn’t realized how long it takes to become somebody else, or how lonely it can be living in a world not meant for you.” ― Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half.

I have been reading a lot of Literary Fiction lately and most of them had managed to impress me and this novel is no exception. This novel approaches tough topics with ease and it weaves the stories of the Vignes family throughout 3 generations – the mother of the twins, the twins and the twins’ children. Although there are some flaws towards the end of the novel, I thought this novel was still insightful, entertaining and well-written.

I thought the pacing for this novel was well-paced. A lot of people might disagree with me because I had read an abundance of reviews stating that the pacing is slow as hell but I thought it was not as slow as what reviewers said it would be because I had read slower books like Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (a terrible novel which is a story for another day) and Heartless by Marissa Meyer (which I thought was confounding) and the pacing for this novel is definitely not as slow as the ones I had listed.

However, I can see why people would say that this is a long-drawn-out novel because the 1/3 of the novel contains a multitude of history of the town and the people and the twins and introduction to the characters without much drama centering around the story but after you get passed that, the pacing did pick up and before you know it, you have reached the end of the novel. The pacing for the 1/3 of the novel did not bother me at all because I was totally invested in the story so I think this is pretty subjective to each and every one of you.

The writing style for this novel is eloquent and it is never once periphrastic. The sentences flow well together and everything about it is just very crisp. Oh, and it is also descriptive which I absolutely enjoyed. Miss Bennett paints these pictures in your head and the visuals are so clear I cannot help but admire her writing abilities.

There are important topics such as the discussion on passing and race and white privilege being talked about in this novel and there is representation of a transgender man in this novel. This book taught me about passing (in case you did not know what passing means, here’s the definition I got from Wikipedia: “Passing is the ability of a person to be regarded as a member of an identity group or category different from their own, which may include racial identity, ethnicity, caste, social class, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age and/or disability status.“) and I cannot believe I have never heard about it before. To say that this book is insightful is an understatement because it taught me so many things from passing to the internalized racism that one of the characters have to the lives and hardships that black people face every single day. I will not speak on the transgender man being a good or bad representation of the LGBT community because I do not identify myself as a transgender but I am happy that there is representation of the LGBT community in this novel.

In this novel, we have Stella, Desiree, Jude, Kennedy and a few others but the novel focuses on these four central characters the most. Stella and Desiree are twin sisters and both of them are vastly different from each other. Desiree is more playful, daring and talkative whereas Stella is more studious, focused and less talkative. They are both complex and extremely interesting and both ultimately ended up in different paths. One decided to pass over as white and the other is perfectly comfortable with herself. Their character growths throughout the novel is very interesting and gradual that I found myself caring each of them equally. Jude and Kennedy are the offspring of both the twins. Jude faces a lot of hardships in her life; from being racially discriminated by her classmates and for being judged by being with a handsome white man. It irks me so much that these racist bitches would invalidate a person like that. Ugh absolutely disgusting. Kennedy is a privilege, spoiled brat and the topic on white privilege is tackled through her. I absolutely loved the characterization this book has and I cannot wait to see what she has to offer in her debut novel – The Mothers.

The ending is the weakest point of this novel for me. There were several parts in the ending chapter that I enjoyed but overall, it left a very stale and lukewarm feeling in my stomach. I enjoyed how realistic it is for Stella’s husband to not know about her real ethnicity as the final chapter closes and how the Vignes sisters no longer talk but the daughters did but everything else did not make the cut. For example, the part where her daughter broke up and got back together with Reese is absolutely unnecessary. Why throw that in the novel in the final chapter and not prolong the book for an extra chapter focusing on that? I would definitely be interested in it but alas, it did not.

My final verdict for this novel is 88% (A). This novel explores race, gender and identity and if you love books that tackle those topics, you should definitely pick this amazing novel up! Also, it is definitely time for me to pick The Mothers up after reading this astonishing novel.

Before you go, do check out this fantastic review of The Vanishing Half by The Storyscape. She articulates this novel better than I do and she brings up a plethora of interesting topics and her real-life experiences in the video.


