Friday, November 4, 2016

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen
(Red Queen #1)
Victoria Aveyard
YA Fantasy
Paperback, 383 pages
12th February 2015 by Orion

Goodreads Rating: 4.1/5
My Rating: 3/5

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. 

“Anyone can betray anyone.” 

Roll Divergent, The Hunger Games and The Grisha into one plot line and you will have Red Queen. Ta-daaaa! 

Minus one star for the lack in originality. 

Red Queen is still a good read, however. Great writing, too. Only thing though, I was pissed off at Mare Barrow almost ALL THE TIME. She's ignorant, she trusts everyone too easily with no questions asked, she doesn't use her brain, she's overconfident, she thought she can understand and outsmart everything within 1 month of living in the palace (LMAO I SCOFFED AT THIS). For someone who keeps on saying, "Anyone can betray anyone," she sure can't foresee what's coming her way. She's just plain foolish, full stop. Another one star is deducted for her stupidity.

"In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess."

Red Queen, in my opinion, lacks in terms of setting. There is no kingdom name (or is there???), no history and background story to tell the readers as to how Reds, Silvers and the wars begin. Everything just simply..... exists. Apart from Cal, Mare and Maven, the other characters are basically put aside with no characterization. 

The plot line can easily be predicted halfway through the book. Even the plot twist is not shocking because there were hints given right from the start lmao i still can't believe this. The hints were repeated more than three times! One would be stupid not to guess it from early on. 

Somewhere after the Sun Shooting attack, I started to feel bothered by Cal's character. I was rooting for him but then.... I don't know what happened, something about his actions bothers me but I don't know how to put it into words. I still like him, though. Don't worry. (He chooses his father's side so that says something about him.)

*rubs palms* Maven on the other hand, HE'S INTERESTING! I like him from the start, even more so after what happened. He's probably the only character that has my attention from start to finish. I understand his actions, why he did what he did. He's intelligent and quick-witted. I just wish we can see more interaction between him and Cal. 

I probably will only read Glass Sword if I can find it during BBW or at cheap booksales, if not then adios.

“Red in the head, Silver in the heart” 

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon #2) by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code
(Robert Langdon #2)
Dan Brown
Paperback, 605 pages
1st March 2014 by Corgi

Goodreads Ratings: 3.77/5
My Rating: 4/5

Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes. As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci - and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vaults of history.

“Everyone loves a conspiracy.” 

Dan Brown is one bold man to come up with such controversial theories, there's no doubt about that. 

When I first heard about the infamous Da Vinci Code, the only thought that came to my mind was, "Oh, this must be a book on a detective or sth solving crimes through decoding codes that was inspired/created by Leonardo Da Vinci." Well at least half of my prediction is correct. I was surprised however to know that this is a book about Christianity that carries a very controversial theory. 

“By its very nature, history is always a one-sided account.” 

The whole plot is fairly predictable once you've reached half of the book. The plot twist, albeit predictable, sort of caught me surprised too at some points. The whole decoding the extensive and continuous codes is really brilliant, but there are too many codes and plot twists which ends up making it annoyingly repetitive and got me.... a tiny bit bored. But heh who am I kidding, the whole decoding journey was really fun! That ending though, I expect a tiny bit more than that. Oh well.

Okay let's talk about the Holy Blood, Holy Grail theory. Woah. I'd be lying if I say I am not bothered by the Jesus lineage theory or the Christianity talks and discussions. Obviously I have different beliefs and stories from that of Nabi Isa. Sometimes I even scoffed at some ridiculous parts, but that's another story. How Dan Brown links his /fictional/ theory with objects that is totally not fictional at all (Da Vinci's paintings, historical facts, Disneys, etc) got my mind boggled. He brilliantly makes his theory utterly believable and the lines between whats real and what's fictional were so blurred that I had to stop for a while and say to myself, "This is fictional." He's that good of a writer. 

True to the title, this book has a great deal of talks on Leonardo Da Vinci, arts, paintings, Paris and historical facts. This part is really exciting!!! I dont have that much knowledge on Christendom, paintings and whatsoever so this book opens up my mind on that area. However, not all /facts/ written in this book are true since Brown adjusted them to fit his story, and I think that sucks, in a disrespectful way. 

On a more serious note, now I really really want to visit The Louvre :( 

“What really matters is what you believe.” 

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

The Forty Rules of Love
Elif Shafak
Historical Fiction
Paperback, 358 pages
2nd April 2015 by Penguin

Goodreads Ratings: 4.17/5
My Rating: 4/5

Discover the forty rules of love...

Ella Rubinstein has a husband, three teenage children, and a pleasant home. Everything that should make her confident and fulfilled. Yet there is an emptiness at the heart of Ella's life - an emptiness once filled by love.

So when Ella reads a manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his forty rules of life and love, her world is turned upside down. She embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.

It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella and us into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored. . . 

“Love cannot be explained, yet it explains all.”

The Forty Rules of Love is beautiful. 

The book consists of two parallels. One is of Ella, a 40yo woman who has a midlife crisis, stuck in a life where she never experienced love. The other is of Shams of Tabriz and Rumi the famous Islamic poet. The word 'love' in that title is not only meant for the classic boy-girl feelings. It covers everything, from love between man-woman, human-human, father-son, human-God and every single relationship in between. It talks about humanity, God, beliefs and life, giving you thoughts and discussions that will make you stop and ponder your life for awhile.

“Isn't connecting people to distant lands and culture one of the strengths of good literature?”

Lets talk about Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. Oh dear God. These two figures were once very much alive people, 2 sunni Muslims who had very strong opinions and discussions about life, death and everything in between. (THEIR DISCUSSIONS AND LOTS OF THINGS THAT SHAMS SAID REALLY OPENED UP MY EYES). I checked and did some reading the Internet to see the validity and to see for myself the real history that went down between these 2 men and i can say their story in The Forty Rules of Love follows almost 80% from the real thing. Shams was a Sufi. You know those dervish in Turkey who wear long white skirts and whirl around while chanting prayers? These two men who the creator of the whirling thing. I didnt know much about Sufism but this book opened up my eyes about the topic. 

The story about Ella, in the meantime, was.............. i dont know. Can't really say I like the woman and her thoughts or her decision. Plus, I cant really see the correlation between Ella and Sweet Blasphemy other than Aziz. It's like whatever Ella read from SB, didnt impact her one bit. Pretty sure i'll like her better if I got to know her thoughts about SB and see her mind conflicting about it.

“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven't loved enough.”