My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

Riveting read for those who like history with a twist!

My Name is Victoria is a sensational read about the young Queen Victoria in a fictional setting. It’s an interesting read that explores the young Queen’s life from when she was a young princess up to adolescence. I enjoyed the themes explored including friendship, loyalty, and selflessness. There are some twists and turns which did surprise me. I recommend this book for young readers who like history and learning about Queen Victoria’s struggles growing up in a royal household and fighting the “system” that she was born into. The chapters are set at different life stages of Queen Victoria as well as well known landmark settings like Kensington Place and Winsor Castle. I particularly liked the illustrations at the beginning of each section which depicts the setting of the story and the black silhouettes at the beginning of each chapter which gives the book a fairy-tale vibe. This book makes you want to learn more about the monarchy and the secrets behind what it is like to be royal. It’s a worthwhile, well researched and entertaining read!

– NJ

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

“If you don’t believe in the world, and if there is no love in it, then everything is phony.” – Murakami 1Q84

A mysterious, strange but intriguing read … 4 Stars!

Books 1-3 review:

When they say that Murakami writes profoundly complex novels, I think I’ve got a glimpse of this reading 1Q84.  This was a long read and it has left me contemplating the meaning behind the story and how to decipher the various elements in the story like the Air Chrysalis, the Maza and Dohta, and the insistent NHK collector symbolism (just to name a few). It’s intriguing and unique compared to anything I’ve read before and leaves me wanting more explanations behind the story. It actually feels like you’re a part of the story and similarly to the characters, you end up having more questions than answers about the world of 1Q84. The writing is very matter of fact (like reading non-fiction) but strangely creative because of the world within a world, story within a story premise. I would say that reading this novel is like going on a strange roller coaster ride in the dark, you don’t know where it’s taking you, it’s intriguing enough for you to stay for the ride. I think this novel defies traditional categorisation; it can be seen as a dystopian sci-fi since it’s set in a parallel universe, and fantasy because the world has two moons with supernatural Little People coming out of a dead goat, a thriller because one of the main characters is an assassin and is getting hunted by a cult. There’s also a major romance angle… This book has so much going on, yet leaves very little explanation on why it happens, you must simply accept the story for what it is. The one thing that screams loud and clear however from the novel is the exploration of loneliness experienced by all the characters. I really felt for the characters because they live in such a lonely world, perhaps not so different to ours. There are a few nuggets of wisdom to be discovered in the story if you have the patience to read it. I recommend this book for curious readers who likes complex, thought-provoking and nuanced reads. This is not a read for the faint-hearted or for readers who likes a fast-paced plot.

Some other interesting quotes from the book:

“Unless you die once, you won’t be reborn.” Tengo confirmed. “But people face death while they’re still alive.”

“Where there is light, there must be shadow, and where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow…It is as evil as we are positive… the more desperately we try to be good and wonderful and perfect, the more the Shadow descends to hell and becomes the devil. For it is just as sinful from the standpoint of nature and of truth to be above oneself as to be below oneself.”

– NJ

 

 

Amid Wind and Stone by Nicole Luiken

Otherselves #2 – to be published on 7 March
4 stars!

“I think that the only thing that makes war inevitable is both sides’ belief that peace is impossible.” – Audrey

Why have I not discovered this series before? The dual storylines of Dorotea and Audrey kept me reading…up to 2am. A highly imaginative and clever take on paranormal romance filled with non-stop action, character struggles and adventure. The story runs through two parallel time lines/alternate universes of Audrey and Dorotea who are each other’s “Otherselves” in their mirror worlds. Audrey’s story is set in the steampunk Air world with flying airships, funky gadgets, a class system reminiscent of a bygone era, and wind spirits. Dorotea, however lives in an underground primitive Stone world segregated by the Skilled and Unskilled, with strained relationships between the humans and the gargoyles (due to an unforgivable betrayal). Could Dorotea put behind her prejudice for love?

The world building is highly ambitious because the Air and Stone worlds are only two of the four “mirrored” worlds that must battle against an evil sorceress from the True world. A pivotal theme explored in this novel is humanity’s struggle to balance their need for dominance, control and survival with nature. Read this series if you like creative world building, spirited and capable characters, loveable phantom, gargoyles and elementals. It’s a delightful read that set my imagination on fire.

Other quotes that I liked:

“Being a monster has nothing to do with having fangs and claws. Monsters are those who behave in monstrous ways.” – Dorotea

“Strength shouldn’t mean being unfeeling.” – Audrey

Click here to read the book blurb on Goodreads.

Funny interview with the characters!
Book 1 – Through Fire and Sea 

– NJ 

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The Illuminae Files #1 … 4 stars

I absolutely loved the graphics in this novel, it really takes the reading experience to a whole new level. Combining smart story telling, loveable engaging characters, space wars and a setting as grand as the universe, Illuminae delivers a story about bravery and self sacrifice with impact! Recommended if you like AI, zombies, blowing stuff up, bad decisions, horror, hackers with a side of romance. This book has everything pop culture loves, it’s unputdownable with lots of shocking moments…

Click here to read the book blurb on Goodreads.

– NJ

I had the pleasure of meeting the authors of this awesome book during their launch tour.. This was an epic read and an experience I have never had before as I felt like a military general analysing evidence for a big case.. I loved the mystery and the unpredictable twist.. It was also a privilege to have this book as a read long with friends of Read3r’z Re-Vu!! Looking forward to the next instalment!!

-Annie