Bookish Fun!

January Wrap Up | 2021

Hey Everyone! My name is Max and I will be manufacturing an article christened January Wrap Up for the year of 2021 today! I have decided to bring this Wrap-Up series back because I realized awhile back that I could not, for the life of me, talk about every single book with individual review articles on my blog because there simply isn’t enough time to do so and therefore, I am going to resuscitate this series to fully cover all the books I read this year.

So, in the month of January, I read 10 books and 3 of them are classics, the other 2 are YA fiction, 2 from the magical realism genre, 1 literary fiction, 1 from the children fiction genre and 1 thriller. I will not be confabulating on the books that I had already reviewed on my blog but I will leave the links for you all to check them out if you are interested.

Without further ado, let us get dive right in.

Books With Reviews

Books Without Reviews

Thriller/Mystery

The Dry is my very first thriller of the year and it did not disappoint. This novel follows Aaron Falk, a Federal Police Investigator, who returns to his hometown after 20 years for his childhood friend’s funeral as his friend, his friend’s wife and son were found brutally slain. Everybody in the town thinks that it is manslaughter done by his friend as he was found dead with the gun that murdered both the wife and the son but… is it what it seems?

I think what Jane Harper does best is her portrayal of the characters in this novel. She goes into the psychological state of the characters and explains in-depth what they are feeling. It is never fuzzy or unreasonable. Every emotion that has been depicted in this book is perfectly understandable. The characters, especially Aaron Falk, are layered and complex. There is an abundance of side-plots going on in this novel and none of them is dull or uninteresting. If anything, it adds more layers to the story and makes it a more compelling read. The writing is mesmerizing. My only qualm is that I found my enjoyment or the initial excitement fizzled out when I reached the last 30 something pages of the novel and it is not because of the plot twist or that I guessed it correctly, it is because… erm it did not feel as excited or intrigued as before and my enjoyment evanesced because of that. Therefore, my final verdict would be:-

Final Verdict: 80% (A)

Children Fiction

Although this book is titled Ghost, it has nothing to do with ghosts or any supernatural entity. Ghost is a nickname for a boy christened Castle Cranshaw, who has been running from his past and his trauma his whole life as his dad used to abuse his mother and him before he was put in jail for it. He then joins the track team to outrun his past and to also, harness his raw talent for running. So, one question remains: can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?

The writing style is enthralling for a children’s novel, unlike Tuck Everlasting. It is extremely palatable for children to read and it also has the capacity for people of all ages to enjoy the story. The characters are likeable and not too complex for children to understand. I enjoyed the messages that the author conveys through this book. For example, owning up to your mistake for stealing, overcoming your fears and asking for help. All in all, a great start to the series. However, I do think that the story suffers from the length of the novel because if the book were to be a little longer, it will flesh out the characters and the story more. I thought that the ending of the novel ended too abruptly and I did not really like that. Therefore, my final verdict for this book would be:-

Final Verdict: 69% (C)

Young Adult/Magical Realism

Here comes my very first five stars read of 2021. This novel follows 17-year-old Sasha, a sheltered English girl who is in the midst of the first world war in 1915. She longs to be a nurse but girls of her class don’t do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected—she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas. Pretending to be a real nurse, she absconds into the battlefield in search of her brother to prevent his death.

This novel is fucking gorgeous. Marcus Sedgwick has adopted a writing style that is so unique and lyrical that I adore notably. This novel is very well-paced, it did not lag behind or surge forward unreasonably. The storytelling is amazing; the way Marcus Sedgwick employs different elements into the story and swirls them in the cauldron to make this perfectly crafted book shows his luscious talent. For example, this book starts from chapter 101 and ends with chapter 1 for a very symbolic reason, chapters with blank pages to show what the main character is feeling, etc. It is quite the cinematic experience but with a book instead of a movie. Marcus Sedgwick knows how to take his readers through a journey and end the journey in an immaculate manner. The characters are flawed, realistic and likeable in certain ways. The ending shocked me; it made me sad and happy at the same time – a very conflicting moment that I would love to experience again by the end of this year. Yes, I am going to reread this novel before 2021 ends. And yes again, this book is that good. Therefore, my final verdict for this novel is:-

Final Verdict: 98% (A+)

Classics

I am so glad that I read Frankenstein because I can finally understand the immeasurable difference between the Hollywood adaptations of this novel and the novel itself. All this time, I thought Frankenstein was the monster but Frankenstein is actually the scientist. God, why must the Hollywood adaptations deviate so much from the source material? That’s my question to whoever the Frankenstein movie creators are.

So, I loved the general idea of the novel. I was particularly intrigued by the notions and messages that the author attempts to convey through this novel. For example, the ethicality of the advancement in the science department, people who chase away or seek to destroy something they do not know out of fear, the rejection from a society that messes with one’s psychological state and a plethora of other topics. I found myself enjoying the writing a little bit more towards the end of the novel because the dramatic effects are needed to proliferate the tension and the action. However, I do not like how the author platters on and on about nothing as it did nothing to advance the plot. The pacing at the beginning of the novel is too slow but thankfully, the author speeds it up towards the middle of the book. The writing is devoid of emotion and I cannot feel for any of the characters because of how dramatic everything is but again, I liked the dramatic effects towards the end of the book. Also, I wish the author would orate more about Ernest, Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s dad because we know virtually nothing about them except for the tragedies that have befallen them. Therefore, my final verdict for this novel would be:-

Final Verdict: 65% (C)

Magical Realism

Exit West follows these two characters – Saeed and Nadia – embarking on a furtive love affair in a country teetering on the brink of civil war. When their premature intimacy explodes, familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bombs start to blast. Then they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

I did not like Mohsin Hamid’s writing style. I thought it was a little redundant and repetitive for him to repeat the same sentences again and again with little altering for the sake of beautifying the paragraphs. The story focuses more on the overall theme of the novel instead of what the characters are going through – like their psychological state, the constant fear and trauma – and I did not particularly enjoy that. There are random scenes that appear in the novel that are not needed in any way to advance the plot. The transition from reality to magical realism is too abrupt; it is a literal slap in the face and I could not get over how odd the transition is. However, I liked the pacing, the atmosphere, the ending and both Saeed’s and Nadia’s complex characterizations. I also enjoyed the discussion on the topics of immigration, plebiscite and the desperation to get away from a country treated with malice. Therefore, I am proffering this novel with a verdict of:-

Final Verdict: 60% (C)

I will give an in-depth review of these two books when I finish reading the six books in one book collective edition that I owned. So, stay tuned for a review article coming for these books in the near future. I will give you all a hint for y’all to look forward to the review: I did not like R.L Stevenson’s writing style and I did not like these 2 books at all.


This is the end of my ‘January Wrap Up’. I hope you all enjoyed it and let me know about your reading wrap up in the comment box below! Follow me with your email/WordPress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Have a great day ahead!

14 thoughts on “January Wrap Up | 2021

  1. Great post! I really liked The Dry as well, and I’ll have to read The Foreshadowing, looks gorgeous! I loved Marcus Sedgwick’s books in the past so it makes me even more eager to get to this one!

    Liked by 2 people

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