Bring Back God, Then We’ll Talk: Reviewing Only Human (Book Three of the Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel

Hey everyone! I’m back at it again with another book review. I hope you all missed me. In exciting life news, my grad school orientation is happening this upcoming week as I’m writing this. I’ll definitely try to give some more life updates about grad school, if anyone is interested. For now, let’s talk about the final book of The Themis Files trilogy.

It’s been almost ten years since Dr. Rose Franklin, Vincent Couture, Eva Reyes, and General Govender were transported to the alien world of Esat Ekt. They successfully returned to Earth, only to find a war between Russian and America raging on. With the use of alien technology, the human population is doomed to destroy itself unless Rose and the rest can find a way to stop it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi trilogy as I haven’t read one that had such a strong human element that balanced out the fantastical sci-fi elements. I will admit that this novel did feel slow in the beginning as it goes back and forth between them discovering their new alien home and them being interrogated in Russia. I did enjoy the parts of Esat Ekt, though, and how it felt so similar to the world as we know it. It almost gave the feeling of walking into your living room, but everything was moved two inches to the left. Another element I enjoyed about this book is how it was able to include the very timely topic of racial profiling and interning people just because of their ethnicity. Some people might see it as preachy. I, however, appreciated how Neuvel was able to integrate it into the story without it feeling like it was coming out of nowhere. I was also able to appreciate Neuvel’s take on familial relationships and what it means to be a family. Only Human was nice, solid ending for Neuvel’s trilogy. Overall, I found the trilogy immensely enjoyable and would recommend it to all sci-fi fans, especially fans of giant robots.

Book Characters I Would Fight IRL

Hi all! I’m not here because I’ve finished a book. Instead, I have been inspired by BookTube. Several BookTubers I watch have made similar videos to this and I thought I would join in. Yes, I will talk smack about your favorite character. Feel free to fight back as I take down your favorite character or feel free to agree with me.

Severus Snape: “Hi, my name is Snape and my crush dumped me so I’m going to be a dick to children.” Ugh, this man pisses me off to no end. Allan Rickman gets all the kudos for giving us a great performance, but the character himself is such a douchebag. He had decades to get over Lily and accept her choices. They could have easily remained friends, but instead, Snape chose to be a bitter jerk who has thing for betraying people. I love a complex character as much as the next person, but we need to agree that Snape made bad life choices.

Sherlock Holmes: I’m a huge fan of the original Sherlock Holmes series. I’ve read all of those stories and spin-off novels. I’ve watched many live action adaptations. If I ever met Sherlock Holmes in real life, I would punch him in his smug face. The hubris of the man is ridiculous. If it weren’t for Watson, I would probably not enjoy those books at all. Holmes spends most of his time making people prove themselves to him for absolutely no reason. As much as I love the asshole genius trope, I also hate the asshole genius trope.

Amy and Nick Dunne: I thought Gone Girl was an interesting novel in the way it showcased two of the worst protagonists ever. Nick and Amy are both equally garbage human beings and I’m so glad they ended up together because they deserve each other. I get that they are supposed to be written that way and I truly found that interesting. It was also so incredibly frustrating to read too. They were both just horrible people in every way. It’s hard to read a book where you can’t root for anyone involved in the plot.

Bella Swan: I hated her when I was a Twilight fan and I still can’t stand her. Let’s ignore Edward and Jacob for a second because at least they had interesting characteristics. Bella had nothing going for her. She had no personality. She wasn’t unique in any way, shape, or form. No will power of her own. She never really comes out of her shell or opens up in any way. Let us not forget the time she flung herself off a cliff to get Jacob’s attention. I feel so bad for Kristen Stewart to this day.

Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish: Of all the scumbags in all of Westeros, I think Littlefinger takes the cake. While Joffery Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton were sadistic assholes, at least they were interesting to watch in the same way you would watch a slasher movie. Littlefinger, on the other hand, just showed up to pull some scummy, backhanded move that only provided something for himself. Every other person in Game of Thrones had some sort of solid alliance or something to fight for, but not Littlefinger. Like Snape, he also spends most of his time being bitter over a childhood crush that rejected him. He was just made me feel gross whenever he was on screen. (Also, I would have nominated Ramsay Bolton but, let’s be real, I would absolutely not fight him.)

