Soulswift by Megan Bannen (Book Review)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Page Count
: 480

Honest question: Why has no one told me about this book before!?!?

I’m definitely not the most up to date person when it comes to book releases, but after reading the marvel that is Soulswift, I can whole-heartedly say that this book deserves more attention. I’m going to do my very best to not spoil anything for you, while still trying to convince you to pick up this book in the near future!

First off, I want to point out that Soulswift is a standalone fantasy, which is a rare bird to come across anyway (pun fully intended). So very often, you have to brace yourself for multiple volumes to release over an extended period of time to get to your conclusion, but somehow Bannen managed to pack a fully formed story, neither rushed nor dragging, into this one single book. I am in awe of that woman’s writing!

Stories about faith, even made up ones, are never easy in my opinion. There is such a fine line between religious fanaticism that feels harmful and a naivete towards the world and other beliefs that might be frustrating and annoying at times (although it didn’t feel annoying to me here), but offers great potential for growth. Bannen allowed us to draw our own conclusions, hearing different aspects and exploring the various angles. It felt very natural for the world she created and I loved that I knew that there were always going to be three sides to the belief system: Gelya’s version, Tavik’s story and the truth.

Why should I worship something that cares so little for me, or for you?

As I moved through Soulswift, I found myself attached to Gelya and Tavik more and more. Their enemies to friends to lovers dynamic and banter was endearing like nothing else, but they were also great characters on their own accords. They both have to overcome a vast amount of prejudice and yet their bond is so strong and frankly beautiful. You will weep for these characters, without a shadow of a doubt, because they are so strong and dedicated and devoted. By the end, it’s just a question of who to.

Aside from really enjoying the religious aspect, the created world and the characters, it was the small things that made this novel stand out for me. It challenged gender norms and stereotypes without throwing it in your face, but rather letting the characters question their world view through dialogue and realistic situations. For example, I cannot recall another Fantasy novel where a character got her period while on the road, which wasn’t dismissed here, but also not made into this awkward big deal. I really appreciated that!

Life and Death
All things in balance.

Why wouldn’t this book be for you?

Aside from the topic of faith, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, be it fictional or not, the ending isn’t something every reader will love either. I’m fully in the camp “a good ending doesn’t mean a happy ending”, but if you seek a story that will leave you warm and joyful, this is not it. I’m not saying it ends it utter devastation, because everything makes sense and is very beautiful in its own way, but also tragic. So very tragic and sad. I cried.

fly, little soulswift, fly

Fazit: 5/5 stars! 100% one of my new all-time favourites!!!


Could I convince you to take a look at Soulswift? Was it on your radar before? Let’s talk!

This Is My Genre, Tell Me Yours Book Tag

genre

A while ago, I was tagged by my awesome fellow bloggers Lashaan & Trang @Bookidote to do the This Is My Genre, Tell Me Yours book tag. In typical me-fashion, I am late in doing this, but doing the tag at all is already an accomplishment in itself somehow. I hope you can all forgive me for being so bad at keeping up with this stuff.

THE RULES:

  • Credit the bad, bad  Drew @TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, use the created tag name graphic and link back to his blog.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag as many people as you want.
  • No long list, simple really!

1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE?

There are so many genres that I like (and a couple that I am staying far away from), but I guess in the end it will always lead to Fantasy. If I had to be more precise, I would say Magical Realism, but since I don’t have to the general term Fantasy should suffice.

Bildergebnis für magical realism gif

 

2. WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR FROM THE GENRE?

I immediately regret not having put SciFi as an answer for the previous question, because now I can’t use Pierce Brown as a response … but fear not, I have an appropriate answer for this genre as well – Victoria Schwab! That woman is an immediate auto-buy!

Bildergebnis für victoria schwab

 

3. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE GENRE THAT KEEPS PULLING YOU BACK?

I love reading contemporaries set in the real world, but there is just something magic about … well, magic! That little something extra that makes reality more bearable or even exciting. Or if it’s high fantasy, you get this entire new world. Someone created a complex universe out of nothing and to get immersed in that world, the society and the culture is just so inspiring and the perfect escape.

