Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (10/13/20)–To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I think…I think I’m one of the few people that didn’t pick this up after The Inheritance Cycle? My brother loved them, but I never got around to reading them. Hence why I bought this book in the first place–as a birthday present for him. It ended up arriving a good month before his birthday, so I figured I’d read it before I wrapped it up for him. (I was intrigued, anyway–Prometheus vibes, anyone?) The first half was painful to read at points, but it picked up at the halfway mark by a long shot.

Enjoy this week’s review!

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars - Christopher Paolini - Paolini.net

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars–Christopher Paolini

Kira Navárez, a budding xenobiologist, has just uncovered an artifact that could determine the fate of the galaxy. When the coating of dust surrounding it grows a mind of its own, she knows that something is awry. What she didn’t anticipate was to be thrown into the beginnings of interstellar war, and approaching first contact with a potentially hostile species. Can she face the gravity of her consequences alone, or will she succumb to the war inside and outside of her?

BadSciFilm: Prometheus | The Other Sociologist

Let’s just start off with something I’d like to discuss: weaving pop culture references into literature. I’m 100% for it, most of the time–I love finding those hidden Easter eggs and discovering that the author may have a like mind. But there’s a certain art to slipping them in–drawing them from a variety of sources, spreading them out, making them subtle; placing them in a way that works for the story, but making them just noticeable enough to pop out in a way that makes the reader go “oh hey, That Thing!” without it being wholly distracting. I’ve read a variety of novels where this works, and lots that haven’t.

Remember how I said that I was initially drawn to reading this from the likeness to Prometheus?

Well…

Can we talk about the first half of the book? For lack of better words, and I hate to say this…it feels like Alien/Aliens fanfic. And it’s almost…self-aware of the fact? There’s no shortage of similar plot lines, and even the references scattered throughout only emphasize the fact. In the first 200-300 pages alone, we have:

  • Kira’s homeworld, Weyland
  • A ship AI called Bishop
  • Several references to a minor character (I think?) named Geiger
  • Kira using Ellen as a fake name (as in Ellen Ripley)

(I may have missed a few, but these are the ones that most prominently stood out for me.)

Paolini’s clearly drawn quite a lot of inspiration from the mythos of Ridley Scott and James Cameron–and I don’t blame him–but it really isn’t subtle. At all. There’s several little threads that felt veeeeeeeery similar to said films…

…And then the second half came along!

For me, the second half saved the novel, really. Whether or not that was influenced by the quote from David Bowie’s “Blackstar” at the beginning of Part 3 is up for debate. (Hey, I’m a woman of simple tastes.)

From there, Paolini’s originality and fast-paced plot truly shone through, making for a tense and riveting sci-fi.

My favorite aspect of the novel was absolutely the Jellies/Wrannui (wait, did I spell that right?). Their design, all of the little intricacies of their culture and society were so well thought out, and I had such a blast getting to know all of the ins and outs of them. I liked Itari a lot, even though they had a fairly small role.

As far as the characters go, I didn’t get super attached to any of them, but they all had at least a decent amount of personality and development. There’s a pretty diverse cast as well, so kudos to Paolini for that as well. The romance between Kira and Falconi definitely felt like an afterthought and didn’t add anything to the story, but all of the other interactions between the characters were alright. But on that subject…is it weird that my favorite character was a ship AI? I LOVED Gregorovich–he was the most fascinating out of all of them for me, and I loved the psychological aspect that Paolini explored with his character. Reminds me a bit of a Kaufman/Kristoff type of AI–a slightly more unstable Magellan, or a far more calmed down and sane AIDAN? You decide!

This is my first exposure to Paolini’s writing, and it was…hit or miss for me? It tended to be quite choppy and terse, which was both a blessing and a curse. (Whoops, did I just rhyme? Would ya look at that…) Sometimes it had the effect of making a scene appropriately tense, but it occasionally erased some of the emotion in the character interactions. The dialogue had a similar quality to it–not quite authentic, but not so bad that it made the characters feel/sound cardboard.

A lot of the reviews I’ve skimmed through have complained about some of how drawn out the scientific aspects of the novel were, but they didn’t bother me at all; in fact, they had the opposite effect on me. The research made the world feel fully fleshed out, and while it did have moments of sounding jargon-y, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. Apparently Paolini spent years researching the science behind some of this novel’s aspects, and it’s clearly evident in every word. (And yes, it’s a really long novel, but I think that the battle scenes went on longer…maybe parts of those should have been cut out as opposed to all of the aforementioned content.)

All in all, a well-thought-out sci-fi that suffered from too much borrowing in the first half, but rocketed to a tense and gripping second half. 3.25 stars.

Prometheus Gif - ID: 75033 - Gif Abyss

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is confirmed to be a standalone, but will be the first in Paolini’s future Fractalverse. He is also the author of the Inheritance Cycle, consisting of Eragon (book 1), Eldest (book 2), Brisingr (book 3), and Inheritance (book 4).

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 5-11, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.

Now that all of the big tests and quizzes that I’ve been stressing out over are over with, I’m feeling a lot better. And now I have a long weekend to look forward to next week, which I’m ECSTATIC for! Just the break I needed.

