Unapologetic Reviews

My reviews, My views, No apologies

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James

Chapter 11 - You'd that something would have happened by now. So, they went on a boat, and played billiard, and the usual. On the bright side, while I was listening to it, a got a kudo for my Harry / Lucius BDSM fanfic. Maybe I should do an EL with that, and kind of rewrite it to stand on its own, and maybe make it straight, because of bigger markets. That would make a better book than this thing.

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James

Her Inner Goddess and Subconsciousness are having a fight. *facepalm*

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James

Chapter 9 - Still bored. They're basically having sex all the time, and then stare at each other, or do mundane stuff. This is usually why fanfiction gets boring once they get together. Fanfic writers sometimes have no ideas beyond the romance.

Reading progress update: I've read 27%.

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James

I'm listening to this being read by Mark: https://youtu.be/Qnz2toaauY4

So far, I'm on chapter 6, and it's worse than the previous book. I'm so bored, even Mark's comments not making this much better. I'm fed up with them having sex. Is anything ever going to happen in this, or is it just one really long, really lucrative PWP? More importantly, why aren't I writing stuff like this and becoming a millionaire?

Hungarian Dystopia


I’d translate the title of the novel to: I will come for you from below the city. This novel isn't on this site.

My first thought upon finishing this book was "that was weird". I don't read weird books. I like stories that follow the usual rules. You start at the beginning, follow the story all the way to the end, and then stop. You don’t really get the sense of stopping, even though it is a definite stop, but it leaves so many questions unanswered, you want an epilogue of something.
This story did start at a kind of a beginning. The kind where the person's life starts to change, take on a new shape. The actual story was slow. There was a lot of talk of dreams, the past, the present. What it was actually going to be about was very vague. When it culminated in the actual dystopic ending, it snuck up on me, in a kind of futility. I’m a story person, I read books for stories, but this book wasn’t really about the story. It was rather about the author communicating his view of the world.


This is a Hungarian dystopia. I have read some old, classic dystopias, like the oldest one of all, Zamyatin's We. Also modern ones, like The Hunger Games. Zamyatin was Russian, but even his world was a happy place compared to this world. In the classic dystopias the characters often think they are in a utopia, and only slowly realise the truth. The lead character in this novel, Corvinus, knows he lives in a terrible world. The reason why he is unlike all the previous leads is that he doesn't want to do anything about it. He accepts it as it is, and tries to carve out a life for himself among the debris and the filth. He has no future, no hope, no goals. All he does is exist.
Dystopias are supposed to depict a future terrible world, but this is not the future. Not really. The crumbling buildings, the few new ones among the old, the talks of politics, the endless number of beggars, the fear of being robbed on the public transport, that is reality. The feeling of no hope, no future is what permeates the minds of many Hungarians today. Some try to make a better world for themselves, but like most of the characters in the book, the truly successful ones are criminals. Others exist like Corvinus, like the line he mentions from the national anthem that means something like: no matter what, you have to exist here. Among the ruins of past greatness, with the feeling of paranoia and fear of annihilation. Then there are those, who can't take it anymore, and try to escape to a place where there is hope, even when they know it will probably not be better, but just the existence of a belief in a hope of a better future is enough.


This book is modern in many ways, but if you are looking for the next Hunger Games, this is not it. There is no grand fight against evil. There is actually no great evil at all. No big leader that you need to end, then all will change. In modern dystopias the theme is often that if you win against something marked as evil, the world will be better. There is no villain here. No fight for the greater good, like what seems to come from the Western World. Just survival, existence of the ordinary, the little person. The main character is no real hero. In this it reminds me of the old dystopias, where the main character faded into the world without ever making an impact in it.
The language of the book is modern, but also clever. Hard to describe, but even the abundance of curse words gives it a certain type of feel. The actual character of Corvinus comes through more in his use of language than anything. The descriptions are of the sort that make you feel. Not anything good, but that is the goal.

Overall, an interesting, though disturbing book. It leaves you with a feeling of such hopelessness, you want to read something which happens in a pretty place, where people actually care about each other. Where the future exists, and you can trust that you won't just melt into the trash around you. Do not read it if you have a tendency for pessimism, or depression.


Magyar változat: http://moly.hu/konyvek/pek-zoltan-feljovok-erted-a-varos-alol/ertekelesek
Cross-posted at Unapologetic Reviews.

