Book review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

I’m quite the sci-fi-fan, so this book appealed to me before I’d even heard the title. I put it on my list as it was brought to my attention by my friend Hannah (a properly proper computer scientist, she teaches stuff to other people and gets excited about robots, and stuff). As I put it on the list I read the other reviews in Goodreads, which were quite scathing. Some stuff about the author being very pleased at how clever he is and how the book read a lot like a series of blog posts. At least, I think it was this one they were talking about: that’s how I remember it, anyway.

The premise draws on the well-known sci fi lore that any un-named redshirt who goes on a mission to a planet’s surface with named characters who feature regularly in the narrative in any film or series is doomed. The book starts by describing the back story and current predicament of a red-shirt who is on a planetary mission with the captain and the chief science officer of _The Intrepid_. Take a wild guess what happens. For a moment, I had a strong fear that this book was going to be a long series of very short stories with a lot of back-story explanation. I didn’t want to read *that* book. It was all fine, though, that was effectively a prologue. The main character in *our* narrative, one Andy Dahl, joins _The Intrepid_, and it doesn’t take him long to work out that there’s something odd going on. His colleagues in the ship’s lab disappear whenever any senior crew appear, people seem super-reluctant to go on surface missions, he’s warned off going to the bridge by someone that looks like a Yeti, and one of the senior crew members seems to get horribly injured and near-death, and then make an amazingly quick recovery, only to go on an off-ship mission and be injured/infected again.

I like this idea, and I enjoyed Scalzi’s take on it. The book is divided into sections – the main narrative, which concludes neatly, followed by two codas. I had (another) moment of fear when the main narrative completed with about a third of the book to go. Previously I read a book that was crowd-funded on a Kindle, and the last nearly 20% of the book was a long list of credits naming contributors. It’s fair to say I felt utterly cheated on that occasion – I was expecting 20% more book, and it just ended. I don’t think the narrative was incomplete in that case, but I was enjoying it and my device told me there was more. I was ready to get really cross at the ridiculousness of wasting trees on a third of a book of people’s names, when I turned the page to find the first coda. It took me a short while to settle back down again, but I did, and managed to get quite into it before we switched to the second coda. While some might find this “overly clever” and “showing off” I think it was a neat way of extending the story beyond the obvious frist narrative.

I found this to be readable, and the story moved on at a good pace. The only “violence” was fairly cartoony (“and he got eaten by space worms with sharp teeth”), there’s no hanky panky (not on-the-page, anyway) and although in my head it was quite sweary I’m writing this a week later and I can’t remember if it actually *was* sweary or if I thought the characters should be swearing in the context they were in.

I’d recommend it for any sci-fi fan, but this is not my new favourite book.

Brooklyn Tweed commentary

It’s a while since I did a stream-of-consciousness commentary on one of Brooklyn Tweed’s look-books. I realised this avo that I haven’t done one in a while, so I took a look with an open notepad…

The book is here, follow along, children!

I like the colour scheme on the cover. This may inspire me to make something in dark blue & black soon…

Peaks – looks too 70s and is too “snazzy” for any of the men in my life.

Belfast – while I like the colours of this (see above re blue on black) the size and shoulder style of this looks as though it would constantly be sliding off my shoulders. So, in essence would be like wearing a blanket. I can see how it would be lovely and cozy, but not something I need just at the moment…

Nolan – I’m intrigued by the stitch pattern used to create the chevrons – it’s the kind of sweater that, if I encountered it in the wild, would probably have me arrested (or thought of as being Quite Odd For Staring) because of the length of time I’d be staring at it trying to work out how it was achieved. Beyond that, in the first image, the thing that caught my eye was the rain mac that the model is wearing over it. Which I didn’t take to be an awesome sign…

Douro – now *this* is a portable blanket, and on purpose. This might be one for the queue as the black scarf/nearly-blanket I’ve had for a couple of years sees a lot of outings… At this point, my main question is “could I drive with it on?”

Etna – they are doing well on naming things to appeal to me, although why this gentle-coloured design would be named after a volcano is hard to tell. I like the colour (dark teal – very “now” – or is it very “last year”? I feel like this has been Highly Fashionable for a while now, although don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining) and I like the shape, but I’ve tried on enough misguided cowl neck garments in my time to know that the neckline, raglan sleeves and batwings would be a terrible combination with my rack.

