Book Review 007

Hey guys! Today I am back with another book review. Today I have three books! I am very impressed with how much I have been able to read lately. I am making up for the fact that it took me four months to read one book. 😂

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I have also decided to instill a rating system to help give some structure to my reviews. 5/5 is amazing everyone should read. 4/5 is pretty good but not perfect. 3/5 is not bad, if you are interested in the novel then read it but not wow everyone needs to read it. 2/5 is major issues but I was still able to finish the book. 1/5 is trash but I finished the book still. 0/5 would be for a book I didn’t finish.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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I actually wrote my first book review on the first novel, The Handmaid’s Tale! I have since watched the tv show and I love the tv show. I know it’s not for everyone, but media academic in me absolutely adores the tv show.  It also won the Man Booker Prize AND was Goodreads Best Fiction of 2019. All of this preamble is to say that I had high hopes going into this novel.

Well it did not disappoint. I quickly settled into the world of Gilead again. This novel is set 15 years since The Handmaid’s Tale and follows the story of three woman: Aunt Lydia, Agnes and Daisy. The novel borrows aspects from the tv show but some things are different than the show. I think having watched the tv show will help the reader, but having not seen wouldn’t hinder someone.

I liked all three of the main characters. Atwood did an amazing job of creating complex characters. I liked them but also would get frustrated with them, just like real people. I also like how the characters point-of-view can change my feelings on a character. For example, I generally liked Agnes, but found her annoying from Daisy’s point-of-view. I think this highlights how important people’s perspectives are.

I found this book way more readable compared to the first novel. One of my comments on the previous novel was that I found some passages to be a little too description and heavy with literary devices. This novel did have some, but it was mostly Aunt Lydia’s sections that had it. It was in small enough doses that I found it interesting. I think the average reader would find the novel easy to read.

Overall I was happy with the ending. I’m sure some people might be disappointed. But this novel is not about the fall of Gilead but the build up to it. I also found the epilogue to be super satisfying for me personally.

Overall I give this novel a 4.5/5. I think this novel was well written and the themes are super important. But I do realize that this novel deals with some heavy themes are just not for everyone.

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

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So I bought this novel when I was a teenager – this book was published in 2013. I know Kiersten White is famous for her Paranormalcy series and I heard good reviews about that series so I thought this book would be good.

It’s not yet I still couldn’t put the book down.

This book is confusing. Isadora is the human daughter or Egyptian gods, and she moves to California to live with her brother. Unless you know a lot about Egyptian gods this book is very confusing. By the end of the book I can say I have a better understanding on Egyptian mythology, but I had to do a lot of Googling at the beginning because White didn’t explain anything very well.

The exposition wasn’t very great and the conflict was very flat throughout the novel. Like this is such an interesting concept and White didn’t do anything interesting with it!

Also none of the characters felt real. Isadora was infuriating and I didn’t connect with her whatsoever. She was just annoying and nothing is worst than an annoying protagonist, especially when it’s a first-person novel. Ry, the love interest, was so idolized that he didn’t feel real. Their romance was just so fake.

I predicted the big reveal at the ending. I think it’s fine to be able to predict the ending but it has to be satisfying. I can always predict at the end of a Hallmark romance movie that the girl and guy will get together, but if they did a good job of setting up the romance it will be satisfying. This end was just flat because there was a lack of conflict leading up to it.

BUT despite all the flaws I was still hooked into the novel. I kept finding myself wanting to read the novel to find out what was going to happen. I think because of the lack of a good plot line I was always hoping it would get better but it didn’t.

Overall I would give this a 2/5. It was pretty bad and I wouldn’t recommend it. But I still finished it and enjoyed the book even though it was so bad.

Educated by Tara Westover

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This book has been on my to-read list for a while. It’s a best-selling novel – last I checked it’s at number two on the non-fiction list. There is a lot of hype around the novel.

The book is a memoir of Westover’s life growing up in a Mormon survivalist household. Her father rejects many Western conventions such as public education and health care because he is afraid of the government. She grows up in rural Idaho with her six older siblings. The story follows her life and how she progressively receives higher education.

The book is a real slow burn at the beginning. It took me a couple of days to get through the first 150 pages. But I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing because it made me sit and reflect on what I was reading. But once you settle into Westover’s novel I became hooked, and read the last 100 pages in on sitting.

The content can be quite shocking. Tara Westover is the victim of much violence from one of her problems. Many of her family members, including herself, and subject to horrible injuries that are described in much detail. So I wouldn’t recommend this novel if violence and gore and aspects you steer clear of.

Much of the violence and injury is because Westover’s father puts his faith before the safety of his family. This is one passage that Westover discusses this that made me sit back and think. Westover is figuring out her religion and her relationship with her family, which is oftentimes at odds against the education that she is seeking.

I also want to note that this is a memoir, which is a tricky vehicle of storytelling because it’s one-sided. I do like that Westover acknowledges the issues with her memory. Many times she has footnotes describing how she and members of her family remember an event differently. I like that she included these notes in her book.

Overall I think this is a good book. It’s hard to say I enjoyed parts of the novel because it can be hard to read about people’s trauma. But I liked that this book made me sit and think about themes such as religion, family and education. I would give the memoir a 4/5. I don’t think everyone would love this book, but I think it’s an important book and I’m glad I read it.

And those are my book reviews guys! Totally opposite books haha. Let me know what you have been reading lately or if you have any book recommendations for me!

xoxo

Lea

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