Hi! So this week’s been… interesting. I finished 4 books, and didn’t really like any of them.
GRIND: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, 1 star
A Little Life is a four friends in New York type novel that follows a group of friends who meet in college as they move to the city to build careers and well into their adult lives
I feel like I need a disclaimer here. I know so many people love this book. I tried. But I hate it. I’m sorry. It’s the worst book I’ve ever read. It’s pretentious, overwrought, melodramatic and quite frankly; boring. It read more like a soap opera than literary fiction. The events that unfold are unrealistic to the point of being laughable. The characters aren’t characters so much as one dimensional paper-dolls the author drenches in gasoline and sets fire to, in a desperate attempt to make you feel something for them. But misery is a poor substitute for character development, and no matter how hard the author tried to force some kind of emotional response out of me – all I ever felt was bored.
tw: all kinds of abuse, self harm, rape
RESPAWN: Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, 2 stars
This is the third book in the Burn for Burn trilogy, which is a contemporary series about three high school girl from different cliques who team up to take revenge on those who have wronged them.
I read the first two book in the trilogy a few year ago and thought they were pretty good. I started the third one at the time, but DNF’d cause I thought the paranormal aspect was very poorly handled. I still think so. I don’t have a lot to say about this one. It’s just ok.
POTIONS: Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, 2 stars
This is the third book in the Caster Chronicles. A dark and atmospheric YA paranormal series with some serious Southern Gothic vibes. The premise is simple: A small town boy falls for the mysterious new girl and is drawn into a secret world where magic is real and the battle between good and evil has only just begun.
I read the first book years ago and adored it. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about the third installment. This one was a chore to get through. It’s basically the same as the first two books, just messier and well, redundant. We’ve already read it twice.
A BOOK TRANSLATED FROM ANOTHER LANGUAGE: Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-yong, 3 stars
After reading three books I really didn’t like in a row, I had really high hopes for this one and even though I didn’t end up loving it – it was the highlight of my reading week.
The first half of this novel tells the story of Bari’s childhood in North-Korea and what happens to her and her family during the great famine in the 1990’s. Though the reality that is described is often harsh and heart-breaking – this part reads almost like a fairy-tale. (More brothers Grimm than Disney, mind you.) In the second half the tone changes dramatically to the point where it’s almost like you’re reading a different book. Which might be an intentional move on the authors part, to highlight the dramatic change in Bari’s life as she becomes a refugee and undertakes the dangerous journey to London. If so, it’s a clever move. But as a reader, I didn’t enjoy the second half nearly as much as the first one and ultimately ended up giving the book 3 stars, even though the first half was amazing.
So, that’s all this week. I’m crossing my fingers next week will be better! I want to be gushing about some amazing books in my next post.