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Mini-Reviews – Books About Revenge, Mistakes and War

mini

* CONTAINS SPOILERS

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (2015)

THE STORY
At a hen’s weekend in the middle of nowhere, Nora is reunited with her best friend from high school, Clare. Nora hasn’t seen Clare in ten years and can’t understand why she was invited to the party. Clare tells Nora she wants to put the past behind them, but Nora is still haunted by what happened. Also, she can’t shake the feeling that something about this party isn’t right.

THE GOOD
In A Dark, Dark Wood immediately caught my attention with the puzzling mystery of why was Nora invited to the party and all the possible directions the story could go in.

THE BAD
Although the book showed promised, a few chapters in I could see through the rest of the plot. On top of that, I wasn’t a fan of Nora. If after ten years you can’t get over a boy from high school and it’s the reason why you’ve never had a serious relationship as an adult, I think you are way overdue for therapy.

CONCLUSION
In A Dark, Dark Wood was given a lot of hype at BEA and was one of the galleys everyone was scrambling to get their hands on. Unfortunately, the marketing plan was better than the story.

3/5 Stars

* * *

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (2013)

THE STORY
In nineteenth century Iceland, Agnes has been sentenced to death for the murder of her former master and lover. While she waits for execution, she stays with a farmer and his family much to their indignation. In addition, Agnes has selected a young priest, Tóti, to provide her with spiritual counselling and he struggles to penetrate her mysterious personality. Piece by painful piece, the truth of what really happened to Agnes is revealed, but it may be too late to save her.

THE GOOD
What I loved the most about Burial Rites was the depiction of life in rural and coastal Iceland, the beauty and harshness of the land and changing seasons, the day-to-day activities of the men and women, the cramped living spaces where the walls were made of dirt and moss. It really captured my imagination.

THE BAD
Although I enjoyed the story, there was something about Agnes that I disliked. Even though I felt sorry for her rough childhood and her treatment as a prisoner, I found her to be arrogant and a bad decision-maker.

CONCLUSION
Burial Rites was a well-written book and the history behind the story is fascinating. I understand all of the book’s praise, but my feelings about Agnes dampened my enthusiasm.

3.5 Stars

* * *

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (2008)

THE STORY
The Cellist of Sarajevo portrays the siege on the city at the start of the Bosnian war in the early 1990s. The story follows several men who are trying to survive day-to-day, one young woman who is actively fighting in the war and a cellist who for 22 days straight goes out in street and plays Adagio in G Minor in honour of victims of a bombing.

THE GOOD
Although it filled me with dread and sorrow, I think Steven Galloway crafted an excellent story about the nightmare of this war and how the struggle of the people became not only about finding the basic necessities of life, but also the mental torture of making morally ambiguous decisions.

THE BAD
The cellist has a very minor and mysterious role in the story. Since he was the true life inspiration behind the story, I think it would have been interesting if more was included about him, but this is a minor grievance.

CONCLUSION
The Cellist of Sarajevo is an emotionally stirring story about defenseless civilians caught in the crossfire of the siege. Their stories are numbing and reveal how war can damage the psyche, changing the person you are and how you relate to other people. Possibly forever.

4/5 Stars

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8 comments on “Mini-Reviews – Books About Revenge, Mistakes and War

  1. Marisa@TheDailyDosage
    June 29, 2015

    These all sound great and Burial Rites has been on my TBR for some time. I like the format of your mini-reviews!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      June 29, 2015

      Burial Rites is very good, despite my feelings about the main character. I find that with only so much time, I would rather save big reviews for certain books, but acknowledge other books I read in mini-reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think In a Dark Dark Wood would have appealed to me the most initially so it’s disappointing to read that you didn’t love it! Oh well, it’s great that it got such good marketing, hopefully it will find it’s audience!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 2, 2015

      It had a lot of promise, but fell short for me. I thought it was great that the book got so much publicity for a new author.

      Like

  3. Naomi
    July 2, 2015

    It’s just as well (for me) that you didn’t love In a Dark Dark Wood – maybe I won’t feel like I have to read it. It still sounds kinda good though… except I think I would agree with you about Nora.
    I still haven’t read Burial Rites, which is strange, because it is the type of book I usually love.
    What I loved best about The Cellist was how we got to see into the minds of a few ordinary and different citizens of Sarajevo, and what the siege did to them. So sad, but not written in an overly depressing way.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 9, 2015

      I agree that The Cellist was great insight into what the characters were experiencing during the war, but wasn’t too dark or sad. I think you would enjoy Burial Rites because of the setting. I would definitely seek out more books set in Iceland if they were written in such a lovely manner.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. DoingDewey
    July 9, 2015

    I didn’t especially like Agnes either, but what really kept Burial Rites from being a 5 star read for me was the ending. I found it a bit anticlimactic and emotionless compared to the rest of the book.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 9, 2015

      Yes, I completely agree! I felt let down because there was a very good build-up. It all seemed to amount to not much at all in the end.

      Like

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2015 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , , .

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