Book Review (#97): Amok by Anna Tan

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Title: Amok

Author: Anna Tan

Publisher: Teaspoon Publisher

Published: June 2021

Rating: 3/5

All Putera Mikal wants is to gain the Amok Strength, the supernatural power granted by Kudus to the Mahan royal family. No matter how religiously Mikal keeps his vows, Kudus still denies him the Strength—whilst his father, Sultan Simson, flaunts the Strength despite his blatant defiance of the Temple and the priests’ visions of coming doom.

Then the prophecies come true.

Taken captive, Mikal must find a way to liberate his people and restore his throne in Maha—and the key to this is the Amok Strength. But what does it take to gain Kudus’ favour?

I finally finished reading the book Amok by Anna Tan and I am ready to provide ya’ll with an in-depth and HOPEFULLY SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

Before we start, I would like to thank Anna Tan and Teaspoon Publishing for providing me with this ARC in return for an honest review. Let’s get started ladies and gents!

Amok tells the story of Prince Mikal, Prince of Maha, first city-state of Terang and his struggles in faith to their God Kudus due to the fact that he has yet to come into his Amok strength powers. The Amok strength is a legendary power that all royals can gain access to once they come of age (mind you Mikal is 15 at the start of the book). But no matter how much he keeps his vows and does what he is supposed to do nothing has changed and he still has yet to gain any Amok strength. 

Then some BAMBOOZLEMENT happens! Where Maha is invaded and destroyed by their enemies and the people of Maha, royalty included is thrown into a life rife with suffering and humiliation where one does not know who is friend nor foe. How will Mikal overcome this obstacle and gain back his honour, his pride and his rightful place in Maha as Maha’s royal Prince.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNN

If you follow me on my bookstagram (do follow me guys if you haven’t, links down in the description) you would kind of realize I took issue with one and ONLY ONE aspect of this book and that aspect was my utter disdain and annoyance with the main character Prince Mikal.

OMG I DONT EVEN KNOW WHEREEEE TO BEGIN WITH ANNOYANCE WITH HIM.

Ok ok I will chill and talk about other aspects of the book first.

Push my disdain for the main character aside, I actually really enjoyed this book. The writing is great and reeled me in like I was a fish on a hook, floundering around trying to understand my own roller-coaster of emotions as I was reading this book.

I liked the Malay phrases as well as the Malay elements used in the books makes me feel included you know, because duh I’m Malay (Sarawakian Malay but whatever still Malay). It was so much fun reading how the men practiced silat, they used keris and parang to fight, seeing how they used baju kebaya and samping along with calling people according to their titles such as Baginda Paduka, Laksamana etc because let’s be totally honest who uses those terms now in their daily life? (unless you work with the sultan I guess but for everyday people you dont really call people Laksamana do you?)

The plot was awesome… really kept you at the edge of your seat and when some characters that I liked died I did feel the pain of loss because you want them to survive. You want them to be able to overcome this enormous adversity and go home and be happy.

But alas, like I said previously, the enjoyment of this book I could not fully savour due to my problems with the main character. 

The main issue I have with Prince Mikal is the fact that he is mostly self-centered, entitled, privileged and the most whiny character I have ever read. Yes, you can make a defense saying that he is a child and whilst I agree 15 in our modern standards is still a baby but back then 15 you are already considered a man and mature plus he is a Prince. Mikal isn’t an ordinary boy, he is a Prince with responsibilities attached to that royal bloodline of his and yet because we read this book from his perspective all I saw was an entitled and spoiled Prince who needs to have everything given and delivered to him on a silver platter.

Not only that, my god, is he stupid. He is so absolutely idiotic. 

I say this because Prince Mikal has become a prisoner of war and is now a slave for his former servant Yosua. Not once did he ever think to pretend to be a slave/pretend to be broken and humble himself so he could learn the enemy’s routines and memorise the relative map of the enemy’s land which in turn could help him devise a way to escape. Something ya know, anything, but no all we read for pages on end is just Prince Mikal constantly… CONSTANTLY… complaining why me, why didn’t I get my Amok strength, why is this happening to me, this is not fair, always about him and his predicament.

