June rewind

This is a look back on what I read in June. A lot of very different books. Although most of them deal with something that couldn’t necessarily, or wouldn’t, happen in our world, so maybe they are a bit similar? Also I’m a fairy tale lover, so reading Scarlet was fun. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was just beautiful. And I love reading more Neil Gaiman, he’s so wonderful, I love his brain. It was also the month for the confusing, I might need to read more Thomas Pynchon, maybe I’ll get it then, because I am confused right now. Also, how awesome is Vonnegut? Can we just agree on that?

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
This is the second book in a series. The first book in this series (the Lunar Chronicles) is Cinder and it is a retelling of Cinderella, with a cyborg named Cinder playing the part of Cinderella. I’ll try not to spoil it. It’s set in the future, after World War 4, and Cinder lives in New Beijing in the Eastern Commonwealth. She is an outsider and mistrusted because she’s a cyborg. There are people living on the moon, called Lunars, who have a very volatile and scary truce with Earth. Queen Levana from the moon is on a diplomatic mission on earth discovers that Cinder is a Lunar, and goes batshit crazy because the emperor is supposedly harbouring a Lunar fugitive, although the emperor had no idea Cinder is Lunar. Cinder goes to a royal ball to warn the emperor against Levana, and Cinder is arrested. In Scarlet, which is based on Little Red Riding Hood (from now on called LRRH), we meet Scarlet Benoit, who lives in France, worried about her grandmother, Michelle, who has disappeared. She turns to a street fighter named Wolf, for help. They go to Paris to try and find her, and Scarlet learns that the people who have her think she knows about the lost Lunar princess Selene. Cinder escapes from jail with a smuggler/pirate named Captain Carswell Thorne. He is technically a cadet, and he makes me love him, because he behaves like Jack Sparrow. Cinder and Thorne decide to go to France to find Michelle Benoit, who Cinder thinks might have information about her. I loved it. I love fairy tales. I liked that it had just the smallest whiffs of LRRH, but it didn’t overpower it. Because it’s hard using LRRH I think. It very quickly becomes a carbon copy of the fairy tale, but this was awesome. It’s still recognizable, and it’s so good.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
I was kind of worried about this one, because it’s a classic, because it’s huge in the sci-fi cult world, so yes. But I loved it. Vonnegut is hilarious. I didn’t laugh out loud, but I was entertained throughout. The book is about Billy Pilgrim, a man who is displaced in time. He is a time traveller, and he has been abducted by aliens, so a lot of goodness. Obviously his family thinks he’s insane, and not a time traveller. He claims to be abducted by aliens called the tralfamadorians. They don’t see time as a sequence of events, they see all time at once, so even if you die you’re still alive in some other time and you always will be. Billy also has the ability, or curse to travel in time. He seems to see all of time in every moment. The book centres around the firebombing of Dresden at the end of World War II. Billy is a Chaplain’s assistant in the war, he is a horrible soldier, he doesn’t even have proper shoes. He travels in and out of Dresden in the book, and we see Billy’s life, before and after Dresden, up to his death, which he himself foresees. I really liked it. When I got used to the jumping back and forth I had a lot of fun. Billy is so weird and wonderful, he’s fatalistic, and a horrible soldier, but he powers through because he has seen his whole life and he knows it’s okay. And I loved it so much, also now I know who Kilgore Trout is. Awesome. I like it when I suddenly get references that people make because I’ve read something. Seeing Hamlet was a big help in that department. Anyways, I’m for Vonnegut. Go Kurt. I’ll find more books from him and get all fangirl-y.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
So awesome. Oh Em Gee. It was so great. Oh so great. It’s about a young man named Richard Mayhew moving from Scotland to London. He stumbles across a girl from another London, a London below the real London. The young girl, Door, begs him for help and he brings her to his house. He helps her, and then disappears. He still exists, but no one in London above can see him, not taxis, not his girlfriend, not his colleagues. He tries to find Door again so she can make him a part of London above again. He runs into psychotic dudes, people who hunt for big beasts in big cities, and people who can speak to rats, not to mention the angel Islington. I love the element of London having a horrible sub-city, which is a match. I like the writing. I like the conversations between Croup and Vandemar. I also love the characters, I love how much Richard grows, how awesome Door is, and how fantastically sociopathic and fabulous the Marquis de Carabas is.

