Category Archives: Book Commentrary

Book review – ‘Never Let me go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: Never let me go
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: 282
Published: 2005
Genre: Dystopian, speculative fiction
Recommend for: Anyone in High School or older
Sequel: None
My Rating: 9/10

“In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.”

It took me quite a while from the time I first opened this book till I finished reading it. I guess that doesn’t sound like a good thing, but I really have nothing negative to say about this book. The plot is great, the storytelling is amazing and the characters are believable and relatable. I loved the sound of the words as much as the story itself, Mr Ishiguro sure must know what he’s doing, cause this is just great.

The story is told in a kind of random order at first, but as the story goes on, it continues in a more chronological pattern. The voice of the narrator is strong and smooth and touching, and sometimes I found myself thinking ‘I can’t believe a man could have written this.’ It’s good.

I have not seen the movie yet, and though I’m sure it’s really great, I’d really urge you all to read the book first, as I would with any “book gone movie”. The book is always better.

The Hunger Games

“Katniss! Katniss!” (…) “Rue! I’m coming!” When I break into the clearing, she’s on the ground, hopelessly entangled in a net. She just has time to reach her hand through the mesh and say my name before the spear enters her body. The boy from District 1 dies before he can pull out the spear. My arrow drives deeply into the center of his neck. He falls to his knees and halves the brief remainder of his life by yanking out the arrow and drowning in his own blood. (…) For a moment, I sit there, watching my tears drip down on her face. Rue’s cannon fires. I lean forward and press my lips against her temple. Slowly, as if not to wake her, I lay her head back on the ground and release her hand. They’ll want me to clear now. So they can collect the bodies. (…) I roll the boy from district 1 onto his face and take his pack, retrieve the arrow that ended his life. I cut Rue’s pack from her back as well, knowing she’d want me to have it but leave the spear in her stomach. (…) I can’t stop looking at Rue, smaller than ever, a baby animal curled up in a nest for nesting. (…) To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable in death, seems inadequate. It’s the capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.

Exerpt from chapters 17-18 of The Hunger Games by The Awesome Suzanne Collins

Cartoon – ‘Weetzie Bat’ by Francesca Lia Block

Title: Weetzie Bat
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Pages: 128
Published: 1989
Genre: Young Adult
Recommend for: Young adults and everyone else
Sequel: First novel in the “Dangerous Angles” Series
My Rating: N/A

As you might have understood from the title, his is not a book review. ‘Weetzie Bat’ is by far the oddest little thing I’ve ever read, not to say you shouldn’t read it, quite the opposite actually. Even if you watch this DIY cartoon I made for an English assignment a year ago first, reading the book will have you surprised. Not that I won’t give away any details, I give away most of them, but you’ll be surprised that there is still something to be surprised at… Whatever, I’m gonna shut up now. Go read the book, and enjoy my cartoon.

Cheers!

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Book review – ‘Gone’ by Michael Grant

Title: Gone
Author: Michael Grant
Pages: 570
Published: 2008
Genre: Y/A “horror”
Recommend for: 15 and older, girls and boys
Sequel: Hunger
My Rating: 9/10

“In the blink of an eye.
Everyone disappears.
Gone.

Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.”

“Gone” is the first installment in the “GONE” series by American young adult author Michael Grant. There are two more publications in the series “Hunger” and “Lies,” while the fourth book “Plague,” is scheduled for release in April of this year. The novel is about a 570 pages long, but fairly light to read. “Gone” is categorized as a Young Adult novel, but is suitable for girls and boys, teens and older. Even though the main characters of the book are all around the age of 14, the novel offers a very interesting and philosophical perspective on a world with no adults, as the story is narrated from a third person point of narration.

The novel is set in Fallout Valley, California, USA, in the 21st century, where the characters of the book are all trapped under a dome with a diameter of 20 miles. Ocean, desert, mountains and forests occupy most of this area, while the center of attention and the center of civilization is the small Perdido Beach. Here the kids roam around in vandalized grocery stores, abandoned churches and chaotic squares. The kids name their new home the “FAYZ”, spelled F – A – Y – Z, Fallout Valley Youth Zone.

The story of “GONE” begins in a classroom setting when all of a sudden the teacher disappears. After a few bewildered moments, it is clear that all the teachers, all the grown-ups, and all the students, 15 years and older, are gone. Left to fend for themselves are the babies, toddlers and kids that have not yet turned 15. Not only is every single adult in the entire Fallout Valley gone, but also a massive dome traps the children in the area of the valley. In a society much like an anarchy – with no set authority, the power is left to seize for whoever wants it. The children in Perdido Beach, wishes for Sam Temple to take charge, but as a shy boy, he withdraws from any kind of attention, and is not ready for such responsibility. As to be expected in anarchy, if the good guys don’t assume power fast enough – the bullies will do it. The FAYZ becomes a warzone; the good guys fighting the bullies, with the rest of the kids being forced into choosing sides.

Caine and his crew from the private school, Coates Academy, becomes the face of evil within the FAYZ – facing Sam and his friends in countless confrontations and even battles. As the FAYZ goes on, several of the kids start developing unimaginable powers and abilities, adding excitement and unpredictability to the situation under the dome. Though this is only the first book in the GONE series, it works great as a stand-alone with a somewhat open ending. The main conflict of this book, is the politics of the situation; finding someone to rule and a good way to do it. The second book deals with food shortage, the third one with the drama developing between the teenagers while the fourth and currently last book deals with what happens when all hell breaks loose at once.

