4

Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Diviners by Libba Bray
young adult historical paranormal fantasy published by Little, Brown on September 18th, 2012
first book in The Diviners series

Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfield girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her Uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he'll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened....

THE RATING



THE REVIEW

The Diviners is one of the more classy young adult books in existence today because it's truly one of a kind. Being as chunky as the book is, it's fitting that the story encompasses so much from bloodied history to evisceration of evil to a very diverse set of characters. For such a story to work and work well, The Diviners have a colorful set of characters that I absolutely adore. Not only that, the setting just clicks with the dark, eery atmosphere of the book.

As the Solomon's Comet is to make its pass of earth, the time for Armageddon to be unleashed on the planet draws closer and someone has returned to fulfill the evil prophecy. But nothing is ever as simple as that and so there's a string of murders to solve in a city full of strange occurrences, unknown powers and wicked intentions.

When Evie gets into trouble for her drunken attempt to vilify a young man, her parents choose to send her away to her bachelor uncle all the way to New York City to cool things down in Ohio. In New York City, Evie is reunited with Mabel and is ecstatic to be there as her Uncle Will isn't the all that restrictive as long as Evie stays out of trouble. She meets Sam, Jericho as well as Theta and Henry, each of whom have their own life troubles to deal with. Then there's Memphis and his little brother as well as his best friend, Gabriel who are just trying to survive life in the twenties.

Evie is very carefree and loud in her ways even if she doesn't really like herself all that much. However, I really liked her. As much as she's rash and moody, she's also very outspoken and opinionated. Jericho is this quiet and bookish boy who think he's a freak and I just love him the most as he's amazing all around. Memphis is a poet, Henry is a pianist; really, everyone in this book is so dynamic and their interactions with each other are so interesting, especially the friendship of Theta and Henry. More, please.

The historical setting of the roaring twenties is done amazingly well. It's apparent just how much research went into constructing the world with such vivid details of how life used to be in a bygone era. The language, the fashion, the lifestyles just work together as a single unit to transport the reader to that time with breathtaking ease.

On a deeper level, there's a lot of moral relativism, agnosticism, religious philosophies as well as political notions in The Diviners, as the characters often find themselves discussing one philosophy or the other. I find such talk fascinating because its edutainment value really opens up the mind to how the world works. I particularly enjoyed reading about theodicy because it's a very relatable and oft-repeated philosophy in today's world.

The Diviners is one hell of a creepy book. I love reading horror because it's so much fun! I will admit that I avoided reading this at night when I got slightly spooked out a couple times. Still, there's murder, there's cannibalism, there's utter gore; all of which I found oh-so-enticing to read about. The whole cast of characters is lively and there are some very hilarious moments despite the plot being so grim. There's a lot to The Diviners and in essence, it's a perfect read to immerse yourself in on a rainy day.

THE QUOTES

'There were few things worse than being ordinary, in Evie's opinion. Ordinary was for suckers.'

'There is no greater power on this earth than story.' Will paced the length of the room. 'People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense—words do. Beliefs, declarations, constitutions—words. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History.'

But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all? 'Oh, Evie, you're too much,' people said, and it wasn't complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough?

'There is nothing more terrifying than the absoluteness of one who believes he's right.'

'People will believe anything if it means they can go on with their lives and not have to think too hard about it.'

1

Review: The Fade Out, Vol. 1: Act One by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Fade Out, Vol. 1: Act One by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
historical noir fiction comics published by Image Comics on March 10th, 2015
first volume in The Fade Out comic series

Brubaker and Phillips' newest hit series, The Fade Out, is an epic noir set in the world of noir itself, the backlots and bars of Hollywood at the end of its Golden Era. A movie stuck in endless reshoots, a writer damaged from the war and lost in the bottle, a dead movie star and the lookalike hired to replace her. Nothing is what it seems in the place where only lies are true. The Fade Out is Brubaker and Phillips' most ambitious project yet!

Collects The Fade Out issues #1 to #4.

THE RATING


THE REVIEW

Charlie Parish is a burnt-out screenwriter on the brink of losing it after being part of the war and things in his line of work just taking a toll on him. So being the unfortunate first person to find the dead body of an up and coming starlet when he wakes up passed out after yet another wild party is just trouble he didn't ask for. Thus, begins the murder mystery that's pushed aside from time to time to make space for the many characters and to take a closer look at their not so neat little lives.

The most interesting thing about The Fade Out is how there's no apparent antagonist because everyone is complicit in the sleazy ways of Hollywood of the late 1940s just because that's what they are used to. A blacklisted screenwriter, a studio head who has taken part in many disreputable acts in his younger days, a replacement of the dead actress driven to extreme lengths to forward her career, no one is innocent. Sometimes though, someone like Charlie Parish comes along and gets themselves tangled up in the wrong side of things, questioning everything.