Ähnliches Foto

 

4. WHAT’S THE BOOK THAT STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE?

Hmmm … tough one, but I am pretty sure it was the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke. When I was younger, I read almost all of her books and I just fell in love with the world and the characters like I never did with anything before. I searched for something similar for years and tried all the different fantasy books, but nothing came close back in the day. I have no idea how I would feel about a re-read now, but it will forever hold a special place in my heart. *swoon* Dustfinger was my first bookish love.

Ähnliches Foto

5. IF YOU HAD TO RECOMMEND AT LEAST ONE BOOK FROM YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE TO A NON-READER/SOMEONE LOOKING TO START READING THAT GENRE, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS? How can I possibly choose? Most Fantasy books are really long, which I doubt would be a pleasant start for a former non-reader. So, maybe something moderately short. How about The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater? It definitely sucked me in and those boys became MY Raven Boys in the process. I would love for someone else to experience that kinship too.

Bildergebnis für the raven boys

6). WHY DO YOU READ?

Words are magic itself. They can be beautiful or cruel, they can create and unmake. They are a constant companion when you need one and take you along the ride to distant worlds. But they can also be a mirror of reality, show you current affairs neatly packed up to make it more relatable. They are a teacher of empathy. There are so many reasons why I read and why I will do so for as long as I can. Those were just a couple of them.

Ähnliches Foto

I TAG THEE

I have no idea who already did this tag, so ignore it if you don’t want to do it (again)!

thisismtgenrenrwlogo

The Unpopular Opinion Book Tag

unpop

I saw the Unpopular Opinion Book Tag over at Analee @Book Snacks blog today and sort of tagged myself. I think it’s been around for a while now, but since I still haven’t done it yet, I thought it became about time!

1. A popular book or series that you didn’t like

Legend (Legend, #1)I am so sorry, but Legend by Marie Lu just really wasn’t my thing. I can’t even explain it now because it has been a while since I’ve actually read it, but I just can’t …

2. A popular book that everyone hates but you love

The Film ClubHmmm … hate is such a strong word and right from the top of my head, nothing comes to mind. I guess a lot of people didn’t really enjoy The Film Club by David Gilmour with an average Goodreads rating of 3.16, but I really liked it. Love may be an overstatement though. It was just such a nice summer read, without much happening except for the development of a father-son-relationship. It’s definitely a good book!

3. A love triangle where your ship did not sail

The Book ThiefOkay, this is also super difficult. Most of the time the ships are just so obvious as to who is endgame and I guess I then just ship those people. Well, the only thing I can really think of, is that I wanted Liesel and Max to get together in the Book Thief by Markus Zusak. That didn’t happen though, but it wasn’t Rudi’s fault …

4. A popular genre that you hardly reach for

I am not big on crime stories or historical fiction. Thrillers are okay sometimes, but I don’t exactly seek them out either.

5. A beloved character you didn’t like

10507293I think people are fairly divided about the Selection Series, so I don’t know how beloved she really is, but I didn’t love America Singer. It just always felt like she didn’t choose according to her heart, but instead thinking about whether she wants to be Queen one day or not …

6. A popular author you can’t get into

I don’t know. I give every author a fair shot at winning me over, but if I don’t like them after three books, I just don’t buy their books anymore. I guess James Dashner, Kass Morgan and Melissa de la Cruz have not passed those tests …

7. A popular books series you have no interest in reading

I wish I could say 50 Shades of Gray like everyone else, but I have actually read those … yeah, better not talk about it though.

I can’t think of anything other than the rest of the Legend series … sorry again.

8. An adaptation you like better than the book

That one’s easy! Me and Earl and the Dying Girl!!! I didn’t enjoy the book that much, but the movie was great. It was weird though, it didn’t sweep me off my feet until the the very end – that just wrecked me! I was sobbing all through the credits. (You can check out my full review here)


Tagging Time!