First few weeks I get it man you’re in shock and you dont know whats going on what’s going to happen but as a Prince that must have had some sort of training like get your shit together man. Devise a plan. Like okay, right now you’re in this predicament how will you get yourself outside of said predicament which reminds me that Prince Mikal is a reactive character.

Things happen to him, the plot moves him along instead of him making decisions that affect the plot. This happens for most of the book where shit just happens to Mikal and he would complain about it to no end. It is towards the end of the book, I would say the last 100-200 pages he changes into a more proactive character but by then it was too late for me. 

Also, kan, he keeps complaining Kudus left him la, doesn’t love him la, this and that… sikit-sikit lost faith… ITS SO FUCKING ANNOYING… I GET IT LIFE IS HARD BUT THIS IS A FUCKING TEST FROM GOD… You think God when he tests you he just gives something that you can easily overcome especially for a person like Mikal who follows everything by the book but doesn’t truly have faith. He says he does and he says he has an epiphany and he will change and have more faith and truly follow Kudus (which to be honest with you gave me hope for him I wanted to like him damn it!) but then some small shit happens and Mikal is back to being that whiny punk that doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together and is all like omg Kudus why you left me, how could you Kudus, are you even real? MALAS AKU EH ORG KDAK TOK… PADAH TEK CAYAK AN KUDUS TAPI IDUP SUSAH SIKIT ALU LOST FAITH BAGUS SIK PAYAH EH… BAGUS SIK PAYAHHHHHH… AISH SETAN BENA

I gotta calm down… I gotta chill.. This wasn’t supposed to be a rant review…I cannot delve further into this without going into spoilers so I will just continue to my next issue.

This issue isn’t so much a deal breaker, it’s just confusing and that is the loyalty that Yosua has for Mikal. I dont get it… sometimes its borderline romantic so I am not sure if the author is queer-baiting or I am just not used to this type of unexplainable loyalty. 

This is because you don’t get to see the why of the loyalty, Mikal says that they grew up together and are best friends but that’s the thing, you have to wholeheartedly believe what Mikal says. You don’t get to see it unfold. You don’t see other characters talk upon how close they are and the background for it. There is no concrete foundation that you as a reader can see and understand the why. 

I had a microscopic problem with the magic system of the book. It’s not bad, I just wanted more explanation on how it worked, who gets what etc because it was pretty loose so you have to use a lot of your imagination to fill in the blanks. 

Again, I have to reiterate, everything else in this book chefs kiss… the writing SUPERB! IF EVEN THE WRITING PUN I DON’T LIKE TRUST ME FAM I WOULD’VE DNF’ED THAT SHIT but I didn’t because the writing is genuinely good. Plot also BOMBASTIC! It’s just the main character that was meh for me, maybe it’s because I am 28 and had to be the breadwinner of my family for the longest time and had to hold that amount of responsibility that when I see a whiny character that doesn’t even try to improve their own situation by any means necessary I truly cannot empathise. 

Thus, concludes my review for the ARC Amok by Anna Tan and again my review is my own and is only focused on the book and NOT the author. 

Book Review (#96): The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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Title: The Guest List

Author: Lucy Foley

Publisher: William Morrow

Published: 2 June 2020

Rating: 3/5

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

The Guest List by Lucy Foley had potential to be a 5 star read for me to be quite honest with you. It had everything that I generally enjoyed in a murder mystery whodunnit… We have

  • Intense creepy atmosphere
  • Plenty of suspects with dubious backgrounds and motivations
  • Secrets galore!

But alas, it was not meant to be a 5 star read for me. 

First, there were no characters for me to relate to as most of them seem to be pretty unlikeable and when most of the characters are unlikeable it’s not much fun to read. The only reason I persevered was because writing kept me intrigued on who had died and who was the killer… was it somebody at the wedding? Somebody close? Why did they want said person to die? What is going on? Plus, the whole guessing game of whodunit is immense fun for somebody who loves murder mysteries.

