Book Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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Published: 2019 by Chatto and Windus

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 432 Pages

Source: Own

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

 

Hi Readers

The top secret build-up to the release of this book meant that everybody was excited, but we didn’t really know what for. We knew it would be a sequel and would pick up fifteen years after The Handmaids Tale left off. 

Some say it’s long awaited, some say it’s unneccesary. After having read the book I’m a bit sad to say I’m indifferent. 

This is a much more direct sequel than I thought it was going to be. We follow three POV’s of women living in (or around) the Republic of Gilead. All of them have some sort of connection with The Handmaids Tale. 

Something that became immediately obvious to me is that it would have benefited this book to have come out before the TV Show. Both are continuations of The Handmaids Tale and the two stories got confused in my mind. I also started comparing them.

It’s a very different style to The Handmaids Tale. There’s less world-building seeing as we’re already familiar with Gilead. That leaves a lot more room for action and actual plot. It’s almost YA at times.

In the end though, I just feel so indifferent about it. There’s nothing in this that I felt like ‘yes, this needed to be said’.  There’s twists and turns that fell flat and I found some plot points a little unbelievable. 

Overall this doesn’t live up to the standards of The Handmaids Tale but if you’re interested in revisiting Gilead this certainly isn’t a bad way of doing it.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

book review

Published: May 2019 by Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 464 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Girl, Woman, Other came to my attention because it was recently longlisted for the manbooker prize. I must say, I hope this goes on to win it. 

This is a series of interconnected short stories, all told from the point of view of women. The stories told explore a diverse range of topics such as sexuality, gender identity, sexual violence, race and much more. 

Each story is told through 12 characters and every single one so prevelant and beautifully told. So many peoples stories will be represented in this book and each is as important as the other. 

I loved how each character was somehow tied to a previous character we’d already met. Whether their lives brush briefly or they’re connected in a significant way. The fact that we would see someone from one persons POV but then actually go into that someones POV and see into their life made for a well rounded book. 

I love a book with women’s lives at the centre and this in particular was a great one. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

 

Book Review: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

book review

Published: 2019 by Jonathan Cape
Genre: …I’m not sure?
Length: 352 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

This book was a complete surprise to me. Before the Booker longlist was announced I didn’t even know Winterson had come out with a new book, and before I started it I had no real expectations for it. Now, so far, this is my favourite book on the longlist.

Set in two timelines we follow Mary Shelley, married and writing one of the most famous novels in history. And modern, post-brexit Britain, where prolonging life and creating robots drives the conversations between the characters.

In this, Winterson draws connections between Frankensteins monsters and the creation of AI intelligence. AKA, robots. It brings into question what makes us human, our body, our brain, or our soul? 

I say I’m not sure about what genre this book is, because it’s hard to put this into one catergory. It’s literary fiction, but it’s also history, sci-fi, romance and contemporary. There’s a lot to this novel yet it all fits together so perfectly.  

Frankissstein is  thought-provoking and interesting, whilst also moving and even funny. The minute I finished this book I wanted to pick it up again for a reread, which I will definitely have to do sometime in the near future. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

book review

Published: 2016 by Flatiron Books
Genre: Mystery
Length: 415 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

Another gripping mystery from the author of Big Little Lies. In this we follow the events of a suburban neighbourhood BBQ. Alternating between before and after, we slowly discover what happened and the impact it has had on the characters lives. 

For the majority of this book, the big question is ‘what happened at this BBQ?’ It keeps you intrigued this way but I will say I found the post-BBQ chapters made this book drag and it lost it’s momentum because I found them so boring.

This book has an amazing cast of characters. All very unique and stand out for their own reasons. I loved getting to know them but again they were much more interesting in the chapters leading up to and the night of the BBQ. 

I was surprised by the wide range of topics this book covers. I admired how it tackled IVF and the struggle of not being able to conceive. It was interesting to read how that process works in Australia.

This book also bravely tackled mental health in young children. How the news and social affects children. It’s not very often I read a book from the point of view of parents and I really loved that dynamic. 

In the end this book didn’t shock me or keep me hooked like Big Little Lies, but was a still a good novel.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

Book Review: The Wall by John Lanchester – A Booker Prize Longlistee

book review

Hi Readers

Set in the future, due to climate change and mass migration a wall surrounds the entire border of Britain and is monitered 24/7 by conscripted ‘defenders’. In this we follow a man who is about to start his required two years at the wall. 

It’s not hard to see that the author was largely inspired by our own current events to write this novel. Trumps wall, peoples views on immigration and the lack of action we’re taking to stop climate change are just some. That certainly makes the events in this book more gripping and real. 

It’s slow paced and very descriptive, but does pick up the momentum and is better for it. At a point it’s a real page turner. I really wish that the third part had been expanded on though as the ending was disappointing and rushed. 

This is a typical dystopian. The novel isn’t something that’s overly unique but is certainly well executed. If you’re a big fan of dystopia novels then I would check this one out.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

book review

Published: 2013 by Doubleday
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 403 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

A romantic comedy featuring Asian main characters. In this Rachel is invited by her long-term boyfriend Nic to spend the Summer with him and his family at their home in Singapore. However, when she arrives she is blind sided when she realises that these Asians are crazy rich. 

My feelings for this book are strange. I do like that this book was fun and was exaggerated and completely unrealistic, but in a soap-opera kind of way. It was nice to see a contemporary book with Asian culture in it. 

However, the pacing was so slow. There were times where I just felt like it was going nowhere. 50 pages in and we were still being introduced to new characters and talking about the same things they’d been talking about since page one.

There are a lot of characters, and you have to be alright with hating most of them. They’re all snobbish, money centred and honestly just horrible people. But that’s just part of the fun of it. 

Whilst this wasn’t laugh-out-loud hilarious for me, if you’re looking for a fun Summer read, I would recommend this one. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: The Luxe…gossip girl meets downton abbey

book review

Author: Anna Godbersen
Published: 2007 by Harper Collins
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 433 Pages
My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

This is a book I’ve owned for years. It’s collected dust on my bookshelf, got downgraded to my wardrobe and it’s even been in a couple of ‘books to donate’ boxes. For some reason I never got around to actually giving it away and a little while ago I decided to put it back on my shelf and give it a go. Surprisingly, I’m glad I did. 

This is what I would call Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey. Set in the glitz and glam of New Yorks richest residents, we follow them through engagements, love affairs, rivalry and deceit. 

This book was a lot of fun. There was so much drama and all the characters had secrets. It’s very soap opera-y and a light, historical read. 

However, it is very predictable. I basically had the whole book figured out just three chapters in, so nothing really came as a surprise. But I still enjoyed reading it as it all came to light. 

I’m intrigued to see what happens next, although I’m not sure how it’s going to span three more novels.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X