Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Summary: A book that takes place 20 years about a zombie outbreak. It's a story about the survivors and how the world is doing...It's a book about politics...with some zombies sprinkled in...but hey! Wisconsin rep! Blogger rep and disability rep. So that's kind of cool...but definitely not a book about zombies.
4 stars out of 5...still not 100% sure it deserves this rating though...
So, Feed...I had heard about this book MANY MANY moons ago on Erika's channel, ThePerksofBooks. I was able to buy it last year after deciding that zombies aren't THAT bad and sometimes you just need a good zombie book! Plus I was also super craving the feelings I got from The Last of Us (which is a video game if you didn't know), but in book form. I couldn't remember what she had said about it, so all I had to go on was the summary at the back of the book. I also listened to the audiobook who was read by Jesse Berstein and Paula Christensen. I don't have too much to say about them, but I will give them a mini review at the end.
First of all, I had NO idea that Mira Grant is Seanan McGuire's pen name. I about pooped myself with excitement! I had really been enjoying her Wayward Children series and hoped that this book would be just as amazing. In many ways it was everything I hoped for and and many other ways it was a disaster.
In classic Seanan McGuire flair, the world was amazing. She is really great at building an interesting world and giving that world a fully fleshed out history. All of her worlds feel like real places and this book was no different. There was such an extensive history for this world. There was even court cases, political history and ways to make sure that her readers had no way of questioning anything that happened. I really felt like I was there and that I was involved in everything that was going on. At no point in reading this did I ever feel left out. I love how well she explained the virus and how it worked. I like how the virus came about and how it is spread. I really enjoyed reading about her zombies and I could tell she put a lot of work into researching how viruses work.
I liked that this book didn't take place during the start of the zombie apocalypse. This takes place 20 years after the outbreak, so we get to see a world that is used to zombies and how the uninfected and the infected interact. We also get to see how the internet is used to get information to people, especially when it isn't safe to be outside.
I also really enjoyed the characters. They were also really well fleshed out and I felt like they each had their own personality and never did I feel like I didn't know who was talking. They were true to the personality that they were given and I never really felt like they made decisions that weren't in their nature. I can't really say I loved the characters or was super connected with them, but I thought they were interesting to read about and was curious as to what was going to happen to them.
Speaking of the characters, there was also some great disability representation in this book. The virus can sometimes affect people's eyesight and their pupils will fully dilate so they have problems with lighting. Also because the virus is affecting their eyes, they sometimes get mistaken as zombies and their blood tests can read positive for the zombie virus. It was interesting to see how the author handled this disability and at no point did I ever feel like she making fun of the character or that she was making her be wimpy or weak. George was a strong character that kicked ass both on the internet and in real life.
Also, one of the main characters is from Wisconsin. No one EVER talks about Wisconsin, so it was really cool to see my home state represented!
This book was HORRIBLY mis-marketed. I went into this book thinking it was about two people who were blogger siblings and they found a news story about what actually caused the zombie virus outbreak 20 years prior. But yeah....that's not the case at all. This was actually a political thriller with some zombies sprinkled in. It was about three bloggers (two were siblings) and how they were following the senator of Wisconsin and his political tour of the country so that he can become the president of the United States.
Not nearly as exciting as the GIFs look....Unfortunately. Actually, I share Hilary's feelings about the whole thing (that's why I chose that GIF). It was a lot of boring shit that I didn't care about. The senator was cool and it was kind of neat to see how campaigning might work after a zombie virus, but that was really it. If you really hate reading about politics, you are going to be bored out of your mind.
I also really hated the pacing at the end. I thought that a lot of the action was very sudden and with very little pay off. The villain was SUPER predictable...like, I knew it was them the second they were introduced. It was a total "I bet it was the butler" situation (you know...when you say it's going to be the butler, and it is). It was very annoying.
Because I listened to the audiobook, I also have some thoughts on that as well. Most of the book was narrated by Paula. She did a pretty good job and we heard from her the most. There were bits of the book that were narrated by Jesse and that was mostly excerpts from Shaun's blog. My problem with them was that they would forget what a character's accent was and I found it kind of annoying. There were a couple characters from Texas that had a fairly consistent accent, but Wisconsin and England...oh boy....Wisconsin was a hot mess. He got kind of Southern...or maybe Montana? Either way...NOT Wisconsin. It just kind of took me out of the story.
