Review of “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling

Title: Factfulness
Author: Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 10 hours 18 minutes
Published: 2018, Natur & Kultur
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends – why the world’s population is increasing; how many young women go to school; how many of us live in poverty – we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and a man who can make data sing, Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens, and reveals the ten instincts that distort our perspective.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world.

 

MY REVIEW

Wow. Just read it already! And don’t forget to take the test in the beginning of the book. I wish I had, but I have a general feeling that I wouldn’t have done especially well. Which means that this book was an eye-opener for me.

I stopped watching the news a while ago, I got sick and tired of all the bad things they were reporting. Never anything positive and some of the news I knew for a fact were untrue just to create a dramatic headline that would lure readers into reading. It made me angry, but also made me take distance from the overdramatized media. But I never bothered to find out about the good things, or about the things that slowly are getting better. So I have to admit that I am one of those who thought the world was getting worse. For example, I was sure that the answer to question 11 (Tigers, Giant Pandas and Black Rhinos were listed as threatened species in 1996. Since then, have any of these species become more critically endangered?) was that two of them had become more critically endangered since then. Apparently they all have increased in numbers. Who knew?

But after listening to this book and the way he lays out the evidence and data, it all makes sense. And I feel calmer now. It was worse before. We are going in the right direction.

It was not just the facts that were presented that made this book so good. The way it was presented with humor and enthusiasm as well. But also the reader, Andreas T. Olsson, did such a good job. It was easy to hear the author through his reading.

In summary (some spoilers even?), here are the ten tricks of factfulness that each chapter describes (I wish I understood from the beginning that that was how the book was outlined):

  1. The Gap Instinct – Look for the majority, the world is not divided into poor and rich most countries are in the middle.
  2. The Negativity Instinct – Expecting bad news, we take in bad news more easily than good news which fuels our misconception that the world is deteriorating when in fact it is improving.
  3. The Straight Line Instinct – Not all lines are straight, even if it looks like the world’s population is increasing but the rate of the increase is slowing down.
  4. The Fear Instinct – Calculate risks, we automatically focus on dangers and risks but it fuels the misconception that the world is more frightening than it actually is.
  5. The Size Instinct – Put things in right proportions, big numbers look big and without the right proportion and comparison, they are very misleading.
  6. The Generalization Instinct – Question your categories, we have a tendency to create categories and compare groups of things (people or countries e.g) that are in fact very different from each other.
  7. The Destiny Instinct – Observe slow changes, we often mistake slow change for no change because we assume that qualities determines the fate of people and countries.
  8. The Single Perspective Instinct – Get different tools, we like simple explanations and solutions and that makes us blind when new information is given to us that does not fit into our perspective.
  9. The Blame Instinct – Resist pointing finger, we always search for someone to blame or someone to praise for things that happen instead of searching for the cause or alternative explanations.
  10. The Urgency Instinct – Take small steps, it is rarely “now or never” and we can’t forget to think about the long-term risks that our rash actions for complex problems can cause.

Rosling ends the book by describing the six actual global threats that we face:

  1. Global pandemic
  2. Financial crisis
  3. World War III
  4. Climate Change
  5. Extreme poverty

Number one is happening right now. I definitely do not think that enough people in higher places read this book before the corona-pandemic broke lose.

These five listed threats are self-explanatory. The sixth is the unforseen event that we couldn’t even predict but still have to be prepared for.

To summarize, it was an eye-opener, and according to Rosling’s statistics, it will be for most of us. So I highly recommend it! Five out of five.

Review of “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” by Stephen Hawking

Title: Korta svar på stora frågor (Brief Answers to the Big Questions)
Author: Stephen Hawking
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 6 hours 31 minutes
Published: 2019, Mondial Förlag
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Stephen Hawking was recognized as one of the greatest minds of our time and a figure of inspiration after defying his ALS diagnosis at age twenty-one. He is known for both his breakthroughs in theoretical physics as well as his ability to make complex concepts accessible for all, and was beloved for his mischievous sense of humor. At the time of his death, Hawking was working on a final project: a book compiling his answers to the “big” questions that he was so often posed–questions that ranged beyond his academic field.

