The dead are not gone forever. When you die your body and all your memories are preserved in the Archive. There you are stacked on shelves, able to leave a lasting impression on the world. Mackenzie is a Keeper, charged with keeping Histories from escaping. An easier said then done job when the Archive begins to break down and her world is upended. Can she stop those responsible or will time run out and will she be added to the shelves?
I misunderstood what this book was about when I read the summary and read other reviews. I have seen people praising this book and I loved Victoria Schwab so I knew I had to read this one.
I thought that the idea was that people’s consciousness were preserved in literal books. Instead their bodies are recreated in this Archive and that is where their memories are stored. I really liked the concept. I liked the idea that when you die you are not dead and gone forever. I liked the idea that there is a literal library of people and their histories. Each person is important because of the life they have lived and the things they have learned throughout that life. I loved the idea of preserving everyone.
I thought the pacing of this story as great as well. It didn’t drag on. The mystery was presented early and I liked that our main character was the one to stumble upon the mystery right away. She didn’t just hover around waiting for someone to tell her what to do. She was curious and began investigating. She worked to find the answers she wanted.
The story moved a perfect pace. We got our mystery and pieces were slowly revealed bit by bit. I liked that we weren’t stumbling around wondering what was going on or the end being just a huge info dump. Everything seemed to work in the right order.
Wes was my favorite character in this book. He felt original and fresh. I loved that he wore earrings, nail polish and eyeliner. I loved that he is an individual and he isn’t someone who is going to fall into a generic category. I think too many times male characters are just described as handsome in a super generic way. Wes felt more dynamic and real.
I could have used a bit more detail about how the Archive itself works. I don’t quite understand how they get all the people and their memories there. The world isn’t magical one so I am unsure how that works. Especially since it is so secretive. It isn’t like everyone knows about it yet everyone is cataloged there.
I also saw hints of one of my least favorite things in this story near the end. Thankfully it didn’t go that route but I still feel like the possibility for it, is there in the sequel. The idea that you don’t have to tell someone something in order to protect them. I hate the idea of keeping secrets because you want to keep someone safe. It never works and I hope it doesn’t become a thing in the next book.
I enjoyed the whole ride of this book. I see hints of where the next book could go. I didn’t have anything that threw me out of the story and made me want to put it down.
I have this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and am excited to read Unbound to see where the story goes.
“We leave memories on objects we love and cherish, things we use and wear down.” pg. 26
“Lying is easy, but lonely.” pg. 84
“Things only hurt more when you can see them.” pg.251
Mae is beyond excited, she has been hired at the most sought after company in the world. She knows she has to prove herself and she is ready to do whatever is necessary to climb the ranks. The Circle is the leader in technology. Though as she gets deeper into the company Mae begins to understand the scary implications of the work they are doing. Will she fight back or will she succumb to the power of The Circle?
I thought the way the book goes into the power of brainwashing is fascinating. There wasn’t too much plot and the character development was minimal; what really drives this book is the reader watching as Mae falls deeper and deeper into this cult like atmosphere.
It is interesting because it starts off pretty benign. You see her beginning to think like the heads of the company want her to think. And as a reader you agree with some of the way they frame the new development. You agree that you want the world to be safer. But as an outsider you also are able to think deeply about what this new way of life could mean for the world itself.
I sat there reading thinking of how terrifying this whole process seemed. Mae questions things at first but she is quickly told to back off. She is manipulated by how she is given certain questions. She is told to think in one way and when she fights back they make her feel guilty. They twist every word she says and make her feel like she is in the wrong even though her concerns are valid.
I also thought the way the technology evolved was interesting. I read it wondering what they could possibly try to do next and it just got worse and worse. The scariest part is that this is all very possible. We let technology into every part of our lives and we think it is okay but this book shows how far it can go.
I was captured by the way the world is taken into the hands of this company and molded to who they want the world to be. As a reader you read hoping to take notes and know what to look for in case this becomes to close to reality.