But the thing that made me change my mind that this could be a solid 5 star read was how unbelievably convenient at how every main suspect for the murder was interlinked with one another. The first few interlinking of characters with said murder victim I can understand and see how it came to fruition but all of the main suspects? Are you for real? It just made the story less convincing ya know and when that happened I couldn’t suspend my belief any further. There’s only so much suspension of belief that one can take.

Had the ending did not end the way it did, I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed this book even more but what can you do. 

Would I still recommend this book? Most definitely, it was still a good read even though at first it was quite slow.

Book Review (#95): The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath and The Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Published: 12 May 2015

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Rating: 1/5

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Okay, this review is going to be the condensed version of my rant review because my god I can’t remember shit from this book except it was just such a shitty book honestly I do judge people who think this book is good. There I said it! I judge you all… Like this is the standard that we have today in regards of books? THIS IS IT?!

WE ARE EFFED IF THIS IS THE STANDARD

No offense to the author I am sure writing is hard to do but I will speak my truth and let it hang to dry on the clothes line of TRUTH AND RANTS!

From the top of my head because mind you I read this book like 6 months ago is the fact that:

  1. This book had no plot
  2. A façade of a boss-ass-bitch-independent female character
  3. ALL TALK NO ACTION

The reason why I say the book had no plot is because it truly didn’t, you get Shazi who volunteered to be Khalid’s next wife thinking all “yes, revenge is MINE! I WILL KILL THIS BASTARD” but then nothing happens… it just meanders for 80% of the plot. Where does it meander to? God knows… All I read was Shazi SAYING she wants to kill Khalid… SAYING she hates him but a few days into meeting him she already in love when EXCUSE ME KHALID KILLED YOUR BESTFRIEND!!!

She spouts all this bullshit of how she will kill him and whatever but nothing happens… she doesn’t even have two brain cells left to rub together to even form the most basic plans of how to kill the man. I mean for real, you volunteered to be his wife YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN RIGHT?

So, you’re telling me this bitch volunteered to be the wife of a known wife killer and who is renowned to be the best swordsman in the land and saying she wants to enact revenge and kill him and goes in with no plan whatsoever?

No plan on how to kill him, no trying to learn the layout of the palace, mind you she knows she only has one night to execute this shit.  So, you just volunteer just like that hoping your bullshitting skills are top tier that he hopefully won’t kill you? Bodoh betul la.

This girl is what people say as independent and fierce and smart? For real? Don’t make me laugh man. I have read far better heroines in historical romance.

You may say that oh it’s because she is young and whatever but that doesn’t change the fact that she only has ONE NIGHT to execute her plans to kill Khalid. ONE NIGHT and SHE DOESN’T HAVE A PLAN???? Not even a plan on how to escape??

Don’t even get me started on how she fell in love with Khalid MERE DAYS of meeting him. If I was her bestfriend I will crawl out of my FUCKING GRAVE TO GIVE THIS HO A BITCH SLAP SO HARD SHE MIGHT HAVE SOME COMMON SENSE.

Another, issue I had was Khalid himself. Yes, he was described as hot but hot guys in YA are all over the place give me something fucking new. You read how Khalid is a wife killer, how he is this absolute monster and how his people fear him but when you see him he is just a boy and it makes me question why do people fear him? Just because he kills his wives? If that is case why are there no riots? No coup d’état?

You’re telling me his citizens are completely okay with their King/Sultan/whatever claiming a young woman from their families as his wives and him killing them the next day?

Show me how and why they fear him so when juxtapose that with how kind he is to Shazi, it really hits home that he is complex instead of a caricature.

Not to mention the absolute bullshit reason why he kills his wife… It’s so absolutely stupid.

Essentially, this book irks me due to its bland and stupid characters and the non-existent plot. I can’t even. I will stop here you can listen to my rant review if you want to know the full length of my rant feels.

Book review (#94) : Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

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Title: Ayesha At Last

Author: Uzma Jalaluddin

Published: 4 June 2019

Publisher: Berkley Books

Rating: 5/5

A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

I have a video review out for this book as well so do check it out if you want to know my review in video format if not LETS GO!

