Bookworm #3 – The Past Lives, Grey Areas and Sexual Tension Edition
When was the last time I did a Bookworm feature? I’ve actually been reading a few books – not enough in my opinion but I’ve been so busy with uni it’s been hard. So I’ll just do the favourites of the books that I’ve been reading these past few months.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Goodreads Link)
Author: Kate Atkinson
Title: Life After Life
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Purchase: Book Depository, Amazon
Rating: – 4/5
Summary: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.
What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?
Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, she finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here is Kate Atkinson at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.
I absolutely love the cover of the book – I’m glad that Australia got this edition rather than the other one because I think this one captures the essence of the book perfectly.
This book is simply amazing. It explores the concepts of ‘past lives’ and ‘renewal’, with a wonderful lead character and beautiful writing. We are introduced to Ursula, who was not even given the chance to be Christened with her name, when she dies. But she returns. And dies again. With each subsequent life, she lives longer and we begin to see a very special child. The initial retellings of Ursula’s life could have turned out monotonous, but Kate Atkinson manages to avoid that because you want to see what happens to Ursula in her next life – what small, but significant decision that would impact her life.
I loved the characters. And I definitely loved unity of the family relationships, I’m a sucker for those.
Vicious by Victoria Schwab (GoodReads Link)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy
Purchase: Book Depository, Amazon
Rating: – 5/5
Summary: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
STOP EVERYTHING AND READ THIS BOOK.
This is probably one of my favourite books of 2013. Incredibly clever, beautifully written with ambiguous morals – what is not to love about this book? I had nearly written this book off when I noticed the ‘Young Adult’ tag (not that I don’t read ‘YA’ books anymore, but I’m wary) – I personally don’t think it is actually YA.
The book’s structure is interesting – jumping from present and past tense. It surprisingly was not at all distracting and the transitions back and forth were extremely smooth – the book flowed very well. There was never a dull moment.
As I previously alluded – there are no ‘heroes’ in this book. No good vs bad. And this is what I absolutely loved about the book – it didn’t try and box characters into the stereotypes. Victoria Schwab did a superb job on the characters and fleshing them out. I loved Victor and his gang!
“Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human”
Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre (GoodReads Link)
Author: A.A. Aguirre
Title: Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum #1)
Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, Steampunk
Purchase: Book Depository, Amazon
Rating: – 4.5/5
Summary: Hy Breasil is grimmer than it used to be.
Before the Architect closed the door, there were regular crossings, and a great war decimated both humans and Ferishers. The native fae who refused to treat with the invaders faded; their bodies withered and died, stranding them as hungry, angry spirits that haunt the countryside.
That means there’s always trouble brewing in Dorstaad.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work for the Criminal Investigation Department, keeping citizens safe from things that go bump in the night. He’s a hardboiled cynic with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s determined to justify her promotion as the first female detective in her division. Together, they’re trying to keep a black tide from drowning the city.
But when the second body surfaces, murdered with the same type of infernal device, the entire CID must face the truth. There’s a madman on the loose, twining magic and blood… and only Mikani and Ritsuko can unravel the intricate, lethal conspiracy before the Royale killer completes his macabre plan, unleashing old, forbidden magic on an unsuspecting populace. If the maniac succeeds, it could mean the end of everything…
Okay, I was taking a dig at the book when I labelled this the ‘sexual tension’ book. There is unresolved sexual tension however A.A. Aguirre creates two brilliant characters that you can’t help but fall in love with and root for!
Ritsuko and Mikani begin as co-workers and friends – I love watching their interaction. They somewhat remind me of Castle and Beckett from the ABC TV series, Castle; which would certainly explain why I loved their relationship so much. Just like the latter mentioned characters, their romance is a subtle and slow one – I’m eagerly waiting the next book to see if they will finally take the plunge.
But the book isn’t a romance one – there have been murders and Ritsuko and Mikani are forced to figure out who the murderer is (again, reminds me of Castle, haha!). The world-building is flawless and I loved the world very much. A combination of steampunk, noir and faeries? Count me in!