I thought the plot itself was lacking a bit. Most of this story was about how the technology progresses and they get closer to closing the Circle. There is a lot of hearing about the new techniques.
Near the end you start to see hints of resistance. I wanted a bit more from this part thought. I also wanted to know more about the founders of the company. I thought they were too flat. I thought that if I understood them a bit more I could understand how this company began. I think deepening their characters would have made the reader feel a bit conflicted about how they see the world. We get hints of what they wanted with this company but I think if we got their POV too I would have had trouble damning their ideas.
I had a bit of an issue with Mae’s character. I felt she was to naive. She accepted everything quite quickly. While she did question things for a minute it wasn’t much.
There is one moment in the first few pages that made me wonder what was wrong with her. She is getting all her passwords and paperwork done on her first day. She is told to sign something but not to ask what it is. She doesn’t even question this idea. She just does it without a thought. I sat there wondering how you could ever sign something without knowing what you signing.
She also is given a new tablet and she is told to upload her personal computer to the new tablet. She is then told all her personal computer information is now in the company’s cloud. Again she doesn’t even think twice about this. How can you literally give all your personal information over to your work place without thinking about it? Work and personal should be separate but she just does it.
I had trouble understanding that anyone wouldn’t at least think this was weird. Now this could be because of the world itself but the world is set up to be much liker ours. I can’t see anyone I know not thinking this is strange and fighting it. This set Mae as too gullible and easy to manipulate too me. I wanted her to be a bit more of a fighter.
I also had an issue with her relationship. She kept going back to someone who was creepy. He taped them without her consent and then made her feel guilty for wanting him to delete it. She then was manipulated into agreeing with him through the system. I don’t blame her for this as much as the system and I thought this depiction was disturbing. I really didn’t like the relationship aspect in this story.
I have this book 3 stars. I enjoyed it I just thought it could have done with a bit more development of the side characters and a bit more focus on the actual plot.
“All that happens must be known” – pg. 68
“It was a kind of micro, but it was incomplete, distorted. And if Francis wanted any or all of that information, why couldn’t he just ask her?” – pg. 126 – This touched on the one time she fought the system but she quickly fell back into line. It also hints at a very problematic relationship.
“Now we’re all God.” pg. 398
“That the volume of information, of data, or judgements, of measurements, was too much, and there were too many people, and too many desires of too many people, and too many opinions of too many people, and too much pain from too many people, and having all it constantly collated, collected, added and aggregated, and presented to her as if that all made it tidier and more manageable – it was too much.” pg. 414
Time for another trip through my bookshelf. I found a number of titles that stood out with a C. I also realized there is a handful of books I can put in a giveaway pile when I move.
I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought.
I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought.
Memorable Titles that started with C:
A Conjuring of Light – V.E. Schwab – This was a great end to this series. I felt like it wrapped things up well. It also brought new light to certain characters. I am excited for this universe to continue
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell – I remember this book was super interesting but also hard to figure out how it all came together. I like the ethereal feeling it gave me.
Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare – This was probably the best of the Mortal Instrument series. I enjoyed it and I like how the “love triangle” made sense and actually worked.
Cinder – Marissa Meyer – This was a great start to a fun series
Circe – Madeline Miller – This gave a whole new perspective to a myth I barely knew before. I am excited to read Song of Achilles soon.
Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo – Another great end to a exciting series.
Books starting with C on my TBR Shelf:
We jumped back into David’s perspective again in this installment in the Everworld series. While we were in the other’s POV’s I was having issues with David. I was falling into this way of seeing him as love struck and wannabe hero. I was having trouble remembering who he truly was.
This book reminded me who this character actually is. David is a kid who is desperate to get back control of his life. He has not felt like he is strong or worthy since his childhood. What happened to him as a child has broken him and he is starting to see the real damage done at that camp.
I find it really interesting how this storyline is being handled. While nothing is blatantly stated or shown you get a good idea of what happened to David. It’s even more interesting because as a teenager I never caught on to what happened. Or if I did it didn’t stay with me.
