Review of “Chasing Ghosts” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Chasing Ghosts
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #4
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 126
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Six and Sam feel responsible for Ghost, one of the young Human Garde they’d met back in New Orleans. They’re not sure why the girl turned against them in Mexico, but they are determined to track her down and get some answers. But are they chasing after a friend or a foe? And will they need to rescue her or defeat her?

When the group finally makes contact, it seems like they might be able to convince Ghost to come back to the Academy. That is until then their plans go up in flames, forcing Six and Sam to jump into action. Without any backup from McKenna or the HGA. Without their Legacies fully returned. And without a clue as to who their real enemy is.

 

MY REVIEW

There are two reasons why it can take almost two months to finish a hundred page novella. It’s either because I’m doing something else than reading (=writing, although I haven’t written much lately either), or because it just isn’t good enough to capture my interest. It does though. I love this universe that James Frey among others under the pseudonym Pittacus Lore have made up. It’s amazing! But I think I found it more interesting when there were aliens inhibiting these powers, not human teenagers. They are all so stupid. I guess that is the point though, to show what problems our society would face if a part of our population got super powers.

Since I’m note super invested in this sequel storyline with humans and there are so many main characters, it’s hard to stay focused. Like who is who? Who came to the Mog house with who and who betrayed who and why?

It’s still an enjoyable read and it therefore gets a 3 out of 5.

Review of “Fugitive Six” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Fugitive Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: Lorien Legacies Reborn #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 464
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The Human Garde Academy was created in the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth. It was meant to provide a safe haven for teens across the globe who were suddenly developing incredible powers known as Legacies.

Taylor Cook was one of the newest students and had no idea if she’d ever fit in. But when she was mysteriously abducted, her friends broke every rule in the book to save her. In the process, they uncovered a secret organization that was not only behind Taylor’s kidnapping but also the disappearance of numerous teens with abilities. An organization that has dark roots in the Loric’s past, untold resources, and potentially even a mole at their own school.

Now these friends, who have become known to other students as the “Fugitive Six,” must work together to bring this mysterious group to an end before they can hurt anyone else.

 

MY REVIEW

It took me a while to pick this one up, and the third and final installment in this series about the Human Garde has even been released. I think the reason for that is because I miss the original Garde. They do not take a big part in this new series. I want to know what John Smith is up to! Nine is here, but not as the person he was in the original series.

It is however a very cool continuation with humans getting Legacies but I do not feel as strongly towards this type of magic as for example with Harry Potter. Maybe I’m more fastidious when it comes to magic now than what I was twenty years ago, haha!

It was a year ago that I finished Generation One, the first in this trilogy, and I had honestly forgotten about the characters and it took me so long to get back into it. I don’t know if that has more to do with me than with the book, but also, following so many different characters is difficult. Is it nine?

It is still very good though and I love that we got to continue in this world after the main series ended. But does not quite reach up to that potential so I give Fugitive Six a three.

Review of “Obsidio” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Obsidio
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 615
Published: 2018, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza–but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys–an old flame from Asha’s past–reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

MY REVIEW

The third installation in the Illuminae Files series took me way too long to finish, 9 months. Wow. Not okay! Which is probably the main reason why I didn’t enjoy it as much either. It was a long time ago that I read Gemina and I didn’t really enjoy reading such a big hardcover book (since I’ve gotten used to reading on my ereader) and therefore finished several ones on my ereader while trying to finish this brick. It’s not a heavy book to read, it’s an as easy read as the first two in the series, still written in the same cool way with compiled files. Many video transcriptions, which makes sense in the scenes of this book. But the physical book is big and I didn’t have it as an e-book.

Since it took me so long to finish it, I found it very hard to remember the characters, but then the winter holidays came and I finished more than half in just a few days and I got into it again and remembered everything that happened before so it’s not my laziness that drags down the grade a bit. When I started reading a lot again, I still had a very hard time understanding the characters and telling who was who. Maybe that is the downside of writing in chat logs and radio transmissions? But still, the authors manage to get that high level of details and complexity in the story perfect. And this type of writing really works well with action. The end and conclusion to this trilogy really ends well. Without spoiling, the ending was not unexpected but very satisyfing still.

