Hello everyone! Long time no see!
It’s been about ten months since I’ve started living in Japan, and I only managed to forget my English and give up on everything I was doing back in Italy. Problem is, I received some books from Netgalley and I really want to review them even though it’s been a while since I read them. For this reason, I apologize if the review sounds vague or inaccurate, as most of my memories are starting to fade.
The first book I want to talk about is Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi.
Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves–now protective, now hedonistic–move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction. (from Goodreads)
I remember finishing this book just in time for its release, so it was back in February 2018. It was hectic, as I was both studying hard and preparing for my year abroad. I really wanted to publish this review because this one was a fantastic read, which completely caught me by surprise.
The reason why I requested this book was the fact that the story deals with mental health (in particular multiple personalities) and I was really adamant to read about it. On the other hand I was quite scared about it because the book has an unfamiliar setting and I wasn’t sure I would have enjoyed it. But oh boy, it was amazing.
It wasn’t the easiest read either. Starting with the fact that I’m not 100% comfortable with reading in English, it involves lots of ethnical and mythologic details I wasn’t prepared for. But at the same time I find it was a great representation of the chaos the main character, Ada, was dealing with. This book is filled with raw emotions and I managed to emotionally connect with it; I ended up reading with tears filling my eyes, something that rarely happens.
At times, I couldn’t figure out what was happening and this is my only complain with this book. But at the same time it totally makes sense: in this story, things are unclear and open to interpretation, left to your imagination or simply don’t make sense at all, as the mind itself doesn’t make sense most of the time.
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Next up we have Firebolt by Adrienne Woods.
Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different.
Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.
Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.
Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself. (from Goodreads)
Okay, let’s start with the (unfortunately few) good things. This book is fast paced and it has some funny jokes inside that made me smile from time to time. But sometimes what made me giggle was the story itself and its shallowness.
The characters had no depth nor development and the book was so filled with clichés it was completely predictable. The world building wasn’t so bad but it wasn’t good enough to be mentioned either. I think the only reason I managed to finish reading this novel was that it was fast and easy to read. The descriptions were minimal, lots of action and dialogue, and I don’t particularly love long and detailled descriptions but this time the lack of it was too much.
My rating: 1.5/5 stars
Lastly, I want to spend two words for A Kind of Justice by Renee James.
Against all odds, Bobbi Logan, a statuesque transgender woman, has become one of Chicago’s most celebrated hair stylists and the owner of one of the city’s poshest salons. She is finally comfortable with who she is, widely admired in her community, about to enjoy the success she deserves.
Then her impossibly perfect life falls apart.
In the space of a few weeks, the Great Recession drags her business to the brink of failure, her beloved ex-wife needs help in facing a terrible tragedy, and a hateful police detective storms back into her life, determined to convict her of the five-year-old murder of John Strand—pillar of the community—and a sexual predator.
As the detective builds an ever more convincing case against her, both of them will be shaken by revelations—about themselves, about their own deeply held secrets, and about the bizarre ritual murder of John Strand. (from Goodreads)
I DNF this one at 13%. I don’t usually DNF books because it happened so many times that I changed my opinion on something when I reached the middle or the end of it. I feel really bad about it. I wanted to like this book so badly and I wanted to seriously give it a chance but I couldn’t bring myself to read anything more.
I expected something centered about LGBT+. I found a book that takes LGBT+ only to the background. I read very few pages, but I couldn’t help but feel that the LGBT+ elements weren’t used at all to contribute to the story and they were just… there. So yeah, most of the problem wasn’t even the story itself, but the fact that it wasn’t what I expected it to be. But the main point is that even though the story was different from what I imagined, it didn’t manage to make me care about what was happening at all. I simply didn’t care. I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about what was happening and what would happen next. And of course it’s in English, which required an amount of concentration and effort from me that I wasn’t willing to give.
So we reached the end of this post and I feel so much better with myself. I still have a pair of books from Netgalley that I still need to read, but I plan on doing it soon as I’m really anticipating them!
See you soon!