Category: Book Reviews

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – Review

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – ReviewThe Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Davina Porter
Length: 18 hrs and 10 mins
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult, Young Adult
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Evelynne's rating: four-stars

The Invasion of the Tearling is the second in Erika Johansen’s YA Tearling fantasy trilogy.  It continues the story of young queen Kelsea Glynn as she prepares to deal with the aftermath of her actions in the first novel, The Queen of the Tearling.

I’ll start this review by stating that I hadn’t actually intended to continue with this series, given that I had significant issues with Johansen’s worldbuilding and character development in the first book.  However, I recently read the book blurb which indicated to me that Johansen was taking clear steps to address some of the issues with the worldbuilding at least and so I decided to give the series a second chance. 

What I liked

Additional point of view character.  For this second outing, Johansen has added a second point of view character, Lily.  Lily is a woman from the pre-Crossing era who has a strange connection with our protagonist, Kelsea.  Through her eyes we learn more about the history of the Tearling’s founding and what led William Tear to strike out to begin his utopia.

I absolutely loved Lily’s story and, personally, I was far more engaged with her plight than Kelsea’s.  These sections were wonderful both from a plot point of view and character development.  Throughout, I really found myself rooting for her.  This section of the book reads more like a dystopian novel than the traditional fantasy of Kelsea’s section, but it worked very well.  

It should be noted that Lily’s section deals with some issues which are far grittier and more adult than those generally found in young adult or even new adult books, and was written in a more adult manner.  Lily is notably older than Kelsea and is in a different life stage.  It could well be that’s why I connected more with her, as I too, am older than your average young adult protagonist!

Lily’s character development was beautifully written.

Kelsea’s romantic life. Often in YA, this can be a particularly problematic area, with the romance either subjected to the inevitable love triangle or so overblown with stars and rainbows it becomes intolerable.  I get it.  First love can be awesome.  Too often though YA authors portray it through rose-tinted spectacles.  Johansen’s portrayal of this part of Kelsea’s life felt grounded in reality and was excellently written.

In general I found Kelsea more consistently written in Invasion of the Tearling than she was in Queen.  I particularly enjoyed how the connection between her and Lily played out.

The pre-Crossing history.  The promise of learning more about the founding of the Tearling was what drew me back in to give this series a second chance and Johansen certainly made good on that promise.  I loved what we got, but I’m not one hundred percent convinced, though, that she has allayed the concerns I had from the first book.  I still can’t see the logic in why Harry Potter survived the Crossing but the internal combustion engine didn’t.  We still have a lot to discover, so I’ll suspend final judgement on this aspect until after the final book.

What I didn’t like

Additional point of view.  Yes, I know I had this listed in part of my Likes; let me explain.  The two main point of view characters are in different worlds, and are at different life stages and more, importantly, are written as such.  It feels almost like two completely separate books, and I’m not certain that they are targeting the same audience.

The audio narration.  I had a bit of a problem with the audio narration.  The book is narrated by Davina Porter, who, don’t get me wrong, does a great job.  My issue is that she is best known to me as the narrator of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  Ms Porter has a distinctive voice and half the time I kept expecting Jamie Fraser to come sauntering into the scene.  That was my personal issue though and it may not be one for you.

In summary then, I found Invasion a stronger book than Queen of the Tearling.  That’s not to say it’s perfect by any means.  I’m still not completely certain Johansen can pull together a completely cohesive overall story arc by the end of the trilogy, but I’m invested enough that I want to read book three to find out.

I gave Invasion of the Tearling 3.5-4 stars out of five.

    four-stars

    The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon – Review

    The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon – ReviewThe Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
    Also in this series: The Bone Season
    Format: Audiobook
    Narrator: Alana Kerr
    Length: 16 hours and 28 minutes
    Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Dystopian
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    Evelynne's rating: four-half-stars

    The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon is the second in her dystopian fantasy series – it is the follow on to The Bone Season which I have read and reviewed.  It follows straight on from the ending of The Bone Season and deals with the aftermath of the events of that novel.  I will say straight off that I enjoyed The Mime Order much more than the series opener.  Much of the heavy lifting in terms of worldbuilding has been done – although there is naturally much more to learn – so Shannon is able to concentrate on weaving a strong narrative.