This book is basically a very loose retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I completely fell irrevocably in love with it this book as it is so much fun to read. I read it like in a day and just sped through it.

The writing, the prose everything was just so easy for me to read. In terms of characters obviously I love Khalid and Ayesha and the reason why I love them is because Khalid is just so pious and so honest about everything especially his religion for example he likes to use a kurta and he likes to wear like kopiah or a skull cap and then he’s just honest with people when they ask him about his beard whereby he declares he keeps his beard because it’s sunnah whereas Ayesha is more on the liberal side of religion where basically she doesn’t mind that her best friends drink or whatever and it reminds me of myself like you do you fam and it’s so much fun to see how they interact with each other where one is a conservative and the other a liberal and see how their views change each other.

Their views change the other for the better because we see how Ayesha slowly sees that Khalid’s strict obedience to his faith, his honesty and his straightforwardness has its merits and Khalid on the other hand learns to be more accommodating and be more diplomatic instead of dogmatic.

The reason that he realizes that he needs to learn to be more diplomatic is because he goes into trouble at work due to his new boss Sheila, who for some reason finds issues with muslim men who decides to follow their religion and honestly I don’t like this character Sheila.

It is not that she’s badly written it’s just because I don’t like that she’s a bit racist. She says that she does not trust Khalid because she believes that men like Khalid are sexist and so on and so forth because she has experienced it when she worked in Saudi Arabia, where the men were sexist and she wasn’t allowed to like walk out of her compound alone because obviously she’s a woman.

In my point of view I find that a bit ludicrous for her to think that way because first of all you accepted a job in Saudi Arabia… SAUDI ARABIA!! One of the most conservative countries in the world yet you’re surprised that you cannot follow your liberal ways, your liberal views in another country where the people have different culture so it’s like what did you expect Sheila. So, I don’t agree with her there and then she starts to like make life hard for Khalid.

Another character that I truly adore in this book is Ayesha’s grandmother and the reason why I like her so much is because she’s actually a budding detective as she used to study to be a police woman but because she got pregnant she decided to forgo that line of profession and I find it so much fun that she uses her intellect to find out the gossip without actually gossiping about it because it’s not her style and I wish and I really really hope that the author kind of made a spin-off like Nani (the name of the grandma) detective on the case it will be so cute!!

Aside from that, how the author portrays different types of Muslims; there’s conservative Muslims like Khalid and his family and you have semi-liberal Muslims like Ayesha and her family, liberal Muslims who don’t even follow the religion like Amir and there’s also Muslims who are not very good like Arik who is a douchebag. The reason I like these types of Muslim representation is because its realistic, not all Muslims are pious and not all people who claim to be Muslims are good people.

But my absolute and I mean ABSOLUTE favourite part of this book is the romance and the romantic tension between Khalid and Ayesha. My god! Their banter is so cute and innocent and YOU JUST WANT THEM TO BE TOGETHER! I have not wanted two characters to be together so much in my life and when the misunderstandings happened, my heart broke for them.

I would definitely recommend this book for anybody AND EVERYBODY!

I cannot wait for Uzma’s new book!!!

Book review (#93) : 13 Moons by EE Leen Lee

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Title : 13 Moons

Author: Ee Leen Lee

Published: 21 October 2014

Publisher: Fixi Novo

Rating: 3/5

13 MOONS will provide you with instant chills.
Office workers discover the gruesome secret behind the puppets used as workplace décor. A man tries to help the ghost of a murdered child haunting a playground. An abandoned well and a banana tree in a village garden conceal a decades-old crime. A couple struggles to keep their family together when their son becomes a zombie. And a nightclub with a supernatural door policy — depending on when you choose to go.
These stories reveal the darkness that threatens to seep through the veneer of day-to-day life.

Due to my past experiences with Buku Fixi books (yes I know this is Fixi Novo but you get what I mean), I tried to lower my expectations to not only low but non-existent so I wouldn’t emotionally scar myself again.