Holden Caulfield: Oh my god, talk about being whiney. I couldn’t stand this kid. Don’t get me wrong: I understand that he was going through some stuff and he’s only a teenager. But, holy cow, nothing gets better if you just whine about it. Even as a teenager, I understood that. Also the kid thought way too highly of himself. I would absolutely punch out anyone who thought so highly of themselves for no real reason. Holden’s attitude is a classic case of “ugh I don’t want to be like everyone else. I’m different because I think.”

Humbert Humbert: Lolita is already such a hard book to read and to have such a garbage narrator makes the whole thing even worse. What else is there to say other than he preys on a young and vulnerable girl for a majority of her life? It’s disgusting and I would happily fight this guy in a back alley.

That’s all I of the characters I can think of for now. Maybe I’ll do a part two or I’ll do a list of movie and/or tv show characters I would fight. Hope you enjoyed this.

The Masks We Wear Betray Us: Reviewing The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Hi everyone! I hope you all missed me. I have finally had some time to read and I am so happy to be talking to you all about this book. This is one of those novels that I picked up, read the back, and said “This is mine.” I have grown up on murder mysteries so I was drawn to this like a magnet. Needless to say, I’m excited to talk about Stuart Turton’s debut novel, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Evelyn Hardcastle is a young and beautiful heiress who is returning home after nineteen years. She doesn’t know that she will be murdered again and again. Aiden Bishop must solve her murder in order to break this loop. Every time the loop begins, however, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Aiden must fight to save Evelyn and himself before time runs out.

Before I begin, I just want to say I’m going to be pretty vague as I really don’t want to spoil this book. I was absolutely enthralled from page one. I had such a hard time putting this book down. Turton does an amazing job inserting twists and turns that will make you stop in order to put together the puzzle he presents. It’s also very interesting to have a main character who has to rely on the character traits of others. Aiden Bishop is somehow personable protagonist with no discernible personality traits. It’s a wild ride, needless to say. If I were to best describe this novel, it would be a combination of Groundhogs Day, Freaky Friday, and an Agatha Christie novel. The novel is so full of surprises that I’m afraid to talk about it anymore. I highly recommend reading The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as you will get whiplash from the plot. I absolutely love this novel and, as a huge murder mystery fan, this was definitely an exciting new take on the genre.

It’s Hope That Keeps Us Afloat: Reviewing The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Hello again everyone! I have returned after a bit of a hiatus (aka I was busy and too tired to commit to a longer novel). Anyways, I’ve been sitting on this particular novel for a while. I had never read one of Atwood’s before this. I may try The Handmaid’s Tale eventually, but I thought this was a good start since I am a big fan of Greek mythology. This novel is also fairly short, so it was an easy enough read. Anyways, here are my thoughts on The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.

Penelope has always been known as the faithful wife of Odysseus, the great hero and traveler. Now that she’s in the Underworld, she no longer has to keep up appearances. With time to reflect, Penelope recounts the events of the Odyssey in her own words. Joined by the twelve maids that Odysseus and Telemachus killed, Penelope reveals what really happened during the ten years Odysseus was lost at sea.

Atwood certainly does not hold back in her novels. The Penelopiad is a mix of the avant garde, the theatrical, and the realistic. It is easy to get lost in the speculation of myth. Atwood provides a blend of feminist theory and fantastical details in this reimagining of The Odyssey. Through her writing, Atwood gives a new life to Penelope and her maids as they deal with the injustices inflicted upon them. Though these stories may be myth, there is still some reality in there. If you are a fan of Greek mythology, then I would recommend this novel. The Penelopiad is a short, profound novel about how the truth gets twisted and how women, even fictional, can fall victim too rumors.