Bevel – this feels like a showcase for yarn colours. I’m a little underwhelmed by it, and have nothing witty to say.

Kirigami – again, another arrestable stitch pattern, and I like the colour, but probably wouldn’t pick this one up. I’m actually more interested in the model’s hat on this one.

Mason – a cowl with a brick-like stitch pattern – see what they did there? I was deeply scarred in my early twenties by someone asking me “do you still wear that throwback cowl you used to wear at Uni?” I was wearing the cowl at the time. In fairness to her, she was in the front seat of the car and I was in the back. I’m not a fan of tall cowls that are a bit loose – I prefer to be able to wrap them around for better snugness. So this wouldn’t work for me. And the main man in my life isn’t metrosexual enough to wear this.

Colburn – I can see this being a staple wardrobe item for someone, but it’s not singing to me.

Isthmus – If even the models look silly wearing a hat, there’s no chance I’m going to look anything other than silly wearing it. I like the cleverness of the mini-earflaps, but if I’m going to have earflaps, I want them to be definitely there. If BT are going for “a sophisticated take on the Peruvian hat” I think they are misguided. A large part of the point of those hats is their bonkers-ness, and I think it’s a mistake to take that away from them.

Bevel in different colours – I’m still underwhelmed.

Freja – I may be missing out on a world of awesomeness here, but I really fail to see the point of chunky cardigans with short sleeves. If I’m cold, I’m cold all over. Including on my arms.

Isthmus – the beanie version. This is less silly than the earlier examples. This I might be willing to attempt, but it’s still not really anything to write home about.

Geiger – I’m pretty sure I’ve seen an advert for this elsewhere. This is the one I like the most so far (apart from Douro). I like the intricate cabling and the stucturalness of it. V-neck, long sleeves & clever details. Also, this one is made in black, which I like. Having said that, black would be a bad idea for me, probably, given that my cat is mostly white.

Mason in different colours – still don’t like it.

Peaks – might be in different colours. Hard to tell. I’m feeling like there’s quite a lot of repetition here.

Freja in different colours. I like it even less in cream.

I like the picture of Douro that’s on the back cover. In conclusion, there’s a large navy blue blankie-scarf in my future, I think.

 

New slippers

Late last year I decided that travelling to work was getting a bit old, so I sought ways to reduce my commuting time. As luck would have it, the parents live much closer to my place of work than I do, and they are happy to accommodate me one night a week. So, the plan is to stop at theirs every Monday evening, and start the week with one less journey back & forth. I’m trying to leave a few bits & pieces there so that I have less to remember/forget when I’m packing in the dark at oh-my-god-it’s-early o’clock on Monday mornings. Im having to pick out outfits for two days, I don’t want to then fall into the gaping chasm of forgetting my toothbrush. Which reminds me, I need to take a hairbrush as well…

They are away at the moment, so the heating is on don’t-burst-the-water-pipes settings and it seems a bit futile to turn it up just for a couple of hours on one night a week. I camp out in the front room with the gas fire on, then make myself a hot water bottle about half an hour before turning in, then put on ALL THE CLOTHES (apart from tomorrow’s carefully chosen outfit, of course) and go to bed. It’s a bit tricky getting up in the morning, but not as cold as you might think, even though I had to scrape the frost off my car this morning. The one thing I’m keen to have available in this context is slippers.

I went out to Ormskirk market but, if I’m honest, I was underwhelmed by the selection there. So, clearly, I took the path any sane person would, and decided to make a pair. I have some super-chunky yarn that my sister gave me, so I hit Ravelry to see what I could find that would be appropriate. I saw a few I liked and fancied having a go at, but the one that was closest to what I was after was described as “basically a pair of toe-up short-row socks”. Clearly, rather than download and follow a free pattern, I thought “I can do that”!

And what do you know, I was right! In other news, here’s a gratuitous picture of the girl and the cat. She was very happy because, although the cat didn’t sit on her voluntarily, he did stay there for a bit 😀

srsly, why?

A Thing happened the other day. It was not a major, serious, bad, life-changing event, but it was more of an additional drip on the drip-drip of everyday sexism that forms the backdrop to one’s life and occasionally drips loudly enough for me to respond with “srsly, why?”

