Monday 27 January 2014

Review of Silk by Alessandro Baricco


France, 1861. When an epidemic threatens to wipe out the silk trade in France, Herve Joncour (a young silkworm breeder) has to travel overland to distant Japan, out of bounds to foreigners, to smuggle out healthy silkworms. In the course of his secret negotiations with the local baron, Joncour's attention is arrested by the man's concubine, a girl who does not have oriental eyes. Although they are unable to exchange so much as a word, love blossoms between them, a love that is conveyed in a number of recondite messages. How their secret affair develops is told in this remarkable love story.

My Musings

A beautiful love story that will remain with you long after reading it. It is a short lyrical novella only 104 pages long, giving a nod to haiku Japanese poetry. The description of Herve going from a conservative life in France to Japan and the cultural difference is powerful and seeing the Japanese concubine for the first time is mesmerizing. The books simplicity just adds to its beauty and the heartbreaking romance at the centre of it. 

What is so beautiful is that Baricco says so much with out saying much at all. A look, a touch, a token gesture speaks volumes to the reader and their imagination. Is Herve so entranced by the Japanese concubine at the end of the world he loses sight of what is closer to home. Heart breaking and exquisite , a treasure of a book for anyone who's experienced those fleeting private moments in life that have taken your breath away. 

The book's unhurried pace transmits a tranquility at odds with the modern world we live in today. As you read it it becomes an oasis in a frantic world and you find yourself yearning for a time when we appreciate and notice those tiny gestures that mean so much from those we love. 

This is a book about passions never realised in the full sense of the word but also moments of wonder and love that open up the world around them and the reader. 

Breathtakingly romantic, sensual and erotic.

If you like this you might like

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- Fascinating story of a little girl who grows up into a famous Geisha
The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico- Heartbreaking powerful love story. A Classic
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry- A beautiful Classic
Silk- you can't compare this to the book but still a visually lovely film to watch if you like this era.
Memoirs of a Geisha-  I enjoyed this as much as the book although they have taken libertiets!!

Sunday 12 January 2014

Star Wars Update

Yes I am a Star Wars Fan so couldn't wait to post this when I saw the buzz.

Abrahms who has taken over the Star Wars franchise has apparently insisted that the stars from the previous films, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher remain the primary focus of his first film instead of, as previously scripted, made secondary characters, focusing on their offspring.

If this is true I think this will help the franchise 'live' on giving it a smoother transition from the previous. Everyone likes familiarity and also the originals are such great characters/actors there is no reason they shouldn't be the stars. It will also give Abrahms the chance to introduce new characters for the next films but in a more subte way. The original cast will be seen to 'open the door' for the new cast so to speak. The next 2 films afterwards will then focus on their children.

More about other cast etc on the link below.

Film News, Star Wars

Monday 6 January 2014

Alanna The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce Re Release

I was beyond excited when I went into my local library to take out Alanna, The First Adventure. ( I seemed to have lost my copy and wanted to read it again.) only to be told that on their computer it said it was being re released in 2014!!

After further detective work I tracked this new edition to Red Fox part of the Random House group and there it was. No date or cover but definitely there!!

Alanna The First Adventure Random House

I absolutely LOVE this series, it was the series that really got me hooked on fantasy fiction. Alanna is also one of my favourite characters in a book. She is tough, independent and really inspired me as a young girl.  Its a coming of age story set against adventure, magic and romance. I couldn't believe when Tamora Pierce's best selling series was no longer published by a Uk publisher since 2004. It is a classic of its genre. Some may find it younger and less dark than the books in the same category out now but her characters , plot and action really grip you and you will be a fan for life.

According to other websites it is out Aug 28th 2014. So I will keep my fingers crossed!

Becoming a legend is not easy, as young Alanna of Trebond discovers when she disguises herself as a boy and begins training to be a knight. Alanna's skills and stubbornness help her befriend Prince Jonathan and alienate his evil uncle, Duke Roger. Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, this book is a rousing introduction to the intensely satisfying story of Alanna.

If you like this you will like
Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan (an older read again but similar lines)
Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn -great fantasy set in a land similar to feudal Japan

Tamora Pierce Official Website

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Sherlock Series 3: Episode 2 Trailer - BBC One

Can't Wait!!

Review Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor


Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?


My Musings

I LOVED Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the intricate gothic style otherworldliness and colourful characters, so I couldn't wait to start the sequel Days of Blood and Starlight especially as it ended on such a cliffhanger between Karou and Akiva.

It continues to follow Karou, the blue haired heroine and her doomed love for her angel enemy Akiva. The story unpeels in startling fashion with twists and turns so speedy its breathtaking. I not going to put in any spoilers but I would recommend you read the first before this one and also don't leave it a while as I did before reading the second. Because of this it took me a while to get back into the story and remember what was what, but once I entered Laini Taylor's world I didn't want to leave. Laini' dives straight into the action and what I like is she tells the story from multiple view points which gives the book, along with her very vivid descriptions, a filmatic quality.

Karou and Akiva are on opposites sides of a very bloody war between the angels and the chimera. Karou believes that Akiva has betrayed her and her kind while he does not know even if she is alive for the first part of the book. NB Laini likes to put you into a false sense of security by letting you bond with the secondary but very strong and likeable characters then rips your heart out!!

What really comes over apart from the Romeo and Juliet type romance is the personal conflicts afflicting the rest of the characters and the complex situations they find themselves in. The story touches on cruelty, self sacrifice, unrequited love, loyalty and friendship. One of the stronger threads looks at soldiers wanting to serve their country but being asked to perform dreadful acts in their country's name. The brutality of killing innocents mirrors conflicts and questions being asked around the world today. Laini does not shy from the ugly questions war throws up.

 I was swept inside Laini's world of colour and light, darkness and pain. These characters will live on in my memory and cannot wait for the third.
Although after this book I am a little nervous about who will make it to the end!!!

Laini Taylor Official Website

Happy New Year for 2014!

Wishing Everyone a Very Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year! May all your dreams come true:) Zxx