the bookish dragon

Just another awesome girl who loves words and pages and exploring new worlds from her bedroom. Also, a dragon.
"American college students have said 'Like 1984, man,' when asked not to smoke pot in the classroom or advised gently to do a little reading. By extension, the term Orwellian is made to apply to anything from a computer print-out to the functional coldness of a new airport. There are no computers on Airstrip One, and most of the buildings we hear of are decaying Victorian. ... The whole point of the urban scene in Nineteen Eighty-Four is that is doesn't matter what it looks like, since reality is all in the mind. "

1985 by Anthony Burgess

book haul, september 24th
book haul, september 24th

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) - review

The Screaming Staircase - Jonathan Stroud

I won this book in a goodreads first reads giveaway and I was just thrilled when it thumped through my letter box! A female narrator and protagonist, an independent ghost-hunting agency with a knack for breaking the rules - I was pretty excited to dive in to it with a cup of tea (complementary tea bag with the book, by the way) and a comfy spot.

I'm not always a sucker for ghost stories, or thrillers, but this one seemed nice. Lockwood & Co. is a small agency of 3 that you can't help but root for. It would seem the Problem (that is, all the ghosts popping up everywhere) is exclusive to the UK, and the book takes place largely in a London, England that's protected against ghosts with ghost lamps, rushing water, and lavender sprigs or silver jewelry on every citizen. Lockwood's house is a place you want to live, and this London is a curious place I'd love to have a wander round.

Our 3 main characters are Lucy Carlyle, 15 years old with an exceptional talent for Listening; Anthony Lockwood, the calm and charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co.; and George Cubbins, cynical, funny, and not at all a skinny guy. There is no romance in the book and the group dynamic is vibrant and amusing. The characters are well developed, flawed but likable, and I could relate at points to every one of them.

After a case gone wrong, Lockwood & Co. are facing financial difficulties. They have a large fee to pay, or else they'll get shut down. With a case behind them still playing on their minds, they get a generous offer they can't afford to refuse, but it's bigger than anything they've faced before. One of my favourite things about the book is Lucy's interaction with the ghosts. She sometimes feels their pain, anger, grief, even happiness, a lot stronger than the others. It can be a strength or a weakness for her.

I am eagerly awaiting the next part of the series now, it promises to be an exciting read. I hope, like this one, it's just the right balance of scary and fun. I'm looking forward to seeing Lucy's powers develop, to seeing how the group dynamics change. I look forward to more tea and biscuits in haunted house and more hilarious remarks in the face of great danger.

I really hope a film is made, because it has great potential, and I hope a fandom grows around my new friends at Lockwood & Co. so that I can look at fan art and read well-written fan fiction while passing the time until the next adventure, The Whispering Skull. I highly recommend this book.

City of Bones  - Cassandra Clare First off, my name is Chloe Bray, which sounds a lot like Clary Fray, and is a big reason why I bought the book. Clary and myself aren’t much alike otherwise, but I’m going to keep pointing out our rhyming names to everyone.

City of Bones did fall into some common YA cliches. I did spot a ‘I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding’ somewhere in this book. However, I didn’t find it as predictable as I find a lot of YA, although I did know a lot of major spoilers before reading the book. One of the things I found most annoying was the cheesy way swear words were blocked out. We were told what it rhymed with, or someone interrupted just before the obscenity was to be spoken. If it was on TV it might get a smirk from me but in print it irked me. This is a book with a lot of violence and it also deals with issues of love and sexuality; swear words would fit in fine here.

The characters were mostly well developed, interesting, and some of them I could relate to. My favourite characters were Isabelle, Simon, Magnus and Luke. The characters had complexities to them which were nice to witness, especially Hodge who I hope will be in the other books. Overall I feel the only character who was a little neglected was Magnus, but since he has his own e-book series I can accept that.

A lot of different relationships were explored in the book. We had siblings, best friends, mother and daughter, among more complex bonds. A lot of books don’t have that range and I feel Cassandra Clare really gave the relationships enough attention to seem genuine.

I didn’t think the writing was spectacular. I didn’t think it was bad either, it was good, but in places it could have been better. Not all of the dialogue was believable to me. I also would have liked to know more about all the kinds of downworlders, particularly faeries, warlocks and mermaids. I really hope they’re explored more in the rest of the series.

This book was a lot of fun, lots of humour and geekery and silly moments, and it did make me want to go live in the world for a while. It wasn’t life-changing for me but I enjoyed reading it and I will definitely read the rest of the series.
The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) - Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves I originally picked up the Shadow of the Wind after it being highly recommended to me, and I was drawn to it for it's bookish theme. A secret library, a book surrounded with a mysterious history, and a little independent bookshop in Barcelona. If there's one thing I can't resist, it's a book for book lovers.

The bookish themes didn't disappoint, and the book was filled to the brim with book-related snippets that made me smile and nod. In some ways, this book felt like home for me. The settings were beautifully explained. Zafón's Barcelona was a beautiful place, sometimes dark, that I loved exploring. It was a pleasure to form images in my mind of the library, the bookshop, the streets of Barcelona, and the many other amazing places I was taken to.

The characters all had complexities, all had both light and darkness to them. I loved getting to know each one. Many types of relationships were explored, with wonderful dynamics. The only character I didn't like was the one person I wasn't supposed to. The antagonist of this story has taken his place in the ranks of the most memorable and terrifying villains I've encountered.

Exciting from the offset, I got swept into the plot, never lost interest, and found it difficult to put this book down (except in the moments where my imagination got so carried away I just had to pace around the room living out scenes in my mind). There are several challenges faced in this book, and with each one I felt the frustration, sadness and anger of the characters, as well as celebrating their victories with them.

I feel that this book is strong on it's own but nevertheless, I look forward to the rest of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and anything else Zafón has to offer. The Angel's Game is sitting a few metres from me now looking incredibly appealing.

The Shadow of the Wind made me laugh and cry. I highly recommend it.
The Illustrated Man - Ray Bradbury As always I enjoyed the style of writing but there weren't many stories that really captured me, and I found myself getting bored towards the end. The Veld and Zero Hour were my favourites in this collection.
Player One: What Is to Become of Us (CBC Massey Lecture) - Douglas Coupland Player One had an interesting narrative, which I enjoyed but recognize isn't to the taste of all. The characters were compelling and the book addressed some of the thing we all worry about, such as death, religion and time. It was funny in parts, profound in parts, and in others it was both simultaneously.

I particularly enjoyed Rachel's parts of the book, although all characters had narratives I related to and became fascinated by.

I wonder if this is how it really would play out, if the price of oil rocketed. These characters won't leave me any time soon.

Currently reading

The Road
Cormac McCarthy
The Elephant Vanishes
Haruki Murakami
Progress: 40/328 pages