Since it's summer and since it means I have more time to do whatever I feel like doing I figured I'd do something to really get this blog going. Doing some kind of challenge seemed like something that would work, so I picked the first one I found with decent looking questions.
Here it is:
Ok, so I won't be doing this everyday and won't be writing this. I'll be drawing short comics to answer the questions because I haven't been drawing much lately and I want to get back to drawing comics especially! I'm trying to complete it by the end of the summer but I won't set any particular days because I don't live by routine I live by inspiration!
But now that it's here I'll feel I must complete it even if no one is reading. :D
I had a pretty OK reading month,
considering I had so many other things to do, mostly school
related... but now I've officially started my summer holidays (and my
summer job but it's actually enjoyable: I get to play with kids! For
the fourth summer in a row! Yay!)
Anyway, I managed to read six books in
May, which is less than usual, yes, but this month was definitely better in quality than in quantity.
I didn't rate any of the books under three stars and I rated two of
them five stars! That's definitely rare...
Let's have a word or two about all of
the books. I'll try to keep it spoiler free.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya ★
★ ★ ★ ☆
I watched the anime adaptation of this
book a long time ago and remembered liking it, so I had to pick the
book up when I saw it in a store in english. Surprise, the book was
better than the anime.
First of all, I'm very much in love
with the whole idea and in my opinion it's carried out extremely
well. For me it works perfectly: Even though Kyon is the narrator it
feels like Haruhi's viewpoint is present throughout the book. I don't
know if I can explain this well, but I'm trying.
Haruhi together create a really captivating duality. In a sense, Kyon
is the one the reader is supposed to relate to. He's the ordinary
high school student who's stopped expecting anything supernatural to
happen. Haruhi is the most extraordinary being in the story, the
world literally revolves around her. Yet Kyon is the one everything
extraordinary happens to, making him not so relatable. But Haruhi is
unaware of everything happening around her. In this sense, Haruhi is
the relatable one. Though she wishes for the supernatural to happen,
from her point of view it doesn't.
Even if Haruhi is all
that's being said of her, she's still also the most ordinary person
in the story, because she's unaware of everything supernatural: From
her viewpoint it doesn't exist. Even if Kyon is the only one without
supernatural powers, he's still the most extraordinary of the
characters, because he's constantly facing things he never thought
possible, he's the only one of the characters who's facing things
outside of their perception of normal.
And this is felt in the
book really strongly, Kyon and Haruhi have been written perfectly,
through each other. Because of this you're always balancing on their
percpectives while reading and these dimensions make the story feel
both very real and relatable while at the same time keeping it
fantastical. This is also why the book gives off this interesting
feeling that anyone could be like Haruhi. There's nothing
extraordinary about her from her eyes. But if you switch to another
perspective, everything about her is miraculous.
This is the
greatest strength of this book in my opinion but it's also a fun and
easy read in other ways. Kyon and Haruhi are also just fun to watch,
their communication and relationship keeps it interesting even when
the greater ideas aren't the focus of attention.
The plot is
pretty minimalistic and straight-forward but I don't remember finding
it predictable when I watched the anime. It's a little bit harder to
analyze it now, since I remembered everything that was going to
happen while reading the book.
There are some cons about this
book as well though.
I find the amount of fan-service a bit
distracting and unnecessary. It doesn't feel very believable that
Haruhi's quirks at some point always end up with Asahina being used
as a total sex object. It really feels just an excuse, which it
probably is. It doesn't bother me enough to take away from the great
parts of the book though, so I just roll my eyes at it and move
Also, the other characters apart from Kyon and Haruhi
don't appear very well fleshed-out. Asahina, Koizumi and Nagato all
come off as card-board characters. This can be somewhat excused
though, because Kyon is clearly the most invested in Haruhi and too
confused about the other three to explore their depths. He can barely
comprehend what they say.
Apart from those things I really
love the book. Can't wait to get my hands on the other ones.
The Quantum Thief ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book left me in awe. It's insanely
At first I was a little bit confused... It wasn't easy
to get into this completely unfamiliar environment and technology
because the beginning lacked visual description. However it got
clearer quite fast and then there was no going back. I was completely
immersed in this facinating world, everything about it was so nuanced
and so well structured it didn't seem like structured at all. Like
the writer was really just describing a real place he knows at least
as well as our world.