Within these pages, he provides his personal views on our biggest challenges as a human race, and where we, as a planet, are heading next. Each section will be introduced by a leading thinker offering his or her own insight into Professor Hawking’s contribution to our understanding.

 

MY REVIEW

  • Is there a God?
  • How did it all begin?
  • What is inside a black hole?
  • Can we predict the future?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Will we survive on Earth?
  • Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  • Should we colonize space?
  • Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  • How do we shape the future?

Ten questions. Ten big questions that Hawking answers really well. Many things are still theories, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those theories are to be proved in the somewhat near future. He talks about our biggest challenges, for example an asteroid collision to which we have no defense, but also about the potential annihilation through nuclear war and how AI might affect our future in many different ways. He also writes about some parts of his life. And the foreword by Eddie Redmayne (he played young Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, the biography about him) was very touching.

I’ve never read anything by Hawkings before and I’m surprised I haven’t. I guess I’ve always thought of him as a bit intimidating as he was one of the world’s smartest people. Maybe I was thinking that I wouldn’t understand anything at all. But I was wrong. Brief Answers to the Big Questions was a very easy read, or more like a very easy listen. He used words that every day people like myself could easily understand, he gave the whole picture on so many important and interesting things and I felt that I learned a lot. It might have been easier for me to understand since I listened to it in Swedish, but I honestly doubt it.

He’s funny in his writing and I could feel his positivity through his words. Optimist through and through and I’m not sure I agree with him on all his beliefs for the future. But I sure hope he is right in believing in everything good that potentially could happen.

It’s sad to think that he is no longer with us. But I’m so glad that he outlived his doctor’s predictions of only having a few years left when he was diagnosed at the age of 21. It’s incredible that he lived to be 76!

I’ve read a few books on astrophysics now. And this was the best of them. It contained more than just science. I definitely recommend everyone to read it, we all need know more things! Five out of five, easily.

Review of “Welcome to the Universe” by deGrasse Tyson, Gott, Strauss

Title: Welcome to the Universe
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson, J. Richard Gott, Michael A. Strauss
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 17 hours 53 minutes
Published: 2017, Audible Studios
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Welcome to the Universe is a personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today’s leading astrophysicists. Inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton, this book covers it all–from planets, stars, and galaxies to black holes, wormholes, and time travel.

Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the informative and entertaining narrative propels you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. How do stars live and die? Why did Pluto lose its planetary status? What are the prospects of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? How did the universe begin? Why is it expanding and why is its expansion accelerating? Is our universe alone or part of an infinite multiverse? Answering these and many other questions, the authors open your eyes to the wonders of the cosmos, sharing their knowledge of how the universe works.

Breathtaking in scope and stunningly illustrated throughout, Welcome to the Universe is for those who hunger for insights into our evolving universe that only world-class astrophysicists can provide.

 

MY REVIEW

I loved this book. It was long, it was thorough, it was fascinating. And it made me feel small. And maybe a little dumb? I have always found physics interesting and actually enjoyed it in high school and I really wish that this book had been released back then. I think it would have been an awesome complement to the literature we had in school. An entertaining complement. I probably would have understood more had I read it back then compared to now. As with all non-fiction books I “read” now, this was listened to as well. Which definitely made it more complicated to follow. I couldn’t see the formulas, and hearing them in English was new to my Swedish ears (as we only used Swedish in high school). The language of physics is in Swedish for me still unfortunately. That’s why I think for me, it would have been better to physically read it, not listen to it. What also sucked was that this book had illustrations in it. There was an accompanying PDF-filen with the figures, but it was impossible to time it when they referred to a picture since the file was not following where I was in the audiobook.

Oh well, even if it was the wrong medium to take this book on, I still enjoyed it very much and it has only given me a bigger appetite when it comes to astrophysics. And there are so many books on the subject out there!

