Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Book Thief: My Review

I think the words that would most certainly describe the book for me would be: devastatingly beautiful.

The author has narrated the story of young girl in the times of war in Germany—a child who grows up watching the death of her brother, abandonment from her mother and restarting of another life at Himmel Street, only to be torn apart again by the death of the people who she has loved more than herself.
Despite the story being narrated by Death itself, the novel is never suffocating with the fear of the inevitable—the death, unlike many of the other wartime books that constantly grip the reader with a constant, uneasy suffocating vibe. Rather, it tells a tale of small acts of happiness—of playing accordion, of rolling cigarettes, of playing soccer in muddy Himmel Street, of friendship and book-thievery, of calling Saumensch and Saukerl to your loved ones, of the wagers of getting kiss for a reward, of secrets of hiding Jews and unveiling it to your best friend on the branch of a tree; of growing up and understanding your emotions and the moment of accepting that your best friend may also be your lover.

The Book Thief is a story of veiled, unspoken expressions that Leisel has for her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubberman; her best friend, Rudy Steinner; the secret of Hubberman household, Max; and Ilsa Hermann—her savior and Frau Holtzapfel—who would listen to her reading.  

It is a novel that almost had me crying when Leisel saw the corpses of her Papa and Mama. But it turned almost black when Leisel saw Rudy, lying lifeless. Leisel was late, too late to express her feelings for her best friend, her next-door neighbor, her partner-in-crime and her lover.

It’s a book that one would want to read again—at least once, in one’s life time.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Fountainhead: Review

The fountainhead is perhaps one of those books whose every page reflected a new way of looking at things. It took me time, more than average to finish the book, which I normally take to finish novels. The book is a pure genius—written before 1943—and yet immortal in the sands of time. 

One of the most astonishing things that hit me time and again while reading this book –unlike other fiction ones—was the fact that this could only be a work of fiction, for no characters could be as larger than life as those of The Fountainhead. Howard Roark, Dominique Francon, Gail Wynand, even the character of Ellsworth Toohey, are far from reality. The way they look at things, talk with such mutual understanding that one does not listen to their conversations without feeling like an outsider or even an eavesdropper; and the way they handle things is incredibly different from the functioning of normal beings. But then, Ayn Rand is not handling with normal beings in her novel anyway. And thus, the reader unlike other novels—where he becomes a part of the book and starts associating himself with the characters after a hundred pages or so—cannot associate himself with the psychology of the book. While the readers fall in love with characters in novels, this one does not give such chance. Whereas a reader normally looks at the characters as one of them, here one watches the story unfolding, taking shape like a bystander, from the far away seat of a theatre—not as someone who may have got the early tickets to seat in front witnessing the show as if he was one of them. Thus, I found myself looking up at the characters rather than looking forward to them. 

The mood of the book is melancholy and mocking, yet challenging. The characters mostly understand each other and play reverse psychology frequently to get to each other. And yet no one is astonished when he/she is avenged. 

The concepts of love, deception, pain, passion, pleasure, friendship and revenge are long lasting and hard hitting, so much so that they are exhausting and their energy infinite. Aynd Rand has taken a completely opposite position on the concepts of Altruism, Selflessness, Ego and Selfishness from those of a lay man—and yet it is a position which should have been a reality ideally. These concepts are the basic presumptions of her plot and the way she explains those concepts and presents the case of Roark towards the end of the book (in Roark’s trial) is the one of the most ingenious moments in the book. 

As far as characters are concerned, they are strong, so strong that they are hard to break. Roark and Dominique, despite their hatred for the duplicity of the world hardly give up on their situation. They conquer the world in their own way—and Toohey conquers the world in his own. It is Gail Wynand for whom I feel pity in the end: the man who gives his life for Banner, to establish it and give to people want they want, but fails miserably when he wants to use his power to get people think the way he wants it. His, is a sorry state, most unlike what should happen to a person of principles but then it is the truth. Only what I could not understand is that why did Rand had to fail Gynand in the end when she had chosen to diverge away from the reality throughout her book? However, besides this slight diversion the book is a treasure to be read more than once for sure. 