Now this storyline I can see and I can understand the true impact it is having on David as a full character. He is very self aware. He is trying hard to not show the rest of his friends what happened to him. He can’t watch as his worst fears about himself are being proved true. We hear how he knows he is weak around Senna but not willing to walk away from her. This push and pull makes their relationship more than just a normal crush relationship.
I remembered this part of the main plot well too. This is the point where our group starts having a lasting impact on the world around them. They are introducing aspects of the real world to this new world. I did have a little trouble believing they could do all the work they needed to do in such a short amount of time. But Jalil is smart so I am letting that slide.
I know the next book is one that I struggled with when I first read the series. I remember it being about fighting and tactic heavy and less about the characters. I am interested to see how I feel about it now.
So November was National Novel Writing Month and I knew that it was going to be a tough one. I debated not taking part at all but I also knew I had to give it a shot.
I enjoy NaNoWriMo because of the challenge is provides. I like the idea of trying to get to this final goal along with so many other people. I also really like watching my number climb higher and closer to my goal. I have since found that it is something I can do on Scrivener which is nice to know.
I also knew though that this NaNo was not going to be super successful for me. I think one of the main things I found out throughout November was that I don’t have to write 1,000 words every day to make progress on a project. I can write 100 or 500 and still be moving forward with a story. You don’t have to be writing day in and day out to be a writer and you don’t have to force something just to get words on a page. (At least for me as a writer with a full time job).
I also learned how to manage my time better over this challenge. I can come home from work and get some words down before dinner. It will be even better when I move this month and have an actual room for my office. I am very excited to have a space dedicated to my writing and my writing only.
In the end I only ended writing 17,859 words. I didn’t even crack the 25,000 goal I had set for myself, but I did find passion and drive for this story. I am excited for it. I am intrigued where it can go. I wrote it in pieces and at this point I am just going to continue to let it tell itself and then take those pieces and see what I can make of it.
I don’t know when the novel will be done or where it will go but the NaNoWriMo gave me a push and ultimately that is all I needed.
How did your NaNo month go?
November was a super busy month for me. It was my birthday month and I turned 30! We had one of our biggest events at work, a Poetry SLAM for 350 of our kids. I also began finalizing all the paperwork for my house. And then it was Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo. Needless to say life was busy and thus I did not have much time to read or write blog posts.
I read 3 books this month, though technically I read 2 and finished 1. I am at 50 books for the year, which is 10 books over my goal which is great. I am hoping to get at least 3 more books read before the end of the year!
I also only was able to get 5 blog posts out this month. Now December is going to be pretty busy as well, with actually moving and getting what I need for the house so I wouldn’t expect my post schedule to go back to its normal rate until January.
As for NaNoWriMo, I only got abbot 14,000 words written. Though I do love what I wrote. I am eager to continue with the story. I will go into more detail about NaNo in a future post.
Books I read:
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzie Lee – This was a fun sequel to the last book. While the plot itself isn’t super exciting the characters are great. I would love more from this world.
Lethal White – Robert Galbraith – I really enjoyed the development of Strike and Robin’s characters in this book. The mystery was hard to follow at times but still enjoyable.
Discover the Destroyer – K.A. Applegate – This re-read is still going well. I am starting to see the true nature of David’s character.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – K.A. Applegate- Review
Down the TBR Hole #11
The Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them #2) – Movie Review
Lethal White – Robert Galbraith – Review
Crimes of Gindelwald – I enjoyed this movie but I do see the issues with it. I liked all the backstory because I am a Harry Potter nerd. I do think though it isn’t a movie that those who don’t know much about Harry Potter. I am eager to see the other movies though and see how this whole story progresses.
Princess Switch – I saw this on Netflix and I will say it was pretty cliche. It wasn’t anything super exciting or different. It was alright but not one I will rewatch anytime soon.
How was your month? Which books did you read? Did you see any good movies? What are your favorite holiday movies?
