Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Book Review: The Boy on the Bridge

The Boy on the Bridge 
by M.R. Carey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It sucks when a follow-up to a strong book is not nearly as good. The first book in this series, The Girl with all the Gifts, is infinitely better. I almost wonder if this book even needed to be written or if it wasn’t a decision to do so just to generate more income off the first book (which was also made into a movie, I have not seen yet).
The Boy on the Bridge spends the first half repeating discoveries we already know from the first book. Yawn. It’s also really annoying that I don’t really feel like the ‘on the bridge’ part of the title is even relevant or a factor in the book. Why not name it something more related to the story?

Additionally the characters are just not as likeable or relatable. They are just lacking in general. Unlike in the first book I honestly didn’t care too much about any of the deaths or outcomes for most of our core characters. There are also a fair few of them (and some seem very similar to one another) which doesn’t really help the cause.

I’m just not convinced this sequel adds much to this world and overall narrative; with two exceptions:
1) it confirms a number of things we thought to be true at end of book 1,
2) it’s ending is significant and an interesting choice by Carey.

I don’t want to give anything away at all but this only gets three stars for it’s ending. Otherwise it would be lucky to get two from me. The ending is interesting, unique, and definitely makes you think. As someone who tends to hate endings (especially of dystopian or mystery books) this is significant for me and so vaults it into the four star territory.
On that note, make sure you read this series in order so you have the context of book one, and because it’s a much better read.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Review: Funeral Songs for Dying Girls

Funeral Songs for Dying Girls 
by Cherie Dimaline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Contemporary teen fiction. Coming of age story. It makes me cringe to even think of reading a book with this description; never mind finish it! Lol. But the reality is the added ghost element and a lonely motherless teen who lives on the grounds of a graveyard convinced me that I should read it. Add in that Cherie DiMaline is indigenous herself (as is her main character) and has won many awards; I figured what the heck let’s read it.

Am I glad I read it? Yes.
Would I recommend it? Maybe. For a struggling teen, someone trying to cope with loneliness or anyone whose just lost a loved one this could be a very comforting and cathartic read.
For me, in my current state it was just okay. I see the allure of it and why everyone is ranting and raving about its impact. Alas the reality is that this moment in my life doesn’t need this book. But I’m glad it exists for those who do need it at any given moment.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Review: The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library 
by Sulari Gentill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story within a story, within another story (in a way). This is a cleverly constructed murder mystery with many overlapping elements that make you think.
Our main POV is quite relatable and realistic; although I’d argue that the others are missing something. But remember I’m a fantasy reader at heart and so expect a lot out of characters that murder mystery stories don’t tend to have. That said this story predicates on the characters personalities and motives quite heavily; so I’d have liked them to feel a bit more ‘real’.
All that to say that the characters lack of realness may also be intentional… confused yet? Yeah me too. Lol. I don’t want to give much away but let’s just say our characters are very fictional.

I enjoyed this and really was taken for the ride up to the last page. The last page irritates me and brings this down to a four-star book. It was completely unnecessary to add in the last couple lines like the author did. I don’t really understand the motive or thought behind it except to create more to talk about in a book club…?
It feels messy, unnecessary, and (for me) took away from the brilliance of the storytelling up to that final moment.
Now again I’m not a big murder mystery, thriller reader. So this is outside my wheelhouse and comfort zone. I liked it; but can’t understand the ending. If the ending was meant to be like the movie Inception, where everyone argues what the final moment is or says; then I suppose I could maybe accept it. For me it didn’t really feel that way. Maybe it’s supposed to take us full circle? I didn’t get that from it personally; but if others do then I can respect that.

If you rarely pickup mysteries I’d say this one is unique enough to be worth reading. If your a lover of the genre this is a must read. Not only for its unique set-up and style; but because it really is a great example of taking a typical genre and stepping it up. Poor last line or not, I cannot deny this is quite the little story and yes I will be recommending it to almost everyone I talk to. But I still refuse to give it five stars… I’ll be mulling this ending for some time I think…