By: Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family”s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France”s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl”s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d”Hiv”, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah”s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
This book has long been on my to-read list but I didn’t get around to picking it up sooner. Part of it was because I needed to emotionally prepare myself for it, if that makes any sense; this novel deals with the Holocaust, which is always a dark and painful subject no matter what medium it’s in. Prompted by a conversation with my friend and knowing that a movie adaptation starring Kirsten Scott Thomas was coming out, I finally mustered up enough courage to read it. MAJOR SPOILERS ahead!
A Game of Thrones
By: George R.R. Martin
In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning and in the frozen wastelands to the North of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the centre of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and as unyieling as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavours to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Despite finally catching up with GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire this year (read books three to five this year), I actually haven’t re-read A Game of Thrones in about five years. I meant to but with all the other books I had to read, I decided not to bother. I decided to re-read it again recently because I realised there were a lot of small hints and details here and there throughout the entire series that I had missed. Plus, the LJ community game-thrones was holding a re-read so I figured now was a good time to do so.
Like the other posts I’ve written on the series, the following is more of a commentary than a review of the book. MAJOR SPOILERS if you haven’t read ANY of the books in the series as I will be making reference to them throughout.
As always, the following are just some brief reviews of books I recently read =)
- S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep
- Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
- Lorenzo Carcaterra’s Midnight Angels
- Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth saga
- Stephen King’s Gunslinger
Some spoilers ahead!
The Lies of Locke Lamora
By: Scott Lynch
The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls.
Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyane, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed still from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves: The Gentlemen Bastards.
The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they’ve ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive…
I actually first read The Lies of Locke Lamora back in 2008 and liked it enough. I decided to re-read it again recently as I was a little bored figuring out which book from my to-read list to read next and I was in the mood for a standalone fantasy (which is very difficult to find). This book is actually the first in The Gentlemen Bastards Sequence but I find that this novel works quite well as a standalone. And it’s a good novel overall.
The Flanders Panel
By: Arturo Perez-Reverte
While restoring a 15th-century painting which depicts a chess game between the Duke of Flanders and his knight, Julia, a young art expert, discovers a hidden inscription in the corner: Quis Necavit Equitem. Translation: Who killed the knight? Breaking the silence of five centuries, Julia’s hunt for a Renaissance murderer leads her into a modern-day game of sin, betrayal, and death.
This is the third book I’ve read by Perez-Reverte and I have to say, this has to be my favourite from him. Some spoilers ahead!