“I can’t make the forest grow faster because I want it to. I can’t will it to grow. It takes time.” // Review of “Only Human” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Only Human (Themis Files #3)
Author:
Sylvain Neuvel
Audio book narrator:
Full cast
Genre:
Sci-fi
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 11/09/18 – 29/09/18
Rating:
★★

Review:

I’ve got to be honest: this book wasn’t as good as the first two in the series. For quite a while, I thought I was going to give it only two stars but it picked up enough in the final third for me to bump that up to three. But only just.

This book is set another 9 years after Waking Gods. Earth is in disarray, as Rose, Vincent and Eva discover upon return from the alien planet, Esat Ekt.

The problem with this book, from my POV, is that it seemed that Neuvel had been leading up to a situation where the world was in disarray just so he could use it as a metaphor for the disarray present in the world today, and give us some good old lectures on it. And I got So BORED.

There was little tension in the flashbacks because we knew from the start that they had done something morally questionable on Esat Ekt, it was just a question of what. And so much of the present day stuff was just them talking obliquely about their time on Esat Ekt. Or lecturing the reader. As I said earlier, it does pick up in the last quarter. There is a bit more action, and some more interesting character development. But in some ways, that was too little too late. It’s always a shame when a series ending doesn’t live up to the previous instalments.


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#WWW Wednesday – October 10, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

circusheartsallfalldowncoverI finished All Fall Down, the second in Ellie Marney’s Circus Hearts series. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first one, but I still gave it four stars. I did really like the love interest. He just really had it together. He was attractive and smart and had a good job and everything. I guess this is the nice thing about reading about 19 to 22-year-olds rather than 16-year-olds.

onlyhumancover Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel picked up enough in the last third that I gave it three stars rather than two, but I was still annoyed that a lot of it was quite lecturey. I am all for political books, but I prefer the politics to be woven into the story, rather than characters just having rants about the state of the world today.

After that, I read an ARC of Claw the System: Poems from the Cat Uprising by Francesco Marciuliano. I didn’t find this as funny as I had hoped, but there were still some laugh-out-loud moments and some very entertaining photos of cats throughout.

Click the titles to read my reviews of Caraval by Stephanie Garber, My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace, All Fall Down by Ellie Marney and Claw the System by Francesco Marciuliano.

What are you currently reading? 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

I expect to finish my ARC of Unwritten by Tara Gilboy in the next couple of days. This wasn’t quite what I expected and to my adult reader brain, seems a bit heavy-handed in its message, but it would probably not be quite so to an actual MG-age reader. 

On audio, I am listening to The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor.  I have a really good feeling about this one. Eleven years ago, I based my Year 12 individual drama performance on the story of the Cottingley fairies, and I’ve had an interest in them ever since. And I think this book takes the “the photos might be fake but the fairies might still be real” angle, which is how I feel about it, too. 

I’m also about 100 pages into Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, but I’ve put it on hold a little until I get through some more ARCs. 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have an ARC of The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana. I have a thing for baking witchcraft in urban fantasy. Possibly it’s the covers that are good enough to eat combined with drool-worthy descriptions. Also this one also has murder, which is always enjoyable in fiction form. 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – September 26, 2018

 

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

This is the last two weeks’ of reading for me as I didn’t post last week.

I finished Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, which was charming, but maybe a bit long. I persuaded someone at work to order a copy so fingers crossed she’ll read it soon and I’ll have someone to talk to about it. I reviewed it on Monday.

Then I finished Dear Martin by Nic Stone. I actually thought I had downloaded the audio book, but when it ended up being the ebook, I read it in a day. It was very engaging. Like The Hate U Give, it is partially inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement but it presents the issues in a different way. I posted my review on Monday.

After that was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. This was… fine. It had a lot of potential that I don’t think it truly lived up to. Everything was just a bit underdeveloped. But I still kind of want to read the next book? I’ll have a review up on Friday.

I picked up The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide because it was on display at the library. It was fine but it was very US-centric for something claiming to be “worldwide” and it also was very literature-heavy. There was a bit of genre fiction and some childhood classics but it was very heavy on the James Joyce and Dostoevsky types.

Last but not least, this morning I finished My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace. This was a good depiction of dealing with sexual assault and other related trauma but I did feel like it went around in circles a bit and there wasn’t a huge amount of character development. I’ll get my review up next week.

What are you currently reading? 

circusheartsallfalldowncoverI’m still in the first chapter of All Fall Down, the second in Ellie Marney’s Circus Hearts series because I only started it today. Say what you like about self-publishing, I love that I only have to wait a month between each book in this series rather than a year.

onlyhumancoverI have to be honest that Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel is a let down after the first two books in this series. It’s just one big lecture. I have a long drive tomorrow and will probably finish it during that, but it won’t rate as highly as the other two.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Since I’m in the middle of reading various ARCs, the next one I need to get through is Unwritten by Tara Gilboy. This is a middle-grade fantasy and sounds a bit like Nevermoor, which I read recently. So I’m looking forward to it.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – September 12, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished White Night by Ellie Marney and totally loved it (I am two for two with 5 star reads from this author now). I used to say “Oh, I don’t read much contemporary YA” but I realised I actually read a lot of it, and this one gave such a good sense of growing up in a country town and trying to work out your place in life as you finish school and it was also so Australian. Review will be up Friday.