    What I liked

    Very strong narrative.  For me this worked very well in this book.  Our protagonist has a clear, logical goal towards which she is working – the uniting of the clairvoyant underworld to provide a viable opposition to the Raphaim – and while there are lots of twists and turns in the way, it remains the backbone of the story.  Personally, I was invested in this plotline and enjoyed watching it coming to fruition.  I also felt Shannon kept the plot moving on briskly and had me wanting to keep turning the pages.

    Engaging protagonist.  The more time I spent with Paige the more I liked her and was invested in her goals.  She is clearly a smart cookie and I look forward to continuing her story.

    Mix of genres.  I enjoyed that the novel crossed quite a few genres.  We had the dystopian fantasy (which took a bit of a back seat this time), a murder mystery, mafia crime novel and a bit of romance.

    Audiobook narration.  I listened to The Mime Order primarily in audiobook and once again Irish actress Alana Kerr took on narration duties.  I really enjoyed her interpretation of the book and will certainly continue to follow this series in audiobook because of her excellent narration.  Here’s a sample:

          bk_adbl_020334_sample.mp3

    What I didn’t like

    Lots of jargon.  This was one of my biggest gripes about The Bone Season and that continues in the sequel  After a while I gave up trying to work out what kind of clairvoyant particular characters were and where they stood in the clairvoyant hierarchy.

    The relationship between Paige and Warden.  I really couldn’t get behind this relationship at all in this book.  As Paige’s friends kept pointing out to her, Warden did keep her captive for several months and exercised the power of death over her.  I just didn’t feel that his aid at the end of The Bone Season justified the level of trust Paige placed in him.  I keep thinking Paige, sweetie, jump online and do a quick Google of Stockholm syndrome please.  It’s also very clear that the way their relationship developed in The Mime Order is going to come back and bite them on the butt very, very soon.

    All in all I really loved The Mime Order.  I gave it four and a half stars out of five and will certainly continue with this series.

     buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Audible

    four-half-stars

    Fairest – Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer – Review

    Fairest – Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer – ReviewFairest - Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer
    Series: The Lunar Chronicles #0.5
    Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress
    Format: Audiobook
    Narrator: Rebecca Soler
    Length: 6 hours 36 minutes
    Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult
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    Evelynne's rating: three-half-stars

    Fairest – Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer is a prequel to her fairytale reimagining series The Lunar Chronicles.  It provides the backstory to series antagonist Queen Levana Blackburn of Luna.  If you are new to The Lunar Chronicles, PLEASE don’t start with this book – go read Cinder, Scarlet and Cress and then come back to it.  It will be more engaging in that way.

    This book is a very focussed character study of Queen Levana and how she turned from a naive, self absorbed young girl into the tyrant our heroines are trying to depose.  There is little in the way of worldbuilding or major plot development.  It remains mostly confined to the Lunar Royal Palace.

    What I liked

    Character development.  This is the focus of the book and is excellently done.  We follow Levana’s progression from a self absorbed, naive young girl to the vicious despot of the later books. I appreciated how each step and decision she took along that path was small and logical at the time but each developed her character as it turned out to be.  I found her an interesting character, and at many points she gained my sympathy for what she went through.

    Character cameos.  Many of the characters from the later books made cameo appearances as their younger selves.  Even if they weren’t specifically named as such it was great fun to spot Cinder, Cress, Kai and other characters.

    Audiobook narration.  Once again narration is provided by Rebecca Soler who did the narration for the other books in the series.  She does a brilliant job of capturing the characters’ voices and I hope she continues for Winter, the final book in the series.

    Here’s a sample:

          bk_aren_001819_sample.mp3

    What I didn’t like

    Very expensive for such a short book.  This book is really a novella – barely 272 pages or 6 hours and 36 minutes of audiobook – and yet is was priced comparatively expensively.  I paid the price but a bit more resentfully than for other books.

    No chapter breaks.  The book is written in one long narrative unbroken into chapters.  Now, I am a working woman and I don’t have the luxury of settling down to long chunks of several hours’ reading.  For me, the chapter breaks are valuable to give me a good place to stop.

    Not Whispersync for Voice compatible.  In other words, the ebook and the audiobook didn’t sync.  Combined with the lack of chapter breaks, it made switching between ebook and audiobook a very frustrating experience.  If you’re only enjoying the book in one medium this won’t be an issue for you, but I did contribute to my lack of enjoyment.