Way too often a writer isn't able to
convince me with the world building, and I just shrugh my shoulders
and leave the details be, because the story and the characters are
still really good an interesting (and I have to admit that world
building isn't exactly my favourite part of writing either, so I can
sympathize...). Yet it still bugs me a little, that the author took
an easy route. With this book such a thing didn't even cross my mind
once. I was just staring at the pages wide-eyed with nothing in my
mind except "Tell me more!".
communication systems are probably the most facinating of all the
great creative solutions regarding the societies and technology. I
was amazed how well the author was able to write it believable. It
often happens with stuff like this that the writer is trying too hard
to show the reader how ordinary this kind of communication is to the
characters or trying too hard to impress the reader with its
complexity, ultimately leaving it feeling pretentious. But with this
book I honestly wasn't even thinking that someone had made these
things up. My gosh, everything about this book and the world is just
so organic and so easily relatable.
The characters were just
great from the start. It was obvious in the best way possible how
much more there was to them and how wholly they had lived before the
first page of the book. Even though we probably barely got to scratch
their surface in this book they still felt completely real all the
way through. All the suspence was extremely well build up between
them, even when I saw something coming before it happened it was
definitely not an "Oh, how predictable." but rather "Wow,
I've got it!" kind of moment.
And oh how well the subtle
similarity between two particular characters was written. It just
blows my mind. Because it's extremely hard to write something like
that so perfectly. It never made me feel like it was due to lack of
creativity or for the reason that these... opposing character tropes
traditionally share similar interests and personality. It was obvious
from the start that it was done deliberately and that the author knew
exactly what he was doing... yet still it wasn't obvious why. It just
made me turn the pages even more hooked.
I slightly regret buying these books in Finnish though... I asumed they were the original ones of course, since the writer is Finnish. Turned out he writes in English. Oh well.
The Fractal Prince ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obviously, I loved this book as well.
It was as hard to put down as the first one. However, something was
missing and I'm finding it hard to point out exactly what. Maybe it's
partially that this book didn't really have any surprises before the
end? And half of it, though it was exciting all the time, felt like
nothing really happened, because it felt a bit too straightforward?
Also maybe I was looking for some answers that this book didn't quite
answer yet so maybe it's mostly just me getting ahead of things.
was still one of the best reads of the year! I'm not sure what to say
because the greatness is so similar to the first book so I feel like
I'd just be repeating myself. This book continues the greatness of
the first book but doesn't exactly add much new greatness, in my
view, I was expecting it to grow more, so that's why it's "just"
four stars, more like 4,5 actually. And possibly left me craving for
the next book even more than the first one did! Too bad I don't have
Wildwood Dancing ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Wildwood Dancing was such a page turner
for me. And I was really hooked for about 250+ pages but then, things
started to get a little weird and by the end of the book I was quite
dissapointed with some of it. I still liked it, but... The end felt
like: "Huh, so everything is just the way it seemed? Nothing had
deeper layers? Every question of mystery was only answered by ”Yeah,
actually there was no mystery”.” It left me feeling really
conflicted about the book.
I like the writing, that's what
hooked me in the first place. All the characters and the atmosphere,
the magic of the world were written very well and made me think this
was exactly the kind of book I wanted to read. I really enjoyed how
the book felt kind of like a blend of Little Women, classic
fairytales and fantasy.
Anyway, I had quite a few issues with
this book but that stuff is in no way spoiler free, and though I
ranted about it on Goodreads in a pretty ridiculous length, I won't
put that stuff here. ^^'
I'll just try to summarize it in
☹ Very promising character
developement stopped half way through the book
☹ All characters' relationships were
more believable in the beginning than in the end
☹ It was explicitly stated that
certain characters had to go through certain events to learn
something but the learning actually never happened/was never shown
☹ The main character was strong in
the beginning and completely helpless in the end/didn't have
part in solving her own problems
☹ The end kind of proves the
”villain” right in questioning the main character and she
☹ In the end priviledge always weights
more in this book than ability...
☹ Magic was unrealistic (I
mean, many things were just left unexplained in a way were the
reader is apparently just supposed to think ”duh, it was
☹ Unbelievably unrealistic and unhealthy romance
In the end the love-interests turned out more card board than minor
If you still happen to be interested in
the full rant it's here xD:
I know I'm currently making this book
sound really bad! And I gave it three stars!
But that's exactly why I'm quite pissed
at the book. Because I did like it. Because I can't overlook the
issues I have with it nor can I stop liking it... There's something
really captivating about the writing style, the magical atmosphere,
the hint of medieval village -thriller, the ”sisterhood” and many
other things. Untill half way through it I honestly thought I might
give it five stars. And BAM was my reading experience crashed.
This book left me very confused.
As Red As Blood ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Finally a great Finnish YA book. To be
honest, I wasn't expecting much from it because I'm so used to being
dissapointed time after time. Boy, was I wrong.