So, was it a bad book? Not really. It just wasn't what I wanted and I had a lot of problems with it. I won't be continuing on with the series. With the way the first book ended, it can be considered a stand alone. Plus, with the events at the end, I'm not really sure I need to know anything else. I just don't care enough. I also looked up some reviews and all of the problems I had in the first book carry on into the next book. So, I'm going to pass.
I would recommend this book, but only if you are interested in the politics. I mean, it's nothing too cerebral, but as it is a book about a campaign trail, it can be really dull if you think you are going to get a lot of zombies.
This was a hard book to review, but I think I said everything I wanted to say. Until next time!!
Check out my social medias and such!
Erika's channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ThePerksOfBooks/featured
All GIFs were taken from: https://giphy.com/
Monday, March 5, 2018
Summary: Blood magician, Kell can hop between 3 out of 4 different Londons. Kell likes to sneak things between world and it gets him into a bunch of trouble. Delilah Bard also likes to steal things. Together they must return a bad thing to a bad place before bad people kill them both.
4.5 out of 5 stars! (you weren't expecting that, were you? Haha)
What?! A favorable book review!? For real!?
Yup! I finally read a book that was good and that I had a lot of things to say about it! So with that being said, let's get into it!!
First of all, I want to start off by saying that I listened to this on audiobook from Overdrive. Not only will I be reviewing the book, but I will also be reviewing Stephen Crossley's narration! Like usual, we'll start off with the good stuff, which is actually a lot this time!
What I liked:
I really liked the world that Schwab built...or should I say worlds? I felt like the world was really well fleshed out and each London felt like its own place. I don't remember a time where I was confused about which London we were in. I think the narrator did a good job of making sure we knew which London we were in, but I'll go into that later. The author spent a good chunk of the book just describing the worlds as Kell, and later Delilah (Lila) moved through them. I think I noticed the plot pick up at about 50% into the book. Now, normally that would bother the hell out of me. But to be perfectly honest, I didn't mind it at all. I was really enjoying learning about the worlds and the people who lived in them. Yeah, sometimes it got a bit tedious, but this is a pretty deep fantasy series for only being three books, so keep that in mind when you get bored of all the build up. That just means less world to have to build in the other two books, right?
I also really enjoyed the characters that we were introduced to. Kell is our main character (until we meet Lila anyway) and he is flawed as heck. He doesn't really have super protagonist syndrome that some YA/Adult fantasies have. You know the type...Good at everything, annoying as fuck, most people love them...except for the bad guys. Kell is well loved, but he is also hated by a lot of people too. He gets bored easily and likes to move items between worlds, which is illegal. This ultimately gets him into a lot of trouble. Lila, is a bit more protagonist-y than Kell is. I feel like she might have a 'chosen one' cliche coming in the later books and I'm already cringing...but let's stay positive! For now. I found all of the other characters to be pretty interesting. Nobody really annoyed me all that much..which is a rare occurrence, as you all probably know if you have been reading these posts for a while. Also when it came to decisions the characters would make, I felt like they were all developed enough that we would be able to immediately notice that a character made a choice that didn't follow what the author had led us to believe. You know, sometimes you read a book and are led to believe a character is a certain way and then all of a sudden they make a decision and you are like, "....WHAT! YOU WOULDN'T SAY/DO THAT?!" (*cough* *cough* Harry Potter in the Cursed Child). I find it incredibly annoying when they do that. But I can say, I didn't really see that happening here. It was kind of refreshing!
I also really REALLY enjoyed the use of languages in this book. As you may or may not know, I'm really into language, so any book that creates a language gets an up vote from me..but 3?! Yes.
Besides Grey London, none of the other Londons use English as their main language. Yes, they know how to speak it (or some do), Red and White London both have their own languages! How fricken' cool is that?! There is also a language that blood magicians use to get their spells to work. The use of language was amazing to me and I'm surprised that no one has mentioned it in any of the reviews that I have seen. Red London is a rich and cultural London, so their language has to match it, and I think it did. The language was smooth and soothing. White London is a harsh and cruel place, and their language also sounded harsh and aggressive. Even the language of the blood magicians fit extremely well. It was forceful but also mysterious. I think the languages were my favorite part of the book...Kind of weird, I know...but I really thought it was well done.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was the fact that there was no romance in it. You would think that because the main characters are together (though they hated each other most of the time) they would eventually fall in love. THEY DIDN'T! I like romance, but I think it is severely over done. Authors feel like they have to put it in all of their books, and 9 out of 10 times it isn't even a good romance. I want more books like this. There WAS a romance hinted at, but it's not between the main characters, and I like that. I approve of the ship and I want it to sail. Haha!
