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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Dave Eggers – The Circle

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I won’t lie, I decided to read this book because I saw the film on Netflix and that it stars Emma Watson (I love her), and I didn’t want to watch the film before reading the book.

I have mixed feelings now that I’ve finished. The concept was great and I was quite excited about it – raving to my colleagues about the plot and how creepy but scarily accurate it was in the beginning.

But certain parts of the book were a little irritating, most notably the main character Mae. I just couldn’t find any way to connect to her, even right at the start before she’s pulled into the Circle’s disturbing ‘inner circle’. She never seemed to think for herself, she was content to be carried along with the wishes of those around her.

I found myself laughing every time a new monitor was added to Mae’s desk, thinking that the need for constant validation of your social ranking and popularity sounds eerily familiar in these days where instagram likes are everything. But then when Mae leaves her desk, things get more disturbing and though you can agree with some of the things that the Circle does in the beginning, you quickly realise they’re taking it wayyyy too far.

The thing that bothered me the most was that we hear hardly anything from any objectors to the Circle’s crazy plans, even though you know for sure that none of this would fly in the real world. If this was supposed to be a prediction of where the future is heading, it’s scary, but hard to believe it would be possible.

My last complaint about the book – the ending. I was at 95% through the book and I just couldn’t see how it would end within the next 5%, but it turns out that the way to end it was disappointingly. I won’t give you any spoilers, but if you’ve read it, I’m sure you know what I mean – it felt like a bit of a cop out, potentially leaving the path open for a sequel, but leaving me wishing it had been different.

 

 

Evelyn Skye – The Crown’s Game

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Another book downloaded through Libby – I’m not sure what drew me to the book other than the mention of magic and the fact that it sounded a bit different to recent fantasy books I’ve read.

The premise of the book sounded great, two young enchanters who would have to fight against each other to become the Imperial Enchanter – working closely by the king’s side. The losing enchanter will die.

Sounds like it could be dramatic. But I don’t think it quite lived up to the idea I had in my head. Very quickly in the book you discover that there’s a love triangle which did become annoying, although towards the end, it becomes obvious why the love triangle was necessary and it made for a pretty surprising ending, one that I would never have guessed.

My e-reading app broke halfway through reading this book, so I had a gap of almost 2 weeks where I couldn’t read anything, which I think put a dampener on my enjoyment, as once I got back on again, I devoured the book within a couple of days, but when compared to other books in this genre, it just missed the mark slightly.

I did love the unusual setting for the book, I’ve not read a fantasy book set in Russia before (I don’t think), and it made for a nice change – the scenes were so beautifully described that I did feel like I could have been there!

The book ended on such a shocking cliffhanger that I definitely want to read the second one now, I just have to wait for it to become available to borrow from my library!