The Song Of Achilles – Madeline Miller [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Review

★★★

The Song Of Achilles became a part of my TBR list right after I finished reading Circe. I loved Circe and it is one of my favorite books of 2018. I also enjoyed The Song of Achilles, but not nearly as much.

For the ones out there who love greek mythology, this is a book that covers Achilles’s life told from Patroclus’s point of view. It is more or less accurate, and covers a lot of details from the early lives of these two princes. This is a story about one great friendship that turns into something more, a lot of challenges, a lot of doubts, and a lot of choices to be made during a time of war.

The story is very fast paced, and I was skipping through the pages as fast as Achilles was killing Trojan warriors. From their childhood, to their growing up, to their adventures and the war, this book will never keep you calm, because every chapter something unexpected happens. Well, sometimes not too much, as I know the story, but even still, I was surprised a lot.

Book Cover

A thing that bothered me a lot throughout the whole book was the inaccuracy at some points, and hiding information.

Now, we all know that Achilles was immortal. And we all know the story that his mother Thetis, a goddess of water dipped his body into the water in the river Styx. However, she was holding him by the heel, so his heel was the only place where he was vulnerable. This will be the reason of his death, when Apollo would direct Paris’s spear into Achilles’ heel.

Now – if this is such a common fact, and everybody who heard about Achilles knows it – why wouldn’t the author include it in the book. It wasn’t mentioned once.. Not once… I found this really upsetting.

Moving forward to the characters, we have Patroclus presented as the weaker one, the coward, the person that is mocked by everyone, not loved even by his parents and unworthy. ( Another point that bothered me is that this is not entirely true – according to Homer, Patroclus was apparently wiser than Achilles)

On the other hand, we have the opposite – a wise, brave, strong and handsome man, loved by everyone, immortal and a son of a goddess. We have a perfect example for a leader.

While fate connect these two to meet from their very early years, they also build a love relationship which they try to hide it at first. This relationship will cause them hatred from Thetis (Achilles’ mom) and will prompt them to make choices that might not be necessarily good ones. Now, Homer never mentioned a pederasty in his works between these two, but Miller does. And I am not sure how I feel about it. Not about the fact that they are gay, but the fact that this is Achilles.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. It is a great retelling of the story and a great time capture of the past. It wasn’t anything special, and I didn’t feel heartbroken in the end, but it was definitely worth reading it. I give it three stars – ★★★ . 

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Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge – Lisa Jensen [BOOK REVIEW]

book review blog diary of difference

One of my favorite books while I was growing up was the Beauty and the Beast. I usually love retellings,as they show me a different side of the story that might be, that I have never considered before. This book, however, almost ruined it all for me. The only reason it didn’t was because I wouldn’t let one bad retelling to ruin my childhood favorite!

The story is about Lucie, who is a servant in Jean Leup’s palace. Through Lucie’s story, we see Jean Leup as a horrible person who only cares about money and the respect he received from his aristocratic community. He treats the servants badly and doesn’t even bother to look at them.

Lucie likes the thought of him. He is a very handsome man, and all she dreams about is for him to notice her. And one day, he does. And something really bad happens. Jean Leup does something horrible to Lucie.

[SPOILER – PLEASE CONTINUE CAUTIOUSLY]

He rapes her. And not only that this scene was very disturbing, it was also three pages long, with broad descriptions and it made be cringe badly. It made me hate everything and this was the part where I almost quit on reading this book]

[SPOILER FINISHED – YOU CAN CONTINUE READING]

beast: a tale of love and revenge

After this big spoiler scene, the first reaction Lucie has is to kill herself. I am aware that this was a huge trauma for her, and people react differently, but if the author gives me this as a solution to her problem, do I want to continue reading? Is this really the lesson she learns?

With a bit of help of magic and wisdom words, she decides that now she wants for Jean Leup to suffer, and she wants to be able to see this happen. Suddenly, wish becomes a reality and the next thing we know, she is a candle that can’t move, and Jean Leup has turned into a Beast.

Do you get the Beauty and the Beast reference now? We see the story from the candle’s point of view, who is Lucie.

Well – not really!

Because here’s the twist – the Beast doesn’t remember what happened before. He doesn’t know he was Jean Leup. He doesn’t know he was bad in the past. The Beast is good by default, and a bit sad that he’s alone in a big castle. So I have to ask again – Where is the lesson? Where is the punishment? If he can’t remember he was bad, he’ll never learn why he is a Beast.

To continue and shorten the story – Lucie (the candle) can talk to the Beast through her mind. The Beauty (Rose) comes to the castle and the story goes on. Lucie decides that she is in love with the Beast, and I won’t reveal the rest, in case you want to read the book and see for yourself.

Now – I know that the author’s point wasn’t the lesson that the Beast learns as in the original story. Her point was to tell the story of the Beast, and Lucie, and how this tale can have a different plot, and ending, and back story. But I really believe that this was the wrong way of saying it, and it didn’t leave a clear message.