The other books in this trilogy got fours, but because of how difficult it was to keep track on the characters (especially the ones up on the ship, the characters down on Kerenza IV was very easy to know), the grades lowers a bit to a 3.5.

But all in all: a really interesting and fascinating space battle story well worth your time!

Review of “Introvert – Den tysta revolutionen” by Linus Jonkman

Title: Introvert – Den tysta revolutionen (~Introvert – The Silent Revolution)
Author: Linus Jonkman
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 243
Published: 2013, Forum
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

An underrated personality type.

Do you speak before you think or think before you speak? Are you uncomfortable when a salesperson comes up to you in the store or do you think it is just pleasant? Are you as most creative when you work alone or when you work in a group?

In our time “outgoing and flexible” seems to be the most sought after attributes on the job market, social competency is valued higher than specific work competence and the loudest person usually gets his or her way. It is a time where attributes such as inward looking, thoughtfulness and stillness have been classed as mental diseases. It is a time where introversion is confused with shyness, arrogance, and asocial behavior. Nothing could be more wrong.

Introversion and extroversion is a biologically hard-boiled part of our personality. This has been known and researched on by scientist for more than a hundred years. Despite this, there’s always new additions to the subject. Linus Jonkman takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the introverted world. He tells of his and other’s experiences as introverts and explains the differences and similarities between extroverted and introverted people. Much of the friction that we experience in our lives, both privately and professional, have roots between these different personalities. The understanding of what it means to be an introvert has increased significantly lately. But we have yet to seen is a job ad searching for an introverted person.

In a world where everything is going faster and faster and where the noise gets stronger and stronger each day, it can be an advantage to be an introvert, and the people who have that gift can call themselves lucky.

 

MY REVIEW

I’ve always known that I was an introvert but I’m still really glad that I read this book. First of all, it was funny. I laughed! I recognized so many things and the author described them in funny ways. But it also made me realize that I’ve been trying to be someone that I’m not, just to try to fit in a society that favors extroverted attributes. But I have to admit that I do recognize myself in many of the extroverted traits that he writes about as well. But the testresult at the end of the book confirmed what I had always known anyway. 50/57 introvert, 7/57 extrovert. Pretty clear.

This is not a book solely based on science even if lots of studies are mentioned. No references though. This is a popular science book where the author makes an introvert laugh while at the same time making everyone understand and accept introverts a little bit more than before. It made me accept myself more than before.

But, take this book with a little grain of salt. It can sound kind of condescending towards extroverts and it is of course generalizing and mostly focusing on the author’s personal feelings, experiences and what makes him an introvert. It does not apply to everyone. Me for example am an introvert in most of the ways possible. But I would for example not say no to a last minute work trip to another country. At the end of every chapter there is a summary for extroverts. I thought that was funny.

One thing that really stood out for me was when Jonkman described the differences in English words and their Swedish translations. There are two words in English that both translates into the same Swedish word. Loneliness (unwanted alone time) and solitude (wanted alone time) both translates into “ensamhet” in Swedish, which means loneliness. Many people suggest to add a new Swedish word that translates into solitude, “självsam”. I totally agree with that!

Then there was the more serious section of the book about introverts in work environments. I would say that it was eye opening for me. I knew about most of the things he wrote, but I never really thought about it, because that’s just how it is. But why is it like that? I honestly got a bit upset. Commitment in a recruiter’s eyes is a person who is seen, who is loud, helps themselves, can fill a room. That’s loud commitment. Isn’t working very late at the office also a type of commitment? But since that is silent commitment, it’s not visible. Why does it have to be like that?

 

I don’t know if a book like this can be spoiled, but I have some things I would like to write here. The quotes are obviously translated by me since the book is originally written in Swedish (and probably not translated to English).

“An introvert does not need the outer world as a source for impressions. We already have lots of stories in our heads.” Maybe this is why I’ve always loved to write? I have always had countless of worlds and stories in my head that I had to get out. The “flow” that he describes is an amazing feeling. I don’t experience it as he describes it, but new things can come to me in the weirdest situations and it just fills my head and it is a blissful feeling of images and words all mixed together but somehow makes total sense.

