Author: Weston Ochse
Published: December 1, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
There were giants on the earth in those days—at least that’s what the Bible says. But, where are they? Did they ever really exist at all?
When out-of-work math teacher Ethan McCloud is sent a mysterious box, he and his ex-girlfriend begin to unravel a mystery 10,000 years in the making—and he is the last hope to discovering the world’s greatest conspiracy. Chased by both the Six-Fingered Man and the Council of David, Ethan must survive the chase—and find the truth.
I love a good adventure story, especially the ones based in history. Biblical history is even better. But this adventure stories have to make sense, they have to be based on logic and evidence, even if that evidence doesn’t necessarily exist in real life. Nothing kills historical adventure like assumption and fallacy. Unfortunately, Bone Chase is rife with both. Maybe if religion had been left out of it, I’d feel differently. But the idea that the existence of giants would somehow bring religion to its knees; it did nothing but make the entire plot seem inconsequential and anticlimactic.
Thankfully, there was enough action and mystery to keep me going through the book, so it wasn’t a total loss. But throwing in complicated math concepts that have really nothing to do with the story and then not explain them clearly so laypeople can understand … This was just a disappointing read. Although it’s fiction, The DaVinci Code didn’t feel inconsequential because Langdon was dealing with things of true theological significance. The existence of giants, even talked about in the Bible is a big deal historically and even scientifically, but theologically? I was just disappointed.
Blood Red, Snow White
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Published: July 1, 2007
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
There never was a story that was happy through and through.
When writer Arthur Ransome leaves his unhappy marriage in England and moves to Russia to work as a journalist, he has little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. Unwittingly, he finds himself at its center, tapped by the British to report back on the Bolsheviks even as he becomes dangerously, romantically entangled with Trotsky’s personal secretary.
Both sides seek to use Arthur to gather and relay information for their own purposes . . . and both grow to suspect him of being a double agent. Arthur wants only to elope far from conflict with his beloved, but her Russian ties make leaving the country nearly impossible. And the more Arthur resists becoming a pawn, the more entrenched in the game he seems to become.
Blood Red Snow White, a Soviet-era thriller from renowned author Marcus Sedgwick, is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.
This was another random find from Ollie’s! It’s about Russia, did you really expect me to pass it up? The problem is that I wished I liked it better. It gave good perspective on the Russian Revolution, which I liked! It’s hard to remember that the players in history were just people too and Sedgwick did a great job of reminding me of that. Trotsky was an idealist and he was willing to chase those ideals no matter where it took him. I also enjoyed the espionage that other countries employed throughout the whole affair. The twists and turns of the spies were interesting and engaging.
What’s sad is that I wasn’t all that fond of the main character, Arthur Ransome. I didn’t like his personal traits and he seemed far too reluctant and innocent of the world to take any part in espionage at all. He left his wife and child for selfish reasons and continued that selfishness throughout the whole book. I just didn’t like him. And the main thing that brought this book down for me was the blurred line between fairytale and history. Some authors can weave storytelling through history and do it successfully. Sedgwick didn’t do that. It felt like such a naive way of viewing history! If fairytales are used to educate the young, then these failed because I believed they confused the issues. But perhaps that’s simply because I’m a historian!
I’m glad I read it, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again. I would recommend this to very specific readers and really only out of curiosity than anything. It’s the kind of book I’d rather sit and discuss that read in its entirety.
Author: Hannah Kent
Published: September 10, 2013
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 14-24, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
This is my first read for #Diverseathon2021. January was run by Beccie over at Bookies on Facebook and her prompt was books set in Iceland, and I selected Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Honestly, this is one I would most likely have never picked up on my own, but that is what #Diveseathon2021 is all about: Enhancing our reading in 2021!
I am glad I selected Burial Rites as I actually learned a little about Iceland. One thing about Iceland is how a child’s last name is given: The last name is taken from the father’s first name with an affixation of -son or -dottir. Therefore, family members related by blood may all have different last names. Therefore my maiden name would have been Jamesdottir and my sister would have actually had the same last name.
There is also a small section in the beginning of how Icelandic words are pronounced, and in some ways I think this one would have been great to listen to on audiobook as to hear all these words with the correct pronunciation because I know I said these words incorrectly in my head as I was reading!
Burial Rites is the fictional account of a true story. Agnes Magnusdottir was the last person to be executed in Iceland, and it was for a double murder. Agnes was not the only one to be executed for the crime: A man was also executed and another woman also faced the same fate, but her death sentence was overturned. The reader can tell that Kent spent a great deal of time researching this case. A family had to house Agnes in her final days before execution: Can you imagine that!?!?: Housing a convicted murderer who also committed arson during her final days, and you have children in the house…
The book is not action packed, it focuses on the hardships of life in Iceland, and matters of the heart. For me, it did drag some, but knowing this is based on a true story kept me reading. I wanted to see how Kent was going to address the ending that you know from the beginning that was coming; and that ending was handled very well with some real emotion felt from this reader.
Burial Rites is long rumored to become a film starring Jennifer Lawrence, so as I read I pictured her as Agnes. This is long rumored since 2017, so who knows if or when this film may actually see the light of day.
Yes, I enjoyed reading this novel based on a true story and I look forward to what Diverseathon2021 brings me to read next!![Top]