Tome Topple Readathon

READ THE WORLD – Denmark: The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Copenhagen Detective Inspector Carl Mørck has been taken off Homicide to run a new department for unsolved crimes and he’s not happy about it. Soon things get busy when his first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, a politician who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she’s dead, he thinks they’re right. But that might not be the case, and Merete’s time is running out.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a detective thriller and The Keeper of Lost Causes did not disappoint. Carl is one of those typical cranky detectives who doesn’t work well with others, his colleagues don’t really like him but they still ask his advice on difficult cases, but he’s still a decent person who’s good at his job. It’s great to see bits of the case come together because as the reader you sometimes know more than Carl but you never get the whole story till the final chapters.

Carl Mørck’s department is in the basement of police headquarters and it’s just him and his assistant Hafez el-Assad. They’re an odd combination and provide some moments of humour. Assad is Syrian so he doesn’t always get how things work in Denmark but he’s never portrayed as stupid, in fact he’s a great help to the case, seeing things others don’t. It was really nice to see how Carl respected Assad’s religion, getting a floorplan of the station so Assad knew which direction to pray – the religious aspect of Assad’s life was so natural and just a part of him and no one made a big deal of it.

Assad is a very likeable character with some hidden talents, I enjoyed seeing him and Carl slowly start getting to know each other, each dealing with each other’s unusual habits and personal traits. Carl is definitely a character I didn’t like to start with but he grew on me, especially because he has a very dry sense of humour and is often brutally honest.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is a proper-page turner, there were revelations at the end of most chapters and a sense of desperation as the novel progressed as you learnt more about Merete and the horrible situation she’s in. 5/5.

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REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

illuminaeIt’s the year 2375 and two mega-corporations are at war over a small, insignificant mining planet. Pity they didn’t warn the people living there. With enemy fire raining down, Ezra and Kady manage to make their escape on the evacuating fleet. But that’s just the beginning of their troubles. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the space ships, their ships protection is vulnerable and no one will say what is going on. As Kady hacks into the ships mainframe to try and find the truth it soon become clear that Ezra is the only one who can help her. The only problem is that they split up before the war started and she isn’t supposed to be talking to him.

Illuminae is very different from any book I’ve read before and that’s because of how it is written. It’s composed of instant message chats, surveillance footage summaries, interview transcripts, mission reports and more. Files look like they have been clipped into the book or have been printed off and stuck in. It’s really interesting and makes the book quick to read and adds a new spin on things.

It’s interesting how Kady, Ezra and other characters come across through what’s kind of like second-hand text. Kady is super smart and feisty and wants to know the truth about what’s going because both the good and the bad will affect her and her loved ones. Kady is also stubborn and believes she’s always right which does rub people, including Ezra. Ezra is almost the polar opposite of Kady and it’s difficult to imagine them as a couple (though opposites attract and all that I suppose), he follows the rules and doesn’t really question anything, especially when he’s conscripted into the military.

Illuminae is a super-fast read. That’s down to how it’s written, reading conversations through instant messages will always take less time than “proper prose” but also because it’s an action-packed book. It kicks off with a war and then there’s corporate espionage, military cover-ups and a deadly plague. It’s one thing after another that Kady and Ezra must work together to deal with and how they cope will test them and offer both funny and tense moments.

Illuminae is an exciting sci-fi book that has a lot of surprises and I can’t wait to read the sequel. 5/5.

My Tome Topple Readathon TBR

This readathon is created and co-hosted by ThoughtsonTomes from November 18th till December 1st and the aim of it is to read those huge intimidating books that are over 500 pages long that have been sitting on your shelves for ages.

There’s a few challenges you can try and complete which are below but really the main thing is to read some long books.

The challenges:
1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel
3. Read a tome that’s part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome (use goodreads and twitter to find buddies!)
5. Read an adult novel

I took part in the (I believe) first Tome Topple Readathon in June and it gave me the push to finally read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Since then I haven’t really read any more of my big books so this is another chance to read another of my 500+ page books that have been on my shelves for ages.

I like having some choice when it comes readathon’s so here’s the books I’ll maybe be reading in the latter half of this month. There’s two books that I’d really like to read during Tome Topple and those are A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab which has 511 pages and is an adult novel that’s also a part of a series and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff which has 599 pages and would also fit the part of a series challenge. Naturally if I read both of them I’ll have completed the read more than one tome challenge. I didn’t think I had a graphic novel that’s over 500 pages but turns out Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and others has 528 pages (according to Amazon) so that is definitely on my TBR and will help break up all the many pages I hope to read.