“Some psychologists are saying that introversion is a mild form of autism and that ADHD is an extension to extroversion due to the ability to multitask.” Makes sense. I’m currently watching Atypical on Netflix about a boy with autism and even if I was never diagnosed with autism, I can relate to so many things.

“I’m not angry, depressed or antisocial. I just don’t want to talk to people for a while and that’s okay.” This is something that I honestly think about daily. Especially at work. I’m working as a project manager where most people are extroverted like nothing I’ve ever seen. Which is great, but the truth is that I’m doing a really good job as the flexible and introvert that I am as well. But I can sometimes feel “forced” into talking at lunch or breaks. And I think this is because extroverts are not comfortable with silence as I am. I am perfectly content with eating my lunch in silence next to my coworkers.

 

It was an entertaining book and for me it was a great read! I now find it easier to say no to invitations that would not be beneficial to me at all. Although I’ve learned that sometimes, compromises is an act of love. I am also more comfortable staying quiet when I before felt almost an obligation to say something because silence is generally seen as something awkward. I will give it a 3.5. I don’t recommend everyone reading it. But it was a very good read for me and probably for many others as well!

 

“The best way to find out if you’re an introvert or extrovert is to think about what you do when you don’t have to do anything.” A good conclusion to this book.

Review of “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss

Title: The Name of the Wind
Author: Patrik Rothfuss
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 662
Published: 2007, Gollancz
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’

MY REVIEW

Wow, I’m just gonna say that: wow!

I now understand why everyone keeps telling me to read this book. It was incredible! Such an original piece of work with stories within stories within stories. A very interesting way of writing.

It’s about this inkeeper, Kvothe, who tells his story to a storyteller who writes it down. Within that story there are other stories told and it is just so nicely done. There are things happening on the first level of the story too, but I’m not sure those events have much to do with anything. Yet. In the end, there will most likely be some big kind of reveal.

It’s an epic fantasy story with magic that doesn’t take over the plot.  Not that that usually is a bad thing, but here it is just on the side of things, enough to feel the fantasy. But the magic system is really fascinating. I’ve never read anything like it but it’s logical with symphatetic bindings. If two things are connected somehow, and you add an energy source to it, then anything can happen. Since it is that logical, the system really speaks to me.

There is a downside to this brick of amazement. There is a second book published. But the third and last is not even on the horizon of being released. Even if most people told me to read it right away, I also got warnings. Do not read until the third one is published, or at least has a viable release date. Rothfuss is very similar to George R.R. Martin in that regard. Too bad. But I will not pick up the second book until I know when the third one will come out. And I think I recommend you to do the same. I know how frustrating it is to wait for “The Winds of Winter”…

Because of its originality and interesting story and writing style, it gets a five. Yes, it is way up there!

Review of “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King


Title
: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 351
Published: 2001, Hodder & Stoughton
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

MY REVIEW

Many many years when I discovered Stephen King, all thanks to my grandpa who gave me Dreamcatcher for Christmas (and my mom who scolded him for giving a young child a horror book by Stephen King, haha). I can’t have been very old and I probably waited a few years, until 2007, before reading it and that changed so much. I think I fell in love. Or maybe I became obsessed. I wanted to read all of his books, he was such a good writer with such an incredible imagination. And he wrote horror, which I loved at that age. Back then I compared him to the adult version of R. L. Stine. Or rather, the author who wrote adult versions of Goosebumps (which was one of my favorites series when I was a kid). I got obsessed and my early organize traits popped up. I wrote a list of every book he had ever written and which I had and hadn’t yet. I updated that list like a slave even if I perhaps didn’t buy them directly. I got mom’s collection of all his books up until Needful Things, when I think she got me and didn’t read as much anymore, and I have been filling up my King bookshelf ever since. Slowly getting to the full collection. Anyway, long intro. On Writing was unfortunately one of his books that I didn’t want to read, because it was nonfiction. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it even if I did read it, but wow did I enjoy it now!

I’ve never read a biography before, but it was interesting to see how much he really wanted to become an author and eventually ended up being one of the most successful ones ever. The second hafl was full of concrete tips on how to write and it ended with him describing his near fatal accident in 1999. So well-written throughout and even if I knew he would survive, I still got sad and upset while reading it.