I only ended up reading maybe six of the stories in Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Amerie. It wasn’t really doing it for me.

I also posted two reviews this week: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel and Blackwing by Ed McDonald.

What are you currently reading?

finally put Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel onto my phone this morning, so I’m actually starting to get into it properly. Vincent is definitely my favourite character of this series, giving me all the feels. I am a bit annoyed that they appear to have changed some of the voice actors, though? Eva now just has an American accent, where she had a Puerto Rican one in Book 2. I could understand her losing her accent in the time between the events of the two books, but there are flashbacks, dammit!

I have also started Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend today and I’m only 57 pages in but if it stays this delightful the whole way through, then the hype is totally justified. The cover describes it as Harry Potter meets Alice in Wonderland and it basically is that. It’s not nonsensical like Alice in Wonderland but it is whimsical. Also there’s a character I suspect is based at least in part on David Tennant’s Doctor.

What do you think you will read next?

It was going to be Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, but after Nevermoor, I don’t know if I’ll be in quite the right mood for hard-hitting dystopia. I picked up Caraval by Stephanie Garber from the library this morning, and I might read it instead.  It has mixed reviews among my GoodReads friends but I am still in a circus mood so hopefully that will help.

What are you reading this week? 🙂~ Emily

 

 

P.S. If you’re interested, head on over to my writing blog to read an excerpt from my current WIP.

“You were made for a particular purpose, but you can be anything you want.” // Review of “Waking Gods” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
Author:
Sylvain Neuvel
Audio book narrator:
Full cast
Genre:
Sci-fi
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 15/08/18 – 29/08/18
Rating:
★★★

Review:

I’m pleased to say that this book was just as good as the first in the series. It pulls no punches and takes you by surprise, all the while still creating a balance between the global and the personal consequences.

This book is set 9 years after Sleeping Giants, but it doesn’t take long to fill us in on what has happened in the meantme. And the action starts on page 1. I was listening to the audio book while I was driving and there were times when I was gripping the steering wheel too hard because the action was intense. But there are also parts that made me smile or laugh or “aww” over my favourite characters. Then there were the parts that made me teary! I had all the emotions.

I did sometimes feel the conversations went around in circles a little bit, particularly when Mr Burns (Byrnes? I don’t know, I’m listening to it!) was involved. He likes to ramble. And sometimes the scientific explanations were quite long-winded, which is fine when you’re reading and can skim, but a bit more annoying when you’re listening.

I do feel the need to warn that there is a torture scene at one point during the book, and if you’re listening to the audio version, it is very realistic. I ended up having to switch it off for the remainder of my drive.

Those were my only qualms, this series goes from strength to strength and the third and final instalment promises to be just as good from the little bit I’ve  listened to so far.


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#WWW Wednesday – September 06, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel on my way to choir last Thursday. This was definitely as good as the first book. I love the way Sylvain Neuvel manages to both highlight the global effects of proof of alien life, and also focus on the person as well.

I also finished Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, which was fine, but with the exception of the main character having a bunch of self-aware hallucinations, it felt like a straight crime book and there were parts that weren’t that engaging. I’m still going to read the third book when it arrives at the library, though.

I actually posted reviews on both Friday and Monday this week! Quelle surprise! Haha. Click titles to read my reviews of All The Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1) by Ellie Marney and Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel.

What are you currently reading?

started Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel on CD in the car the other night, but I haven’t converted it and put it on my phone yet, so I’m not very far into it.

I am also reading Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Amerie. It’s… fine? So far, I’ve read about six and there’s one story that I’ve particularly liked. The Jack and the Beanstalk one struck me as particularly weird, mostly because part of the vegetarian character’s journey to becoming a villian was “I realise I have to eat meat to fullfil my destiny!” Um.

What do you think you will read next?

I still have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I’ve also picked up a couple of books by Indigenous Australian women because I realised I’m pretty behind on my Australian Women Writers Challenge for this year.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

“It’s easier to be just one more soldier in a giant army than being the whole army by yourself.” // Review of “Sleeping Giants” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)
Author:
Sylvain Neuvel
Audio book narrator:
Full cast
Genre:
Sci-fi
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 11/08/18 – 14/08/18
Rating:
★★★

Review:

This book makes a great audio book, for many of the same reasons that World War Z did. Mostly because it is written in the form of transcripts of interviews and other recordings, all of which translates very well to audio. The full cast is amazing and they give a great sense of this cast of varied characters. It wasn’t perfect, there are some things that could have been done better, and there were a few little inconsistencies in the story itself, but this was definitely a book that made me not mind having.

