Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

From the expert of lovely creepiness, The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains is NeilGaiman’s take on family tragedy that is presented as an adventurous treasure hunting tale.Themes of evil, revenge and greed give extra depth to a story that is not only a prose but also a visual delight, by way of illustrations from Eddie Campbell.

But this book is – as I understand it – not a book at all. When it was first introduced to the public, Gaiman read the story accompanied by a string orchestra and Campbell’ illustrations on screen. Having just the story and the illustration in this version might come as a poor substitute for that, the story remains strong. And if my Google searching skills have not deteriorated, there was a recent performance (in 2014) of this story by Gaiman in Edinburgh. So perhaps to call this a mere book is probably a gross understatement, but for the purpose of this review let’s just call it what it looks like: indeed, a book.

As it is with many Gaiman novels and shorter pieces, The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains reads like a fairy tale. A grimm, dark and dire fairy tale, to be precise. A dwarf goes on searching for gold and finds a guide, which turns out to be Calum MacInnes, for his purpose. The journey of these two men to the titular mountains is fraught with tension, distrust and a great sense of danger. Continue reading

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars. Let’s start with the most generic question asked about a book, “What is it about?” In two words: Alien Invasion. With that answer, we probably eliminated half of people who wondered if they are interested in reading the book. Now let’s talk more about what kind of Alien invasion. The 5th wave is another young adult dystopian novel with a female main character as the protagonist. Although, I can say, only a few books with the same theme are able to give a read as enjoyable as this book.

The heroine, Cassie, is a very strong willed, witty and brave (forced by situation revealed) 16 year old girl who started her journey solo in the beginning of the book. Yancey wrote her character so well that we understand what she experienced and all the emotions that come with it. But most of all, we can see that she’s still just a teenager, who still worries about the state of her hair may look despite the danger of the moment. From what I’ve read, the author admits that he had help from his teenage son to understand more about how a teenager think and it seems like the author’s son did his job well to explain what a teenager might feel and do.
Continue reading

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars. Mary Roach is a well-known popular science fiction author in America. She has published six New York Times Bestsellers and won numerous awards such as the National Press Club award and the Harvard Secular Society’s Rushdie award. Her background in psychology and career in writing science articles have helped her find her passion and curiosity in writing as well as doing research on science topics. The special thing about Roach’s writing is not only her ability to use humour to make a complex topic enjoyable, but also her use of the conversational type format that makes the story an easy-read.

I read Roach’s first book, “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” in 2008, which was surprisingly impressive to me. By 2008, she had already published two other novels. I bought, “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” without first knowing Roach’s reputation and just relied upon my natural curiosity of the topics mentioned. After “Stiff”, I already considered myself a fan of hers and was determined to read and collect all of her books.

Attaining Roach’s books was not an easy task for me, an Indonesian, because the novels had not been translated or even imported to Indonesia. At the time, Periplus online did not exist yet either. Therefore, when I went the states for a vacation, I did not waste any time in obtaining her books. Continue reading

Dead Space: Catalyst by Brian Evenson

First book I finished in 2015!

First of all, I want to say that this book was easier and more fun to read than the previous “Martyr” from the Dead Space series. I believe Evenson’s little wiggle room in “Martyr” is the reason, seeing how he needed to focus on the canon history of the Dead Space universe, while this book is more of a side-story where Evenson probably had more creative freedom.

At first, I had a bit of problem with how the background story was written. I thought it was a little bit too dragged and even though it was still enjoyable, I couldn’t help feeling that Evenson could’ve made the two main characters, who are brothers, more “alive”. In the end, I understand why Evenson was making sure that the brothers’ background story had to be told. He was trying to show the strong brotherly connection because of all the things they’ve been through.

Evenson was able to write an engaging story that kept my curiosity going. One event after another unraveled as if I was watching an action movie. How he wrote Istvan, the mentally challenged (if not secretly gifted) brother was very interesting too. I don’t think it’s easy to write the mind of a person who seems to be suffering from schizophrenia and is detached from reality most of the time. Continue reading

A Life of Style by Rebecca Moses

IMG_5658Book review by Jessica Xu

Published in 2010. This book came in the mail, and I was truly surprised when I found out that my dear pen pal was the one who sent it to me. I couldn’t help thinking of my friend’s kindness; how could she give such a beautiful book away? But I’m definitely glad she did. A Life of Style is one thick, colorful joy.

IMG_9405A Life of Style was written and illustrated by Rebecca Moses, an artist and designer who is best known for her fashion label. What I see from this first book of hers, is that Rebecca must have completely poured her heart and soul into it. Total of 207 pages, all of them are fully illustrated, colored and tell a story. Rebecca herself did all of them.

Actually, writing a review of this book will not do it any justice. For me, A Life of Style is a masterpiece. The book encourages the lady readers to believe in themselves and be confident in their own skin and entertains with the playful and quirky illustration. But most of all, A Life of Style makes me feel good. As I have implied, this book teaches to feel comfortable with our very own style. There is no right and wrong, as long as the authenticity lives.  Continue reading