My reads

I read science fiction & fantasy and write really short reviews for myself.
Finnish books get their review in Finnish.

Suzanne van Rooyen: I Heart Robot

I Heart Robot - Suzanne van Rooyen

I was lucky to befriend Suzanne last year, when she came to our library to give a talk of Diversity in YA. I read her previous books and was impressed - especially with The Other Me. So when a chance came for me to read her new book, I Heart Robot, as an ARC, I snatched it and started to read it as soon as possible. Unfortunately I couldn't finish it at one sitting, as I had to go to work, but this is that kind of a book!

 

What this isn't: a run-of-the-mill YA dystopian romance with a pretty girl who has to choose between her two handsome suitors. Yeah, there is some romance in the air, but they are sixteen so what do you expect? So this suits both - if you like romance and if you don't! But that is not the point of this book. This is a book that challenges you to think what makes us human. What it is to be an outsider. And what would you do, if you were oppressed and threatened: Would you turn to violence or try more peaceful approach?

 

Suzanne writes characters really well. Her two narrators, Tyri and Quinn, both felt real. They were teenagers in a tough situation. Not only is their lives changing, but the whole world as they know it is changing. The relations between robots and humans are getting tense in the futuristic Scandinavian setting, somewhere Sweden used to be. Tyri and Quinn are both musicians, they love music and it makes them feel alive, so they both want to make a career out of it. Even when we know that Quinn is an android, he really wants to be as human as possible, reminding me of dear Data of Star Trek : TNG. Understanding humans, understanding ourselves - this is what this book left me wondering. How can we do this and still be happy? And if we are happy with who we are, is the society around us going to accept that? Can we live in peace and accept differences?

There is also a cool book trailer in Youtube.

Dragonwriter : A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern

Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern - Todd J. McCaffrey

I guess I never was a "true fan" of Anne McCaffrey's books. I really liked most of her work and appreciated her books for their strong heroines. When I found this tribute book to her from my library's ebook system, I didn't hesitate to read it.

 

This book has 20 or so stories from Anne's friends and fans (like LM Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey, Michael Whelan), reminiscing her and the impact her books woke in them. She came out like a really nice person, who was always happy to help her friends and chat with fans. I had tears in my eyes more than once when reading this. 

 

Guess her life wasn't always easy, but the spirit that was shown in the book made me admire her more. Never give up, and always look on the bright side of things, could have been her motto. 

 

Perhaps some day I have time to re-read some of the Pern books... And there are some others by her that I haven't read at all.

David Levithan : Two boys kissing

Two Boys Kissing - David Levithan

I was ill and at home, needed something new to read, couldn't go out. So I searched for my library's Overdrive service for some reading. Quite lot of the science fiction / fantasy section was checked out. So I just surfed the selection randomly and remembered that David Levithan was recommended for those interested in LGBT novels. So I checked out Two boys kissing.

 

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the other hand I really liked the story, but I didn't like the omniscient narrator a bit. I think "they" were really annoying. I am happy I read the book through even if the narrator made me want to quit several times.

 

 

 

Shimo Suntila: Sata kummaa kertomusta

Sata kummaa kertomusta - Shimo Suntila

Tämä oli herkullinen teos pieninä annoksina nautittavaksi. Shimo kirjoitti vuoden 2013 jokaisena päivänä yhden raapaleen (tasan satasanaisen tarinan) ja näistä tarinoista parhaat sata on koottu yhdeksi teokseksi.

 

Näitä oli ihana lukea, nopeita mutta myös vaikuttavia, helppoja ja vaikeita. Ihan kaikissa tarinoissa en ymmärtänyt koukkua, mutta ei se menoa haitannut. 

 

Nyt harmittaa, ettei tullut kirjastoon hankittua useampaa kappaletta! Tämähän olisi aivan mainio ollut lykätä jokaiselle vähän huonommalle lukijalle. Lyhyen tarinan parissa ei kauaa heilläkään kestäisi, ja voisi antaa osaamisen tunnetta - paitsi jos ei yleissivistys riitä siihen vitsin tajuamiseen... 

 

Suosittelen tutustumista! 

 

Maria Turtschaninoff: Anaché

Anaché - Maria Turtschaninoff, Marja Kyrö Helsingin alla - Maria Turtschaninoff, Marja Kyrö

Pidin jo kovasti Turtschaninoffin kirjasta Helsingin alla (Underfors), mutta Anaché viimeistään sai minut ymmärtämään, että nyt käsissä on jotain Todella Hienoa. Olen ymmärtänyt, että alkuperäinen ruotsinkielinen on hienoa kieltä, mutta kyllä Marja Kyrön suomennoskin on varsin upeaa kieltä.

 

Anachén tarinaan on helppo päästä sisään, mutta poispääsy onkin jo vaikeampaa. Tämä tarina jää mieleesi. Yksi niitä kirjoja, joiden jälkeen miettii, että mitä ihmettä tämän jälkeen voi enää lukea, koska kaikki on kuitenkin paljon huonompaa. Samaan maailmaan sijoittuva Arra on vielä lukematta, mutta tuskin enää kovin kauaa!

