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: Horror Stories by Tunku Halim

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Title: Horror Stories

Author: Tunku Halim

Published: 1 February 2014

Publisher: FIXI Novo

Rating: 3/5

Review

The book was okay for me. It wasn’t bad but neither was it mind-blowingly good. Most of the stories were mediocre for me, I didn’t feel scared nor horrified instead I felt confused by reading some of them and occasionally bored. It could be that I am just not a short story person but overall the book and its stories did not leave a lasting impact on my mind.

Sorry my review for this book is so short. There’s only so much I can say for a book I feel lukewarm about.

Review: Videotape by Adib Zaini

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Title: Videotape

Author: Adib Zaini

Published: 31 March 2017

Publisher: Buku Fixi

Source: Library

Rating: 4/5

Summary

Razak seorang remaja yang dibesarkan dalam keluarga yang toksik. Disebabkan itu, dia lebih banyak lari daripada masalah di rumah dengan mencari masalah di luar.

Sepanjang hidupnya, dia mengenali beberapa kawan yang dianggap sebagai darah dagingnya sendiri. Mereka mencari kegembiraan bersama dan mencari masalah bersama.

Suatu hari, ketika didenda untuk bersihkan sekolah, mereka terjumpa sebuah kaset video yang tersorok di bilik stor. Tanpa mereka sangka, isi kandungan videotape itu bakal mengubah nasib hidup mereka. Bersama-sama, mereka menyelongkar misteri ngeri di sebalik objek berteknologi kuno itu.

Menerusi proses ini, Razak pelajari erti persahabatan, percintaan, kehidupan — dan kematian.

Razak is a teen that was raised in a toxic family life and it’s due to that that he spends most of his time from home which leads him to get into trouble.

He only has a select few close friends that he now considers as family due to their bond of friendship whereby they were there for him through thick and thin.

One day, whilst doing a school cleaning as a school punishment Razak and his friends found a videotape hidden in a storage room and before they knew it they’re embroiled in a mystery that will change the course of their lives.

(This is the best interpretation I have for the synopsis okay, I am sorry, my Malay is abysmal)

Review

I was genuinely surprised that I highly enjoyed this book. It was such a fun and nostalgic read. I say nostalgic because not all writers can write how a teenager speaks or acts, at least not accurately but with Adib reading his words really brought back my own memories of when I was a teenager in high school especially a local Malaysian high school. The banter between the friends, the teasing, everything just brought all good and sometimes bittersweet memories to the surface and just left me feeling all nostalgic for my own high school experience. Adib’s writing was realistic and engaging that I truly could envision myself being friends with this group of teenagers had I too been in the same school.

The only gripe I have with this book that made knock a point off in rating was how the mystery surrounding the videotape was unraveled. Going into this book I had expected it to lean more towards being a mystery whereby it will be solved by a group of teens ala The Famous Five novels but what I got instead was a book focusing a lot on the friendship between Razak and his friends. Not that I did not enjoy it but it makes me wonder if selling this book as a mystery book was correct because I felt that the mystery aspect of the plot fell flat.

The ending and the exposure of the perpetrator was too rushed that it left plot holes left and right. I did not know why the perpetrator did what he did. Was he mentally unstable? What was his motive both in doing what he did as well as creating a videotape on it. Who was his partner in crime? What happened to Razak’s dad? Why was Razak’s dad such a douchebag? The ending just left me with more questions than answers which is such a shame because the book was such a good read.

Overall, I would still highly recommend this book but don’t hope that the ending will blow your socks off. Keep your expectations low for the ending for this book.

 

 

Review: Not The Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Title: Not The Duke’s Darling

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Forever

Published: 18 December 2018

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3/5

Summary

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe–the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family–appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins. Sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya’s trust-by whatever means necessary.

Review

This book left me shook and not in a good way….

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If you have been following my blog for awhile you may by now know that I just LOVE Elizabeth Hoyt with a burning passion! I have read three of her books (thank you Netgalley) and all of them has a rating no lower than a 4.

Don’t believe me.. here is a list of the books I read by her.

So, I had full expectations to love this book too and imagine my utter shock and disbelief that I did not like nor enjoy this book. How? How even? How did this happen? Did I read it wrong? This shouldn’t be happening… I legit had an identity crisis when I realized this book was just not doing it for me. I mean how? HOW.COULD.THIS.EVEN.HAPPEN???????

The main reason why I didn’t like the book was because the heroine was so unlikable for me. I felt that she was just so full of herself and I just wanted her to get off her high horse and get back down to Earth. Why I felt this way I myself am unsure.

The heroine, Freya de Moray, is the Macha in the secret society called the Wise Woman whereby the post essentially makes her a spy for them. At first, I was really into it because strong female characters are what I live for but the more I read the more I saw that nothing happened. At least no spying happened. Like at all. Elizabeth didn’t show us Freya’s past achievements or whatever for her to attain such a posting. She didn’t show how competent Freya was in being a Macha. I wanted to see and read and live and go through what Freya did in her espionage business but all I got was redundancy which I will explain below.

