Book review: Power by Naomi Alderman

In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

Goodreads book synopsis calls Naomi Alderman’s Power extraordinary, and yet, I cannot bring myself to call the novel something other than average. Or maybe a bit more than average.

Naomi Alderman does deliver an intriguing concept. At a certain point in time women become powerful – all of a sudden, the bodies of young girls all around the world can produce electricity. All the babies are born with it. The older women get the power from younger ones… The world is turned upside down, all the concepts of male-dominated societies go crashing down as women get the chance to fight back against opression.

The book follows a set of characters. Allie’s power comes through as her foster father is raping her. She kills the man and runs off, ending up in a covent and all of a sudden becoming a prophet of a female God. Btw, Allie hears a voice in her head that keeps driving her actions. Roxy is an illegitimate child of a British mob boss, her power comes through the moment enemies of her father come to kill her mother. Margot is an American politician, who receives the power from her teenage daughter Jos. Tunde is a Nigerian kid who becomes a journalist and a keen observer of the events that changed the world.

 

At some points towards the end of the novel I found myself skipping pages as the storylines got me questioning more and more how did Power get a 4* average on Goodreads. It’s hard not to question how so many readers got this book so wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Naomi Alderman’s writing IS good, but is not exceptional. At least not just yet. She depicts violence against women, she depicts violence committed against men, she writes about rape and abuse, about drugs, about power and the ways it corrupts people. Some part of the storylines reminded me of bad fanfiction. Power is ok, but it definitely isn’t a book that deserves another read.

Overall grade: 3*

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Book review: Power by Naomi Alderman

Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler.

There are books that draw you in and weave magic between the lines, there are books that25907472 are good, just good – not stellar that is, and then there are books that have brilliant storylines but lackluster execution. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin is one of those.

Yael’s experiences in the concentration camp made her forget her face, but etched the pain and sacrifices on her soul, making her a loose the grip of her emotions. The life in hiding also made Yale forget what it’s like to deal with humans, the interactions and emotions that come with. While she has been preparing for her insurgency for years, her first mission, and the fact that she has to deal with the results of actions of Adele Wolfe, the young woman whom she is impersonating.

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Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

“We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

 One of the great mysteries of life is why Paper Towns movie happened before Looking for Alaska, because John Green’s Looking for Alaska is an emotional hurricane-of-a-novel.One that claws at your heart and makes it bleed…

Looking for Alaska is a young adult novel, a genre that I try to avoid since the moment I saw the sacrilegious mentions of Harry Potter in reading lists recommending teenage angst. Green is, however, an exception. Some books transcend genre and readership categorization, and Looking for Alaska, I believe is one of them. The man tore my heart to shreds with Fault in Our Stars, and sent me on a real detective adventure looking for Margo. In his debut novel, Green tells the story of the people who shine too brightly to linger in this world for too long, the guilty ones, the ones who search for meaning and understanding, ones who learn and become different.  The after part is devastating and somewhat savage in its beauty.

Overall: 5*

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over.

“Powerful, fresh and imaginative” Seraphina, which I reviewed just last month (here), easily became one of the best reads of the year. Needless to say, I was absolutely ecstatic to learn that the second installment of the dilogy was less than a month away.

The quest to find the half-breeds scattered across the realms gives the readers an opportunity to further discover Rachel Hartman’s imaginary world. Intricate details, plot twists and confusing emotions about the book guaranteed.

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Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Where do I even begin? 

Seraphina book coverSeraphina is most definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I do sincerely mean it. It would be hard to surpass or equal the level of imagination and it would certainly be hard enough to make me even consider binge-reading till the break of dawn. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I was also finishing the last chapters on the metro, smiling uncontrollably about my latest literary ship, like the total geek that I am.

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Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Review: Red Queen

How did I hear about the Red Queen? I saw the pretty cover with a crown that dripped blood on Tumblr. A book by the cover… all part of the 2015 reading challenge.

I read 2 chapters and stopped to Google review, thinking something so plain cannot be that hype-worthy, moreover, I sensed a theme. Oppressed reds, powerful “superhuman” Silvers, swords and technology. All too similar to Pierce Brown’s Red Rising to feel truly original. While I found the beginning of Red Rising overwhelming, it was so much so, that you could imagine the world of the characters quite vividly, if not completely. Eighty pages through, I couldn’t even remotely say the same of the Red Queen.

 Reds are poor and unexceptional. Those who become apprentices and learn a craft, can help their families lead a decent existence. Those who can’t find their place are set to join the army on their 18th birthday. That’s exactly the reason Mare Barrow gets in trouble in the first place – she doesn’t have an apprenticeship, and she steals. Her friend’s mentor dies, so Mare convinces her sister, the one that is destined to pull the family from financial misery, to help her get into the city of the Silvers (Silvers are a sort of higher-being. The perfect men and women, strong, graceful, smart… They also happen to have X-men style superpowers ) to steal some of their stuff, to help pay the smugglers to get her and the friend out of the city. The plan goes wrong. Very wrong.

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Review: Red Queen

My true love gave to me: the holiday anthology

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

You would fall in love, or not. The trouble with anthologies, that there is always a risk that you will find only a few small gems amongst hours of wasted time, which, unfortunately was exactly the case with “My true love gave to me”.

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My true love gave to me: the holiday anthology