Mini Reviews | February 2015

The Siege by Helen Dunmore –
This is a painful, often uncomfortable read, that succeeds in its accurate and emotionally-charged depiction of a period in history.  The trials and tribulations of the twenty-two-year-old Anna and her family are harrowing; it's one of those reads that makes you appreciate everything you've ever taken for granted. Anna's an unlikely heroine, but it's difficult not to admire her resourcefulness and astounding bravery in the face of an era so harsh. And, to briefly touch upon the romance, Dunmore's elegant prose, joint with the stark backdrop of WW2 Leningrad, led to an epic depiction of love during the most unlikely of times. The only problem I had with this book is, well, me; if I had known more about the history of Leningrad, I would have been able to appreciate the depth of this novel even more. ★★★½


I was lying in bed, the morning after finishing this book, my whole being occupied by a dreamy languor, when the beauty and importance of Murakami's words finally struck me. It took me a while to comprehend and truly figure out this book – and, yet, even now, I'm still bewildered and baffled by the intensity and rawness of the novel. Sadness is a complex and intricate emotion, and I feel as if Murakami has fully encapsulated this in his time capsule of life, death and all that stuff in between. Despite the slow and downbeat beginning, Murakami's novel succeeds on a thematic level, as well as through its solid characterisation and wonderfully reflective ending. I'm not one for age ratings, but I should probably mention that this book deals with mature themes, such as suicide. ★★★★½

Vicious by V.E. Schwab –

This book can easily be summed up by the quotation which proceeds the tale: “Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse”. It's a twisted tale of morality and heroism, riddled with complex characters and telling backstories. To start with, the structure is flawless. Fast-paced and laced with small snippets of the character's past – it's simply exhilarating. My only problem? Sometimes everything moved a bit too fast. But, aside from this, the characterisation is fantastic – I adored Sydney and felt, somewhat oddly, attached to Victor. All in all, Vicious is a dynamic comic book-esque tale brought to life by addictive prose, ultimately challenging our black-and-white perception of good and bad. ★★★★

Have you read any of these? What did you think? 


  1. Norwegian Wood is amazing! Have you heard the song it is based around? It suits Naoko so well!

    Vicious looks great! Lovely reviews Ruby. x

  2. Great reviews. I've heard so much about Vicious and I don't think I've seen a review yet that has rated it three stars or below.

  3. Norwegian Word! I'm a HUGE Murakami fan!

  4. Great reviews! I've been thinking about picking up Vicious for awhile, and now I'm sold! :)


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