Wednesday, December 06, 2017

“Provenance” by Ann Leckie – A Political Coming-of-Age

Provenance by Ann Leckie (book cover)

A Return to the Imperial Radch with Ann Leckie


When Ann Leckie began penning her now-famous trilogy, she had no idea the extent of the world she would end up creating and how many stories it would be able to encompass within itself. Throughout the three novels she developed it to such an extent that the world itself became a character of its own, one that begged for further exploration... which is precisely what she gave us in her latest novel, Provenance . Before having a look at the story itself, I'd just like to mention that while the novel does take place in the same general setting, it isn't really related to the afore-mentioned trilogy and can be completely read on its own. With that being said, the more background knowledge you have about this world and the fresher it is in your mind, the better of a starting understanding you'll have about the dynamics at play here.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Home" by Harlan Coben – Bring the Boys Back Home!

Harlan Coben's Take on Hope


Hope is a rather funny concept, for on one hand it can give us the will to live, to continue fighting and enduring, while on the other hand, it can deceptively lead us from the frying pan into the fire as it becomes an obsession and an inability to accept reality. Luckily for us though, literary characters are fortunate enough not having to contend with such frustrating real-life dilemmas. For them, hope is without a question the path (and literary device) to follow and cling to, as Win Lockwood does for over a decade in Harlan Coben's Home .

Thursday, November 02, 2017

“Midnight on Mars” by M.C. Glan – The Many Faces of Fear

M.C. Glan's Fading Humanity


The idea that one day we'll be forced to leave Earth and look for a shelter elsewhere is certainly not without foundation. With each and every second we are further exhausting the non-renewable resources that make our civilization turn round, and even if we manage to move on to completely recyclable energy and solve all the critical worldly issues (such as hunger and diseases), we'll still have to deal with a dying sun. In other words, whether it takes two thousand or two billion years, one day we'll have to leave this planet of ours if we want to survive. M.C. Glan is an author who decided to play on that aspect in her first published effort, the novella Midnight on Mars.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

“What the Hell Did I Just Read” by David Wong – The Unreliable Narrators

Into David Wong's Absurdity


David Wong is a writer that doesn't need much of an introduction for those who are into horror comedies. His John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders have catapulted him into relative stardom, demonstrating his capability of bringing something original and hilarious to the genre. Perhaps without really wanting to, Wong created one of the most memorable and likeable trios in recent memory with Dave, John and Amy; a band of arguable losers and definite misfits who seem to be drawn to circumstances as strange as they are themselves. Reluctantly, they've saved their worthless little town of [Undisclosed] on more than one occasion, battling threats that seem much more ridiculous and nonsensical than actually deadly (despite it being the case). With the third book in the series, What the Hell Did I Just Read, Wong returns to our three beloved stooges and has them recount a rather unbelievable story.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

“The Idea of You” by Amanda Prowse – The Loss of Motherhood

Amanda Prowse Explores the Mother


Being a parent is one of those aspirations that transcends race, gender, culture, nationality and whatever else you may have. It's a biological, cultural and psychological yearning that governs the grand majority of us, to the point where many people don't even need to have a debate with themselves as to whether or not they want children. Unfortunately, nature and genetics are cruel and unforgiving, making it extremely challenging, if not impossible for certain people to conceive. This painful yearning for a child that never comes is one known to far too many people, and it serves as the central theme for Amanda Prowse's emotional and captivating novel, The Idea of You.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

“The Sudden Appearance of Hope” by Claire North - The Hopeless Grasp for Identity

Being Invisible with Claire North


The question of man's identity is one that has preoccupied philosophers throughout the ages, with there being many disagreeing schools of thought as to what makes us who we are. Some argue that we are how others perceive is, others think that our memories make the core of our identities, not to mention all the theories revolving around biology and spirituality.

In other words, our identities are probably composed from a large number of different aspects, but we never really take the time to stop and wonder about it... or perhaps more importantly, what we would do if we were robbed of our identity. That's precisely the kind of scenario our protagonist faces in The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North.

