The first book was brutal, violent, dark. I needed a resolution for the characters, sure, but I understand how trilogies work. Things always get significantly worse before they get better, and the ending of part 1 is never, ever as straightforward as it appears.
From my previous review of John Allison's work, you'd be 100% correct in thinking I was a bit of a fan. I adored Giant Days as a spinoff from Scary-Go-Round, but Bad Machinery also presented me with an unexpected cast of characters to love, sticking to the slightly spooky-whimsical direction of its parent comic. I loved the team of child detectives, but perhaps my favourite shining star and hero was Lottie Grote - chaos with big hair, a mad genius and the human incarnation of the phrase "hold my beer."
I read this when I was feeling very stuck in a rut with my reading. This year has felt – for me at least – a lot harder in terms of trying to disconnect from life and really connect with some fiction. It was perfect.
One of the things I enjoyed about book 1 in this series was how there were no easy answers to the questions. Prejudice and hatred was embedded bone-deep in the two factions of the nation, based on allegedly justifable causes - events in history where both maji and non-maji have brutalised each other as each held power in their own way. While the easy, fairy-tale ending would be right there, with the magic back that justice could prevail as clearly the oppressed were peaceful, Adeyemi isn't going to give us the easy, tidy ending. People aren't easy and tidy, and neither are her characters.
This is an unusual book. Published by Michael Joseph, one of Penguin Random House's literary imprints, I think it makes a difference when reading it to remind yourself that it is a literary book, not a straight fantasy genre book.
I have been waiting for this book for about five years. You would think that in this time I would have taken the opportunity to re-read the other instalments in the series to remind myself what had happened, so I would be fresh and ready when I finally got around to getting this new paperback (to match my other fifteen paperbacks). Reader: I didn't.
I first encountered The Last Unicorn when I was a fairly small child. I was given the VHS of the film as a birthday present, and it was the first video I owned that was just mine, not one bought to share with my brother. MINE.
I had been in a bit of a reading slump for the first third of this year or so. I was struggling to find the motivation to consistently pick up a book and finish it. It was taking me weeks to finish novels I would normally have polished off in a number of days. It was no reflection on the books, just that my brain - which had managed pretty well on reading last year, although a lot of that was interview prep - slapped the Time Out button and was just really struggling to grip onto things. This book was like a brain sorbet, a mental palate cleanser. It was sweet, and funny, and easy, and lovely, and I blitzed it like I used to blitz books in a couple of days.
I am very overdue in reviewing this. After vowing I would request no more books on Netgalley towards the end of 2020, I got an email about The Charmed Wife and, a fan of dark fairy tale reimaginings, I was very easily convinced to break my promise.
Crazy Rich Asians was one of the books I reviewed in the first year of this blog and I adored it. After being swept away by the film, I was tickled and surprised by how much more biting the book was.