One last thing to say before I go into my positives about the narration. I think it is important to note that this book could be a stand alone if you wanted it to be. The book wraps up in a way that if you are intimidated by the next two books, you can just skip them! I won't be doing this, but I thought it would be a good thing to mention if large fantasy books scare you.
Ok, narration positives! Crossley, I think, did an amazing job narrating this book. At first, it was difficult to get used to his voice. He is an older British man, and while it was a nice voice to listen to, I felt like it didn't fit the 20 year old characters. That being said, his narration grew on me and I almost miss him more than the characters. I am also extremely disappointed that he didn't do the next two books...
Things I didn't like:
This is going to be a much shorter list than I usually make. So, for starters after the plot really got going, it started to become predictable. You could just see the future set up coming a mile away. Like, it was eye roll worthy. "I wonder why that happened? Oh! Duh! Obvious set up for the future!" And I always felt like I knew what was going to happen. I didn't want to believe things would go the way I thought they would...but they usually did. I'm not the kind of person who tries to guess the ending or what is going to happen, I really like to be in the moment with the characters. Discover things along with them, that way it is a surprise to both of us when something happens. That being said, if I am able to figure it out right away, that really isn't something to be proud of. Like, a good chunk of this book was face palm worthy.
I guess my only other negative was a narration choice. This is obviously specifically for the audiobook. Like I had mentioned earlier, Crossley did an amazing job narrating this book and through his narration, he made it easier to tell which London we were in...You know...just in case you forgot. Each London had an accent. The accent, I believe, was supposed to kind of match up with the native language that each of the Londons spoke. It would make it cohesive and just flow better. In theory it was a great idea, and for the most part it worked out really well...except for one. Let me explain better.
In Grey London: Grey London had a turn of the century/industrial revolution kind of feel to it. Lots of pick pockets and bar brawls. Really dirty and grimy. So, he gave Grey Londoners a Cockney accent. It really fit the characters and it sounded great on Lila.
Red London: This is a rich city/country. There is magic everywhere, people seem to be doing well for the most part and it just gives off a really wealthy vibe (even if that is not the case for everybody). He gave them a more of a posh English accent. And for those who weren't royal, he gave them a bit of a non-determinable accent, but it was still a smooth accent and it fit with the world Schwab had built.
White London on the other hand...Oh boy...So, White London is harsh and cruel. Mean, sadistic and extremely cut throat. So...what accent could the narrator possibly give them that would fit that persona and match the language Schwab chose for them?
I will let you guess.
I'll give you a second.
Now, I'm not one who is easily offended and I wasn't offended when he started speaking for the Dane siblings in White London. I actually burst out laughing in the middle of the break room at work when I realized what was happening. Then I realized it was probably bad taste to make the villains speak with a German-like accent. Yeah...woops!
So, yeah! I really enjoyed this book! I know it is super rare for me to write a good review or a non-DNF review, but yeah! Sometimes I have a lot to say about bad things and rarely anything to say about good things! It's weird, I know, but sometimes it's easier to say more about things you hate instead of things you like. I want to try and get more positive book reviews on this blog. I think I have one more super positive one planned out and one meh review as well. Those should be coming out in the next two weeks!
If there were any books I reviewed on our channel that you would like to see my full thoughts, just let me know! You can do so on either Youtube or right here on the blog! My Youtube partner and I now have a Twitter and an Instagram if you want to follow us there as well (Bre usually tweets and I usually Insta).
Until next time! Ciao!~
Rhy and Lila
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Summary: A doll named Karolina is taken from her war-torn land (the Land of the Dolls) to World War II Poland. Her friend, the Dollmaker is Polish/German and he befriends a Jewish family. Naturally, bad shit happens and everything is shit.
I gave this book 3 stars...but I might give it 2...I really can't decide.
There were so many things about this book that I really hated...but there were also a lot of things that I did enjoy, so as you can see from my rating, I'm torn. Maybe I will settle on one...at some point.
As per usual, let's start out with the things I liked...especially because I'm going to aggressively rip this book apart later.