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As I’m prone to changing my mind when it comes to readathons I’ll also have a couple of other tomes on standby in case I can’t get into Illuminae or A Gathering of Shadows for whatever reason. Those books are The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which has 531 pages, and fits the adult novel challenge and the tome that’s a part of a series challenge, Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden which has 516 pages, fits the part of a series challenge and I think it’s considered an adult novel, and The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson which has 517 pages, it doesn’t fit any challenge but it has been sitting on my shelves for almost six months and seems like a fun, easy read.

I haven’t said anything about buddy reading yet that’s because while I don’t know anyone who is taking part in #TomeTopple and who are reading the books on my TBR, there’s a Goodreads group where you can discuss popular books so I’ll be checking that out over the weekend to see if anyone else is going to be reading some of my tomes.

Theoretically I should be able to complete all the challenges but like with the first Tome Topple Readathon I’ll be happy if I read one big book.

I’ll probably be tweeting about my progress @ElenaM52 and you can find out more about the readathon and all the co-hosts here. Good luck to all those who are taking part!

REVIEW: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

FullSizeRender (5)Days before his release from prison, Shadow learns his wife Laura has died in mysterious circumstances. As he makes his way back home, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a God who is getting ready for a war. Soon Shadow finds himself in the service of Mr Wednesday as they go on a strange journey across America whilst all around them a storm of epic and supernatural proportions threatens to break.

American Gods is a much-loved, epic book full of Gods, mysterious and lies. I can see why so many people love it but for me it was a bit of a slog to get through. American Gods is a very descriptive story full of characters who each have their own story which may or may not be true. There’s long passages that are dedicated to a myth or legend or some story or character that you’re not sure will ever reappear again or have any effect on the main plot. Also Shadow has these vivid dreams that often make little sense to you or him, at least they don’t till near the very end of the novel.

Shadow is quite a passive main character. He accepts everything that’s going on around him, he takes each encounter with a God or myth or legend in his stride and when weird things happen he just shrugs it off. I found him too easy-going and accepting of the situations he found himself in. You’d expect a character in that situation to have more questions or at least have a little freak out every now and then but Shadow didn’t so it was hard to connect with him.

American Gods is a long book and I never really felt pulled into the story or that I just had to read on until the last 200 pages. I don’t know if it was because there was so much to set up or so many characters and events that didn’t seem that important or interesting but I just felt like I was reading American Gods for the sake of it. As I said, the last 200 pages is when I really got interested in what was going to happen to Shadow (though I never particularly liked him a lot) and the other characters I’d come across.

American Gods is structurally a good book, it’s got twists and turns, death and mystery, suspense and a lot of weirdness, but I never really felt fully-invested in the characters or the story. If anything I now feel glad that I can say I’ve read American Gods when t’s mentioned as an example of a work of great fiction. 3/5.

The Tome Topple Readathon

This readathon is hosted by ThoughtsonTomes from June 5th to June 19th and the aim of it is to read those huge intimidating books that are over 500 pages long that have been sitting on your shelves for ages.

There’s a few challenges you can try and complete which are below but really the main thing is to read some long books.

The challenges:
1. Read more than one tome (500+ pages)
2. Take a graphic novel break (doesn’t need to be over 500 pages!)
3. Read a tome that is part of a series
4. Read over 500 pages in one week
5. Read an adult novel

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I have four 500+ pages long books that I’m considering to read for this readathon. There’s no way I could or will read all four of them but I like to have some options when it comes to readathons. The four books are The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which is 531 pages, American Gods by Neil Gaiman which has 635 pages, Last Man Standing by David Baldacci which is 548 pages long and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell which is a beautiful hardback book and has 595 pages.

Theoretically I’ll be able to complete all the challenges. All four books on my TBR are adult books, If I managed to complete a book a week then I’ll have read over 500 pages each week of the readathon, it turns out that The Angel’s Game is the second book in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series which I didn’t realise when I picked it up from a charity shop, and I can definitely take a couple of graphic novel breaks as I have a few unread trade paper backs I’d liked to read including, All New Hawkeye, Black Widow Vol. 3, The Punisher Vol. 3 and Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier.

I really don’t know how this readathon will go. Hopefully it’ll go well but I am in a bit of a reading slump at the moment so who knows. To be honest, as long as I read one of these books I’ll be very happy.

I’ll probably be tweeting about my progress @ElenaM52 and you can find out more about the readathon and all the co-hosts here. Good luck to all those who are taking part!