 

Mikäli vastaasi sattuu joku, joka uskaltaa olla sitä mieltä, että maailmalla kirjoitetaan paljon parempaa fantasiaa kuin Suomessa ikinä, niin tässä on yksi lyömäase todistaaksesi hänen olevan täysin väärässä.

 

Etkö ole vielä tutustunut? No mitä ihmettä sinä vielä odotat?

 

Marja Björk: Poika

Poika - Marja Björk

Suzanne van Rooyenin The other me -kirjan kumppaniksi piti ottaa kotimainen transseksuaalisuuden kuvaus. Hyvän kimpan nämä kaksi muodostivatkin, hankalaa aihetta ei millään tavoin yritetty siloitella kummassakaan. 

 

Kirjan alku on hyvin nuortenkirjamainen ja tyyli muuttuu varsin radikaalisti Maken kasvaessa. Kirjaa on arvosteltu huumeiden käytöstä ja alaikäisenä auton ajamisesta kännissä, mutta en ymmärrä, miksi nuo asiat olisi pitänyt sensuroida pois tästä kirjasta, sillä nuoret tekevät tyhmiä juttuja. Jos heillä on suuria ongelmia, kuka kuvittelee, että ne ratkeaisivat sillä, että ollaan mallikelpoisia? Tai saattaa joku tietysti kokeilla sitäkin, mutta olisiko siitä kirjaksi? Ehkä Päivi Räsänen lukisi sen, mutta todellinen maailma on kuitenkin jotain muuta. Nuorena tehdään tyhmiä juttuja, se on osa kasvua. 

 

Suosittelen. Luettuasi tämän ymmärrät paremmin, mistä transseksuaalisuudessa on kyse. Toivoisin, että tämä laitettaisiin mahdollisimman monessa keskiasteen koulussa pakolliseksi luettavaksi.

Sara Kokkonen: Rasavillejä ja romantikkoja ja mitä siitä seurasi, osa 1

Rasavillejä ja romantikkoja : rakkaat suomalaiset tyttökirjat - Sara Kokkonen Priska : kesästä kesään - Merja Otava Anneli Juoniemen kartanossa : nuorisoromaani - Rebekka Räsänen

Kiintoisa tietokirja, joka esittelee useita suomalaisia tyttökirjojen kirjoittajia. Sen innoittamana aionkin tutustua joihinkin minulle tuntemattomiin kirjoittajiin. Olen ny lukenut kaksi: Merja Otavan Priskan (1959) ja Rebekka Räsäsen Anneli Juoniemen kartanossa (1952). 

 

Kumpikaan ei tehnyt minuun kovin suurta vaikutusta - olen tietysti yli-ikäinen ja kyynisesti voin sanoa lukeneeni samat tarinat jo useaan kertaan. Otavan Priska on kuulemma klassikko ja uudisti tyttökirjagenreä - mutta minä en oikein ymmärrä, miten, eikä sitä muistaakseni Kokkosen kirjassakaan selitetä. Ehkä se oli ensimmäinen nuortenkirja, jossa käytettiin puhekieltä: hipattiin ja käytettiin jenkkareita (=joku vaatekappale?). Juonensa puolesta se olisi voinut olla Mary Marckin kirjoittama. Marck ei tosin käyttänyt useita kertojia, ehkä sekin saattoi olla uutta.

 

Räsäsen Anneli on vanhempaa vuosikertaa, vaikka on ilmestynyt vain seitsemän vuotta ennen Priskaa. Siihen verrattuna Priska on tietysti moderni, koska Anneli tuo mieleen 1900-luvun tai jopa 1800-luvun lopun kirjallisuuden. Anneli on kiltti tyttö, kirjassa on käytösohjeita, selkeät hyvät ja pahat henkilöt. Ainoa harmaa on Elisabeth Langenfeldt, jonka odotin tekevän lopussa parannuksen, muttei sentään ihan niin pitkälle menty.

 

Voi Petäjäveden kunnankirjasto, miksei näitä löytynyt hyllystäsi 80-luvulla? Aion kuitenkin jatkaa Helga Nuorpuun tuotantoon tutustumalla ja hirvittävä hinku heräsi lukea myös vanhoja tuttuja Marckia, Rauha S. Virtasta ja Anni Swania. 

Sara Kokkosen blogista voi etsiä vielä lisää luettavaa.  

Ellen Kushner : The privilege of the sword

The Privilege of the Sword - Ellen Kushner

Finally got around to read this one. Been meaning to do it for years. Should have done it when I still remembered the events in Swordspoint a bit better.

 

But it still worked quite well. Katherine was a pleasant heroine and her journey was a pleasure to follow.

