Laughter and books make life a little easier

Books read in November and December

November

Yet again this seems to have turned into an every-second-month post. I actually considered whether I should change the series to only update every two months, if that is what seems more natural. However, I’ve decided that it was a coincidence that it happened twice in a row. I couldn’t post September’s update, because my laptop was in the shop for a hard drive transplant. I didn’t post November’s update due to NaNoWriMo and pure exhaustion. It was circumstantial why this happened. So these posts will continue the same way they have before. I really enjoy writing them and I hope someone enjoys reading them.

So let’s move on to the exciting stuff.

Sand by Hugh Howey

Previously I’ve reviewed Howey’s Wool novel, the first in its series. While I plan on reading the rest of that series, I first picked up Sand, a standalone novel set in a different world from Wool. (Do I sense a pattern of single noun titles here? Wools sequel is called Shift.)

Sand is set in the sandiest sandy desert you’ve ever seen. Honestly, there is so much sand in this novel that it should really be referred to as the main character. Personally, I dislike the beach for the very reason that there is too much sand. Reading this novel, I could taste and feel the sand from Howey’s descriptions.

The people of this sandy desert have developed technology to sail the sands in the same way we sail in boats. They also dive into the sand using especially developed diving suits in the same way we could dive into water. They do this to bring up the treasures buried beneath the desert. These “treasures” are very clearly normal objects from the world we live in now, a world destroyed by some terrible event that covered everything in sand.

Sand follows the lives of four siblings who can dive deeper than anyone, and so discover dangerous secrets about the apocalypse that caused the sand. This makes them valuable targets as they uncover secrets and learn more about the father who abandoned them many years ago.

⭐   ⭐   ⭐   ⭐ for making me desperate to know the ending.

Note explicit language usage.

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The Gunslinger by Stephen King

I started The Gunslinger months and months ago, and only finally finished it in November. It is the first book in King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower. The story follows the gunslinger, who has no other name for a large part of the novel, as he hunts a mysterious man in black across an impossibly wide desert.

(What is it with November and books set in deserts?)

As the whole plot is so mysterious and thin on the details, it is a little hard to talk about without spoilers. The story is mostly told through flashbacks – the thoughts of the gunslinger as he pursues his prey. This way, you slowly learn more about the gunslinger and why he is hunting this man.

To be honest, I had a rather disjointed experience reading this book. Of course, it might just be because I read the two hundred pages over such a long stretch of time. However, I feel it is because of the non-chronological method of storytelling. You have to piece together the backstory and details from the gunslinger’s thoughts and whatever he happens to be thinking about.

I’m not sure if I want to read the rest of The Dark Tower. I don’t know if I’m intrigued enough. The gunslinger is an interesting character, but his secrecy can be a little wearing.

⭐   ⭐   ⭐  ½

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December

Winter is the fourth and final novel in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer that I’ve previously spoken so highly of. [1] [2] [3] It was published in November and I was desperate to pick it up as soon as NaNoWriMo was over.

In this series Meyer takes the princesses from the classic fairy tales and casts them into a future, sci-fi world, where they have adventures in Earth orbit and work to stop the evil queen of the Moon colony, who can control minds, from taking over Earth as well.

The princesses we’ve met so far were Cinderella in Cinder, Little Red Riding Hood in Scarlet, Rapunzel in Cress and now, finally, Snow White in Winter. Her name is Winter and she is the evil queen’s stepdaughter. As you might notice if you look at the cover, Meyer rather turned the classic tale of a girl with glossy black hair, red lips and white skin on its head, because Winter is black. That was the first interesting twist.

The other interesting twist was to make Winter completely different from so many of the YA heroines around these days. She’s not an action girl. She wouldn’t even be called a “strong woman” by someone not looking carefully. Winter is a little broken bird.

As a young girl, she realised the harm that her mind manipulation powers do when she uses them. Someone like the queen uses them 24/7, but Winter rebelled. Unfortunately, keeping that power locked up is destroying her sanity. She hallucinates almost constantly, but she still resists using her powers. She would rather cause that irreparable harm to herself than manipulate another person for a second.

Sometimes strength is simply still being standing after years of physical, psychological and mental torture at the hands of the queen and her own mind. Winter shows her strength.

In Winter all four princesses finally stand together to resist the evil queen and save their princes. They’re looking for a happy ending, but against the odds that Meyer have stacked up they don’t seem likely to get it.

⭐   ⭐   ⭐   ⭐   ⭐

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