Fractured by Teri Terry
I am doing a challenge on Goodreads where I had to read a book that I had added to my TBR recently. I was supposed to read Shatter me, but that book made me annoyed, so I had to stop. Then I found Fractured at Waterstones, got really excited, read it in like four days because it is intoxicating, and it is really hard to not read. Realized it doesn’t fit into the challenge. I regret nothing. It was awesome. I feel like I might have read through it too fast, like the other one, because there are things it took me a while to catch up to, but it was still friggin’ awesome. Slated is about a girl named Kyla, who has been Slated. The novel takes place in London in the future, in the 2040s (I think). England has become a police state, ruled over by Lorders (police). Insurgents and terrorists are harshly dealt with. Teenagers (under 16) can be slated, which means all their memories are removed, they are then taught how to speak, walk, and function again and are put into a family willing to take them in. Kyla has no idea what made the authorities slate her, but it must be something bad. In the first book her memories start coming back near the end. In this book she starts getting more memories back, and becomes sort of split, between Kyla, and her other half. She joins up with her old friends/family, and they try to take down the Lorders. And it is so fucking awesome. Kyla is really cool and she’s amazing, and I totally cried at the end, because it broke my heart. I can’t wait for the last book. Ermahgerd Frehrcterd.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
So, not surprisingly, this book freaked me out. Something about boys who terrorize, torture and kill each other is for some reason a bit creepy, who knows why. I think it was really interesting to see how the boys sort of descended into anarchy and savagery. It was cool to see how hard Ralph and Piggy tried to cling onto civilization and normality and how even that sort of disintegrated by the end. I found myself hating Jack, but I think that in his own way he is just trying to survive in the best way he can. I’m not apologizing for him by the way, because obviously he is fucking crazy and maybe he doesn’t really fit into the civilized world completely, but the adults of the world keep him in place and he internalizes the rules and norms of the world. On the island he can let go and give into his creepy impulses. The book is about a plane that crashes on an island and a gang of English boys are stranded with no adults. They try to keep a form of civilization, but it eventually disintegrates and it is awesome. Thumbs up. I’m worried what would happen to me if I was stranded on an island. I hope I don’t kill someone.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
You know when you read something and you’re sort of, “huh, I wonder what this is about,” and then you think you’ll figure it out as you go, but then the book screws you over and goes really weird and crazy. And then you think: “well I’m sure it’ll wrap it up in the end and answer all my questions,” and the author basically gives you the finger and shouts, “NO!” In the beginning I sort of trundled along, it was a bit weird, this lady, Oepedia Maas has been made the executor of an old boyfriend/lover’s estate. And she discovers something that might be a conspiracy, or might be her going mad. And in the meanwhile all the men in her life; her husband, therapist, random guy she meets one night, seem to go crazy. And you never get any real answers, and I have no idea what the frak happened, or why. And I started out confused, and I’m still really confused. Maybe I’m supposed to be. I liked it, but I’m confused. Word of the day y’all; confused.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I waited a little while so that I would have some distance to this book, because when I had just finished it I was too overwhelmed to really say anything that made sense. It’s just so beautiful. Essentially it’s about a young girl named Karou. She lives in Prague, is 17, and an art student. She has shock blue hair, is covered in tattoos and the only family she has is four “monsters” who live behind a secret gateway. She grew up with Brimstone, Twiga and Issa, and went to school in the real world, where people know nothing of these half-human/half-animal/half-other creatures. She goes on missions for Brimstone, and brings him teeth, animal teeth, human teeth. And then black handprints start appearing on the doors around the world that lead to Brimstone’s little shop, and one day Karou can’t get back through. And then she meets an angel, Akiva, who is planning to kill her, but for some reason can’t. And Karou is suddenly pulled into an old war, an old-ish love story, and it’s so awesome. And it’s so beautiful, and the angels are just how I like them, a little like the angels in supernatural, except more badass. They are warriors, they are not cherubim, they are righteous and they show no mercy, and Akiva does. It’s so wonderful, and I want to read the next one, like now. And fantasize about who they’ll cast to play Akiva in the movie that seems to be a thing that’s supposed to happen. Wow.