Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Uprooted is a standalone fantasy novel written by American author, Naomi Novik. It tells a tale about a village girl named Agnieszka who was unexpectedly picked by the village wizard, Dragon, to live with him in a tower as exchange for protecting the village from the Wood. Nobody from the village knows what Dragon does with the girls he picks. All they know is that every ten years, Dragon goes to their village and select a girl who comes home with him.
The premise of the story sounds very interesting. I think one of the reasons why I chose this book was because of the blurb. I had to know who Dragon was and what was the deal with getting village girls and locking them up in a tower. And, why do the people need protection from the Wood?
The beginning chapters really caught my attention because there was this big mystery I wanted to know about Dragon. Nieszka, on the other hand, sounded like the typical young-adult heroine: atypical compare to other girls her age, clumsy, and stubborn. Although I wanted to learn more about the plot, there are times I hated how Nieszka gets annoying.
On the contrary, I find the world-building of the Wood very interesting. There was so much about it I wanted to discover as I read along but found it a bit short. I was hoping the author would have expounded and explored the possibilities of the Wood more than the conflicts of the humans in the story. I think a prequel about the creation of the Wood is a good idea because of the potential story it might produce.
One of the questions I had during our book discussion was about fantasy novels always injecting romance. Can a fantasy novel (or just any novel) survive without the need of putting a side romance between characters? I mean, I was just looking for adventure and magical stuff but once there’s romance and their drama I kind of start cringing inside. Haha. Do any of you know of a fantasy novel without it?
PS: I thought Uprooted was a YA novel, it was not. 😉
Slade House by David Mitchell
“People are masks, with masks under those masks, and masks under those, and down you go.”
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
“Tragedy, heartbreak, betrayal, these are all things that change a person. If we endure them and we aren’t changed, then something is wrong.”
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
I was assigned to moderate our book club’s required reading for October (first time to moderate solo – yay!) and thought about a topic or genre that hasn’t been discussed before. I was contemplating on humor or pets but since I am fond of dogs, I chose the latter.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I was looking for a small book to read for our trip to China and decided to get Fahrenheit 451 on a whim. It was small and compact, and it was inexpensive. Hehe. I was actually thinking that if by chance I lose this book during the trip, it would totally be okay for me. But of course, the chances of me losing a book would be very slim.
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel documenting the enlightenment of Guy Montag, a fireman living a bland life, who is responsible for destroying and burning books which are considered illegal. He has never questioned why they burn books until one day he meets Clarisse, an odd teenage neighbor who questions life’s eccentricities that makes him wonder the purpose of doing what they do. Out of curiosity, Guy steals a book from one of their burning sessions and starts reading, questioning the reasons for burning books. As a fireman, he is not supposed to defy their responsibilities as guardians of their community by making sure that all printed materials are turned to ashes. Guy’s little rebellion does not go unnoticed and he is then pursued for breaking the law.
Honestly, one of the main questions I had while reading the novel was why the heck would they ban and burn books in the first place?! When Bradbury was writing the books, maybe he was thinking of the future possibility of books being banned or deemed with no value? Anyway, the way he thought of the future was not off the mark. To be fair, a lot of people nowadays would rather sit in front of their screens and do whatever with their handheld gadgets. People have been taken over by their obsession with technology and most people are too busy to actually go outside. But the difference with Bradbury’s vision with our reality is we still give value to our history and the printed works. Montag’s world was too into the present and the future that they refuse to even acknowledge the past. They’re too afraid to relive the history of the world and too obsessed with escaping what was written in the books. They’re afraid of knowledge and would rather live in a world of fiction and slapstick entertainment.
I’m glad that Bradbury’s vision for the future did not come true. I’m happy to still have a shelf full of books and not be afraid of having them burned down by firemen because I’d still prefer a book over a Kindle.
The Complete Persepolis
by Marjane Satrapi
Finally! Some free time to write. The past few months have been quite a challenge. There have been changes in my schedule so it was a bit hard to adjust to the not so freelance life (more on that next time). I am trying to fix how I can still do the things I love despite the additional work load and until now, it’s still on a trial and error phase. Hehe.
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a graphic autobiography of the author. It narrates the life of Marjane’s childhood, growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution to her coming of age while studying in Austria and then going home to her family in Iran. Her experiences as a child were cute and innocent, and shows her creativity, her awareness to the current issues and how she expresses her stand on these. Growing up, I guess she is very fortunate to have been brought up in a well-off family. During her rebellious teenage years, she was quite hard-headed and ended up getting into an argument with her school principal. Gripped with fear for Marjane’s actions, her mother decides to send her to Austria to attend a French school. Her experiences in Austria and away from her family has helped her discover a lot about the world outside her home country and learn more about other cultures.
I liked the flow of the story. The timeline was clean and precise (no jumping timelines) and it felt like the events unfolding were being told by a friend. The language was candid and pretty much made reading easy. The graphics were okay – average. It was not some flamboyant artwork crammed in small pages. It was simple, readable and showing a comic reality of Marjane’s life. Overall, it was not as moving as other biographies I have read maybe because I consider her privileged at some point. I haven’t watched the movie but I’ll be adding it on my to-watch list.
On a side note, one thing I hate about reading graphic novels is how fast I finish reading the book. Haha. Graphic novels are quite pricey and when I begin reading and realize that I’m almost halfway through the book, it makes me think that I should slow down to make my money worth for a few more days. Hahaha. But that’s just me. How about you? Do you feel the same way when reading graphic novels?