Book reviews: Year 2017

Gaikokugo Gakushū Ni Seikōsuru Hito, Shinai Hito: Daini Gengo Shūtokuron E No Shōtai by Yasuhiro Shirai


Elantris (Elantris, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

The amount of made-up words for people, countries, cities, religions, events, phenomenons, languages, symbols etc is somewhat overwhelming at first, but following the story as the characters and plot develop in interesting, delightful and surprising ways is absolutely worth it all.

Génération gueule de bois by Raphaël Glucksmann

Lire ce livre en janvier 2017 donne beaucoup à réfléchir.

獣の奏者 6 (青い鳥文庫 273-6) by Nahoko Uehashi

I really enjoyed it.

Le courage d'être soi by Jacques Salomé

Des idées intéressantes, une perspective différente sur les événements de la vie.

容疑者Xの献身 [Yōgisha X no kenshin] (ガリレオ, #3) by Keigo Higashino

I really enjoyed it.

L'Alliance des Trois (Autre-Monde, #1) by Maxime Chattam

Un début de série prometteur, énormément de questions et de mystères savamment dévoilés. Un peu plus effrayant que je ne m'y attendais aussi !!

Malronce (Autre-Monde, #2) by Maxime Chattam

Quelques réponses, toujours beaucoup de questions, les mystères du monde continuent de se révéler...

Le Cœur de la Terre (Autre-Monde, #3) by Maxime Chattam

L'histoire est intéressante, souvent palpitante même. Malheureusement il y a plusieurs chapitres où les révélations sont tellement prévisibles et où on en vient à se demander si tout ça ne va pas se terminer de façon décevante dans le genre "et alors il se réveilla." Ça gâche un peu le plaisir de lecture.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Wonderfully written.

獣の奏者 7 (青い鳥文庫 273-7) by Nahoko Uehashi


Snare by Katharine Kerr

A dense book, without even chapters to offer some relief. The beginning of the story can be overwhelming, with many names, countries and races thrown in all at once to explain a political landscape I found a bit difficult to grasp, especially since there are two "levels" at play. However after the first 100 pages or so, the story really focuses on individual characters, their goals and flaws and journey, and it became very interesting to follow them along as well as discover new cultures through their eyes. A satisfying read.

卒業 [Sotsugyō] (加賀恭一郎, #1) by Keigo Higashino

I really enjoyed it.

Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota, #1) by Ada Palmer

This is somewhat of a difficult book to review for me. The writing style was a little bit difficult to get into at first but it was worth it, and although the narrator directly talking to the reader from time to time can be annoying it doesn't really distract from the story. I tremendously enjoyed exploring Earth and humanity 500 years from now, getting a feel for how nations (gone), religion, family, gender, languages might evolve; eagerly absorbing every hint of the history that led from where we are now to the Earth inside these pages. It's interesting, believable even when at times it might be hard to understand, like a foreign culture you're not yet familiar with. Delightful. I devoured the first two thirds of the book like this.

Then a darkness came over the story that I hadn't expected, although I suppose there were hints I ignored, little bits of shadows around all the light I was admiring, and then even parts I thought were purely wonderful that turned out not to be. It was like someone dropped tar all over the story and world and characters I'd come to enjoy. Lots of unpleasantness, disappointment, disgust.

The story and worldbuilding remain as strong though, and I'd absolutely recommend folks curious about the world and summary to give it a go. I will read the sequel, and am very curious about what's going on. I suppose now I'm prepared for the darkness, though I really hope we'll be walking toward something lighter. I usually prefer my escapism to induce more positive emotions.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

It's a fun, light book about magic, science, friendship and love. And the end of the world I guess. The writing style had more YA tones than I expected, and, you know, like, even chapters written from an adult assassin point of view are like, written this way. Like. Whatever. It doesn't mean the story itself is light-hearted, some raw stuff also pops up; there's some intense bullying and other abuses. Nerd and hipster culture are well represented. There's a nice variety in the cast of background characters. I smiled sometimes.

I guess in the end it never managed to grip me. It's an easy read and there are some cool elements, but it wasn't a book for me.

Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1) by Yoon Ha Lee

Spaceship battles! Big bad impregnable fortress! In space! And interesting and weird politics. Technology, battles and society at large rely on a calendar-based system to exist and work, which can be difficult to follow at times but I don't think it really matters. Heretics mess up the calendar, weakening the tech. The tensions are real, the world and factions are interesting and it's fun to learn about the system these characters live in, all the while wondering if the traitor-general is being a traitor again. Delightfully engaging.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers

It took me a while to figure out why the story wasn't "starting" - I mean there's a spaceship so there should be space battles and saving the universe or at least a galaxy or a Federation or something, no?! Obviously this isn't this kind of book but it's just as good a story, and the hint was in the title: it's all about the journey, and the crew on this spaceship, their stories, their hangups, how they all fit together and individually. This book is full of love, of all kinds, bursting with beautiful friendships left and right that may have had me tear up a few times. It's incredibly well done, I want to say every character is incredibly human but we're talking multiple species here so I'll just say they are all incredibly real and handled sensitively. A lovely read. I'm glad that scifi like this exists too.

Seven Surrenders (Terra Ignota, #2) by Ada Palmer

I was afraid this volume would continue the downwards spiral into darkness the first book had set us on, but although things are far - very far - from being rosy, I still felt the darkness to be more manageable and less overwhelming than it was by the end of the previous one. There's still a lot left to have mixed feelings about... And yet I remained desperate to know "What happens next?" all along. Waiting on the next book now, though I found the conclusion to this one quite satisfying on its own already.

The Will to Battle (Terra Ignota, #3) by Ada Palmer

The story of this Earth 500 years into the future continues, and is told just as skilfully than in the first two books - same darkness and all, too. Perhaps some apprehension is creeping in as well now, watching the world and characters I grew attached to (sometimes despite myself) fraying at the edges so. Great worldbuilding.

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4) by Brandon Sanderson

The story takes place 300 years after the first trilogy, and we move from a regular fantasy medieval-ish world to an urban fantasy setting where things like electricity are starting to pop up, and Allomancy feels more like a special skill than an interesting type of magic. I knew it'd take me a bit to get used to that shift so I waited a couple of years before reading it, which means I also forgot about most events from the last book to really understand what religion is referring to whom now, or the meaning of this or that artefact. Oops. It didn't prevent me from enjoying the story at all though, the characters are all new and all typical Sanderson, easy to get attached to and coming well together to form an pleasant, entertaining read.

Shadows of Self (Mistborn, #5) by Brandon Sanderson

Free will and ponderings on why bad things happen despite an omniscient, benelovent god on one side, whilst hunting down the author of gruesome murders on the other. Some insights into what happened after the last trilogy, this time with names for people like me who were a bit lost. Multiple delightful revelations I did not see coming - an excellent sequel!