I don't know what to read :(

I just finished the second book in Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. The ending was quite sudden, it reminded me a bit like the 5th movie in Star Wars. Review to follow soon.

I thought I'd continue with the last book in the Penryn & the End of Days series, which just came out. As I was about to press the button on my Kindle, I found I couldn't. My life has seen a bit of turmoil these past weeks, with getting laid off, and then not, something that really made me think of what to do. To top it all, I'm 33 next month. If you asked me 10 years ago, where I would be on my 33rd birthday, I would have said home with two kids, planning kindergardens and a return to work, cooking good meals and working on a novel to publish. A nice husband at my side, who came home and was happy to be there at the end of the day.

Instead, I've been single for many years now, and while I have had some men who would have liked to change that, none had taken my fancy. I have tried before in such situations to jump into the relationship and maybe I'll get into it after a while, but it never ended well. I hurt the guy, and suffered through the whole thing, because I couldn't return his feelings. If the spark isn't there, it just isn't. So no husband, no kids. I have started a novel, but in recent years I've been in a massive writers' block. I feel an inner need to write, but again, there is no spark, though in this case a creative one. I do have the story all mapped out, an exciting sci-fi adventure, but the words feel empty when I write them down.


Approaching 33, I found that I must do something. At least find that writing spark again, though where or how it went, I do not know. However, 3 is my lucky number, and has always played a prominent role in my life. I was born in the 6th month, on the 13th, lived most of my life on the 3rd floor, now in the 3rd apartment. So this year has to move me forward, if not by luck, then by force of will. I'm probably making a sort-of self-fulfilling thing here, but I want it to happen, and I'm using the part of me that loves fantasy and magic, to nudge my pessimistic side.


Penryn, unfortunately, just doesn't feel right at this moment. Recently I've read about Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I though that would do it. A book about a woman finding herself! I started to read it, but then she got to the part talking about her mum having cancer, and I had to stop. My mum also had cancer. While she got better, reading, or watching something about it always takes me back, and makes my whole body ache with pain. I just can't. So that's one book out of the picture. I have thought about returning to Eat, Pray, Love, but the main character just annoyed me after about 10%. So here I am, wanting to read something more serious than my usual fare, something to help me, motivate me in my current situation, and I just don't have any ideas. I want to read something, but don't know what.


Any suggestions?

Reading progress update: I've read 58%.

The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne) - Brian Staveley

You think you know who the good guys are, and then you don't. I'm dreading finishing, because then I'll have to wait a year for the next book. :(

A fantasy series that I enjoy

The Emperor's Blades - Brian Staveley

This book has been on my to-be-read list for a while. I've read a couple of great reviews, but I've recently burned myself with a book like that, and I was afraid that this would be the same. However, I've just finished A Song of Ice and Fire series, and I've read somewhere that if you like that, you're going to like this. Therefore, I picked it up.


The beginning was weird. For a while, it just made no sense. Then there was a discussion, and finally, I realised how it was tied to the story.
The story itself is about three siblings, who are the children of the Emperor. They all grew up away from each other, under very different circumstances.
Adare is the oldest, and the sister. I have read that the author got complains that her story seemed to be the less interesting one, but he assured everyone that it would change in the later books. She is a bit naive, but growing up in the palace does that to a person. Most of her learning comes from books. However, she gets mixed up in a dangerous game, and can't even be sure what side the players are on.
Valyn is the soldier. He grew up training to be an elite soldier. In this book I enjoyed his story the most. Mainly because a mystery was introduced right away, and I enjoy mysteries a lot. I was afraid I would have to wait 'til the end to find out, but it resolved in this book.
Kaden is the next emperor. His eyes are a strange colour, and for some reason that means he's blessed. For most of the book, I found his story the most boring one. It contained a lot of his special training, which was interesting, and maybe even worth trying in real life, but still, a bit boring. There was a mystery there as well, and an important part of the story was revealed there. It was only towards the end that it picked up.


The world itself is interesting. The religion in Annur is complex, with many gods. However, most people only concern themselves with one god they chose. I also liked how the stories about the gods may have their roots in history.
The landscape of the world varies from snowy mountains to almost tropical islands. I got a good sense of the feel of the places, so the author handled descriptions well.
It's a very physical world. Pain is a part of it, and so is pleasure. It's a very practical world, which appealed to me. Pain wasn't there just for the sake of pain, but it was always with a purpose, even if I didn't understand it at the time.