At Night, We Shine: Reviewing Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Hi everyone! I’m glad to be back and to have finally finished another book. Along with all of my important adult jobs, I’ve also been busy in the world of ebooks. I have finally caved and started using my Kindle. I’ve been one of “those” stubborn people who have adamantly refused to use any sort of electronic book, but I have a hard time saying no to cheap books. Let’s get on to reviewing yet another book by one of my all time favorite authors.

Tristran Thorn is a young man who will do anything for the love of his life, Victoria Forester. When they see a star fall to Earth, he promises her to retrieve the star in exchange for her love. Tristran then embarks on a perilous journey through lands far beyond the Wall. He must race against unknown dangers to save the star and learn that his world was not what he once thought it was.

I can best describe this novel as a fairy tale for adults. Gaiman combines the classic language and structure of a childhood fairy tale and his signature fantastical writing. It is a more upbeat story with a nice, romantic ending. The story definitely reminds me quite a lot of The Princess Bride, with its quirky characters and how it embraces many fairy tale tropes. The story is nicely paced, as well as straightforward. It has some “adult” moments, but nothing extreme or overly graphic. The novel is a fun mix of romance, magic, and adventure. I would definitely recommend it if you are feeling nostalgic. I am biased when I say this but, I love Gaiman’s Stardust.

On another note, if any of you think that this novel sounds familiar, it is because a movie of the same name based on the novel came out a while ago. I saw it in the theaters as a kid and loved it then. It’s available on Netflix, if you are interested. It’s not a great movie, but it is a fun movie. It has a great cast that includes: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, and Michelle Pfeiffer. I hope some of you remember this because I’ll be disappointed if no one else remembers this movie.

I too have an opinion on the final season of Game of Thrones

Hi everybody! Sorry but not sorry that it has been so long since I have last posted anything. I now have two jobs so, I hope you understand I have make that paper. I’m sure many of you on this website are fans of Game of Thrones. I read the books in high school around the time that the show started. It’s safe to say that I have been invested in the series as a whole for a while. This final season, which should have been incredibly epic and satisfying, has been anything but that. Before I go any farther, I do want to say that this is no shade towards the actors or the actual filming, as both are still great. I want to talk about the writing and some weird decisions that the writers seem to have made. BIG SPOILER WARNING! If you are not caught up, you may exit now. If you don’t care about spoilers and/or the show, then you may proceed.

The Character Development: Who needs consistency in their characters’ development, right? Honestly, this is my biggest gripe with the show currently, even though there is only one episode left. It’s really disheartening to see some of my favorite characters grow so much, only to be stopped for the plot. For an example, I shall direct you to Tyrion and Jaime Lannister. In my humble opinion, they have had some of the best personal development in this show. The Lannister brothers have fought so hard against their sister and we were all so proud when they finally broke away from Cersei. What happens next? Tyrion somehow becomes very convinced that she’s going to willingly surrender, even after we watched her blow up the Sept just to keep her crown. Jaime, even after he finally gets together with Brienne, decides to run back to Cersei for no reason other than he feels guilty. I’m sorry but what? You keep expecting for some sort of turn around but, then it doesn’t happen. They aren’t the only victims of this, though. Jon Snow and Daenerys aren’t much better off. Cersei even ended up being a bit of a letdown.

The Pacing: With a short run, the episodes can’t be too jam packed in order to draw out the suspense. I do normally love that but, in this case, the pacing of the show has just been off. From the battle with the Night King to the battle in Kings Landing everything feel like it should be in a different order. I don’t know how to explain it any better. Maybe some you know what I am trying to get at. I just feel like everything could be rearranged in a better order to make the story feel more cohesive. Honestly, I think that the battle for Kings Landing should have happened in the middle and the battle with the Night King should have happened at the end. I also think that the character deaths have been put in weird places as well.

The Treatment of Women: Let’s put on our feminist lens for just a moment. For starters, none of the episodes have been directed by or written by women. I’m going to call that a red flag. The female characters have not always been treated well in the show but, we have seen them bounce back and become triumphant. Unfortunately, these strong female characters have been devolved to pure emotion. Now, I’m not saying that female characters have to be perfect and strong all the time, but they do have to have development that sticks. In this season, it seems like all of that amazing characterization has been thrown out the window. (See character development above). The only female character whose development has stuck is Arya. (Honestly, she is my favorite this season). It seems like they’re going back to favoring the male characters.

