The Windup Girl — Paolo Bacigalupi

This book is awful.

Well, at least the first 12% of it was.   It was so awful that i really just couldn’t be bothered to wade through any more of the trudging, depressing, miserable writing.   I feel i gave it a fair go because if a writer can’t sort his mess out in the first 12% of a book then the book can be deleted as far as i’m concerned.

All we get are depressing characters that you really have no inclination for any level of empathy towards, you just wish they’d all go away and someone interesting turn up, but no one does.   Just miserable, depressing people who drink alcohol and smoke and live in a kind of steampunk dystopia which hasn’t been explained as to how all this mess came about.   In fact, it all just feels totally messy, disjointed and made up by someone who really hasn’t made any attempt at understanding whatever genre this is supposed to be.

So, at the end of 12%, NO THANK YOU!


Paolo’s Page

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The Courage to be Disliked — Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

I couldn’t finish it.   Bless me, i tried to, i really did, but i really couldn’t take any more of this tedious mediocrity.

I could barely manage a chapter before i had to put it aside and go off and read something else, but i kept on coming back to it with good intentions, but each time i would just end up putting it down again and go off once more to read something else.   After 4 months of this, toing and froing, i just had to give up: it really wasn’t doing my happiness any good whatsoever.

To sum it up: there’s someone who claims to be a philosopher who is having a discussion with a young man, but the young man is asking all the wrong questions and failing miserably to point out the flaws in the supposed philosopher’s babble: the ridiculousness of this conversation just makes one feel like banging ones head against the wall.

Seriously people, you could just keep picking random books off library bookshelves for the rest of your life and not read anything as tedious and pointless as this book.

As such, this book has received my website’s great honour of being placed on “The Bookshelf of Infamy”, i’ve also deleted it from my Kindle and Amazon account: yes, it really is that bad.

I certainly won’t be bothering to read the sequel.

Ichiro’s Page Fumitake’s Page

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Alice — Julia Crane

Another tale from the anthology Once Upon A Curse.

I’ve quite enjoyed the previous tales from this anthology, and was quite looking forward to one that was “Alice and Wonderland” inspired.   Oh my, how utterly disappointed i was.

To begin, you’ll realise when you get to the apparent end of this tale that this is simply the beginning of one of Julia’s books and you’re supposed to be so impressed with this that you go running off to Amazon to buy it.   Julia, and/or the editor of the anthology, should — in the very least — have had the decency to warn the reader of this fact at the beginning of the tale.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this were any good and one was left wanting to go and buy the full story, but it’s an utterly childish love story and one soon finds oneself just wishing it over and done with.   So yes, there’s a part of me that’s very pleased that this is just an excerpt and i was therefore relieved of having to wade through the whole tedious story.

Furthermore, it doesn’t have anything to do with “Alice and Wonderland” other than the protagonist is called Alice and her adoptive mother is referred to as the Red Queen.   It’s an insult to your readers to take a half finished story you had lying around and rename the characters and try and pass it off as a “Alice and Wonderland” tale.

I’m putting this in “The Deleted” even though i can’t delete this as it’s part of an anthology that so far i’ve been enjoying.   But seriously, all “Alice and Wonderland” fans, just avoid this tale if you come across it.

Julia’s Page

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The Vegetarian — Han Kang

The Vegetarian, written by Han Kang.To put it bluntly, this is vile.

It’s not long into this book before we are treated to graphic descriptions of a disgusting excuse for a human being raping his wife and then later, just sits and watches while his father in law beats her extremely in front of the whole family, including the young children, and then her father has her siblings restrain her in a chair while he violently smashes the dead rotting filth these people consider food into her face forcing it into her mouth.

The attitudes in this book, not only to vegetarians, vegans and their respective diets, but also to how a human being can be treated by their own family, are, quite frankly, appallingly backward and extremely vile and sickening.