Things I liked:
One thing that I really liked about this book early on was the whimsy. I mean, it was a story about a doll who would sew wishes into dresses and lived in a land of dolls. How cool is that! It felt like a historical fiction/fantasy, and I was really digging it! Some might say that this is spoilers, but the Land of the Dolls gets invaded by a rat king and his rat minions invade across the river where the dolls are living and destroy everything. It reminded me of The Nutcracker and I was in love.
I used to perform in The Nutcracker every year from the age of 10-16. I love the atmosphere of this ballet, so reading a book that reminded me of it was super exciting. I was living my best bookish life.
Anyway, the doll world was great, for the most part. We really didn't get too much world building there because it really wasn't about the doll world, but being there was still enjoyable (for the most part). There was also a lot of mythology and folklore in the real world. I really don't know much about Poland. I have Polish ancestry, but no one in our family talks about it, only our German heritage, so I didn't realize there was so much interesting folklore! I learned a lot by reading this book.
Another thing I really liked about this book, especially because I like language, was the fact that the author used a lot of German and Polish words in the book. I think it really made the book feel more real to me. I believed that we were actually in Poland and that there were Germans there as well. I struggled with the Polish words, but I understood the German ones and not only did it feel good (personal accomplishment) but it also meant that it was accessible to everyone (though I kind of wish the author put a pronunciation guide next to the words so those who didn't know how to say it could learn) because she translated it so non-speakers could understand.
I also really liked that the Dollmaker had PTSD. The Dollmaker served in a war earlier before the events of the book happened (I'm not sure which one, because I'm bad with historical timelines). He lost everything, including a leg, and he's just a mess when Karolina meets him. I felt like her depiction of PTSD was done pretty well. I also have PTSD (non-war related), and I felt like it was true to the condition. The dreams, the flashbacks, the reclusiveness, and the anxiety. I dealt/deal with a lot of those symptoms and felt like it was well depicted.
Lastly in the "likes" list is the accurate depictions of life in Poland during World War II. We don't usually see books that take place in countries that aren't Germany during this era, so it was a nice change of pace. We got to see what it was like for the Polish people and those who were Germans living in Poland, like the Dollmaker. It was pretty well done. We also really felt the tensions between the Jewish population and the non-Jewish population. It is always really sad to see this in books or movies, but it was really well done.
OK! It's time for the dislikes...Prepare your asses....You have been warned.
Things I didn't like:
Where do I start...Let's start with the things I have already praised.
The Land of the Dolls...why was it important? So Karolina would know what war was like? So we could have a break from a real war that happened for a fantasy world war?
I'm not really sure I understand why it was important to include this. Also, I didn't really get the relevance of including the creatures from the folklore. Though I thought they were cool, I didn't really understand why they were there...just to help Karolina once or twice. Because otherwise they didn't really do anything. Maybe that is just me being picky, but I don't think a character should be added so that they can help you out of a situation...and then never mention them again. *shrug*
The magic. Why? The magic in here is just stupid. The Dollmaker finds out he can turn living things into dolls and that's cool and all...it does save the life of a mouse that was killed by an asshole German boy...and it does come in handy later on in the story...but Karolina tells him multiple times that he needs to practice it and become better at it, and he spends a lot of the story telling her magic is dumb and that he needs to be practical. He then does one magic trick that does a great thing, but that's it. He starts a rivalry with a German...general? Some top German military guy who is really bad (of course...he's German, so he must be bad) and the German guy does magic too...but I expected some huge magic-off! Some huge showdown between douche-y German guy and Dollmaker dude...but that NEVER HAPPENS! I don't know why it was important for the German guy to have magic when all it did was intimidate the Dollmaker. He is a big nasty German guy!!! That's scary enough! Especially when you are friends with a Jewish family! Why did he need magic. I just. No...the magic was dumb.
A major part of this book is Karolina. She is a living doll...but honestly I don't know why it was important that she was. If the author didn't occasionally remind me that Karolina was a doll, I honestly wouldn't have known. I think the author made Karolina a doll so that the story would be lighter for the middle-grade audience that she was writing for. But the problem with that is, it didn't lighten ANYTHING!
This book was incredibly dark for being for middle-graders. Yes, it had a simplistic writing style, but with the addition of the subject matter and the use of foreign language, it kind of raised the reading level a lot. I was SHOCKED by the direction the author decided to go with this story. I mean. HOLY. SHIT! When you use a living doll as a main character, you really don't have to play with the rules of actual history. You can take whatever mini story you have going on, tell it how you want to, and still be true to historical events. But no. She kept this as real as it can get, even with all the magic, mythical creatures and living dolls. I'm going to put a spoiler-y bit at the end so I can go more in depth with this...but wow. When an adult is reading this and thinking that this might be the darkest WWII fiction novel they have read, damn. That's not really good...considering it is written for a young audience.
