After the best couple of reading months radiating with glowing reviews, May came along and welcomed a string of 3-star reads. I only have myself to blame, forever falling into the over-hyped book trap. I delve into books with high expectations and I’m consequently left underwhelmed. Anyone else? Despite how fast the month flew by, I managed to read 9 books and also discovered a couple of favourites: Fingersmith, 1984 and my number-one May read, Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek.
As always, I’ve condensed my initial Goodreads reviews into smaller chunks. I’ve linked my full thoughts in the headings if you’re interested! Without further ado, here’s my May reading wrap-up.
This book was a whole combination of whacky nonsense with poignant, often satirical, philosophical messages. In Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut writes about man’s ultimate destruction of the world through irresponsible use of science. Although he wrote this in the 60s, the ethical question of man-playing-God remains more relevant than ever; ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, forests are burning. Just because scientists possess the tools and power to create something doesn’t mean they should.
Vonnegut conveys his enduring ideas with amusing satire and comedy and successfully illustrates humanity’s stupidity. Yes, the whole thing was ludicrous, and the structure was questionable, but he blends the absurd with reality so well that I couldn’t help but be intrigued.
Every Heart a Doorway was a quick, charming little read which I felt started off strong. It begins as an enthralling majestic tale about a boarding school for children who have fallen into magical worlds but have returned to an unwanted reality. In true Wonderland style, they discovered doors of all different shapes and sizes that swept them away upon entering. However, despite the murders and magical fairyland worlds, I started to lose interest. The story didn’t execute as well as it could have.
I understand that this is a short story, I just wish there could have been more world-building and character development. However, it has such an intriguing and unique premise and I’m sure it will continue to receive lots of praise! Although it didn’t live up to my admittedly high expectations, I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Fingersmith’s magic lies within its plot, so I won´t share too much with the risk of ruining the joy of being shocked by the array of twists and turns. What I will say, is that it´s set in authentic Victorian England and manages to incorporate every possible trope of the era that we know and love. However, Waters does so in a way that´s both fresh and startling.
Susan Trinder is raised in a den of thieves and learns how to master the art of pick-pocketing, cheating and lying her way through life. One of their frequent visitors ropes Sue into perpetrating one of his money-making schemes – to make a wealthy man’s niece, Maud Lilly, fall in love with him so he can relieve her of her fortune once married. Susan is soon employed as the Lady´s maid and Waters takes us on a literary adventure full of complicated characters befitting of the Dickens era. She perfectly illustrates the marginalised members of society and reveals the depravity that occurs behind closed doors.
Waters is an incredible storyteller. I abhor long chapters, so it did take some time for me to fully engage with the novel. Nonetheless, I’m glad I stuck with it. Waters suddenly hits us with a twist and the mystery within the narrative kept me hooked. The exploration of romantic female relationships is something no contemporary Victorian author would have dared to do. So refreshing to read!
The premise is what intrigued me; in this dystopian future, food is power. In Bangkok, Thailand, global warming is causing restrictions on carbon output and oil is depleted. What’s more, the world’s food supply has been devastated by biological plagues. With food limited, calories are the new currency. There are also the New People; genetically modified humans who are physically flawless and are created by the Japanese to obey. This is a world full of oppression, filth and survival.
I found The Windup Girl hard to follow. There is such an array of characters who each have their own chapters that the plot quickly became confusing. I appreciated its messages about revolution, greed, and the impact our current actions are having on the planet. However, unfortunately, I couldn’t get into it. This book carries a clinical quality which meant I felt little for the characters and I couldn’t immerse myself in this dystopian world
This one was by far my favourite of the month. Miracle Creek is a thrilling courtroom drama in which the author respectfully touches on a bounty of poignant topics. It isn’t an easy read. It’s disturbing at times yet at once, incredibly moving.
My full book review for this moving mystery can found here!
With the TV adaptation premiering at the end of May, I thought it was time to finally read this collaboration.
So, Crowley and Aziraphale were hilarious; their humorous conversations about what composers and musicians made it into Heaven and Hell, how Aziraphale is devoid of all pop culture references and the fact that they have only gone and lost the Antichrist. If Good Omens solely focused on these two quirky characters, there’s no doubt that my rating would be higher. However, due to the multiple plot lines and the huge cast of characters, I lost the thread of the narrative.
There’s no doubt that this fantasy novel is nothing like I’ve ever read before. While it didn’t blow me away, I think I’ll enjoy the mini-series. I mean, David Tenant and Michael Sheen portraying the quirky characters sounds too good to miss.
To this day this book is more relevant than ever. The pinnacle of dystopian literature, 1984 shows us everything that is wrong with our world, and everything that could go wrong. We are controlled by our governments, sometimes in ways we are not consciously aware of. Every day there are new advertisements, marketing and political campaigns shoved in our faces, all designed so we make certain choices and think a certain way. 1984 takes our world and pushes it to the extreme.
This book is so well written. Even during the long passages spewing out chunks of information, I was engaged. Winston, a middle-aged paranoid man, is seemingly the only sane person in a brainwashed world. He is frustrated with the manipulative control the government has over its people.
The idea of Big Brother is horrifying. Every single movement is observed under its omniscient eye. Every single sound is monitored. A mere increase in heartbeat and you’re incriminated. Winston can’t fathom how no one seems to question the excessive surveillance or language manipulation and is determined to uncover the truth. 1984 is a powerful, thought-provoking novel with a message which everyone needs to listen to.
This was an enjoyable, twisty, albeit slightly far-fetched, domestic thriller set in a middle-class suburban neighbourhood where everyone knows everyone, or do they?
Never Have I Ever begins when mysterious new neighbour, Angelica Roux, crashes Amy Whey and her best friend’s Char’s book club. A few glasses of wine and light banter later, the compelling Roux lures the mothers into a drunken game revealing long hidden secrets. Amy isn’t so willing to let hers slip. However, Roux already knows about her dark secretive past and is determined to make her pay. Maybe Amy’s life isn’t so straightforward after all.
I loved reading from Amy’s perspective. However, as the days went by, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated with her. She reveals her abhorrence for lying, especially to her loved ones. Yet, despite this, she continually made decisions which involved doing just that. Nonetheless, the cat and mouse chase between the two scheming women was addicting and I was itching to see who would come on top.
This book is a spider-web of secrets, relationships, tragedy, teenage love, motherhood and everything in between. Never Have I Ever is a twisty thriller which kept me on the edge of my seat right until the very end.
Picture this: a futuristic Disney World swarmed with robotic hybrid animals and instead of Disney Princesses, there are flawless, androids named ´Fantasists´ whose sole goal is to make the park guests’ fantasies come alive.
Our protagonist, Ana, is one of the seven beautiful android Fantasist sisters. She´s a machine, devoid of human emotion. That is until her relationship with a park ranger, Owen, starts to blossom. Unfortunately, from here, the whole romance plot and the what-it-means-to-be-human storyline didn’t interest me much. Dreams, tears, and a fluttering heartbeat whenever she feels his gaze; these emotions and experiences are new to her. While the story jumps back and forth between two years prior to Ana´s murder trial and to the post-trial interview, it all draws to a somewhat predictable ending.
Have you read any of these books? What are you planning on reading in June?
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Thanks for reading!
*Kindly sent for free via publishers and NetGalley