This book is
just... so amazing it makes me tear up. Not because it's particularly
sad or anything, but really because it's just so amazing. It's
exactly what both Finnish YA and thrillers in general lack so much:
The thrill, the horror, the mystery, or the exitement of the book is
NOT in scandalous events, celebrating gross violence, doing
everything to decieve the reader, or in any cheap tricks to 'bribe'
the reader into thinking the story in clever, unexpected or original.
This book does none of that. It is ACTUALLY a thriller being carried
all the way by superb description, perfectly written characters, and
just so detailed and natural and artistically portraited
understanding. Do you realize how rare that is? A character driven
thriller that doesn't have to rely on gore to make it look serious? I
seriously don't know when I read one.
The plot isn't very
complex but it's not like it's meant to be like that in the first
place. In fact, it's pretty straightforward but it's perfect that
way. It feels realistic, and the thrill in every scene is very real
exactly because the author is not going out of her way to play some
cheesy hide-and-seek or who-is-smarter with the reader, which is
often so badly done and really alienating the reader from the
The mystery is not who
killed whom and whose fault's what. That's only the surface of the
book, it's not the story's primary interest. The mystery is
psychological, it's Lumikki herself, it's subjective, it's everything
she is, what she experiences, what she remembers, what was, what is,
what's to come in the world that she is.
The thriller is not
whether she'll escape the men in black, what'll happen if she's
caught, or if she'll survive in the physical realm of the surface
story. That is not the book's primary interest either. The thriller
is whether and when she'll escape, get caught, run, or face danger in
her internal world. It's in every corner of her mind, it's in
reminiscenes, in every detail she ever pays attention to. It's in the
way she talks, walks, thinks, eats, sleeps and fears. It's in
figuring out the subjective meaning of everything that's happened to
her. It's about the devastating internalized experiences that her
every choice reflects.
The writing itself is best I've read
all year. The pictures it paints in my mind are the most vivid and
exact I can think of, I'm iching to draw Lumikki already. It
describes all the right details, it shows who the people are in the
best way I can imagine. It tells so much about the characters with
such small choices of words and details and the tiniest events. There
is quite literally not one unneccesary word in this book. It's quite
a short book too, yet it manages to tell, not just one chain of
events, but instead show the whole world throught the main
character's eyes. Exactly how the greatest of books are supposed
I was completely immersed in Lumikki's character from the
first page. I'll probably dream of her for a week now. Gosh, FINALLY
a heroine in a Finnish YA book who actually is a person, not a
convenient collection of some architypal characteristics of a shy,
bookish, gentle, misunderstood girl, which make no other internal
sense than being covenient. Lumikki may be good at being invisible
but her precense is solid as rock, she has so much essence. She's a
whole, every detail ever written about her in the book makes perfect
sense, because she's not a collection of traits: She's actually a
living person in the writer's mind and it shows, because everything
written about her clearly comes from intuitive knowledge, not
I don't know if I can name a single
flaw about this book. It ended? (yeah I know haa haa)
think this book could get any better by making it longer. A long
complex storyline is not the point of this book so I wouldn't go
breaking the perfect balance it has.
I'm just thoroughly
mesmerized by it.
As White As Snow ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Great continuation for Lumikki's story!
I read this one in English actually, because there weren't any
Finnish copies available at the library at the moment. So that was
quite interesting. All in all the story seemed to translate pretty
smoothly. I remember a couple of slightly confusing sentences (but
maybe that was just me) and the amazing, unique writing style of
Salla Simukka wasn't adapted perfectly, which is to be expected,
after all, translating something like that is such a difficult job.
Most of the time, however, I wasn't even conscious that I was reading
the story in a different language, so that's definitely
For me, this book was slightly off balance, because
it was... MORE balanced in a... more common way. xD Maybe that sounds
confusing but in the first book I was completely drawn in to the
story exactly because the "traditionally thriller-y" part
of it was clearly just the surface story and the primary interest was
the story of Lumikki's person. In the second book it wasn't as
clearly so. The surface story took more space and Lumikki's internal
story felt a little like it was dropped here and there. It was still
really good, and I definitely appreaciate the surface story being
more intriguing and able to stand more on it's own. And Lumikki was
still Lumikki, she was written as well as before but... I guess the
focus on her depths wasn't as intense, so it didn't leave me heart
pounding or tearing up.
Plotwise this book wasn't as obvious
from the start as the first book, which is a plus I guess, but
actually unnecessary to me. Even if this book did have as obvious
plot as the first book BUT focused in Lumikki's internal story as
deeply as the first book I totally would've given it five
Ok, so that was May!
As for June, I aim to read a lot of fun books, because that feels like a good way to start summer. Let's see how that goes.