Review: The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk

The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk

THE MAN WHO SPOKE SNAKISH
by ANDRUS KIVIRÄHK
Published: November 3, 2015 by Grove Press, Black Cat (English)
Originally published as Mees, kes teadis ussisõnu in 2007 by Eesti Keele Sihtasutus
Genre: fiction > fantasy, fairytale, Estonia
Pages: 400p
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★

A bestseller in the author’s native country of Estonia, where the book is so well known that a popular board game has been created based on it, The Man Who Spoke Snakish is the imaginative and moving story of a boy who is tasked with preserving ancient traditions in the face of modernity.

Set in a fantastical version of medieval Estonia, The Man Who Spoke Snakish follows a young boy, Leemet, who lives with his hunter-gatherer family in the forest and is the last speaker of the ancient tongue of snakish, a language that allows its speakers to command all animals. But the forest is gradually emptying as more and more people leave to settle in villages, where they break their backs tilling the land to grow wheat for their “bread” (which Leemet has been told tastes horrible) and where they pray to a god very different from the spirits worshipped in the forest’s sacred grove. With lothario bears who wordlessly seduce women, a giant louse with a penchant for swimming, a legendary flying frog, and a young charismatic viper named Ints, The Man Who Spoke Snakish is a totally inventive novel for readers of David Mitchell, Sjón, and Terry Pratchett.

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Review: The Bitter Kingdom (A Girl of Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

THE BITTER KINGDOM
(A GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS #3)
by RAE CARSON
Published: August 27th, 2013 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: fiction > young adult, fantasy
Pages: 433p
Source: Library borrow
Rating: ★★★★★

The champion must not waver.
The champion must not fear.
The gate of darkness closes.

Elisa is a fugitive.

Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa né Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy’s kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.

But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for.

Even of those who hate her most.

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Review: Cleopatra’s Shadows by Emily Holleman – Happy Release Day!

Cleopatra's Shadows by Emily Holleman

CLEOPATRA’S SHADOWS
by EMILY HOLLEMAN
Series: Fall of Egypt (#1)
Published
: October 6, 2015
Genre: historical fiction  > Egypt
Pages: 352p
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★★½

Before Caesar and the carpet, before Antony and Actium, before Octavian and the asp, there was Arsinoe.

Abandoned by her beloved Cleopatra and an indifferent father, young Arsinoe must fight for her survival in the bloodthirsty royal court when her half-sister Berenice seizes Egypt’s throne. Even as the quick-witted girl wins Berenice’s favor, a new specter haunts her days-dark dreams that have a habit of coming true.

To survive, she escapes the palace for the war-torn streets of Alexandria. Meanwhile, Berenice confronts her own demons as she fights to maintain power. When their deposed father Ptolemy marches on the city with a Roman army, both daughters must decide where their allegiances truly lie, and Arsinoe grapples with the truth, that the only way to survive her dynasty is to rule it.

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A Man Called Ove (and a girl named Alex) REVIEW + INTRO

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A MAN CALLED OVE
by FREDRIK BACKMAN
Published: July 15th 2014 by Atria Books (Originally published 2012 as En man som heter Ove by Forum)
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Humor, Swedish Literature
Pages: 353 (kindle approx.)
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★★

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fryand Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

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