So I’m part of the blogging tour for Beastua written by Zoe Cruz! Shout out to Andrea Thatcher who organized this Blog Tour.
First off, the intell on the book:
Beastia by Zoe Cruz
The meanest of the mean girls, Rebekah Austin rules her Chicago school with sharp outfits and an even sharper tongue. She has a way of making even the most beautiful and brilliant girls in her class feel like dirt. But underneath the queen-bee façade is someone who feels ugly, repulsive…beastly.
When Rebekah falls prey to a madman, the bully becomes the bullied. Scarred and tormented, she abandons her previous life and adopts a new identity, but her ghastly appearance haunts her everywhere she goes. Only with the help of determined friends can she move past her horrifying experience—and maybe even let herself be loved.
And if the madman returns to finish what he started, will she be ready, or will she give up hope?
Secondly, some info on the author, Zoe Cruz:
I love traveling, writing, reading, and binge watching my favorite shows on Netflix.
I’m a geek too. Anything from classic Tortallan and Hobbit lore to a DS9 Trekkie and a Browncoat. I love any good sci-fi and fantasy book, show or movie.
I’ve lived in Spain for almost four years, so adapting back to U.S. life for now.
Thirdly, my thoughts on the book:
The premise is a lot of fun. A twist on Beauty and the Beast, this time with a girl in the “beast”-role. I found this very interesting, definitely because there is a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way in today’s society. The book is written in a very fast paced way, it just really grabs you and pulls you along for the ride. I enjoyed this pacing in a way because of my massive reading slump and this really helped me get over that a bit by just making me want to read more and get to the ending sooner. But the speedy pacing really also left things a bit superficial. I feel like sometimes it dances around a bit (too) much to get a lot of depth to situations at times, sometimes you just seem to get some snippets from Bea’s life where there is a lot of telling instead of showing going on. It also left me feeling pretty detached from Bea herself, and I love feeling connected to the main character in a story. And I did miss that here. Especially because, like Beast in the original story, she is very defensive about a lot of things which make her seem very unlikable to people. We know it’s just a facade and her way of protecting herself, but when you add this to the high pace it leaves you at a certain distance from Bea. In a way it’s nice that everyone here seemed to have a bit of a complicated backstory, because people are complex and no one really has it easy, but at times it felt a bit much.
In the end it was a fun read and a quick one at that.
Sidenote: this is great timing on the publisher’s part what with the new Beauty and the Beast movie coming out!
The story in 50 words or less:
There is an asteroid that might or might not be heading for earth. We get to see what this does to the lives of a group of teenagers, dealing with what might be an imminent end of the world.
My take on the book:
This is just a great concept of a book, watching how society disintegrates in the face of the apocalypse. Just ask yourself the question of what you would do if you only had 2 months left to live and then ask your friends; I bet everyone has a different answer to the question. It’s the same for the characters in this book, the impending doom is forcing them to re-evaluate the life they have been living thus far and make decisions based on that. Does that mean they make perfect decisions? Of course not and I think that’s only right. With such a huge event on the horizon, who would still be able to make well-thought out decisions all the time?
Besides the concept of the book there is also the execution. Let me start of by saying that I liked the writing a whole lot. There are some beautiful quotes in here, mostly based on philosophical questions that this asteroid brings with it. And I love that, how it’s not just about what they do from day to day, but what they think and feel. The characters were okay, there was definitely depth to them, they weren’t one dimensional people who just had that one goal in their mind. They were still teenagers finding out who they were and what they wanted from life, which has now been under severe stress because of a possible time limit. I like that they weren’t always out to find the big happiness, they were also trying to find happiness in smaller things which is nice.
On the other hand there is also the fact that some things go down, as there is bound to be in a book with this premise, that are depicting the downfall of society as we know it in the face of what is to come. And while I found most of it pretty realistic, even though I have no idea how things would actually go down if we all knew we’d probably be dead in two months time, I did have some problems with how people reacted to certain events at different points in this book. I’m not going to go into detail about this (spoilers!) but let me just say that sometimes things happen and it’s never talked about again even though I would imagine that this is a very heavy matter to deal with, even if you are close to (maybe) dying. I found this very weird and distracting.
And now a tiny bit of spoiler talk, it’s nothing super major, but if you’re really senstive about spoilers, skip this prt until you get to the rating.
The author choose not to disclose wether or not the asteroid hits earth (which I totally saw coming and it sort of still pisses me off). I get why but I would have liked to know, especially because I can’t stop thinking about what would happen if the asteroid didn’t hit earth. (Because if it does hit everyone dies and that’s the end of humanity as we know it). But here we are, having lived two months like they were our last and then suddenly they turned out to be two months after which we have to continue living.
Imagine that you were facing the apocalypse and you decided to really tell people how you feel about things. You tell people left right and centerto shove it, you take up drugs because what else will keep you from thinking about that asteroid, you have sex with a lot of people because you feel like that’s the best way to spend the last months on earth, you shoot someone just because you feel like it and knwo you won’t get punished for it, etc. There are so many people making rash decisions, the society collapses. And then, boom, the asteroid doesn’t hit. You’re left with all thee things that happened and now you have to deal with it, you have to fight your way out of the mess humanity has created. How would that look? I think it’s so interesting to think about this!
