I love Icelandic horses, probably because they played a huge role in the very first horse novel I ever read. I’m also fascinated with Iceland and dream of visiting it one day. So far, it hasn’t worked out yet, but one day, I’m sure it will. When I first heard about this book, I really wanted to own and read it. Well, it only took me 7 years to finally get to it …
08OctReview: Belle Epoque
The only truly beautiful thing about Belle Epoque is the stunning cover. The content, on the other hand, could be a repoussoir itself: it’s positively plain, dull, and boring. The blurb made me believe I held a late 19th century Parisian version of Gossip Girl in my hands. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case …
I really enjoyed Mistborn: The Final Empire. It made me smile, laugh out loud, scream, tear out my hair, and cry rivers of tears – and yes, these are all good attributes in a novel. And yet, I’m not as crazy about it as everyone else I know. Maybe my expectations were a little too high with all the buzz around me. Maybe I was too wary about becoming yet again the odd one out. And as much as I tried to love it, somehow I felt distant. I wasn’t able to completely immerse myself in this fantastic world and really connect with the characters. I see the beauty of the novel, I see why everyone else loves it. I can write a raving review – as an onlooker. Unfortunately, for me personally, it just didn’t click (which isn’t as bad as it sounds. It just means that it didn’t have that certain something for me).
Let me tell you: it’s not as exciting as it sounds. Quite the opposite, in fact. One would think that a book with such a premise – the X-men under a vicious Professor X on a mission to protect a secret space programme set in the historical dystopia of Communist Russia – would be thrilling and utterly nerve-wracking. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. What I got was a great idea weakly executed with flat characters, a forseeable twist, and a writing style and tempo that bored me to death. It speaks volumes that I rejoiced upon finishing it after an eight months hiatus. Maybe I just shouldn’t have picked it up again . . .
Have you ever heard of the Norwegian folk tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”? No? Well, me neither – until I read this wonderful retelling which is truly a fairytale in itself. But how could something based on a story with one of the most beautiful titles I ever heard be anything else but magical? To describe East in as little words as possible, I’d say it’s Beauty and the Beast plus trolls – and wind roses and mapmakers, superstition and prophecy, weaving, sewing and magical dresses, a castle inside a mountain, a light that should not have been lit, and a long and rocky journey to a palace in an icy barren land east of the sun and west of the moon . . .
Anna zu Pferde [Anna on Horseback] has everything young Ellie wanted in a novel: a kickass heroine, horses, a great atmospheric setting, a family mystery, and an unexpected romance. Reading it for a second time, the mystery fades into the background but I came to appreciate the historical setting much more than I did when I was younger. Just in case you were wondering: first and foremost, this is actually historical fiction. The title of this novel comes from the title of a painting of Anna and her horse that’s part of the story. Given that it is 1630, horses have to play a part if a character wants to get from A to B. Nevertheless, Anna’s close relationship to her horse is present but never in the foreground . . .
Let’s face it: no matter how many people recommended it to me, telling me that I would love it, in the end, it just wasn’t for me. They weren’t wrong; the premise of this novel promises everything I love: great world building, an interesting heroine, a mesmerising love interest, who seems to be just how I like my male characters (dark, brooding, mysterious, more or less evil, et al.), and a fascinating plot. Unfortunately, after a strong start, the story began to drag on. Too many flat secondary characters and flash backs as well as a relationship dynamic that wasn’t as intriguing as I hoped it to be sucked the thrill right out of the story. All in all, I feel like the novel wasn’t able to fulfil its potential because one book was not enough to round out all the now unfortunately half-baked aspects . . .