Monday, September 02, 2013

Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

After two hours of fangirling, and screaming over the fact that I got this book on it’s release day, I started it with fear, trepidation, and a whole lot of excitement. The cliff-hanger at the end of the last book was excruciating and I had no idea how bad things would get for Katy.
In the name of all things alien, this book was amaaaazing! I ignored three courses worth of homework to finish this up (who cares about college when you can read about Daemon?)
Daemon is awesome, better than in all the previous books. Most of his dialogues actually had me clutching my Kindle for dear life.
“Did you think you could stop me? I’ll burn the world down to save her.” 
“I have no idea how I’m going to fix all of that, but I will. I will keep you safe. I will make sure that we have a future to hold on to and look forward to … I promise you.”
Daemon is so my book-boyfriend. *major swoons*
Okay, so the proverbial shit has hit the fan in Origin, Katy is in Daedalus, Daemon is no lock-down and his family and friends are trying to keep him from going to save Katy. Futile attempts? Of course. You can’t keep a Luxen like Daemon in chains. And he does what he wants to do, he goes to find Katy.
What the Daedalus plans on doing to the two of them will have you biting your nails and sometimes closing your eyes shut at the horror. In complete JLA style, the ending will have you on edge. This installment is as good as it gets.
If you’ve read Sweet Evil, or if you follow Wendy Higgins on Goodreads, you know that there’s a neat little surprise in the book.
A Sweet Evil reference that literally made me jump out of my beanbag for joy! For that alone, I’d give JLA a standing ovation. You, Madame, are amazing.
The Final Word:
I was a bit disappointed with a cover, it isn’t in-sync with the rest of the series, but the book is worth the read. Lux or JLA fans, go grab it!

Maryam M.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What Isn’t Dead Is Dying – The Messenger by Stephanie Pippins

This morning, I woke up to find a number of approved galley requests in my inbox. And one of those was this one. I had been anxiously hoping that I would approved to get this galley.
1) Because it’s poetry. Duh.
2) Because the main theme is death and desolation.
3) Iowa Poetry Prize. (Guaranteed good stuff)
Needless to say, I started it right away and finished it within the hour. Then read it two more times to absorb it properly.
Oh boy oh boy. This poetry collection was so my kind of thing. It is something that I would write if I possessed as much talent as Stephanie Pippins. The death and metamorphosis is in your face. There’s not much blood, but I’m willing to excuse that because the poems are so damn good.
The ARC has 35+ poems, all having to do with change, dying, rebirth and bad, bad, things. It must have been a trick of the mind, but I kept thinking black sludge was devouring the words as I swept my eyes over them. There is horror in these poems, not the kind with ghouls and ghosts, but a more natural horror, the kind that you could see happening everyday, if only you observed.
The poems are heavy on nature. Bird references, animal behaviour, and the likes create the perfectly dark setting for what Pippins is trying to say. This book is beautiful in a weird way. It is something that you would want to read over and over and over, only to feel this aching and dread which in turn makes you feel more aware and alive.
Like Pippins says.
“What isn’t dead
is dying.”

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed In Blood
Kendare Blake
Rating: 5 stars
Anyone who really knows me, would know about my obsession with blood and dead girls. So it was no surprise that I would want to read this book as soon as I saw it. (And the cover, oh, the cover!) Whether I’d like it or not was an entirely different story. I’ll have you know, that I absolutely love Lenore. Poe’s Lenore and Dirge’s Lenore. But there are countless other books with dead girls that I can’t even care to remember them, they were that bad.
The thing with horror books is that they can be as scary as you want them to be. When watching a movie, you get a package deal of horrific images that may scare or be just meh, depending on your own spook-o-meter. But books give you the liberty of imagining those scary ghosts and creatures in any way you want to, providing just the base. My imagination is crazy. Parts of this book had me freaking out and seeing shadows around my room. The fact that I read in absolute darkness (on my Kindle) may have contributed to my fears.
To be honest, in hindsight, this book isn’t all that scary. It’s about a young guy who kills ghost who are out wreaking havoc and murdering people. And then he comes across Anna, who is the most vindictive, bloodiest ghost he has ever faced. Saying more would be giving out spoilers.
But I have to say, after Lish McBride’s Necromancer books, this is the only one that kept me up all night to finish it. I’ll be reading the sequel soon.

Maryam M.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good.

There are lines she wrote that will stay with us forever. And then there are some that will leave us soon as we turn the page, before that too.

The Casual Vacancy falls in the latter category.

I think Rowling made a mistake. A huge one.

- Maryam M.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Casual Vacancy.

My BRAIN feels casually vacant. No wait, it feels completely vacant, very non-casually. 

Why, Rowling. Dear God, why