Velkommen

På bloggen her kan du finde anmeldelser af alt fra fantasy, science fiction, kærlighed, chicklit, YA og NA til historiske romaner, krimier, spændingsbøger, og hvad jeg ellers lige falder over, der ser spændende ud. Herudover er der bl.a. Book Hauls og Kommende Udgivelser, samt Månedlige Opsummeringer. Occasional posts/reviews in English.
~ Iben
Bibliotekar, bogblogger & boganmelder

27/09/2010

One Lovely Blog Award

Yesterday Sam, from the Tiny Library, awarded me with the One Lovely Blog Award stating that she loves how straightforward and honest my reviews are <3 Thank you so much for that!

So, along with that honour, I get to pass it on to blogs I find lovely :)

The YA Takeover - This brilliant blog is a guide to Young Adult books, in movie form. Basically when a YA book is rumoured to be made into a film these guys will let you know :)

The Daily Brass - This humorous book blog focuses on satire/literary parodies.

The Fiction Spark - This lovely blog reviews books close to my own taste and as such has recommended me a fair deal of new books I want to get my hands on :)

26/09/2010

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

----------
“I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I spent the night with Felurian and left with both my insanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.”
----------

The Name of the Wind - The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One is about protagonist Kvothe whom, seemingly withdrawn from his adventurous past, tells his tale to a famous chronicler who’s found him in his seclusion. The story alternates from present day Kvothe to the past. It is very well written and very engaging, and I found it extremely difficult at times to put the book down.

I cannot tell you much about the plot without spoiling it, because of the way the story is put together. Telling you now, even some of the minor things that happen, will, I think, ruin a bit reading about how it came to be and what came before. For example, if I told you that the University goes up in flames (it doesn’t), then it would be easy for you to figure out who did it, if you then read early on, that Kvothe was a pyromaniac (he isn’t).I can say though that we follow young Kvothe from his blissful youth, through his miserable early teens, to his acceptance into the University and his life and adventures there.

Obviously you don’t get the whole tale in just one book, there will be in fact three books, and without knowing it I assume the next will tell the rest of his past and maybe the third will then move on to the present. The second book is planned to be released in spring 2011, called The Wise Man’s Fear, the third doesn’t have a title yet nor a release date. The Name of the Wind, though, is from 2007, so obviously Rothfuss isn’t the fastest writer, so book 3 might not come out for several more years.

The story is very well told; the world, the people, the mythology, the mystery – all are very well thought out and described. There is magic, but it is not magic, as we have known it from other books. Besides the aspect of names (know them and you can control their owners, be it wind or fire or anything else), there is sympathy – I can barely explain it to you, but then again I’m no magician. The basic idea is something on the lines of everything being related and if you have a representation of something, you can affect it through that.

The book nearly lost me though after about 350 pages. The story stagnates a bit for roughly 150 pages, where little happens and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The story does pick up again though, and by the time it ended (after 662 pages) I was fully drawn back into it and am now very much looking forward to getting my hands on the next book.

Overall, I like the story a lot, including the characters, which all seem very well thought out and real.
You do hear a lot about Kvothe’s money woes and despite it being refreshing from all the other books where money never seem to become an issue, it becomes a bit too much.
The story also tends to focus on just one thing at a time and sometimes (especially in the long stagnating part) for so long that you wonder, if he did nothing else at all than just chase the girl or work, for example. My last small complaint is the heavy reliance on foreshadowing, but that’s really just a pet peeve of mine.





Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010

20/09/2010

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory


*Unless you are completely unfamiliar with English Tudor history, this review holds no spoilers*

The Other Boleyn Girl tells the tale of the passionate girl that was Mary Boleyn and that of her arrogant and proud sister, Anne.
Mary wins the king and his heart, becoming his beloved mistress, and bears him children. But the court is treacherous place, and her own family thinks of nothing but their own glory and when Mary is no longer his favourite they let her sister Anne take her place, demanding Mary teach her how to ensnare him. Anne has the ambition and will to aim higher than anyone ever thought possible. She wishes to become Queen of England, whatever the cost.