A week or so ago (I’ve been mulling) I took the train to London to visit a friend. I’ve got several friends in London. If I didn’t visit you, it wasn’t you, rest easy. The offender in this tale wasn’t my friend, nor were any of his friends who I saw that weekend, you can all breathe easily. I quite like taking the train by myself. I don’t have to worry about getting seats with my travelling companions, I can knit or read or write or code or snooze or gaze aimlessly out the window without having to explain myself about what I’m doing or how long I’m doing it for. I appreciate that that could be read in a way that makes me sound grumpy and as though I don’t like being with people, including ones related to me. This isn’t necessarily the case, I just enjoy my alone time when I get it. Suffice it to say that generally I am so enjoying the freedom of solo travel that the presence of other people who I don’t know is generally not troubling.

Generally.

I got through all of the journey there and a lot of the journey back without incident. On the return journey Euston to Crewe I was sitting across the aisle from two couples who were travelling together. They were about my age. Maybe a little older. In my head I’m still in my late 20s, maybe early 30s when in fact I’m in my mid-40s. These folk were kinda late 40s-early50s. They had brought snacks (the subject of some discussion – it’s so hard to know what to get when you’re buying for other people, apparently) and discussed holiday plans – they were on their way home from a mini-break, it transpired. All pretty innocuous, and one couldn’t complain about conversation because we weren’t in the quiet carriage. So I had my earphones in for quite a lot of the time. As we arrived in Crewe, it transpired these four lovely people and myself were all getting off. I was knitting at the time (Wheaten, by Brooklyn Tweed) and of course was knitting up to the last possible second in order to finish the row I was working on. I don’t cope well with stopping half way through a row, as my children will happily tell you – one of their most-heard lines over the years has been “just let me finish this row”. Even with circular knitting. Yes, it’s a problem, just one I choose not to address. So, party-of-four are on their feet sorting themselves out, I’m frantically racing to the end of the line before I start to see platform signs sliding past, when one of the men from the party leans over to me and says:

“I hate to tell you, but you dropped a stitch a few rows back, there.”

From the many possible responses crowding into my head, I chose:

“Thank you for bringing that to my attention, I’ll deal with it later.” I may have preceded it with an “Oh, really?” in a tone of genuine surprise and curiosity. Then he asked me what it was going to be, which I answered “a scarf” – I’d have shared the pattern name with him, but I suspect he didn’t care.

I am now filled with regret over the many other responses I wish I had given, for example…

  • how can you tell? You’re too far away and my knitting is kinda scrumpled up
  • how can you tell? This pattern has many yarn-overs in it that may look to the untrained eye like dropped stitches, however are completely deliberate
  • who made you the knitting police?
  • did I, where? (with panicked look in eyes)
  • why didn’t you say so earlier?!
  • no, I didn’t
  • hard stare, followed by no response
  • what are you knitting at the moment? You’re clearly an expert, so I’m guessing you have several WIPs. Oh, what’s a WIP, you ask?
  • Did I really? Or are you just saying that because you’ve heard  a dropped stitch is a thing in knitting and you want to show off that you’ve recognised that what I’m doing is knitting?
  • Is that a pick-up line? Because saying something negative about something I’m doing isn’t going to work and, dude, you’re wife’s *right there*
  • why would you say that? That’s just mean
  • please come home with me and be my dropped-stitch-spotter for ever
  • actually, this is crochet
  • I haven’t dropped a stitch in about five years, mate, you must be on something (this isn’t actually true, but then neither was his assertion, so who cares, eh?)
  • Oh, that will probably have been on one of the cables I did without using a cable needle – yes, I’m properly living on the edge

I appreciate that on some levels I’m over-reacting, here, however, it feels completely in line with patriarchic behaviour to attempt to pléasante me by pointing out that the thing I’m doing has a mistake in it. Why didn’t he say “I’ve been watching you knit. That looks awesome. What’s it going to be?” or something equally positive? Why belittle me, and what I’m doing?

I’d say he doesn’t get out much, but clearly from the conversation I’d overheard, he does. Maybe he belittles everyone he comes across in some small, unconscious way.

