Saturday, 22 July 2017

Caraval - Stephanie Garber

'Do you always focus on what you're giving up, rather than what you'll be gaining? Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.'


This book came out earlier this year and became a huge thing pretty much immediately and was translated to 25 languages quicker than a heartbeat. So naturally when I saw it at the library, it felt like I should and I would read it no matter what.

This book has two sisters, Scarlett and Donatella (or just Tella), leave their home island and their cruel father for a magical game called Caraval. Tella, the adventurous and excited one, believes this could be their way out, but Scarlett believes her arranged marriage to a stranger will get her and her sister away from their father.

Caraval is a game Scarlett has heard many stories of, and in which you can't trust anything you hear. It's hosted by a man called Legend, who supposedly plays each game wearing a different face. You can't trust anything you hear in Caraval, and Scarlett has to wonder if the sailor who brought her there has ulterior motives too. And then things go from bad to worse when Tella gets kidnapped and whoever finds her will win the game... and a wish.

Scarlett was fairly likeable to me, and even though I wanted to slap some sense into her a couple of times, she still felt relatable. Same goes for Tella, even though the two of them were fairly night and day as far as sisters go. The side characters were okay but most of them would have been better if they had gotten more time and development.

'She wrapped her arms around Scarlett like only a sister can. Fiercely like a kitten that has just gotten its claws and wants to rip the whole world to shreds so that everything would turn out alright.'

The plot was surprisingly interesting and full of twists, and it gave me many wow moments throughout the story. I was impressed with that, because I thought beforehand that the plot would be where this book was going to trip itself up; becoming a dull copy of every 
other story like this. Turns out that wasn't actually the problem.

My knee-jerk reaction was to give this a full five stars, but today I've given it another thought and am starting to get annoyed with the general lack of worldbuilding (how gorgeous this would have been in a properly built world) and the few cop-outs it goes through instead of properly defining its own rules. It's actually something to say about how interesting the plot was that I ended up giving it four stars. Quite excited for the sequel, too. I'd be so happy if it expanded on the world of this, but I bet it'll be all too easy to just stick to the same formula as this book, since it's been so popular. Apparently we no longer care for worldbuilding in our 'high fantasy' books. Some of the plot twists towards the end also felt unpolished and weak, as if the author could no longer be bothered to write them out in full.

Also, there's a really odd thing where Scarlett sees emotions and colours, and it felt... weird. It didn't really fit in the tone of the book, and it wasn't explained until it had already been happening for some time. It didn't really add anything to this book, in my opinion.

Regardless, I enjoyed Caraval a lot and I'll be reading this series probably until the bitter end. The second book, coming out in 2018, is still untitled. (I hope it comes out sooooonnnn!)

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 49: A new book of 2017!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Rikki - Reija Glad

'Joskus äiti on niin kuin pieni ja Eeva sen äiti. Ja pieni äiti on ärsyttävä eikä halua pukea.'

'Sometimes mum is like small and Eeva its mum. And small mum is annoying and doesn't want to get dressed.'

Rikki ('Broken') is Reija Glad's first novel. It won third prize in a Robustos (the publisher who's published most of Siiri Enoranta's works and other stuff) miniature novel competition in 2015. I got this from the library's new stuff shelf and checked it out on Goodreads, where it has, as I write this, one rating of three stars, a golden middle road. I thought that was quite compelling - what does three mean to this one person? Also, the book is just shy of a hundred pages and I thought I could definitely give it another rating, maybe make the decision easier for someone else. Or something. Also, it sounded cool.

Anyway, this book is very unsettling at its heart. It's divided into short little chapters that each tell their own story of sorts. They're given creepy telltale names like 'Dad's Car', 'Bunny' and 'River'. The book itself is about a family, or more specifically the children of one, who grow up poor, with a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic, absent father. The book is from the point of view of one of the children, though the book never actually tells you which one. I do have my guess.

It's mostly written in short, meaningful sentences. The children witness things no child (or person) should and can't process them properly. Many things in this book are, indeed, broken. Their mother isn't able to take care of the kids because of her own problems, and the children in turn do their best but can't really lead normal and happy childhoods. The family is broken and their home town in Northern Finland seems fairly depressed at best.

