literature

Escape to a Future: Review

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When I first began reading “Escape to a Future” by Brian Wigley, I didn’t think I would be able to get into the story or enjoy it much. Yet, by the end of the third chapter, I found myself immensely curious as to what would happen next with the main character. Despite not truly liking a lot of the aspects of the book, on the whole, I didn’t have any trouble finishing it and was fairly pleased with my reading experience

The story follows the adventures of Jonathan, or rather the misadventures and then subsequent good fortunes of Jonathan. Jonathan starts out as a lowly farmhand, working the fields with his father, but is soon transported to the big city of London where he works to better himself. When the city is plagued by sickness, Jonathan flees to the coast where he then is caught up amongst events out of his control (mostly) that send him around the world. Jonathan deals with everything thrown his way, regardless of how dreadful it may seem, and somehow always comes out of things with a spring in his step. One thing to note when reading this book is that, although it seems like everything happens within the span of months, the story actually spans multiple years. Just keep that in the back of your mind when reading because I found myself wondering how so much time could have passed throughout the story, I obviously wasn’t paying enough attention to subtle clues as to the passing time.

The main character, Jonathan, drove me absolutely bonkers. I didn’t really mind him at the beginning. He just seemed like a basic character, nothing too deep or confusing about him. But by the end of the story, I absolutely hated him. By about a quarter of the way through the book Jonathan started acting like an entitled and spoiled brat. He seemed to forget his humble roots very quickly and expected to be treated better than everyone else, regardless of his situation. He made the point of stating (many times) how lucky he was and grateful, but then he’d turn around and act like an entitled jerk. I strongly disliked him.

The writing in this book is just alright. I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style. In fact, I found myself getting annoyed at times. The author has a habit of posing questions at the end of paragraphs or chapters. While this does make some sense, as the character is likely thinking these questions as he goes through life, I found the questions throughout the story grating and annoying. Wigley’s writing also isn’t very eloquent. Wigley writes in a very straightforward and simple manner, which while not a bad thing just isn’t my style. If you’re into books that are straightforward, without a lot of description or details than this story is a good choice.

Now although it might seem like I have a lot to complain about within this book, my overall experience wasn’t bad. I was genuinely curious as to what would happen next to Jonathan, which kept me reading right up until the last page. The simple writing style also allowed this book to be read extremely quickly- making for a relaxing weekend read. Bottom line- I enjoyed this book, and although it wasn’t my favorite, I would recommend it for those looking for some simple and enjoyable historical fiction.
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Bless the Skies: Review

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Although “Bless the Skies” by Julie Elise Landry took me quite a few pages to really get into, it turned out to be a marvelous book and one that I couldn’t stop reading. Although the writing wasn’t as polished, the story and characters really put me in the mind of Scott Lynch’s “Lies of Locke Lamora”. The words in this book, the characters, and story just had the same taste as Lies, which kept me wanting to read more long after the story was finished.

“Bless the Skies” follows the lives of 3 young ladies- the Tavens Sisters, Elaina and Laeli, and their friend, Sophie. Although they lead a rough life as prostitues and thieves, it is a relatively safe one. At least it was until they botched a robbery and Elaina was kidnapped as bait by Lord Anderton, an absolutely horrendous villain. I won’t give away any more details, because all of this happens in the beginning of the book, but I will say that there is a lot more going on than just that. There’s a war brewing, a mysterious man called the “fog”, and a unique world just waiting to be explored.

The characters in this book are all very solid. At the beginning of the story I found myself not really liking any of the women and I couldn’t understand how this Lord Anderton character was supposed to be the villain. By the end of the book, all of the women had really grown as characters and I found myself rooting for them. As for Lord Anderton… well let’s just say that he turned out to be an incredibly disturbing man, portrayed in a way that was so realistic and rational it left me too disturbed to go to sleep.

The writing in this book, while not perfectly polished, is easily readable and fits smoothly within the genre. The only true gripes I had with the writing itself were that the author changes perspective too frequently and suddenly to suit me, although I did get used to this by the end of the book, and the author throws the reader right into the middle of the story without much explanation or introduction. I was rather confused at the beginning, this story takes place in a slightly different world and contains complex characters and a fast moving plot, but the author provides the reader with a glimpse into the past about halfway through the book that worked wonders at clearing up all my questions and keeping me glued to the pages. The writing style itself reminded me of Scott Lynch and left a really pleasing taste in my head after reading. If the author continues to write at this caliber in her later works, with only a little more organization, I will definitely be reading more.

“Bless the Skies” is a fantasy novel that represents the genre well. There’s a unique world within the pages that is just begging to be explored- one populated with diverse characters and just enough horrors to keep you reading long into the night.

I would recommend this book for lovers of fantasy, especially those looking for a dark and disturbing story. If you get confused easily by multiple perspective switches then you might want to pass on this book, but if you’re confident in your ability to keep characters straight then definitely give this book a shot. It’s a delightful glimpse into a fantasy world that’s realistic but dreadful. I look forward to reading more by this author.
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Little History of Literature: Review

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This book is exactly what the title says – a little history of literature. The author touches on a little bit of everything involving literature and I found that I enjoyed the overviews that the author provides immensely.

The author does a fantastic time of mentioning everything involving literature, while avoiding spending too much time on one specific topic. This book is the perfect overview that gives the reader a lot of information yet allows the reader to look up things that interest them at a later date. I highlighted numerous authors and written works that caught my attention and I wanted to remember to look up later.

The writing itself is quite nice. The text is easily approachable and light to read, while still conveying adequate information. It seemed as if the author was conveying a very positive message through the text, one that recognizes the love of literature that many people share. The author’s writing style also shines through as academic yet easily understandable, perfect for any audience to read and enjoy.

I was also really impressed with the author’s use of direct quotes. When the author was referring to a specific section of work, he would usually quote the passage, yet the quotes all flowed smoothly into the story. The passages were long enough to give the reader a taste of the passage without bogging down the flow of the story.

Bottom Line: I would give this book 10/10 stars. I really enjoyed it (and not just because I’m a sucker for books about books). The author presents a lot of information in an academic yet easy to understand manner that conveys the love of literature exquisitely.

I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.