What We’ve Been Reading: February 0 Comments

What We’ve Been Reading: February

Cathy

I’ve been following S.J. Maas since her fictionpress days (don’t lie to me, we’ve all been there. And if not, then to her sister site, fanfiction.net – I’m looking at you, Flux.) Originally titled Queen of Glass, Maas adapted her wildly popular high fantasy epic into a YA adventure that ticks all the right boxes. Throne of Glass features a badass heroine – raised as an assassin with a mysterious, magical, royal and tragic past. It’s a little bit of overkill, but considering she was inspired by Cinderella, Maas has done a great job of turning a helpless damsel into Ardarlan’s greatest assassin. Celaena Sardothein is not without her faults – she’s easily taken by anger and has a soft side for Prince’s graced with luscious locks and a witty mind. For all those disappointed by the youthful angle, have patience. Slug through the first of the trilogy and you’ll be well rewarded.

 

Elizabeth 

I feel embarrassed to admit that I’ve had Liam Pieper’s The Feel-Good Hit of the Year sitting unread on my shelf for almost a year, because when I finally cracked the cover I couldn’t put it down. Pieper is a Voiceworks alumnus and his first novel, a memoir, is beautifully written and yet also very self deprecating in its tone. It’s a memoir which takes readers from his home birth in a majestic, run down manor, through his time as a 14-year-old drug dealer, right up to the present day. I powered through this book in less than two days, choosing finishing it over sleep. It navigates tragedy and triumphs gently, and laces a subtle humour and perspective throughout. Truly original.

 

Laura

It’s been a month a memoir-reading for me. Julia Scheeres’ Jesus Land is a wild and often enraging read about Scheeres’ coming-of-age in a fundamentalist Christian family in rural Indiana with two adopted black brothers, and later exile to Escuela Caribe, a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic. Racism, fanaticism, abuse, and rebellion are all major themes of Jesus Land, but at it’s heart the book is a tribute to Scheeres’ younger brother David, and the deep bond between them.

The other memoir I read was The Shark Net by Robert Drewe. Set during the author’s childhood/ early adulthood in Perth in the 50s and 60s, the material isn’t as sensational as Jesus Land, but it’s often just as surprising. Alternately funny, lyrical, and sinister, it covers everything from Billy Graham to Perth’s first serial killer to shark attacks to the adolescent Babylon of Rottnest Island. If you’re a Perth kid like me, you’ll probably appreciate how Drewe captures the essence and attitudes of the place, but even if you’re not, it’s a pretty good read.

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