This book was written after the three of them co-taught an introductory class at Princeton for non-science majors. It was supposed to introduce everyone to science and astrophysics and everything. I assume that this book is a very compromised version of that class, but it was fast-paced and sometimes hard to follow. Still, it was entertaining, I got the bigger message even if I didn’t see the formulas in front of me and could understand where they came from, and it was interesting and left me with a bigger understanding of the universe. I think this is a book that I would want to see in my bookshelf within a not too distant future.

Even if I sometimes zoomed out and didn’t quite understand everything, it was a very well-written book that explained so many things. It even brought up time travel. I’ll definitely read that chapter again when I’m writing my sci-fi book. It gets an easy five. If space is even slightly interesting to you, please read it.

Review of “Skärmhjärnan” by Anders Hansen

Title: Skärmhjärnan (~Screen Brain)
Author: Anders Hansen
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 4 hours 55 minutes
Published: 2019, Bonnier Audio
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

Mental illness is taking over the great health threat in our world. The high tempo, chronic stress and this digital lifestyle with constant connection is starting to have consequences on our brains. It doesn’t matter h much you think you might enjoy scrolling your Instagram feed, watching the news on your phone or movies on your tablet, your brain is not adapted to whatever today’s society brings. It’s not synchronized with our time!

But that doesn’t mean that you’re powerless and that there are no solutions – with a little more knowledge on how the brain works, you’ll soon realize that it’s all about simple things. The human brain originate from a completely different time and we should show it some more consideration. Follow along on this exciting journey and get a whole new understanding on what’s happening inside your head!

 

MY REVIEW

Things might look different in the future when I have kids, but I feel like this is a book that I should reread when I have children of my own. It was, as Hansen’s other book Hjärnstark (The Real Happy Pill), really interesting and eye opening. They are strongly intertwined and I’m glad that I read Hjärnstark right before this one as I understood everything that he discussed.

As in his other book, he writes about so many different studies made on the subject and they all point to the same thing. Screens = bad. But that’s not entirely true either. It’s hard to tell if the depression among people increased when we got our smartphones or when depressed people use it more. Or if it is more accepted by society now to be open about mental illness. Regardless, it was interesting and in either case, screen time should be reduced. At least the unnecessary time we spend scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I hate when I do it, but I can’t stop. I can’t really say that I feel bad doing it though. I don’t compare myself to unrealistic things posted there. I’m aware that people post the absolute best moments of their lives. I have moments like that too. And also, my feed is mostly filled with memes and cats.

It is very depressing to know that babies, not even one year old, are on the internet. Learning among kids are worsening because they use tablets and computers so much instead of learning the fine motor skills they get when writing by hand for example. They don’t play physically anymore, which is bad news for the development of their brains (which is more thoroughly described in Hjärnstark). I’ve also heard from my cousins that the digital social interactions are making kids unable to communicate in real life. That’s scary!

I am also aware that technology goes forward, and that’s great. There are benefits of having smartphones as well but the main point of both of Hansen’s books is that evolution goes much, much slower than the development of technology and our brains have not left the time when we were hunters and gatherers.

I know that I use my phone a lot. But I’m more concerned about younger generations that doesn’t know anything else. I grew up playing outside during recess at school, I built tree houses with my neighbors. What do kids do now? What will become of them in the future? This scares me.

I’m really glad I read the book. It was great! My recommendation is the same as with Hjärnstark. Please, read it! I give it five out of a possible five.

Review of “Hjärnstark” by Anders Hansen

Title: Hjärnstark (The Real Happy Pill)
Author: Anders Hansen
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 7 hours 14 minutes
Published: 2016, Bonnier Audio
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Is there a foolproof way to reduce stress and anxiety while you boost your memory? Raise your IQ even as you slow down the aging process? Become more creative and train your ability to focus at the same time? The answer is simple: Move! Modern neuroscience and research has shown, more than ever, that physical exercise has extraordinary effects on our cognition.