    Less engaging protagonist.  Yes, Levana is a fascinating character and yes, I enjoyed learning about her backstory.  However, it cannot be said that she is immediately likeable or engaging in the way that Cinder, Scarlet and Cress are.

    Less humour.  One of the fun parts of The Lunar Chronicles is the banter that is exchanged between our main characters.  This was missing from Fairest – Levana’s Story.  Thinking back, it’s because in this book we spend very little time with characters who actually like and respect each other.  This book contains the first few chapters of Winter, which I listened to, including a scene on the Rampion and I immediately felt “yes, THIS is the Lunar Chronicles I know and love!”

    To summarise, while I enjoyed Fairest – Levana’s Story, for me it wasn’t a must-read part of The Lunar Chronicles.  Certainly, it shouldn’t be the first book you read in the series.  It does provide an interesting expansion to the series though.

    I gave Fairest – Levana’s Story 3.5 stars out of five.

    three-half-stars

    Firefight by Brandon Sanderson – Review

    Firefight by Brandon Sanderson – ReviewFirefight by Brandon Sanderson
    Series: The Reckoners #2
    Format: Audiobook
    Narrator: Macleod Andrews
    Length: 11 hours 39 minutes
    Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult
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    Evelynne's rating: four-stars

    Firefight by Brandon Sanderson is the second in his YA contemporary fantasy trilogy Reckoners about ordinary humans turned megalomanic villains when they received superpowers.  It continues the story – begun in Steelheart – of David and the Reckoners who aim to bring down the despotic Epics.  If you enjoyed Steelheart, you’ll likely have fun with Firefight – it’s more of the same.  It continues on the theme of power corrupting and strength of spirit perhaps overcoming this.

    What I liked

    Expanded world and character set.  In this instalment David and the Reckoners leave Newcago, the location of the first book, to go take on a new Epic, Regalia, in Babylar, in other words, New York.  It’s always fun when an author takes you new places, and Sanderson’s world building is excellent.  His take on New York is unique and adds to the whole scope of the novel.  As well as new locations we also meet new characters.  They are a lot of fun and and are reasonably fleshed out.

    New layers in the whole origin of the Epics plot.  In this book, David learns more about the cause of the Epics’ superpowers and their weaknesses.  I imagine we’ll learn even more in book three, Calamity.

    The pacing.  As with most of Sanderson’s works, the story moves along at a brisk pace with something always going on.  It helped keep my interest in reading.

    The narration.  This is one of the first audiobooks I have listened to since getting my hearing aids.  It was narrated by MacLeod Andrews who did a great job of bringing the characters to life.  

    What I didn’t like

    David’s dodgy metaphors/similes.  At first in Steelheart this quirk was cute and funny.  By the end of the first book it was getting very old.  By the time we reached Firefight I was truly done with it.  I hope it’s moderated considerably in book three…  It was beginning to drive me nuts.

    I did enjoy Firefight – it is a fun, easy read – and I gave it four stars out of five.

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    four-stars

    Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – Review

    Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – ReviewLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
    Format: eBook
    Pages: 386 pages
    Genres: Cutesy romance, Young Adult
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    Evelynne's rating: four-stars

    Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss which I reviewed a while ago.  Lola focusses on a different character who forms part of the same social group as Anna, the protagonist from the first book.  Like Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a cutesy YA romance novel with great characters.  It is an easy, fun read and I really enjoyed it.

    What I liked

    The character.  Lola is an engaging protagonist and I enjoyed reading about her emotional journey.  The challenges she faces were well portrayed and I liked how she overcame them.  The supporting characters were also well developed, particularly Nora, and gave a good foundation for Lola’s romance.  Although I didn’t enjoy the love triangle, it was consistent with Lola’s growing self understanding in the book.

    The writing style  Perkins’ writing style is very fresh and immediate and easy to read.  I fairly flew through the book.

    Lola’s non traditional family.  It’s fair to say that Lola is growing up in a rather non traditional family.  I appreciated the way Perkins portrayed this as just a variation of contemporary family life, despite the challenges it sometimes caused for Lola.

