After July´s failed book club, I was determined to get back on track with my reading challenge and nail August. I figured July´s challenge failed so miserably because the books i chose were not light enough for the beach, which I found myself often on. So this time I chose some fiction – mostly science fiction. Soon on I also discovered a common denominator in the books´ themes – wickedness, the idea of evil. Despite the heaviness such a theme brings, the readings were light enough to devour about a book a week, so August brought me back on track towards this year´s reading challenge – which stands at 40 books (I read 27 so far). Here´s what I thought of these month´s books and which kept me awake at night.
Ransom Riggs´ A Map Of Days
Ransom Riggs´ fourth novel of the Miss Peregrine´s Peculiar Children saga is perhaps the most coming of age story of them all. Jacob Portman is back home in modern day Florida, only to soon enough discover a return to normality is not quite possible. He soon finds himself in the footsteps of his grandpa Abe, along with his peculiar friends, who try (and often fail) to blend into the modern world and help Jacob continue Abe´s legacy. I felt that Ransom achieved in this novel a nice balance between the study of teenage emotions of love, loss, betrayal and hope, and the story of the fantastic world of American peculiardom. The images have also changed, being perhaps less supernatural and more peculiar. This time they´re actually in colour, giving the story an even eerier visual. I still find the idea of building a story around vintage photographs quite ingenious and I really enjoyed the book, which doesn´t often happen when a story is this long, so I´m giving it 3.5 stars.
George R.R. Martin´s The Armageddon Rag
Five words for this one: not what you would expect. The Armageddon Rag is an early novel of George R.R. Martin and if you´re a huge GoT fan as I am, it will take you absolutely by surprise. It´s a stretch to call this one a fantasy novel, even though it does have some fantasy elements to it. Instead, it´s a work of fiction that will take you deep into the underground American 60´s rock scene. The book follows ex-journalist Sander Blair as he goes from trying to solve the mystery of the murder of a millionaire rock promoter to bringing the once legendary rock band Nazgûl back together. The musical references are super interesting but the topics of satanism, mind control and utter wickedness make the book quite disturbing, especially since you cannot put it down. As if it was mind controlling you. I read The Armageddon Rag in a heartbeat. Possibly because I couldn´t sleep at night due to its wickedness. Thoroughly recommended, even if just to witness George R.R. Martin´s sheer genius and skill.
Ray Bradburry´s Something Wicked This Way Comes
In Stephen King´s own words, this novel is “darkly poetic … probably Bradburry´s best work”. And I just find that incredible, since most people mainly speak about Bradburry´s Fahrenheit 451. Now I have to admit I haven´t read Fahrenheit 451, but I just loved Something Wicked This Way Comes. The title alone makes me think of Macbeth, a play I adored in high school, and Harry Potter, books I still worship. The story itself is (I don´t quite want to say “another”) rite-of-passage book and accompanies Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway – two small town boys on the search for adventure. It´s the week before Halloween and Cooger and Dark´s Pandemonium Shadow Show arrives in Green Town Illinois, at the cursed hour of 3 am. Will and Jim set out to discover the carnival´s secrets, soon finding themselves in bigger trouble than they can handle. Will´s father comes to the rescue and as things unfold, the story keeps you on your toes. A heartwarming, and simultaneously goose-bumpy story, that made me sleep with the lights on until a few days after I finished it. 4.5 stars.
H.G.Well´s Time Machine
I actually bought this book because it was on sale and only afterwards realised that The time Machine is one of the classic works of science fiction. Which makes sense since H.G.Wells is considered the father of science fiction. The angst in front of the industrial breakthroughs of the era is beautifully portrait in this book, and while my least favourite element of it, so are Wells´ political views. The Time Machine itself focuses on the main characters´ pursuit of science, truth and light, while also coexisting with a world of darkness and unavoidable apocalypse. It´s a dense story, definitely interesting for science fiction lovers (which I do not necessarily qualify as). I understand there´s also a movie based on it, but I haven´t seen it yet. As for the book, I am simply rating it as 3.5 stars because it´s a genre I don´t relate to very well and lack the taste buds for it.