Replica by Lauren Oliver

Book: Replica

Author: Lauren Oliver

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 3.5/5

Hey guys, before I start my next book review, I just wanted to say that I am now back at university and so won’t be posting too regularly due to the demands my degree. Hopefully I will stay regular with my updates, but please be understanding of time constraints.

On to the review, of Replica by Lauren Oliver. This is a book about Lyra – “a replica” (or a clone) and a girl called Gemma.  It is hard to give a summary of this book without giving away spoilers, but Lyra is a replica that has been made at ‘The Haven Institut30750058e’ whilst Gemma is a sheltered young girl, who becomes obsessed with finding out what the Haven Institute is, after overhearing her father’s conversations. This results in Gemma going on a road trip whereby she meets Lyra who has recently ‘escaped’ the Haven Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main selling point of this novel is the narrative style. The book has two halves, one tells the story from Gemma’s perspective, the other from Lyra’s perspective. This makes for a very interesting read, and you can read it however you choose, I decided to read a chapter of Gemma’s stay then a chapter of Lyra’s, then another of Gemma’s etc. I adored this style as it shows how influential a narrator is in how you see a story. You see the story through two sets of eyes rather than just one, meaning that that you, as a reader, become more objective as you are not being swayed by one character as you get two sides of the story. However, I would argue that this style of narrative meant the actual story was shorter, as the author, essentially, attempts to write the story twice, but from different perspectives, meaning there was less room for the story. I felt like this made the ending quite ambiguous, and, personally, I would have liked a bit more closure for the characters. A sequel would certainly be plausible.

Another thing I loved about this novel was the characters. Characters are so important for me in terms of enjoyment. They need to feel real, as well as have personality and need to be the sort of people you would root for, and I feel that’s what you get in this novel. My favourite character is Pete. He’s kind, funny and a bit of an outcast, and his relationship with Gemma is very compelling. What Oliver does well is making Lyra (the “replica”) a very 3-dimensional character. This, I believe, was intentional, Oliver was trying to make the reader see that although she was a clone, she still had many of the complexities of a human being, building the readers empathy for her.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The plot was full of intrigue and suspense, making you want to read more, the characters were rootable and the writing style was unique. But I would have liked a bit more of finality in the ending, there were, I felt, many unanswered questions.

Advertisements

My Top 5….. ‘Classic’ Novels

Top 5 Classic novels

Hey guys! First of all thank you all so much for reading and enjoying my heartless review, I always love to hear from you guys so it was really nice to get some lovely comments. This week I have decided to do a countdown of my top five favourite ‘classic’ novels, so enjoy!

5. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

 “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

The Great Gatsby is a novel centred around Jay Gatsby, and based in America during the Jazz Age. Written from the perspective of Nick Carraway it follows Jay Gatsby as he seeks to reunite with his love Daisy Buchanan. Its novel of love and heartbreak as well as being a social commentary, depicting the loneliness that can follow a live of overindulgence and luxury.

I first read the Great Gatsby for the first year of my English literature a level and loved it so much that I decided to use it for my feminist coursework in the second year. I’ve read it a thousand times over now and each time I do, I depict different meanings from Fitzgerald’s words. The beauty of this novel comes from Fitzgerald’s writing, rather than the plot itself. Whilst the plot is intriguing, it is the richness of Fitzgerald’s descriptions of the scenery and the lavish lifestyle, as well as the unreliable narration of Nick Carraway, that makes this such a compelling novel. The setting of the Jazz Age is vastly explored, touching upon issues such as the class divide and the prohibition, making you feel like you’ve gone back in time whist reading this novel. You also never know who to trust whilst reading the book – the only character you come to care about is Gatsby, but you only learn about him through the eyes of Nick, a character who clearly idolised him, causing you to wonder – was Gatsby truly this ‘great’ man? Or are we only reading this distorted view of him? Overall, this is a wonderful book full of intrigue and heartbreak and rich descriptions by Fitzgerald.

4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year”

A Christmas carol, set in Victorian England, is about an old miser called Scrooge who, on Christmas eve, is visited by four ghosts – his old business partner Marley, the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present and the ghost of Christmas future.

