Here’s some May book reviews!
One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus
Despite my overall rating I hated the first 25% of this book, absolutely hated it. It was so badly written, I absolutely hated the writing style and just everything about it in general. It was just…the writing was so bad, it felt like I was reading a teen fan-fiction. Everything sounded absolutely ridiculous and over-dramatic, it was really making me cringe. The plot of the storyline is a murder yet I was trying hard not to laugh as I read every page because everything was so bad it was funny, I just couldn’t take it seriously. These were my first initial thoughts and notes that I made when reading –
“Am I…on another planet? This book has 4+ star ratings all over Goodreads, which I could possibly understand if the people rating it were 14 – 16 year olds, but they’re not. They’re women, men and people my age. Like I said, am I on another planet?? Am I reading a different book to everyone else?”
“I’m going to make a spoiler for the first 10 pages of the book which shouldn’t be a big deal since this book seems to be awful anyway, but someone has a seizure in a classroom and the whole school is acting like their entire student body has been murdered. The seizure lasted for literally 2 paragraphs and suddenly the paramedics were there taking the student away, but then the rest of the story consists of everyone crying and shaking and feeling sick and suddenly no one can sleep at night and they can’t breathe because they’re all so confused about, and I quote “what. just. happened?” – my thoughts when reading this exactly. What..just..happened? What am I reading?”
There was also a lot of sexism which of course, I also hated. I felt like I was constantly rolling my eyes and saying to myself, seriously? Is this actually being published? I understand sexism in books, of course, just like there’s homophobia, racism etc. – it’s part of the story, but this was just…gross. It didn’t feel like part of the story to me, it just felt like the author was trying to be relatable and therefore throwing in bullshit sexist comments which were making me angry. Examples here, here and here –
“My mother thinks Jake’s too good for me. I’m not good enough to attract and keep the kind of man who can take care of you for life. I’m not sure if that’s ever been stated as a goal or anything, but it’s what we’re supposed to do.”
“The way she was dressed reminded me of the uniforms the girls used to wear in school, she’s wearing a similar skirt now that hikes up her thighs as she crosses her ankles. The view’s not bad.”
“Hot enough, I guess. But other than that she’s got nothing to offer.”
“I never turn Jake down. It’s like my mother said when she first took me to get birth control: if you say no too much, pretty soon someone else will say yes.”
But then suddenly after what seemed like endless pages of sexism, we suddenly have a bit of white feminism thrown into the mix which I assume Karen M. McManus thought she was fixing something with –
“He’s a total man-whore.” I glare at her.
“You do realise it’s sexist to say man whore right? If you have to use the term you should at least be gender neutral about it.” – Ah yes, white feminism at it’s finest. Thank you for that.
Considering this book is aimed at I’d say 14-16 year olds (hence why I probably initially wasn’t such a fan of it) this use of sexism and white feminism…not exactly the positive, influential writing we’re all looking for, but what do I know.
On top of that, the writing was just stupid, cliche and cringy in general – examples here, here and here –
“I’ll never forget seeing Jake for the first time, freshman year: he had a mouth full of braces and hadn’t gotten tall or broad-shouldered yet, but I took one look at his dimples and summer sky-blue eyes and knew. He was the one for me. It’s just a bonus he turned out beautiful.”
“The tenderness on my left temple feels as though it’s going to turn into one of those horrible oversized pimples I get every few months, whenever I have one I know it’s all anyone can see. I’ll have to wear my hair down for a while, which is how jake likes it anyway. My hair is the only thing I feel one hundred percent confident about all of the time. I was out with my girlfriends last week and one of them ran a finger through my hair and said “can we please trade? just for a week?”
I could go on but honestly, I wouldn’t want to put you through such pain. It was mind numbing. Also, the names were stupid. Every time we were introduced to a new character I almost choked on my drink – if Miss Karen over here didn’t get her character names from a random name generator then I’ll be damned. The police officer’s name was Officer Hank Budapest. Give me a break.
Distasteful, stupid, and poorly written to say the least. So yes, I absolutely hated the first 25% of this book and would give it less than one star if I could.
However, luckily it was a quick, fast paced read and therefore it didn’t take me long to get past the first 25%. I don’t know if I simply got used to the writing style but the writing did seem to get a little better (aka, more bearable) and I found myself enjoying the story more as I became more invested in it. I ended up really liking Nate as a character and thought he was extremely relatable, I felt like I was reading about a lot of boys I’ve known in real life, so I thought he was characterised well.
