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.

Review: Lethal White by Robert Gailbraith (Part 2)

This is a rant review.

It will be long.

It will be full of spoilers.

It will be filled to the brim with my feelings of angst and anger….

Read at your own risk… If you get butt-hurt by this rant honestly I did warn you…

I was so mother-friggin excited when this book came out okay bitches. I read all the other three books, I bought them too so when I knew Lethal White was out I was off the charts excited. OFF THE DAMN CHARTS YA FEEL?!

So, I got the book and I start reading thinking that maybe just maybe Robin will get her head out of her ass and divorce that son of a bitch Matthew. I mean fucks sake she got attacked, she even took a break from him man and what do I read in this book? I read that not only did she say yes to the bastard but she actually stayed married to him! WTF?!!!

This is not the worst part alright. The reason why I complained on the length of the book in part 1 of my review is because I had to sit down and just read to Robin complain incessantly… and I MEAN INCESSANTLY ABOUT HER GOD DAMNED MARRIAGE TO MATTHEW. FUCKS SAKE WOMAN. YOU’RE THE ONE WHO WANTED TO FUCKING STAY AND SO CALL “MAKE IT FUCKING WORK”.

It is bad enough I have to read to dull, boring, mind numbing complaints of Robin about her marriage I then had to read about Strike complain about his feelings towards Robin and her marriage to Matthew too!!!!! I want to read about murder, about mystery, about detective-ism. Not some complaining crap that goes on well for three fucking chapters of the damn book. Like if it was slotted in the plot here and there, it’s fine, whatever you know but this is not here and there and I am supposed to believe that Robin is intelligent when she absolutely refuses to see that Matthew is an ill fit for her not only as a husband but also a companion?

Like, she doesn’t even need to have a romantic partner you know. Why can’t the plot involving Robin be that she gets divorced and has to navigate the single life WITHOUT any romantic entanglements from Strike. Eventually yes maybe they can be together or maybe not. Like I said in Part 1, can’t their relationship be love but not being in love like Sherlock and Watson from Elementary. Must they pine for each other. WHY???! Why can’t men and women just be friends without romantic feelings be involved? I just don’t fucking get it.

And the whole reason Robin didn’t leave Matthew because they both thought he was on death’s door and she was guilt-tripped to say, I say that’s a load of bullshit! UGH! I was really rooting for Robin too man, I wanted her to grow… and mature… and something. I mean she only realizes and takes action against Matthew when she finds out he cheated on her. Like OMG. Can you not. It just makes her whole supposed growth towards independence feel so shallow and lackluster.  It undercuts her making the decision to leave him her own decision ya know. Instead the decision was made for her because how could she stay anymore with Matthew.

And the whole sexual tension between Strike and Robin just stresses me out. It feels so childish. You were the one who didn’t want to pursue anything with Strike Robin, so don’t blame the man if he wanted to have a fling or have sex with whomever he wants. You have no right to be jealous nor treat him unfairly because you’re a married woman and he is a single man. So fuck off Robin. Just fuck off.

Oh god the plot. The plot in this book was so fucking bloody weak. I am supposed to care about the insane stories from a schizophrenic guy all because Strike says his story is too detailed to not be true. Fuck no J. K. Rowling. If I have to read all 590 pages of this book I need a stronger plot than what you just gave me which was so full of fillers, I can’t even come close to imagine you’re the same writer for Harry Potter.

I don’t know what she was trying to achieve with the plot, first it was weak and second there were so many diversions to sub-plots that not only didn’t pan out but they were boring. I was bored reading this book and the ending and the reveal at the end was so what the fuck you’re just like how the hell did it even happen?

I liked the first book a lot because I felt like I too was putting the clues and puzzles together to solve the problem/mystery. It was fun. It made me as a reader feel involved but this book was so confusing, half the clues weren’t even shown to us and suddenly I am made to believe that the killer to that minister is his son Rafael who had daddy issues. I mean the ending could’ve been better had the fillers or sub-plots focused more on the why Rafael killed his father. Like I get his dad wasn’t kind to him and shit but I feel disconnected to his character. Had the author wrote more about Rafael’s backstory, shown him as an empathetic character that due to his upbringing did what he did he could’ve been a great villain but nooooooo I had to read pages upon fucking pages of Robin and Strike pining over each other. God just claw my eyes out already.

This book felt so tedious and boring to read. I can’t bring myself to be excited to read the next installment because I was ambivalent on the third book and now the fourth is a complete disaster for me. So yeah.

Sorry this post took forever, I was busy and sorry if my ramblings are all over the place. My emotions are all over the place too.

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: Spellbound by Jane Green

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Title: Spellbound

Author: Jane Green

Published: 31 December 2002

Rating: 2/5

Summary

Alice knows she should be happy. After all she has a handsome husband, a beautiful house and membership to all the most exclusive clubs in London. So what if the rumours about her husband’s skirt-chasing are becoming harder to ignore? When Joe’s indiscretions force a transfer to New York, Alice hopes it might be a fresh start. And when they find a beautiful old house in Connecticut Alice is overjoyed. For a while she and Joe seem as happy as newlyweds. But then the late nights and unexplained absences start again. What should Alice do? Stay and fight for him? Or leave with her head held high?

Review

I had somewhat high hopes for this book and it is all because of the nice light pink with glitter book cover and the its title “Spellbound”. So, I was hoping that I too will be spellbound by this book but I wasn’t. Like at all. The book was a total DRAAAAAGG to read. It was just so utterly mundane and boring and just filled with so many fillers and sub-plots that were either forgotten or just doesn’t add much to the main plot anyways.

The main character is such a doormat and I cannot for the life of me understand her connection with her new beau, Harry? Or was it Henry? (something along those lines). The author writes that because these two had so much in common and that is why they fell in love but that’s just bollocks! Like if you enjoy gardening and you have a gardener are you going to magically fall in love with your gardener just because both of you like gardening?? I don’t think so. I did not read nor see any chemistry between the two and am so baffled at how they fell in love? Also, I must add that Harry/Henry is the ex-boyfriend of Alice’s best friend AND Alice and Harry/Henry kissed when those two were still together. I don’t give a rats ass of whether said best friend and her boyfriend fell out of love or whatever when they were in a relationship Alice wasn’t supposed to be all over her best friends man.

I just don’t have it in me to rant about this book because I have another book I need to reserve my ranting energy for. Main point, this book is boring and so not worth the read. Give it a pass is my advice.

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.