What really attracted me to The Fade Out is that artsy cover with the typewriter and the hot pink ink dripping down and converting into blood. Needless to say, I was expecting the art to be amazing and it is that, to some extent. It's also textured and gritty and just not something I prefer.

While The Fade Out captures the essence of Hollywood and the Hollywood Blacklist era, it's not the most original plot. Rather, the focus is on the atmosphere and the wide range of characters. It's about the sordidness of Hollywood from drunken brawls to dirty dealings and murder coverups. Nothing is ever really that simple especially not when the main character has no idea just what he has stumbled into. The Fade Out keeps peeling off layer after layer delving in deeper with every issue and I hope it remains that way.

THE QUOTES

'This was just how it was here... something in the air just made it easier to believe lies.'
'It's like his brain wants him to remember just enough to stay miserable.'

5

Monthly Recap: July


Is it bad that all I remember about July is crying over Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking and social anxiety? I hope not.

LIST OF NEWSWORTHY

Why do summers gotta be the busiest?
Loving the weather! // Channeling Adam Parrish // Eid and a photography session
Summers
Summers are always kind of busy because sisters and relatives like to visit around the time so I've never really been a fan of the season. I mean, it's hot and I just want to do my own thing so I was glad that it was Ramadan as it's always a pretty quiet month for us and then Eid happens. Oh boy, I had to go out and meet people for five consecutive days and it wasn't fun at all. I wasn't particularly in the mood for it and was glad when it was over, ha ha.

Photo Project
I've been thinking about doing a photo each for the OT5 (from Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle) and I started with Adam Parrish. Now I just need to find some glitter and brainstorm some more.

TV WATCH

All I remember watching is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., really.

Fitz-Simmons be the best. // Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I tried to watch Teen Wolf but man, I'm so over every season beginning with a death threat to all the main characters and then the whole season being about saving their lives. I will watch it for Stiles, though.
Suits is back and I do not like Mike's hair one bit. Also, not sure how I feel about Harvey's storyline.
I finally started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it's amazing and I love everything about it except bloody Ward.
I finished season one of Daria and I really do not want my watch to end anytime soon. Sigh.
Finished Sense8 and whoa! More, please.

MOVIE WATCH

Eh // Home
Home (6/10) - It was pretty childish and I didn't particularly enjoy it. It had some funny moments, though.


LIST OF READS

I got my reading mojo back.

So many favorites this month!
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
A-Force #2 by
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Armada by Ernest Cline
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

LIST OF BLOGPOSTS

Well, I reviewed books.

I posted my review of The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness.
I posted my review of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.
I posted my review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

LIST OF BOOK BUYS

Apparently, comic sales and ebook deals will be my downfall. Oh also, review copies.

So many favorite buys!
End of Days by Susan Ee
A-Force #2 by G. Willow Wilson,
Loki: Agent of Asgard, Vol. 1: Trust Me by
Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by
Rocket Racoon, Vol. 1: A Chasing Tale by Filipe Andrade
Tiger Lily by Jodi Anderson
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Armada by Ernest Cline
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (eARC)
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (eARC)
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (eARC)
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston (eARC)

PLAYLIST

I think July's playlist is my favorite so far this year because so much awesome music.

Finally an album by Hunter Hunted // Favorite CHVRCHES song ever // Amazing song!
How was your July?

3

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown


ABOUT THE BOOK

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
young adult fantasy space science fiction dystopia published by Del Rey on January 28th, 2014
first book in Red Rising trilogy

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

THE RATING



THE REVIEW

Dystopia and I often do not go along together because the genre has a habit of leaving me underwhelmed due to lack of something or the other. So I'd start by admitting that I wasn't expecting much from Red Rising and wouldn't have read it if it wasn't for a review copy. Moreover, seeing the many comparisons to Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen, which failed to impress me, had made me wary of Red Rising which is a damn shame because this book is amazing as fuck.

The beginning of Red Rising totally baffled me because I so wasn't expecting that storyline, but I rolled with it like you do and was rewarded for it. In one of the mining colonies on Mars, Darrow is one of the best Helldivers tasked with mining helium-3 out of Mars which will help terra-form it into a habitable planet. He's just trying to live a simple life until an incident happens that changes everything. From then on, things changed so fast and so brutally that I was hooked. Initially, Darrow thinks that he's been forced into a life that he didn't ask for to carry out a mission that he didn't want to do anything with. So it's really amazing to see just how the revelation hits a special kind of nerve in Darrow and then it is on.

