Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mini reviews

I have been kind of lazy when it comes to blogging over the last few months. University is taking up a lot of my time as I'm currently completing my honours in Australian church archaeology. Nevertheless, I've always made time for reading. Rather than create a post for every book, I decided to compile a group a mini-reviews looking at a couple of my news discoveries.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I loved Divergent and had high hopes for book two. Thankfully I was not disappointed. The personalities of the protagonists are further explored in this action packed adventure. Tris has so many character flaws that she practically jumped off the page. She did so many things differently to how I would have, but her thoughts and motivations were clearly expressed and the story flowed like a dream. My only complaint was with the story-line itself—Roth continued to return to themes and problems I'd seen a hundred times before. This repetition, however was counteracted by the intense relationships and character development. Insurgent is quite a violent read and I wouldn't really recommend it for anyone under the age of fifteen.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
I always enjoy a good dystopian novel and Under the Never Sky was certainly that. I think I was a little late off the bandwagon with this one, but when I got started I didn't look back. The story's premise is amazing—it's original, thought provoking, and definitely an issue I believe should be treated with more care in todays society.  I can see the senario of this novel coming true in the next couple of hundred years, making this book a really eye opener. 
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
After reading so many contemporary dystopian novels, I returned once more to the ultimate dystopian Brave New World. I read this book in year 12, five years ago, and it serious depressed and confused me. Now that I'm older, and have had more experience with this genre, I returned to this book with new eyes. I recommend you read it, if only for the writing style itself, which is unique and beautiful, conveying the characters feelings and thoughts, as well as displaying the world in a clear, readable light. This book is still as depressing as ever, but reading it for a second time, I better appreciated all it has to offer. 
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
This is the first book of the new series His Fair Assassin published by Andersen Press. It was a good read, once I got into it. I'll admit I put it down after a couple of pages and it took me two months before I touched it again, but it was worth it. The story is interesting, not flawless, but it swept me along all the same. The character development was the most impressive aspect of the novel, with trained assassin Ismae having to make her way in the male dominated world she dislikes so much. She learns trust and love, but most notably she learns the importance of self-awareness and self-respect. All in all, a nice little read.
As 2012 is National Year of Reading, Elizabeth Lhuede created the Australian Women Writers Challenge in response to the gender bias debates of 2011. The goal of the challenge is to read and review books written by Australian women writers throughout 2012. Today I have two for you.
Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
This is book five in Marillier's Sevenwaters series, and like always it didn't disappoint. It follows Sibeal, great granddaughter of Sorcha from book 1 Daughter of Sevenwaters, on her journey of self discovery. It's filled with family, love, romance, mystical beings, fortune telling, and brave tattooed warriors. What more could a girl want? I read this book in one sitting (in the university library when I should have been studying) because I couldn't put it down, and trust me I tried several times.
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
This is book one in Marillier's new Young Adult series. It reminded me of Wildwood Dancing, however it can be read by younger readers. Like all her books it follows the journey of a strong, independent woman as she seeks refuge in a war-torn landscape. I was not my favourite of Marillier's novels, however I joined the easy read, and it made a nice change from her normally intensively complicated plots.
Juliet Marillier is very high on my list of authors I would love to meet. Luckily for me, I was given the wonderful opportunity of interviewing her (via email) last year. You can find the interview here.
So what books have you been reading (by Australian women)?

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