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Reviewsday: Circe by Madeline Miller

"Whatever you do, I wanted to say, do not be too happy. It will bring down fire on your head."

A lyrical reimagining of the myth of Circe, witch of Aiaia, with a feminist bent and gorgeously lush prose.

Circe was born of Helios and Perse, then banished to the island of Aiaia in punishment. Here she waits, perfecting her craft, until the hero Odysseus washes up on her shore after 12 long years of war and voyaging. Circe, wary of men and strangers, turns his crew into swine, but Odysseus charms her, staying a year in her bed and convincing her to release his men.

The book is a careful examination of a woman living in a patriarchal world, trying to discover and negotiate her own power, while still retain her humanity. Circe is a deeply flawed character, but those who surround her are flawed deeper still. Add a pantheon of jealous and beautiful deities, volatile heroes, an ancient breed of witchcraft reestablished and beloved, deadly monsters and you have a book that sings to the soul. Circe is a triumph for Madeline Miller and I hope everyone gets the chance to read it.

Interesting fact: The plant Circe uses in her pig-turning spell is thought to be Datura stramonium, a type of nightshade that causes hallucinations and delusions.

About the author:

Madeline Miller has a BA and MA from Brown University in Latin and Ancient Greek, and has been teaching both for the past nine years. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specialising in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. The Song of Achilles is her first novel and was the winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012.

 

Reading this book with your Book Club? Check out these great Reading Group questions to help spark your discussion!

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Reviewsday: The Shape Of Water by Guillermo Del Toro & Daniel Kraus

Del Toro can do no wrong it seems. His movies invoke the dark places within us all and his books do the same. The Shape of Water is a weird blend of love and horror that has found just the right balance.

It will have you on the edge of your seat as you unravel the tale of Elisa and her strange paramour. Read before you see the movie!

~Steven, QBD Cairns

It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito -mute her whole life, orphaned as a child -is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore's Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn't know how she'd make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center's most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions... and Elisa can't keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa's sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release-one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film-The Shape of Water is unlike anything you've ever read or seen.

 

Reviewsday: King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist

Brand new fantasy from the master of the genre!

With King of Ashes, scheduled for release in April 2018, Feist once again proves he is a master of epic fantasy. Unique world-building, memorable characters and political intrigue are all exquisitely rendered and the story moves at an incredible pace, pulling you into Feist's brand new world, Garn. The five kingdoms of Garn knew a long-lasting peace until King D betrayed King Steveren, destroying his kingdom and butchering his entire family. the Firemane's legacy was ended and the One Church gained a foothold in Garn, burning heretics and political enemies alike.

Apalled at the betrayal of a great king, Baron Daylon Dumarch takes it upon himself to hide the last remaining child, spiriting the baby away after the battle is over.

Hatu is an orphaned boy growing up in the shadow of criminal underworld, alongside best friends Donte and Hava. His 16th birthday approaches and he's almost ready to make his way into the world, when his friends are ripped away from him and he learns he is the long lost Foremane heir, thought long dead by his father's enemies. Hatu has to learn fast who he can trust and hone every skill he learned at the hands of the Nocusara.

It's also the story of Declan, a talented blacksmith who grew up under one of the last masters who taught him the secret of King's Steel. Whispers of a new war arising, and a perculiar family resemblance lead to Baron Daylon encouraging Declan to set up in his province, where his fate becomes entwined with Hatu's.

King of Ashes is a wonderful, easily read introduction to Feist's new world, and I'm looking forward to exploring Garn and watching the elemental magic introduced in this first novel expand.

Reviewed by Shannon, QBD Mandurah

Like the sound of this book? Pre-order your copy here

Garden City’s adventure packed reads!

Would you like to be whizzing along an open road, sneaking up on your enemies, running for your life?

Our Garden City team have put together a list of reads that will take you on your next great armchair adventure!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness:

A well written, fast paced novel of the highest standard which hints at the quality of the rest of the series. In unusual Prentisstown all the residents can hear each others thoughts, resulting in a never ending stream of noise and an extremely open lifestyle; whether you like it or not. One month before he becomes a man, boy Todd and his loyal dog Manchee, when going through the woods, discover a patch of complete and utter silence. In the silence they discover an awful secret that Prentisstown has kept hidden for so long, shattering the only life that Todd has ever known. The Knife of Never Letting Go is packed with adventure, challenge and is guaranteed to not be able to be put down. - Tegan

The Rest of Just Live Here by Patrick Ness:

If you’re anything like me, when reading a fantasy YA you can’t help wondering “but what is everyone else doing right now?” while the protagonists face the end of the world or something like that. The Rest of Us Just Live Here addresses this, focusing on the lives of four normal, average teenagers, navigating their final year of high school, prom and graduation - unaware of the sideline occurrence of an immortal invasion. This novel is so different from anything else out there, but I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down. - Charlotte

Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss:

Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind explores the life story of the world’s most infamous magician Kvothe. Written in the first person narrative of Kvothe’s own biographical perspective, Rothfuss has crafted a world unlike anyone has ever seen. A story of courage, young love, betrayal, friendship and struggle. Name of the Wind shows that even the most powerful and notorious magician is more human than one might expect. Action-packed and full of secrets, Name of the Wind will leave you on the edge of your seat clawing at your book for more. - Alex

Nomad by James Swallow:

If MacGyver and James Bond had a baby you would be left with Marc Dane in Nomad. Right from the very start Nomad rips into gear; page after page of explosiveness and nail biting chapters. As soon as you reach about page 5 you realise that Nomad has got its claws into you. Follow Marc Dane through this ridiculously awesome espionage thriller and immerse yourself in pure adrenaline and excitement. - Nick (Store Manager)

Hell's Angels by Hunter S Thompson:

Hunter S Thompson is known to most as the man behind Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But before that, he wrote Hell's Angels.
It is a raw and unembellished reveal into the lifestyle of the notorious biker gang.
For a year, Thompson was accepted into their fold and embraced as a brother, allowed to research and write about them, an honour bestowed upon few. What emerged from this thrilling and often dangerous arrangement is a one of a kind book, written by a one of a kind man. - Jo ( Assistant Manager )

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Reviewsday: Joelle Charbonneau’s Dividing Eden

Having read Joelle Charbonneau's Testing series (which has a Hunger Games-esque vibe to it for all of you dystopian novel lovers!), I think I can safely say I was jumping up and down out of excitement when Dividing Eden popped up on my radar.

Reminiscent of The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye, Dividing Eden tells the tale of twin royals, Carys and Andreus, pitted against each other in a battle for the crown after a disastrous accident leaves them with equal claim to the throne. Faced with a power hungry council watching their every move and faceless enemies stirring up trouble, the twins can only do what they've been doing their entire lives – stick together, watch each other's backs and, above all, protect the secret that's been haunting them since birth.

The novel was intriguing from the get go but I felt that Carys definitely emerges as the stronger lead throughout the book with Andreus' story taking a surprising turn that, whilst being beneficial to the plot line, was still a little tough to read through (if you find yourself shaking the book in frustration and wailing “Noooo!”, don't say I didn't warn you!). There a quite a few shady characters that appear in and around the castle which left me questioning almost everyone's motives. Even after finishing the book, I'm still suspicious as to who is really on which side.

Dividing Eden is truly an engrossing read – clear your calendar because you won't want to put it down until you've worked your way through all of the secrets, lies and manipulative madness that await you.