Friday, August 25, 2017

“Times of Victory” by Pedro Luis Adames Valdez – A Place Under God's Wing

Times of Victory by Pedro Luis Adames Valdez (Book cover)

The Meditations of Pedro Luis Adames Valdez


The topic of religion is one that's becoming increasingly contested with the advent of globalization as it became apparent that there are many more faiths out there than meet the eye. Each and every one has its own belief system and designations, with a few being much more heavily-proliferated and discussed than others, namely Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Simultaneously, the sceptics are more numerous than ever before, with atheism and agnosticism gaining popularity, especially amongst the intelligent elite. Whether or not you're a religious person though, I believe that there is much for us to learn from the teachings passed down through holy scriptures for they often connect with our lives in surprisingly non-religious ways. I myself am not a religious person, and thus it is precisely the approach I took to Times of Victory by Pedro Luis Adames Valdez.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

“The Boy Who Saw” by Simon Toyne – Putting the Ghosts of War to Rest

The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne (Book cover)

Simon Toyne and the Lost Identity


Compelling characters that consistently stimulate our desire to discover them across multiple books are few and drastically far in-between, with virtually ninety-nine percent of protagonists being throwaway vehicles used to conduct a single story. Even when it comes to book series it is rare for an author to truly capture our interest with the same person one novel after the next... and I would argue that Solomon Creed, created by Simon Toyne, accomplishes that to perfection. Here is a character with no memory or knowledge of himself, besides the words stitched into his perfectly tailored jacket: “This suit was made to treasure for Mr. Solomon Creed”. While his mystery is certainly the centre of his world, it does take a back seat to more pressing cases, as we see in The Boy Who Saw, the latest book in the series.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

“The Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson – The Racist Charm of the South

Joshilyn Jackson Ventures to the Middle of Nowhere


The Southern United States, though plastered with stereotypes and generalizations, is a complicated and unique enough place on this Earth with its own sort of internal system that has remained the same throughout the years, even as one government took over after another. Joshilyn Jackson, like a few other authors, has used the South as a setting for her stories on more than one occasion, being perfect for family dramas and sagas because of the traditions found in it. In The Almost Sisters she takes us into a little town located in Alabama, one that personifies what that part of the world is all about.

Monday, July 03, 2017

"The Thirst" by Jo Nesbo – Hunting on the Tinder Grounds

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo - front book cover

The Hunt for Lonely Hearts with Jo Nesbo


The idea of seeking out complete strangers to date through various mediums certainly isn't anything new. There are lonely hearts advertisements, dating clubs, a whole array of websites dedicated to specific demographics, and more recently phone applications. Upon hearing those words you're most likely thinking of the one everyone has been using lately: Tinder. Quick, simple and efficient, it has become an integral part in the lives of many people and it seems there are only more and more users on it every day. There is, of course, a downside to this approach: you might be able to try and meet with anyone you'd like, but you cannot control who intends on meeting with you.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

“Time Travel: A History” by James Gleick – The Birth of the Human Obsession

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick (Book cover)

James Gleick Asks the Pertinent Questions


To go back or forth in time, travel the fourth dimension, to wind the clock whichever way we want it to... that's one of the many seemingly unachievable wishes all of humanity shares. Mastering our movement through time would definitely make life much easier, but of course, that's a concept that comes with many paradoxes that raise valid questions about its viability. And nevertheless, we don't lose hope and keep on dreaming that some day we'll literally be able to take a walk down memory lane. But when exactly did our obsession with this whole thing start? How did it develop? Is there any actual promise to it, scientifically-speaking? These are all questions that James Gleick has set out to answer in his latest book, Time Travel: A History.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

“Kill Process” by William Hertling – Angie and the Electronic Goliath

Kill Process by William Hertling - book cover

An Accelerated Evolution


A mere few years ago the term social networks wasn't even a thing because there was really only one, MySpace, and the relative few who used it (at least in comparison to today's social networkers) didn't give it all that much thought or importance. However, fast forward to today and it's impossible to imagine a world that isn't dominated by Facebook feeds, Twitter posts, Instagram snaps and whatever else we may have. We are experiencing an accelerated cultural evolution, to the point where we may very well be the first people who have the ability to feel nostalgic about memories from only five or ten years ago, the first to see countless inventions become obsolete one year after the next. There are some who applaud these advances and claim them to herald a new golden age for technological progress, while on the other hand there are those who pay more attention to the dangers involved.