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Book Club No.2

First up, let me just formally apologise for how long it has been since the last Book Club post - September 2015, are you insane?! That feels and certainly is, a long time ago and I'm kind of embarrassed by that. I absolutely love reading - particularly works of fantasy, crime/thriller fiction, and graphic novels - but I've found myself not reaching for books that much in my free time for the last few months. This is partly down to my uni course and job consuming all my energy so its much easier to just veg out in front of the TV when I have some free hours and its partly down to me using that previous point as an excuse. Well, that sh*t ends now.

Despite my lack of reading, I have finished a couple of things lately and wanted to give you my opinion on them - so here we go!

The Great Gatsby
Lets start with a classic. The Great Gatsby is a well-known story and if you ever study A Level English Literature, there's a good chance you'll get far too familiar with this gem (try having an hour and a half lecture focusing on the 2 lines made by a character in the garden party scene - I feel for you, fellow Eng Lit veterans, we made it out to the other side and lived to tell the tale). It's not a new read for me as this tatty, battered ol' book is something I've had since my teens and is something I reach for time and time again. The book is relatively short so it has been a great one for me as I've not had a lot of free time. Now, the story.

If you're unfamiliar with The Great Gatsby, it is essentially the story of Nick Carraway, a young aspiring writer who moves from the Midwest to the fictional town of West Egg in New York City. There, he meets a whole host of characters and the story follows the unravelings of their lives. I don't want to say much more than that because I don't want to spoil the story! But if you're looking for an engaging and poetic bit of literature to sink your teeth into, this is the one for you. A lot of people will have seen the brilliant cinematic adaptation starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Maguire that plays out pretty true to the book, but one thing you don't get from the film? The gorgeous poetic literature. For that alone it is worth a read. You can pick up a copy for an insanely cheap price, here.

Hammer of God
Now, I know it is silly to include a book that is the third and last installment of a book trilogy because I can't say too much about the story, but I've read it so I need to vent my feelings. The Godspeaker trilogy by Karen Miller is a one I started a long time ago - back when I was maybe 18 or 19. The first book (Empress) was actually something that belonged to my ex and I pinched it after he said it was pretty good. And, I fell in love. Empress follows the story of a child called Hekat who is sold to a passing slave trader and who's life changes dramatically. It sounds like your typical Hollywood cheese, but the story is quite gripping if you're into your fantasies like the likes of Game of Thrones. The second installment, The Riven Kingdom, follows some different characters in a completely different story in a completely different land all together - you can see where Miller's going with this, right? As you might have guessed, the tail-end of book two and all of book three see the two stories collide and that's Godspeaker in a nutshell without any spoilers!

Now, for someone who wasn't a fan of Miller's other award-winning work, The Innocent Mage, this series is in stark contrast for me. The thing is though, I found myself liking each book less and less. Empress is *up there* for me but The Riven Kingdom and Hammer of God? I could take 'em or leave 'em. This might just be down to preference - I think Hekat as a character is new and different and the world she is part of is foreign and intriguing, but The Riven Kingdom sounds like good ol' England in a time of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Hammer of God does however blend the two nicely together but the lead up to finale of the story is a long, anti-climatic one. This trilogy is definitely a goodie if you like fantasy novels, just don't get too hooked on the idea of the ending being the fantastic climax it should be. After reading some other reviews about the trilogy, I'm not the only one who thinks that this lengthy final book in particular focuses too much on politics and catty character fights that rival the best bitchy Mean Girl-style arguments. If anything, I'd say read Empress as a stand-alone book and maybe forget the next two. I'm pleased to say I finished the series just because I've seen it to the end but the hours I spent ploughing through far too many pages repeating themselves are many hours of valuable reading time I can't get back. Me-ow. If you're still intrigued, or need to finish the trilogy, you can pick up Hammer of God, here.

Have you read anything good lately that you'd recommend?

- A.
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