The Picture of Dorian Gray- Book Review

5297Author: Oscar Wilde

Genre: Classic

254 pages

Synopsis: Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”

Source: Borrowed in Portuguese

This book tells the story of a man who exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty.

The premise definitely made me pick this book up, however, I probably shouldn’t have.

The story is really interesting, however, its pace is really slow, important things seldom happen.

The writing’s too flowery and borderline obnoxious. It featured dialogues that felt like monologues stitched together.

The characters are interesting, they don’t feel real, and aren’t supposed to feel so. However, we’re still supposed to at least care about what’ll happen to them, which wasn’t the case for me.

However, the main problem I have with this book is the fact that the characters spend too much time saying that Dorian’s really handsome (okay, we get it, he’s cute, can we move on, please?) and the fact that they also tell us everything we could have analysed in such a way that a thorough symbolic analysis is useless.

Rating: 3 stars

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Halloween 2017 Recommendations

We’re finally in October! You know what that means?

spooky scary skeletons

But seriously, though, this month is absolutely amazing. Autumn is starting, which means crunchy leaves on the floor and comfy hoodies. But that’s not all! Halloween is coming up! So, just like I did last year, here’s a few recommendations for an extra spooky Halloween!

33151805First of all, let’s start with the youngest book in this list, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins.

This amazing book tells the story of a woman who commits suicide (or does she?). It’s a psychological mystery, not necessarily scary. Nonetheless, if you want to play detective during the magical night that is October 31st, this is an amazing book.

 

6592305Continuing with psychological, but this time a thriller, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King is an awesome pick for Halloween.

This book tells the tale of Trisha McFarland, a sweet nine-year old (but big for her age) who gets lost in the woods. This ~short~ book has it all: hallucinations, bears, lack of food, explosive diarrhea, you name it. You’ll get physically tired from reading this book, trust me.

Want to read a short story instead?

10618Apt Pupil by the King himself, Stephen King, tells the story of a friendship between an old man and a young boy. Seems sweet, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. As it turns out, the old man has a very dark secret and the kid could ruin him. However, he chooses not to; but only if the old man tells him everything he knows.

This ‘short story’ (it’s roughly 200 pages long) is amazing and, if you have a chance, you should read it.  The characters are an absolute masterpiece and the plot will leave you in awe.

 

But what if you want to watch anime instead? I’ve got the thing just for you.

Another screenshot

Another tells the story of a certain class that has a curse. Every month, at least one student dies. Whilst trying to figure out why this is happening, the characters have to witness gory murders and other deaths. It’ll get your heart beating like crazy and your eyes squinting at the amount of blood.

Be aware of pointy umbrellas.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d7/Until_Dawn_cover_art.jpg

But… what about games?

Until Dawn is a short scary game that I absolutely love. It’ll take you an afternoon to finish and you won’t notice that time’s passing.

Have a great Halloween!

Book Club Discussion: White Seed by Kenneth Marshall

Book Club Discussion: White Seed by Kenneth Marshall

What did you think of the synopsis? Did it reveal too much plot or too little?

Everybookcounts – The synopsis sounds good but, after reading the book, it just left me confused. Is the man she trusts the least Toran? or is it Alon? I read the entire book and still struggle to make sense of the sinopsis so I guess that’s saying something.

Thatonenerdygirl – Also, I think that the fact that author says  that the rotor’s breakdown is thanks to sabotage is inappropriate, Kali only suggests that might be the case after she falls down a hole (which happens 60+% into the book).

 

What did you think of the characters? Was there character development?

T – As I’ve stated in my review, they feel bland at first – Kali’s sassy, Stil’s hot, Toran’s religious, etc.- However, they do become more interesting as we get to know how they act around each other and how they think and feel. Still, I feel that they could have been more original from the start.

E – The characters weren’t bad. They weren’t espectacular either. There were descriptions of every character and attempted development but it was so confusing that I didn’t retain a thing. Only halfway through did I memorize who was who but the flashbacks mixed with the plot just introduced more characters, leaving me confused once more.

