5 stars

Review: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Review: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky ChambersTo Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 8th August 2019
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

In her new novella, Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Chambers imagines a future in which, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the solar system instead transform themselves. 

Adriane is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does.

Ariadne may awaken to find that support for space exploration back home has waned, or that her country of birth no longer exists, or that a cult has arisen around their cosmic findings, only to dissolve once more by the next waking. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home. 

Carrying all the trademarks of her other beloved works, including brilliant writing, fantastic world-building and exceptional, diverse characters, Becky's first audiobook outside of the Wayfarers series is sure to capture the imagination of listeners all over the world.
 

Becky Chambers will forever have all of my love and respect. That’s it, that’s the review.

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The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

The Nowhere Girls by Amy ReedThe Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 5th October 2017
Publisher: Atom
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Who are the Nowhere Girls? They're every girl. But they start with just three: Grace, the preacher's daughter who unwittingly moved into the old house of a victim whose pain adorns the walls. Bold Rosina, whose heart has become hardened by all of the straight girls who broke it. And misunderstood Erin, the girl who finds more solace in science and order than she does in people.

They are brought together by the idea of changing the narrative of a girl they had never met, Lucy Moynihan, the victim of a sexual assault who was victimised further by people who found it easier to believe she had cried wolf than to confront what had really happened to her. A girl who, through the course of one evening, went from an excited teenager who felt wanted by a boy for the first time, to someone else entirely, with 'a voice in the darkness, giving her a new name: Slut'. Together, they form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew.

The Nowhere Girls is one of those outstanding and powerful books that left me in awe. So much awe that I don’t know how to review it without keyboard smashing all over the place. But I feel like that would be cheating the story somehow so here we are, with a fangirly review that took forever to put together because I suck at telling you guys why I love things.

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 29th May 2003
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

I read the graphic novel of The Kite Runner about seven years ago when I first started blogging and I absolutely loved it. I immediately bought the novel, but I put off reading it for the longest time (seven years…) because I felt like the story was still too fresh in my mind and I remembered absolutely bawling over the graphic novel.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 28th February 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

After reading this, I can see why The Hate U Give has been on the NYT Bestsellers List for about a decade (only a slight exaggeration). The Hate U Give is important, topical, and so powerful, and it deserves all the hype it has been getting. I read it in less than a day, partly because I was challenged to, and partly because it’s an incredibly gripping read.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott LynchRed Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #2
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: March 12, 2009
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Thief and con-man extraordinaire, Locke Lamora, and the ever lethal Jean Tannen have fled their home city and the wreckage of their lives. But they can't run forever and when they stop they decide to head for the richest, and most difficult, target on the horizon. The city state of Tal Verarr. And the Sinspire.

The Sinspire is the ultimate gambling house. No-one has stolen so much as a single coin from it and lived. It's the sort of challenge Locke simply can't resist...

...but Locke's perfect crime is going to have to wait.

Someone else in Tal Verarr wants the Gentleman Bastards' expertise and is quite prepared to kill them to get it. Before long, Locke and Jean find themselves engaged in piracy. Fine work for thieves who don't know one end of a galley from another.

After the masterpiece that was The Lies of Locke Lamora, I wasn’t expecting this sequel to top it. Sequels rarely do, especially when the first book is just so flawless that nothing can improve it. And that’s probably the best way to go into Red Seas Under Red Skies. I loved it. I wasn’t underwhelmed. I didn’t expect too much. It’s simply a fantastic fantasy book about people who are essentially ex-crime lords and, oh, some women who could technically be referred to as PIRATES. Continue reading