Series: Earthsea Cycle #1
Published by Bantam (1.1.1968)
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 183 pages
Length: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Narrator: James Mcardle, Toby Jones, Full cast
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.
Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world.
This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.
Welp, I finally read this book. And I know with absolute certainty that I would not have finished it if it weren’t for the audio. How can a book be so boring when it’s not even 200 pages long?! And did I read a different book than everyone else did?!?! The writing was dull, the characters were dull, and the story should have been interesting but it just wasn’t.
The audio, though? Literally all the stars I would give this book are solely for the audiobook, because *chef’s kiss* It’s full cast and even has a score and sound effects. It was like listening to a movie! That’s the only reason I didn’t give up on this book is because it was worth listening to purely for the audio experience. I will say that sometimes it was a bit hard to follow, because you have to deduce what’s going on solely from the sound effects, since most of the time there’s nobody describing what’s actually happening (there were a few scenes where he did, but a lot was just purely sound effects). I doubt I’ll continue with the series, because I did not give one single fuck about any of this book, but if I do it will be for the audio.
Writing style: 1/5
World building: 2/5
Overall rating: 2/5
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Published by Viking (8.13.2020)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 304 pages
Length: 8 hours, 50 minutes
Narrator: Carey Mulligan
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets? A novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
This story didn’t make much of an impact on me (even though it probably should have), but I did mostly like the message. I love the concept of a library in between life and death, full of books that are alternate lives you could have lived if you had made different decisions. It’s a great reminder that life is worth living, and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The “what ifs” and “should haves” might have led to an even worse reality than you think you have currently. There were a lot of quotable passages, sometimes presented in a rhetorical manner that made you stop to think about it. The writing is charming and engaging, which drew me in. However, it was almost toxically positive about depression, which rubbed me the wrong way. I like the whole “appreciate what you have” mentality, but at the same time, telling a depressed person “it could be worse” is not helpful and not a solution. I don’t think Matt Haig really understands what depression is actually like, if he thinks that fixing regrets would fix depression. He seems to think it’s all about perspective, and sometimes it is; but depression doesn’t always have a why.
The pacing was quick because it’s a short read, but I never really connected to the story the way I wanted to. Especially considering I have been in Nora’s shoes. The emotion just wasn’t there for me.
Writing style: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5