I had another fairly lackluster reading week, but I enjoyed everything that I read. I only got around to reading two books (well, one, technically–I finished the first one on Sunday evening), and that’s all because of the sheer length of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. (Expect a review next week.) I also had my school’s book club meeting for Aurora Rising, and everybody seemed to love it, which filled my heart with immeasurable joy…🥺

Too Much Beauty GIF by Much - Find & Share on GIPHY
Is this gif about To Sleep in a Sea of Stars or my AP Bio quiz/Precalc test this week? You decide…

Other than that, I went back to the library and got a good haul, caught up on Fargo, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Raised by Wolves (nearly finished with the latter…), and I’ve finally gotten slightly back into the groove of outlining for NaNoWriMo. Oh, and The Other Side of the Sky and Skyhunter just came in the mail!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Showers, Flowers, and Fangs–Aidan Wayne (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars–Christopher Paolini (⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Amazon.com: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars eBook: Paolini, Christopher: Kindle  Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Court of Miracles–Kester Grant

Amazon.com: The Court of Miracles (9781524772857): Grant, Kester: Books

The Bone Houses–Emily Lloyd Jones

Amazon.com: The Bone Houses eBook: Lloyd-Jones, Emily: Kindle Store

Chilling Effect–Valerie Valdes

Chilling Effect: Valdes, Valerie: 9780062877239: Amazon.com: Books

Dark and Deepest Red–Anna-Marie McLemore

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

A Touch of Gold–Annie Sullivan

A Touch of Gold (A Touch of Gold, #1) by Annie Sullivan

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

My Life in Books Tag

Hi again, bibliophiles! I have a little bit of extra time, and I haven’t done a book tag in what feels like ages, so I’ve decided to do this one!

I found this tag over at Bookshelf Life, and I haven’t been able to find the creator of the tag, so if you know, please let me know 🙂

Let’s begin, shall we?

FIND A BOOK FOR EACH LETTER OF YOUR NAME

M: Monstrous–MarcyKate Connolly

A: Aurora Rising–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (you all knew this was coming, didn’t you?)

D: Dune–Frank Herbert

E: Even the Darkest Stars–Heather Fawcett

L: The Life Below (The Final Six, #2)–Alexandra Monir

I: I Wish You All the Best–Mason Deaver

N: Night Music–Jenn Marie Thorne

E: Everything Grows–Aimee Herman

PICK A BOOK SET IN YOUR CITY/COUNTRY

All the Impossible Things: Lackey, Lindsay: 9781250202864: Amazon.com: Books

I’ve lived in Colorado for most of my life, and that’s where All the Impossible Things is set. There’s even a scene at the Denver Aquarium, one of my favorite places to go in Denver.

PICK A BOOK THAT REPRESENTS A DESTINATION THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL TO

The Case of the Missing Marquess (An Enola Holmes Mystery): Springer,  Nancy: 9780142409336: Amazon.com: Books

I’ve always wanted to travel to England, and Enola Holmes, along with Harry Potter (among other things) may or may not have spurred that on. (Oh, and David Bowie and the Beatles…)

PICK A BOOK WITH YOUR FAVORITE COLOR ON THE COVER

Amazon.com: Under Shifting Stars eBook: Latos, Alexandra: Kindle Store

I love teal and turquoise, and Under Shifting Stars has that in no short supply.

WHICH BOOK DO YOU HAVE THE FONDEST MEMORY OF?

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

I read Heart of Iron for the first time just over two years ago. I was on a plane ride to Chicago, and I spent most of the ride eagerly reading through this one. It was my favorite book for a while, and I highly recommend it!

WHICH BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE MOST DIFFICULTY READING?

Amazon.com: The Odyssey (9780140268867): Homer, Robert Fagles, Bernard  Knox: Books

We had to read The Odyssey for English in my freshman year. I liked it, but I had to read it in…[ahem] small chunks because I just kept getting tired…

WHICH BOOK ON YOUR TBR WILL GIVE YOU THE BIGGEST SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT WHEN YOU FINISH IT?

Amazon.com: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars eBook: Paolini, Christopher: Kindle  Store

I started reading To Sleep in a Sea of Stars last night. It’s about the same length of my edition of Dune, which took me a solid week to read, so it’ll be a relief to finish all 880 pages. (I’m about 200 pages in now, and…it went from “draws heavily from Aliens” to “wait, is this an Aliens fanfic?” very quickly, but we’ll see how it goes…)

I TAG:

& anyone else who wants to participate!

30 Animated Book Reading Gifs - Best Animations

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (10/3/20)–Intimidating Books 😳

Hi again, bibliophiles! This is my first experimentation with scheduled posts, so this is technically Top 5 Thursday, but…shh, nobody else has to know…

And IT’S FINALLY SPOOKY SEASON!

Anyway, it’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is intimidating books. 

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER: 

9/12/20—Science Fiction Books

9/19/20—Award-Winning Books

9/26/20—Guilty Pleasure Books

10/3/20—Intimidating Books

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, Christopher Paolini

Amazon.com: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars (9781250762849): Paolini,  Christopher: Books

The fact that it’s nearly 900 pages long is the only truly intimidating factor about this one for me, but if I handled Dune, I could get through this. I ordered it for my brother’s birthday, and it’s currently sitting in my room, so I could probably sneak in a read before I wrap it up…🤫

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Beloved (novel) - Wikipedia

After reading The Bluest Eye, I’m certain that this one will be amazing, but incredibly rough. I have several of Morrison’s novels on my TBR, and I think we’ll be reading Song of Solomon either this year or next year for school.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Amazon.com: The Perks of Being a Wallflower eBook: Chbosky, Stephen: Kindle  Store

This one’s become a classic in the past two decades, and I’ve heard no shortage of high praise for it, but again–I’m going into it knowing that it may or may not destroy me.

Internment, Samira Ahmed

Internment: Amazon.co.uk: Ahmed, Samira: Books

Again–everyone that I know of who’s read this has loved it, but given the current political climate here in the U.S., I’m…okay, definitely not in the right headspace at the moment. I’d still love to read this, though.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Books: The Handmaids Tale

Another book that I really want to read, but really shouldn’t at the moment, given…well, 2020…

This one’s been in hibernation on my Kindle; my mom sent it to me, but told me to wait until the pandemic’s over to read it. I think I’ll stick to her advice.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Continue Go On GIF by Paramount Network - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!