The Forgotten Lore: As you all know, the show contains forms of magic that have been explored throughout the various seasons. They have helped to compose various plot points as well. Some of the biggest forms of magic have been in prophecies. Azor Ahai (aka The Prince who was Promised) and the Valonqar (Cersei’s prophecy) were huge points in the books and they were brought up in the show. It seems, however, that they have been tossed aside as well. I really liked the magical aspect of the show and I wish we could have explored it further. (By the way, I’m going to leave it to you to look up those prophecies. It leads into a lot of fan theories.)

Those were my gripes. Let me know in the comments if you have any other grievances that I may have forgotten.

To Be, Rather than to Seem: Reviewing The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hi everyone! This review took a while because I’m easily distracted. I had actually read this book a while back, but had since forgotten the details of the novel. In fact, most of the books I review for this blog are books that I have read previously, but I wanted to share them with you all. With that being said, here is my review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The circus arrives without warning. It is a magical experience for all those who enter through its gates. They call it Le Cirque des Reves and it appears at random and opens only at night. Little do the guests know of the fierce competition behind the scenes. Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair have been training their whole lives for a mysterious game of magic with only one winner. When the two young illusionists fall in love with each other, it leads to dangerous consequences that leave the circus and its performers in peril.

Morgentern’s novel is an elaborate and magical read. The writing is layered and atmospheric. It is certainly an immersive read as it alternates between perspectives, even sometimes shifting the writing style a little to accommodate the characters in the scene. The story can be a bit vague at times, but it is part of the experience. It does pay off at the end of the novel. I particularly enjoyed how the rich details and symbolism tie into the themes of the story, such as the elaborate clocks or the various circus tents that Morgenstern puts great care into describing. The novel has an overall romantic feel, and I don’t just mean that in the sense of there is a love story. I remembered why I enjoyed this novel in the first place. If you want something with magic, romance, and danger, then I would go ahead and recommend picking up The Night Circus.

The Sun Always Rises: Reviewing The Burning Maze (Book Three of The Trials of Apollo) by Rick Riordan

Hi everyone! Let’s get caught up on this series. I’ve actually re-read these three books before I decided to post any sort of review. That is besides the point. Let’s talk about The Burning Maze.

Apollo, despite still being human, has successfully restored two of his famed Oracles with the help of Meg McCaffrey and Grover Underwood. With the identity of the third Emperor revealed, Apollo and his friends must face the infamous Labyrinth in order to free the third Oracle from the evil sorceress, Medea. With Apollo becoming more mortal by the day, he must call upon more demigods. This time they are joined by Piper McLean, daughter of Aphrodite, and Jason Grace, son of Jupiter.

I’m going to put a big old warning out for anyone who was a fan of the Heroes Of Olympus series: you will get all of the feels from this book. I already talked about how the second one was dark but this one gets even darker and a little more graphically violent. Granted, I don’t have a problem with this. In fact, I do tend to read a lot of violent novels. This third installment certainly gets more serious, but still finds its humor in order to alleviate some of the stress you get reading these books. I love how these novels are building up and I can’t wait to find out the answers to some of the questions that Riordan has presented us. Most series tend to falter a bit but this one has stayed relatively strong so far. Again, I’m going to highly recommend this series to all of you mythology nerds out there.

The Weirdest Books I’ve Read

Hi everyone! This post is inspired by a BookTuber I follow called mynameismarines and I recommend you check out her channel. Her video inspired me so now I want to talk about the weirdest books I have encountered. Now, I know “weird” is a subjective term. I’m defining a “weird” book as one that has a narrative structure or plot/plots that stray from the norm. I’m not exactly talking about just fantasy elements because that would take forever to talk about. I am talking about novels that stray from any sort of tropes or flip them around in some unique way. I’m not saying any of these novels are bad but they are simply strange. I hope this becomes more clear as I talk about these books. 