I just felt like it was an opportunity missed. Both on his part – he could have spread positivity instead of negativity, and on mine – for acting like a weak, subservient being, who granted that he maybe knew better about an activity that, with all due modesty, I’m really quite good at. Why have I labelled this (in my mind, and in my opening paragraph) as sexist? Because I can’t imagine that if I had been a man knitting on the train that he would have said anything to me, much less something that implied that he knew better than me the success of the thing I was doing. I’m willing to lay money on he also wouldn’t have spoken to me if Steve had been with me. Maybe I’m over-reacting, and maybe he would have done, but I have no way of finding out. I’ll just pick out my favourite line from the list above and hold it near the front of my brain, waiting for the next time this happens.

In conclusion, and just to put my mind at rest – can you check for dropped stitches on the pic below, and let me know if you see any?

ps. this is an on-request for the boy. I made a mustard gold-yellow version for step-mother’s birthday and he said he wanted one just like it… only in teal. Luckily, I like knitting this pattern 😀

In which I tread the boards again after 20+ years

When I was young and single and looking for ways to make new friends in the intimidating and unfriendly-by-reputation deep south, I decided that amateur dramatics was the way to go. I joined the Worthy Players, who were a very friendly and welcoming bunch. I started by doing props for “A Month of Sundays” (it’s harder than you’d think to replicate a pot of tea *safely* and *convincingly* on stage), and then switched between backstage roles and on-stage roles in “SS Farndale Avenue” and “One for the Road” (my name was different then, but you can see the evidence by checking out the previous shows page of their website and scrolling all the way down to 1994/95 – look for Jude Hayes) – and, it turns out, “Humpty Dumpty”, which I’d completely forgotten about… I really enjoyed it, but in the summer of 1995 I moved up to London. My job in London was such that I couldn’t guarantee being in rehearsals (you’d be surprised what crises pop up on Europe-wide car rental applications, and how often it requires you to “stay until it’s done”) and also, London is well known for being full of Proper Actors and I was so intimidated by that idea that I just didn’t investigate the am-dram-wanna-be-not-am scene.

There are days when I really regret that.

So: I got married, had children and couldn’t guarantee being at rehearsals for a whole host of other reasons – in truth, I felt like my family ought to come first. However, they are now old enough that they can be left alone for huge swathes of the day, so I’ve launched back in.

While sight-seeing in Liverpool last year I saw an A-board outside the masonic hall on Hope Street advertising acting classes for adults. And so I signed up (with MAD). Just over a year later, having done 3 terms of classes with them, I signed up for the summer performance “course”, which culminates in a production in a proper theatre.

me as a theatre nurse

I was cast in “Tiger Country” by Nina Raine as “Lakshmi” (renamed to “Laura”), a middle-aged theatre nurse. Clearly acting middle-aged was a stretch, but having worked in a clinical research facility, I’m practically a nurse already anyway… The play is set between Surgery and A&E in a large hospital, and shows the pressures on the NHS through the lives of the people working in it.

rehearsing the trauma scene

Here (below) you can see us performing a testicle removal on Cyril, using barbecue tongs as retainers (we dropped that after the level of guffawing from the audience as they are clearly not a self-retainer, which is what was asked for in the preceding line…). Please note the attractive headgear, and how my hair is *nearly* tucked in!

Posted by Merseyside Academy of Drama – MAD on Saturday, 9 September 2017

Photo from the dress rehearsal, taken by the very talented dallyfilms.com

The next one shows my awesome acting chops – I was having to pretend to be really pissed off with Lisa (“Vanessa”) here, which was hard because I really like her. I channelled the feeling I had when a particular manager in my past was berating me for some reason or other that was most definitely not my fault.

Posted by Merseyside Academy of Drama – MAD on Saturday, 9 September 2017

Photo from the dress rehearsal, taken by the very talented dallyfilms.com

The performances felt like they went really well, and the last one was pretty much a sell-out, which really helped with the atmosphere. I liked the challenge of working in the round, enjoyed the rehearsals and being part of a company, and bringing these characters to life. I also got a reputation for being organised as I wanted to make sure my props were all sorted – Lisa is now convinced I should be pursuing a career in stage management.

script and memorabilia

In conclusion, I’m loving it, looking for ways to do more, and wish I’d got my arse in gear to do it years ago… so, watch this space, folks!

