BOOK REVIEW: All These Things I’ve Done (#1) by Gabrielle Zevin

Book review image

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Star Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: That ending was just…not acceptable. Book 2, please. 
Published on/by: March 29th 2012 by Pan Macmillan (first published September 6th 2011)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 352 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads:

Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embroiled in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father’s relatives aren’t so keen to let them go. When Anya’s violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya’s mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.

Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win’s father wants to be mayor, and he can’t risk having his ambition jeopardized by rumors spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist…

REVIEW

Oh god. First book I’ve finished in MONTHS (followed by Midwinterblood), and although it took me a while to get through it (reasons: school, just didn’t feel like reading, etc) I actually really enjoyed it. It was, for lack of better words, unlike anything I’ve ever read. I loved the Mafia daughter theme this book had as well as the voice. Anya was a great character and the setting (a 2083 New York) was kind of peculiar but interesting at the same time too.

Reading the blurb of this book; I was prepared for the worst romance ever. The blurb made me anticipate something SO cheesy and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why this book has been on my shelf for THREE years. Glad to say that the book was most definitely not the blurb as it had more than just high school romance like Mafia family politics (which I honestly expected to have more blood), and was, as a result, definitely not that cheesy.

The main character, Anya, was a great character. She was level-headed and not at all a Mary Sue and I think her voice was the strongest aspect of this book. (And I have to say; I LOVED the love interest, Win. Swoon, ok? Ok.) However, I felt like the book had a lot of plot holes and unanswered questions. Judging from the various italicised comments throughout the book, it’s easy to see that Zevin aimed for this book to be told in a journal-ish form (which I liked) but at the same time I felt like it didn’t really hold up and seemed very out of place. I also felt like after the 40% mark of the book, it got a little messy and aimless and I found myself WAITING for some action, and alas there was none… until the last 10% of the book (which I enjoyed thoroughly). Another thing that kind of irked me was how painfully obvious some mysteries were revolving the tainted chocolate and Leo’s involvement with The Pool. For a smart and resourceful girl like Anya, I would have thought she could put two and two together much quicker than she actually did.

Overall, it wasn’t a perfect read, but it was an enjoyable one. Definitely picking up the second book because there are SOOOOO many things I want to know, especially after that sad (but O.O) cliffhanger. TO THE BOOKSTORE, I GO!

PS. The story takes place in 2083, and Anya’s dying grandmother was born in 1995. Countless of times I’ve imagined myself as poor ole Galina, bedridden and on life support. *shudders*

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Book review image

IMG_0924

Star Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: WHAAAAAAAAT? O.O
Published on/by: April 22nd 2014 by Square Fish (first published October 6th 2011)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 288 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.

This is quite possibly the oddest book I’ve ever read. Nothing really made complete sense until the middle part of the book and when that final chapter of a jigsaw puzzle clicked into place, BOOM, I was blown away.

REVIEW

This book is so intricately crafted; a story told within seven different tales. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed to see, upon starting the book, that it was told in a non-chronological way (because I imagined something else entirely) but ultimately, I was proven wrong. It was such a refreshing way of telling a story and I felt that in a way, it made both main characters, Eric and Merle so much more richly developed. Other than being told in a non-chronological order, I should mention that in each chapter, these two main characters, Eric and Merle embodies different people, which was interesting because at first, we are introduced to the two of them as potential lovers, and by the end of the chapter (which was horrific, btw) I found myself rooting for them, only to read the next few chapters where the dynamic of their relationship changes drastically from mother and son to even brothers and sisters!

Honestly, it weirded me out at first. I went from *SHIPPING* to *UM INCEST*, but that feeling was lost very quickly because the bigger goal of the novel became more and more obvious. It was really a novel about the various kinds of love and the sacrifice that can come with it; a novel that Sedgwick delivered with GORGEOUS writing. Totally recommend this if you enjoy a very refreshing way of storytelling, delivered with beautiful and haunting prose.