Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

"All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

Hi there lovelies!
I got this book for my birthday and finally got around to reading it :)

This story is about Marie-Laure, a blind girl living with her father in Paris and Werner, a young boy who loves radios and technology and is sent to a German school for the Hitler Youth. Their stories start of separate but because of the war, they somehow intertwine. 

Published on May 6th in 2014
531 Pages

My Opinion:
My preferred genre is YA fantasy or contemporary - you may notice this book is neither of those. I did want to broaden my reading-horizon a little and so this book went on my TBR. For my birthday in December I then got this book from a lovely friend. And now I finally decided to pick it up - I do not regret it.

For me as a German, I feel like I may perceive some parts of this book differently than others simply because of the German history that this book is about. In school I have learned a lot about World War II and how we need to avoid that ever happening again. This book depicted again those things that I learned and that were real. I even went on a study field trip to Auschwitz, the biggest concentration camp, so I do have some experience with the German history.

But let's get to the story itself. It took me about 150 pages to really get into because the chapters are short and the perspective changes with every chapter. Therefore it took quite some time to really get to know Marie-Laure and Werner - partially, because Werner somehow stays distanced to the reader throughout the whole book. Marie-Laure, on the other hand, is so lovely and I grew to really like her. Werner, I'm indifferent to. And maybe that is the point - to not sympathize with the German boy because he is on the bad side of war. 

I loved how there was a slight air of fantasy to it because of the legend of the 'Sea of Flames', a diamond that is supposedly haunted: it's owner is to live forever while the people they love die tragically. This little diamond plays quite a big role in the happenings of this story, if I think more closely about it...

What I also like is that this book is still on my mind, there are still things I think about. Even while not reading it my mind kept going back to the book, wondering what was going to happen or how those kids would have turned out if everything had been different. It just was constantly on my mind somehow and I think if a book can do that, it's definitely worth reading.

The writing was eerie and somehow haunting. There were sentences and phrases that shocked me even though I knew what was said was completely real.

All in all I give it a solid 7 out of 10 hearts.

-xoxo Lisa

Sonntag, 21. Mai 2017

"Illuminae" by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

Hi there lovelies ♥

You might have noticed that I'm reading all of those books which are very hyped in the YA-bookscene... and you might also have noticed that I'm very freaking late to the party. Everybody hasy already read all these popular books and I'm trying to catch up.
One of these very hyped and much talked about books is "Illuminae", written by two known YA-authors. It is known for being very special and unusual because of it's use of uncommon media instead of straight P.O.V. telling. That's probably why it becomes interesting to read in the first place, the experience is very different from a 'normal' book.

My boyfriend got me both "Illuminae" and "Gemina" in the beautiful hardcover edition (they're so stunning, I'm shook) as Easter presents, so shoutout to my boyfriend ;)

It's the year 2575 and Kerenza, a small planet, is being attacked. Kady and Ezra, to teenagers living on Kerenza manage to save themselves onto an evacuating fleet. The attackers are then after these evacuation fleets. That's not the end of their problems because strange things start happening on the fleet. Kady is determined to find out the reasons, though she needs Ezra's help.

"BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes." - Goodreads

Published October 20th in 2015

599 pages 
(and they are indicated at the bottom so you always know how many are left....get's you sweating at some point, believe me!)

My Opinon:
Books that are hyped a lot on any kind of media are always a bit intimidating to me because I am scared that I will not like them. Illuminae was one of those, yet I was still excited to get into it.

What stands out the most in this series is the style, the usage of different kinds of media (diary entries, chats, reports, very impressive pictures, even a Wikipedia-like entry) that make up this book. At first, it was hard to get into the characters because you never really get into their heads in the traditional way. Only when the diary entries start it gets easier to sympathize with them. Still, the first 200 pages were a bit slower than my usual reading. Suddenly I was very into the story though and devoured the book quite quickly and basically fell in love. So if those first hundred pages trouble you: keep on going, its gonna be worth it!
I went from not being too invested into nearly crying (I couldn't though, I read the end while sitting in the train on my way to Uni...) because of how deeply my feelings were intertwined with these characters. It makes me a bit sad that 'Gemina' is not gonna be directly about Kady and Ezra, though I hope to get a bit of them through the new characters.

