Friday, April 6, 2012

Books I read in March

I'm happy to say last month I did a little better than the previous months, but only a little. Instead of 2, I managed to read 3 books. Woohoo for me! Not only did I read more, I also diverted from my usual genre. Only one of the novels was a crime novel, but I read some fantasy YA too, and a creepy gay thriller.

Live Wire by Harlan Coben (crime/suspense)
Live Wire is one of the many books I've read by Coben and it's also number 10 (it could be the 8th or the 12th, the latest anyway) in the Myron Bolitar series. I'm not sure what I could say about this novel that I haven't said about any of the previous ones. It was a fun read - just like all the others.

Myron Bolitar is a former basketball star turned sports rep, and he is also a bit of a private investigator. Somehow there is also some trouble he needs to sort out and he does this with the help of Win, his best friend and a bit of a psychopath. This time it's one of his clients that needs his help and once Myron starts investigating it turns out it has something to do with his brother and his wife (who he lost contact with 15 years ago).

This novel isn't very original, but it's good at what it's supposed to do: give you a fast-paced, well-written, entertaining crime novel.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (YA fantasy)
I'm not usually a big fan of YA novels and I don't really understand why they are so popular these day. Not with adults that is. I read lots of YA when I was a young adult and a period after that, but at 35 it gets a little boring to keep reading about high school kids and all their drama. Having said that, I quite enjoyed the Replacement.

It tells the story of Mackie, who has a hard time fitting in in high school. Not just for the usual reasons, but because he is not really human. Mackie replaced the real Mackie as a baby and now he is pretending to be something he's not. This isn't very easy as he has some peculiar allergies, including iron, blood and consecrated ground. Mackie is not the first replacement in the small town, but it's something no one really talks about. Until another little kid goes missing and Mackie travels to the Slag heap to rescue the kid and find out where he really comes from. Of course, while doing so he learns who he really is and finally finds his place in the world.

What can I say? It was well-written, interesting and a fun read. It was a bit unbelievable, but then I'm not big into fantasy. I can understand why many people liked it, as it's original and written in a way that makes you want to keep reading (which is easy to do as the book isn't all that big). Still, at the end of the day it's a YA novel and I really don't think it's my kind of genre.

Troll: a love story by Johanna Sinisalo (thriller, fantasy, gay)
I bought this book because many people said good things about it and it seemed like an intriguing read. What I learned from this is that nothing is a subjective as what makes for a good book. I sure did not think this novel qualified. Sure, the topic is very interesting if not intriguing: Guy finds a troll one night and decides to take it home to look after it. As time goes on he start to care more and more for his "pet" and the two form a strong bond.

There's two things I didn't really like about this books. Firstly, the way it was written. The story is told in (very) short chapters each telling the story from a different perspective. This can be a nice way to read a book sometimes, but the chapters were so short that I found it very hard to get into the story. This would have been ok if those chapters were not alternated by pages and pages of unnecessary information about trolls, like the history of trolls, random troll poems etc. I ended up just skipping these parts.

The actual story was kind of interesting, or it could have been if we had had a little more of it and more time had been taken to give the characters some back story and developed their relationships further. For example, I really don't know why the neighbor lady got such a big part in the novel, as her story wasn't very interesting or necessary for the story that was being told.

The story about the bond that forms between the guy and the troll...I'm not sure what to say about that. I had a very hard time understanding why they would have such a connection, especially since the troll seemed like a rather wild animal without many ways to communicate. The fact that the main character got so turned on by the troll was very hard to believe, and I also found it quite disturbing. I cannot believe it wasn't mentioned in any of the reviews I read about this novel.

In sum, Troll might sound like an intriguing read but I would advice you to just take my word for it and stay far away from it.

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