“Gone” demonstrates a lot of important issues in practice – such as anarchy, good vs. bad and the nature of mankind. The kids are challenged by their surroundings, and the book follows those kids who make the right decisions, as well as those who make the wrong ones. Through the actions and emotions of the characters, the reader is made aware of the importance in being brave and doing the right thing. Also, the book shows how not all brave choices are the right choices. The story is not at all cliché, and not all the “good” characters have the happiest endings. Doing the right thing is however highly valued and honored in this novel.

In addition to presenting great values about right and wrong, the book demonstrates one theory of how a society in full anarchy would work. Though even in this situation power is assumed by those lusting for it, the society in Fallout Valley works much without one single or supreme authority. The kids in Perdido Beach follow nothing but their own instinct, and without any grown-ups to tell them what to do, their actions present a really interesting idea. Even though the people put in this situation – in the FAYZ – are all children, they are mere images of what adults could act like in a similar situation. Stripped down to nothing but themselves, with no set rules, boundaries or support systems, the fact that the characters are children becomes insignificant in comparing them to how older people could react in said situation.

The book also talks about discrimination in a twisted fantasy way, and puts strong emphasis on the importance in not judging people by what they look like, but appreciate them for who they are as a character and as an individual. With some characters possessing physical abilities breaking the laws of physics, some lack intellectual abilities, while others lack social abilities. The book deals with finding the value of your personality and not your traits, as well as seeing the good in other people.

The book also touches on the very popular issue of Nature vs. Nurture. As Caine – the pack leader of the kids from the Coates Academy – and Sam discovers that they are in fact biological twins, raising questions why they turned out to be so different, or if they really are that different after all.

Along with “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold – now a major motion picture – this was definitely my favorite book that I read in 2010. I would definitely recommend it to anyone about 14 years and older, and I really genuinely believe readers of all ages would find something interesting and appealing about this story. Michael Grant is truly an artist of words, and has a brave enough imagination to turn it into something beautiful, thrilling and daunting.

Book review – ‘Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 390
Published: 2010
Genre: Futuristic Y/A
Recommend for: 15 and up, girls and boys
Sequel: This is the last book in the “Hunger Games” Trilogy
My Rating: 9/10

“The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
Who do they think should pay for the unrest?
Katniss Everdeen.
The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will have hearts racing, pages turning, and everyone talking about one of the biggest and most talked-about books and authors in recent publishing history!”

This is the third and final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, so if you haven’t read the two previous ones, “The Hunger Games” (#1) and “Catching Fire” (#2), you might not want to read this review, as it could be a little revealing.

In the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark upset the capitol by defying the rules of the game. In Catching fire they were made to pay, but lured their way out of the situation again. Now, the capitol is mad. Through unbelievable twists, heart throbbing suspense and page turning action, Katniss is forced to take on the role she unknowingly was signed by faith. I have no words for the unexpected and unpredictable turns of events in this book, and it truly makes an impression. I couldn’t stop reading it, and once there were no more pages to flip, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

The ending was the only problematic thing for me.  I think she chose the wrong boy, and the last chapter was a little too cliché, although I can’t really imagine it ending any differently. I sure hope Collins has more good stuff in the works, as I’m just filled with awe and respect for her. This is seriously without a doubt some of the best books I’ve ever read, and they are so much deeper than they seem – and in a good way. Everyone should read these books – they are just that good.

Filled with action, tears, suspense, romance and heartbreaking conditions – it’s a book I will not soon forget. The characters that find themselves in the most horrible and unimaginable circumstances are written in such a way that the completely foreign pain becomes relatable and comprehensible. It’s truly incredible.

We salute you, Suzanne Collins.

Book review – ‘An Enemy of the People’ by Henrik Ibsen

Title: An Enemy of the People
Author: Henrik Ibsen
Pages: 191
Published: 1882
Genre: Play
Reconmended for: Those with special interests
My rating: 5/10

“Tomas Stockman is a doctor in a small town at the coast. He finds that the water in the towns public bath is polluted. Doctor Stockman imagines the whole town thanking him for the discovery, but a lot of people apparently want him to keep quiet about his finds.”

In a way, I think it’s unfair to rate it as low as 5 stars. It’s is in no way a poorly written play or contains a bad plot. With it’s genre and era in consideration, it is a very good masterpiece. It is, however, written in a typical Ibsen and the 18-hundreds style, and is therefore a rather heavy read, in addition to being a little long. The story is still very good, and I’d recommend anyone to see the play on stage, watch one of the movies based on it or even listen to the audio version of the play. Plays are heavy and difficult to read and enjoy like a novel, and anyone would get a lot more out of it by enjoying it the way it was supposed to be enjoyed.

Not a bad play at all.

Bokanmeldelse – ‘En folkefiende’ av Henrik Ibsen

Tittel: En folkefiende
Forfatter: Henrik Ibsen
Sider: 191
Publisert: 1882
Sjanger: Skuespill
Anbefalt for: Spesielt interesserte
Min rating: 5/10

“Tomas Stockmann er lege i en liten by ved kysten. Han finner ut at vannet i badet i byen er forurenset. Doktor Stockmann ser for seg at hele byen vil takke ham for oppdagelsen, men det er mange som har interesse i at han skal tie stille.”

På en måte synes jeg det er litt urettferdig å gi stykket så lite som en femmer. Det er på ingen måte dårlig skrevet eller en dårlig historie. Sett i sin sjanger og fra sin epoke er det virkelig et bra verk. Den er på den andre siden skrevet i typisk Ibsen og 1800-tallets stil, og blir derfor tung å lese, samt noe lang. Historien er likevel meget bra og å se for eksempel en oppsettning av stykket, en av filmene basert på stykket eller å høre det på lydbok til og med, kan absolutt ambefales. Skuespill er generelt tunge å kjedelige å lese som en roman, og enhver leser vil få mer utav stykket om det blir sett eller hørt slik det var meningen at det skulle presenteres.