This is the end of my review for The Vanishing Half By Brit Bennett! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Harrow Lake By Kat Ellis | Book Review

Hey Guys! My name is Max and I will be manufacturing a book review for a book christened Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis today. I would like to thank Times Read for sending a copy of this novel to me. So, without further ado, let us get into the book review section!

Genre(s): Young Adult, Horror.

Page count: 305

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Synopsis:

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move.

The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…

My Introspections:

If I were to write a blurb for this novel, it would be this: “Kat Ellis has created a richly-filled landscape of 80’s horror films and it lingers on your skin long after you finish the novel”. I adored this novel and as an avid fan of horror movies, I think this novel does justice for that genre as this novel has a lot of that good stuff in it eg. Diminutive town, estranged family, a character going insane and crazy town with ghastly notions. However, I do have some criticisms to make and I will write extensively on that matter later. 

The writing style of this novel is atmospheric and gloomy with every shade of grey in it. The author has a way of incorporating words to craft a scene to make an innocuous scene seem ominous. In addition, I really enjoyed the references to horror films in this novel, it made my little horror heart leapt with happiness. Furthermore, I thought this novel was very well-paced as the author did not drag a scene out too long (which would make it boring) or cut short a scene during the horror scenes and that definitely made me adore the novel even more. However, the author uses the word – optimum – a lot and over time, it becomes repetitive and slightly annoying.

The atmosphere of the novel has a haunting inflexion to it and I thought that was the strongest point of the novel because it shows that the author has the ability to transport the readers to the head of the protagonist and allows the protagonist’s fears to be projected to the readers.

With aspects like the protagonist’s imaginary friend manifesting to life, a miniature-town which managed to make me feel claustrophobic, a town filled with superstitions and remarkably irrational people and most of all, Mr Jitters, it terrified me. However, I thought the horror aspect and the atmosphere faltered towards the end of the novel because it felt like the monster – Mr Jitters – did not add anything to the story but its main purpose is to terrorize the protagonist throughout the novel with literally no reason. BUT, I thought the people and their thinking and what they did were ten times more formidable than the actual monster of the novel so, those are the aspects that swooped in to save the ending of the novel for me.

The characters in this novel are multi-dimensional and complex. In this novel, there are Lola and Carter. Of course, there are more characters in this novel but we will only be focusing on both of these key characters in this review. Lola has a tendency to steal objects from strangers and write down her confessions on a paper and hide them in places where no one will look for but her. I thought the introduction to Lola was phenomenal and she has an amazing backbone to her character, for example, we learn in the novel that she adheres to her father like a leased dog with no freedom and as the story progresses, we see her character development and her flaws shining through the pages like a mirrorball and I adored it. Carter is a gentle person who assists people even though they insulted him with infuriating words. I thought his character arch was astonishing as well. Honestly, can Carter be my friend? He doesn’t even get mad when people insulted him.

Finally, there are several unexplained ideas that are thrust into the novel that make it seem like the author put them there for aesthetic purpose. For example, why does time slip away faster when Mr Jitters is around, why does Mr Jitters terrorize Lola since day one, is the urban legend about Mr Jitters real? The novel did provide some explanation to certain questions that I had posted but I do not think it is enough to justify Mr Jitters actions and his forces. Thus, I did not fancy the unexplained justifications of the novel.

Final Verdict: 80% (A)


This is the end of my review for Harrow Lake By Kat Ellis! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

The Book Of Longings By Sue Monk Kidd | Book Review

Hey Guys! My name is Max and I will be manufacturing a book review for a novel called The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd today. A very big thank you to Times.Read for sending a copy of this book to me. Well, without further ado, let us get into the review! 

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Synopsis:

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humour and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

My introspect:

I did not know what to expect when I started reading this novel because all I knew about this book was that it follows the perspective of Jesus’s Wife and colour me surprised when I fell in love with the novel. The content of this novel still stuck with me after a week of finishing it and I have a feeling that it would cling with me for a long time.

