It always happens that by the end of the year there are titles that I’ve started to review and never finished. Here are some short reviews to tide you over until I start my “Best of” posts!
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
What happens when you get to live your favorite book? It’s every booklover’s dream – stepping inside the pages of your favorite world and having adventures. But what if everything wasn’t as much fun as it seemed from afar?
Lev Grossman imagines a world in which a group of magicians trained at a magical boarding school find another world, one written about by a reclusive writer who imagined a group of siblings who became king of the other world.
Sounds a little familiar…right? In a rather bizarre mash-up of Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and Catcher in the Rye, Grossman manages to create his own story. He benefits from the readers background knowledge of Narnia by building on the assumptions. This only makes what happens so much more surprising .
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake is the first in the Maddam Trilogy set in the future United States where global warming has made the earth mostly inhabitable, and civilization has moved onto compounds surrounded by heavy security. The book is told from the perspective of Jimmy, a friend of the mad genius Crake. The narration switches Jimmy in the past, and Snowman (future Jimmy). As always, Atwood has an incredible way of creating a believable world, not only in that it is so fully developed but also in that you believe it could actually exist. I won’t lie, this was a tough slog. Maybe it was because I was listening to the audiobook, but the book took a long time to draw me in. I am very happy that I stuck with it to the end though, it’s so creepy!
Life Mask by Emma Donoghue
You’ve heard me rave about Donoghue before. Her short story collection The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits and her novel Room are among my most loved books. This book, however, is not. Life Mask tells the story of a group of friends in 18th century England, alternating between following different characters. As with most books that switch up viewpoints, I had clear favorites and found myself annoyed with the story lines of others. Donoghue’s Miss Farren and Anne Damer shine but Lord Derby and King George fall a bit flat.