The writing was poor, and it went from one moment to another, leaving me there in the middle, wondering what happened. One scene begins, and another starts before anything is finished. It was disorientated, and I felt lost in the first 40 pages.

This is a no from me, and I will give it 2 stars because I managed to finish it.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me with an ARC e-copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Postcard Haul

postcard haul blog diary of difference

Hello Lovelies!

This is my week’s postcard haul! I hope that you’ll like it!

 

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Keep Calm and Read Harry Potter postcard – which I love so much! It came from Postcrossing – RU-6594139. Special thank you to Sasha from Russia. And Sasha – congrats on passing all of your exams. That’s amazing! Harry Potter fans – how do you like this?

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Postcrossing postcard again, this time coming from Turkey. TR-376480. Thank you Eda, I really loved this postcard! The writing says Happy Ramadan, which is the biggest Muslim celebrations in the world. The building behind is the blue mosque and it’s very famous and beautiful!

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This amazing postcard comes from the Goodreads Postcard Exchange Group that I am into. Each month, we send a postcard to one person from the group, and the June theme was: Where do you usually read?

Thank you Manisha, for sending me this amazing postcard!

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Postcrossing again – this time from Wei from Taiwan (TW-2550963). I think this postcard is amazingly cute, and there are also lovely drawings at the back. So cool!

Do you like sending postcards? If you like the idea – it’s never to late to start. Check out Postcrossing, or send me a message. It’s an amazing hobby that I have apart from reading, and I love it!

Falling Short – Lex Coulton [BOOK REVIEW]

When I first found out about Falling Short, written by Lex Coulton, the blurb promised to be ‘’fresh, funny and life-affirming’’. I am sorry, but no. That is not correct. This book was none of those things. It wasn’t bad at all, but I would prefer describing it as a slow-paced, and confusingly complex in an unsatisfying way.

About the book:

Frances Pilgrim’s father went missing when she was five, and ever since all sorts of things have been going astray: car keys, promotions, a series of underwhelming and unsuitable boyfriends . . . Now here she is, thirty-bloody-nine, teaching Shakespeare to rowdy sixth formers and still losing things.

But she has a much more pressing problem. Her mother, whose odd behaviour Frances has long put down to eccentricity, is slowly yielding to Alzheimer’s, leaving Frances with some disturbing questions about her father’s disappearance, and the family history she’s always believed in. Frances could really do with someone to talk to. Ideally Jackson: fellow teacher, dedicated hedonist, erstwhile best friend. Only they haven’t spoken since that night last summer when things got complicated . . .

As the new school year begins, and her mother’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, Frances realizes that she might just have a chance to find something for once. But will it be what she’s looking for?

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My thoughts:

I am usually good at explaining why I don’t like a certain book, or why I feel the way I feel, and believe me, with this one, I have spent two days and 6 sittings in front of this draft (now published post) to try and write about it. So I am doing my best now…

First of all, there has to be something about a certain book to make me want to read it. With this one – there were two things:

  • I love romance and intrigue, and the blurb promised two people not really talking to each other, but sparks flying around… so yes, that got me

  • The Alzheimer’s disease – as a person that has worked with people suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this subject is very close to my heart. I couldn’t miss this book for this reason.

Now – the romance part disappointed me, as there was no romance. No romance at all. Unless, of course, you count as a romance a person in their mid-forties sleeping around with drunk teens, and is then too complicated of a character to even realise who he loves, and why, and the moment he does, he still has no idea what to do with that information.

The other disappointment I had was that I expected to read about the Alzheimer’s, and not only that they weren’t there, but also some of the symptoms mentioned were not correct at all. There were only sex relationships and sex scenes, and that was supposed to define their relationship in the end. Not realistic at all.

Even though it seems that we follow Frances’s story throughout, we actually follow Jackson’s story as well. Their characters were too complicated and confusing for me, and it let me to now feel nor care about them at all. I honestly cared about Frances’s dog the most in this book.

The plot wasn’t perfect – there were times when the information given didn’t match

[SPOILER ALERT]

The scene how Frances searches on Google to find the address of her dad. We are then told that she found out his address through Jean. Which one is it, then?

[SPOILER FINISHED – SAFE TO CONTINUE READING]

I am actually quite sad that I didn’t enjoy this book, but I will still be curious about new works from Lex Coulton, because, somehow, I really liked her writing style, despite all the flaws.

Thank you to Netgalley and John Murray Press for providing an ARC copy of this book to me, in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

The Frightened Little Flower Bud – Renée Paule, G R Hewitt [BOOK REVIEW]

I don’t usually read Children’s Books. I used to love them when I was a kid, and of course, those were the books on which I learned how to read. Those are the stories that I will always remember with happiness in my heart and they will always have a special place in my heart.

I was lucky enough to win The Frightened Little Flower Bud on a giveaway from Booklikes, and I couldn’t be happier! This is a short, cute story about one flower, and the process of how it blooms.