If the synopsis confuses you, don’t worry, I am here to assist you. So, this novel is about Ana who is the wife of Jesus and it follows her life from 16 CE to 60 CE. Ana is a girl who loves writing and reading and her mom disapproves of her passions. Her parents then tried to marry her off to some farmer, hoping to gain a piece of land even though they are rich as hell. Her resistance to the marriage to safeguard her passions shows how strong of a person she is. Everything occurs from then on. I am trying to give you as little information as possible because I am trying not to spoil the novel but some of the quotes below might spoil the novel but it is minimal so don’t worry. 

“I’ve heard these reasons tenfold. Traipsing about the countryside exposes us to dangers and hardships. We cause dissension among the men. We are temptations. We are distractions. It’s thought we’re too weak to face dangers and hardship. But do we not give birth? Do we not work day and night? Are we not ordered about and silenced? What are robbers and rainstorm compared to these things”

The writing style of this novel is fucking phenomenal. It is lyrical, poetic and daring. The wordplay in this novel is so beautifully crafted that it makes me want to pick up the author’s other works just to see if I would like it as much as the rest of the books in her catalogue. The only problem I have with the writing style is that the author uses a lot of the word – shit – in her writing and correct me if I am wrong but the word – shit – is not used in the 16th BC so… I am confused? Either way, her writing style is still phenomenal and this novel definitely shows where her strength lies. Oh, I almost forgot, you can visualize everything the author has written on the page clearly in your head. 

This novel is definitely well-paced. It does not linger too long or too short on each scene that the author has set out to craft. However, I thought the third act suffered as the pace has quickened and there are also some unresolved questions that the author has presented but not answered by the end of the novel. Other than that, I thought the pacing was astonishing. 

There are a few important characters in this novel that I would like to share with you and those are Ana, Yaltha, and Tabitha. Ana is headstrong and she is such a feminist and I love that about her. She fights for what is right and she speaks her mind and does not flinch back in the face of adversity. In addition, she writes stories of women who had gone through terrible things to preserve their stories so it will not get lost in history. Her character growth throughout the novel was phenomenal. Every time she is beaten down by terrible men in the novel, she comes back up stronger and smarter. Ana is definitely going to be a figure that will remain in my mind for a long time. Yaltha is Ana’s aunt and she is headstrong like Ana but she hides a secret that will change the course of the event in the novel. Her growth throughout the novel is phenomenal too because we see her vulnerable side as much as we see her strong side. Tabitha has one of the saddest storylines in this novel and I will show you some quotes to give you a glimpse of her story below but just know that I love her.

“She’d misunderstood me I wasn’t wondering why Tabitha shouted her outrage on the street. I was glad she accused her rapist. What I didn’t understand was why such horrors happened at all. Why did men inflict these atrocities? I wiped my face with my sleeve. Through my shock, I pictured Tabitha on the first day of her renewed visits when I’d been rude to her. My father says my mind is weak, and my tongue, weaker, she’d told me then. It seemed now her tongue was not weak, but the fiercest part of her.” (part 1/3)

“Mother, however, was not done rebuking her. “It wasn’t enough that she made a show of cursing the soldier, she cursed her father for trying to seal her lips. She cursed those who passed by and closed their ears to her. She was distraught, and I’m sorry for her, but she shamed herself. She brought dishonour to her father and to her betrothed, who will surely divorce her now.” (part 2/3)

“Rage shredded my breath. It clawed straight through my chest. “What crime did your daughter commit to cause her father to cut her tongue from her mouth? Is it a sin to stand on the street and cry out one’s anguish and beg for justice?” “She brought shame on her father and this house!” her mother viciously exclaimed. “Her punishment is spoken of in Scripture the perverse tongue shall be cut out.” (part 3/3)

The feminism theme in this novel is done ten times better than it did in Blue Ticket By Sophie Mackintosh because it captivates the women living in the 16th BC and how Ana goes against the stereotype and tries to change the views of the women and the men in this novel. This novel has so many sexist imageries and it infuriates me how all these men treat women at that time, as objects of desire and nothing more. Some of the women are sexist against their own sex as well which is just… *sighs*. Sexism is still ever-present in the world we live in today and it seems we have not learned from the mistakes of our ancestors and it is time to change as this has been going on for far too long. 