Physical activity, more so than Sudoku or crossword puzzles, optimizes our mental abilities and health in a way unparalleled by any drug, medication, or food supplement. And exercise doesn’t just enhance your health, energy and mood levels, and cognitive abilities. You will also learn:

  • Why physical training is the best protection against dementia
  • What type of exercise can be used to treat depression as an antidepressant
  • How exercise increases the ability to focus in children, especially kids with ADHD
  • How children with good fitness can become better in math and reading comprehension
  • Why “runner’s high”, the natural chemicals released during jogging, improves your health and mood

With practical and concrete advice for the layman on how to reap these benefits, as well as neuroscientific research from the last five years broken down to accessible findings, The Real Happy Pill urges you to train your body and mind for a whole-body upgrade, and start to move!

MY REVIEW

I’ve heard many good things about this book for quite a while now but haven’t really felt that I wanted to prioritize reading it physically. Audiobooks has opened up a whole new world to me and I wish I would have started with it sooner.

I’ve grown up knowing that exercise is good for you. I may not have been the most active kid during recess at school, but I’ve always performed some kind of after school activity, since I was like 8 or something? But I didn’t know it had a bigger effect on the body than maintaining weight and keeping your heart healthy in the future.

But apparently, the brain benefits a lot from working out and this book explains how and why, in a simple way. He takes study after study and presents the evidence that all point to the same thing. Exercise is helping the memory, creating new brain cells, and helping you in ways that prescribed antidepressants is nowhere near doing. The problem is that no one is gaining any monetary means from promoting exercise.

Hansen is also describing how we have developed very very fast in the last two centuries and our brains have not yet adapted to it. Our brains are still thinking that we live on the savanna and hunting for food. Which is something he writes in more depth about in his next book “Skärmhjärnan” (~Screen Brain).

I have played beach volleyball for fourteen years now. I consider that a cardio workout, but I’ve always preferred lifting weights and gaining muscle (mostly because I have a genetic disorder with my calves) and stayed away from running, which is the form of exercise that Hansen exclusively writes about. I can’t run. But he also said that as long as your heart rate goes up, it’s fine. Maybe I’ll add an extra cardio workout every week in different forms. I have already started walking more, for example to and from work every day (more time to listen to books). I will also be very careful with letting my potential future kids know that exercise is good for them and make sure that they stay active and not just use the screen as a plaything.

It was an inspiring book and I do believe that the world would be a better place if everyone stayed active more. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. Please read it!

Review of “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Title: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 3 hours 41 minutes
Published: 2017, Blackstone Audio, Inc
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

 

MY REVIEW

Listening to an audiobook was definitely a new experience for me as I’ve always thought that reading a real book would do more for me. But honestly, I gave up real paper books a long time ago when I discovered the wonders of an ereader. But on an ereader, you are still reading, even if it is on an e-ink screen. Listening to a book is something completely different.

After listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson talk for almost 4 hours about astrophysics 101, I’ve decided to listen more.

First of all, I’m a science nerd. Or rather, I want to know more, but don’t feel that I have the time. This was the perfect book to get that dry sponge inside me to activate and is now eager to learn more. It was a fairly short book, but with lots of information. The right amount of information to get my attention and want to learn more.

It was a very entertaining book, he used several terms that at least I, associated with science fiction worlds. He described everything with images that easily came up in my  head, making it easier to relate to.

I highly recommend anyone who have the slightest interest in space to pick this one up. Either as a physical book or the audiobook read by Neil himself. He did a fantastic job of reading it!

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry was a book directed at me and I loved it! Five out of five is my grade.

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 “Kingdom of Ash” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #7
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 984
Published: 2018, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 worlds

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

 

MY REVIEW

I don’t like finishing series. Especially not one of my all time favorites. Many years ago one of my mom’s friends told me about this series. At that time, there were only two or maybe three books published and Maas had a long way to go before this series was done. Fortunately for me, and all other fans, I didn’t have to wait unreasonably long between each book (unlike other great authors who can’t seem to keep the years between releases under a decade). And when it was teo years between, she released a book in her other series A Court of Thorns and Roses which is also one of the best I have ever read! And on that note, before I start reviewing this thousand page brick, she managed to intertwine these two series in a perfect way. It was a spoiler, but I guess I knew that would happen anyway. But it was fun that she did that, the characters of the both series briefly meeting and helping each other, or at least one helping the other.

