Thursday, November 24, 2011

Of Bees and Mist, by Erick Setiawan


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Have you ever read a book so beautiful, so engaging, so elegant and gorgeous that you long to keep reading it, even after you've finished? A book that you wish you could immediately re-read except that it made such a strong impression the first time that you feel you've already memorized all the words? A book that essentially ruins all other books for you, because nothing seems as good as the book you just read?

If not, you probably haven't read Erick Setiawan's debut novel, Of Bees and Mist.

It's a fable, it's a love story, it's a story of life and love and marriage and loss, it's a series of elaborate plays on words that somehow manages to avoid being silly or hokey. In fact, it's positively heartbreaking. Erick Setiawan creates a world in which the daily hurts of family life take physical form, in which the walls that spring up between couples become actual walls that must be toppled, in which the lure of a mistress becomes a corporeal mist that blows into a home and destroys all happiness within.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Invasion: A C.H.A.O.S Novel, by Jon Lewis

I admit it. I did not read the description of this book that carefully before I ordered it from Booksneeze. I was so excited that there was actually a fiction title available for review (usually I’m not fast enough to order those!) that I quickly ordered it and waited for it to arrive. When it did, I realized that the book is a YA (young adult literature) science fiction novel about a boy who has to save the world from aliens, and that it is the first in a trilogy. To be fair, that is precisely what the description claims it to be, had I only read it, but it’s not a genre I typically read. Nonetheless, I had agreed to read and review the book.

What can I say? On the one hand, it fulfilled just about every stereotype I had in mind about YA fantasy fiction: the main character is an “everyday kid” whose parents are tragically killed who then discovers he is “special” and it is up to him to save the world (and uncover the truth behind his parents’ death) with the help of his two friends. It’s a race against time, etc., etc.

On the other hand, if I were the target audience for this book, I’d probably love it. It’s just that I’m not, so it’s hard for me to give it a fair review. I will say this, it is not the type of book that will enjoy a wider audience among adults like the Harry Potter series (or, I suppose, the Twilight series, though I haven’t read those), but it’s a fairly engaging books for kids (even if it is a little violent in places).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.