Book Review, Books

Once Upon a River – Diane Setterfield [BOOK REVIEW]

once upon a river diane setterfield book review diary of difference love fairytale fairy tale story telling england uk

★★

‘’A river no more begins at its source than a story begins with the first page.’’

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is a story that had the perfect plot potential to be amazing, but it didn’t deliver at all. As a huge fan of storytelling, this was a big disappointment for me, the biggest one so far in 2019. 

‘’There are stories that may be told aloud, and stories that must be told in whispers, and there are stories that are never told at all.’’

The story happens in a small city, on the river Thames. It features the pub Swan, where people gather every night, and everyone knows each other, and they all tell stories all night and enjoy their company.

If you have ever been to England, it is so easy to imagine the setting of a pub, warm place, crowded with people laughing and talking loudly, glasses clinking and people singing random songs in the background. A lot of positive noise and enchanting atmosphere.

And one night, the usual setting is being disturbed, when a man enters the pub with a little girl in his arms, and then passes away. The girl appears to not be breathing for a while, and everyone thinks she is dead, but suddenly, she is breathing again. And the man that is with her is not her father.

As the town is used to, they make stories of it. How it happened, who is the father, does she have a family, why was she drowning in the river… The plot entangles when the family is to be found of the little girl, but a few people claim she is their relative.

‘’Something happens and then something else happens and then all sorts of other things happen, expected and unexpected, unusual and ordinary.’’

The storytelling and the writing of the author was beautiful. At times. The beginning was a paradise for booklovers. The best first chapters I read this year. But after the plot opening, everything started going downhill.

It felt like being on this rollercoaster,excited, going slowly upwards, slowly reaching the top, ready to fall so fast, ready for an adventure, only for them to tell you that there is a fault, and you have to get back and exit the ride without even making the adventure out of it.

I wanted to love it. The writing at parts was great, and I am including a lot of quotes throughout the review, because I loved those parts. But the chapters and characters were too many, and things were happening too fast and without a purpose, that it was hard for me to pick up the pace. I had to leave the book and pick it up again, and it took me three months to complete it. A hard book to swallow and process.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Random House UK, Transworld Publsihers for sending me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review, Books

Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves [BOOK REVIEW]

curses of scale s.d. reeves book review diaryofdifference www.diaryofdifference.com goodreads novel book books love adventure thriller young adult middle grade school

★★★

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Niena wants nothing more than to attend an elite bardic college, but when the dragon that shattered the empire awakens again she finds herself on the run, through the fey realm of Fairhome, to the city where she was born. On her trail are her army veteran grandfather, thrown into a commander’s role he doesn’t want, the lord of the fairies, trying to steer her to his own ends, and the husband she won’t meet for fifteen years. If she kills the dragon, she’ll save everyone she holds dear. But if she kills the dragon, she’s cursed instead to become it.

”Dreams starve and die if not fed by imagination.”

My thoughts:

A uniquely designed plot, intriguing and different. I was so excited to read this book. The cover was mesmerising and the synopsis was promising. It made me eager to start the book and I couldn’t wait to dive into this fantasy world.

The first couple of chapters were very slow for me. I had to re-read chapters twice, and I didn’t quite understand what is happening. After a while, things became clearer, and I started to enjoy the story a bit more.

I loved Niena’s character. She was a typical being, where one part gasps with bravery, and the rest gasps with fear. I loved how realistic she was at moments, knowing to be scared when supposed to, and fierce when needed of her.

The story gasps with a lot of intense scenes, full of adventures, that I am sure you will all love and appreciate. From trying to fight a dragon, to running away, to the amazing plot twist right at the very end, this book made me restless, after I started enjoying it.

The only reason I am taking two stars away is because I had to read the first 60-ish pages two-three times, until I finally dived in and started enjoying the story.

”A fairy bargain can live no deeper than your lips, it always dies before reaching the heart.”

A beautiful tale, full of magic, adventure and time travel. And a cover that suits it so well.

If you seem to like these types of books – don’t wait and grab your copy now:

Thank you to the author, S.D. Reeves , for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review, Books

The Little Mermaid – Hans Christian Andersen [BOOK REVIEW]

the little mermaid hans christian andersen - book review - blog diary of difference

★★★

I grew up with Disney movies, and my favourite one was the one with the mermaid that has long red hair, and I loved her love story, and also enjoyed watching the rest of the movie series that followed years later.

And while loving Ariel for so long, I have never actually read the original story. So a few weeks ago, I decided to cherish it properly, as a true childhood love deserves to be cherished.

And I was left with my jaw dropped and my mouth open, unable to sleep. I can’t say this book crushed my childhood love, but it definitely shook me quite hard.

If you are expecting to read about the little mermaid, and her adventures in the water, and how she would give anything to see how people live on Earth, and fall in love with a prince – you will get all that. In fact – the book description is far better compared to the movie. Incomparable, actually. The book glows with bright colourful descriptions of the world under the sea, and it is so vividly enchantingly explained.

But if you are expecting to read about the adorable love story of Ariel and the prince, and their happily ever after – that is not happening. Because things go wrong. Horribly wrong. With a crushing, terrible end, that will torture you in your dreams.

It wasn’t my intention to make this review so dark. The story is still wonderful, and full of life. However, there is no happy ending, and that, for me, was crucial to not enjoy it.

And I am not usually upset with unhappy endings. It happens so often. But this one was so brutal and cruel, that it felt so disturbing. Maybe, because it is my favorite childhood movie. Maybe, because I knew this to be a happy story. Maybe, because I didn’t expect this at all.

Hans Christian Andersen is an amazing writer. I have read many of his stories, and enjoyed them greatly. I honestly don’t know what was going on in his life when he was writing this, but wow. Just wow.

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