Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Review: Crucible Of Gold (Temeraire #7), by Naomi Novik

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Date Published: March 2012
Publisher: Random House
# Of Pages/Listening Time: 325 pages/9 hours and 56 minutes

Goodreads | Audible

Synopsis: Naomi Novik’s beloved series returns, with Captain Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon’s forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.
For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.
And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks.
Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.
Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it

My Rating:
.....For improving on the re-read

My Thoughts:

The last time I read this, I gave it 3 stars. This time however, I think I'll upgrade it to 4 stars.

There is a lot going on in this novel, so I can understand why I didn't like it so much the last time, but I can that this time around it was easier, and more entertaining, to follow.

Temeraire is a forever enjoyable character, along with Laurence (he's loosened up quite a bit in this novel). And I think I like Iskierka even more in this novel, she's such a fiesty character with so much gumption. It was very amusing watching her make all sorts of rash decisions without consulting anyone.

I can definitely see how much Laurence has changed in this novel. He's not as rigid about following orders as he used to be, and he's more outspoken about what needs to be done. It was nice to see that.

Anyway, I'm two books away from finishing the series, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. On to the next book!

Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Date Published: February 1999
Publisher: MTV books/Pocket books
# Of Pages: 213 pages


Synopsis: The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

My Rating:
.....For being a very good coming-of-age novel that I want my future kids to read

My Thoughts:

Okay, this had been on my TBR for a long long time. I never read it because I was never in the mood to read about high school issues. Reading challenges definitely help with the motivation, I guess.

I really enjoyed this novel, and the ending really surprised me, especially since my knowledge of mental disorders is practically slim to none, and I didn't recognize the signs for what they were.

I loved the characters in this novel. Sam, Patrick, Charlie, they're all very well done. As an adult, I sometimes get annoyed reading about teenage problems, but the problems these kids experience were written very well. The writing style seems mechanic and toneless at first, but the descriptions of what is going on in these kids' lives are so intricate, that you get sucked in and you want to find out what happens next.

If I had one complaint, it's that there are almost too many serious teen issues in this novel. The book is only 213 pages, yet there's suicide, multiple counts of drug abuse, rapes, abortion, child molestation, parent abuse, closeted homosexuality, .... it goes on and on. Every high school has students who have experienced at least one of these issues, and maybe I was too goody-goody and sheltered that I didn't notice all of them, but I don't remember there being so many problems at my high school.

This is a good book that I do want my future kids to eventually read someday. There's a strong The Catcher in the Rye influence, but I think I enjoyed this book better (it's been a long time since I read The Catcher in the Rye however, I think I should read that book again soon).

If you've been like me, and keeping this book on your TBR shelf for years, you should definitely take it off this shelf now. It's worth reading, even if you don't like it as much as I did. If you are currently a teenager, you should really read this, because there are lessons to learn in this book. Strongly recommended.