This book was long, 273k words to be exact. That is insane. No wonder it took me forever to finish it (also because I have been writing non-stop during November-January instead of reading). But it was worth every page. There was so much to be wrapped up and she did it really well. Many battles, many plot twists, many unpredictable saves. It was exactly what you’d expect after reading all of the other books in this series.

I still think that it is kind of silly that all main characters end up together as couples and all the relationships starts with trouble but turns out to be destined to be. It doesn’t really feel like that fits with reality right now, if that makes sense. But I did like that the focus was more on the events this time, not the trying-to-write-sexy-thing she did a few books back where the sex scenes just became a bit awkward.

Something that I have noticed, but not quite sure if if bothers me or if it is really, really smart of her as an author, is that she doesn’t write everything. She leaves out huge parts where Aelin for the most part, is plotting and making plans and they are not even mentioned the slightest until it saves the day. It makes it very unpredictable, but after seven books, you kind of know that Aelin’s secret plans will save the day, somehow.

But overall, the ending was great, all thousand pages of it. I am sad that this was the end and I truly hope Maas will write a new similar series. I get the same kind of cozy fantasy feeling from both Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses and I hope that she will find some new inspiration toward a new series with the same feeling. It is new, it is original. I call it good-feeling-fantasy and this is what I am trying to aspire in my own book that I am currently writing. This feel-good sensation while it at the same time feels hopeless and you can’t stop wondering how more messed up the plot can become.

I have to say though, that intertwining of her two series was a true delight, so I suggest you read all of those books before reading this. Otherwise you will miss it and just have an amazing book behind you. The whole series gets a five out of five! Easy!

Review of “Sleeping Giants” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Sleeping Giants
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 320
Published: 2016, Del Ray
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

MY REVIEW

Wow! It has been a long time since I felt like I couldn’t put down a book. Five days to finish a book is fast for me nowadays. And I wanted to pick up the second one right away. And I would have, had I not had a tournament just starting. The ending made me literally sitting with my mouth open on the tram on my way to the tournament. I had been thinking that that could not have truly happened, but at the very end, the epilogue, I was still surprised out of my mind at the revelation. I had been thinking how I should read another book inbetween, but after that ending (and frankly the whole book), I am definitely not. I cannot!

Okay, so I guess I have to explain the crystal clear 5 I gave it. First of all, this is no ordinary book. Like The Illuminae Files, it is written completely from a documentation perspective. Mostly interviews, but also journals and logs of different kinds. Mostly interviews. Very interesting way to write and Neuvel really manages to get the reader to see everything. Isn’t that insane? That just through dialogues, you get a really good idea of what the characters are like and how the environments look like? It’s impressive and Neuvel really does it. And speaking of characters, my complete favorite is the interviewer who you don’t really know anything about. He is so interesting and I can’t wait to find out who he is! He is serious, always use the right words, and fancy ones, well-educated I guess. But he also a smart-ass and really funny, even in his seriousness. Maybe I have gotten the complete wrong picture of him, because like I said you don’t really get any information about who he is, but the way I see him, he is funny and the most interesting character.

What is a minor downside though, is the lack of details and actually the time perception. Where a “normal” book would thoroughly describe every important aspect of the story, this one can sometimes jump several months ahead and all of a sudden something major happened, but it is just mentioned in one sentence and you don’t really get to find out how they managed to do it. It is not needed to understand the story, definitely not, and you get a good understanding of it anyway. But details are good, or maybe I just miss it because all the other books I am reading are full of them.

It gets a strong 5. I was recommended this by a friend who usually don’t read any books, and for once it didn’t take me very long to pick it up and I am so glad I did. An easy read and very entertaining. Now when this review is finished, I will start with Waking Gods right away!