25. maaliskuuta 2012

Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world.

One of them, a beautiful faery boy named Keenan, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Now it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King and is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost. Without her, summer itself will perish...”

Wicked Lovely was first recommended to me by the same person who recommended The Hunger Games books (and that person is going to be my boss for ten weeks, yay! \o/). At first it was difficult to begin (which seems to be the way in most things with me, I’m noticing) reading, but once I got into it, I was swept away. These faeries are no Disney-sort. They are evil and cunning, deceptive and vain. Once they set their sights on something, they will stop at nothing to get it. Too bad for Aislinn that the Summer King has chosen her. Marr describes her faeries much like Terry Pratchett in Lords and Ladies, or Neil Gaiman in his Stardust.

I loved the way Marr writes and describes things and although at points it felt like she was skipping things, taking shortcuts and not explaining some things as well as I would have liked, all in all the book was a whole and pleasant read. At times I could really see the fae with my minds eye, imagine Aislinn’s surroundings and dive into the world Marr describes.  I myself am 23, and I could easily see even older people liking this book despite it’s main target audience being a bit younger.

I also loved that it’s not hypocritical like the Twilight saga, trying to make the heroine something more than human, and it does not make Aislinn anything other than she is - a teen who is damn scared and afraid. She is in every aspect very realistic as a character, very human in many ways. It’s easy to identify yourself with her, especially if you’re a teen in turmoil. And Seth’s dropdead gorgeous. <3


4. maaliskuuta 2012

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Chua

“This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.”

As a person with no children and (as of yet) no desire to ever have any, I read Battle Hymn in the most objective way possible. It’s easy to not to take sides when all the people Amy Chua talks about in the book are strangers and you have no personal connection to them. From my point of view her way of raising her children is just one way of doing it, and it’s just as valid as any other. She really describes well why she chose to do the things she did, what was the thinking process behind all those decisions. While reading the book it became more and more obvious to me that Amy Chua’s way of raising her children wasn’t destroying them mentally or traumatizing them in any way. Children are way more flexible than adults give them credit for, and it’s usually the society’s way of treating these kids that makes them think “is this how I should be feeling?” and “am I incorrect to think that what happened to me, in the end, is okay?”

In the last chapters of her book Amy Chua says that there’s supposed to be humor in the book and I have to say I failed to find it. Looking back, thinking about it again, after Amy pointed it out for me, sure, most of the over the top stuff probably was meant as humor. But with the mentality about raising children being what it is, it’s easy to see why the irony would be lost to the reader.

In the end though, Amy Chua was correct to push her children, to believe them capable of doing all the things they accomplished. She never gave up on them and in the process definitely taught them to never give up on themselves, nor their children. I wish my mother would have been at least the tenth as demanding as Chua, and maybe I would have stuck to some of the dozens of hobbies I had. Battle Hymn is a good, entertaining read, and I couldn’t put it down once I started. I found the cultural differences Chua describes interesting and to anyone just figuring out what to do and what not to do in regards of raising kids, Battle Hymn definitely has something to give. It’s not scientific or matter of fact, and I liked it. Chua is honest about the outcomes of her exploits and she lets the reader in on her weaker moments, too.

I wish I’ll have the courage to stick to the plan when the time comes.