    What I didn’t like

    No School of America in Paris.  I really loved the setting for Anna and the French Kiss and was a little disappointed that the setting for Lola and the Boy Next Door is back in the States.  Ah well.

    The love triangle.  It was rather too obvious and predictable.  In fairness though, the book was more about Lola’s character development and how it impacted her romantic life than the triangle itself.

    I would certainly recommend Lola and the Boy Next Door as a fun, easy, cutsey read.  I will certainly be reading the third in the series, Isla and the Happily Ever After.

    Lola and the Boy Next Door earned four stars from me.

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    four-stars

    His Fair Assassin Series by Robin LaFevers – Review

    His Fair Assassin Series by Robin LaFevers – ReviewGrave Mercy, Dark Triumph, Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
    Series: His Fair Assassin
    Format: eBook
    Pages: 1434 pages
    Genres: Young Adult
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    Evelynne's rating: five-stars

    Robin Lafevers’ His Fair Assassin series is a young adult historical fantasy series set in sixteenth century Brittany.  It tells the stories of three young women who are affiliates of a convent dedicated to Mortain, god of Death.  Yup, we’re talking teenage nun assassins.  In old Brittany.  With supernatural powers.  LaFevers has blended historical fact into her fictional world, most notably the struggles of Anne, Duchess of Brittany, and her attempt to keep Brittany free of French rule.  Each of the three novels focuses on and is told from the viewpoint of one of the young nuns and each of books progresses the overall plot.

    I picked up the first book, Grave Mercy, while I was in the midst of a reading slump and had already picked up and rejected several good books.  Within a chapter I was hooked.  LaFevers’ narrative style, world building and characters drew me in right from the start.  I ended up marathoning all three books in the series one after another – I just couldn’t put them down.

    What I liked

    The historical setting.  I really enjoyed LaFevers’ basing her world on real historical facts and people.  I felt this gave a very strong, solid base for her more creative world building. I found the mythology of the old Gods and the convent gripping.  Within a very short time I was completely sucked into the world of His Fair Assassin.

    The characters.  Our three main protagonists are all very different in character; each has her own emotional baggage and journey.  They were all very well written and I loved getting to know all three.  All of them were a lot more self aware than many more modern teen protagonists.  Each is also very kickass in her own particular way. I really liked that each of them ended the series feeling much more comfortable in her own skin than when she started – they all underwent a real journey.

    The romances.  In a young adult book, boy meets girl romance is almost inevitable.  This series is no exception and each of our three girls meets her man.  The romance was very nicely handled though.  The romantic tension didn’t overshadow the political and magical tension in the books and I appreciated that all three had a rather sensible attitude to their romances.  There was little of the willful miscommunication that seems to plague some teenage novels and no love triangles, thank goodness.

    Aspects of death.  Each of our protagonists highlighted one particular aspect of Death.  One shows the mercy in death in relief from suffering, another death’s justice another his humanity.  Nicely done

    What I didn’t like

    Although I loved the series I did have a few minor gripes

    Not enough time in the convent.  Fairly early on in all three books the protagonists leave the convent of Mortain and set off on a journey.  I found the brief snippet of day-to-day life we see in the convent exceptionally interesting and there wasn’t enough of that for my taste.

    Dropped plotlines.  There were times when I felt that some plotlines were leading somewhere and they didn’t.

    The audiobook narrators.  I picked up both the Kindle books and Audible books for each of the three books and HATED the narration.  For me in all three audiobooks there was a serious mismatch of narrator and character.  Please don’t misunderstand me; the narrators did a good job, but for me personally the voices chosen were completely wrong for the characters portrayed.  The characters are from sixteenth century Brittany and LaFevers has gone to some trouble to describe their worldview as being very different from that of a modern teen.  So why, for the love of Mortain, choose narrators with American accents sounding more like Divergent’s Tris or Hunger Games’ Katniss than our nun assassins?

    Despite these issues I adored the series.  Each book easily gets five stars.  Did I mention teenage nun assassins? Go check them out.

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    five-stars

    Endgame – The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

    Endgame – The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-SheltonEndgame by James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton
    Series: The Calling
    Format: eBook
    Pages: 480 pages
    Genres: Young Adult
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    Evelynne's rating: two-stars

    Endgame by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton is a YA novel in which a group of young people, known as Players, have to fight for the survival of a section of humanity in Endgame.  For generations, certain bloodlines have been privy to a secret; Endgame is coming in which humanity will be judged and culled by a mysterious group of aliens.  Only a subset will survive.  Which groups will survive will be determined by the winner of Endgame.  I understand that this book contains real-life puzzles for readers to solve which will lead to a real world prize.