As I said above, I think the tag has existed for a while now and to be honest, I have no idea who all participated already. So, if you are like me and just get around to it now and and you feel like you want to do the tag, tell me in the comments!!! I’ll link you here so that everyone can see it!

So, after a little conversation in the comments, I tag:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Movie Review)

Once again Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a movie where I have actually read the book beforehand, but can’t remember it in much detail. Maybe I should really start reading them closer to the movie release date …

me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Length: 105 min
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal …
DirectorAlfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer: Jesse Andrews (for both, the novel and the screenplay)

Greg Gaines tries to survive High School by being on good terms with everyone but friends with no one. He usually spends his time making parody-like remakes of classic movies with his co-worker Earl. That is until his mother forces him to hang out with Rachel, a girl who just got diagnosed with cancer and who will profoundly change his life.

Me and Earl was originally a YA novel and reeked quite some havoc at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, igniting a bidding war for the movie. I have to say it is definitely one of the the better Indie movies out there and after the whole The Fault In Our Stars hype an original and refreshing take on the cancer-topic. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon puts his own spin on the story and makes every scene feel either beautiful, comical or deeply relevant.

I remember not liking Greg very much in the book and maybe he still isn’t the most likable character out there. Greg is just such a freaking liar, most of all to himself I think and that broke my heart. However, this time around I just felt so much more with him. And with Rachel as well. And also with Earl. I really have to say that all three (Mann, Cyler and Cooke) did a brilliant job with their respective characters. The adults were also cast very well, but they are just not the focus of the story.

I like that Me and Earl wasn’t pretentious or over the top. It had a beautiful cinematography, but often in the most simple ways. I can tell you that I was just crying by the end – the final message was just brilliant. I hope that this movie will get a bigger audience over time and won’t get stuck in the art-house or indie sector, because it does have commercial potential.

Fazit: I am glad that I’ve watched the movie. It made me feel so much more than the book.

What’s your take on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl? Do you prefer the book or the movie or like them both equally?

Testament of Youth Review

A while ago I watched the Trailer for Testament of Youth and I knew I wanted to know more about it. I bought the book or rather the memoirs of Vera Brittain, which the movie is based on, but I haven’t managed to finish it yet. Nonetheless, I finally decided to watch the movie and I do not regret not having waited any longer! I will keep this post Spoiler-free but I cannot say the same about the comments!

Here some basic facts:

Genre: Biography/Drama/History

Length: 129  minutes

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Colin Morgan, Taron Egerton, Hayley Atwell, Emily Watson, Dominic West, Miranda Richardson …

Director: James Kent 

Testament of Youth is the real account of Vera Brittain’s life and keeping that in mind, the movie was just so much more heartfelt and heartbreaking than I thought it would be. I can tell you that they did not stick to the book a 100%, but that was a thing of impossibility anyway. What fascinated me so much about it though, was that the point of view wasn’t from someone at the front, someone involved in the actual fighting, but rather the view of a person who got left behind. Vera does everything possible to be of help, joining the volunteers as a nurse and in that way she witnesses her own horrors of war.

I always have my problems with war stories. There are never any real winners. Yet, the movie shows why people joined up, what their course of thinking was – their motivation. It also shows how war changed them and in consequence also their lives, their thinking and the people they love. Towards the end Vera gives an impressive speech in front of a pro-war crowd and she makes it her duty to never forget what happened to the people she cared about. I think we can all agree that she succeeded in doing that.

The movie is so beautiful and sad to watch (I’ll admit to having cried … a lot). The combination of strong visual pictures and quite striking poetry was extremely touching. Everyone involved did an extraordinary job and I was delighted with the work of  Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Colin Morgan (Merlin), Taron Egerton (Kingsman) and even Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) whom I barely recognised at first. The real reason to watch is Alicia Vikander (Ex_Machina) though! She gives a strong, sympathetic and worthwhile performance, that I’ll be sure to remember.

Fazit: very recommendable!

Have you watched it as well? Have any of you read Vera’s memoirs?