It portrays the change in paradigm, when a queen could for the first time be overthrown, when women were nothing in the eyes of men, when a king became as mighty as God and noone was safe.

While reading the book, you have to put yourself in Mary's situation. Wedded and bedded at age 12 to William Carey, the King's mistress at age 13, she is a woman completely of her time. She cares not for the intrique of the Court and just wants to be with her children, but she is forced to stay and smile, as Anne rises and rises in life - ultimately rising so high, she can only fall.
Mary is a strong woman, who manages to find true love in a time where love is only for peasants, and Gregory tells her story magnificently.

Gregory portrays the Tudor era magnificently, and The Other Boleyn Girl is no exception. I'm a big fan and have read several of her other books (The Constant Princess, The Virgin's Lover, The Other Queen and The White Queen). Gregory writes in a very captivating style, and if you like historical novels, she is a must-read author.

The stories are so well thought through and though of course she takes some liberties with the story, it depicts the 'true' story. Using letters, books and old manuscripts as her sources, adding on thoughts and feelings of the characters, you feel very close to them, especially the main character (usually a first person point of view).

The Other Boleyn Girl
is quite a long story, spanning 15 years from 1521 to 1536. "Limited" to a real life story, the plot is not always action packed and it is even a bit slow at times, but mostly it manages a very fine balance of moving forwards while telling the story of Henry's Court and Anne's ambition from Mary's point of view.
The characters are almost perfectly represented, my only slight complain is that Mary is made to look a bit more innocent and sweet than she probably was, and Anne a bit more cruel. However, it was desperate times and Gregory shows the people and their actions wonderfully.




Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010

-----
I recommend you read The Constant Princess, before The Other Boleyn Girl, as to better understand Queen Katherine's situation when the Boleyn girls steals her husband and eventually her crown. The Constant Princess tells the story of Katherine of Aragon, a Spanish Princess, married to Crown Prince Arthur, who tragically diesShe must be strong and take matters in her own hands so she can marry his younger brother, prince Henry, soon to be King Henry the 8th - a spoiled boy never taught how to rule a country. The man we know today as a tyrant and wife-killer.

13/09/2010

Books Awaiting


There are currently 15 unread books on my shelves:
  • Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Darling Jim by Christian Mørk
  • De Ti Herskere by Christian Mørk (The 10 Rulers)
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Priestess of the White, Last of the Wilds and Voice of the Gods by Trudi Canavan
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  • Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • New Spring by Robert Jordan

    12/09/2010

    Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

    WARNING: Contains minor spoilers for Poison Study (book 1) and Magic Study (book 2)

    I was disappointed with Fire Study, to put it mildly. I had expected much more and in the end I finished it, more because I felt I ought to, than because I was truly engrossed.

    The story is an absolute mess and the red thread that's supposed to keep the whole thing together got lost within the first 50 pages. I didn't find it clearly again till page 400. Maybe I'm just exceptionally thick, but I could not keep track of all the confusion, the repetition, the constant change of minds, the lack of explanations to what was going on or why and abundance of stuff happening. It was confusing and frustrating reading this book, and only the last few chapters returned to the same flow that made me love Poison Study.
    I can't figure out if Snyder never wrote an outline for the story and just wrote it as it came to her, thus resulting in the tangled mess, or if she just expected her readers to understand all the things implied perfectly and thus be able to follow the story she tried to convey.

    The writing, the style, has also taken a turn for the worse. The tone seems off, and it often feels like you're reading the commentary rather than what's actually happening. You don't feel with or for any of the characters. Things happen and you don't care. Obviously I can't tell you the specifics of all my annoyances and disappointments with the book, without spoiling it completely, but I can tell you that I only properly enjoyed the final few chapters of the book - the rest were too jumbled.
    As in book 2, Magic Study, simply too much have been crammed in to this book. After finishing it, I can see the general idea of the plot and how intricate Snyder intended it to be - unfortunately it's just too much. I don't know if maybe she was limited to a certain amount of pages (Fire Study consists of 441 pages), but maybe it would have done the story some good, if it was 200 pages longer and allowed for time to pass, silent moments to exist and gave the reader the opportunity to digest. As it is, the second one thing is done with, another explodes and the characters rush off to deal with that, and it's simply too much.