For Darrow to infiltrate the Golds, he goes through a series of physical transformations that are just too painful and revolting. However, that's the thing about Red Rising; it gets more and more horrifying with each major plot twist. What really impressed me was the Passage because it's really the point at which it's apparent just how at odds Darrow really is with himself. Still, that's nothing compared to what happens within House Mars, how cunningly the Golds work whether in his own house, in other houses and how it's all so messed up even up on the Olympus among the Proctors. That's really the best portion of the book because I couldn't get enough of how everyone was just trying to battle it out as best as they could. Even battling it out for fun, for fuck's sake. And oh, the looming truth involving Cassius totally delivers and the face off with the Jackal is done so fucking brilliantly.

Red Rising is really about Darrow rising from being a lowColor slave for all the mid and highColors to transforming into a highColor himself and the consequences that comes with that transformation.  In all honesty, as the story progresses, Darrow's character development seems like a step back from who he was because his rages comes into extended play. Darrow is not a nice character despite his constant struggle with using violence for selfish means by being driven to his limits. All of the Golds seem to struggle with it at some point because guilt is also involved sometimes. Still, it's understandable how Darrow gets the hierarchy and dynamics of highColors politics the best because of where he comes from.

Red Rising does not hold back and so, is chockfull of all kinds of violence. It is a fast-paced and action-filled story of vengeance and warfare with a set of characters who you can't help but love to hate and still have room left for admiration. I fucking loved everything about it because it explores human behavior in face of adversary brilliantly. Red Rising also explores the wicked side of it which is even more impressive to read about. I was thoroughly entertained!

THE QUOTES

'Look into yourself, Darrow, and you’ll realize that you are a good man who will have to do bad things.'

'See. That's what I don't get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?'

'I look at him for a moment. Words are a weapon stronger than he knows. And songs are even greater. The words wake the mind. The melody wakes the heart. I come from a people of song and dance. I don't need him to tell me the power of words. But I smile nonetheless.'

6

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson


ABOUT THE BOOK

young adult fantasy science fiction published by Gollancz on September 24th, 2013
first book in Reckoners series

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

THE RATING


THE REVIEW

Steelheart is Brandon Sanderson winning the science fiction genre with one clean move because it's Brandon Sanderson and also, because he can. Supervillains is where the good stuff's at because the supervillains in the world of Steelheart have subtle weaknesses which makes things super fun. Also, there are no good Epics which really is how it'd go down if it ever came to that. So it's up to the humans to rid the world of Epics while risk losing the leftover resources, that are available in the first place because of Epics rule hierarchy, in the process. Still, that's just being too lazy to challenge the supervillains which is where David and the Reckoners come in.

The future was shaped ten years ago when Calamity rose, gifting a number of humans with superpowers that tipped the scales in their favor. Now the future is here and Epics run the world. One of the most powerful Epics, Steelheart, chose Newcago as his city to reign over which many do not appreciate. Least of all, David Charleston as David lost his father because of Steelheart.

For a story of revenge, you'd think that Steelheart would be this hardcore story with lots of destruction, but it's not that. Yes, there's a lot of destruction, especially because the city is all steel thanks to Steelheart. Yet, it's also thought-provoking because as evil as Steelheart is, his way of ruling has made sure that that the city's basic needs are fulfilled. So the world is constantly toeing the line of falling into utter chaos and chaos ensuing from time to time. Yet there's no stopping the Epics especially when some Epics have prime invincibility which means that they cannot be killed via conventional methods of well, killing. 

David is one of those protagonists who dive headfirst into trouble and I loved him for that from the beginning. It's amazing because David is determined to kill Steelheart despite the obstacles and it's hilarious as all he has to gone on with are his awkward nerdy personality, his research on Epics and his ridiculous metaphors. Seriously though, he has a habit of making up the most ridiculous metaphors and like, that should be a talent. David likes to improvise and make rash decisions and is so not fit to be a Reckoner which makes his dynamic with them that much more interesting.

The Reckoners are a group of rebels who took it upon themselves to take out Epics, mostly small time, and their latest plan has led them to Newcago. They have access to some really impressive gadgets and technology that David thinks could be put to some better use like taking out Steelheart. Megan is one of my favorite secondary characters in Steelheart because she's badass and pretty passive so it takes a hell of an effort to impress her. Prof is a mystery however, he's a great leader which really comes into play towards the end. Tia, Abraham and Cody have all their little quirks, too.

The world-building is awesome and there's really no other word to describe it. Steelheart packs a punch as the plot twists fit right into the fast-paced story. The aspects of politics in light of villainy, morality and human nature are brilliantly put together. Steelheart is intense as fuck and doesn't really give the reader room to breathe and take in what's happening and just moves on to more action which I loved. The ending makes total sense and ups the ante even more which I'm so ready to explore in Firefight.

THE QUOTES

'Sometimes, son,' my father said, prying my fingers free, 'you have to help the heroes along.'

'Never throw the first punch. If you have to throw the second, try to make sure they don't get up for a third.'

'She can shoot like a dream and she carries tiny grenades in her top, a bit of my addled mind thought. I think I might be in love.'