Aliette de Bodard: On a red station, drifting

On a Red Station, Drifting - Aliette de Bodard

I think this wasn't as good as some of the shorter ones in the collection I read earlier. 

Suzanne van Rooyen: The other me

The Other Me - Suzanne van Rooyen

Wow. Just wow. It is hard to remember the last time I have felt like this after reading a book. 

 

The other me gives us a glimpse of what it is like to be a young person in South Africa. I think that would have been enough to keep me interested - it is a foreign country to me, don't know much about it. Add some LGBT issues and I was hooked, because I had already liked a lot of Suzanne's previous books, Dragon's teeth and Obscura burning.

 

I started reading this on the train yesterday and when my stop came, I didn't want to get off, because I wanted to keep on reading. Finished this morning in one sitting. Cried quite a lot. I loved both of the main characters, Treasa and Gabriel. This is an YA book and the way it made me re-live my teen years was almost frightening. When we are teens, I'm sure we all feel like aliens sometimes. "No-one understands how I feel!" This is why books like The other me are so important. 

 

Growing up in a small village in a time when internet didn't yet exist, the place where I could find comfort was books. There were people who would understand me. Someone I could love and who wouldn't mock me. In a way, internet has made it easier for us to find like minded people, but it has also created a huge new platform for bullying. So I think books are still important when you are growing up and trying to define who you are. 

 

I hope that this book will be translated into Finnish so that I can give it to my niece and nephew to read when they are growing up. 

 

Read an excerpt on publisher's pages 

Aliette de Bodard: Servant of the Underworld

Servant of the Underworld  - Aliette de Bodard

I really liked de Bodard's short stories and decided to try this fantasy / mystery book as well. It was fascinating, but quite not as good as the short stories. Aztec names and a foreign mythology made this both interesting and hard to read. If you want to try something new, this is the book for you. I don't yet know if I'll read the 2 other Obsidian and blood -books. Perhaps, if there is nothing more interesting to read. 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Suzanne van Rooyen: Dragon's teeth

Dragon's Teeth - Suzanne Van Rooyen

I'm glad I read the great Obscura burning first, as the first part of the book wasn't to my liking. It was too noir-detective story to my taste. When the second part began, I was totally drawn to the story - I really liked this part with the soldier life and the rebel camp. 

 

After finding out who Cyrus really was, the ending was interesting as well, even if we came back to the same setting than in the beginning. I can see why the structure is like it is, but can't help to wonder if having only two parts would make it even more readable. 

 

Recommended.

Aliette de Bodard: Perhonen ja jaguaari

Perhonen ja jaguaari - Aliette de Bodard, Christine Thorel, Markus Harju

I don't usually like short stories. They are... too short for me. This collection of Aliette de Bodard's stories is one of the exceptions to this rule. It could be because they take place in the same universe, which gives you an illusion of a longer story.

 

Stories in this collection:

 

  • The Jaguar House, in Shadow
  • Butterfly, Falling at Dawn
  • The Lost Xuyan Bride (really liked this one)
  • The Shipmaker
  • Ship's Brother
  • Two Sisters in Exile (and this)

 

You can find many of these stories free online. I recommend these!

 

 

Suzanne van Rooyen: Obscura burning

Obscura Burning - Suzanne van Rooyen

This was a tough book to read. It had a heavy theme: guilt. How would you feel, if you thought you might have caused the death of a friend? 

Kyle is moving between realities - in the other, the dead friend is his boyfriend Danny and in the other, their mutual friend Shira. Is this caused by the mystical planet Obscura which has appeared to the sky? 

 

I really liked the way this book was written. The differences in realities made this very interesting read. And even if I couldn't quite say I liked Kyle, I really hoped all the best for him.

Kelley Armstrong: Omens

Omens (Cainsville Trilogy) - Kelley Armstrong

I want to read everything Kelley Armstrong writes. I was excited to hear that she had begun new series, even though I love the Women of the Underworld. 

 

To my surprise, in our library system these were not in Fantasy, but Thrillers. And yes, the fantasy content was quite small, but it definitely was there. You might like to check your shelving!

 

I think the big picture behind all of the schemes is the interesting one - I didn't care so much of the main characters, the things that have happened at the background is the thing that keeps me looking forward to the part 2!

SPOILER ALERT!

Kalayna Price: Grave dance

Grave Dance - Kalayna Price

Second book about the grave witch Alex Graft. 

 

In this one, Alex finds out she is more than just a grave witch and a fae. Bummer! Why do they always need to be so special? Wouldn't just a bit of magic be enough for a character sometimes?

 

Guess there is a bigger plot coming. I might read more, if there is nothing else on my list.

Currently reading

Mitä kissalla mielessä
Bo Söderström, Päivi Kivelä
Ruskeat Tytöt
Koko Hubara
Vapaa
Annamari Marttinen
Werehunter
Mercedes Lackey
Gormenghast
Mervyn Peake
Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords
Henry Jacoby, William Irwin