And to be honest with you the book was okay for me. The book consists of short stories but none of the stories truly resonated with me. I enjoyed them briefly for what they are but not more.

The stories premise was interesting but unfortunately it lacked substance (?) for it to be truly impactful for me. Although, this might be due to me disliking short stories generally.

Short stories don’t express the full story and my curious mind just wants to explore and know more onkh to be left disappointed hence leaving me unable to immerse myself in such stories.

Overall, the book is a good read if you’re looking for something easy and light to read.

Man, this is a short review but what can I say. It was okay hahahah.

Book Review (#92) : Anna K by Jenny Lee

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Title: Anna K

Author: Jenny Lee

Published: 3rd March 2020

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 400

Source: Legenbooksdary

 

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

I obtained this book from Legenbooksdary as she was giving away her arcs and I chose this book specifically because I am obsessed with Anna Karenina.

Okay, perhaps saying I was obsessed is a bit much considering I have yet to read the actual book but in my defense what hooked me with Anna’s story was the Russian movie adaptation of Anna Karenina.

Bruh, I watched that movie maybe 15 years ago, so long ago I truly cannot remember where and when and how I even got to watch this Russian movie but when Anna flung herself in front of that train… That scene stuck by me… It definitely made a home in the recesses of my brain.

But let’s get started with this book review.

To be quite honest with you, I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It was a pretty meh book for me. I initially thought the book would make engulf me in the throes of family drama but reading it my feelings were more of okay this is boring I do not understand what is the big deal with all these relationships especially the relationship between Anna K and Alexia Vronsky.

And if you as a reader already feel this way regarding the relationships of the main protagonists, it is not a good sign.

I think that my nonchalance on the romances and the drama that ensues in this book is due to the characters being so young. They’re just teenagers and being an adult who is currently unemployed with nothing to look forward to in terms of a career, I honestly cannot relate. I cannot relate to how much stock they put into their romantic lives especially the insta-love that happens between Vronsky and Anna.

I just don’t understand the insta-love thing and how suddenly they’re just so obsessed with each other without any apparent reason.

At least, from what I understand in the Anna Karenina movie, Anna was in a loveless marriage and then she met with Vronsky who swept her off her feet and introduced her to a world and life filled to the brim with passion and love yet the decision she makes to be with him will ultimately seal her fate. By choosing Vronsky, Anna must forgo everything in her life; her children, her social standing, her family’s social standing and even her friends. Essentially she literally has to give up everything to be with this man and that decision eats her up from the inside until she just cracked and throws herself in front of a train.

The decision that Anna K in this book whereby she chose to cheat on her boyfriend to be with Vronsky just because her boyfriend was in an accident and she did not have the heart to break up with him just baffles me. Especially since this book is set in modern day Manhattan and there has been progress and modernization in terms of women’s rights.

Also, in terms of writing, I feel this book was more of a modernisation of Anna Karenina as opposed to a retelling that has its own plot because whilst I may say that I have yet to read Anna Karenina, I did read the first 20 pages and let me tell you that the first chapter of Anna K and the those first 20 pages in the original book is almost identical.

Another issue I find with this book is the ending which in my honest opinion is bullshit. BULLSHIT!

SPOILERS AHEAD

You’re telling me that in this book instead of Anna committing suicide due to the mental stress she has been under, the author changed it to Vronsky sacrificing himself to save Anna so it is he who dies at the end.

I am not saying that the ending should end in any form of suicide or death or whatever. I am just saying that the author had a chance to retell this story in a different manner because it is a retelling.

They could have just allowed both Anna K and Vronsky to live and then expand on the repercussions of their actions which in all honesty would have been an interesting read. Would their relationship withstand that test?

But, they didn’t so thats that.

Overall, this book was a meh with characters that were meh and I give this book a rating of……

12

the kite runner khaled hosseini

Book Review (#90): The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Author : Khaled Hosseini

Title : The Kite Runner

Publisher : Riverhead Books

Released : May 2004

Pages : 371 pages

Format : Paperback

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

This review has spoilers so please do not continue reading if you do not want to be spoiled.

