Monday, May 30, 2016

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin

Finally, I've finished this ultra-famous book. I first heard of it when it was nominated (and I think it won?) the Hugo's, and well, I heard nothing but good things. So when I saw that the NLB had it, I immediately placed a hold.

And everyone, this was amazing!

The Three Body problem starts off during the cultural revolution, when Ye Wenjie witnesses the death of her father. After a little while, it skips about 40 years, to Wang Miao and the mysterious deaths of various scientists.

This is probably as good a summary as I can give without giving anything away, because the plot is seriously complicated. And it contains a lot of physics.

I have to admit, all the physics stuff just flew right over my head. If I read this in Chinese, I'd probably have to give up the book. So it's a good thing I borrowed the English copy.

By the way, I thought it was quite interesting that the book didn't seem to make that many waves in China.

I mean, the book opens with the Cultural Revolution, and it clearly isn't portraying it in a positive light. And while I can't say much about Tsisolaris culture, they do remind me, in some odd way, of the worst of modern China. Maybe it's the ultra-utilitarian way they view lives, or the fact that they continually destroy civilisation.

Or maybe I'm just reading it wrongly (this is a huge possibility).

At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and basically gobbled it up in three days (it would have taken one, but I had school and studying to do. Plus pancakes to eat for dinner).

I would totally recommend this to fans of Science-fiction, especially those who want something different from the norm.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Complete Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, adapted by Leah Moore, John Reppion, Erica Awano

It occurred to me, when I started thinking of what to write, that I am very unqualified to write this. I mean, I can't exactly review the story, since the story is famous and well... it's Alice in Wonderland. What am I supposed to say? And I'm not exactly an artist, or someone who's an expert in comics and can recognise technical skill.

So, I guess I should start at the beginning. I requested this because... one more version of Alice in Wonderland never hurt. Plus, I had Alice in Wonderland tea-flavoured Chocopie with me at the time, and this seemed like the perfect book to read it with.

The Complete Alice in Wonderland is a faithful comic-adaptation of the book Alice in Wonderland. There is an interpretation of the text, but I don't think the illustrators have taken any liberties with it. In order words, if the book came out as a comic, this would probably be it.

What I especially enjoyed was the notes on how the adaptation was done, and the lost chapter of The Wasp in the Wig. I didn't get the story, but it was interesting, nonetheless.

If you're looking for the comic version of Alice in Wonderland, rather than one of the comic adaptations, then you should check it out. I think it would be a good way to introduce the classic to reluctant readers without worrying that you're presenting a different version from the original.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani

Finally, Memories of Ash is here! When I reviewed Sunbolt (link leads to review), I mentioned that I needed Memories of Ash immediately. However, when my review copy came, I realised that... I forgot what happened in Sunbolt!

So first, I went back and read book one. And then I started on this.

And it was fantastic!

Memories of Ash continues the story of Hitomi. When the book opens, her mentor Stormwind is taken away on the charges of treason. There's a lot more, but they all mean treason. Of course, Hitomi isn't going to just sit in a safe place and hope that her mentor is fine - so she goes after Stormwind.

There is a lot of action going on here. There are a lot more new characters too, and there are several that I'd love to see again - like the phoenix, the guardian Jabir, and Osman Bey. Plus, Val from the first book makes a return. (By the way, I can't remember, for the life of me, how I saw a potential romance in the first book. Shows you how awful my instinct is with fictional relationships.)

My favourite part of the book is probably the mixing of various cultures. I recognise Japanese culture, for sure, and I'm pretty sure there's some Middle Eastern culture in there, although I'm not familiar with it so I'm not even going to guess. It's really refreshing to have a fantasy world that doesn't have Anglo-Saxon as their dominant culture.

This book was definitely worth the wait. I really enjoyed it, and I'm hoping that the next book in the series will be released sooner, because I definitely want to know what happens next.

Disclaimer: I got a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

London's Glory by Christopher Fowler

London's Glory is a collection of Bryant and May short stories, and as someone completely unfamiliar with the characters and the series, I was a little worried as to whether I'd be able to understand everything (the mysteries, I was pretty sure I could understand. It was the number of references to other books in the series I was worried about), but I really didn't have anything to worry about.

The book starts with an introduction on crime novels. Just from the introduction alone, I got two book recommendations: The Notting Hill Mystery and Margery Allingham. But, it seems like the author doesn't really like Agatha Christie, because it's hard to connect with her characters and all that defines Poirot is "some Euro-pomposity, an egg-shaped head, 'ze little grey cells' and a moustache." As someone who's a fan of Agatha Christie, this made me wonder if I was going to get on well with Bryant and May.

But we got into the stories, and I found myself having a good time. Bryant and May are a pair of grumpy and not-so-grumpy elderly detectives (although I'm not quite sure how their defining characteristics differ from Poirot's defining characteristics - they don't seem any realer to me, if that makes sense) investigating all sorts of strange cases. Each case is preceded with a note from the author about that story, which was a nice touch. For the most part, once I started getting into the rhythm of the book, all I wanted was the story and I tended to skip over the author's notes.

 I devoured everything except the last section, which was an introduction to the series. For some reason, it didn't really appeal to me. I did, however, really like the list of books that was used as a reference - if any are available for loan in my library, I might just pick it up.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.