In conclusion, my final verdict for this novel would be 95% (A+). I enjoyed the themes presented in this novel and how impactful and powerful these characters when they looked into the face of the atrocity that is the world they lived in. So, do pick this book up during your free time! 


This is the end of my review for The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye! 

Book Review

Blue Ticket By Sophie Mackintosh | Book Review

Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be reviewing a book called Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh today. Sophie Mackintosh is the author of The Water Cure and Blue Ticket is a new novel that she had published in June. Before we get into the review, I would like to thank Times.Read for sending this novel to me in exchange for a review. Without further ado, let us dive right into the book review section! 

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Synopsis:

Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back.

But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?

Blue Ticket is a devastating enquiry into free will and the fraught space of motherhood. Bold and chilling, it pushes beneath the skin of female identity and patriarchal violence, to the point where human longing meets our animal bodies.

My Introspection:

“My husband found out. He didn’t believe it was an accident. He was disgusted with me. But it wasn’t his body.” – Blue Ticket, Sophie Mackintosh.

So, I was expecting to savour this novel like I savour the taste of Mcdonald’s French Fries but alas, I did not. I was severely disappointed in the content of the novel that the author had handed to me because I can recognise so much potential in the idea and the world the author was trying to create but somehow, both of them managed to get lost in the pages of the novel.

If you enjoy a dystopian world without any world-building or history as to why the system works the way it did, this might be the book for you but it definitely isn’t the book for me. There are only a couple of information thrown around in the novel that could give me a grasp on the system of the world and those are:

(1) There is a lottery that dictates women’s entire life. You may get a Blue-Ticket which signifies freedom BUT you are not to get pregnant. You may get a White-Ticket and your only purpose is to give birth? I think? It is not very clear on that end.

(2) If you get pregnant as a Blue-Ticket, you are instantly an exile and your fellow Blue-Tickets will hate on you and try to murder you?

(3) Men hate getting Blue-Ticket women pregnant and will not hold any responsibility for that matter?

(4) White-Ticket women hate Blue-Ticket women who have gotten themselves pregnant.

(5) If you have done good in the community, the emissaries will give you a head start – 12 hours – to run away and hide before they come to find you.

(6) Oh, I almost forgot, when you get your first bleed, you are required to go to the town you have in mind without any help from the adults. So, yeah that is basically it. Those question marks gave nods to my very confused brain. 

“I told him instead that I’d had agency over the things I had done all through my life, even if not over everything that had been done to me. I told him I was not a branch being broken in a stream, carried along by the water until it snapped. I told him he should give my baby back to me.” – Blue Ticket, Sophie Mackintosh.

We follow Calla’s perspective throughout the novel and I thought the beginning was interesting because it shows the desperation of Calla trying to shed her childhood by taking lots of milk and peanut butter to get her first bleed. It was as if she is trying to get away from her father but at the same time, not trying to get away from her father because the first page of the novel shows how much her father loves her. It is very confusing and I don’t know how to feel. Then, in her adult life, she drinks a lot, smokes a lot and starts developing this ‘dark feeling’ which is to have her own baby and family. She proceeds to use this dude, who is an asshole to say the least, to get the baby. She then turns into a fugitive and she is on the run from the emissaries. I thought everything was interesting up until I reached the section where she decides to settle in the cabin. That section manages to slow everything down. Almost nothing happens most of the time during her stay in the cabin and that made me want to rip my eyeballs out. 

This novel should have gotten multiple perspectives to give a wider view on the world. For example, a perspective from a White-Ticket woman, a perspective from the emissary and a perspective from a man in a high position. This would have provided an insight on the world and also, enhance our perception on how brain-washed everyone is. I thought it was not particularly right to limit the perspective to Calla alone because she is not that interesting of a character and her motives are confusing and most of the time, I do not understand why she did what she did. In addition, there isn’t any character development in the novel which further proves the point of getting more POVs. 

The author has a readable writing style that will make you read the novel compulsively  as you have the urge to know what is coming next. Other than that, the writing style is also very beautiful which will make you crave for more of it but unfortunately, the story isn’t very good and I wish there is a better ending for this novel because I did not like that ending because the ending makes it seem like Calla would conveniently give up stuff instead of fighting for it and also, it makes it seem like the book is pointless.