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The redundancy came in the interaction between Christopher and Freya. They keep playing tug of war with their feelings for each other and after awhile the interaction just bored me out of my mind. They keep going over the same argument of her unable to forgive him for what he did in the past and her fear of losing her independence by being committed to him. These fears are legitimate but how it was written honestly was so tedious to read.

SPOILER CENTRAL!!!

Now to the plot. The plot for me had too many things going on which distracted me from the main plot which was the Wise Woman plot and obviously the romance between Christopher and Freya. I mean you have the sub-plot of having Christopher being blackmailed, the Wise Woman vs the Dunkelders (attempted murder sub-plot), Wise Woman vs parliament (some act that allows witch hunting), mysterious death of the wife of the next door neighbor and what not. For me it felt like so many things are happening at once and you would expect a lot of action but there was just a lot of talk… so much talking.

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Indeed do tell me why I am not enjoying this book

Last but not least was the Wise Woman itself. Again, it felt like all talk no action with them. Maybe because it is just the first book that I felt like I had no idea who these people were and how they worked. It wasn’t fleshed out as much as I had hoped for.

The book for me wanted to be so many things at once yet were none of them at the same time. I am unsure had I read this at a later date I would have enjoyed it more, I don’t know. This book just wasn’t for me. Would I recommend it yeah definitely, Elizabeth is still a talented writer and would I read more books from this series? Absolutely! I need to know that this was just a fluke and will not be a usual occurrence.

But all hope is not lost. I did like one part of the book very very much and that was when Freya proposed to Christopher AFTER she had initially turned him down. I also liked how Christopher gave her space when she needed it to make up her mind about him. I thought that was nice.

*The book was given to me by the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review

Review: Garam by Ruwi Meita

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Title: Garam

Author: Ruwi Meita

Publisher: Buku FIXI

Published: 8 July 2016

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary

Seorang pemain piano di Surabaya ditemui mati, terduduk di depan pianonya, dengan bibir terjahit. Biji matanya dicungkil, meninggalkan lubang hitam yang amat mengerikan. Rambut palsu merah panjang menutupi kepalanya. Sementara otak dan organ-organ tubuhnya telah dikeluarkan secara paksa.

Kulitnya pucat seputih garam. Tidak, tidak sekadar seputih garam. Tapi, seluruh tubuhnya itu benar-benar dilumuri adunan garam.

Inspektor Kiri Lamari, penyiasat kes ini, terus dihantui lubang hitam mata pemain piano. Mata yang mengingatkan Kiri Lamari akan mata ibunya. Yang juga dia temui tak bernyawa puluhan tahun lalu.

Garam? Kenapa garam?

Review

I read this book months ago but it took me so long to actually review it because I honestly didn’t have much to say about it but since it is a Malay book, I thought that my two cents for this book would be appreciated especially since my intention is to shed more light on local books (although this book is written by an Indonesian author but hey whatever).

Garam (Salt in Malay) is a surprisingly good and easy read and I highly enjoyed my time reading it but because I have read an array of crime fiction novels, the plot for for Garam feels a dime a dozen and it is disappointing because although the plot twist was interesting and I did not anticipate it, it at the same time also feels anticipated if that makes any sort of sense. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was how the author inserts clues throughout the plot so the readers can figure out the true perpetrator of the killings along with the hero, Kiri Lamari.

So far those are all my thoughts regarding this book. Not much I know but honestly the book was just okay for me.

My Bookish Pet Peeves

“Pet Peeve: Something that a particular person finds especially annoying”

It took me awhile to think of book related things that annoy me because I am relatively low maintenance when it comes to books.

I don’t mind when a book cover is skewed or the dust jacket is lopsided or folded incorrectly.

I don’t care if the sizing of books I buy that comes in a series isn’t uniform or standardized.

I could care less if my books has stickers on them.

I am even fine with insta-love.

The standards are THAT LOW (as I usually say if I managed to read Fifty Shades of Grey AND Twilight I can read and plough through anything) but a few has managed to irk me and so read ahead and enjoy!

Recyclable vocabulary

I find it perplexing that in historical romance different authors from different publishing companies always recycle phrases, vocabulary or even metaphors to describe the male anatomy. They usually compare a male’s penis or other parts of the body to either wood or steel or worse… velvet steel. I understand that in this genre everything is stereotypical and comes in a template but it makes you wonder is that the extent of vocabulary knowledge that a historical romance authors have?

