The Chimes

I’ve been standing here forever.

Maybe just another case of bad timing, but this time I didn’t even bother finishing the book. Of course I feel slightly bad about that.

Maybe if I wouldn’t have had read Homegoing before, the difference wouldn’t have been so big. I was ready to be swept off my feet again, instead I had to push myself through unrecognisable clunks of ..probably what was supposed to have been plot.

The Chimes are a thing that turned England, or maybe the entirety of the UK, or the world – a thing that uses music to control people and make it unable for people to remember. Some manage to put their memories into objects, but it’s still hard to have a past.

So, there is a nice element to built a world upon, but why does it feel like the author was paid per word? Several times I felt like I was close to a clue, only to have the story going into another direction again. None of the characters had any pull on me, to cheer them on or dislike them. For a story littered with music related terms, the rhythm was completely off.

The Chimes, Anna Small, Sceptre 2015

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The Abyss Surrounds Us

Any other morning, I’d dive into Durga’s observation bay without hesitation, but this is the day before my life begins.

Scifi pirate lesbians with mutant turtles! In the ocean(s)! Honestly, if that’s not up your alley, I don’t know what else to say to sell you on this (again, short) story.

In a world where huge, mutated sea creatures defend all kind of ships, Cass Leung’s maiden voyage as a trainer of one, goes completely belly up. Yes, because of the previously mentioned pirates.

Emily Skrutskie creates a steampunk-ish, Guillermo del Toro-ish (I’m thinking Pacific Rim) world that’s honestly ripe for the taking by any television-bobo’s, it’s such a complete package. Entertaining, different, diverse characters, fun, action, romance, bam bam boom.

Is there going to be a sequel? Could well be. Is it necessary? Not exactly, if you’re looking for a very quick read (again, just 200 pages in the e-reader), you’re more than fine with this one. After that, pay it forward into the direction of the Hollywood hotshots you know.

The Abyss Surrounds Us, Emily Skrutskie, Flux 2016

De Graces

Iedereen zei dat het heksen waren.

Ik weet verdorie niet meer wie dit me had aangeraden, want daar wil ik graag even een hartig woordje mee spreken. Brr, YA volgens het cliché boekje. En werd het op de achterkant ook nog aangeraden voor fans van Twilight en Beautiful Creatures. Had ik nu maar van te voren het boek opgegeven.

De echte naam van de hoofdpersoon leren we niet eens; zij besluit zichzelf eens River te noemen en daar doet iedereen aan mee. River dus, en ze is nieuw in een kleine stad en al snel wordt ze net zo betoverd en/of obsessief met de mysterieuze familie die al tijden daar woont. En mysterieus is.

Maar met River is er ook Iets Aan De Hand. Daarvoor wordt de lezer zo’n tweehonderd pagina’s aan het lijntje gehouden, terwijl de mysterieuze familie al snel gewoon wat eleganter dan de rest lijkt. De andere karakters mogen tweedimensionaal blijven, River krijgt alle ruimte om onduidelijk en chagrijnig te zijn.

Is er dan misschien nog iets van een uitsmijter, een diamantje in de modder? Neuh. Zelfs als River eindelijk de boel uitlegt, wordt het lauwwarm geserveerd met een duidelijke opening voor boek twee. Ze mag het doen zonder mij.

De Graces, Laure Eve, Van Goor 2016

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

126 min.

Voor een Guy Ritchie film vond ik het nogal mild, voor een Koning Arthur-vertelling vond ik het nogal ..Indiana Jones-achtig?

king arthur poster

Weinig gewaden en oud(klinkend) Engels in deze versie, het is meer lammy coats en een hoeveelheid aan “mate”. Geen zorgen, aan het verhaal is weinig veranderd, alleen heeft Arthur er deze keer wel érg weinig zin in.

Gelukkig zijn er gigantische olifanten, magie, bijdehante bad guys en een boel (trippy) actiescènes om Arthur van gedachten te veranderen. Mate.

Als je een avonturenfilm zonder enige coherentie nodig hebt, is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword een heel redelijk aanbod. Neem wel verlichting mee: de film bestaat alleen uit tinten grijs, groen en donkerblauw.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Warners Brothers 2017

Everfair

Lisette Toutournier sighed.

Well, it could make an amazing looking TV-show. The world building is there, it’s bright and diverse (both in surroundings as represented race and sexuality). It’s just the plot that ..not really isn’t.

Everfair is the name of the reclaimed, bought Congo and later parts of surrounding countries. With steampunk elements and money from societies and countries world wide, Africans, Europeans, Americans and Asians build up a country without colonial rule. Cool, original, awesome idea.

And that’s about it. The author seems to be in a hurry to showcase the rise and fall of this young country, hopping ahead in time like she was told not to use too much pages on character development. The story only gets sadder because of this as well, pulling the reader out of the freshly created fantasy.

I’m very fond of stand alone books, definitely in the fantasy series, but maybe Everfair could have done better with being a two-parter.

Everfair, Nisi Shawl, Tor 2016

Radiance

Come forward.

First of all, I’m not very fond of the novels that show their story through a collection of notes, diaries, pamphlets, and so on. Add those as decoration, but it feels too fragmented to build a story from. Or that’s simply laziness from me.

Secondly, there’s more room for world building than plot. Yes, I know, me complaining about too much world building? On this blog? But with Radiance there is no balance between the two. Character names are thrown around while my mind’s still reeling from learning about Mars’ society, more time spent on the interior of a space ship than motivation of caring for the main characters. Who are even the main characters?

The main plot – at least I think it is – is about how a company tries to reconstruct the disappearance and or ending of one of their employees. This being a film company, and the employee being a director and daughter of a Well Known Director, makes things just a bit more glamorous.
Because that’s what Radiance is, glam. Shiny. A picture book set in words.

 

Radiance, Catherynne M. Valente, Corsair 2015

Nevernight

People often shit themselves when they die.

Ah nice, just some ordinary, entertaining sword and dagger (and dagger, and dagger) fantasy. Is it a stand alone? I don’t think so. Can it be read as one? Definitely.

Preteen girl goes through a traumatic experience, uses it to get into Superb Killer’s School to become one and punish those that put her through it. Along the ride there’s a lot of high school tropes (cliques, hateful teachers, romances) with some fantasy ones (surely there’s never been one as good as her).

It’s fun and satisfying, with some nice (with some gruesome details) world building along the way. Did it blow my mind and will stay with me forever? No. Was there anything annoyingly wrong with it? Not that I can remember.

Nevernight, Jay Kristoff, Harper Collins 2016