Ultimately, I understand the message the author is trying to convey. She wants us to perceive the misogyny in the world where women have no control over their freedom, their body and their choice and how extremely infuriating it is. This dystopian world that she has created intersects with the real world albeit the weak world-building. Several quotes in this novel perfectly showcase the real world and it is so frustrating to see how we are living in 2020 and yet, misogyny is still a thing. Thus, I thought the message was delivered well.  

Final Verdict: 50% (D)


This is the end of my review for Blue Ticket By Sophie Mackintosh! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

The Garden of Evening Mists By Tan Twan Eng | Book Review

Hello Everyone! I will be manufacturing a review for a novel called ‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ by Tan Twan Eng today. Before we get into the review, I would like to thank Pansing for sending this novel to me in exchange for a review on my platform. Without further ado, let us get into the review section!

Synopsis:

It’s Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambridge and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan.

Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice ‘until the monsoon comes’. Then she can design a garden for herself.

As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling’s friend and host, Magnus Praetorius, seems almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of ‘Yamashita’s Gold’ and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

My Introspection:

This is, hands down, one of the most beautiful books I have read this year. Everything from the writing to the structure of the story is just superlative. Although it has some minor flaws here and there, I still thought that the story was extremely well-constructed. I took a couple of weeks off from reviewing this novel because I know I need to let my mind wrap around what I read before I construct an insightful review and that is exactly what I did.

“I have become a collapsing star, pulling everything around it, even the light, into an ever-expanding void. Once I lose all ability to communicate with the world outside myself, nothing will be left but what I remember. My memories will be like a sandbar, cut off from the shore by the incoming tide. In time they will become submerged, inaccessible to me. The prospect terrified me. For what is a person without memories? A ghost, trapped between worlds, without an identity, with no future, no past.” – Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists.

Take a look at the passage above, that is the type of writing style that appears in the novel. The writing style is filled with purple prose and does it grate on my nerves? The answer is a big no. I thought the purple prose expiated the novel well because the novel has a gloomy and morbid atmosphere around it that the purple prose becomes the stream of light in the caliginous ambience and that definitely benefited the story. Other than that, I thought the writing style was crisp as well as the author is able to convey the message through the novel effectively. Honestly, there is so much to say when it comes to the writing style but I am not going to bore you with more information other than the beautiful purple prose and how crisp the writing style is because the writing style is for you to experience and no matter how much I say, it is not going to give the proper amount of justice to it. So, do experience it on your own.

This novel has one of the most dynamic casts of characters I have ever seen in literature. All of them have their own backstory and although we follow Yun Ling (main character) throughout the novel, we are still able to glimpse at the lives of other characters other than Yun Ling. So, the important characters are Yun Ling, Aritomo and Tatsuji.

Yun Ling goes through a series of character development throughout the novel and I loved it so freaking much. She started off really acrimonious with the Japanese and straight-up ruthless with them because of what the Japanese had done to her and her sister and then she slowly let go of the hatred and I thought that that was very well-written because she did not just let it go immediately but she let it go gradually which is a more realistic approach to life. Aritomo is an interesting character and I enjoyed the way he interacted with Yun Ling and how he opened up to her about his life as they have gotten closer over time. Tatsuji is a person who collects horimono and Aritomo’s art pieces after he disappeared to write a book on it and when he recounts his story of the war to Yun Ling, I almost sobbed. If you are looking for a book that will make you cry, read this.

The pacing is not the best part of the novel. I thought it dragged sometimes and some scenes in the novel flew by too quickly. For example, the scenes about the guerrillas went by so quickly that I cannot actually understand the guerrillas intentions and why they did what they did. The scenes that dragged are normally scenes that can be cut out of the novel and it will make no difference in the end. However, I think the pacing is still tolerable and it is not one of the worst pacings I have ever encountered.

