Some insignificant thoughts

Writing about books and more. 

Reaper's Gale - Steven Erikson

There is a common trait in all of Erikson's books: the multiple local plots, that seem to be drawn by common underlying factor(s) (Crippled God etc.), brilliantly interwoven into an epic story, with an epic breathtaking end that brings tears to my eyes. It is simply impossible to put the book down once you reach the last couple hundred pages. A storytelling that reaches millenia back and creates a wonderful adventure. Both in the book, and in my mind as I try to remember what had happened two or three books back.


In Reaper's Gale, we return to Letheras, which is now under the occupation of Emperor Rhulad Sengar's Tiste Edur. But we soon realise that the Tiste Edur do not hold as much power as they think they do. The emperor being the one who is mostly deceited of them all. So even under a foreign rule, the wealthy Letherii are further empowered by the institutions they created to guard and further their interests: the Liberty Consign and the Patriotists. Wars continue to be waged under false pretences in the East, while everyone who opposes the new setting of power disappears. But uncertainty looms once again. The Empire is on the verge of economic collapse, the one that Tehol Beddict started orchestrating in Midnight Tides. The invasion to the Awl'dan meets failure after failure as a new leader returned from the Wastelands with powerful weapons and powerful allies. From the west, the outlawed Bonehunters seek a way to Letheras. And the Edur fleet returning to the capital carries the new champions that will face the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths. Among those champions, Icarium, the Jhag that his rage has destroyed cities in the past, and Karsa Orlong, the short-tempered barbarian warrior with the souls of those slain by his hands trailing him.


And while forces converge to Letheras, a group of fugitives leave that city behind them. Silchas Ruin, Fear Sengar, the ex-slave Udinaas, the Acquitor Seren Pedac, the child Kettle and a Tiste Andii wraith seek a way to the place where the soul of Scabandari Bloodeye is. But the journey, through warrens and realms is a difficult one, as doubts are born, tensions grow and as in the end of their journey looms betrayal. 

Compared to the previous books of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, this one wasn't as satisfying to read. It seemed to me that he was stretched too much in too many sub-stories and that in the end, we don't get a clear conclusion, as he did in all the previous books. For example, the Awl part and their war with the Letherii seemed really important, but once things got hot in Letheras, the things in Awl'dan got in a quick ending that left many questions unanswered. Abandoned. This awkward navigation through the story, in general, really bugged me. Too many deux-ex machinas, too many hasty "answers" from previous books, too many "happy endings" and too many "dramatic endings" that seemed shallow in their description. 

Maybe he needed to write too many things, so it resulted in this clumsy handling? If it was just the too many things to read through, I would have been fine. It is Erikson after all, every book has to be some kind of a challenge to read. Possibly.


Despite my bitter review, I'm not giving up on this series - Erikson remains one of my favourite authors. Just that this book now occupies the "Least favourite Malazan" book spot. Given the somewhat abrupt end, I remain positive that Reaper's Gale and my harsh opinion on it will be redeemed in some following book in the series.

Broken Homes - Ben Aaronovitch The book was slacking a bit in the beginning, as many incidents seem scattered points that makes it difficult to remember them later in the book. But this loose start of the plot has improved considerably compared the previous books.

Once again, Peter Grant chases the supernatural criminals that dare disturb the Queen's peace in Greater London. This time, murders here and there seem to connect with Skygarden Estate in the notorious Elephant & Castle. As we follow his, Leslie's and Nightingale's efforts to investigate this, we get a better outline of the magic in this alternative world that includes this alternative London.

What I really liked is how every country has a different set of magical practises, according to how each culture developed it. Despite that, the majority of it remains a mystery, which we find Peter Grant trying to solve it in his modern geeky (surprisingly) way that involves true scientific methodology of an empirical study. Well, almost...