I really loved the exploration of the political side of discovering alien artefacts on Earth. Who gets to claim them? How will other nations react to learning that the US  has been invading their turf on the down-low and taking back pieces  of alien tech? What will the President say? This was an overarching theme, but the impact of this discovery on the individual characters directly involved was also engaging. I loved Kara’s prickliness and Rose’s passion. I liked seeing how Vincent was an outsider but the others still cared for him. I even grew fond of the unnamed interviewer. Kara is correct when she tells him at the end that he is full of mush inside. He totally is.

I compared this book to World War Z above, and there are ways i think it improves on that audio book. In that one, Max Brooks played the interviewer, but he also read out the parts that weren’t the other characters speaking. Where I imagine the book had “[laughs]”, he would read that out. In Sleeping Giants, the actor actually laughs instead, which made it feel that bit more authentic. But there were still scenes where something was clearly going down in the background and all we could hear was the person narrating the events. I know this is an audio book and not a radio play, but that did lessen the effect a bit for me.

Still, I had the second one out from the library before I had even finished this one because  I knew I would want to continue. This is a series unlike anything I’ve come across before and I’m eager to continue.


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#WWW Wednesday – August 29, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

Oh my god, I finally finished Blackwing by Ed McDonald! Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad book. It’s just grimdark fantasy is not really my thing. If it is your thing, you will probably love this book. I still enjoyed a lot of it, it just took me a long time to get through. I’ll try to review it soon.

I was very excited to receive an early copy of All The Little Bones, #1 in the Circus Hearts series by Ellie Marney, as part of a giveaway Ellie was running. I usually don’t lean towards YA fiction that is quite so heavy on the romance, but the writing sucked me in.  Also for various reasons, I’m really into circuses at the moment, so that probably helped. I’m going to have a review up of this on Friday,  in time for its release on Saturday.

I’m still behind on reviews but I’m slowly catching up. I posted my review of Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel and Legion by Brandon Sanderson since my last WWW post.

What are you currently reading?

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel made me teary while I was listening to it on the bus today. I have already had two of my three favourite characters die, I didn’t need more emotional turmoil! But seriously, this book’s as good as the first in the series.

All The Little Bones distracted me from Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, but I will get back to that now. This is somewhat interesting but I feel like the stakes will need to pick up or I’m not going to enjoy it as much as the first book.

What do you think you will read next?

I have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I actually didn’t finish the first Ellie Marney book I tried reading, but then I really liked the Circus Hearts book, so I’m hoping this experience will be closer to  that one.

I’ve also got Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel, from the library, so I need to put it on my phone so I’m ready to pick it up.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – August 15, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I didn’t participate in WWW Wednesday last week because I didn’t feel like much had changed in my reading  from the week previous. Plus I’m currently in the midst of a uni course, so I decided that for the next month or so, I need to alternate my Wednesday blog posts between my two blogs, rather than doing both.

So what have I been up to in the last fortnight?

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel, the fourth in the Frey & McGray series and all there is of this series for now. I actually DNFed this about halfway through on audio but after a few days I realised I still wanted to know what happened, so I got hold of the paperback from the library. I’m glad I did finish it as it ended up being really addictive, if a little confusing.

I also finished  Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel on audio. This one took me a long time to warm to but at some in the second half I suddenly realised “Oh, I am actually invested in this, huh.” There’s not much plot, but it made me ponder on life’s big questions a lot. Not many books make me do that. I reviewed it here.

Then there was Legion by Brandon Sanderson, which I had read back in 2014 but forgotten the details of. It’s a really intriguing premise – that genius Steven Leeds cannot contain all the knowledge in his brain so it off-shoots into self-aware hallucinations that help him do things.  I actually reviewed this back in 2014 so it was interesting writing a new review and seeing how my feelings changed. That’ll be up on Friday.

And last but not least, just this evening I finished Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, which I recommend listening to if you are an audio book person because it takes the form of interviews and recordings. I really enjoyed this. It explores a lot of the geo-political situation that proof of ultra-intelligent alien life would create. And the unnamed interviewer is played by Andy Secombe, who also read the Frey and McGrey books, so it was interesting hearing him take on a quite different character.

What are you currently reading?

I am trying to finish Blackwing by Ed McDonald so I can give it back to my friend who loaned it to me. The second book is out now so he wants to re-read the first. It’s got a really intriguing plot, but there’s something about the pacing or maybe it’s the anti-hero main character. I just can’t get through much of it at once.

I also picked up The Fandom by Anna Day from the library, which I’ve had on my TBR since it came out. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those YA books where I get to the end and shake it and wish it had lived up to its potential. The characters only paid £10 for their photo-op at ComicCon, which makes me think the author doesn’t quite know enough about her subject matter. I also don’t think it’s going to be cleverly subversive like I was hoping. But I could be completely wrong.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ve  downloaded Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel and while I haven’t started it at time of writing, I am on the late shift at work tonight and will begin it while driving home.

legionskindeepcoverI also have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library, and my hold on Skin Deep, the sequel to Legion, came in today and I will pick it up tomorrow. So one of those will definitely be next.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily