Mini-Reviews–feat. War, miracles, and wholesome humans

Hello, friends!

As you may have noticed, I’m back to posting every other week. Because Life. And Busyness. And Sleep-Deprivation.

But I’m here not, and it’s time for some more mini-reviews!

The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

franciscovazbrasil: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Illustrator Keith Thompson

My Very Informative Summary: In a world of Clanker machinery and Darwinist fabricated creatures, war is breaking out. Alek, an Austrian Clanker prince, is on the run after the assassination of his parents. Deryn, a Scottish Darwinist, is disguising herself as a boy in order to serve on a fabricated airship. Thrown together by circumstance, they’ll travel the earth and the skies, trying to bring this war to an end, and hopefully avoid getting blown up.

I Am Here For:

  • Alternate history! I love the idea of taking historical events and putting a new spin on them. (Oh, did I mention, it’s World War 1? I guess I should have mentioned that.)
  • Remember how WWI started after this Austrian duke guy and his wife were killed? Well, Alek is their (fictional) son. Which I geeked out about a little.
  • World-building! I think I mentioned in my last mini-reviews post that I’ve started paying attention to world-building EVERYWHERE and it’s TRUE. Clanker and Darwinist technology? Similarities and differences between their history and ours? Yes, please.
  • ILLUSTRATIONS. Intricate, gorgeous pencil drawings. I like them very much.
  • Alek thinking/saying, “It’s all MY FAULT”. It really isn’t, son. Just sit down.

Not So Here For:

  • …I didn’t really care all that much for the characters. I didn’t dislike them. They were just…okay.
  • Overall, I never got very emotionally invested. I was mainly just here for the alternate history aspect/world-building. Which is fine, but I wouldn’t want to read books like this all the time.

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein (English) Hardcover Book Free Shipping! 9781368012584 | eBay

My Very Informative Summary: It’s 1940, and there’s a war on, you know. While caring for an 82-year-old woman with strong opinions and a lovely singing voice, Louisa discovers an Enigma machine (bet you never saw THAT coming) that just might help them make some headway in this war. Also, this is Elizabeth Wein, so you will learn the names of different kinds of aircraft.

This is a prequel to Code Name Verity. Is it as good aforementioned book? I say nay. But I found it superior to Rose Under Fire [and The Pearl Thief, but I never actually finished that one, so shhhhh].

I Am Here For:

  • JAMIE. JAMIE BEAUFORT-STUART IS THE MOST WHOLESOME HUMAN.
  • Seriously. Jamie is a dear.
  • I love him dearly.
  • HOW IS HE SO GREAT.
  • …..ok, so there was actually more to this book than just Jamie. I liked Louisa and Ellen (the two other narrators) as well. (But not as much as Jamie)
  • Oh, and Jane!
  • Elizabeth Wein is an absolute queen of research, and I am simultaneously intimidated and inspired. She’s just like, “Ah, yes, this is how the stoves worked in London tenements. Put a shilling in the gas meter and–” ???!! I have so much respect.
  • All the planes zooming around in the skyyyyy
  • The pub with the coins was such an excellent setting (And it is/was a real place! Or at least based on a real place, can’t remember)
  • (Yes, I read the big long author note at the end about what was real and what wasn’t. I never used to read those sorts of things, but suddenly I’m like, “This is FASCINATING.”)
  • Calypso!
  • Also…there were Feelings.
  • “We’re all aces now!” *sCrEAmiNG*
  • But Jaime though. I’m 90% just here for Jamie.

Not So Here For:

  • There were bits that were…on the preachy side. Just tell the story, mate.
  • Switching first person POV. It’s fine if you do it in big chunks, because then I have a chance to get my bearings (*cough cough The Sherwood Ring*). But every chapter? Or switching in the MIDDLE of a chapter?? MULTIPLE TIMES in ONE CHAPTER??? And you expect me to know who I am and what I’m doing? You have too much faith in me.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

My Very Informative Summary: If you’re looking for a miracle, Bicho Raro is a good place to start. The saints of the Soria family have been performing miracles for generations, helping the pilgrims who flock to them from near and far. Aside from miracles, you will also find cousins, paper flowers, scary dogs, and a renegade radio show.

(You will also find that I am VERY TIRED and do not know how to summary right now)

I Am Here For:

  • COUSINS. I came here for the cousins, at the recommendation of SarahSeele. I was not disappointed.
  • Really now. What wonderful cousins.
  • Beatriz being “the girl without feelings”
  • Daniel being the sweetest
  • Joaquin wanting to be a radio host and also have great hair
  • Pete being so incredibly wholesome
  • I could just keep listing characters, but suffice it to say I loved basically all of the characters. There were so many and they were just lovely.
  • The whole Soria family. They care about each other so much and it’s beautiful.
  • The writing! For some reason, I wasn’t expecting to like the writing, but I loved the quirky, fairy-tale-esque, magical realism style with repeated phrases, random backstory details, and sentient deserts–mmmhhh, yes.
  • I mean really now. Look at this writing:

It may seem like madness for a young woman to chase a runaway horse, as a galloping horse travels at twenty-five miles an hour and a galloping woman travels at only fifteen. But runaway horses rarely have a purpose, and young women chasing them often do. When combined with the asset of a young man in a station wagon, the question of catching the horse becomes a matter of when, not if.

  • I don’t know what to call this style of writing, but it’s my jam.

Not So Here For:

  • As I mentioned, there were so many characters that I loved. Which was great. Except that, when you have six billion characters, you can’t go as deep into all of them. All things considered, this book did a great job of making me care about so many characters at once, but I would have liked even more about them.
  • I’m honestly still a little confused about the conclusion they come to at the end about the danger and such. (But then, it has been a few weeks since I read it, and I am currently sleep-deprived. I honestly can’t remember if I was confused when I first finished it, or if I just forgot why it made sense XD)

***

That’s it for the reviews today! Before I go I just wanted to share one last thing.

I’m currently working my way through Shadow and Bone on Netflix. (No, I’m not recommending it. I spend about 53% of the time just shouting “GARBAGE” at the screen.) The other day my Sponge sister (who has not read Six of Crows, but knows a bit about the characters from what I’ve told her) watched about 10 minutes of an episode with me.

After the episode:

Her: “So who was that one guy it was showing? They guy who looks like Mr. Guppy?”

Me: “….Kaz?”

Her: “Oh, THAT’S Kaz?”

I just….

Why is this so funny to me.

Kaz is Mr. Guppy.

I’ll just leave you with that.

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these? Have you read any alternate history? Do you have wholesome cousin book recommendations? How sleep-deprived are you? Do you feel contractually obligated to watch movie/tv adaptions of books you’ve read? (I said this the other day and my little sister laughed at me.) Do you know who Mr. Guppy is? Do tell!

18 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews–feat. War, miracles, and wholesome humans

  1. Haha I really loved the Shadow and Bone adaptation😆😅 who is Mr Guppy? I’ve never heard of that name beforebut haha Kaz does look a bit similar to the one in the picture😂 I’ve never read Code Name Verity or Maggie Steifvater’s books yet, I must get to them soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, ok, so I wrote this post right after watching the Shadow and Bone episode with like six billion kissing scenes (which…just aren’t my thing), so I was feeling cranky. But there’s actually a lot I liked about it (like MILO of COURSE).
      Mr. Guppy is a super quirky character from Bleak House who is…nothing at all like Kaz XD
      Yes, you should read Code Name Verity! And All the Crooked Saints!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. *runs in like the white rabbit* I’m late, I’m late! (School has been killing me, and I’m a tad bit behind on commenting, oops.)

    Okay, alternate WWI, Clanker/Darwinist tech, illustrations, and a guy who tries to take the world on his shoulders? YES PLEASE. Despite your warning about not getting emotionally invested, I think this one will need to go on my (ever-lengthening, oops again) TBR.

    I’m so glad you liked Enigma Game, because I need more Jamie Beaufort-Stuart in my life, but I don’t want to read it if it’s going to be bad. So I am looking forward to it now!

    I never feel contractually obligated to watch adaptations of books I’ve read, mostly because I usually hate them. XD I do watch them sometimes, but I never feel like I *have* to. (In fact, I enthusiastically boycott them on occasion. For instance. The optioning of the The Thief? NEVER GOING TO WATCH IT NOT EVEN THE TRAILER.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The whole alternate WWI thing was honestly so much fun. At the end of each book the author broke down what was drawn from real history and what was changed or made up and it was QUITE good fun.
      Don’t we all need more Jamie Beaufort-Stuart in our lives?
      Haha, I don’t know why I’m so into watching adaptions of books I’ve read, because, most of the time, I hate them too. But I guess there’s always the chance they’ll be great? Or maybe I just enjoy ranting in righteous indignation to my sisters about everything the film adaption got wrong XD On occasion, I have been known to boycott though. (Oh my gosh I didn’t know a movie of The Thief was in development, but they ARE GOING TO RUIN IT)

      Like

  3. “We’re all aces now!” I don’t know the context of this but d’awwww ❤ ❤
    Okay.
    I have reservations, but for that line alone (and Jamie)…I'm pretty sure I have to read this.
    Plus, like, codes and airplanes. CODES AND AIRPLANES. The single two coolest things about WWII.
    Also Elizabeth Wein's researching skills are TRULY INTIMDATING. I may have said this before, but it AMAZED me how Code Name Verity sounded like ACTUAL BRITISH GIRLS FROM THE 1940s. Like what. That's not a feat modern authors can achieve. They just can't! It's never been done! I think her secret is, as you said, the details.
    (Also, authors' notes about what's real and what's fiction in historical fiction are, indeed, so cool?? Rosemary Sutcliff does those and it makes me very happy.)

    I am grinning on account of how you enjoyed All the Crooked Saints. I so very much hoped you would!! Beatriz and the Sorias in general (and Marisita and Pete) are just SO WONDERFUL. (And the WRITING STYLE. Can I write like this, please and thank you.)

    So, I've never seen Bleak House, just read it, but having also read Six of Crows…the Kaz/Mr Guppy thing is honestly hilarious. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just…love Jamie so much. ❤
      Really now, how does Elizabeth Wein do it?? After reading the Enigma Game, I went back and reread Code Name Verity (EXCELLENT). And then right after that I read another WWII England book, but the whole time I was reading it I never really forgot that it was being written by a modern American author. Elizabeth Wein makes me forget and I have SO MUCH respect.
      THANK YOU for your recommendation. For some reason I had it in my mind that I wouldn't like Maggie Stiefvater (I have no idea where this came from??), so I might never have met these WONDERFUL COUSINS if you hadn't pointed me in the right direction. I love them dearly. And I love the book dearly.
      (And then I went and read the Scorpio Races and loved that too–I mean the setting and the aesthetic and there were SIBLING relationships that were complicated and difficult [or just so sweet and wholesome–Finn is a DEAR] and I had FEELINGS)
      [Out of curiosity, have you read any other Maggie Stiefvater that you would recommend? I picked up another one at the library and read the cover flap, but it was like… werewolf romance? To which my reaction was "Ummmmm…" *slides book back onto shelf*]
      I'm so glad you can appreciate the gloriousness of Kaz being Mr. Guppy! (I feel like the overlap of people who are familiar with both Six of Crows and Bleak House is pretty slim XD)

      Like

      1. You’re very welcome!! I was super skeptical of her too, mainly because the people I saw gushing about her were the people gushing about books I’m definitely not into, and also because the main Stiefvater thing people gush about is the Raven Cycle, which I…am not interested in, for whatever reason. Not really sure why. It does sound better than werewolf romance, though, lol…that made me laugh. And apparently she also wrote two Fairy books?? Which?? Could be good?? I love the idea of Fairy books but not if they’re just…romance with a heavy helping of nature descriptions, ya know??

        Anyway, yeah, I’ve only read Crooked Saints and Scorpio Races (YES you loved Scorpio!! The sibling relationships are SO GOOD!! and I love Finn to pieces!! and I love George Holly too because he’s this completely out-of-place cheerful, nice, rich American dude but why is he so NICE gosh I love him, and….I’m so happy you liked it. It’s such a lovely book and I didn’t expect it to be!), but…I hope one day Maggie Stiefvater will write another book I want to read? Because she definitely can write books that are My Jam even though she doesn’t always do it, seemingly.

        (XD I imagine it is pretty slim. But it is a Venn diagram sliver I’m happy to be squeezed into, cuz I’m…still chuckling about that for some reason. xD)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “romance with a heavy helping of nature descriptions” XD I’m grinning but also cringing because I know EXACTLY what you mean, and…those kinds of books are really not my jam. It is weird how All the Crooked Saints and The Scorpio Races are both My Jam, and I want to read more of THAT…but don’t really have a desire to read her other books (particularly werewolf romance…). *sigh* Hopefully she will write more Jam someday.
        Ah, I love George Holly too! I didn’t realize how much I was going to like him but–WHAT a human.
        (There is honestly no reason for it to be as funny as it is, but– *breaks off chuckling*)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So now I’m picturing jam jars in the grocery store, Maggie Stiefvater brand, and it’s way too funny to me. But yes, I too would like more Jam. (It’s actually so nice when authors aren’t dead yet and can conceivably write more awesome stuff. Weird too, because most of my favorite authors are dead people.)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ah, yes, didn’t you know? The whole author gig is just a side job. Maggie Stiefvater’s TRUE passion is making jam.
        (Isn’t it weird? Like, new books just come into existence?? [I am forever put out about the fact that we can’t be expecting any more Elizabeth Marie Pope books])

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Anyone whose true passion is making delicious jam must be a throughly wonderful human being. I love Maggie Stiefvater dearly and I kind of wish there was a book ABOUT such a person.
        (It’s not weird in the sense that it’s exactly what happens with my own stories, but in the sense that these genius timeless works of art sometimes pop into existence and they weren’t there before but how could they have NOT been there before and what was the world like without them there…yes, it is very weird. Like, I don’t know if you’ve ever written any historical fiction with characters who like to read and been completely weirded out by the fact that one of your favorite books (that they would love) hasn’t even been written yet? THAT is so weird.) [SAAAAME.]

        Liked by 1 person

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