I also loved the role the Artificial Intelligence plays in this book since it is a topic widely discussed and also a topic creating a lot of worry. The fear that AIs are gonna take over the world someday is present and this book perfectly plays with these fears.

I might mention that I have not read anything by Jay Kristoff or Amie Kaufmann yet, so I am not sure which parts are accredited to which author but I really, really loved the humor and style and in my head I was chuckling a lot. I definitely am going to read more by these two to figure out which role they played in writing 'Illuminae'....I really want to know!

My previous experience with YA books taking place in space were not so successful so I am happy that I gave 'Illuminae' a try. I loved it a lot and therefor I'm giving it a rating of 10 out of 10 hearts.

-xoxo Lisa

Sonntag, 7. Mai 2017

"Strange the Dreamer" by Laini Taylor

Hi there!
LONG TIME NO SEE! - I moved and university started again. Thus I had no time for nothing, basically. But I'm back in the reading business :)

I have a lot to say about this book before getting into the real review. Let me take you back to the beginning of me and the book:
I pre-ordered the March Fairy Loot Box since it had been the anniversary box and was said to be special. The book for the month was said to be an upcoming release from a bestseller-author and I suspected it to be "Strange the Dreamer" but just hoped I'd be wrong. Why, you ask? Because I read "Daughter of Smoke & Bone" and somehow disliked it. In addition to that, I had read reviews for the book that put me off.
The box arrived and I pulled the book out....and it looked absolutely gorgeous. I was a bit disappointed at first because I had hoped for another book but it looked gorgeous. I read the interview Laini Taylor gave for FairyLoot and it somehow got me...excited! Excited to start the book. I knew that excitement would die out if I didn't act fast so I immediately started reading it. Of course I went into it with a lot of prejudices but I was pleasantly surprised.

Young Lazlo Strange is an orphan, raised by monks and he somehow ended up as a librarian. The mystery of the forgotten city 'Weep' has been in his mind since he had been young. Lazlo collects stories and loves to read - all the other librarians think he is weird but they let him be.
The library and enclosed university are then visited by the 'Godslayer' who came straight from Weep and he wants the best people to come with him and solve the great problem of Weep.

"What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?" (- Goodreads)

Published May 28th 2017
544 pages

My Opinion:

My prejudices caused me to go into this with low expectations - they were all exceeded by far. This book is probably one of my favorite reads for this year and I am so surprised because I didn't expect that at all.
I needed some time to get into the story because it starts a bit like a fairytale showing us the beginning of Lazlo's life and how Weep became a part of it. For me the story really only begins when he is part of the library and is then chosen to actually visit Weep. Before that, the it feels more like an introduction to Lazlo's character and the importance of Weep to him.

I liked the pacing. It was quite slow without getting boring or tiring. Because the point of view changed almost regularly from Lazlo to Sarai, the pacing worked perfectly. The reader had the chance to experience both worlds and slowly we learned what happened, how it happened and what may be happening in the future.
I loved how the whole situation stayed mysterious for so long. It took quite some time until we actually knew what happened in Weep and why. That, of course, helped to keep the suspense up.

Another positive point this book got going on is Laini Taylor's marvelous writing. Every word, every sentence somehow feels deep, poetic and meaningful because that's how she writes. It doesn't feel pretentious or blown up, it just works, especially for this story of old mysteries and gods.

That being said: I'm very excited for the next book. I read this one right when it was released so I'll probably have to wait a loooong time for the next one.... why did I do this to myself?

Anyway, my personal rating would have to be 10 out of 10 hearts. It's one of my favorite reads so far this year.

- xoxo Lisa