Robin walks down the aisle and marries Matthew, but no one could call it a happy marriage. Strike is riding high after his last case that put him in the spotlight and finally gave him the chance to create a successful business. Though he isn’t exactly happy with his own personal life.
Billy, a mentally ill man, walks in and throws the pair of them into a mystery that wraps up an entire family. Affairs, unwanted children, possible murders and much more take theses two through a mystery that makes them not only question who is truthful in the case but in their own lives.
I don’t read this series for the mystery and detective elements. I read it for the personal stories of Strike and Robin. These two characters keep me coming back to these books. J.K. Rowling or Robert Gailbraith has a way of creating characters that are alive and familiar. We feel connected to them because they go through many of these same things we go through as readers.
The end of the last book was a bit of a cliffhanger. We wondered how Robin’s life would play out and what Strike would do. The prologue in this book answered those questions in a very realistic way. There is no dramatic runaway bride or abrupt change of heart. Instead the way things resolve is a slow burn. It plays out as I think it would in real life.
I thought it was interesting in this book how Strike and Matthew’s characters were played against each other. This what set the stage for the majority of the conflict in this book. When we met Matthew in the first book we thought him the perfect fit for Robin. He seemed loving and their story was fairytale-esque. Then, as happens when you truly get to know someone, we realized that he is not the perfect man for Robin. He is far from the right person.
Strike at first seemed gruff and uncaring. He was about himself and wanting to make his way in the world. He didn’t care about anyone really but we see again that first impressions don’t tell us anything about anyone.
Robin wants to be taken seriously, she doesn’t want to be told what to do and when to do it. She is afraid of being vulnerable. There is some great commentary about the way a woman can’t show her pain and anguish like a man because then she will be sidelined.
While Matthew tries to push Robin into a safe space, which would change her whole world; Strike does the opposite. He acknowledges her issues, makes her confront them and yet lets her still do what she wants to do. He doesn’t force her to a desk, he let her continue working.
But he also makes sure she knows that she has to deal with her issues. He won’t let her ignore them. He shares his own struggles and makes sure she understands that he is on her side. He cares about her and wants her to heal but he also knows putting her in a box won’t do anything to help her.
I didn’t think I wanted Robin and Strike together after the other books but after this one I think they would work perfectly together. There is understanding and truth there that will make a good relationship.
The mystery element and major plot of the book was as well done as the other books. I have mentioned it in previous reviews but the way the details are given is thorough. There is no sensational elements only there to make the pages turn. It gives what would happen in the timeline it would happen.
While I enjoy the details of the case, the length of the book was a bit much. I felt like the middle dragged. It is a hefty book and I think that some of the details of going back and forth and who was riding what train were not needed. We would have cut some of that and some of the retelling of the details in order to move the pace up a bit.
What I wished was different:
I had a little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight in the story. There were a lot of names and different players. I think it was good for the mystery element, more people to suspect, but I found myself wondering who was who.
I had to remind myself every time I picked up the book who was the main characters, who were the side ones and what plots mattered. I wished I had an easier time keeping everyone straight.
I gave this book three stars. I liked the mystery and I loved the development of the characters I just thought it a little too long.
I really enjoyed the first movie in the new Fantastic Beasts series. I didn’t know how it was going to tell a over-arching story but when I found out it was going to be about the rise and fall of Grindelwald I was excited. I thought this was a perfect piece of lore that we needed.
This second movie does a good job at providing a lot of back story and details that I am sure we are going to need in the later movies. Though I will say that I felt like not much happened in this movie. I felt like our character ran around looking for things and getting backstories as they went. For a book this usually works well, because you get wrapped up in the stories but for a movie I can see it boring some people. Especially those that don’t know the Potter universe a much as some of us super fans do.
I found myself enthralled because I loved hearing all these backstory pieces I did feel like I had to really concentrate in order to figure out who was who and what their story was. When we headed home we had to rehash parts to remember who was who. I think there are quite a few new names and branches to their stories which can be hard to follow. I may have to buy the screenplay just to be able to make note of what character is part of what story.
