Thursday, 11 September 2014

Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Science Fiction
Year: 1953
Pages: 159

Fahrenheit 451 is set in a dystopian world in which it is strictly forbidden to own books, and firemen are to make sure this law is complied with. Their job is to burn books, and if needed the houses in which these are hidden.
Our protagonist, Guy Montag, is one of these firemen. Not aware of the fact that once books were allowed to be read, and firemen actually put out fires, he never questioned his occupation. Not until he meets his new seventeen-year-old neighbour who teaches him to think independently.

I thought the concept of this story was pretty well thought out, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The characters are well-developed, as well as the world. Most remarkable perhaps, was the realistic feel to it. Whenever Bradbury had a character explain the workings of the world, it almost sounded rational, and as if it could happen in real life.

When reading reviews written by women on this book, I noticed the feminist point-of-view: women are portrayed as stupid and brainwashed and of the books mentioned, no author is female. I’m not at all used to feminist reading, and thus had not noticed the latter. The former remark, however, I feel is unjustified. Every single person in this novel is at some point brainwashed – men too. I would even like to argue that the most important character in this novel is female: Clarice. She is the instigator – without her, Montag would have remained naïve in terms of his profession. To me thus, it feels inappropriate to mark Bradbury, or at least this novel, misogynist.

Though I was compelled by the story, the ending seemed rather incoherent – both in relation to the rest of the novel, as well as by itself. I was confused as I kept losing track of the story line, and I felt the ending just did not suite the over-all style and ambience. I will, however, not go in too much detail about this, as I want this to remain spoiler-free.

There was another aspect of this novel I felt dubious about: although the story is critical towards society in so many sophisticated ways, the general moral seems cliché: television ruins you, read books instead! Although I understand this is not at all all Bradbury tries to convey, it is the undertone throughout the novel, and it felt too basic for the potential this book had.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Review: Fangirl

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell 
Genre: YA Contemporary
Year: 2013
Pages: 461

“Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there’s romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life”

Fact is, this was just such an enjoyable read. I read it within a day and I fell in love with every single (main-ish) character. Compared to other current YA authors, Rowell’s writing is phenomenal, and she certainly has a way of writing characters every girl can relate to. Honestly, I would recommend it to anyone (female, that is). You do not have to be a fangirl, write or even read fanfiction. I don’t, and I loved it. However, the fanfiction is sort of why I did not rate it 5 stars: I was just not interested in the parts about Simon Snow. Perhaps this was because I never really was a huge Harry Potter fan growing up? (shame on me). 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review: The Road

Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Genre: Post-apocalytic 
Year: 2006
Pages: 287

This novel follows a man and his son as they wander through a desolate country which once was America.

I have not yet read many post-apocalyptic novels, and I don’t believe I ever read an adult one. Yet what I feel often in these type of worlds is the inaccuracy of characters. Suddenly, everyone becomes heartlessly brave. And yes, I understand generally only the brave people will survive, but they often become rather emotion-less, all of a sudden. Again, I can see that this is supposed to be a natural transition people are to go through in order to live, yet I don’t think most authors are capable to write believable characters in post-apocalyptic worlds.
Cormac McCarthy, however, is.
The two protagonists are so real, even though greatly damaged by what has become of the world. We as readers can see the man has indeed become harsher, but we learn he was not always like that. Besides, we also get  to know the weaker side to his personality – especially when he is with his son, who he is in fact trying to teach how to be cold-hearted at moments it is necessary. The relationship between the boy and his father is so well described. Despite the situation in which they find themselves, their interaction feels as though it would have been the same in a normal world. Surely, they would talk about different topics, and so on, but you get the general gist of what I am trying to say here.
The little boy himself, too, can be seen as much more realistic – he has mental breakdowns all the time, and keeps complaining about the fact that he is hungry and tired: sounds like a normal teenager, doesn’t it? (Although I believe the boy is supposed to be a little younger than that).
A small sidenote to my own rant of it, especially the boy's behaviour, being realistic: We never get to know for sure when this apocalypse happened, or even what it was, but by small events we learn it was a very long time ago: the boy grew up in it. Thus, never having known another world, is it realistic for him to sound like he needs to adapt to their way of living?

Conversations were another strong part of this novel. Even though they often consisted of only a few short sentences, this was another aspect which made the characters realistic.

I must admit that it did take me quite some time to get used to the writing style. The omission of the apostrophe in words such as don’t and won’t bothered me most, but there are also hardly any punctuation marks other than final stops. However, after a while, I began to appreciate this as a unique trait of this author. I am still dubious about the loss of the apostrophe, just because I feel it is grammatically incorrect not to use them when he leaves them out.

You should be aware that nothing much happens throughout the novel, and the characters is really all there is. By stating this, however, I am not trying to say I did not enjoy the story. I did. I’m not sure what to compare it to, and thus do not know who to recommend this to, so I would say, does the novel still sound interesting after what I just wrote? Go read it!  

Thursday, 4 September 2014


I'm back from summer holiday! I went to Gran Canaria with my boyfriend and we had an amazing time. I did get to read quite a bit while we were there, so you should be expecting a number of reviews in the near future!

That's it for this quick update! Check back Saturday for the first review!