Book Reviews: October 2019

I only managed three books this month because two of them are pretty long, and unfortunately, none of them is really enjoyable. It’s so frustrating when you put all the time and effort into a book and it doesn’t pay off, isn’t it? I guess I’m going back to Discworld next month…

Anyway, here are the books:

Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King:

This book revolves around the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius, a famous Roman gourmand dreaming of becoming Caesar’s gastronomical advisor, as told by Thrasius, a slave who is Apicius’s chef and close confidant. I’ve heard of Apicius before (in “The Supersizers“, of all places, a BBC show with Sue Perkins and Giles Coren in which they explore culinary history), so I picked this up hoping for some description of food and life in Ancient Rome. In this sense, the book does not disappoint – the meals that Thrasius makes for Apicius and his guests are lovingly described in mouth-watering details. The thing is, it’s not just a book on food history, but also a novel, and here is where it stumbles. Thrasius is the narrator, but he has little if any stake at all in Apicius’s story, so everything just happens without having anything to do with him. Plus, it seems the author tries so hard to cram all the historical facts into a novel that it ends up feeling forced. Great food, not-so-great story. 3/5

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger:

Imagine The X-Files meets Ghost Hunters, and you’ll have this book – it follows a web series crew that specifies in historical/supernatural mysteries. Usually, their investigation turns up empty, but while doing an episode on a cavern deep in the Grand Canyon, they stumble upon something very real – frighteningly so. This is a pretty quick read, and if you’re claustrophobic like me, it can be scary to read at times – after all, it is about a group of characters being trapped in a dark cave. But the final explanation is a bit too Ancient Aliens and to me, does not live up to the mystery in the previous pages. 3/5

The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay:

Three different storylines, each taking place in a different Venice, in a different time – Venice, Italy in 1591, Venice Beach, California, in 1953, and the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas in 2003 – and each revolving around a man with a secret searching for somebody – now, this sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I certainly thought so and was expecting something in the vein of The Shadow of the Wind – a richly detailed, multi-layered, multi-generational mystery. But boy was I disappointed. This is bloated, pretentious, and full of inane little quirks like no quotation marks around dialogue and invented compound words (like “endtables” and “pistolshots”), which just looks like the editor didn’t do their job. And the three storylines? They never quite come together at all. I almost gave up a few times – and I’ve only ever given up one book before – but in the end, I managed to finish this due to sheer stubbornness. The only good thing I can say about this book is that it’s a cure for insomnia – it’s so tedious that I dropped right off to sleep every time I read it! 1/5

So what did you read?

3 Comments on “Book Reviews: October 2019”

  1. Mike says:

    Cool reads, Salazar. Though I had to laugh at your description of your last book. Yeah, I think a book like that would totally put me to sleep too, not just in content but by the poor use of grammar and punctuation. I’m no English major or anything, but it does annoy me whenever I spot consistent mistakes like that, especially from a professional publication.

    I hope that you’ll check out my reads on my blog. I actually have a decent review for a change and one that I can be proud of.
    And as always, I put a link there that leads to your page here.

  2. […] Be sure to check out Salazar’s book reviews on her blog, seen here. […]

  3. […] (starting with Every Heart a Doorway) by Seanan McGuire and The Anomaly Files (starting with The Anomaly) by Michael Rutger. Both series are relatively new (each only has two books), but I’m […]

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