The focus of this novel is not on the romance as there is barely any romance in it. The focus is on the struggle of a courageous woman who had lost her sister to the war, who had been through the war, who held on to the hatred for so long that the flame was eating her up and a woman who finally let go of the flame in the end. So, please do not go into this novel expecting a romance to blossom because I know I did, oops. #theregrets

In conclusion, I am bestowing this novel with a 90% (A+) rating. It is a remarkable novel that promulgates the Japanese invasion in Malaya and the Malayan Emergency to mainstream audiences as there aren’t many novels that focus on the Japanese invasion in Malaya. Thus, I highly recommend you to read this novel.


This is the end of my review for The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!


Book Review

The Ghost Bride By Yangsze Choo | Rant Review

Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be doing a book review for The Ghost Bride By Yangsze Choo today. Before we get into the review section of this article, I would like to thank Pansing for sending me a copy of this book. So, without further ado, let us dive right into the review section of this article.

Genre: Supernatural Historical Romance. 

Page Count: 384

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Synopsis:

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practised, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

My introspection:

I was extremely disappointed when I finished reading The Ghost Bride as I was expecting to love it. There are a couple of elements in the book that I enjoyed but they are thwarted by the sheer amount of distasteful elements that I could not bring myself to ignore while I was reading the book and thus, greatly affected my enjoyment for the novel.  

“I wondered whether he had merely been polite to me because custom demanded it. But his eyes had lingered too long. Remembering his steady gaze, I felt weak. Was this love? It was like a consuming flame, licking through my defences at a slow burn.”

I thought the romance for this novel was very insta-lovey. Take the above quote as an example. Li Lan, who is the protagonist of the novel, just met Tian Bai at the Lim family estate and she has already fallen for him. You would think that the romance would progressively get better as the book trudges forward, but no, it progressively gets worse. I dreaded reading every scene that both of them are in because their love does not exist and if you insist that it does, then it is as stale as a piece of rancid bread. Li Lan swoons whenever she is near Tian Bai and she barely even knows him. He could be a kidnapper or an en masse murderer and I bet Li Lan will still be languishing over him and not see the facet he is wearing. Towards the end of the novel, there is a scene where Li Lan cheated on Tian Bai by kissing another guy and I was not especially fond of that but she did bear the responsibility and do the right thing in the last few pages of the novel. Here is another quote showing how she swoons over Tian Bai because I want all of you to experience what I underwent:

“I nodded but hardly heard a word that he said. I could only recall the slight pressure of Tian Bai’s finger as it had traced the curve of my cheek.”

The pacing of the novel is all over the place. I do not mind if a book starts off slowly or it picks up speed towards the middle of the book and slows down towards the end or it is slow all the way towards the end as long as it remains consistent. However, that is not the case here. I thought the pacing of this novel started off really well. It is steady and unmistakably pleasant to read. As the book progresses, the pacing starts to undergo a series of chaotic phenomenon like a delicate thread of line being severed from the grand scheme of things. Sometimes it is fast and oftentimes, it is a mix of both fast and slow which showcase how inconsistent the pacing really is. Thus, I can safely state that the pacing is one of the weak points of the novel.

“‘And you – do you miss your cousin too?’ Tian Bai gave me a level look. ‘Not in the least,’ he said.”

Before I read this novel, I thought this was going to be a mystery book incorporated with supernatural elements but my ideas were quickly put into liquidation when I realized the mystery element is merely just the subplot of the novel. Still, I decided to continue on with whatever the author has to offer for the subplot of this novel and I was left dissatisfied. I thought it was easy to decipher who Tian Ching’s murderer is and although I was satisfied with the explanation given by Tian Ching’s murderer on murdering him, I thought it was funny how easy the murderer gives in and offers up an explanation of her wrongdoing… Like girl, aren’t you supposed to deny, deny and deny that you did what you did? Bruh, I cannot believe she just gives up and tells Li Lan who is not at all threatening.

“They had all my favourite kinds of kuih – the soft steamed nyonya cakes made of glutinous rice flour stuffed with palm sugar or shredded coconut. There were delicate rolled biscuits called love letters and pineapple tarts passed out of the rich pastry. Bowls of toasted watermelon seeds were passed around, along with fanned slices of mango and papaya.”