This is the definition of a classic! Countless tv and film remakes have been made of this book and its impossible to grow up in England without knowing this classic Christmas tale. Maybe it’s because I’m completely obsessed with Christmas but I just adore this story. I love the setting of a Victorian Christmas time and Dickens has created truly memorable characters. Scrooge is possibly one of the most famous literary characters ever written, and its common place in England to tell people to stop being such a scrooge, when they’re being miserable at Christmas. The Cratchits, are also an extremely well known fictional family, full of warmth and love, with little Tiny Tim uttering the famous words ‘god bless us, everyone.’ I also adore the general over all message of the novel about carrying the generous and joyous spirit of Christmas with you, all year long. Dickens fondness of Christmas shines through in the book, making it a warm, festive novel that is short enough to be re-read every Christmas.

3. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Rebecca is centred around a young woman who marries Mr De Winter and focuses around her paranoia concerning Rebecca – Mr De Winters deceased ex-wife. It’s a novel focused almost primarily around the lead characters paranoia that her husband doesn’t love her, and is still in love with Rebecca, and homes in on her feelings of inadequacy, which are only increased by the character of Mrs Danvers.

I have read Rebecca the most recently out of any of the novels on this list and it is utterly compelling. The first half of the novel is focused completely on how inadequate and out of place the lead character feels at Manderley, as she compares herself (and believes everyone else is comparing her) to Rebecca. The feelings of inadequency are honed into the reader by the fact that we never learn the lead characters name – whilst the name ‘Rebecca’ appears to pop up every two minutes we never learn of our narrator’s name, emphasising how she feels, completely invisible, in the shadow of Rebecca’s ghost. The second half of the novel, becomes a lot more plot based in comparison to the atmospheric first half following a big twist. Of course, I cannot reveal what this twist is but it is one of those rare twists that audibly makes you gasp and eagerly look for someone to took about it with. The mix of atmosphere and plot make this novel a brilliant read, and my third favourite classic novel.

3. Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

This novel follows the life of Jane Eyre, from an isolated ten year old orphan, living with a family that dislikes her to a strong governess who falls in love with Edward Rochester, in nineteenth century England.

This novel is a lot more exciting than it sounds from the summary that I have given. Jane Eyre is one of the most famous English novels ever written, full of atmosphere, heart break and a surprising element of feminism, it has compelled readers for hundreds of years. It’s not just a straight forward love story, its full of emotion and a dark twist, making it a novel that you just can’t put down. One of the absolute highlights of this novel for me, is the character of Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte was defiantly an early feminist, creating a character who claims that she will not be ensnared, and declaring that women feel just as men feel. At the time at which the novel was written this was quite shocking, and the novel caused quite an outrage due to the strength and outspoken nature shown by the titular character. You root for Jane simply because you admire her strength, in a time when women were supposed to be gentle and fragile or else scolded by society. But the plot itself is also intriguing enough by itself. The story is full of twists and turns, making it a book that you can’t put down because you can’t wait to see what happens next, making it different to books such as the great Gatsby, where you look forward to reading it just to immerse yourself in Fitzgerald’s descriptions rather than the story itself. Thus, Jane Eyre, is a compelling read, centred around a strong, admirable young woman.

  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”

Wuthering Heights follows the destructive journey of the anti-hero Heathcliff as he seeks revenge for losing his one love Catherine to Edgar Linton. It’s often described as a romance novel, but this, in my opinion, is not true, it is a dark gothic story of revenge and betrayal set in the moors of 19th century England.

I love love love this book! This novel is very much a love or hate book, my mother and I adore it, whilst my old English teacher and my Nan hated it. One thing my nan and my old English teacher had in common was that they both loved Jane Austen, and I think this may be a reason they didn’t like Wuthering Heights. I like Austen, but her novels are a lot more ‘flowery’ than the dark story of Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights is twisted, and angsty and there is not one single likeable character in the book. But for me, the fact that no characters are likeable, makes the novel better, as you root for Heathcliff as he acts out his revenge, as you feel as if these characters deserve what they get. I love books with a bit of grit, which is why I like books by the Bronte sisters and one of my favourite aspects of this novel, is the atmosphere that Bronte creates. The dark, windy marshes and moors all adds to the intensity of the story, making this my number one classic novel

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Book: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5Heartless

Heartless is Marissa Meyers’ backstory for the Queen of Hearts (Catherine) from Alice in Wonderland. Catherine is a young girl being courted by the King, but falls in love with the court jester. Not more can be said about the plot without including spoilers, but it is a tale of love, adventure, and revenge all set in the magical world of wonderland.