T – The moment I memorized their names, I didn’t remember how they looked. I think the author should have probably sprinkled some adjectives that would let us remember how the characters looked like.

 

What did you think of the plot?

E – The plot was okay. In the beginning nothing really happens, the characters just walk around while the reader is bombarded with flashbacks that have questionable relevance. Overall it was interesting, the whole idea of Keto and the collapsed colony but the execution could improve.

T – The beginning is an absolute mess. Firstly, the first scene’s a flashback that doesn’t really need to be there, it could have been introduced later on. When all that action ends, we (almost immediately) read a chunk of text about how they act when they hop into a new planet. It’s nice to give this information to the reader but it isn’t necessary, especially after such an action filled first chapter. So, all in all, the plot’s nice but there’s a lot that could have been cut out of the book.

 

Were there problems in the story?

T – I think that the fact that there was so much going on in the first chapters was definitely a problem. It made me less motivated to read and could have been avoided.

E – I agree. The beginning was a complete mess. I didn’t know any of the characters for a third of the book and, when I was finally getting less confused, a two-chapter flashback would throw me off again. Regarding the story, there were some questionable moments like, why didn’t Kali and Toran leave a trail behind them while exploring Keto if it was so important for them to get back to the spaceship? They had the fancy glasses that showed the way but technology can fail (like it did) and the crew should know that.

 

What do you think the author did right?

E – The ideas explored were interesting. The concept of the book was compelling, it made me really want to know what happened in Keto that killed everyone there.

T – I think that the fact that the author was able to make the book a lot less messy (after making it messy in the first place) is also something worth noting.

 

What do you think the author did wrong?

T – I don’t know if this counts but he named a city ‘Bruno’, something that really threw me off because, in my native language, it’s a proper name. I know a lot of people whose first name is Bruno, so, I thought Bruno was a person for most of the first chapter.

E – There was a list of characters and their jobs after the first chapter. After that list, the book is a complete mess regarding the characters. I think the list was completely unnecessary. The reader is not going to know all the characters after reading their name and their job so the list just adds to the confusion. The complete confusion of the first quarter of the book is something that the author definitely did wrong. I almost gave up the book entirely because I wasn’t getting any bit of enjoyment from it. Just confusion. After that first part, the characters split in groups of two that made it easier for me to get to know them but, before that, it was awful. Also, there could be more action while they’re in Keto. All the action comes from flashbacks and I can’t see how that benefits the book and the reader’s experience.

T – It’s almost like two completely different stories were stitched together, the flashbacks are conflict based whereas their time in Keto is a ‘I got lost in the mall but the mall’s a planet’ kind of thing. Also, why was there unnecessary romance? It didn’t fall ass first but it did leave head first.

 

What was your favorite quote?

E – ‘Truth is like an onion, he thought, to be peeled, layer by layer, with tears in your eyes.’

T – ‘The citation that came with [the medal] was a work of art — every word was true but the whole thing a lie.’

 

What was your opinion on the ending? Would you prefer if it had been different?

T – I rather liked it. It made a sequel necessary, however, it wasn’t like in ‘The Whizbang Machine’, where they get a bunch of new questions out of nowhere. Here, the questions built up. Also, the last scene was greatly written, it was interesting to see how Shinigami train and how deadly they actually are.

E – The ending wasn’t an ending. It clearly shows that there’s a sequel and that you’ll only get answers if you read it.

 

Do you have any questions about the book?

E – I was so confused with the paper thing. So, they use paper to store information? Wasn’t there a more efficient way? Where do they get the paper? There weren’t any trees in Keto so the first humans there brought a ton of paper from Earth and had it rationed for future generations?

Also, why did her glasses decalibrated when she fell in a hole? They knew they were going on unknown terrain, wouldn’t the scientists behind the mission equipment create stronger tools?

T – Out of everything that could be illegal, why is self-harm? I mean, yeah, it’s awful, but it isn’t like the ones who do it are actually sane and care about breaking the law.