I didn’t even get to a quarter of the way into this book and i was utterly sickened by it.   How anyone can think that this is what people wish to read for entertainment is quite beyond my comprehension — they, and those that are entertained by this vile filth, should be ashamed of themselves.

Is this what people are really like in South Korea?   I have no idea, but this really doesn’t do South Korean’s any favours whatsoever.

How this won a Man Booker prize i have no idea.   That people actually carried on reading this after the rapes and the extreme domestic abuse is quite beyond me.   Some people obviously have no empathy, because if you have any empathy at all, you would be sickened to the core and throw this book away, not give it an award.

This should also have a warning label very clearly portrayed on the cover — THIS BOOK CONTAINS GRAPHIC ACCOUNTS OF RAPE AND EXTREME DOMESTIC ABUSE.

The only award this book deserves: Deleted.

Kang’s Page

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Walden — Henry David Thoreau

After reading Into the Wild, where this book gets a fair bit of mentioning, one just had to see what all the fuss was about.

It certainly starts off incredibly well with the first 25% of the book — being mostly one chapter titled, “Economy” — explaining the ins and outs of what leads Thoreau to Walden Pond and away from a normal life and the cost of doing so.   And it is very clear in this first quarter that Thoreau is a very capable writer who can get straight to the heart of the matter and keep the reader’s attention.

But then we begin the second chapter, “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”, and thus the tedium begins: word after word of pointless, boring tedium.   Was it so utterly dull for him sitting by the pond, day after day after day with no one to talk to, that he just sat and wrote words for hour upon hour and simply spewed them forth upon pages enough to make up a reasonable amount to call it a book in order to sell it so he didn’t have to get a real job?

I just found myself reading paragraph after paragraph with a totally numbed out mind, noticing only a few words of interest here and there but mostly it’s just babble: babble, babble, babble, babble, blah, blah, blah.   I tried, i really did, but i just cannot see why people so rave about this book.

Maybe chapter 3 onwards is back to the standard of chapter 1, but i simply could not get through chapter 2.

So, inevitably, it got …


Henry’s Page

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I Am Legend — Richard Matheson

So i got 23% into this book and i simply cannot take another page of this.

Stupid, alcoholic, smoking, crap eating, sad, miserable idiot getting chased by lots of vampires.   Woohoo!   Yes folks, another dull and boring vampire story, only difference from the norm is that this one is post-apocalyptic as the vampires have wiped out all humans apart from this one pathetic, sad alcoholic.

Seriously, if you had the daylight hours of every day to do whatever you want, go wherever you want, you have the whole world and its contents at your disposal before the vampires came out at night to hunt and all you could think to do was live like this sad twat because you’re a pathetic, miserable alcoholic, then you may as well just throw yourself into the vampire’s grasp and get it over with.   Stop torturing yourself, and most of all, stop torturing us poor readers who have large “To Read” piles to get through.

I have no idea about the rest of the book, but the first quarter of it has no sci-fi whatsoever in it.   How this has managed to get itself into “SF Masterworks” is quite beyond me.   I suppose there always has to be the bottom of pile, hopefully this is it because i’m going to despair if there are any worse books than this in the series.


Richard’s Page

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Finale — Stephanie Garber

This book is utterly intolerable.   I managed to get to 41% before i simply couldn’t take it any more.

After Legendary lead me to believe that there was hope for these two sisters, that they have grown up a bit and learned something from their previous experiences, in Finale it’s like we’ve gone back to the childish romantic stupidity of the first book, but this time it’s both sisters who are just being utterly ridiculous.

While i can accept that there are plenty of people in the world who act like these two sisters do, continuously allowing their immature, undeveloped emotions to get the better of them, they wouldn’t be able to survive in an environment like the one in these books.   No one who makes such ridiculous, pathetic, nonsensical decisions in such an environment would survive for more than 10 minutes.   So the idea that the immortal greats of the universe would fall in love with such pathetic creatures is as utterly ridiculous as these sisters are, as utterly ridiculous as Stephanie’s writing has become.