3 stars ~This book was okay but seeing as it failed to really dig into some events that went down in this book I feel like it could have been better. Also, some things were slightly cliché in my opinion.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it?
So this is a very short feature, but I thought it would be kind of fun. So i just Pick up a book from one of my shelves and go to a certain arbitrary page (28) and pick an arbitrary sentence (4) and quote that here and talk about it. And next time, I’ll do it all over again, same page, same sentence, just with a different book.
Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
So great was the fame of Father Chains, the Eyeless Priest, that even Locke Lamora had heard of him; a man of late middle years with a chest as broad as a scrivener’s desk and a beard that clung to his craggy face like a pad of scrubbing wool.
I only recently acquired this book and I haven’t read it yet, but this random sentence is already making me super excited for it! I am stoked to find out more about this Eyeless Priest. I love the description of Locke also, he sounds like a very different protagonist which is nice, because changing it up keeps things fresh. This book just jumped to a very high place on the “books that I will be reading soon”-list.
Have you read this book? Is it representative for what the book will read like?
The story in 50 words or less:
A family, an island, lots of lies. I cannot say any more without spoiling anything. (I tried for so long to put more things into words, but somehow after ten minutes this is the only description I managed without feeling like I’m giving away too much)
My take on the book:
This book was all the hype some time ago, so I decided to not pick it up back then and just wait until everything settled down a bit (and angstily avoided reviews as to not get spoiled, though now I’m getting around to reading the reviews most of them just talk about a big twist nobody saw coming and that’s it, so I needn’t have worried as much). Then I bought the book for my sister and now I’m borrowing it off of her (it’s like gifting a book twice, once to her and once to myself, it’s awesome!). So I read the book and I liked it a lot. The writing took some time for me to get used to. It also wasn’t the most consistent of writing styles (I think it was intended this way, don’t worry. Sometimes it read pretty easy and at other times it would get a bit choppy. It’s not that I minded either style (the choppy one was of a more poetic variety) but the combination and the switching between the styles just made it a bit harder for me to get into the book.
The characters in the book weren’t a lot to my liking. The main character was very theatric, but then again, who wasn’t during their teens? She calls her cousins (and a friend) the “liars”, though to me it never becomes super clear why. There’s a bit of an explanation there, but for me that just wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel it and it also felt a bit forced. The “Liars” themselves weren’t really all that fleshed out, which is sad, because I think it would have added to the book to get to know more people in the story. We only get to meet other characters on a superficial level. This was a book without a very strong plot (action-wise) and I missed that at times.
But there were definitely some things that I did like about the book. For example: it has a map right at the beginning, also a family tree. I think that was pretty cool and I know that at multiple times in the book I went back to these to see who lived where again and who was related to someone in a certain way. There are a couple of fairy tales in here, not in their original shape but fun nonetheless. I liked the memories to previous summers, it did create a more vivid image in my mind of how these times spent on the island were experienced by the main character. The twist itself was totally unexpected for me and I enjoyed that quite a bit. I also really like how it leaves the reader with a lot of questions about this particular thing (sorry to be really vague, but being spoiler free is hard work!) and how there are some full on discussions about this happening online.
3 stars ~ In the end I’m a bit in the middle of this book. I like a decent amount of aspects of this book while I also dislike some other parts. But one thing is for sure: I loved going in blind!
All the Light We Cannot See
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
This is a book where I went in blind (pun not intended). I pretty much just picked it up because I liked the title and kept on seeing it pop up all over the place.But I was so happy that I did pick up this book, and maybe I wouldn’t have if I had known the theme of the book. Because in general I tend to stay away from books that take place during either of the World Wars. It’s not that I hate reading about it, but it’s just not something I willl find myself longing to read about. But in any case, I did pick it up and I thouroughly enjoyed this book.
The writing in this book was very gorgeous. The prose stood out to me in a very positive way, with me often thinking of how beautifully something was phrased. There was also such attention for detail, which really did give the whole story a very realistic feeling. I liked that there were about 4 storylines converging in this book. If you read the synopsis you might think that I have two storylines too many in that count, but I just think that there are four different starting points from which we go forward, which I highly enjoyed. (If you are stil confused, just pick up the book and you’ll see what I mean).
All the characters in the book felt very realistic. This story is about two interesting people who are becoming steadily more interesting by meeting and interacting with new people. Especially in this time-period, the way people interact carries very big consequences. This book very beautifully shows us what war does to the small people. It’s not about the important people at all. It’s about the people that had nothing to do with the situation but that got sucked into it regardless.
The only thing that was not 100% my cup of tea is the pacing. At times it was just that little bit too slow. The whole book was not very fast paced but often I did not have a problem with it. But there were a couple of parts in the book where there was too little happening for too many pages.
In my opinion the emotionality to this book just keeps building and building throughout the book, and by the end of it all you just feel heartbroken. The lives that these charaters lived is just so unlike what we’re going through in the western world. And the way that the story is told really lends itself to that slow buildup of sadness in your heart for all the things these people had to endure and how they were shaped by the situations of their time.
“Now it seems there are only shadows and silence. Silence is the fruit of the occupation; it hangs in branches, seeps from gutters…So many windows are dark. It’s as if the city has become a library of books in an unknown language, the houses great shelves of illegible volumes, the lamps all extinguished.”
— All The Light We cannot See