This book was sort of disturbing in its desperation, but I like to think it also had tiny little whisps of hope, which are also alluded to in the back cover. I think I'll check out Glad's other works if she publishes more one day. (You can always dream, yes?) My only hope is that for a full length novel, the work would have more happiness as well. For a work of this length however, it worked quite well, even if it does feel like a bit too much sometimes. No one's supposed to live a life like this, though I think that was kind of the point too. I'd recommend this book and I quite enjoyed it, but I feel like it requires a specific sort of mindset so I'll just leave that up to you if you want to check it out. For me, it was absolutely worth the read. I hope more people check it out.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 26: A family story! Think the category is looking for a longer story but this was definitely about family so...

Friday, 14 July 2017

Eurooppalaiset unet - Emma Pulkkonen

Heyo!

Back with marathon number two book number two: another Finnish one, this time last year's Finlandia nominee (you might remember how Akvarelleja Engelin kaupungista was the winner, and I would be tempted to say rightfully so)

Eurooppalaiset unet ('European Dreams') felt, to me, like a café with a fancy exterior that tries to appeal to a more academically inclined crowd in the most expensive part of the city. When you step inside however, you come to realise that there's nothing that's really groundbreaking or worth your time in this faux-fancy establishment.

Now, the book isn't actually quite that bad. There's actual quality to it, just quality that somehow comes across as trying too hard and failing because of it.

The idea is that there's all these people (maybe eight or so, I lost count) around Europe who lead different lives with their own problems, but eventually most of their stories actually weave together to create a semblance of connection. Like, on the level that some character's brother's daughter is working with some other character 20 years later. And while I see that was supposed to be amazing to me, well... it felt more like that person could have been working with anyone else without it having any implications for their lives.

Also, it was, again, (check out Kissani Jugoslavia for more of this) a bit too artsy. Someone got this superpower of sorts (not much of a spoiler since it's on the back cover) which didn't make any sense to me and I never found out if it was real or not. It was odd in a story that otherwise felt real.

I really wanted to like this book. I thought that the idea was cool, but obviously I wanted some deeper connections than what this had. The stories themselves were quite good and even harrowing but my topmost feeling is disappointment and I can't really shake that. What with the EU and all (having 'European' in your title is bound to draw these comparisons), I wanted a book about how deeply we're all connected these days. This wasn't that book.

I don't have much else to say. I feel like this book didn't have much to say to me either.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 17: A book cover colours are blue and white!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Pollomuhku ja posityyhtynen - Jaana Kapari-Jatta

'Suomentaja ei käännäkään sanoja vaan ajatuksia.'

'A Finnish translator doesn't, after all, translate words but thoughts.'


Heyo!


Pollomuhku ja posityyhtynen ('Bubotuber and Pigwidgeon') was my reading marathon number two book number one - a book by the Finnish translator of Harry Potter on her perhaps biggest and probably most influential work to date; translating this beloved series from beginning to end (including The Cursed Child and other stuff like that too).

This book answers most of the questions the translator often gets asked: how do you translate all those names, how does the fame of the series feel, does she miss them now that it's fin(n)ished... And it's really quite interesting. Even though I've always comprehended that someone does indeed translate all of these books, I've never fully realised just how much work goes into it. I'll be sure to appreciate it more in the future and maybe even read more translated works.

It's clear from the way Kapari-Jatta talks about her work that she has a strong passion for it. The only book I've actually read with her translation (since I've happily read Harry Potters in English) is Holes by Louis Sachar. I would say that's a good translation as well. Pollomuhku talks very in depth (sometimes too much so) about the creative process of the translator as she attempts to understand the mind of the author and the complexities of the world they have created. She also really thought deep and hard about how to translate all those imaginary words while preserving their spirit. This is especially important since these books started out as children's books and you can't reasonably expect every Finnish child to know enough English to make the connections.

Another thing I thought was cool: translating hints. If you've read these books before, you'll probably know that J.K. Rowling adds a ton of hints in her books about what will happen in the future instalments. The translator talks about how the hints need to be of the same quality as originally - not more or less clear. It's another thing I've mostly taken for granted, translating these things skillfully, but they do take a lot of thought, especially in Rowling's case.

I might even have given this a five but sometimes it just trailed off a bit too much and repeated the same things many times. For a (by default Finnish skills are required) Harry Potter fan interested in languages I would recommend this without hesitation regardless!