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Ignorant Beauty

Another trope that just grates on my nerves. Why is it that in a book usually YA or contemporary romance, the female lead never realizes their beauty when they are obviously drop dead gorgeous. It boggles my mind because this is not normal. I am not the most beautiful woman on Earth yet I realize that I am at the most minimum cute. So if I know this of myself why can’t these characters do the same? Why must their beauty only be validated by a man? Why must their physical beauty only be known after a man has pointed it out to them? Why can’t these women acknowledge that they are beautiful and just own it? Had said female characters for example suffer from mental illness such as body dysmorphia then that is fine because that in itself is a whole other can of worms to be discussed. I feel like this trope need to die already and die a horrible death.

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Bookception

I just recently came to know this as one of my bookish pet peeves to be honest. I realized it when I was reading ‘Bookishly Ever After‘. In this book I had to read not one but two stories of which both are equally bad. I am not interested in reading a book read by the main character and written in the actual book that I am reading and especially not when both of them are just badly written and not to mention boring. A snippet here or there is fine to increase the readers interest but chapterSSSS is truly pushing the limit.

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The Mary Sue

My ultimate NEMESIS. This trope is not even an annoyance any longer as it has evolved from being just an annoyance to being an absolute despicable inhumane species of a trope. The best example I can give is Rey from the Star Wars franchise. I am all for girl power and feminism and all round bad assery but when her skills and powers are given with no background no explanation no nothing that is just bad writing and a cop out way to appease the masses of SJW (social justice warriors). Isn’t it better to flesh out her character to show how she had gotten so powerful in the movie? To show that this girl who has innate talent had to work hard to get to where she is but no she can do no wrong, she is the best and will be the best. She has no character struggles. She is beautiful, she is powerful and is apparently perfect in everything. It annoys me because this is not realistic, yes one might argue that Star Wars as a whole isn’t realistic but character development and growth and struggles are the same regardless of genre or medium used to express it.

Another example is Feyre from the ACoTAR. She is perfect in everything, everybody loves her, powerful beyond her imagination blah blah blah blah.

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So, there you have it my bookish pet peeve. Feel free to comment on your bookish pet peeve maybe I would realize another one that I never knew I had I am quite slow on the uptake in these matters.

Also have a youtube video on this matter although in said video I am just a rambling idiot because I have yet to master the speaking my thoughts eloquently in front of a camera.

The Eighth Day by Mitsuyo Kakuta

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Title: The Eighth Day

Author: Mitsuyo Kakuta

Published: 1 May 2010

Publisher: Kodansha

Rating: 4/5

The year is 1985. Kiwako is an ordinary office worker, in love with a married man, until an unwanted abortion causes her to snap. She kidnaps her lover’s six-month-old baby and runs away with her, eventually taking refuge in an all-female religious commune. Here, she attempts to raise the girl.

Fifteen years later, the child, Elena, is an adult contending with the difficulties of returning to her “natural family,” made up of a mother who doesn’t come home, an alcoholic father, and siblings with whom she can’t connect.

Review

You would think that with a plot where a scorned woman kidnaps her ex’s baby and then took refuge in a religious commune aka A CULT (?!!!), there would be far more things happening in the storyline that would put the plot to the Mission Impossible movies to shame but alas it was not to be and I went into this book expecting action, drama, intensity and MORE action but what I got was the complete opposite which is a slice-of-life type of book which let me tell you is definitely lacking in the action-drama department but surprisingly I kept on reading even though nothing much was happening.

The book was interesting in subtle ways, it didn’t focus much on the kidnapping of the baby but instead focused on how Kiwako would raise the baby in the situation that they were in and it was the prose of the book that captivated me. The prose was simple and unassuming yet it is the main reason why I kept on reading even though half the time I was wondering where exactly is the plot going to take us and the ending of the book was realistic in a way that it was messy and a lot of things weren’t answered like how it is in the real world.

Whilst reading this book I really pity the baby who was kidnapped and the young woman she grew to be. I honestly pitied her. She was raised well by the woman who kidnapped her she had a happy childhood living on an island heck even living in the cult the kid had a happy childhood only for it to be destroyed due to adults selfishness.

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is “Books That Surprised Me”

  • I expected this book to be a 3-4 rating for me like all her previous books I have read but surprisingly I really enjoyed this book. Who knew? Even gave it a 5 rating.

Review of Holiday in The Hamptons

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  • I rarely read Malay books let alone manage to enjoy one but this book opened my eyes that not all Malay books are shit. I liked it so much I actually bought the second one almost at full price (I say almost because it was 20% off) and coming from a book cheapskate like me, that says A LOT.

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  • You and I both know what I truly feel for this MONSTROSITY! Two years on and I am still riled up thinking about the plot. I can’t even, because if I do my rant will never end. The injustice I felt at having spent my hard earned cash for this trash is inconceivable.

Review of HP & The Cursed Child

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  • I hated this book as well as I felt the synopsis was VERY misleading but for some unbeknownst reason I can’t seem to forget nor shake off the themes discussed in the book.

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  • This book surprised me because I didn’t expect the book would be so tedious and torturous for me to read.

Review of Bookishly Ever After

Booktube review of Bookishly Ever After

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