Updated: Apr 28
Hey, I’m Meg! For a long time I’ve wanted to be a BookTuber, BookInstagrammer, whatever-it’s-called. I started reading a lot in high school, and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. I think for the first few years of knowing my now sister-in-law, she barely ever saw my face because it was buried in a book every time she came over. And here I am at the big age of 22, still reading books aimed at teenagers. Specifically high fantasy and adventure with maybe a little bit of sci-fi mixed in.
I would like to say that lockdown kickstarted my love of reading again but I have a very small pea-brain that gets easily distracted by the things we have in our modern world. And by that I mean Netflix and the wide, wide internet. But when I returned to university in September 2020, I found solace in audiobooks. It meant I could devour one book after another while I worked. I make costumes so it’s rather hard to sit at a sewing machine while holding a paperback (and trust me, I have tried).
So as a starter, here's a little review of two of my all time favourites.
Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo - 2015
This is the first in the Six of Crows duology, part of the Grishaverse series. It's a gritty heist novel about a gang of teens who infiltrate a high security court for money. There's gambling, shootouts and plenty of bloodshed, and full cast of diverse characters to boot.
I have a lot of criticisms for YA books (even though I continue to read them) but I personally can’t find fault with Six of Crows. It’s my go-to book that I recommend to friends, family or those random people I meet in Waterstones who wish I would shut up and go away.
Anyway, for my first review I give this book 10 billion/10. Just kidding, that would be unfair. But it’s definitely a 10/10.
Stardust - Neil Gaiman - 1998
Up next is my second favourite book. This is the coming of age story of a boy who goes off to a magical parallel world in search of a fallen star. I first found this story when I was eight years old and I was taken to see the movie, ever since then I’ve wanted to believe that there really was a magical world called Stormhold on the other side of a wall somewhere in England. Sadly there isn’t, but I’m still holding out hope.
I first read the book when I was in third year at school, maybe a little bit out of my reading age but still I enjoyed it and have probably reread it about 10 times now either physically, or listening to it on Audible; both the audiobook and the radio show. It just gives the movie, which gives such a warm feeling of nostalgia every time I watch it, a much deeper and rounded world. I always wished there was a follow up book but then that might ruin the magic of it. A book that feels like home, 10/10.
Stalking Jack the Ripper* - Kerri Maniscalco - 2016
Well, I have to be honest when I say I was excited about reading this one. It had been on my TBR for a while and I’m a sucker for Victorian London; it’s not often I read about this time period, let alone stories set in our world. But sadly it did not meet my expectations. Centred around the upper class Audrey Rose, a very self-assured, ‘not-like-other-girls-because-I-like-to-cut-open-dead-bodies-in-my-free-time’ young woman, this book fell flat on its face.
I want to say there were things I enjoyed about it but I can’t even say I liked the romance, even that felt rushed and the love interest had jumped from being a suave flirt, often making very uncomfortable remarks to an emotionless robot a la Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock. My biggest peeve is that Audrey Rose is the only female character with any purpose throughout the entire book. Any other woman she comes into contact with, she seems to have some sort of immediate hatred for or simply writes them off as frivolous and too feminine.
* This book is so bad, it's not even getting a photo.
SPOILERS FROM HERE
Apprentice to her uncle, who is some kind of coroner of sorts, she takes on the task of hunting down the culprit of the infamous murders that occurred in London in 1888. This is what had intrigued me to begin with; I was in for some grimy and thrilling chase scenes but instead I had to trudge through paragraphs of the main character moving from one fancy house to another and every so often having a clue revealed by one of the many male characters she is surrounded by instead of actually finding them out herself. At least at one point or another, all of these men are suspects to Audrey but I’m surprised she’s never questioned as a suspect herself.
The plot only comes to a climax in the last few chapters and were so lacklustre I wasn’t sure I was even paying attention, I just wanted it to end. I could have excused all the historical inaccuracies too if it hadn’t been for the author's note at the end POINTING OUT all of the inaccuracies. I can safely say, I will not be finishing this series. 1/10.