I’m not sure what audience this trilogy is aimed at, certainly not anyone who has had any life experience, certainly not anyone who enjoys good fantasy and certainly not anyone who thinks Night Circus is good.   If you enjoyed Night Circus, if you like good fantasy, or if you’ve had any life experience at all, stay away from the Caraval trilogy, it’s woeful.

I’m certainly glad i only paid 99p for each book in Kindle deals: i’d be rather grumpy if i’d paid the full asking price for these.

It’s so bad i simply don’t care how this all ends as i simply can’t read any more of this rubbish.   I’ll be deleting all three books from my Kindle and my Amazon account as i certainly won’t be finishing this one or reading the other two ever again.


Stephanie’s Page

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Legendary — Stephanie Garber

Well this book is definitely much better than Caraval, mostly due to the fact that Scarlett gets a back seat in this book while her sister, Tella, gets to play the game.

But is it a game, or is it real this time.   The line between fact and fiction begin to blur until Tella isn’t sure what’s real or who to trust any more.   And the reader experiences this through Tella’s mind, leaving the reader guessing as well.

Even now the book’s ended i still wouldn’t like to say what’s really going on or who or what is real or not.

And so i shall dive straight into book 3, Finale, to hopefully find out what the true ending is — or maybe not.

Please see my review for Finale as i have now moved all three books to “The Deleted” and removed them all from my Amazon account.

Stephanie’s Page

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Caraval — Stephanie Garber

This book has to have one of the most annoying protagonists that i’ve ever come across: Scarlett comes across as a totally spoiled brat in so many ways.   All her life she’s wanted to go to Caraval and when she gets the chance she doesn’t want to, instead, she’d rather marry a complete stranger that she’s never met and force her sister to go with her to wherever it is she doesn’t know she’ll be going when she eventually weds this complete stranger.

And so we have to put up with Scarlett’s whining for most of the book as she’s kidnapped and forced to play Caraval in order to get her sister back who’s also been kidnapped.   One would think that if she cared so much about her sister she’d stop all the moaning and complaining and get on with the game in order to get her sister back, but no, not Scarlett, let’s have never ending tantrums instead.

But one shouldn’t allow one character to define a whole book, even if she is the main protagonist.   Plenty of books have the most cringeworthy of characters yet are still brilliant.   At the end of the story, other than Scarlett’s incessant whining, complaining and spoiled brat tantrums, this is a very good book and a great story that one can’t help but continue reading through to the very end — which i won’t spoil.

I’d probably put this book on a shelf between The Night Circus and Ready Player One, as the game Scarlett is forced to play is quite similar to the game in Ready Player One but instead of the virtual on-line thing it’s more like the environment in The Night Circus with the travelling magical carnival style thing.

Undoubtedly, Stephanie is a very good writer and keeps the story moving along at an enjoyably good pace all the way through, and when you get to the end you’ll be left wanting to dive straight into Legendary for more: at least i was.   Although i do admit, i’m hoping that Scarlett has learned to stop all the whining and complaining.

So yeah, i would have given it 5/5 but because Scarlett was so bloody annoying i’m left giving it 4/5 just because of her.   The rest of the story is very enjoyable.

Please see my review for Finale as i have now moved all three books to “The Deleted” and removed them all from my Amazon account.

Stephanie’s Page

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Enchanted Britain — Marc Alexander

I thought this would be interesting, and the first chapter was certainly promising.   Then we get onto chapter 2 and it just bangs on and on and on and on and on and on and on about some fictional characters called Jesus and Joseph and the claims of the christians and about churches and abbots and abbeys and all this holy grail nonsense.

I could go on a rant here but i have no wish to read about the beliefs and nonsense of christianity.   The Pagan people of Britain have had the beliefs and nonsense of the christians forced down our throats for nearly 2000 years and i don’t buy books to read more of it.

Needless to say, i didn’t get to the end of the second chapter and i have no wish to read any more of this book.


Marc’s Page

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