Also something to appreciate: this cover was made by Mika Launis, who also made all the Finnish Harry Potter covers! I really like his work and I think these two people definitely made the Finnish editions of Harry Potter what they are.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in a category I've been dreading filling because it's so niche.... 25: A book where nobody dies! Yay!!!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Reading Marathon #2 (updating)

Heyo!

Reading marathon #2 of the summer is here today (8th of July) and as promised, I convinced Daniel to take part with me!

We started at 8PM today and will finish at 8PM tomorrow and I'll be updating our feels here a couple of times during the marathon!

22:58

Right now I'm reading Pollomuhku ja posityyhtynen (a book on how the Harry Potters were translated into Finnish) by Jaana Kapari-Jatta and Daniel's reading The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'll probably finish that and then wrap up for today. [Daniel] After getting not so far into Kullervo I decided to return to the beginning as the dialect went over my head; second time round and the book is captivating me due to its poetic passages.

23:34

That's my book and the first 114 pages finished! Maybe good to wrap up for today? Daniel is still battling with the complicated names and stuff in Kullervo.

14:28

Started Eurooppalaiset unet ('European Dreams') by Emma Pulkkonen and read the first 50 pages. Kind of heavy to get into and jumps around a lot but I do enjoy it. [Daniel] Enjoying Kullervo hugely! As a Tolkien fan I expected I'd like it but its enjoyably poetic in the telling of the tale. Still rather heavy with sonnet-like passages.

16:19

Done 110 pages of this thing. I kind of really want to finish it today. There was a bit about a Somali refugee girl that was almost too difficult to read. Hope we never get back to that again. [Daniel] Finished the actual story part of the Kullervo and it was pretty amazing, definitely going to read Kalevala when I master Finnish! Currently reading the essays regarding the Kalevala by Tolkien and the forewords to the book.

19:03

Finished my book (179 pages) and feel wholly confused. What is life. It was a bit too weird for me, which is a real shame. Maybe would have benefited from being read one story at a time but I don't really think a great book should suffer from being read 'wrong'. Think I'll start a bit of Caraval by Stephanie Garber with the remaining time. [Daniel] Still reading the essays and notes associated with Kullervo. I'm developing a new sense to Tolkien and also a greater understanding of Kalevala and how it influenced his further works.

Overview

Me:
Pollomuhku ja posityyhtynen (114 pages, partly)
Eurooppalaiset unet (179 pages, complete)
Caraval (64 pages, partly)
Total of 357 pages

Daniel:
The Story of Kullervo (158 pages, partly)
Total of 158 pages


Not too shabby with 515 pages between us! Definitely happy I now have 2/3 of the library books I loaned for this actually read and Caraval too seemed rather exciting.

I nearly read the book! I only have the foreword to finish off. For my first marathon I am very happy as this was indeed a very heavy book
to read with lots of dialect, notes, sources and references. Despite the heaviness this was a poetic and beautiful book. I hope to finish two books for our next marathon!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

'Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?' Because that would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.'


I picked this up, sat at the dinner table and read it. Granted, it's a TED Talk turned into an essay and in Finnish just shy of 50 pages, but I would've gladly read 50 more or even 150. The reason We Should All Be Feminists has been on my radar is that earlier this year, a copy of it was given to every 9th grader in Finland. I read the Finnish edition they were given ('Meidän kaikkien pitäisi olla feministejä'), and I think they're in good hands. This book works incredibly well as a conversation starter as well due to its short length and current message.

This essay is very personal. Adichie talks about her own experiences and doesn't make them into some sort of a universal truth that everyone should agree on, but also raises many sharp points about why, indeed, We Should All Be Feminists. She's from Nigeria and lives partly in the US herself, but even though our cultures are vastly different, her experiences still resonate with what I feel. I'm sure anyone who's a woman or doesn't hate women would agree.

I don't expect that giving this book to kids miraculously turns them into a full generation of acceptance and love, but I think if even one of them finds this book an eye-opener, it has done its work. It's a good size with reasonable sized text, and at least I found it a page-turner. If only they opened it.

I took a look yesterday into how that was taken in Finland, and some of it was pretty appalling. Middle-aged men calling out on Twitter how, direct quote: "Political propaganda is being forced upon our youth."  Really. If you think that equality of genders is dangerous propaganda, you should go back to the 1500s where you clearly belong. Also, it was very clear that no one who criticised this book had ever even touched it. It's horrible how just saying 'I'm a feminist' gets this sort of a reaction from people, and that's something Adichie talks about as well: how the word itself has become incredibly loaded and makes people imagine that you hate men, among many other things. 

