Saturday, 14 May 2016

Book Review: The Martian

THE MARTIAN by Andrew Weir
5 Stars
Original, witty, intelligent - what more could you want?

This is a futuristic novel about a man stuck on Mars, yet the details and atmosphere make it feel like it could be based on real events. Sci-fi isn't a genre I roam into often, but I'm glad I did for this one!

Mark Watney is a fantastic main character. He’s resourceful and intelligent. He maintains a sense of humour throughout his plight, which turns what could have been a depressing situation into a problem solving adventure. I found it inspiring to read about someone who face countless challenges and failures, especially as they picked themselves up each time. He’s a hero to root for.

Watney does a great job of explaining what’s going, using humour as a tool. The technical stuff gladly sailed over my head but I could still understand the point and I enjoyed how real and logical it felt. That said, I wouldn’t read another book like this. It works because it’s utterly unique, and I hope it stays that way.

With how the scientific knowledge oozes off of every page, I was shocked to discover this is from self-inflicted research. Weir is not an astronaut or a doctor of physics. He’s a dedicated writer, and that’s truly fantastic.

There are some nail biting moment, but with a book like this, I felt I didn’t need to read it all in one go. I could pick back up where I left off like visiting an old friend. There’s a pattern to the book – disaster, all is futile, resourcefulness, survive – and it makes it an easy read. As a standalone novel, it’s definitely a book I’d recommend.

Source: My boyfriend might have pestered me to read this one after enjoying it so much. :)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Book Review: The Master Magician

THE MASTER MAGICIAN by Charlie M. Holmberg (The Paper Magician #3)
2 Stars
Verdict: Disappointing.
#1 - The Paper Magician
#2 - The Glass Magician

In book one, Ceony journeyed through a stolen heart and learned to love an intelligent but reserved man.

In book two, we learn more about Gaffers and other magics in an action packed sequel.

What happened in book three?

All I know is, as much as I wanted to, I just didn’t care about any of it.

Ceony crosses the line from a strong willed woman, to a rude, reckless, and unreasonably stubborn woman. She talks down to others with a self-righteous attitude, and then ignores perfectly sound advice. Her intentions are good, and she clearly cares about her family and wants to help, but that doesn’t really justify the way she treated people.

What bugged me about this book was the general lack of motives. Ceony has very little reason to risk her life the way she did, and is pretty lucky that most of the book glided along without any real stakes or sacrifice. I even found myself asking why Ceony and Emery are in love. Emery is easy to adore, but there’s not much chemistry between the two. What does Emery love about Ceony? What makes him more than just a mentor or friend?

We also meet Ceony’s sister in a random side plot that adds no value to the book. I get the sense it was thrown in to buff out the pages.

The real motive conundrum is the villain. Saraj Prendi is a terribly bland and underdeveloped. What does he want? Who knows. He says his life don’t revolve around Ceony, but author practically admits he has no motives when we’re told it’s just a game to him. He also stands out as the only ethnically diverse character… although he happens to be a stereotypical villain who makes comments like “you English” followed by the most absurd comments about what all English supposedly are. It’s a little cringey to be honest.

I still enjoyed the vintage style of the writing, but I found myself bored with the slow pace. It took until 50% for anything substantial to happen, and even that was over within a few page flicks. It generally lacked the spark from the first in the series.

I get the feeling that book 3 wasn’t really part of the author’s plan. Book one was the core of the idea, and book 2 allowed us to spend more time with Ceony. Book 3 ties all loose ends in a way that made me not care about them anymore… Perhaps all it needed was more time, more ideas?

I’m glad this series is over. Still, I’d like to read another book from this world. I think there’s a lot to play with that the author hasn’t touched yet. But to dive into another Holmberg trilogy, I’m going to need convincing that there’s more than just part one up her sleeve.

Source: Bought the kindle version.