Book Reviews: January 2015

burial rites review, annihilation review, the martian review, andy weir, hannah kent

I kind of dedicated January to the books that I really wanted to read in 2014, but didn’t get around to. Thankfully, these hyped-up books didn’t disappoint. Also, can we take a second to admire how awesome all of these covers are? Ok, now let’s get into it!

Burial-Rites I’ve wanted to read this book since it was released in 2013. The plot sounded very interesting and I’d only read/heard positive reviews. It’s the story of a woman named Agnes who is charged with murder and was one of the last people to be beheaded in Iceland. It’s based on true events and you can tell that the Author really did her research. I thought that Agnes’s story is so fascinating because it demonstrates how much other people’s perceptions of you can really affect you.

Bit by bit, Agnes reveals what truly happened on the night of the murders and it’s a sad and lonely tale. I thought the writing was beautiful- descriptive, but also sparse when it needed to be. The author does a great job of evoking the bleak setting in Iceland. I’ve never really thought about visiting Iceland before, but this book made me want to do so. I really felt for Agnes and the ending tugged at my heart. If you like historical fiction, I’d highly recommend this book, and I also think the setting makes it a great winter read.

Annihilation Sci-fi isn’t a genre that I usually pick up, but this book kept popping up on my radar and I was curious. In Annihilation, there’s a mysterious part of the country called Area X. The story is told from the perspective of a biologist who’s part of the 12th expedition sent to explore Area X. The previous expeditions haven’t gone so well and you can probably guess that this one doesn’t end well either. I’m zipping my lips now, because the less you know about this one, the better.

My favorite part of this was definitely the writing. It was wonderfully strange and perfect at creating a weird, unsettled feeling. This book is the first in a trilogy and I do think I’ll read the remaining books at some point. I thought Annihilation was different in a good way. If you’re like me and you don’t read a lot of sci-fi, I’d be really curious to know your thoughts if you’ve read this book.

The-Martian Yes, I did read two sci-fi books this month! It was nearly three, but I’m still waiting for my library hold on Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This was another popular book in 2014 and I wanted to read it before the movie came out later this year.

The main character, Mark, is part of a US space mission to Mars. After only a few days on the planet, the astronauts experience a terrible storm (way more serious than Juno). Mark is wounded during the storm and the rest of the team believes he’s dead, so they evacuate. Welp, turns out he isn’t dead! Throughout the book, Mark has to figure out how to stay alive on Mars.

Mark is a definitely a wise guy- he’s constantly cracking jokes. A lot of the book consists of entries from his log, which makes the story very personable. I didn’t really know it was humorous, so that was a fun surprise. I’d call this very accessible sci-fi. It was pretty easy to digest and it was fun to follow along with the twists and turns. I think this will translate really well as a movie, although I picture Chris Pratt in the role of Mark, rather than Matt Damon.

The parts that didn’t hold my attention as much were the science bits. Occasionally, Mark would go into a detailed description of a scientific process and I’d be like, “Ehhhh…” I wasn’t bored per se, just not as interested as I was in the more personal aspects. However, if you don’t really read science fiction but you want to try, I think this would be a good book to pick. Overall, I thought it was very engaging and entertaining.

  • I love your book reviews! Just added all three of these to my Goodreads “Want to read” list. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you so much Corley! I’d love to connect with you on Goodreads if you want to leave your link :)

  • I haven’t picked up a sci-fi book in a long time, but I love anything with a good dose of comedy, so the martian is probably the book that appeals to me most of this group.

    Chic on the Cheap

    • I hadn’t read sci-fi in a while either, but happened to read a couple this month! I think The Martian was quite humorous and has the widest appeal out of these three.

  • I’ve great things about all of these books! I’m more into fantasy than sci-if, but your reviews make me want to read Annihilation and The Martian! I want to read Station Eleven so badly! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
    ~Sara

    • I’m more into fantasy than sci-fi too! I finally got Station Eleven from the library and I’m nearly halfway through. I’m loving it so far!

  • Everyone is talking about Girl on a Train. Have you picked that up yet? You’re my book consultant lol

    • I haven’t read that one yet! I have been seeing lots of buzz about it too, so I do want to read it soon :)