Holiday reading …fails

book piles

I brought 6 books with me on holiday, 4 of them from the library were essentially chosen at random from the sci-fi/fantasy shelf. It would appear, from yesterday’s attempts to start a new book, that the library random-choice method has a 50% success rate. The 2 books whose bindings you can see have been read & appreciated. The 2 whose bindings you can’t see, were less successful. I generally have a rule that I give a book until page 50 – only one of these even made it that far.

The first unsuccessful book was by Melinda Snodgrass and was chosen partly because of the awesome name of the author. Another reason was because Melinda has, according to her bio, written for Star Trek. Unfortunately the title I chose was the second in a series and I was unable to get past the necessary slight Basil Exposition style of the first few chapters where the first paragraph was this-and-this-and-this had happened to this person and it was only when I realised that this was #2 of however-many that I worked out why. This I did not like. Also, I found her narrative style slightly annoying. Very early on, someone who was escaping while crawling through mud was described as dragging themselves forward “reluctantly”. Given the circumstances, this felt like a carelessly wrong word.

The second was a retelling of the Medea legend – I think – I don’t know the Medea legend, so it could have been a tale at a liberal tangent, a prequel or a sequel for all I knew, but from the start I found the writer’s style frustratingly impenetrable. In a lot of cases, it took about half a page to work out what the action was, and the main character, Medea, started taking actions which I found incredibly annoying, didn’t understand why she was doing what she was doing, and didn’t have enough invested in her to give her license to do what she was doing. I stopped at page 49. Life is too short to be struggling through a book this annoying in style.

Instead I’ve gone for a book that I’ve borrowed from my father in law, and although I’m on day 1, I’m about half way through. It’s by an author I like, so this is not unexpected.

The other books that I like will be reviewed on the book gnome all in the fullness of time…

Important stages in blanket-making

yarn choices

Around this time last year I started making a blanket as part of a knit-along with my LYS, knit-wise in Ormskirk. Quite a few of us took part, and a year later progress varies between “Blanket? What blanket? Oh yes, I finished that aeons ago!” and “Blanket? What blanket? Oh, yeah, I really should work on that a bit…”

For my part, I worked on it sporadically over the year – at least a third of it was done in the first few weeks (to a month or so) up to the point where it was at the important stage of being big enough to dick about with as though it were a scarf.

blanket-as-scarf

Although being made lantern by lantern, it was theoretically an easy “on the go” project, the need to bring all 12 colours with you kind-of countered that by making it a really difficult “on the go” project. Also, you need to keep the equipment with you at all times for changing colours and sewing in the ends. This is the kind of project which, if you don’t finish off as you go along, will pretty much guarantee it never gets finished. A crafter who enjoys sewing in ends is a rare find indeed, and one who would be willing to sew in a minimum of 11x4x8 + 12x4x7 + 14×2 ….352 + 564 + 28 …944 ends in one sitting is a rare unicorn indeed. I sewed my ends in as I went, and joined my strips together as I went, and I’m not ashamed to say that I shouted loud caution at anyone who looked like they were saving up all the sewing-in and sewing-together joy until the end.

So, I worked on it sporadically – mainly at Wednesday night knit & natter if I’m honest, just to show willing and let everyone know I hadn’t forgotten about it. I made several things in the meantime – my new favourite sweater, a cardigan that still needs its buttons sewing on (see above re. keen-ness for finishing off fiddly details), a hat, Christmas mini-stockings, a waistcoat, a herd of hedgehogs and a handful of toy ducks and progress was made, inch by inch.

I got to the penultimate proscribed row and nearly the end of some of the colours of my yarn sometime in June/July, at which point it seemed like it would be a shame not to sneak under the 365-day mark for completing this beast. So I made an effort, and sure enough I managed to get the short sprint done.

finished blanket

It’s not as wide as I’d have liked, but I ran out of the mustard yellow yarn and didn’t want to get a whole new set of balls, which is a cycle I could very easily have fallen into. The boy has claimed this one for himself, and seems happy enough with it.

Joel with blanket

…so I’m calling it “done”.

So. Given the hard slog that that felt like, which is the obvious next step for a keen crafter like myself? Clearly, start another one. This time, for the girl.

african flower motifs

Holiday keen-ness means that this, too, has got to the all-important dick-about-with-it-like-it’s-a-scarf phase which, given that I’m doing strips horizontally this time, actually happened a lot earlier in the process. Still. A stage is a stage.

new-blanket-scarf

Watch out for completion of the girl’s blanket …around this time next year, no doubt.