So yeah, if you think this is going to be a light informative yet fantastical read because it is geared towards younger readers, you are in for a surprise. It is dark, depressing and for me at least, very aggrivating.
I think that's everything I have for this book. I reviewed it on my Youtube channel a while ago....November I think? but yeah...This is a bit more in depth and a lot more rant-y...probably. It was a while ago, so I don't really remember what I said. Hopefully this all made sense and that it was useful. Stay tuned for the spoiler bits if you want to know why I thought this book was super dark and inappropriate for the age group it was written for.
If you decided not to stick around, see ya next time!
All GIFs were taken from: https://giphy.com/
My Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6483377-supermomochan-peachyfishybooks
My Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk5eRrShYL-HK0Gzg2qp4zQ/featured
Video this book is reviewed in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wRxkrdchp0&list=PLakhy8PhWWVTxQoIisZnpTH6kgp-o9N0R&index=6
Spoiler bits below.......
So the spoiler bits. Like I said before, this book has very accurate depictions of WWII and it is also marketed as a middle-grade book. I found it in the middle-grade section of the children's room at my local Barnes and Noble. So, being a book for a younger audience, you would think that the author would use more discretion when writing for children. With the addition of magic, it takes away from the realness of the war, so honestly anything is possible while still keeping the war semi-historically accurate.
First of all, there is public murder of Mr. Trzmiel, the Jewish friend of the Dollmaker and Karolina. He is shot point blank on the street in front of everyone, including his daughter. Though the Dollmaker tries to spare everyone the sight of what happened, we all know it happens.
Then there is the murder of the Dollmaker. So the big nasty German military guy captures the Dollmaker and Karolina and takes them to Auschwitz. Because this is a fantasy novel and middle-grad, we are kind of led to believe that the author wouldn't kill off the main character. Nope! The Nazis at the entrance are keeping track of who is coming in to the labor camp and those who are seen as not being useful. When they see that the Dollmaker has a doll in his pocket, they deem him as being nuts and send him off to the showers. Yes. That's right. They gas him. I was so stunned. I think they mentioned what the gas chambers were earlier in the book, but if you didn't know what they were, you wouldn't really understand. But after Karolina gets thrown in the junk pile, she talks about how her dollmaker friend is dead, so if you didn't know what happened, you most certainly do now.
Then they proceed to follow Karolina and her junk pile until the end of the book. We watch her slowly disintegrate on a pile of unwanted things and is eventually whisked away by one of the mythical people we had met earlier...I don't remember her name...to doll heaven...which is pretty much The Land of the Dolls (if you hadn't figured out it was doll heaven earlier).
Yes, the few Jewish kids the dollmaker had saved earlier made it out and Karolina gets to see one of them on her way to doll heaven, but otherwise this book really doesn't have a happy ending.
Now, to argue in favor of the author (and to show that I'm not being overly sensitive), I believe she did this in order to show the harshness of war and that not every story has a happy ending. Fair point...I hear you.
That all being said, this was probably the harshest WWII fiction I have read. I have read a couple of middle-grade WWII books and while they are sad, they do have an ending that isn't going to scar a younger audience. This one scarred me pretty badly and I've studied WWII pretty intensely. I still think about it and how dark it is. I can't imagine what a younger version of me would have thought reading this. I don't think it would have gone over well...and I would consider myself to have been a very serious and mature for my age.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
It was announced that from December 26th until January 2nd, you were to read seven of your shortest books and to complete seven challenges. Bre, my Youtube partner, and I decided that we were going to try and participate. Bre had never participated in a read-a-thon, and though I had before, this was my first time participating with another person and with a twitter. Bre killed the read-a-thon and I did alright. I also found out that I'm not very good with twitter........but I'm learning. Haha! Enough about that...Let's get into the challenges and the books I read!
The first challenge was to read a book with less than 200 pages. For this challenge I decided to read the 9th volume of Yu Yu Hakusho by Yoshihiro Togashi.
Challenge the second was to read a book with LGBTQIA+ rep in it. I didn't really have a short book that fit this challenge, but Bre mentioned that No. 6 by Atsuko Asano and Hinoki Kino fit, so naturally I picked it! She had lent me the 3rd volume, so I needed to get to it anyway.
