If I was completely honest, I didn’t enjoy The Alchemist. However, I feel like that may be attributed to the translator. I found the writing to be dry, jarring, and rushed. The time felt off- months would pass by in just a couple of sentences.
I did enjoy the actual story however, which makes me inclined to think that the problem lies with the translation. There were times when I was a bit confused, and even now, I’m not exactly sure what was happening at points. On the bright side, The Alchemist is short and interesting enough to easily reread in two-ish hours. I would, 100%, read this book again.
Overall, The Alchemist was a quick and light read, which I’d recommend people read when they’re busy.
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I really enjoyed The Joy Luck Club. I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars. Amy Tan wrote a series of vignettes and I felt that really enhanced the book- it revealed the perfect amount of information and allowed The Joy Luck Club to be read as a series of detailed snapshots. Further, the characters had flaws which never really went away, but they still changed and became more open-minded. I enjoyed Tan’s portrayal of the tumultuous relationship each mother and daughter had.
At times, the stories each mother shared similarities with the ones my grandparents and parents tell me and my siblings about India and immigrating and adjusting to life in a new country. I also understood, to an extent, how the daughters felt- within my family, the cultural differences have not created as big of a rift, but there are a lot of different expectations and, at times, it can be overwhelming.
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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a memoir- a recounting of her childhood which hooks and drags you in. While I was reading, I was very invested and Satrapi did an amazing job. I’m not going to lie- I was a bit teary-eyed at the end, and after finishing, I had no idea what I wanted to do.
Satrapi combined history with her own experiences, creating a nice balance. I really enjoyed Persepolis and it’s many themes of war, hope, childhood, and survival. I would recommend Persepolis.
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This past week, I read The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. I’d give it 4/5 stars.
It was a really nice book, I’m actually kind of surprised because I haven’t really liked a lot of the books I’ve been reading. The summary reflected the plot- there was a lot of suspense, history, and there were so many puzzles. The writing was descriptive, but sometimes it was a bit too wordy and heavy and it distracted from the actual story.
There were multiple plot twists, a vivid setting, and a diverse cast of characters.
The beginning is a bit slow, but about 30, or so, pages in, the plot starts moving. The beginning is full of intricate descriptions and world building.
The ending was a bit disappointing, and, to be honest, unexpected. I think, for me, the ending brought The Gilded Wolves from 4.5 to 4 stars.
I think there might be a sequel? Some aspects of the plot were left loose, and the last page is a bit cliffhanger-ish.
Overall, I would recommend The Gilded Wolves.
Looking back at last year, I didn’t read much. These were the five books I read in my spare time and not for school. Majority of them were pretty disappointing.
1). I really enjoy reading about heists, so when my friend recommended Six of Crows (by Leigh Bardugo), I was really excited to read it. Except, there was no heist. This was by far the most disappointing book of 2018, and I tried to like it- Leigh Bardugo has really nice writing. But purple prose isn’t the only thing that can make up for the lack of an interesting plot, so I’d give it about 1 and a half stars out of 5.
2). Crooked Kingdom was an unnecessary sequel. If possible, it was worse than Six of Crows (Bardugo) in terms of plot and pacing. 1/5 stars
3). The Court of Fives trilogy by Kate Elliott: My mom and I actually read these together, and she liked them. I didn’t, but I did find them absolutely hilarious. The first book was decent- maybe 3/5 stars, but the next two books were as if Elliott googled ‘YA Cliches’ and decided to combine them all together. I’d give all three books maybe 2/5 stars?
4). The Girl from Everywhere (by Heidi Heilig) was one of the options we had for a book project last year, and the summary made it sound really interesting. I did Like Water on Stone instead, but I read the book just for the sake of doing so, and I wish I hadn’t. There were a couple of moments I enjoyed, but overall, it was a drag and it didn’t live up to the expectations in synopsis created. I would still recommend it, however. 3/5 stars.
5). A Reaper at the Gates (by Sabaa Tahir) was the only book I actually enjoyed last year. I was actually surprised, because A Torch Against the Night was kind of a mess, but I’m glad I read it. There was a lot I liked- the character development, the plot, and Helene’s POV. 4/5 stars
A Reaper at the Gates
Hi! So over winter break, I finished reading An Ember in the Ashes and it was pretty good. I’d give it 4/5 stars. I didn’t keep track of what was happening while I read, and since it’s a considerably large book, I’m just going to sum up what happened and my thoughts.
The Emperor dies and Elias, along with Helen, Zac and Marcus are chosen for the trials. This part made no sense, because the Emperor had no male heir- which is why the trials happened. But Helene is a female- there is no logic for why she was chosen. Zac and Marcus get a start on the trials through cheating and assistance from the Commandant.
Laia gives up her freedom to become a slave. She enters Blackcliff as the Commandant’s personal slave. She meets Cook and Izzy, she spies- and then wait for it- she learns that Darin (her brother) is not in one of Serra’s prisons, but in Kauf.
Essentially, that is the only thing of any interest that happens. The trials and the fear of Laia being found as a spy are the only factors which propell the book forward. Along the way, Elias and Laia meet and fall in love and the book ends with Laia basically burning Blackcliff to the ground and blackmailing Elias into helping her free her brother.
But going back to the actual book review. I said this earlier but Sabaa Tahir writes really well. I love her descriptions and she has a really good idea. However, I really, really, really hate Laia and Elias. Individually, their character arcs are really interesting, but once their stories get intertwined I kind of lost interest because it’s less I-need-to-win-the-Trials and I-need-to-save-my-brother and more I-really-like-Elias/Laia.
The ending reverts back to being more individual-goal oriented, but there’s this drag about 3/4 into the book which just feels really odd.
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