My non-spoiler review is as follows:

  • I could not relate nor empathize with the main character due to his actions in the book that contradict with my own personal philosophy and this hampers my enjoyment of the book; it is not fun to read from a perspective of a person you find disgusting
  • I did not like the ending whatsoever, it truly undermined the main characters redemption story and took away the weight of his actions

With, my non-spoiler thoughts or review out of the way let’s continue to my rant-ish review.

The over-hype made my enjoyment of this book dissipate the more I read on. I kept on waiting and waiting for this miraculous story everybody has been talking about for years to appear through the pages but I was unfortunately left with bitter disappointment.

I was left to wonder was it me? Perhaps I had misread the book or misunderstood key elements pertaining to the core of the story.

Dislike over the main protagonist already coursed through my veins the moment I had started reading. I disliked Amir’s entitlement and after reading that he did not come to Hassan’s aid when Hassan was being raped by Assef just sealed his fate in my eyes that he cannot be redeemed, I truly was repulsed by his character. Thus, reading this book through the eyes and perspective of a character I was sickened by, to say the least frustrating.

It was hard for me to be engrossed in the plot of this book due to this factor. I could not for the life of me empathize with this boy and eventually man who lacked conviction and who had so much self-pity for himself it was honestly bordering on narcissism. There was this one part in the book where Amir said that he refused to sacrifice more for his Baba and that he will make a stand to be a writer and this baffled me.

Sacrifice? What sacrifice was Amir talking about? He did not mean the time he framed Hassan of theft so Baba will throw Hassan and Ali out from their home due to Amir not being able to face the guilt he harbored for not helping his childhood friend. The same childhood friend who stood up for him and I almost understood why Amir did not help Hassan. I understand a person’s fight or flight response is involuntary but what he said in his monologue to justify his actions was just so abhorrent. Amir half convinced himself that this rape did not matter because Hassan is a Hazara, he is just a lowly Hazara boy.

Another issue, I found with the book was the ending whereby it is revealed that Hassan is Amir’s half-brother making Sohrab his half-nephew. The reason I have a problem with this twist ending was that it takes away the weight and significance of Amir’s redemption as well as being completely unnecessary. I felt that making Hassan just a childhood friend is more powerful of a statement in terms of the racism between the Pashtun’s and Hazara’s whereby Amir has finally had enough conviction to throw caution to the wind and just save this boy regardless of his ethnicity.

But by making Sohrab his nephew, it makes Amir’s redemption essentially useless as he has to bring Sohrab home if he does not want his life to be clouded with more guilt. Eventually, Amir did become a better man and Afghani by helping out in the Afghanistan cause after his adoption of Sohrab.

Also, another problem came to mind when Hassan’s heritage was revealed was the fact that Baba knowingly let his other son be illiterate. Baba was an affluent man and yet he couldn’t afford to hire a private tutor for Hassan yet he claims to love Ali and Hassan like his own family and quite literally Hassan IS his family. Keep your racism in check Baba.

Overall, the book when I take my disgust over Amir out of the equation is a good book but it does feel very formulaic and I am glad that I had read the author’s other books first thus I know his writing does improve.

Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Okay just putting it out there that I also made a BookTube review on this book so if you want to check that out click the link!

Let’s start with the positives first so not everything is a bad vibe. When I first saw this book in the library I was really intrigued by it because the cover looked really nice and the premise looked promising.

Unfortunately, that is all the positive things I have to say for this book as for me it started to go downhill as I read past chapter 2.

I really did not enjoy this book mainly because the main character Margot Lewis is such a difficult character to get behind. She is just so unlikable it was really hard for me to empathize with her or even care about her as a character. Margot is written to be this neurotic, highly paranoid and highly strung individual and we don’t know why she is like this up until the very end and whilst this is a usual ploy used to create suspense but here in this book is just pissed me off because I can’t understand why she is acting this way and by the time I found out I couldn’t care less because Margot was akin to nails on a chalkboard for me.

