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Title: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Sci-fi, epistolary
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 336 pages
Date read: May, 2017

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she's dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers - and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth... and maybe even the stars.

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC! This book picks up 9 years after the first one left off which disappointed me a bit at first (I wanted to know what happened RIGHT after), but worked quite nicely once I got further into it.

Though obviously not as 'unique' as the first book, "Waking Gods" was every bit as good and every bit as difficult to put down. Even the (relatively) open ending didn't bother me too much, as it fit in with the rest of the plot. Still, I'll be keeping an eager eye out for the third book in the series.

I'm really fond of the writing style. It's a bit of a stretch to call it "epistolary" as a lot of it is transcripts of interviews/conversations, but there's no "narration" - everything is told through dialogue or journal entries. It adds a certain twist to the atmosphere which I really like.

Rather dark at times (Sylvain Neuvel is not afraid to "kill his darlings" - so don't expect anybody to be safe "just because") but still written with a good dose of humour. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more.
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Title: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Sci-fi, epistolary
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 322 pages
Date read: May, 2017

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

One of those amazing reads where even though I own it as an e-book, I immediately went out and purchased it as a physical book - I want it in my library! But no wonder - it hits all of my insta-loves. An epistolary sci-fi novel with a semi-unreliable narrator (mostly because you KNOW he's not telling you everything) and a totally fascinating concept.

I spent most of the book in a constant state of "What on earth is going on? And what on earth is going to happen next?" Those questions were only half-way answered, which for once didn't frustrate me, as it fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the book. I couldn't put it down and can't wait to read the sequel.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: S.
Author: J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
Genre: Epistolary
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 456
Date read: October, 2015

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world's greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they're willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

I don't usually post photos in my reviews, but the charm of this book is best explained via visual aids.

The minute I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. I adore books that play with the media ("Lost in a Good Book" and "The City of Dreaming Books" spring to mind as other books that do this really well), so when I realized that half the plot in this book was told via the book "Ship of Theseus" and the other half was told through comments in the margin of said book as well as clippings, photos etc. inserted throughout the book - I was sold. What an altogether brilliant idea! I almost didn't care about the plot itself.

And the book didn't disappoint. I loved getting to know Eric and Jen through the comments in the margin - trying to figure out the timeline as they jumped back and forth to have conversations and follow up on things. I cared less about the story of SOT, but I don't think we were really supposed to, as it was mostly a means to an end. The main problem with the book - and the only reason it didn't make a straight 5 star rating - is that it was almost too realistic in Eric and Jen's way of communicating, so some things were just implied or understood, as they were referring to events they obviously both knew the outcome of. This also made the ending slightly abrupt, and left me with a few unanswered questions.

Nothing major though, and at the end of the day, the charm of the book won through. Definitely the most unusual book I have ever read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Genre: YA, epistolary
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 336 pages
Date read: July, 2015

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead - to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse - though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven't forgiven?

It's not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was - lovely and amazing and deeply flawed — can she truly start to discover her own path.

A really weird reading experience. For the first 60-70% I didn't care overly much for it, and actually put it down for long stretches at a time. But even so, whenever I considered just giving up on it altogether, something would happen that would make me want to read more after all.

Then yesterday the book redeemed itself to me. Instead of continuing down her distructive path, three quarters of the way through the book Laurel suddenly started making smarter choices and actually voiced her thoughts and her troubles, instead of letting them move her to make stupid decisions.

Which meant that I ended up absolutely loving the last 25% of the book, and had tears in my eyes as I reached the end.

I can't in good conscience recommend the book, as the first half really was a slog to get through. But for myself I'm glad I kept at it, as the end really did make the rest worthwhile.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Green Gables Letters
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Genre: Non-fiction, epistolary
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 94
Date read: March, 2015

Letters from L. M. Montgomery to Ephraim Weber, 1905-1909.

I bought this at a time where I wanted to read everything and anything concerning L.M. Montgomery - especially as Ephraim Weber got mentioned quite a bit in her journals. However, having read the journals, there was very little new in this book, although it was interesting to see how she described her reactions to the publishing of the two first Anne books to somebody else (and that Mark Twain wrote her a review!). Also, I had forgotten how quickly she was pushed to write more - "Anne of Green Gables" was initially supposed to be a stand-alone novel!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Author: Maria Semple
Genre: Fiction, Epistolary
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 330 pages
Date read: August, 2014

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle - and people in general - has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence - creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

Smart, funny, awesome book. I enjoyed every minute of it.

It's an epistolary novel, which I know isn't for everybody, but personally a good book tends to be even better if it's written in that form - so I was inclined to like it even before I started.

But even so, the book lived up to and even exceeded my expectations. It was brilliantly clever, and I simply couldn't put it down. I loved the twists and turns the novel took, and how the epistolary form meant that we got many sides of each story.

My only problem with the book is that it's too short!


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