Sunday, 29 March 2015

Book Review: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Rating: 5/5




Now that's an enigmatic synopsis if ever I read one! The Night Circus takes place over more than two decades around the beginning of the 20th century. Expect some Gothic codes as we are in the heart of Victorian England. Note: pay attention to those dates at the top of each chapter otherwise you will be lost time-wise in this world.

The main concept is that there is a game. A game that started when six year old Celia Bowen was given back to her father, Prospero the Enchanter (and yes, that Shakespeare reference is intended and Prospero does try to call her Miranda). The opposing contender is called upon by a mysterious man in a grey suit who presents Marco. The game itself is unknown to both the players and us as readers throughout most of the novel. We know, and they know, that there is a game. But neither us know what that game is or when it will happen.

The circus itself is there venue for the game, although that is not its only function; it is a fully running circus full of illusionists, contortionists and alike. The circus is the central point for all the individual vines of plot to congregate and join together. This was something I adored about the book because there was always something happening even if it was the subtlest thing!

If you're looking for a plot-driven and fast-paced read then this may not be quite for you. The Night Circus requires dedication to read as it's not one of those books you can just read a chapter of and stop. You really need to sit down for a couple of hours and read a hundred or so pages to appreciate what is going on. Each and every detail is described to pull you into the world (you even get to taste the food, it's that great).

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Film Review: Insurgent


I have now seen Insurgent twice. The first time was on Thursday (19th March) for a 2D screening, and then I returned to the cinema with a new ticket in hand for the 3D screening yesterday (21st March).

Just to set the scene for you, the Insurgent film picks up a few days later from where the Divergent film ended (in the books, there was no time shift). Tris and Four (and Caleb) are seeking refuge in Amity whilst she finds herself suffering over the deaths of her parents and Will.

There are mixed reviews about Insurgent out there but I definitely think it was a huge step up from the first film. The main thing that stood out for me was set design. In Divergent I felt that the Dauntless compound was kind of pathetic: there was zero life and it didn't stand out whatsoever. In Insurgent, Erudite, Candor and Amity were all so unique and distinct from each other but also stood out.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Book Review: Mind Games

Author: Teri Terry
Rating: 4/5

Mind Games is a dystopian thriller which takes the idea of living virtually to the extreme. With a theme of "what makes you different makes you dangerous" it is perfect for fans of Veronica Roth's Divergent series.

"Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep. She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit.
But when she is singled out for testing, she can't hide any longer.
The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future. But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing..." 

I received an uncorrected proof copy through Goodreads so my opinion is not based on the final version of the novel. Also it's worth mentioning that Teri Terry is the author of the well-known Slated series, and there are some allusions to this in Mind Games.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Book Review: Portal 24

Author: Meredith Stroud
Rating: ★★★☆

Portal 24 is a Young Adult sci-fi novel which plays with the idea of time travel. The story is set around the life of teenage con-artist, Darius, in the city of Memphis. On the hot streets he cheats tourists out of their money to make a living for himself. When a mysterious woman starts following him in her car he thinks he might just have been caught for his trickery, but she turns out to be quite the opposite. She comes with a dangerous message and offers to recruit Darius into the world of Project Oberon - an organisation capable of time-travel in order to save disasters. Though there is a limit to their time travelling: they can only go back by twenty four hours and then time is up.

After having a read through Portal 24 I had mixed feelings over the plot. I thought some aspects were intriguing whilst I felt other aspects could have been further explored. In my opinion, some of the supporting characters such as Constance, Leon and Malik could have been further developed because by the end of the book we still don't know a great deal about them other than their fighting abilities.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Inside Out (Book Tag)

This week I have a book tag coming at you. It was originally created by Booktuber MathomBooks, and it's an acronym style tag.

Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough? (Discuss)

Not enough! What is this trend of just slapping reviews on the back cover? It's great that so-and-so thought it was flipping marvellous but that tells me nothing about the story. I want to know what happens, the name of the character, what the world is like! The book shop might say it's a thriller but is it? Is it really? What kind of thriller is it? Someone give me a summary and tell me!