The third challenge was to read the shortest book on your TBR (To Be Read) pile. I had taken Yu Yu Hakusho volume 10 out from the library (along with the 9th one), so it was something I needed to get to. Plus this is my favorite manga/anime series, so I wasn't mad about having to read it.
Challenge 4 was to read a book with your favorite color on the cover. I have no pink books and I wasn't interested in any of my yellow books, so I went for The Prisoner of Azkaban...by JK Rowling, which is my favorite of the Harry Potter series and has a beautiful purple and green cover.
Challenge the 5th was to read a book that was gifted to you. I very rarely get books as gifts, but for Christmas my sister gifted me The Wonderling by Mira Bartok. She said she saw it and thought of me. I was super touched and was super excited to pick it up.
Challenge the 6th was to read one of the host's favorite short books. I don't know what they all chose...and to be honest, I'm too lazy too look it up...but I was watching HardbackHoarder's video and saw that one of the host's favorite books was George by Alex Gino, and since it was a book I had been meaning to read for a long time, I chose that and borrowed it from my library!
And last but not least, challenge 7 was to read seven books. I was about half way through Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (I was on page 356 at the time of the read-a-thon). My goal was to have it read by the end of the year, so this was a good push to get it finished.
So, how did I go?
I only finished 4 books...2 manga and 2 novels...eh....
But honestly, for the week I was having...it wasn't too bad.
I read all of Prisoner of Azkaban, George, and Yu Yu Hakusho volumes 9 and 10. I also made it through 111 pages of the Wonderling and worked on a bit more of Warbreaker. I didn't finish it, but I'm just glad I made progress. I had absolutely no interest in picking up No. 6, though I did end up reading it after the read-a-thon was over. I'm not going to go into my thoughts on the books I read, as I mentioned them all in my December wrap up on our Youtube channel (which I will link).
So that's that! I know it has been a while since the cram-a-thon ended, but I felt like it was incomplete without an official wrap up! A lot of stuff happened that week and I wish I could have gotten more read, but I'm glad I was able to accomplish what I did!
I have a few "New Years" stuff planned for this blog, so stay tuned for that!
See you next time!
Channel link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk5eRrShYL-HK0Gzg2qp4zQ
Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6483377-supermomochan-peachyfishybooks
Cram-a-thon host channels:
Julia Sapphire: https://www.youtube.com/user/JewlSapphire
The Awkward Bookworm: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCferU-BCL2dlFjWdD0rS75Q
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Summary: Monty is lechy lush with an abusive father and a crush on his childhood best friend. Percy is bi-racial in a time where that in unacceptable. Felicity is Monty's sister and just wants to study medicine. They go on the Grand Tour of Europe together. Shenanigans ensue, the trip derails and Alchemy happens?
I gave this book 3 stars...Ugh
I want to start out with a strong statement...What the ACTUAL fuck is this book?! Holy. Shit. I just can't.
I know that the opinions below are probably going to be very unpopular...I just want everyone to know that I'm not judging anyone who enjoyed this book. This book wasn't meant for me, and that's ok! So, to start us off, I'm going to talk about the positives. It's a polite thing to do.
On a Positive Note:
The first 100 pages or so were AWESOME! I was super enjoying this book! It was hilarious! Monty is a lech and he loves to drink and gamble. Naturally it gets him into a lot of trouble and some really awkward predicaments. I loved it! If the whole book had just been about the Grand Tour and all the shit Monty got into, SOLD! Unfortunately, it wasn't...but we'll get to that later. I promise. It was funny and interesting to read. I understood 100% why people were losing their shit over this book. Again, I will touch on what happened later.
The characters are soooooooooooo good! I love Monty, Percy and Felicity. They are real people with real problems and they are treated in a way that I feel was historically accurate for the time period in which this book was meant to have taken place. Monty is terribly flawed and very stupid, but that is part of his charm. You watch him struggle with trying to please his father and trying to fight against his wild nature. He was charmingly frustrating and I loved that about him.
Percy was super sweet and I was genuinely cheering for him throughout the novel, as I was Felicity as well. At first I found her to be annoying, but as her character and personality came out, I didn't mind her so much.
I did also like the romance between Monty and Percy. It was a bit like Carry On by Rainbow Rowell...but not done nearly as well. Still, I was rooting for them to get together...and for Monty to pull his head out of his ass. Haha
Things that DIDN'T work:
Honestly, if it wasn't for the characters I would have DNF'd the hell out of this book.