"Dr Walid leaned forward as I talked - he at least appreciated a bit of empiricism. I explained that I'd exposed each material sample to identical amounts of magic, by conjuring a werelight - the simplest and most controlable spell I knew - and then put it in the box with Toby to see what happened.
'Were there any significant findings?' he asked.
'Toby's not very discriminating, so we're talking a wide margin of error,' I said. 'But it was about what I expected. And in line with my reading. Stone retains vestigia the best, followed by concrete. Wood was next and the worst was flesh.' In the form of a leg of pork which Toby subsequently ate before I could stop him."

Another thing I liked is that Nightingale has a more active role in this book. We learn more things about him and his past and the interactions with him and the modern times in many occasions were fun.

I would give it four stars because of the not-perfect first one-third of the book, but oh, that ending.
The Diary of a Young Girl - B.M. Mooyaart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Frank How do you review a book that was not meant to be a book?

The only thing that comes to my mind for this book is..interesting. I'm sure there are better books about Jewish accounts of hiding and their perception of the war and better books of reading a teenager's inner self, contradictions and no-one-ever-understands-me stuff. But on the other hand, this being a diary that was never meant to be published makes all of it genuine and valuable. Her thoughts and accounts of the debates on the political struggles and the war were fascinating. And her strength, writing in such a colourful and cheerful way, while being confined in a place for two years is amazing. Reading her dreams and aspirations, while knowing that this story will not have a happy ending was tragic.

But still, it wasn't an easy read. After a point, I got a bit tired with the continuous repetitions of her teenage complaints. I think I would have abandoned it, if I wasn't travelling on bus, plane and later train for almost a day with nothing else to read.

Le Monogramme

Le Monogramme - Odysseus Elytis It’s early still in this world, do you hear me
They haven’t tamed the beast, do you hear me
My wasted blood and sharp, hear me, knife
Like a ram running across the heavens
Breaking the tails of comets, hear me
I am, hear me
I love you, hear me
I hold you and I take you and I dress you
In the white gown of Ophelia, hear me
Where do you leave me, where do you go and who, hear me
Equal Rites  - Terry Pratchett As it was mentioned in the second book of the Discworld series, Light Fantastic: “Unseen University had never admitted women, muttering something about problems with the plumbing, but the real reason was an unspoken dread that if women were allowed to mess around with magic they would probably be embarrassingly good at it…”

There were witches of course, but they dealt with a different kind of magic. Higher wizard magic wasn't meant for women.

But in this third book in the Discworld series we are introduced to Eskarina, who by a mistake of a wizard, she is to be the first female wizard in Discworld. That is, if she manages to be recognised as a wizard. Granny Weatherwax is there to help her with this and try to keep her out of trouble, but it seems as the unreined female magic causes lots of trouble and leads to many adventures.

Written in the same funny, brilliand style as the previous books, it has no connection with the stories of Rincewind and Twoflower. We get to discover new areas of the Discworld, revisit Ankh-Morpork and the Unseen University and learn more about the complex magic system of the Discworld.

I liked this one more than the previous two and Granny Weatherwax is definitely one of my favourite book heroines! Thinking that I'm just in the beginning of the Discworld series, I'm really eager to read more about the awesome world Terry Pratchett created and hopefully find more adventures of Granny Weatherwax. Five stars!
The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7) - C.S. Lewis, Patrick Stewart Why, oh why.... What a waste of time... Regret, sorrow and misery for this stupid final book. I weep...
The Magician's Nephew (Narnia) - C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes, Kenneth Branagh It was...ok. The plot didn't seem as rich as in the previous books and the creation of Narnia stuff made me roll my eyes a few times.
According to Wikipedia, this was Lewis' most challenging book to write, as he started it after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to explain the lambpost, but changed its structure many times.
Chronologically, this is placed as the first book of the series, but as I think it wouldn't feel as nice if I was introduced to Narnia through this book. It would spoil so many things in the next books! I don't think I would have the same excitement while I was reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe if I knew who the White Witch was and how she came to Narnia, or who Professor Kirke really was and about the wardrobe.
The Silver Chair - Jeremy Northam, C.S. Lewis After reading this book, I regret rating the previous three books of the series with 5 stars the previous three. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia when I was little. Though I hadn't read the books, I had watched numerous times the BBC Series -and yes, I believe it was better than the movies, despite the ridiculous visual effects. (Oh, and the music!!