Much of what he is saying is making a lot of sense and I felt proud and smart and really good about myself when I realized that I was doing and thinking a lot like he says you should as an aspiring author. I got the feeling that this book was aimed at asipiring full time authors. I have a full time job and want to fullfil my spare time with writing so I’m listening to his advice, but only part time. For example, he writes 2 000 words per day, every single day of the year and that way he finishes the first draft in a season (3 months, 180 000 words). For me, I could put up a goal of maybe 500 and be satisfied. But it’s the routine that’s important. Write every day!

He gives a lot of help and I’m not going to write all of it here as that would be spoilers, I guess? But one other thing that he writes, that made me really happy, is that an aspiring author cannot not read. How can you write something if you don’t read? I love to read and that’s why I’m myself writing now, because I wanted another challenge but still with fictional worlds. 4 hours per day for reading and writing. I think I could do 2. If I can cut down on playing with my phone at bedtime I could probably get 1 hour of reading there. 1 hour of writing any other hour of the day shouldn’t be too hard to squeeze in. It’s all about priorities and I’m getting pretty far in my book now and really want to finish it. Or at least finish the first draft soon. And when I start on the second I want to have this routine in my bones.

This turned into a long review, but if you are an aspiring author, or a published one: read it! Much of it I knew because it was logic, but it felt good to hear it from someone else with his amazing words. If you are not an aspiring author yet, it might make you want to become one. Or perhaps just read everything but chapter 4 which is the tips on writing. Easily 5 out of 5!

Review of “Metro 2035” by Dmitry Glukhovsky


Title
: Metro 2035
Author: Dmitry Glukhovsky
Translator (Swedish): Ola Wallin
Series: Metro #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 622
Published: 2017, Coltso
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

World War Three wiped out the humankind. The planet is empty now. Huge cities became dust and ashes. Railroads are being eaten by rust. Abandoned satellites hang lonely on the orbit. Radio is mute on all the frequencies.

The only survivors of the last war were those who made it into the gates of the Metro, the subway system of Moscow city. It’s there, hundreds of feet below the ground, in the vaults of what was constructed as the world’s largest air-raids shelter that people try to outlive the end of the days. It’s there that they created a new world for themselves.

The stations of Metro became city-states, and its citizens, torn apart by religions and ideologies are fighting for the now scarce commodities: air, water, and space. This tiny underground world can only remind humans of an immense world they once were the masters of.

It’s been twenty years past Doomsday, and yet the survivors refuse to give up. The most stubborn of them keep cherishing a dream: when the radiation level from nuclear bombings subsides, they will be able to return to the surface and have the life their parents once had.

But the most stubborn of the stubborn continues to search for other survivors in this huge emptiness that once was called Earth. His name is Artyom. He would give anything to lead his own people from the underground onto the surface.

And he will.

MY REVIEW

The Metro trilogy has come to an end. It started out real strong with 2033, came out flat with 2034 and ended a little confusing and complicated with 2035.

I honestly love this setting, and that alone will make me recommend this series to people. And I would probably say something like: yes, read the first one, it was amazing! The second, not so much, but if you’re anything like me, then you won’t be able to stay away because you want to know what the author has to say. The third is very similar to the first. What happened with the second, I don’t know. Probably just read them all.

But other than the really cool setting and the reality of it (except for the black ones in Metro 2033)… it was Russian, that’s for sure. One thing I found really hard to follow were all the names and nicknames every character had. I had no idea who was who. I guess that’s a cultural thing?

Some parts were very confusing, but I guess that was because Artiom was rambling in his radiation sickness? It was also confusing with what was real or theories. But that’s not a bad thing. That’s the author being very true to his character. You only get to follow Artiom and only his thoughts and ideas and perspective. So when he is certain of something, the reader gets certain of it too. But in the end?

Kind of a big reveal at the end and the reactions from everyone are not surprising, yet maybe a little. A good ending. I want to read Metro 2036 (if Dmitry ever decide to write that book) because it would be very, very different from the first three.

I recommend it, but only to get a proper ending to Metro 2033 which was incredible!