Friday, 22 April 2016

The Mirror Chronicles: Circles of Stone by Ian Johnstone

The length of time I waited for the second Mirror Chronicles to be released is probably the longest amount of time I've ever had to wait for a book. During that time I read and re-read Bell Between Worlds, puzzling over all possible hints towards the new book's plot. In all meanings of the word, I could not wait. From the moment I put the first book down I was desperate to pick up the next.

When Circles of Stone was finally published I was in the middle of exams. Initially I had decided I wouldn't read anything non-exam based until I had finished, that quickly changed however when Circles of Stone arrived in the post. In any time I had spare I would grab this book up and find myself lost in two mirrored stories, unraveling at a pace both fast, and gripping. Often what I thought was 5 minutes would evolve into a few hours and within no time at all I found myself at the end. Now I am waiting for the third book, and I have not even started thinking about what I'm going to do when I've finished reading all three!!

Giving a blog on the second book without giving spoilers could be difficult, especially since the Circle of Stones reveals so many new things about Sylas and 'The Other,' but I am determined to try my best!

A major difference between 'Bell Between Worlds' and 'Circles of Stone' is how quickly the plot's pace speeds up. The first book seems to lure you along, hinting at mysteries and questions that only become more and more confusing as the book develops. Then, in book two, everything is thrown into chaos, all that was hidden comes into the light and the world's tender balances break down. Every page holds a new answer, followed by a new question.

In 'Bell Between Worlds' I didn't have a favourite character, instead I focused on the development of 'the other' and the introduction of Sylas' character. In this installment of the Mirror Chronicles trilogy, however. my favourite character would have to be Ash. This is mainly because of his sense of humor and liveliness, even in the most pressing and otherwise severe situations he always seems to be in control- even when to everyone else, he clearly isn't!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

In The Heart Of The Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Moby Dick. Perhaps you've heard of him. The famous whale who had upon his head the curses of many captains whose boats he'd crushed and lives he'd destroyed. One such captain in-particular was told to have sailed the seas in desperation, searching for the large white whale. Of course, this is fiction, made up in the mind's eye of an author. But, what if it wasn't. What if you found that the story of Moby Dick and the tragedies  that ensued were based on true events. The events of a ship called the Essex. What if the only reason the story of Moby Dick was fictional is because the author was sworn to change the names and certain particulars so that no one would know.

I didn't know about 'In the Heart of the Sea' until January when some friends and I were looking for a film to watch at the cinema. Having read 'Moby Dick' I was eager to go and watch this new movie, my friends took some convincing though. In the end, I just decided for everyone, they didn't seem to mind too much!

I loved the movie and, when in Waterstones with my Granddad I happened to find 'In the Heart Of the Sea' on the shelf. After flicking through a few pages I was instantly hooked and, despite the fact I was in the middle of doing GCSE's  and had unofficially decided not to read anything but exam books until I'd finished, I decided I had to read this. 'In the Heart of the Sea' is written similarly to a history book, mentioning dates, times, people, places and describing each one of these things in detail. Nathaniel Philbrick also mentions all the various sources from which this book was pulled together, making this one of the most unbiased accounts of these tragic happenings.

For anyone who likes history, this book is fascinating and heart wrenching. Questions such as human morality and basic principles of civilisation verses the desperate need to survive. Looking back at it from a modern perspective, it is clear to see how many of the tragedies faced by the Essex's crew could have been avoided, and yet, crucial decisions made changed their fate, leaving only a handful of survivors.

One thing I  particularly loved about this book is Nathaniel Philbrick's factualness, he doesn't use dramatic license but instead sticks to the original story, letting the haunting tale weave itself exactly as it took place all those years ago. This book is definitely worth a read, and as the summer draws steadily nearer, I strongly encourage you to pick it off the shelf and, immerse yourself in the unfortunate of events, of the whale-ship Essex.