Overall, the book does remind me a bit of A Song of Ice and Fire, but not that violent so far. However, it's complex, and full of mysteries that keeps me wanting to turn the page. I grew to like all three siblings, and I care what happens to them. I'm excited to read the coming books.


Cross-posted at http://unapologetic-reviews.blogspot.com, where you can find more reviews.

Reading progress update: I've read 26%.

The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne) - Brian Staveley

I'm so curious about the girl! I'm thinking she's like a Tok'Ra, if someone knows what I'm talking about.

Reading progress update: I've read 66%.

The Emperor's Blades - Brian Staveley

Still enjoying the book. I'm pretty sad about one of the characters, I didn't think the author would do such a thing. :(

The thing at the beginning was explained, and the whole thing is really interesting.

I'm loving how the three branches are all involved in a mystery. Love mysteries. I'm happy I found a series I actually like.

The Emperor's Blades - Brian Staveley

Finally! A new book that I find exciting! YAY! It has a mystery, politics, weird stuff going on, I'm so on board.


That first part. I still don't get it. This morning I was thinking about it, and I had to turn back to the first page to make sure that it was in the same book. It'll probably make sense later on, but now I'm puzzled by it.


I'm so glad this isn't like Red Rising. I'm actually interested in what happens to the siblings.

Meh ... DNF at 70%

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

I haven't read any of this book for a long while. In an attempt to cut down my Currently-reading list, I gave this another go. It didn't get better. The thing is, the whole time I was reading it I felt like I've read this before. I even knew what was going to happen in certain situations. I even thought at one point that maybe I've read it, but that's impossible. However, in a way I have read it.


I always loved fantasy, fairy tales that have princes and princesses. I still do. I occasionally watch fairy tale movies intended for kids. In my 32 years, I've seen a lot of stories. That's exactly the problem with this book. It's good if the reader is a young person, just switching over from the Grimm fairy tales to something else. This will feel familiar. However, to me, I've read this all. There is just nothing new or surprising, or witty about the story. It's like a mish-mash of things that I've read before in countless others. I just feel bored.


I've read stories intended for people less than half my age. I enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, and I can't help comparing it to this book. While Percy Jackson draws from Greek mythology, it manages to update it, and to make me want to read that version of the stories. They are not unfamiliar to me. At around the age of 10 I got into ancient mythologies. I read a lot about them, read whole collections of stories. The things in Percy Jackson were familiar this way. However, the way they were twisted around kept them from just being the same. In The Iron King the concepts, the events are just nothing new. Therefore, I cannot go on with reading this book. I've promised to myself a while ago that I'm not going to read anything that I don't want to.


The writing itself is good. There is nothing off-putting about it. The characters are also familiar, very cliché. The problem is the unoriginality of it all.


Cross-posted at http://unapologetic-reviews.blogspot.com, where you can find more reviews.

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) - George R.R. Martin

The only reason why I managed to finish this monster book of monsters is because I went over to the audiobook version. I'm not sure if I should recommend it though. While the man does the male voices well, the female voices are a horror to listen to. The rest of the text is read as if the man was half drunk.


This is the last published book in the series. Obviously, it's hard to keep it spoiler-free. I'll try my best though. Most of it is taken up by characters that were not in the previous book. Therefore, the people who were in that book are not in this one, at least, the first half. Most notably, Sansa is not in it at all, and Brienne just makes a sudden appearance. Most importantly, Daenerys features a lot in the book.


The story moves along the usual pace, at the envy of a snail. I love the world, and I love reading about intrigue, but this is the book where you skip a lot. I don't care which four men went to the meet with Jon Snow. Nor do I care what men were at the party, unless they play a role later on. There is such a thing as too many details.

Since this is the end for now, until Martin finally delivers the next book, the ending was more important than before. It can be summed up in three letters. WTF???? Yep, seriously. The characters I most care for are all going towards doing something they have been preparing for. Will they get there? Most likely not. I still hope though. There were also some deaths, that made me sad. I forgot not to get attached.


Overall, the quality is the same as ever. If someone got this far, it's worth going on, because a lot happens, just really slowly. However, now I want to lock Martin up in a house with just salads to eat twice as much. Maybe he'll deliver on his promise to finish the next book this year. Then only about 4-6 more years until we find out the ending. Or more. Though we'll know the alternative ending when the TV series finishes.


