Reservoir 13 is the latest mystery novel by the British author Jon McGregor. As a Guardian Notable Book of 2017, Reservoir 13 tells the story of many lives haunted by one family’s loss. Praised by many, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to. It is a story narrated from a third person perspective, which is very interesting and I have never read anything like this before. However, I did not connect with many of the characters and did not develop with them. Every time a character’s name is mentioned, I need a second to think “who is this again”. The story line is also a bit dry and slow for me. This novel promises to blend the grace of beautiful nature surroundings with human lives and the aftershock of the tragedy. However, I find myself skipping some of the nature descriptions from time to times just so I can keep up with the story and the characters.
This is a unique book. It is worth reading if you would like to try something different. It’s not for everyone but you might just enjoy it 🙂
Have you ever read a book, put it down, think you’ve moved on, only to find you can’t shake it? That’s me with The Secret History by Donna Tartt. If you’ve read it, chances are you loved it or you loathed it—there doesn’t seem to be much in between. If, like me, you are the former, you’ve probably tried to find something similar for a follow up read, with varying levels of success. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there. Every book touted as being “for fans of Donna Tartt” has found its way into my hands at some point. I’m on an epic, Don Quixote-like search for the perfect Secret History read-alike*. Some would call this a fool’s errand, but I’m determined that one day I will find it (and I know I’m not alone!). But until that happens, there are some perfectly respectable efforts on offer, all reminiscent in some way of Tartt’s 1992 classic. So, how to determine which ones are worth the read? A good Secret History read-alike will be composed of some very specific ingredients.
Enter the magical world of Caraval, where nothing is what it seems and magic is around every corner. Scarlett Dragna has been writing to Legend, the mysterious game master behind Caraval, since she was a little girl, hoping to receive an invitation to play the game and escape with her sister, Tella, from their abusive father. In order to leave their homeland without their father’s notice, Tella makes a deal with handsome sailor Julian to secure safe passage on his ship to Legend’s island. As the game begins, Scarlett soon discovers it is more than she bargained for. When Tella is kidnapped, Scarlett forms a tentative alliance with Julian to navigate the streets of Caraval, not knowing whom she can trust, and solve a number of clues in order to find Tella and win the game.
I had a major case of TEABS* when I finished this book. I just wanted to stay in Stephanie Garber’s fantasy world and find out what other surprises mastermind Legend has in store for his Caraval guests. Although I found Tella super annoying and sometimes got frustrated with Scarlett as well, I did enjoy the mysterious characters Julian and Legend. As I was reading the book I didn’t quite know what was real and what wasn’t, which made me want to rush through to the end. Recommended for fans of fantasy and romance.
*The End of an Awesome Book Syndrome