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


The Last Olympian

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, book 5.
Reviews of books 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4

Most people get presents on their sixteenth birthday. I get a prophecy that could save or destroy the world. That's how it is when you're the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea. According to an ancient prophecy, bad things will happen when I turn sixteen - because I'm the one who gets to decide the fate of the entire world. But no pressure. This is the one where Kronos, Lord of the Titans, is beginning his attack of New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Oh, and the dreaded (and not to mention enormous) monster Typhon is also heading our way. So it's me and forty of my demigod friends versus untold evil... Can Percy stop the rampage of the titans, to save Olympus - and himself?

The final instalment of the Percy Jackson series went down with a bang. It's crammed with action and witty comments that had me giggling throughout the book. The entire series has received 3-4 stars pr book - they are by no means great pieces of literature, but I've truly enjoyed reading them and following the characters - many of these I didn't even like originally, but I think they just grew on me.

In this 5th and final book it's the big showdown between Kronos and Percy - a build-up that started all the way back in book 1. Though I'm a bit sceptical concerning many of the heroic feats the kids pull off, sometimes you've just gotta go with it. Some things are a bit too easily avoided and I must say, it bugs me how often Percy has a chance to find out something vital, but can't be bothered to press the issue, and as such it's a big cliffhanger by the end.

I'm happy to have read the entire series, but am also happy it's over now. It was getting a bit thin, but book 5 is at least much better than the rather thin cup of soup that was book 4.

361 pages / published in 2009
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011


Rushing a read

The "classic" mistake of enjoying a book so much that if you have it there you immediately carry on reading the next in the series rather than stepping back and thinking about the book you just read, thinking it through, contemplating what you thought about it, what it meant for you.

While in Turkey on holiday, I finished the first book in the Mistborn trilogy (The Final Empire) by Brandon Sanderson. Because the ending was so compelling, against my better judgement I carries straight on reading book number 2 (The Well of Ascension) which I devoured in a matter of few days. I then proceeded to book number 3 (The Hero of Ages) and here I hit the wall. Suddenly I am struggling through the book as if wading through mud, I lack the motivation to read and generally just can't be bothered to make the effort. To make matters worse, I don't even feel like reading something else.

What happened was that I've overdone it. I've read a vast amount of great pages all on the same subject, the same people, the same big events and plots, and now my brain just needed a break, plain and simple. The fact that the third book starts out rather dullish certainly doesn't help, but I guarantee you, it would have happened almost no matter the level of interesting things taking place in the plot.

Thinking about it, I think it's a very common thing to be completely submerged in a book series, and after reading who knows how much of it, it's suddenly just *too* much. I actually prefer and strive to read only one book out of a series and then wait for a while before reading the next. I think it generally allows me to get a much better picture, an overview, of the actual bigger plot, and I'm able to, shall we say, digest it more completely. With this series, though I've certainly enjoyed it so far, I've maybe rushed through it. Maybe I've missed out on important clues, who knows?

Any thoughts? 


American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident. Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible. When Wednesday offers to hire him as a bodyguard, Shadow reluctantly accepts. But the journey they face turns out to be more dangerous and dark than he could ever have imagined. For unbeknownst to him a war is being fought -- and the prize is the very soul of America.

Having previously read Nevermore, Stardust, Anansi Boys and Good Omens (co-authored with Terry Pratchett), American Gods was a welcome return to the utter madness that characterises Neil Gaiman's books. Despite its often absurd detours and mishaps, it had me quite hooked right from the beginning.

The many gods were a pleasure to read about (mostly), some I knew, most I didn't and one I recognised from a previous book of Gaiman's. The characters are in general a bit smoky and hard to make out with the exception of Shadow, whom I grew to care for greatly. I truly felt I could understand the path he chose.

I did find the ending a bit anti-climactic, a bit ordinary somehow, and some of the final events a bit too much like a balloon from which the air had gone out - it is a fairly long book after all. A number of scenes in the book contain some very graphical scenes of a sexual nature and to my surprise the language was briefly very crude and explicit. Something I didn't expect from Gaiman.

As you can tell, my plot graph was not the easiest one to draw. The story mainly follows Shadow and what he's up to and put through, but several times a chapter or section takes a detour to fill the reader in on an entirely different story, background or something more obscure and it became hard to keep up with all the impressions it left me with. About halfway through, after reading a particularly long chapter detailing the story of two African slaves (a story that didn't seem to fit in anywhere and characters I didn't expect to read about again), I did feel a slight urge to just close the book and put it down. However, my interest for Shadow's story overcame my more negative thoughts on the matter and so I kept reading. I can completely understand why so many people only gave this book 1 or 2 stars. It is a very odd book with an often confusing drawn-out plot. Myself I debated between 3 and 4 stars and ended on 4 because I think it deserves it in the end. It is not my favourite of his books, but it was worth the read and I can now look forward to the tv series they're making based on it.

624 pages / published in 2001
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011

The Kindle book also includes an extra snippet which is Neil Gaiman's "On the Road to American Gods." It's basically just some journal entries he wrote during the, shall we say, post-production of the book (copy-editing etc.) The entries are both interesting, fun and educating (on the subject that is being an author and publishing stuff).


Back from Turkey

After a week's holiday in Marmaris, Turkey, I'm now back online!

It's been nice to take a complete break from basically everything, and the weather was very nice. Up to 43 C !!

