Quick Book Reviews: Neil Gaiman, J. A. Redmerski, and Sarah J. Maas

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Quick book reviews: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Killing Sarai by J. A. Redmerski, and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

It's time for another installment of Quick Book Reviews: short and snappy reviews of recent reads that I don't have enough feedback on to warrant single book reviews. There's a mixed bag here today with some adult fantasy, dark gritty romance, and a popular young adult fairytale retelling. It's also a mixed bag regarding my feelings toward these reads, so I'll dive straight in.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013, Headline) - Neil Gaiman (3 stars)
I only finished this a few days ago but this was a very quick and fun read from eternal favourite Neil Gaiman. When this was first released I didn't feel compelled to pick it up after hearing it took the form of a man reminiscing on his childhood. I don't know why, but these sorts of stories don't really draw me in. However I picked up a copy recently in my birthday shopping haul and actually found myself in the mood to read it. The Ocean at the End of the Lane tells the story of a man who, on his way back from a funeral, takes a detour to his childhood home and encounters a figure from his past. Through this event he reminisces about a dark time in his past that is full of monsters, magic, and delicious food. I did enjoy this story and it was written in Gaiman's usual compelling, mystical style, but something about it didn't entertain me as much as his other tales. Maybe it didn't feel as magical, I don't know. But this was still a nice read and one I'm happy I finally got round to.

Killing Sarai (2013) - J.A. Redmerski (DNF 33%)
As you know if you read my TBR Takedown 4.0 post from last month, I was planning on reading this. Unfortunately a third into the ebook I decided this just was not for me. Killing Sarai is the story of a young woman held captive by a Mexican drug lord since she was a child and, when an American man visits the compound (may I add that he is a hitman), she chooses her moment to finally escape. I will admit this book is fast-paced and has an interesting story, but the characters to me were just horrid and I could not deal with the idea that this man and women were going to end up an item. Two damaged individuals do not make a right.  Plus, the female narrator calls another woman a slut within the first few pages, so no. I am not compelled to continue this book or this series.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015, Bloomsbury) - Sarah J. Maas (4 stars)
Last but most certainly not least is the first book in a young adult fantasy series that serves as a loose (very loose) retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Feyre is a Katniss Everdeen-type character, hunting in order to keep her family alive in an impoverished and bleak landscape. She lives in the human world, separated from that of the dark and powerful fae whom the select few are foolish enough to worship. One day out hunting, Feyre kills an enormous wolf. This event sets off the rest of the story, with Feyre taken away to the land of the fae by the mysterious Tamlin (aren't they always mysterious, these young adult men?) as punishment for killing one of their kind. Now, this book was fun. This book was really fun. The subject matter wasn't fun, and the vibe wasn't fun, but I absolutely loved reading it. It was dark, cleverly-crafted, and drew me in to this world of the fae and their lore. Honestly, give me some good lore and I'm there. I am beyond excited to continue with this series as the ending left so much open to explore.

M x

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