If these people actually read the book, they would know feminism is not the opposite of misogynism, but the actual plea for equality of genders. And they might disagree with some of the things in this book, but at least they would know what they were talking about. Of course, if people were willing to educate themselves and admit to being wrong, this would be all too easy.

You can find the TED Talk here in its entirety and if you've not read this or watched it, well, I definitely recommend it. I wish everyone would, and then maybe we would have a slightly better world. 

'My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there's a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.'

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 4: A book inspiring wellness and wellbeing.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Akvarelleja Engelin kaupungista - Jukka Viikilä

'Onko arkkitehtia, joka kieltäytyisi kokonaisen kaupungin rakentamisesta, vaikka se nousisikin näin pimeään, kylmään ja syrjäiseen paikkaan?'

'Is there an architect who would refuse to build a whole city, even if it rose in such a dark, cold and isolated place as this?'

And also: how do you write about a book so intelligent and intellectual that you feel like you haven't lived long enough to match it?

I don't think there's many capital cities that have so prominently been designed by one architect, but this is only one of the many things that makes Akvarelleja Engelin kaupungista ("Aquarelles from Engel's City") so interesting. There's also the fact that the city Carl Ludvig Engel designed essentially didn't exist before his work commenced, for the little village had been burnt badly eight years before and was only made the capital four years prior to his arrival.

The reason this book was in my radar is very simple: it won the coveted Finlandia prize for fiction last year. That's like a Booker or Pulitzer prize for Finnish people. Honestly, I've never happened to read a winner before, but they're pretty highly valued books regardless. I was also interested in this because one of his buildings (the one in the picture) is about six kilometres my home (in an area where practically nothing exists, what are the chances of that?) I happened to come across this very luckily at my local library (not the big and fancy one), and I knew I just had to take the time to read it within the two week quick loan time.

Akvarelleja Engelin kaupungista is written like a night diary by the architect during his years in Helsinki, spanning from 1816, when he arrived, to 1840, when he passed away. Engel wasn't in love with Helsinki, by any means. He found it cold, uncultured and revulsive, even, and was always convinced that he would move back to Berlin once his job was done. Regardless, the work he did on the city shaped a lot of how it looks today.

The book is incredibly poetic. The thoughts expressed are very beautiful but they never feel fake or pretentious. I found it exquisite. This is obviously because while this is Viikilä's first novel, he's previously released two poetry compilations. What's also apparent is that lots and lots of work have gone into this. It's steeped in history and notes actual things that happened and how Engel might have reacted to them. The buildings he made also pop up in real time and allow Viikilä to imagine how the architect might have believed it.

There's a lot I could tell you about the architect based on this book, and I think that's really cool. I must applaud the work of the author, and I'm happy to do so. Viikilä's primary source of information on the architect (of whom not much personal information exists, allowing for a book like this) were letters he wrote to his three closest friends.

I loved this book. I imagine not everyone would, because it is pretty poetic and cultural, but for me it was definitely a hit, and I don't think I would change anything even if I could. I think I'll work on finding a hardback copy of my very own. This is the sort of book that deserves to exist as a hardback, you see. If the author decides to write another novel, I'll be excited to read it.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 8: A book about Finnish history!

'Tämän olen oppinut suomalaisista: heille kaunein kukka on peruna.'

'This I have learnt of the Finns: to them the most beautiful flower is a potato.'

Friday, 30 June 2017

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling


'Nobody's ever asked me to a party before, as a friend. Is that why you dyed your eyebrow, for the party? Should I do mine too?' (Luna Lovegood being a precious creampuff)


My previous Harry Potter reviews are here if you need them or like, want to look at them or something.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth installment of the beloved franchise. Some things are expected at this point: quality writing and plot developments et cetera. This book is very dark when compared to the earlier ones, and it's definitely something I welcomed with open arms. Even though Harry may well be 'the chosen one', he still carries numerous scars from what has happened in the previous books. It doesn't come without a cost, one could say.