Cross-posted at http://unapologetic-reviews.blogspot.com, where you can find more reviews.


Reading progress update: I've read 74%.

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) - George R.R. Martin

I've decided to finally finish this monster of a book. I've been at it for 2 years. I also got the audiobook, to listen to while showering and cooking. I still have over 1/4 of the book to go!

I decided to do this for two reasons. One is that the show is catching up to me, and I want to read stuff first. The other thing is that MAYBE George will have the next book out this year. A big maybe, but one can hope.


These past chapters are interesting. I'm so happy to read about my Daenerys again! It's also interesting how people keep missing each other, and how sometimes people in one story line suddenly show up in another one.

Reading progress update: I've read 48%.

Red Rising - Pierce Brown

I haven't read this for about a month. I decided to try to finish some other stuff on my reading list, since I'm pretty bored by this one. I'm not enjoying the story, I don't like anyone, so this may be a DNF. I'll see if I want to read more after I've read a few other stuff.

Three in one, with an uneven quality

Introducing The Honourable Phryne Fisher (Phryne Fisher, #1-3) - Kerry Greenwood

The first story is Cocaine Blues, and in accordance with the title, Cocaine does feature in the story. I was a bit apprehensive about how the famous drug will participate, but it wasn't in a positive light, thankfully.

Having seen the series adaptation of the books, I couldn't help comparing the two. The series has an air of the 20s about it, part of what makes it so great. The book does as well. I tried to remember if I'd seen the story itself in the series, but I couldn't remember. However, the first season was over a year ago, and my memory concerning crime serieses is notoriously bad. It does allow me to see one episode multiple times though.

The TV show has a lot of sexual elements, and the book didn't disappoint in that regard.

The story itself was a lot of fun. It wasn't unsolvable, there were no clues hidden from us. What I also liked was how there wasn't just one story in the book, but several running simultaneously. You have Phryne entering Australian society, Dot's appearance, the story of the girl, the Russians, and the cocaine. I didn't mind them though, and while it may sound a bit chaotic, the stories flowed together well.


Phryne is of course the central character, but the view is not third person limited. We do get to see other happenings, that are not centred around her. She is as interesting as she is on TV. One thing that gave more depth to her in the book was that she wasn't always rich. The last time she had seen Melbourn was as a poor child. It took her out of the regular flapper attitude, and grounded her in reality.

Dot is as endearing as on TV. Their meeting is under different circumstances, and I liked this version.

Bert and Cec are in, but the inspector didn't play as big a role as he did on TV. I'm hoping that he'll make more appearances in the following books.


Overall, a really good start. It's a fun crime novel series. What I especially liked about it was that it felt like what I usually read. The style had a comfortable, easy feel to it, that made me feel secure. I can't pinpoint what gave this feeling to it, perhaps the prose had a simple quality to it, but I really liked that.




The second story in the book is Flying Too High. Frankly, I wasn't as impressed by this one, as I was with the first one. It took me longer to read as well. It's actually not one case, but two that happen at the same time. They are connected by the use of a plane in them, but I think the bigger reason why they were put together was that they would just be too short on their own.

One is the kidnapping of a little girl, the other is the death of a rich man. As a side story, we meet more of Phryne's friends, and also see her moving into her new home.

The stories were a bit too simple. The kidnapping we already knew who had done it, it was just a matter of how they were going to get the girl back. About the death I had my suspicions, and I was proven right.

One thing that I noticed was that the stories suffer from the author not knowing when to stop. After all is said and done, we still get Phryne doing something, having a party, eating, etc. I skipped that. Hopefully the next story will be better, and this one just suffered from 2nd book problems.



The third story, Murder on the Ballarat Train, was probably my favourite so far. It also has two cases going on at the same time, but they blend together a lot more than they did in the previous story. Their real connection is the train, but also that the main victim in one case is also connected to the other case. If I said how, that would be giving something away.

There is some more sex here, and I actually liked this guy. It was kind of cute.

The murder case is interesting. I was kind of going back and forth on who did it. The case of the girl is, however, a bit problematic for me. I know that what they talk about was popular in the 20s, but in this story it's actually made up to be a legit thing. Which I don't think it is.



Overall, not a bad start to such a long series. It had a low point in the second story, but the third one brought the level back to me. While I was doubting reading on before, the third story made me want to pick up the next installment.


Cross-posted at http://unapologetic-reviews.blogspot.com, where you can find more reviews.

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