Anthem by Ayn Rand: I read this one way back in my freshman year of high school. Though Rand is known for her lengthy novels, this one is a novella but weirded than the rest. The novel takes place in a dystopian future where everyone’s future is pre-planned and individuality has effectively been eliminated. In fact, the strangest part of this novel is that first person pronouns don’t exist so the narrator uses “us,” “we,” and “them,” even when he is just talking about one other person. Also, the characters have names like Liberty 2569 or Unity 8764. It’s definitely one of the darker dystopians I have read. If you are really into dystopian novels, then you should give this one a try.

Dubliners by James Joyce: This one is not a novel but I am still including it as it has a strange narrative structure. Joyce’s short stories are unique as they don’t really have a beginning or an ending. They are referred to as “slice of life” stories. You have to speculate a lot in order to figure out the main point of the stories are. Along with the that, the titles are only semi-relevant. Joyce is not there to tell you what to think and I really like that aspect of this collection of short stories. I’d go ahead and recommend it if Joyce’s other novels are too lengthy for you.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: I have discovered that this novel is one of the most divisive as people either love it or hate it. In case you have never read it, Wuthering Heights is a confusing combination of characters who have the same names and a story that is told mostly in flashback through another character’s point of view. There are some possible supernatural elements. The characters are insane. I did, however, come to appreciate this insanity. Just know what you are getting into before you read this one.

Redshirts by John Scalzi: I did a review on this one a while ago and I absolutely love this novel. It begins out as a Star Trek parody but then it takes a turn for the weird as the narrative becomes very meta. Scalzi does an excellent job bending tropes and creating an odd but cohesive plot. The book also becomes surprisingly touching towards the end. I highly recommend this one to any sci-fi or Star Trek fan.

The Golden Ass by Apuleius: Yes, that is the actual name of the novel. It is the only Ancient Roman novel to have survived in its entirety. I am a Latin minor so I had to read this one for a class. To summarize the plot, a man named Lucius gets turned into a donkey (or ass) after being accused of killing three men and then must escape various thieves and murderers in order to become human again. It is just as confusing as it sounds. There are stories within stories. The novel itself is super raunchy and does not pull punches when it comes to describing any “adult” activities between the characters. I hope the Romans are proud that this is their legacy.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman: I couldn’t finish off this list without talking about my favorite (and weirdest) writer, Neil Gaiman. My favorite thing about Gaiman is he is so weird in a very matter-of-fact manner. Good Omens is the best example of that. The humor, the quirky side characters, and the intersecting plots all make this novel one weird and wild ride. There are also footnotes sprinkled throughout the novel that only add to the weirdness. I highly recommend checking this one out before the Amazon Prime adaptation comes out.

Walk Like You’re A God: Reviewing The Dark Prophecy (Book Two of The Trials of Apollo) by Rick Riordan

Hey everybody! I’m trying to space out these book reviews somewhat. I don’t think any of you honestly care. I just get really excited about some of my books and I don’t want to stop reading. You know how it is. Anyways, here’s my review of The Dark Prophecy. Feel free to check out my review for the first book in this series.

Apollo is still a mortal teenage boy named Lester, in case you were wondering. After stopping an invasion of an evil Roman emperor at Camp Half – Blood, Apollo must venture to the Midwest to find the second Oracle in the Cave of Trophonius, which is known to drive people to insanity. With the help of Leo Valdez and the now-mortal Calypso, he faces certain death at the hands of the second member of the Triumvirate. It’s just another day in the life of an ex-god.

I can honestly say that I was not expecting to be as invested in these books as I currently am. This one does take a bit of a darker turn. As this book flashes back to Apollo as a god, some of the details become more gruesome than I anticipated but I loved that aspect of the novel. Riordan does a great job balancing drama with comedy and playing with anti-climax. I also particularly enjoy this book because you get a bit of an ancient Rome lesson. If you find Roman history interesting, then you will like what Riordan has in this novel. I’m still immensely enjoying this series so I still definitely recommend reading The Trials of Apollo series.