Let's start with that love story I was just praising. It was SOOOOOOOO hot and cold, but not in a sexy way. Monty is so frustrating...I am not sure how Percy put up with him. He must be a saint! He insults Percy multiple times, mostly because Monty is a privileged white boy and has no idea what is like to be in Percy's shoes (as I mentioned before, Percy is bi-racial and he doesn't have the same rights as Monty does in this time period). He also doesn't really try to understand either? I don't know. I wasn't super into the romance...but I still wanted them to succeed.
The plot was a hot mess. First we are the Grand Tour, then something happens and they end up going on a wild goose chase all over Europe because of alchemy.....What? And I didn't even think it was original! It was like Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. I can't say how because it might spoil both series, but trust me...there were some odd parallels...
There were scenes that reminded me of other things as well...like:
And if all those things weren't enough, how about some of this:
...upon looking at all of this, it sounds really cool...but the thing is, it has all been done before...and better! All I could think of were these comparisons and how much better they were than what I was currently reading. Plus what I was reading was NOT what this book was advertised as. I was expecting something completely different. A best friends road trip novel...but in Europe and it's all old timey and there is an amazing M/M (male/male) romance...but it really wasn't what the book is about. It's about best friends who are SUPPOSED to go on a European tour but something happens and they end up getting severely sidetracked because Monty is an idiot.
I am having a really hard time expressing my feelings for this book. I was annoyed with most of it and everything is spoilers so I can't really say what else bothered me. UGH!
So anyway...I think I'm done thinking about this damn book. I was mislead, I was bored, I was upset and shocked that everything felt like a plagiarized bastardization of things that already exist...and are a million times better....I am emotionally spent.....I need some alcohol....and an angry nap.
I also want to apologize for the excessive use of GIFs in this post...I was trying something new and I may have gone overboard? Maybe not? Ehh...I'll probably keep doing it until someone stops me. Hahaha
Here's where to find me!
Again....I can't just leave it like that...I have more to say...and it's spoilery...so...you've been warned if you go past this point.
I still have no clue why this book is so bloody popular. It is literally the biggest rip off a ton of major anime/movie titles...I mean...yeah, it's not a complete bastardization, but there were so many parallels that it made me really dislike this story. Yeah, if you haven't seen One Piece or Fullmetal Alchemist, I could see that it might be an enjoyable read a little bit more....but even then...after looking past everything...this is NOT what was expected. At. All. After the incident with the robbers and escaping into town, I was already starting to get disappointed...then we find out Percy is sick and that he's going to be sent away...so yeah, that was sad, but they find out the trinket Monty had stolen from the important French guy....whose name I can't be arsed to remember...is actually a key for an alchemical heart that could possibly cure Percy...so this is no longer a story about a final horrah on a Grand Tour...which is what I was hoping. This is a trio of teenagers trying to get a key to a heart of a chimera...of a not dead but mostly dead woman...I didn't want this. They spent so much time in Spain faffing around trying to get answers from the son and daughter of the guy who did the alchemy...great...more shit I don't care about. Like, we went through some shitty character development of characters we didn't need to hang around. Yeah....we are supposed to feel bad about taking the heart of their mother...but we shouldn't have been in this position to begin with. Then the whole going to Venice and getting the key................Going into the catacombs....the fight scene......the escape.......like a scene right out of Indiana Jones...except they weren't looking for a religious item.
I know this is kind of incoherent and maybe it doesn't make sense...but I just feel like I can't fully explain why I didn't like this book...................................There were just too many things working against it. I had such a hard time talking about this book. I literally have a headache. I sorry if this ending bit is a bit...shit. XD
Summary: Dimple doesn't want to find an Ideal Indian Husband (IIH) and just wants to code. Rishi is all about pleasing his family and is excited about his arranged marriage to Dimple. They meet at a coding camp. Rishi gets soaked in coffee because Dimple thinks he's creeping on her. Stuff happens, dancing ensues.
I gave this a 3.5 stars...reluctantly...please don't kill me everyone....
As you can see from the star rating...Momes wasn't really all that impressed with this book...I realize this is an unpopular opinion but I can't help the way I felt. So let's get this over with.