Sure enough, the writing style for this novel is descriptive, crisp and poetic. The author is unquestionably skilled in writing and the quote above is evidence that she could write beautifully. The descriptions of food definitely got me salivating and her descriptions on the landmarks in Malacca allows me to visualize the precinct clearly. Here is another quote that showcases the author’s brilliant writing style:

“In accordance with Islams, the upper-class Malays kept their ladies in purdah and no men other than immediate family members were allowed to glimpse them unveiled. The local Chinese did not observe such strict segregation of the sexes, though too much intimacy between two young people was discouraged.” 

You can tell the author did a lot of research on ghost marriages, Chinese notions of the afterlife, Malaya, Straits-born Chinese, Chinese dialects, Chinese names and Malay spellings as they are all written in the author’s note at the end of the novel which, I thought, was a great addition of the book.

The atmosphere for this novel is crafted immensely well and I can feel the fear radiating off Li Lan’s back most of the time. Other times, she annoyed the heck out of me but we will talk more about that later on. I thought the atmosphere was at its peak when it reaches Chapter 32. That is where Li Lan’s body is being possessed by another soul and Li Lan has to look at what the other soul is doing to her body and her life through the other dimension which I thought was rather ominous. 

“His corpulence only served to accentuate his resemblance to a pig, especially when he sank his jowly chin his neck to regard me.” 

Li Lan is the most judgemental and annoying character in the novel and we are stuck in her head throughout the book. Take the quote above as an example. She incessantly asks her other ghost companion questions and demands for her other ghost companion to take her to places and when her companion asks her questions, Li Lan ‘wishes she would stop asking her questions’. Yes, that is the exact quote from the book. It is rather funny she thought of that because I thought of that as well but in my case, I actually wanted Li Lan to shut the hell up instead of the ghost companion. Also, there is not any character development for Li Lan throughout the novel, she remains exactly the same as she is from the start to the end. 

Tian Ching does not serve much in this novel although this whole dilemma originates from him. He is that spoilt brat who is lazy and enjoys fomenting problems. Yes, that’s all for his character traits. Tian Bai has no personality. Yan Hong is fine but I wish there’s more depth to her character. 

Er Lang is hands down the best character in this novel. He is snarky, funny and likes to banter back and forth with Li Lan. One of the best things he has ever said to Li Lan is this: ‘Stop asking foolish questions and go!’ and I will give an extra quote because I like this quote too: “He cocked his head to one side. ‘If you want to follow someone, you ought not to do so at such a pantingly close range.'”

In conclusion, my final verdict for this book is 35% (E). I really thought I would like this book but unfortunately, it did not work for me. However, I am willing to give the author another try. The Night Tiger which is the author’s second novel sounds like a book I would really appreciate and I would fancy giving that a try in the future.


This is the end of my review for The Ghost Bride By Yangsze Choo! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

The Cruel Prince By Holly Black | Book Review

Hey everyone! Guess who has finally decided to return to this blog? Me. I hope all of you still recognize me as it has been a while since I last released an article on my blog. Just in case you are new here, my name is Max and today, I will be reviewing The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. 

For your information, this review will contain spoilers but I will inform you when the spoiler section appears, so feel free to read my ‘non-spoiler’ thoughts on The Cruel Prince and come back to read the spoiler section when you have finished reading the novel.

So, without further ado, let us dive right in.

Disclaimers:

All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.

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Synopsis:

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

My introspection:

Honestly, I do not know how or where the hell I should begin. This book is a whirlwind of emotions and I think we should all applause Holly Black for doing the thing she did with this novel. Alright, I got to calm down and run through the tortuous thoughts in my head because this novel messed me up in the best way possible.

The writing style in this novel is extremely alluring. The author weaves sentences together like she is embroidering a dress and after she finishes, she proceeds to refine and embellish the details on every inch of it. Each sentence never fails to impress me with the author’s skilful writing style. She uses vast vocabularies which I really enjoy reading and discovering and I cannot wait for more of her delicious writing style to enter the depths of my brain.