As I was less than 10 years old when I was watching the series, and the recent movies were only until The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, my memory of the plot stopped somewhere at the beginning of The Silver Chair, so I couldn't possibly imagine how much better it was, compared to the previous books!

In this book, we encounter Eustace again, who ends up with his friend Jill in Narnia. The book mostly revolves around the actions and thoughts of Jill, as the burden of their dreadful task is mostly on her shoulders: Aslan assigns them to find the lost prince Rillian, son of King Caspian (who is an old man by then) and gives Jill 4 signs that will guide them through their journey. A really pessimistic marsh-wiggle, Puddleglum, joins them in their adventure. His gloomy remarks, which always foresaw death and misery were the funniest thing in the book.

This journey proved far more interesting than I expected, especially the signs. In the end, it really made me wonder how the end could have been different. Oh, tears. Lots of them :(
Bite Me - Christopher Moore The first half of the book was a bit slow-paced and dragging. While it was nice to go on with the plot from different characters, I felt as if it was just descriptions and no action. Later, the pace went to light-speed, which kinda annoyed me as well.The whole action was 20 pages that left me asking for more. While reading the book I was thinking that this would be a 3-star or 4-star book, but as I reached the end I was really surprised. It was completely unexpected. Though not the end I was hoping for, it was still a pleasant not-necessarily happy ending.

In general, the trilogy seemed to have many flaws in the storytelling process. The plot itself was interesting, but sometimes the way christopher moore narrated it made it a bit boring. Apart from that, I enjoyed it. I loved its humourous style, especially the diary pieces of the Goth girl.

You Suck: A Love Story

You Suck: A Love Story - Christopher Moore To be honest, I only started this book because I decided to do something about all the series of books that I have left unfinished.
I wasn't really impressed by the first book, but this one seemed to be far more better. While I was dissapointed with the cliches the first book had, in this book the only vampire cliches were satirized through the goth teenager's diary descriptions. I really enjoyed these parts of the book.
The love story between Jody and Tommy still seemed shallow and stupid, so 4 stars for this book.

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) - Robin Hobb I really enjoyed reading this book, hadn't felt so happy with a story for a while and I proudly add it to my favourites shelf!
I didn't even bothered the slow pace in the beginning, as Hobb layed developed the characters and their relationships and layed the threads of the plot that led to a remarkably intense ending.
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern, Jim  Dale Meaningless. Waste of time. Ok, beautiful, romantic and all, but besides that, empty.

I knew I shouldn't have read a book about a circus.

Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)

Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5) - Steven Erikson And yes... He's done it again.
Breathtaking action, unexpected turns, stunning revelations...

Oh I just want to read it again! And the previous book! And the one before that! The first one until this one! I need another life just to read this series over and over again!!
The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson It was one of the most unexpected ends I've ever read...Truly amazing.

On the Jewish Question (Readings in Modern Jewish History)

On the Jewish Question (Readings in Modern Jewish History) - Karl Marx Writen in 1842, Marx, with this critique on Bauer's "The Jewish Question", develops a theoritical approach on the nature of the rights of the man. These rights in the industrialised society are divided in political rights and human rights, reflecting the division in the living of the man of the feudal system, where all of its aspects were included in the public/state life and were in part political. After the shutering of that system, while the political rights stand for all people as equals and are not influenced in any way by religion or personal ownership, are separated from the elements that make up their social, private life, such as religion, ownership, equality etc, which are the human rights.
Where Marx concludes is that the people, in order to be fully emancipated must find the way to connect the two livings, the political and the social into one again, in order to participate in the political life as a united social force.
Johnny and the Dead - Terry Pratchett Loved it!!!