This might just be my favourite Harry Potter book. I'd say it has something to do with not having seen the movie, and while that's probably a big part of it... The events of this book were really interesting to me. It gives more depth to Dumbledore and Snape, and most interestingly, Tom Riddle. I loved to learn about Tom so much, I was clearly looking forward to those lessons more than Harry was. Tom Riddle: The Early Years is definitely yet another prequel I would much rather take over Fantastic Beasts... just saying. I also enjoyed the Half-Blood Prince bit, and I was not expecting it to turn out the way it did. That actually goes for many things in this book, as there were not many 

My favourite thing about Rowling's writing is the fact that the books have a lot of detail seemingly scattered around over the whole length of the book but it all makes sense by the time you finish the book. Like 'hey, remember this tidbit 400 pages ago? Surprise, it's back!' It's amazing and I can't even imagine being able to write something that intelligent. I feel like a clutz in a small, tightly packed second-hand bookstore in comparison to the beauty of this thing.

What is there one can really say about these books, at this point? I enjoyed this immensely, and it was a real pleasure to read. I'm at a loss of anything else I can say. Sorry about that. I started Deathly Hallows as well, and I'm already mourning finishing it. These books really are good.

Tonks is my favourite character. She's so cute and happy. She might die now that I've admitted this.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 31: A fantasy book!

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Story of Kullervo - J.R.R. Tolkien

'For the paths led ever deeper
Deeper deeper into darkness
Deeper deeper into sorrow
Into woe and into horror.'

The Story of Kullervo is, in his own words, J.R.R Tolkien's first wandering into writing an epic. It was written when he was a 22-year old Oxford undergraduate. Makes one wonder, what am I doing with my life, right? And although it was written in 1915, it was forgotten for a hundred years and only came out in book form in 2015. It was also his first time writing prose instead of what he had been doing prior to this – poetry.

The reason this is so interesting from a Finn's point of view is that it's based on a story from our national epic, Kalevala. While Tolkien's knowledge on it is obviously and sadly vastly superior to mine, I don't think anyone has managed to escape primary education without being somewhat familiar with it. The stories that I believe are most well known from it are the stories of Aino, and indeed Kullervo. Both are quite tragic and depressing. The stories themselves are compiled by Elias Lönnrot in between 1828 and 1835 from Finnish (pagan) myths. 

Tolkien didn't approve of the English translation of Kalevala, however. He tried to read it in Finnish and took out a dictionary from the library - and failed miserably. A receipt still exists from the library giving him a fine for not returning that dictionary in time, by the way. So we're doing okay, too. I could tell you a lot of stuff about Kalevala and its inception and its poetic metre, for it's very exciting and interesting and there's a lot to talk about, but back to Kullervo.

Kullervo is hauled as Tolkien's most tragic hero - the book sleeve knows to tell me this. And the story is certainly a tragedy, though I won't talk about that in detail in case you'd like to go into it and be surprised. It's a tragedy written in prose mixed with poetry, imitating the runos of Kalevala. The Story of Kullervo is only 40 or so pages of this book, followed by fairly helpful notes from the editor and an essay by Tolkien on Kalevala itself.

The writing here is good, but it's not what I expect to be Tolkien's best (I'm not familiar with Middle-Earth at all and that's just awful; I'm actually only attempting to fix that this year), and it's a very rough work. It's clearly a labour of love though, and the passion for the source material is evident in the (un-)finished book.

Sadly, it's difficult to give this a higher rating than a 4/5. I liked unconditionally what I got, but it doesn't change the fact that The Story of Kullervo was never finished. I don't mean to say that it's merely unpolished (which it is), but that the ending, the latter part of the story, cuts off and is written as a synopsis. 'This is what would happen next if I wrote it.' I want you to read this book as well, if only because it made me want to pick up Kalevala again for the first time since I was rid of it in school, but I can't fully recommend something that you're almost bound to be a little disappointed with.

There's definitely something deeply compelling about Kalevala. I don't know if you knew this, but I love the Donald Duck comics. Out of those, Don Rosa, who may well be one of three best-known artists, has written The Quest for Kalevala among his other Donald Duck works. Seriously. I definitely recommend reading that if you're interested, he drew a beautiful, realistic version of Helsinki and very cool Iku-Turso and stuff. (I really want you to read it but if you can't be bothered to right now, just look at that amazing Iku-Turso art here!!!) His other works are really cool too. ...Why am I rambling about Kalevala again?

I'll convince/let Daniel read this library copy when he's visiting so he can tell you his more Tolkien-infused and less Kalevala-centered thoughts!

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 9: A book inspired by some work of art!