White Seed (Seed World #1) – Book Review

24267417Author: Kenneth Marshall

248 pages

Genre: Science Fiction

Synopsis: The White Seed Brings Life to Worlds

Three thousand years ago, the seeds arrived from Earth on hundreds of worlds. The developed ones formed the Network, connected only by radio and laser. Since the time of the seeds, nothing but information has traveled between the stars. Now a starship, The Child of Ambition, is changing that. Her first mission: to explore the dark worlds, the ones that failed.

Kali Hakoian, pilot-astronaut and war hero, thought landing on the super-Earth of Keto would be routine. The emptiest seed world—its global ocean matted with algae and crawling with hurricanes—hides the oldest human ruins. Her crew of scientists: a dreamer, a believer, and a retired assassin. Their hypothesis—self-termination of the seed base.

But when an act of sabotage strands her in the path of a superstorm, she’s forced to escape with the man she trusts the least. They may never find out what happened to the settlers—unless it happens to them. Can she trust her crew enough to find a way out of the darkness?

Source: Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review)

This book tells the story of a team whose mission is to explore a ‘lifeless’ planet (there were humans, they died, now there’s algae and lichen).

The writing’s effective, however, I noticed at least two spelling mistakes. Also, there’s a chapter in which the reader is bombarded with too much information – I wasn’t able to absorb any of it.

Story wise, there’s a lot to talk about. First off, Kali has a weird sense of vengeance – she wants to avenge her friend who got hurt but, if she had been more cautious, no one would have gotten hurt to begin with. Also, the first 20% of this book is a bloody mess – there’s name throwing, things happening, and I wasn’t able to tell characters apart. So, basically, the reader feels like this: c4jt321.png

However, it gets better! As the story progresses and as the characters stop being so trope-ish, it somehow saves itself and becomes interesting.

I still feel sad that this was the first non graphic novel I’ve read in this genre, however, I know for a fact that I’ll read more of it soon enough.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Want a different review? You can find one here.

Book Club Discussion

 

 

Saga Vol. 1 – Book Review

15704307Writer: Brain K. Vaughan

Artist: Fiona Staples

160 pages

Genre: Fantasy Graphic Novel

Synopsis: When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

Source: Borrowed (in Portuguese)

This book tells the story of two soldiers from opposing sides of a war that ‘leave’ the battlefield and fall in love. They also have a daughter who will probably change everything.

The story’s really interesting. It isn’t mind-blowingly amazing but I see some potential.

The characters themselves are really complicated there are no ‘good’ guys nor ‘bad’.

The art itself is unique and I absolutely loved it.

Rating: 4 stars

Want another review? You can find one here.

Pride of Baghdad- Book Review

105703Author: Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrator: Niko Henrichon

136 pages

Genre: War Graphic Novel

Synopsis: In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?

Source: Library (in Portuguese)

This book tells the story of four lions that escape their zoo during a bombardment.

This book’s art is absolutely amazing – the colours and the animals’ facial expressions are phenomenal.

The characters themselves are unique and their backstories absolute tear-jerkers.

The story’s amazing, heart warming sometimes and mostly heart breaking. The concept itself is very interesting, I rarely see books like this.

Another aspect I’d like to point out is the gore: the book shows us that animals commit atrocities to each other and so do humans.

Rating: 5 stars

Want another review? You can find one here.

 

The Little Red Wolf- Book Review

35905318Author: Amélie Fléchais

80 pages

Genre: Fantasy Graphic Novel

Synopsis: Lose yourself in the dark forests of Amelie Flechais’ spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

Source: Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review)

This book is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling.

The art’s really beautiful, every page mesmerized me.

The story is really short and sweet, it’s a perfect bed time read.

The characters are lovely, they’re just like the original story’s.

Honestly, I think that, if you have to take care of small children, you should read them this story. Its moral is wonderful and its drawings really pretty.

Rating: 5 stars