    I will start by saying that this book ended up in my didn’t-finish pile.  I thought the concept was interesting, but I had several issues with the execution.  I read around 50% and then found that I was really struggling to pick up the book to finish.

    What I liked

    The concept.  This is what drew me to the book.  I found the idea of a group of people battling for the survival of their ethnic group intriguing.  I liked that humanity in general is unaware of its pending destruction and only those who are chosen to represent their groups and their advisers are in the know.  The fact that each of the Players has a different attitude towards Endgame was well done.  Some are horror struck that they must take on this responsibility and kill or be killed, others are excited to put their years of training into practice.  Some of them choose to ally themselves with others, while many are out only for their own survival.

    What I didn’t like

    The writing style.  The book is written from a multi character viewpoint, with very short chapters switching between the characters.  These are interspersed with what I assume are the real-world puzzle part of the book.  The narrative is written in a very immediate, choppy style which I really didn’t appreciate.  The short paragraphs switching between characters made it very difficult for me to engage with any of the protagonists.  For me it might have been better to have longer sections with each of the protagonists.

    Too many protagonists.  There are about 12 or 14 Players and at least up until I gave up they were all being given equal page time.  I found it very difficult to care for any of them because I didn’t feel we spent enough time with any of them to get to know them better.  Also, they are frequently referred to by the ethnic groups they represent.  Although there was a list provided, for me at least I found it difficult to connect the character with the ethnic group, and each time I had to pause to work out which character was being referred to, I had been thrown out of the story. Perhaps that might have got better if I’d stuck with it, but for me personally, the little enjoyment I was getting from the book was not worth the continued effort.  I also didn’t see these aspects improving for me as the book went on.

    Obvious themes.  At the point i left it, there was a divide amongst the Players between those who were willing to work with the others and those who would kill their fellow Players on sight.  I think I’m pretty safe in saying that the the series will reveal that the point of Endgame is not to survive but to prove to the mysterious judges that humans are capable or working together in peace.

    All in all, I can’t give Endgame more than two stars out of five.  You may find that it appeals to you more than me, however.

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    two-stars

    Epistle by Max Thompson – Review

    Epistle by Max Thompson – ReviewEpistle by Max Thompson
    Format: eBook
    Pages: 113 pages
    Genres: Autobiographies/Biographies, Humorous
    Buy from Amazon
    Evelynne's rating: four-stars

    Epistle by Max Thompson is the latest in a series of fun cat memoirs written by handsome feline Max, aided and abetted by his human caregiver Karen.  I follow Max’s blog and love reading his musings on life as a house cat.  I was excited this morning when he announced that the digital version of his latest book was now available from Amazon – hard copy to follow soon – and immediately picked it up and devoured it.  This particular instalment was written as a letter by Max (who is now a senior kitty) to his younger self giving his kitten self tips and tricks.

    What I liked

    The format.  I felt this works very well.  The letter to Young Max gives a cohesive structure and approach to the book.  It contains a mixture of amusing and practical tips for Young Max, often ways of “persuading” the humans in the household to give him more food, as well as more philosophical thoughts on human nature.  I am certain my cat has been talking to Max on the sly as she uses many of the same tricks.  He also attempts to educate Young Max in his new role as a house cat – he is responsible for looking after the physical and emotional wellbeing of the humans.  I’m not 100% convinced that this is truly altruistic – he does remind Young Max on more than one occasion that humans are needed to open the cans of stinky goodness.

    The introduction from Buddah Pest.  Max’s feline partner in crime, Buddah Pest, is a major part of Max’s life, yet we’ve heard very little from his point of view.  It was really fun to hear from him in the foreword.

    The humour.  Max is hilarious.  He has a unique way of looking at the world and I snorted several times reading his musings.

    What I didn’t like

    Repetition.  Many of the events to which Max makes reference were already familiar to me from his previous books.  Ah well.  I suppose there are only a certain number of major happenings that can happen to one well loved kitty.  Fortunately, the structure of explaining these to Young Max did add a bit of variety.