Senlin Ascends: a wonderful journey of wits, wisdom, intelligence and wonder

'Newcomers may expect the ringdoms of the Tower to be like the layers of a cake where each layer is much like the last. But this is not the case. Not at all. Each ringdom is unique and bewildering. The ringdoms of the Tower share only two things in common: the shape of their outermost walls, which are roughly circular, and the price of beer, which is outrageous. The rest is novel.'
- Everyman's Guide to the Tower of Babel, I.X

[Another one from Daniel, mine is here if you somehow missed it!]

Embarking on a long-journey is fascinating. A compendium of new sights, people, food and climate becomes the reality of envisagement. A recent spontaneous journey lead myself and Tuuli though Aberdeen and Glasgow down to Belgium. Throughout the journey I gazed out of the window, allured by the many passing towns of Belgium meanwhile Tuuli obsessed over a specific book; the book of which I am reviewing today.

Much like our trip to Brussels, Senlin Ascends accompanies Senlin and his wife, Marya on an adventure to the tower of Babel. The tower is located in the fictional land of Ur and is a dream location for Senlin and is therefore a perfect place for their honeymoon. The tower is a pinnacle of society, housing technology beyond both the ordinary and academic mind and a heaven for greater existence. Senlin's innervation quickly deteriorates once he steps off the train, shadowed in the opulence that is the tower. Navigating through the bustling streets, bombarded by merchants, tower-dwellers and fellow tourists Senlin is abruptly separated from Marya. The only hope is a previous agreement they made, which was to meet at the top of the tower if they got separated; this begins his grand ascension of the tower.

This pulchritudinous book is imaged in our regular reading spot. It is quite an irregularly sized book but the design of the cover reflects the mystery shroud in the books content (I will divulge more into this later). The next book in the trilogy, Arm of the Sphinx, also has an mystical design which looks very nice.

The detail in this book is immense, every item is delicately crafted to bring the tower to life. I have an vibrant image in my head of the tower and of the people. They are not entirely comparable to anything that is real but hints of realism is placed eloquently in parts of the book which allows everything to seem plausible. I enjoyed going to new places in this book and meeting new characters as the descriptions where very well thought out.

Up to yet, every character, including the bad ones are complex and fine-tuned and play along constructively with the book. Each individual you meet is involved with the plot and, while existing as catalysts they make you scavenge you mind to try and figure what their end game is. Everything is not as it seems.

We get a first hand sight into he tower from Senlins viewpoint and we develop with him as he unravels (or tries) the secrets of the tower. Many of the other characters seem to know the secrets of the tower (seem...ha) and their development is greatly satisfying to watch; it was very pleasurable to join individuals finding their own paths in the tower.

Senlins nickname in the book is ostrich? (Tell me if this is correct?) He is developed as an individual who isn't the most handsome or strongest and only has intelligent. People from his town do not think he deserves his wife. We are told this story but we see how much care he does have for Marya and how he develops to care for her even more which she is missing (which could be indefinitely). The two of them do not seem to match but they work perfectly well together anyway. I usually hate love aspects of books and movies but this actually interested me. (Regrettably I do liken myself to Senlins sometimes)

I never felt bored reading this and there was something new on every page which made me want to go back to it. The words flow without interruption and even though some of the grammar is complex it was very easy to read. The pacing was excellent and evidently the author is exceptionally skilled by adding hints of deception, delight and darkness into the same pages.

Continuing from darkness, the tower is quickly painted and thickened in a coat of darkness and seriousness but light is seen in every chapter. Dark and light do not always mix but Senlin is always optimistic and wants to see the best in people, the book goes much deeper than you could possibly expect.

The wonder of the tower and its workings reminds me of a slightly darker industrial revolution age. Things do not seem fair and everything is mechanical and clunky but it works.

My only criticism is a character we meet during the latter half of the book. This individual seems to possess powers that are not explained and therefore seem unrealistic and do not fit with the style of the book. This is very minor as it goes into no significant detail about this individual, I am entirely certain we will learn more about him in the next book.

I really enjoyed this and would highly recommend you to read it. Using Tuuli's ever reliable system, I will give this 4.5 out of 5. I can't wait to read the next one in July!!!

(I have tried very hard not to spoil any characters, there is a lot more in this book, tons of little details which are just so satisfying and which also are used to set out the book. I'm not going to spoil any here, you should definitely read it)