I really liked that this story told us more about Leta Lestrange. I am finding her fascinating. I am not sure quite why. I think it is because I know of her family in the present and they are evil. She is not bad, jus someone who doesn’t let anyone treat her badly. But she has a good heart and I am very curious how her bloodline twists throughout the story.
I also found it really interesting the way the character of Grindelwald was presented.This movie does a good job of showing how a dictator comes into power. You have these people who have been put down and stomped on and he is presenting them with possibilities no one else will provide. The way they show how a good speech and well said words can twist even the best person is interesting. You see that someone doesn’t have to be the most powerful they just need to know what words to use.
I also thought it was interesting the way Grindelwald was able to manipulate the situations around him. It all showed how things played into his hands and what he wants. We got a great sense of who this man was.
I love this movies too because there are a good number of easter eggs for those of us who know the books backwards and forwards. Certain surnames are mentioned and I grin. I love that aspect.
Spoilers below this line for those who have not seen the movie. I have to discuss this piece but seriously if you have not seen the movie don’t read. Big Plot Spoiler!!
My one big issue with this movie was that ending. In the end Grindelwald tells Credence that he is Dumbledore’s brother. I feel very confused about this plot point. I know these books. I know all the extras about this world.
The seventh book gives us a good history of Dumbledore and his family. Yet nowhere is it mentioned that he has any other siblings than Aberforth and Ariana. I feel like if he was going to have another sibling there would have been some indication of that fact in the books.
J.K. Rowling does such a good job at keeping her books in order and feeding the stories into each other. (Let’s just pretend Cursed Child doesn’t exist). I feel like throwing in another sibling here will throw a wrench into what we know about the books.
I know that this is all being said by Grindelwald which doesn’t mean much because he is the bad guy. He could easily be lying which he has done. He manipulates everything so this could all be a ruse. But I feel like throwing out that name is a big thing to do.
I know that there are three more movies so this could all flow into more twists which I hope they do. I want these movies to enhance the books, make me feel more connected to them. I want to be able to read the books after and not have to dismiss aspects to make things make sense. I trust J.K. Rowling and her storytelling genius but this revelation did make me a bit nervous. Though I am willing to see how it all plays out.
Have you seen the movie? What do you think? Where do you think this whole series is going? What are the next twist we will learn?
I thought it was time to give a quick update on how my NaNoWriMo attempt is going. I said in my original post that I didn’t think I was going to get very far and that I would be surprised at anything I wrote. I also said it was more about getting something down on paper.
Well I will have to say that is very much still true. I think I am at about 8,000 words, which is not good for the challenge on Day 17. I started out the first week strong. I wrote every day going beyond the necessary word count.
Then life crept up and I lost control of it. My big work event happened on the 15th which went well but took a ton of my energy throughout the week or so leading up to it. Then I found a house that I am super excited to buy but that is a long and tedious process. Much of my free time as been dedicated to finding the right papers, making appointments to sign papers and setting up inspections.
I actually thought this weekend that I was going to do a lot of catching up but I work up Friday feeling like I am getting sick. This morning it was worse. I do plan on spending much of my time on my couch this weekend so we will see if I feel well enough to dive into the story.
That being said I am excited about the progress I have made on this story. I did something very different than I normally do when writing. Instead of trying to write the story in linear fashion I have been writing the scenes that keep coming to me. I have been getting a lot of the scenes that would end up in the middle of the book and instead of just making notes about them and waiting until I get to those points I have been writing those scenes. I have a feeling this book may end up like a jigsaw puzzle that needs to be put in order but that doesn’t sound too bad. Actually sounds a bit of fun.
I will be writing a wrap up post near the end of the month on this saga. I hope to get at least 25,000 words done by the end of the month, which may be possible now that work has slowed down and I am at the waiting point for the loan on the house.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How are you doing? Any surprises that you are particularly pleased about?