I didn’t really enjoy the writing style but I enjoyed the story and found myself speeding through it so I could get to the end and find out what happened. Overall it was a good book, though Karen M. McManus’ writing is definitely aimed at younger readers.
The Notes #1 – BTS
This was always going to get 5 stars because I love them and I love this story. This may or may not make sense but when Korean is translated into English it has this certain air about it that I really like, it’s kind of whimsical and very…modest, almost? Unless you read / are familiar with Korean to English translations then you might not know what I mean but essentially I loved the way this was written and translated, I remember reading it and thinking yep, this is definitely them through and through. I love the way all of them were written because even though they’re characters, it still very much reflects who they are as people and I really liked how they captured each individual, their personalities really shone through. I felt like each member was explored perfectly and that they all had an equal share of the book (minus Jimin who seemed to have less but that was due to the nature of the storyline), which isn’t the easiest when you’re trying to switch back and forth between seven characters. I loved the way their individual stories intertwined with each other and I think overall this was a job very well done – the topics and themes throughout are very hard hitting and like I said in this post, I’m very grateful for the fact BigHit made something actually worth reading, because these are serious and emotional topics – not something catered to your average 13 year olds wanting to read about their crushes. This book was real and unforgiving.
It very much felt like the seven of them were the only people that existed and I really liked that feeling of it being just them and no one else, almost like it was the seven of them against the rest of the world, it gave a real sense of unity and made you feel like you were a part of it – the feeling of all the different locations (the container, the storeroom, the beach, the gas station etc.) was so intriguing, like they were all quiet and isolated yet it wasn’t scary, more like somewhere you yourself would want to explore and a place you’d like to go. I loved the way every word felt significant, like you couldn’t miss a single thing just in case it would be important later – it felt like every word and phrase meant something, there was a point to all of it. From the very first sentence you were straight into the story, there was no messing around and you knew exactly what was what. Of course, due to the nature of the book I was automatically already invested from the very beginning and I loved everything about it, it was almost like I was reading a high school journal of people and places I had fond memories of, even though it was sad and I myself had never been there. It was bittersweet nostalgia and showed the meaning of true friendship, brotherhood and unity. I’m really looking forward to the second book so I can read about it all over again.
Heir of Fire – Sarah J. Maas
Guys. Why am I dragging myself through this. I feel like now I’ve started this series I need to finish it (especially since this is literally the first series I’ve read) but I’m just finding it so hard to care. I’ve decided I really dislike the way Sarah J. Maas writes women. I just don’t like it. I’m finding it so hard to care about these characters, my favourite person so far in the series is the talking doorknob Mort and he’s not even a real person. That’s how much I don’t care.
I felt like the first half of the book was so wordy, Maas does this thing where she has one thing to say but three different ways to say it and so instead of choosing the best option, she just includes all of them – she’ll say the same thing in multiple different ways and I know this because I do it too. I’ll have something to say but won’t be able to decide which out of my multiple options is the best one to go with and so…I’ll just include all of them. The result? Wordy. Rambly. Aka, me all over.
The last half of the book was much better – the first half was just…words. I understand these kinds of series have to have a lot of background information, but when I have to read almost 300 pages of it before the book actually goes anywhere…I just don’t have the patience. Also, there’s so much to take in I was getting lost on certain parts of it anyway. I really enjoyed the action and finally being able to make sense of everything that had happened so far since we simply weren’t given that information in the first 2 books, I just hated the fact I had to drag myself through so much of it to get there.
Sometimes I really enjoy Maas’ writing and others I don’t – for me, the first half of this book was a 3 star, the third quarter was a 4 star and the final quarter was a 5 star (which luckily, made everything worthwhile). The last 25% of this book was absolutely brilliant and I loved it, it definitely made me want to pick up the next book in the series asap because I need to know what happens next right now. It was a shame the first half was so slow – we were just being plagued with new information about new characters and lands etc. and I was thinking oh my God can we just get to the point, because literally nothing was happening. The last quarter of this book saved it for me which made everything worthwhile, I’m hoping that as we get further into the series, Maas’ writing improves as she becomes older and therefore more experienced.
And there we have it loves! Let me know if you’ve read any of these.
All my love,
Goodreads – ChloLuna