Book Review: The Witch’s Heart

The Witch's HeartBook Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

 

I was so excited to see this absolutely gorgeous book (props to whoever designed this cover) about Norse mythology and a witch. I love retellings and witches, so this was right up my ally.

After Angrboda angers Odin, she is left wounded and alone but makes a life for herself, deciding to stay out of sight and harm’s way. However, she falls in love with Loki and they have 3 children with fates that put them all in danger.

There is so much research obvious in this novel – and reconciling of the fluidness of myth. Angrboda is an interesting character, fiercely protective of her children, haunted by visions and glimmers of her past life, impatient with the world of the gods and their whims.

I enjoyed her friendships with the women who visit her, her independence, and her fierce loyalty, all of which make for some interesting ups and downs – joy and conflict.

The author writes beautifully and had me completely engaged, creating a wonderful picture of the world Angrboda lived. I didn’t even get confused with the world building, which can sometime be difficult in myth (and I appreciated the glossary at the end for more information). I happily and easily lost myself in this book.

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Book Review: The Echo Wife

The Echo WifeBook Review for The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

 

This evocative sci-fi thriller is set in the contemporary world, but one where cloning of people is starting to happen, and Evelyn is on the forefront of this research. Her husband, Nathan is unhappy in their marriage and clones her, creating Martine as his idea of an ideal wife. Now he is dead and the two women have to clean up the mess.

This is an interesting mix of thought experiment, an examination of women’s roles, pushing the bounds of technology and ethics, and what it means to be human.

Evelyn is cold, methodical, and diabolically brilliant. She’s hard to like, but she is fascinating. She feels she knows the lines of human and clone. She is willing to do the gruesome things to prefect her science. But when she meets Martine, the lines get blurred and it’s fascinating.

Martine, though she is Evelyn’s clone, is her polar opposite. She’s been designed to the be the perfect wife, attentive, nurturing, and self sacrificing. But she’s also a quick study.

These 2 women coming together to deal with Nathan’s death makes for an interesting ride. I love this kind of book that makes you think about everyday issues that we sometimes take for granted, like what makes a good wife, what limits should science have, and even what makes us human.

This is definitely a book I raced through, even though it’s not your typical thriller and is a little on the slower side. This is definitely a book I’d recommend for those who like speculative fiction.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.

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Book Review: The Wild Heavens

The Wild Heavens book with a blue tree backgroundBook review for The Wild Heavens by Sarah Louise Butler

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This is a beautifully written book, set in the wilds of Northern BC – and the descriptions of nature and the wildlife are certainly an amazing reason to read this book. It takes place over the course of a day, with reflections back into Sandy’s life and childhood, creating a dual timeline.

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Sandy’s grandfather had seen a sasquatch years ago and has been on the lookout for it ever since, instilling the same curiosity in his granddaughter, Sandy. This is a meander tale of their lives in an isolated cabin in the wilderness, how nature and the sasquatch has shaped them.

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The relationships in the book are lovely and well done – parents, children, friends, lovers – they are all authentically done. The author managed to explore a wide range of humanity with a very few characters. I really felt for Sandy and her quest to find the sasquatch and the life she wants to live, watching her come into her own.

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There is a mystical aspect to the book, revolving around the sasquatch, but also around nature itself, which is a character in itself. The descriptions are lush and beautiful and well worth reading for any nature lover.

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Thanks so Edelweiss and the publisher for the review copy.

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Book Review: Vox

Vox and coffee cupVox by Christina Dalcher

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

Review:
I’ve been hearing about this book for awhile, but have finally got the chance to read it (for a book club that is now cancelled!).
The concept for Vox is interesting: a dystopian future where women are limited to speaking only 100 words a day. The premise is set up as something that could happen in the US (the book takes place in the US) in a realistic way, with the erosion of rights for women, with distraction techniques, with people who are too busy to vote and protest.
There were definitely parts of this book that I liked. I enjoy taking a concept and pushing it to the extreme, as this author did. I loved how she also used her own knowledge of linguistics to fuel much of the book.
However, I didn’t like the main character, Jean. Usually that’s OK, I don’t need to like the characters. Still, I found, even in this book billing itself as a feminist exploration, that she kept waiting for someone to safe her. She was remarkably passive for much of the time. Perhaps this is to highlight how important it is for everyone to vote and stand up to injustice.
I also found Jean’s attitude toward her male children problematic. I know that her daughter was in more danger than her sons, but I found it hard to buy into a mother who would so easily, potentially leave some of her children behind.
This book is a mixed bag for me — interesting concept, great research, but the main character acts in ways sometimes that I have a hard time buying into.
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