I absolutely loved this book! I have never read the lunar chronicles, and so have never experienced Marissa Meyer’s writing – I am now eager to read more of her work! As a big fan of the programme ‘once upon a time’ and the novel ‘Dorothy must die’ I was intrigued by the premise of a twist on a classic tale that we all know. This novel humanises the Queen of Hearts, usually seen as a characture type character, as Meyer creates a backstory for her, depicting her history with the mad Hatta and the origins of the classic line ‘off with his head.’ The characters are a huge selling point of this novel, with quirky and bizarre characters that we expect from tales affiliated with Wonderland, including the addition of the jest. ‘Jest’ is Catherine’s love interest, and an incredibly loveable character, full of charm, charisma and cheek. The dynamic between Jest and Catherine keeps the story fresh, although there are soppy moments, there interactions are generally playful, and full of banter, making their ‘love story’ entertaining for readers.

As you read, you almost forget that the lead character of Catherine, is the Queen of hearts, as she is a genuinely likeable young lady, falling in love with, whom her parents and society deem to be, the wrong person. But towards the end of the novel, you can feel Catherine turning due to the events that have taken place. That is the beauty of the novel, the humanisation of this classic villain, from a young, loving girl to the murderous queen of hearts as we know her to be. Meyer has created a story that allows us to sympathise with a character we have been taught from childhood to loathe – not an easy feat for any author, and yet Meyer does it almost effortlessly, through the plot and the believability of the love between Catherine and Jest.

A highlight of this book is the nostalgic feel as you read about familiar characters such as the mad Hatta and the creature of the Jabberwock, whilst also feeling fresh and new due to the different perspective and new characters. Meyer is fantastic at upholding the kooky and bizarre character of the wonderland books, whilst also enabling us to relate to the characters. Overall this is a vibrant, fresh, and brilliantly quirky novel which I absolutely adored much more than I thought I would. A fantastic book that I would recommend to all fantasy lovers and, of course, fans of Alice in wonderland

My Top 5…… John Green Novels

Hello all!

To celebrate the announcement that John Green will be publishing a new book called “Turtles all the way” on October 10th 2017, I’ve decided to compose a list of my top five John Green Novels

5. An Abundance of Katherines

An abundance of Katherines is a story revolved around child prodigy, Colin Singleton. Colin has dated nineteen girls called Katherine. Following the most recent of these Katherines breaking up with him, he engages on a road trip with his Judge Judy loving best friend, Hassan.

This is a brilliantly quirky, and nerdy, novel. John Greens novels are renowned for their unique plot lines and quirky characters, but this novel is probably one of the more out there in terms of story. Despite this, the book is incredibly engaging, with a fresh writing style, with graphs and asterisks’ galore! . One of my favorite components of John Green books are the vibrancy of the characters and this book doesn’t disappoint, with Hassan’s self-deprecating humor and Colin’s fun facts, the novel is given extra oomph. Overall, this is a fun and engaging novel, though i feel the plot lacks in comparison to other John Green books.

4. Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska is John Green’s debut novel. I made the mistake of reading this after having read The fault in our stars, and thus felt slightly disappointed in the novel. However I re read it not too long ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, so i recommend reading this BEFORE his later novels. Looking for Alaska centers around Miles Halter, who is fascinated by famous last words, and heads off to boarding school. Whilst there he meets Alaska Young, a mysterious and vibrant young woman.

This is a very compelling story, which ends up a lot darker than you think it is going to be. I don’t want to say too much so as not to give away major plot points, but i will say that it is a novel that is exciting and showcases how you can never really know just how people are feeling beneath the surface of what they let you know, and that some mysteries remain unanswered. Its a compelling plot, with unique characters, though slightly less interesting that characters within other John Green novels

3. Let it Snow

Now, let it snow is technically written by three authors. The book consists of three interlinking holiday stories, each story having been written by a different author, the authors are; Maureen Johnson; Lauren Myracle; and, of course, John Green.

I adore this book! Maybe its because i’m completely in love with anything christmassy, but this book just fills me with warmth and that lovely christmassy feeling.  John Green’s story is called “a cheertastic Christmas miracle” and revolves around Tobin and his friends ‘Duke’ and JP, as they set out in a snow storm on Christmas eve, to reach a waffle house filled with cheerleaders. Yes it is as strange and comical as it sounds! Its also brilliant, joyful and festive, and a book i read every Christmas. Maureen Johnson’s story “The Jubilee express” is equally as brilliant, maybe even slightly better

2. The Fault in our stars

The one every one has at least heard of! The novel is centered around a young girl called Hazel, who has terminal cancer. Whilst at a Cancer support group Hazel meets Augustus Waters, who gives her an infinity within the numbered days.