Before it blooms, it has many fears as to what is going to happen, it fears that the sun will dry it, and the rain will drown it, and that it won’t be as beautiful as the other flowers out there.

It reminds me of the fears that us people have every day before we go out of the door. We fear this and that, without realising to enjoy our lives, and live them like they are our last. A perfect description of how fear and doubt can let us down, but also a perfect example of what happens when you actually get the courage and go out there, and realise that yes – you can be the prettiest flower out there.

I liked how there are questions at the end of the books, to engage the little readers after reading it. However, in all honesty, I believe that the images inside the books won’t keep a kid there for very long, and they might not be the most exiting this in the world.

Quidditch Through The Ages – J. K. Rowling [BOOK REVIEW]

For every Harry Potter fan out there, there is a book in the fictional library, that somehow wizards allowed for it to be shared with us muggles.

Note: I am not a muggle, I am, of course, a wizard, but I believe Hogwarts has made some admin mistakes and my letter is yet due to arrive!

But for you muggles out there, this book has been approved to be shared, and it talks about the most famous sport in the wizarding world – Quidditch. A sport in which Harry Potter was a star, just like his father and many famous people before him!

Quidditch Through The Ages speaks about the rules of Quidditch, the history, the famous teams around the world, the most famous players, the most exciting matches, the most devastating injuries, and the most mysterious endings of the matches.

While I was listening to it (Yes, I have the audible version – actually the second audio book I have ever read/listened to), this book made me feel like I was a part of this world, the same feeling I always get when I read the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling is such an amazing writer, and times and times again, I wish this world was real, and I wish I was part of it.

With my audio version, I also got the bonus scenes of the 2014 World Cup being held, and it being reported by Ginny Potter and Rita Skeeter. It was the most amazing thing ever. It is also taken out from the Pottermore edition, so I think you might be able to find it online!

This book belongs to the never-forgettable shelf, alongside Harry Potter, and alongside all my other favourite books!

Note: Audible has an amazing offer that let’s you get one book for free once you sign up. So if you want to pick this book, or any other book, click here.

The Camelot Shadow – Sean Gibson [BOOK REVIEW]

‘’I can either tell you my tale, or I can respond to your feeble witticisms. I cannot, in my mildly inebriated state, do both.’’

This is not your usual story related to King Arthur, Merlin and Camelot. This will, in fact, be quite different story and not only unusual, but one of a kind.

We go back in time when Queen Victoria was ruling over England. In a time when the author really liked to point out the fact that the characters are using trains. It was pointed out so much, that I had to do a bit of research to see if trains existed in that time. They did – apparently England had the oldest rail transport in the world. And Queen Victoria was one of the first royals to use that form of transport too.

Now, I am not even sure why I kept going on about trains… Back to the story…

The Camelot Shadow covers the story of Lord Alfred Fitzwilliam, a man whose wife is ill from an incurable illness. When an opportunity arises, giving him the chance and hope that he might save the life of his lover, he goes on a mission to find an object from the time when King Arthur was the ruler of England, and Merlin was his companion.

With a help from a group of people, Alfred digs the history and the stories of the past, only to discover that not everything he believed in was true, and not everyone that he trusted is his ally.

A story that reminded me of Dan Brown’s work. Quite similar in the sense of clues, history, what is a myth and what is a fact, though also quite distinctive, as it covers people’s characters so well, describing their personalities in a powerful way.

‘’Wealth. Status. Happiness. A perfect life. All built on an ephemeral foundation, an impossibility masking a lie that, if exposed, if openly acknowledged, would bring it all crashing down around our heads.’’

When a great disappointment comes around, and all hope is gone, people change, and people feel things. A person starts to wonder what they did wrong, what could they have done differently, what if… Alfred is one of the people where we will see his change over the chapters. For better or for worse, I’ll let you decide.

‘’It was Guinevere’s infidelity that brought down Arthur’s Camelot’’ – he said, wiping a trickle of Scotch from his chin with the back of his sleeve. ‘’It was God’s cruelty that brought down mine.’’

A book that explains good and evil in the unusual way. I thought I could explain good and evil, but sometimes my evil can do you good, and your good can do harm to everyone. And power… oh what people are capable to do for power…

‘’Power, Arthur had taught him, was not something to covet, but rather something to treat in the same manner one might handle a wild mastiff – with considerable respect, constant vigilance, and a trace of fear. ‘’

If you are a fan of history fiction, and stories about Arthur and Merlin, you would definitely want to dive in into this book and get lost into the world. And that is not the only thing that this book covers… It covers hope, faith, loss, love, good, evil, power, guilt and everything in between. Get ready for an adventure. One full of bravery and magic. And maybe… maybe some hope.

A huge thank you to the author, Sean Gibson, who was kind enough to give me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Wrebbit 3D Puzzle CAMELOT King Arthur’s Camelot 3D Puzzle (865-Piece)