Marmaris as such isn't my kind of place though -  it's too much of just a big touristy city. All you could really do was sunbathe and spend money in the bazaar. I prefer more calm and cultural venues and the only things even close to Marmaris was the ruins of Ephesos and Pamukkale and I've seen both on previous holidays in Turkey.

All the sitting by the pool did allow me to read a lot though, have read the first 2 books of the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and am halfway through the third and final one. This is definitely a book series I recommend!

Looks like I got a visit from Russia while I was gone. Over 1000 page views 1 day from a Russian ISP o.O

Anyway, it's good to be back, I hope you all are doing great and that I didn't miss out on too much :)


The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu

Vimbai is a hairdresser, the best in Mrs Khumalo's salon, and she knows she is the queen on whom they all depend. Her situation is reversed when the good-looking, smooth-talking Dumisani joins them. However, his charm and desire to please slowly erode Vimbai's rancour and when he needs somewhere to live, Vimbai becomes his landlady. So, when Dumisani needs someone to accompany him to his brother's wedding to help smooth over a family upset, Vimbai obliges. Startled to find that this smart hairdresser is the scion of one of the wealthiest families in Harare, she is equally surprised by the warmth of their welcome; and it is their subsequent generosity which appears to foster the relationship between the two young people. The ambiguity of this deepening friendship - used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind - collapses in unexpected brutality when secrets and jealousies are exposed.

The Hairdresser of Harare depicts the life of single mother Vimbai, who lives in Harare in Zimbabwe. Vimbai is queen bee at the hair dressing salon where she works and she knows it. One day the most unexpected and unlikely competitor walks in the door - the young man Dumi, a natural talent at styling hair, who charms everybody but Vimbai, who is both jealous and ill-at-ease over the newcomer.

We follow the entire story through Vimbai's eyes and I love that woman. I was very dubious at first, but once I realised how realistically the author depicts her, her situation and her surroundings, I couldn't help but fall for her. She is a strong woman, proud of her independence, but not too proud to not accept good help when offered. The book tells her story through her eyes and we follow her as she grudgingly accepts Dumi's friendship and discovers that so much more is within reach, but also realises that not all is at it appears and is forced to make a decision that can have dire consequences.

As mentioned above the setting is very realistic. The poverty, the corruption, the question of race and culture - it all paints a very clear picture: Zimbabwe is not an easy country to live in. Having recently been to Kenya, I felt I had an even deeper insight in the happenings, having seen just how poor some are and the miserable circumstances they live under - and just how richly others live in stark contrast.

The book is really well written and I strongly recommend others to give it a read. It is much more mature than my usual YA genre, but I truly enjoyed it and wish more knew of this African jewel - it truly deserves much more attention.

196 pages / published in 2010
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011

Many thanks to the author for supplying me with a copy of the book


Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Linger isn't quite as good as Shiver, book one in the series. I felt a bit more distanced to the happenings, waiting for something monumental to take place. There's been this build-up to something, you're not quite sure what, and the majority of the book has come and gone before it actually gets somewhere. However, because I came to care so much for the characters in the first book, book 2 had me in a solid grip and I was reluctant to not read on whenever I had to put it down.

Like the first, it is very well written and engaging and the characters are a joy to follow. The thoughts and transformation of new guy Cole was really good and I loved how Isabel has become a far more complex human-being with a ton of emotions she doesn't even understand how to deal with herself.

For me, the plot twist was expected, but I loved the execution of it and on another note it was also very satisfactory to finally "see" Grace stand up to her useless parents (though moronic as they are of course they just don't get it).

Thinking about it, it doesn't really span much more than a few weeks or so and most of the important stuff, just a few days, and we never leave the familiar surroundings of book 1. However, that just goes to show that you don't need a huge varying scenery for your puppets to put on a play. Small and known can be just as fulfilling for big events.

360 pages / published in 2010
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011


Matched by Ally Condie

Matched, book 1

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I picked up this book out of sheer curiousity at the library the other day as something inexplicable drew me to it.

Containing little action, it instead holds the mental progress and development of a young girl who starts to doubt the Society and even goes against it. A Society where all is controlled, regimented and calculated.

Deeply fascinated by its depth and dystopian world, it reminds me of a mix of the films Equilibrium and Gattaca; in the first, society is under strict rules and emotions are kept at bay, and in the second, humans are bred into as healthy and good specimens as possible. Beyond that I'm also strongly reminded of the society as we see it in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Matched is incredibly well written, despite its lack of actual action, so much takes place and following Cassia's "awakening" as it dawns on her just how little freedom she has was truly captivating and I struggled to put it down.

I'm a bit ambivalent concerning the ending as I feel it just runs out into the sand - I had expected something more dramatic. However a second book, Crossed, is expected in the fall of 2011 and I'll definitely be reading that to see where Cassia story is going.

318 pages / published in 2010
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011

On another note, apparently the film rights have been sold to Disney, so that'll be pretty interesting to see how that works out.


Summary - July

God, I can't believe July is already over and done with! I've worked so many shifts this month and also been busy around the house and biking miles and miles now that my dad is back home and can kick my butt if I get too lazy. We also built my 2½ year old nephew a wooden tower.
The weather has been pretty pathetic. Danish weather can be very difficult to predict, but usually we have very cold winters and very warm summers. This year though (like the last) we had a blizzard and 2 metres of snow in March and, well, we just had the wettest July for many many years. Huzzah.

I read some 10 books and reviewed 12.

Below is a summary of July. 16 posts in total!