    Character-wise, I'm disappointed as well; people who were fresh and plausible in the first and second book, have frozen into stereotypes of themselves and seem unable to do anything but what Yelena expects them to and finds them capable off. Their personalities are all over the place.
    The bad guys are still ravenous for blood and basically incapable of anything but being psychopaths. Valek is once again Yelena's stud (only implied, never graphic) who happens to also be handy in a fight. Yelena herself is almost impossible to understand or feel with as she spends most of the book, seemingly unable to even understand her own actions.

    The Soulfinder concept introduced in Magic Study and explored in Fire Study is interesting, and I wish Snyder had used it better throughout the book, instead of sending Yelena through a stumbling path to enlightenment.

    The book gets 2 stars, hovering on the edge of 3, but only because I still like the overall concept of the story and the world it takes place in. Snyder could have done so much better - she proved that with Poison Study.




    Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010


    The following is a very apt description of the story, written by Angie on Goodreads:

    08/09/2010

    Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

    WARNING: Contains minor spoilers for Poison Study, book 1 of the Yelena Zaltana novels by Maria V. Snyder.

    ----------
    Confronting the past - controlling the future

    With an execution order on her head, Yelena has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of her birth.
    With only a year to master her magic - or face death - Yelena must begin her apprenticeship and travels to the Four Towers of the Magician's Keep.

    But nothing in Sitia is familiar. Not the family to whom she is a stranger. Not the unsettling new facets of her magic. Not the brother who resents her return. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her rare powers, a rogue magician emerges - and Yelena catches his eye.

    Suddenly she is embroiled in battle against good and evil. And once again it will be her magicial abilities that will either save her life... or be her downfall.
    ----------

    I was absolutely thrilled when I got my hands on the second book of the Yelena Zaltana novels, Magic Study, and although I enjoyed reading it, it's got some issues.

    The first 300 pages of the book I loved just as much as I did Poison Study. The writing was great and the flow and pace of the story was good. Yelena's reintroduction to her family and clan, the land of Sitia, the journey to the citadel, the other magicians and their lessons, the political drama; it was all great.
    But then something happened. Too much happens actually. Like another reviwer at goodreads.com points out, Yelena has too many scenes involving defying authority/kidnappings/escapes/torture/using magic to save the day. There's too many repetitions and those 100 pages or so feel overcrowded with action and it drags the story. The writing also takes a turn for the poorer, even childish, as if Snyder felt stressed by all the story lines she had crammed into the book.

    Another problem is the ongoing torture/rape-villain. It worked in the first book, but when you meet several more in the next it gets old. Snyder has to move on and let her villains have as many sides as her good guys does. Because her good guys are great - their feelings and actions range the whole spectre. There's love, friendship, jealousy and hatred all at once. So why are the evil guys all chronically insane with a habit of slicing up their victims?

    Finally, there is the use of the characters. New ones are introduced and old ones hover in the background. Though most of the new characters have their moments, Valek, Yelena's love from the first book, only appears about halfway through the book and he's only really there to bed the girl. He's gone from an almost almighty spy master that Yelena could trust to save the day and work with, to some obscure presence in the background.
    Another character problem is the appearance of a villain that should have never have been there. Adding to the flood of action in the final pages, the character could easily have never existed and many pages been spent otherwise without the reader losing out whatsoever.

    The final chapter of the book manages to save the book, pulling all the loose strings together and shipping off the majority of the characters, leaving behind the ones that we need. Yelena must make some choices and we finally get back to focusing on what this is really all about, her figuring who she is and who she wants to be.

    I give this book 4 stars, because I did really like the majority of it and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Fire Study. It might only have deserved 3 stars, but I'll give it the benefit of doubt and hope for better editorial skills in the third book.




    Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010

    07/09/2010

    Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

    Knots and Crosses is a crime novel from 1987 by Ian Rankin, and is the first of many Inspector John Rebus novels.

    ----------
    John Rebus is a cop in Edinburgh with a haunting past involving the SAS. He smokes and drinks too much, his wife left him and his estranged daughter isn't particularly impressed by him either. Edinburgh is his city, but things are going down the drain. A killer is on the loose, two young girls kidnapped and strangled, and now a third has been reported missing. Rebus is assigned to the case which grows bigger and more gruesome as time flies and the journalists flock like vultures. Meanwhile an anonymous loony is sending Rebus letters with knots on strings and matchstick crosses, reporter Stevens thinks he's on to something involving both Rebus and his brother, and Rebus would rather he could just forget it all and make it go away as events take an turn for the personal and the scary.
    ----------

    It's a short read, but a good one. It took a while for the story to get going and I spent a while being rather frustrated with Rebus and his dark problems and haunting memories. About halfway through the story picks up the pace though and I found myself pulled in. Without spoiling the actual plot I can tell that it's not one of those crime novels where you get hints and clues throughout the book and the killer's identity is revealed on the last page. This is more about Rebus, and him coming to terms with himself and his past.

    Should I come across the next book in the series I would read it. The characters are well written, the story is strong and over all it's time well spent.



    226 pages / published in 1987
    Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010

    03/09/2010

    The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan

    Warning: Review contains spoilers of the Black Magician Trilogy!
    ----------

    Book one of the Traitor Spy Trilogy, The Ambassador's Mission picks up 20 years after The High Lord ended (The Black Magician Trilogy) and we follow the lives of Black Magician Sonea who's forbidden to leave the city of Imardin, her son Lorkin and Ambassador Dannyl's travels to Sachaka, and Thief Cery's attempts to catch the Thief Hunter.

    Dannyl goes to Sachaka with Lorkin as his assistant, but soon Lorkin disappears by the hands of the mysterious cult, the Traitors. Sonea wants to go find her son, but the restriction set on her by the guild to keep their Black magicians in place (who are believed to be practising a dangerous magic that must be tightly controlled) hinders her from even leaving the city. Cery, meanwhile, is busy trying to catch the rogue magician haunting the city killing off the Thieves, suspecting this is also the person who murdered his family.

    The book has several point of views, following Sonea, Dannyl, Lorkin and Cery, and the 4 story lines are all equally interesting and well paced. I can't recommend reading it just yet if you haven't at least read the Black Magician Trilogy as it will make little sense without it, and I further recommend you also read the Magician's Apprentice, a recent book also by Trudi Canavan, published after the BM trilogy but story-wise set centuries earlier. There are many points and references in the Ambassador's Mission, which you will only understand if you've read the entire previous story and it's really a shame to miss out. Have you read these books though, read this one too!

    It's well written (Canavan has improved over the years), it's fast paced (you don't sit around yawning reading this) and it's a welcome return to familiar characters in both new and old surroundings. The plot is fresh and, unlike other more unfortunate sequels, not just a carry on. There are new settings, new people and new dangers to deal with.

    The next book in the trilogy, The Rogue does not have release date yet, but on the 28th of August Trudi Canavan announced on her blog that she had just sent it to the publisher, so maybe sometime next year? I personally cannot wait to read more. It's not my favourite book of all times, but it, like it's predecessors, holds a well thought out world filled with captivating people and their stories.




    513 pages / published in 2010
    Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010

    ----------
    Note: if you haven't before and decide to now pick up the Black Magician Trilogy, brace yourself. The first book is slow paced, but it is worth it to keep on reading. I really enjoyed the series as a whole. Furthermore, the Magician's Apprentice is a brilliant book, I read it just prior to setting up this blog, which is why I haven't reviewed it yet, but it is actually one of the best books Canavan has written. Set in the same world just hundreds of year before the BM trilogy it tells you the story that's been forgotten by the Guild about the origins of Black Magic, Higher Magic.