The prologue of this novel is absolute gold. Ugh, that sounds kind of terrible because Jude’s (the protagonist) parents are literally murdered in the prologue [not a spoiler, it is in the synopsis] but I really enjoyed it. It kept me on the edge of my seat with my heart thumping fast and hard in my chest as if it was also trying to find out what was coming next as well. Then we have the first 160 pages which I thought was sensationally crafted and for your information, the political intrigue and the power shift happen later in the book but the first 160 pages will keep you piss off enough to make you fly through the pages due to the bullying the protagonist has to endure in Faerie. 

The politics and power shifts are, for lack of a better word, mind-blowing. The amount of scheming, lying, twisted words and betrayal are balanced meticulously on the scale. Holly Black really knows how to create multiple plot twists that you will not see coming and I swear, a few of the chapters in this novel mystified me to the point where it got my lips carving a big O on my face, in other words, my jaw dropped. Some of the plot twists end in violence and some don’t but overall, they are still fucking amazing and I cannot stress that enough.

The characters in this novel involve Jude; Taryn who is Jude’s twin sister; Vivienne who is Jude’s older sister; Madoc who is the murderer of Jude’s parents; Oriana who is married to Madoc; Oak who is Jude’s younger brother but not blood-related in any way; Cardan who is the prince of Faerie and also happens to be a jackass for bullying people who are weaker than him; Locke who is… erm he can drown in a lake and I would say thank you; Valerian who also happens to be a jackass like Cardan and; Nicasia who is Queen Orlargh heir and she is disgusting. These are the central characters and of course, there are more characters in this novel but I do not want to spoil the story by naming the others so I am going to leave it at that. 

The characters are so well constructed that you find yourself rooting for some of them and also, you will often find yourself wanting, desperately, to drown them personally in the river with your bare hands. Well, among all these characters, I would like to say that Jude has the most character development throughout the entirety of the novel because she is the one narrating the story but not only that, I thought her growth was gradual as she realizes her mistakes, takes guidance from other people and learns from it. Compare to the beginning of the novel where she does not, she clearly does take other people’s suggestions into account in the end.

For people who have not read a lot of Faerie books, you definitely need to know the basic knowledge of the folklore to understand the world a little better. I went into the novel with the mistake of not knowing anything about the folklore but I searched it up along the way so I can still kind of grasp the delicate line of knowledge of the world. Other than that, I thought the culture, the food and the social etiquette were very well formulated.   

However, I do have a scarce amount of complaints. Let’s inaugurate this section of the review with the ‘romance’. The romance, if you could call it that, feels really forced. It happens out of the blue and there is not any build-up to it. The romance section took me out of the story but luckily, it is quickly replaced by other plot points. 

Moving on, we have some character decisions that I could not comprehend. For example, Jude says ‘My father’ as in Madoc and not her biological father in the previous page and in the next page, a character says ‘your father’ and she quickly counteracts and says ‘He is not my father’… like dude, make up your mind. Sometimes, she makes a decision and it is not addressed ever again.

Therefore, my final verdict for this novel will be a solid 85%. Time to force every single one of you to read this novel and drown in the sea of emotions with me. Please read it, thank you very much. 


[SPOILER SECTION!]

I love how Holly Black annihilates Taryn good persona for me. I hate Taryn as much as Cardan because how in the world could you do that to your sister? How? I don’t understand. For goodness sake, Taryn is so cruel and she doesn’t even know she is just that- cruel – like the rest of the bullies.

THAT ENDING GOT ME LIKE:

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I totally did not see that coming. Like are you kidding? The crown is on Cardan’s head instead of Oak’s. Moreover, that scene where Madoc and Jude are fighting and that END RESULT. I cannot. I am deceased. 

The chapter before part 2 rolls around got my eyes going wide. I totally did not expect characters to be dead in a single sentence. The massacre of the royal family AHHH I can’t. 

I think that’s all I am going to say for this section. If you have any more to add on to this section, do state [SPOILERS] in your comment so people who have not read this novel will not be spoiled. Thanks! 


This is the end of my review for The Cruel Prince By Holly Black! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!