Book review: Time And Time Again by Ben Elton

Unlike previous novels from Ben Elton, I found this to be well written, and with an intriguing story that kept me turning the page right to the end. Compared to Elton’s screen work, this feels more considered and intricate. It’s not a new trope that going back in time to change a single point of history to prevent bad things from happening may make things worse in the long run. I liked the alternative that was posed here.

The hero, ex-SAS widower Hugh Stanton is alone in the world and so is an ideal candidate for the “loop in time” that Newton discovered and left details of for Hugh’s Oxford professor (and others). He is trained, equipped, and sent back to prevent the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

Although I guessed who a supposed “mystery figure” was at one point, the plot didn’t feel predictable, and I was as un-nerved and taken aback by the ending as I think I was supposed to be. I liked that the baddies and goodies weren’t necessarily fixed as either one or the other, but that most of the characters that are introduced have layers and depending on your point of view could be either good or bad.

Even though I was left feeling a little depressed and lacking optimism generally, this is well worth a read in my opinion.

This review first appeared on The Book Gnome

Book review: The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker


This book was passed to me because a good friend of mine found she just couldn’t get into it, so my expectations weren’t high. Also, I was reading it in translation from the original French, in English, so I expected the language and style to feel disjointed, and annoy me.

The premise is that a well-known author who is struggling to create his second novel goes to spend time with his college tutor, Harry Quebert, another author. While he is there, the “Affair” explodes around him – the body of a girl who went missing 33 years ago is dug up in Harry’s garden, making him the chief suspect.

Our hero knows (in his heart) that Harry cannot have abducted and killed the girl, despite the mounting evidence that backs up the popular theory. It starts to look like this should be the material for his difficult second novel. Indeed, the implication is that the book in your hands is this second novel (which I found to be quite clever).

The story doesn’t move super-quickly, and there are quite a few threads to keep track of as you go through. The writing conveys the characters’ motivation and feelings really well – you properly understand why they do the things they do. The twists and turns of the story are well hidden and well revealed when the time comes – it was rare that I felt “there’s a twist coming” which means to me that the plot was well constructed. On that same note, I felt like the threads were effectively brought together at the end – the ending was satisfying. Too often when I finish a novel, I think “meh, is that it?” and the denouement felt a bit like a cop-out. Not so this time.

Also, by the time I had read to the end (it’s not a super-long novel, but for some reason I felt like I had been on a long journey at the end of it) I was surprised to be reminded that this was a translation. The language felt natural and well-constructed throughout – at no point did it feel clunky and there is a large amount of idiomatic speech in the story, which is most at risk when translating. So: really, really good job on the translation, Sam Taylor.

An edited version of this review first appeared on The Book Gnome

Book review: Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1) Alice by Christina Henry

Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1)Alice by Christina Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb for this book tells the reader that the story is inspired by “Alice in Wonderland”. All this really serves to do, is lull you into a false sense of security.

The fact that some of the characters in this book are inspired by and named after Lewis Carroll’s characters is pretty much where the similarity ends. This novel is much darker and more visceral than its leaping off point. Alice starts in a mental asylum, having been recovered from an encounter with the white rabbit ten years earlier. You get the sense very early on, that that encounter was not a good one.

Alice escapes with her friend, Hacker, when the asylum burns down, and they embark on an adventure involving monsters, exploration, underground tunnels, gang lords and the mysterious Jabberwocky. The journey is as much one of self-discovery as it is one of Alice learning about her new surroundings – she was raised in the affluent, safe “new city” but now finds herself in the old city – a dark and dangerous place, and no place for any girl to be alone, let alone a girl from the right side of the tracks. It’s also a journey of Alice and Hacker getting to know each other – in the asylum they communicated through a hole in the wall between them. With the wall removed, Alice learns who her friend really is, was, and who he becomes with each new danger they encounter.

This is not a book for the squeamish – the main characters are attacked in a variety of inventive and messy ways – very definitely not one for the kids. However, the same powerful language that brings those vivid scenes to life also paints rich and colourful scenes in the less intense moments of Alice’s journey. Although under the protection of her companion, the author still maintains the character’s strength and independence. The story definitely ends on a feminist note, and I’m very much looking forward to reading the sequel.

View all my reviews on goodreads
This review was originally posted on The Book Gnome