    I would recommend Epistle – and Max’s other books to all cat lovers.

    I gave Epistle four stars out of five

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    four-stars

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – Review

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – ReviewThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
    Format: Audiobook
    Narrator: Dan O'Grady
    Length: 7 hours and 32 minutes
    Genres: Cutesy romance
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    Evelynne's rating: five-stars

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion tells the story of the romance between Don, a university professor clearly on the autism spectrum, and Rosie, a young woman he assists in her search for her biological father.  Their relationship is complicated by Don’s insistence that any potential partner prove her compatibility by completing and passing a multi page questionnaire.  Causes for rejection as a potential partner include; being a vegetarian, smoking, being continually late, all of which apply to Rosie.

    I adored The Rosie Project – it engaged me in the characters and had me at times giggling at Don’s antics, and generally rooting for them. I listened to it in audiobook format which was excellent.

    What I liked

    The characters.  I adored them.  Don’s social ineptness was very endearing (although I don’t think I’d want to deal with it personally on a day-to-day basis) and Rosie was such a lot of fun.  I was rooting for them, both in their romantic relationship and their quest to identify Rosie’s biological father thanks to Don’s genetics know-how. Even the minor characters, such as Don’s friends Gene and Claudia, had their own issues which kept them interesting as well.

    Don’s character development.  I know this particular aspect did turn off some readers, especially those familiar with the autism spectrum.  For me, personally, I was happy to go along with it.  Social interaction is hard for Don.  He knows he is wired differently.  Given that it is such a struggle for him, he makes a conscious decision to embrace his quirkiness – it’s only through his love for, and interactions with Rosie, that he feels more confident to attempt to fit into the neurotypical world.  it doesn’t always work, but it’s nice to see him really trying.

    The writing style.  This is written from Don’s point of view and he has his own imitable style.  Given that’s he’s on the autism spectrum, the writing style leans more towards the scientific report rather than a journal.  For example, he would say “Rosie was 8.5 minutes late.  We left the apartment at 6.24pm, which resulted in a 3 minute delay in arriving for our dinner reservation.”   The humour of the  novel is based on the assumption that the reader/listener is more socially adept than Don.  The social disasters in which Don ends up are all obvious to the reader a considerable time before poor Don realises that he has put his foot in it once again.

    The narration.  The Rosie project is set in Australia with Australian characters.  It makes sense, therefore, that it was narrated by an Australian, Dan Grady.  I am used to narrators speaking with US or British accents, so I found this was a welcome change and kept my interest in the book.  At one point, Don and Rosie take a trip to the US and Grady uses American accents for the characters they meet there.

    I loved The Rosie Project and gave it five stars out of five – my first five star review in quite some time.

     buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Audible

    five-stars

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Review

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – ReviewStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
    Format: Audiobook
    Narrator: Kirsten Potter
    Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
    Genres: Dystopian
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    Evelynne's rating: four-half-stars

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is an apocalyptic tale about the fall of human civilisation and the struggle of the survivors after a pandemic wipes out 99% of the population.  It follows several characters as they attempt to survive in this new world and come to terms with what has happened to their civilisation.  I Iistened to this in audiobook format and enjoyed it very much.

    What I liked

    Interesting narrative structure.  Rather than have a straightforward linear narrative, Mandel tells her story through a series of non sequential vignettes taking place before, during and after the Collapse as it is called.  These snapshots are loosely connected through the character of Arthur Leander.  Although Arthur dies in the very beginning, shortly before the Collapse, his presence is felt throughout the book.  These snippets of life give more of an impression than a comprehensive narrative, but it is very effective at conveying the idea of a society after a collapse.

    Interesting characters.  Mandel has a wide cast of characters with each given his or her moment in the spotlight.  The points of view covered include characters who remember society before the Collapse, some who have only vague memories of how things were and those younger people who have only known this broken society. This creates a very interesting range of attitudes and experiences.

    The audio narration.  The narrator for Station Eleven was Kirsten Potter and I felt she did a fantastic job.  I enjoyed hearing the tale spoken out loud and Potter was great at distinguishing between all the characters.

    I would have no hesitation in recommending Station Eleven and gave it four and a half stars out of five.

     buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Audible

    four-half-stars
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