What can i say about the fault in our stars, possibly one of the most quoted books of our generation. John Green took a risk with the subject matter of the novel but boy was it worth it! A novel, i genuinely can not falter. I could not put the novel down, full of poignant moments, Green has created a love story which will have you weeping for happiness and sadness whilst also creating his trademark unique characters with Augustus Waters being one of my all time favorite literary figures. Full of beautiful quotes such as “It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you,” heartbreaking quotes such as “The world is not a wish-granting factory” and humorous quotes such as “What a slut time is. She screws everybody” this is book you will re read over and over again.

1. Paper Towns 

One of my all time favorite novels! Quentin is a quiet boy, whom one night is awoken by his mysterious neighbor Margo, for a mayhem causing night. However the next day Margo has disappeared and thus Quentin, with help from his friends Ben and Radar, as well as Margo’s friend Lacey,  begins his mission to find her, believing she has left him clues.

This is a brilliant story based on friendship and, like Looking for Alaska, our inability to ever truly know how people are feeling. I feel like this book is so often overlooked due to the hysteria surrounding The Fault in our stars, which is such a shame as this book contains quotes just as beautiful as that of the Fault in our stars, and the story is just as engaging. In fact I found this story slightly more compelling than The Fault in our Stars, due to the mystery element. You as a reader genuinely want to know where Margo is and what these clues mean. Did she even mean to leave the clues? I read this book in two days as i just could not put it down. I highly recommend this novel to anyone and everyone. With brilliant characters and a compelling plot, this book is number one on my list of top five john green novels.

Quote Corner

Hey guys! So this is a little segmant called ‘Quote corner’ where I post one of my favourite book quotes.

Book: Paper Towns

Chapter: 24

“On some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are. We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”

Run by Kody Keplinger

Hey guys,firstly I would like to thank you all for reading my first book review on this blog! Hopefully you will keep tuning in for more.

Book: Run

Author: Kody Keplinger

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 3.5/5

‘Run’ runfocuses on the friendship between Agnes and Bo – two very different girls who both want to get out of their small town ‘Mursey.’ Agnes is a native and guarded young girl suffering from partial blindness, causing her parents to be very protective of her, leading to Agnes feeling trapped. Bo is a free-spirited but troubled teen, whose mother is an addict, leaving Bo wanting the protection and concern that Agnes gets from her parents. The girls form a rock-solid friendship and decide to go on the run, to get out of their small town. Alternating from Bo’s point of view in the present, and Agnes’ point of view of the past, the story focuses on the impact of family relationships, religion, and friendship on a young person’s life.

An interesting aspect of this book was that there were no clear antagonists. There was no one person who was clearly the ‘bad guy.’ Instead there are understandable characters with flaws. All the characters can annoy you at times, due to an aspect of their personality. Agnes can annoy you for her lack of understanding towards her parents; Bo can annoy you for her ‘me against the world’ attitude; Christy can annoy you due to her self-centered character; Agnes’ parents can annoy you for their over protective nature and so on. I, personally, like this aspect of the book, as it is truer to life than having a clear ‘baddie.’ In life people are not merely good or bad, people are complex, they have good and bad sides, and people tend to argue over personality clashes rather than behavior. It was also refreshing to have a bisexual character in a book, and it not be the main focus. Quite often in books, if there is a LGBT character, then it becomes the primary focus of the novel, in Run, however, Bo’s sexuality is mentioned throughout, but not deeply focused on, and this is partly due to the narrative structure, as we read from the point of view of Bo and Agnes, who wouldn’t see it as something that needs much focus.

Another noteworthy aspect of the book, was its focus on friendship rather than romance. There was an element of romance in the novel, but it was very much a sub plot – if it wasn’t in the book, it wouldn’t make a difference to the story. The focus was very much on the platonic love between the two female characters and their admiration of each other. I loved the focus on the strong friendship between the two female characters, devoid of any bitchiness – refreshing when contrasted with the countless amounts of books that have the female characters bitching about their friend – girls generally like their friends y’all!

Overall this was an enjoyable book focusing on the strong friendship between two admirable, yet flawed, young women as they face the trials and tribulations of growing up in an isolated and religious town. One thing about the book though, is that the actual plot itself is lacking, the story lacks any real ‘oomph.’ The book solely relies on the characters to carry it, and you check into the book because you want to see how the characters progress rather than wanting to see what happens next in the story. Therefore, if you’re looking for a book with an enticing and exciting plot, then this isn’t the book for you, but if you are looking for a book with complex characters and strong relationships, then this is the book for you.