Things this book did well!:
I really liked that this book was about things that aren't really discussed in YA. Coding for one. Dimple is super into coding and really wants to make apps that help people which is something I can respect. She doesn't want to do what her parents tell her is right for a young Indian woman. She just wants to do what she wants to do. Sick. Good for you.
I loved Rishi. He is such a great character. He is kind, he stands up for himself and I really liked watching his struggle with trying to please his parents and also do what he wants to do (which I feel is a problem that a lot of young people can relate to). He tries everything he can to win over Dimple and it is really sweet.
MANGA REPRESENTATION! Holy. Shit. As you all may or may not know, I do read a decent amount of manga and even though it is becoming less and less taboo to say that you read manga, I feel there is still a bit of a stigma around it. But Rishi seems like a really cool, "popular" type guy and he's totally into comics. That's great and all, but then we get to see popular titles listed though out the story that most manga nerds would know and it's pretty cool! I know I was super shocked to see some popular titles pop up in this book.
There are also some interesting conversations about race and ethnicity. Just because your parents are from another country doesn't mean you identify with their culture and believe in their beliefs. Dimple obviously doesn't agree with her parents and she discusses with the reader how weird it is for her to live in America, where she is treated as the "weird Indian girl", to how she is treated in India where she is the "weird American girl." Having lived in both Japan and America, I can relate to this feeling of being neither one culture or another. Got me right in the feels.
I also really liked all of the Bollywood mentions. I haven't watched a lot of Bollywood films, but as a dancer I love different types of dance. So seeing names of actual dances from films and being about to YouTube them and watch them was really cool! I, naturally, had to watch all the dances Menon mentioned. It was so much fun and I really appreciated that she did that. It gave people who were not familiar with Bollywood a chance to learn and appreciate.
Google images Dil Na Diya from Krrish
The book was also really addicting and easy to read, so it had that going for it!
Now that seems like a pretty strong case for a 5 star rating....but as it only got a 3.5, let's get into some of my issues.
What didn't work:
I honestly had hoped that the romance would have been a bit more....slow burning. The thing that really bothered me was that Dimple was VERY adamant that she wasn't interested in wearing makeup, getting dressed up, finding her ideal husband and all that romantic stuff. She often got in fights with her mother, and did everything she could to avoid looking presentable. All she wants to do is be a coder. Yet after meeting Rishi once, she finds herself looking for him in the crowd. She is instantly woo'd by him (though, to be fair, I was too) and I felt she gave into him pretty quickly. I would have been much happier if she had been slightly stand-offish until the end, maybe start to feel something but then not really act upon it until the end where she confessed her love for him...or whatever. The whole thing felt insta-lovey to me and I wasn't really into it.
I also felt that Dimple was really abusive towards Rishi. She toys with his emotions so much in this novel...I think that's why I didn't like the romance the way it played out. If it had been the slow burning romance that I had wanted, maybe Dimple wouldn't have taken out her romantic frustrations on him. She was so hot and cold for him and she didn't really seem to care about his feelings. She does a lot of stupid things to him that made me question if this was a healthy relationship or not. Though I think Dimple grew a bit a the end of the novel, I can't help but wonder what their future is going to be like...
I also wished that with such a big premise as a girl who can only ever think about coding and wants to be the best coder ever, there isn't a lot of coding happening. Like, yeah, it would have went over some of our heads if she had put in a lot of technical coding stuff...but there is a lot of artistic things about coding she could have up in it besides the art...like concepts and other things...or at least talk about the project more. But I felt like it got brushed away for many other things...
The talent show....Though I loved all the Bollywood references and I realize that the money was to help with the coding (the coding we hardly ever got to hear about)...I HATED the talent show. It was just more reason to cause drama and f**k around. There was so much added and useless drama that happened and I just didn't want any of it. It also took up a large portion of the latter half of the book. Completely unnecessary.
I found a lot of the things that happened in this book to be completely unnecessary. Friendship drama and some of the boy crazy, sex stuff was really not needed.
So, all of that being said, though I did like a good deal about this book, I think the bad out weighed the good. I also don't think I am going to pick up Sandhya Menon's next book. Again, it just sounds like a book full of lies and abusive relationships. That is not something I'm interested in.
Here are all of my links and such!
In case you were curious, like I was, here are the links to the two dances Dimple and Rishi practiced and talked about during the talent show. I enjoyed watching these very much and hope that you check them out too!
Dance Pe Chance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nJivRs-FEs&index=17&list=WL
Dil Na Diya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrHFtoEHw08&index=18&list=WL