Extra Books – July

  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith
    • Finished on: July 23
    • Published: 2004
    • Genre: Slice-of-life fiction
    • Why I picked it up: Reading the series
    • Rating: 3.5 stars
    • My Thoughts:
      • Normally I wouldn’t make any note of this on my blog, just mark it as read on Goodreads BUT there was a part where I did my little gasp-and-look-up-from-the-book which I never expected to do with this series. SPOILER: 
      • The thing I totally was not expecting was Mma Ramotswe’s confession that she had not divorced Note. I was not expecting something so rattling to the story. It made me anxious about what was going to happen! But of course it all played out well in the end. 
  • A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine by 
    • Finished on: July 20
    • Published: January 1996
    • Genre: Non-fiction
    • Why I picked it up: Interest in religion -> Japanese traditions -> Shinto
    • Rating: 3 stars
    • My Thoughts:
      • Gives an interesting look into, as the title says, a year in the life of a shinto shrine. Certain rituals are described in depth. I would have liked to hear a little more about shinto’s role in the community (though the author would probably say ‘WHAT!? BUT I TALKED ABOUT THAT LOTS!’), perhaps more from the people who visit the shrine, but I suppose that wasn’t really the purpose of this book. It was a little dry, as it mostly focuses on relaying what happens at the shrine. But it did do exactly what the title says, so it was still an informative read, just not quite what I wanted to know.
  • South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
    • Finished on: July 2
    • Published: 1992
    • Genre: Slice-of-life fiction
    • Why I picked it up: Fan of the author
    • Rating: 4 stars
    • My Thoughts:
      • I didn’t make any notes while reading this :/
      • I liked it though! Haha. It was the most ‘normal’ Murakami book I’ve read. Even though I love the more surreal aspects of his writing found in other stories, I enjoyed this story and liked it far better than IQ84. You could argue that the mystery surrounding Shimamoto could be the surreal aspect of the story, which is what I like to think. The characters were so real, I just drank up the narrator’s story. Murakami’s prose gets me ever time!! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say why, though…
  • The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa
    • Finished on: July 13
    • Published: November 2011
    • Genre: Science fiction
    • Why I picked it up: Reading the series
    • Rating: 3 stars
    • My Thoughts:
      • Probably my least favourite book in the series thus far, though it was still enjoyable.
      • My favourite story was definitely ‘The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina’, which progressed the overall story line. My least favourite was definitely the murder mystery game? It was very lacklustre and odd, perhaps it will have more significance later…

Eoin Colfer – The Last Guardian

  Author: Eoin Colfer
Title: The Last Guardian
Series: Artemis Fowl
Published: July 2012
Publisher: Hyperion 
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Science fiction/Fantasy
Why I picked it up: Fan of the series
Rating: 3 stars
Buy:  IndieBound Chapters | Check your local bookstore!

The first book I reviewed on this blog was The Atlantis Complex, the penultimate book in the Artemis Fowl series. It was one of the more awful books I’ve ever read. It made me dread the next book – this one –  that would conclude the series I had loved and read and reread many times over since I was 12. Would Colfer be able to offer up a ending that was at all satisfying after putting out the tragic mess that is The Atlantis Complex? I am happy to be able to report that The Last Guardian is better than The Atlantis Complex. By how much is debatable.

(This review is a mess, I admit, but I’ve been reading this series for ages and it would take way to much writing to properly explain my relationship with it in a way that this review would make sense.)

Thankfully, there is a lot less silliness and ridiculousness in this book than the previous. However. I cannot forgive the two extremely minor characters with ‘humorousness’ names, of only one I can remember – Kolin Oskopy. I loved this series for its intelligent humour and I would not call this intelligent humour.

There were a couple moments where I gasped or had to look up from the book because I was shocked, because I couldn’t believe something actually happened. Happily this was for good reasons, not because something ridiculous was going to happen. It was more ‘Oh my gosh, is that actually going to happen, that can’t happen, if it happens…OH MY GOD IT HAPPENED.’ which was nice because I haven’t had that feeling from an Artemis Fowl book since the fourth one (RIP Root ;_;).

I got excited and smiled this big silly grin when a lot of the characters first appeared (especially Mulch! And Foaly, and Trouble…). While most of the time I just felt really happy to be with all these characters I’ve come to love, to just read about them saying their usual lines, acting in their usual manner, Butler felt really OOC for me. I know he can’t be OOC when he is being written by his creator but…All the other characters felt like they’ve always felt, but Butler just felt out of whack and not himself at all…meh. I do like how you can really see/feel the development of Holly and Artemis’ characters from the first book. I love how their relationship has grown (I also love that the author choose to pretty much dispense of everything that happened in the previous book XP). The death of a certain character was pretty lame, I would have liked to see it be a little more significant for the other main characters.

Overall, the story itself was a bit lacklustre despite its large scale. Fortunately, though, all the characters we’ve come to know and love were there, acting in the ways we’ve grown familiar with. There wasn’t anything particularly fresh or new or exciting about this book but it did give us a final chance to spend some time with these characters and I’m okay with that. Ideally the series would have ended with a fifth book (perhaps even the fifth book, just with some modifications to make it the end of the series) but I’ll settle for this conclusion.