Review | The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

Well-written and well-researched, but lacking in drama and repetitive: 3/5 stars.

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

What it’s about: Mary, Queen of Scots was the “guest” of the government of Elizabeth I from 1568 to 1587. This novel focuses on her captivity from 1569 to 1572, the point of view alternating between that of Mary herself, and those of her two hosts: the Earl of Shrewsbury and Bess of Harwick, his new wife.

My take:

The book is very well-written and researched. From that alone, I can guess that Gregory had written better novels and understand why she has such a loyal following. However, in the case of The Other Queen, I think the core problem is the point of view from which she chose to approach her subject.

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Review | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One book coverAn interesting premise and good world-building let down by a lack of non-virtual stakes. Ready Player One recovers somewhat in Part Three, but too late to get it more than 3/5 from me.

The blurb: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My take:

Ever wanted to spend hours watching other people playing computer games? No? Well that’s what you’re in for during several parts of this book. You’ve been warned.

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Review | Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go bNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro book coverA haunting tale told by a mesmeric voice. A thought-provoking rather than an enjoyable read which it would be better to come to knowing nothing about.

What it’s about: I seem to be saying this a lot lately… but I honestly think your experience of this book will be improved if you come to it with no idea what it’s about. If you do want to read the blurb, I’ve put it down at the end of this review. I will say that, in my opinion, this is not a science fiction or dystopian novel, whatever you might hear or however you see it classified.

My take: I would give this book 4/5 stars rather than 5. The writing is excellent, the characters are interesting and you find yourself thinking about the issues it explores long after you finish reading. I can see why so many book clubs choose this!

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Review | Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)

Allegiant Divergent 3 by Veronica RothWARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

Allegiant is a brave conclusion to Veronica Roth’s best-selling Divergent trilogy. While I felt Allegiant was the weakest of the series in terms of plot and pace, I was impressed that Roth allowed her characters to be true to themselves, even though that meant denying her readers the satisfaction of a happily ever after.

I didn’t find Allegiant as entertaining as the previous two installments in the Divergent series. I’ve tried to find solid reasons why.

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WWW Wednesday 10 June 2015

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, “This Week In Books” is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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Review | Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)

Insurgent by Veronica Roth book coverEvery bit as good as the first volume of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Insurgent is another entertaining read.

(In case you don’t know what the series is about – please see the official blurb at the bottom of this review… and here’s my previous review of Divergent)

My take:

One of the things I liked immediately about Insurgent was that the story picks up exactly where Divergent left off and gets on with it. There’s no dithering about to remind us what happened in the last book. Instead we are dropped back into the action as the characters have to deal with the fall out from the devastating events at the end of Divergent.

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Review | A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic book cover by V E Schwab

Fantastic, in every sense of the word.

Fantasy fiction fans will love this book. I can’t fault it: 5/5 stars.

My take:

Where to begin? Perhaps with the idea. The idea behind this book is intriguing and elegant. Schwab describes her three Londons (well, there are four, but we don’t see one of them), each in their own sealed pocket of reality, with an admirably confident and consistent logic which carries the reader between them smoothly, letting the characters take the knocks.

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