The Night Circus: Review

13611052What wonderful world building! The writing kinda fell short (Don’t get me wrong, the writing was great) but it wasn’t able to draw out the full potential of the world created.

To start with the setting and world building, (it’s been a week since I finished the book, and still haven’t been able to forget the feel of the Circus). It was -magical-, not Harry Potter Magical, but magical in its own right. I was simply drawn into it, and its atmosphere, the sounds, the feel, everything. I’ve been a sucker for circus and caravan adventures, since ‘The Famous Five’ was one of the very first books, and ‘The Name of the Wind’ is my all-time-fav, and I thank Erin for creating “Le Cirque des Rêves”.

For the Writing; the book is divided into 6 parts, and chapters are noted with a month/year beside their titles. I’m not particularly fond of journal-type writing, especially when it’s not in chronological order. I kept flipping pages going back to the previous chapters, just to mentally arrange the event of each chapter in chronological order. The lack of a table of contents was literally gutting me. After every few chapters, a page would describe the circus, the tone would change from third-person, to directly addressing the reader. I didn’t find the importance of those inserts, until the very last chapters, where everything fell into place.

The development of the characters is gradual (ahem, very-very gradual) even though a span of 30 years is squashed into the book, the book never felt rushed. I personally found the first half quite boring. The second half of the book gets into the actual premise (a.k.a the competition) when everything starts to make sense, and by now the I actually cared enough about the characters (including the side-characters) that I became emotionally attached to them. The last 50-100 pages were difficult to put-down, and convinced me why I might eventually re-read this.

However, one may argue over a couple of plot points not explained or even left out completely, but I would give it the benefit-of-doubt and leave it as description details, not necessary for plot progression. The ending is satisfying overall, leaving you scraping around for more of “Le Cirque des Rêves”, but instead you’d be afraid that a possible addition in the series is more likely to break-it than to make-it.

Overall I gave a three, but half extra point for the marvelous world building – 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Reflections on Cross-Cultural Living

Where’s Home?

Residing elsewhere away from your ‘home-country’ has its challenges, but when you are second-or-third-generation to be born-and-raised there, that ‘new’ place soon becomes the only home you truly know and love.

You are your own kind of person – a hybrid.
You carry traditions and beliefs of both places.
But now you are to live abroad – a third ‘new’ place.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ― Anita Desai

 

Living and Traveling
When I decided moved to Chicago to pursue my post-grad, I was a mix of emotions; which drove me half mad by the time I actually moved there. Being a frequent traveler, I thought “How hard can this really be?” I had forgotten that I wouldn’t be a tourist any longer, no room service, no bed-n-breakfast, etc. Here, I’ll have to cook, clean, and study – and most stressful aspect- for me personally – to live alone.

Cultural Shock
I found the first three months to be an educational-adjustment experience. I created my new routine. I noticed how many things I had to finish myself before they piled up and ruined my weekend. (And I found out how much a bad cook I am). Regardless, no matter how excited I had been in the first few weeks, slowly, slowly, the excitement was washed away. I started feeling homesick. Missed Home and Family. Missed having dinner conversations and planning the weekend.

Soon, I was counting down to the next holiday when I’ll be flying back home.
The remaining time, after the first three months – that had been super slow, continued at a normal pace. I got accustomed to my routine – almost to the point of boredom. But somehow started liking it, this had become “my time” – doing what I wanted – when I wanted.

Same yet Different
Soon after a better part of the year, which included often going back home on holidays, the lines blurred. Rather than finding differences and adjusting, now I found similarities between my lifestyles in both places. How the life would go on even if you aren’t in the city. The little differences in language and currency would make me adjust again to my home country, but it got easier with time.

Returning Home
I hate saying goodbyes, and it still makes me teary  when I think of my friends and the moments we shared. Even the bad days are a sweet reminiscent of the time spent there. Home, remained exactly the same. I knew what to expect when I return. The time spent in Chicago seems a distant past, like a good book or movie I lived. But readjusted was needed – to move on – back to normal life.

“When traveling becomes routine, Home becomes Luxury” – FTK

🙂

Photo via Visual Hunt

Six of Crows: Review

29975820Outcasts? An impossible heist? …Say no more!
This book was pretty much an auto-buy for me. I’ve read the Grisha Trilogy, and having another book set in the same world was a delight.

[To answer a common question, No – you needn’t read the Grisha Trilogy first in order to read this, but some of the characters will be mentioned, and if you’ve read it, it’ll only make you smile, and also you’ve have a deeper understanding of the Grisha World]

Okay diving into the review..

I really enjoying the writing style and how Bardugo intertwined the past and the present in such a beautiful way. Usually, when a flashback is involved, authors tend to alternate the chapters of present and past. Six of Crows alternates the chapters from the POV of all six characters, Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, & Wylan; and are in third-person tone. Each chapter seamlessly joins their current circumstances with their past lives, giving more meaning to their thoughts and decisions.

Furthermore, the way the flashback was incorporated to the present storyline was the best part for me – it didn’t give away too much, but it made you gradually like the characters and actually worry about them towards the end. This character development was flawless and the story never felt like it dragged or slowed. The impossible heist truly felt impossible, and I found myself cheering the characters on and holding my breath when they would fall into mishap.

The ending caught me off guard, as I was too involved with the character to see the incoming plot twist. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved this book and I do recommend it!

Looking forward to the second book: The Crooked Kingdom!

Overall: 4.5 (0.5 extra for Kaz) out of 5.