I do not mind reading about characters who are mentally unstable or people who have anxiety or does overthink because Hello! I am like that too but there must be a reason. I wish the author had done a red herring which might explain to the readers why Margot is acting this way without truly revealing anything. Plus, doing it this way might have made the plot more entertaining to read which leads me to my second point…

The plot. The plot you read on Goodreads is basically everything you need to know and its nothing else making the book so dull and boring and its only 300ish pages but felt like I was reading a book three times its page count.

Last but not least was the romance. Dear Lord did the romance came out of bloody effin nowhere. I think the author did try to insert some instances of where you’re supposed to pick up that they’re going to be together but I as the reader didn’t catch up on it because I didn’t know why they would be into each other.

Like it was not explained in the book as to why they would have romantic feelings for each other. I thought they were just work buddies in this mission to UNCOVER THE TRUTH! Even from Margot’s perspective the only thing I got from her regarding her feelings for Martin was that he was hot and she felt safe with him. Why? She felt safe with him nobody knows.

Will I recommend this book? No I would not.

Will I read something written by this author? Yes, yes I would. I see snippets of brilliance, it just needs to be buffed a bit more.

Review: Gone by Elisabeth Naughton

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Rating: 3/5

Three years ago, Alec McClane and Raegan Devereaux lived every parent’s worst nightmare: their one-year-old daughter, Emma, was abducted from a park when Alec turned his back for just a moment. Emma was never found, and presumed dead. The crushing trauma, plus Alec’s unbearable guilt, ended the couple’s marriage.

Now a four-year-old girl matching Emma’s profile is found wandering a local park. Alec and Raegan are heartbroken to discover she’s not their daughter but are newly motivated to find closure…and each secretly feels desperate to be in the other’s presence again.

Alec suspects his vengeful biological father is behind Emma’s disappearance. But as Raegan investigates other abductions in the area, she sees a pattern—and begins to wonder if Emma’s kidnapping is actually linked to something more sinister.

As Alec and Raegan race to uncover the truth, a long-burning spark rekindles into smoldering passion, and they realize they need each other now more than ever.


REVIEW

I got this book AGES ago from Netgalley and only got round to reading it now because well I just felt like it so do take into consideration that my review is based on an ARC I received 2 years ago… I just checked my Netgalley account. Make that THREE years ago. Yikes!

Right off the bat I felt like the characters were very two dimensional as there was a lot of telling the readers about their past rather than showing it. Having the characters tell their past doesn’t allow the readers to fully engage in them or be as invested causing some of the drama that unfolds in the plot to fall flat.

Not all the emotional plot points fell flat though there were that did make me tear up thinking about the repercussions but that had more to do with the situation rather than the characters themselves. Anybody with a heart would cry imagining if their child was abducted and there was no news whatsoever.

Now that I think about it the male protagonist, Alec McClane, was seriously annoying. It was always about how he couldn’t handle the disappearance of his child , how he is still in pain, how he goes into shock and how he had the really shitty upbringing. Well BOO HOO! What about his wife? Did she not feel the pain of losing her child too? It’s not all about you sometimes okay Alec. It takes two to tango in a relationship like God! That guy got on my nerves. I don’t give a damn how hot you are, please have some heart and think about the other person who is also hurting by this horrific incident.

Plot wise, I felt that the pacing of the book was fast paced which I liked because I just went through the book in one night but I felt really confused as to the genre of the book but this I should have read the blurb or something first so my bad hahahah.

When I chose this those many moons ago, I thought it was going to be a nice thriller mystery type of book with a dash of romance and reading it now it read more like a romance with a dash of thriller and mystery although had I read the blurb I would’ve seen that it was a romance heavy book. I wish the sex scenes were more explicit because man I have not had any action in awhile and your girl is THIRSTY!

Oh! Before I forget (this links back to the plot thing), the execution of the plot twist and the reveal seriously fell flat for me. The plot twist and the reveal at the end I felt was great. It’s very predictable yes but it could have been better had the execution of it been great. These two things could’ve been improved had there been more breathing room for the readers to digest everything, all these revelations were revealed at super speed and the pacing just went off the charts from there and due to that the emotional punch that the author wanted to portray lost its zest