“Impossible Views of the World” by Lucy Ives

Impossible Views of the World(Author: Lucy Ives) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)


This was the first book I received from Penguin Books on NetGalley and I was very happy about it. Add to that the interesting premise of a museum and a mysterious map of a magical settlement, as well as the beautiful cover, which reminded me of The Grand Budapest Hotel movie cover, and I was hooked.

Unfortunately, the book is anything but exciting. For starters, the main character was a strange, self-contradictory woman, who was as hard to like for me, as she was for all the rest of the characters. She seemed to possess mainly negative qualities, and most of all, she was rude and judgmental to the other characters, yet extremely gullible when it came to the museum heartthrob who managed to get her interest, despite being a very obvious sleazebag.

Also, story-wise, there were two separate stories which had nothing to do with each other, aside from being connected to the main character, Stella, and they kept pulling the main story in different directions, making it scattered and unbalanced.

The map story was very naive, childish and not really interesting to follow, and the story of Stella’s private life was just so out of place in terms of the book, that while finding it somewhat more interesting, I felt awkward reading about it, because it so obviously did not belong in the book, at all.

The writing itself was not to my liking either. To some it might have been clever, but to me it seemed very pretentious. There’s nothing bad about using a rich vocabulary, but it just seemed very forced and ostentatious, like a teenager trying to sound smart at a college party.


“Mythic, Vol. 1” by Phil Hester

Mythic, Volume 1(Author: Phil Hester) + (Year: 2016) + (Goodreads)


Unfortunately, this year’s Image comics Humble Bundle was a bit of a let down. I mean… if you haven’t read most of these, the prize is definitely worth it. However, they have been including the same volumes for the last two years, so there was almost nothing for me there.

Aaand this is where Mythic comes in. This was the only volume from the bundle that actually interested me, so I read it separately hoping for something fresh and groovy.

It didn’t live up to the expectations.

A group of mythical heroes, deities and gods gets together as a supernatural SWAT team. What could go wrong? A lot, apparently. The characters were rather flat and way too many. There wasn’t really much space for us to get to know them. Some of the characters got barely any introduction and the ones that did have a more detailed back story were just a few. At the end of issue #7, for example, it was mentioned that we will learn more about Asha. What we actually got in issue #8 were a few self-introductory sentences of the type of “I am powerful! I am life! You can’t kill me.” Dr. Baranski was an equally as underdeveloped character. It was entirely too convenient how she was and how her story went. And her entire personality was so over-exaggerated, that I couldn’t buy her motives at all.

The art was okay, nothing too spectacular or out of the box, but still pretty and detailed. The characters looked kind of old-school, but it was tolerable for the most part. I didn’t particularly like the depictions of human faces, because a lot of the time it was hard to distinguish certain characters.


On the other hand, the logo on the cover is really cool!


“After You” by Jojo Moyes

After You (Me Before You, #2)(Author: Jojo Moyes) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)


So… here’s the thing: at the time I read Me Before You, I did not like it. Mostly because of the choices the characters made. Because I thought Will was selfish, because I thought this can’t be it for his life and their relationship, etc. etc.

However, I think my view of the world has changed since then. Maybe I have become somewhat bitter about relationships? Or less trusting of the complete dedication of people to each other? Well, anyway, now I think I would have liked Me Before You more in my current mindset.

So eventually, I decided to read the sequel and see what will happen.

The thing is… Louisa can’t carry the weight of the book for me. She is not really a full character. She lacks her own incentive, her own opinions and her own purpose. What she has the most of are emotions. Outside of that, she really needs other people to push her story forward.

That’s what After You was all about, as well. Without spoiling it, I would say that the young girl Louisa takes care of is basically the thing that makes the story of this book. This story though… It was a bit out there. To me, it felt very strange and off-putting to read about Lily’s past and her as a person and all of that.

And then there was the fact that although Will died, this story was all about him, too. At some point, I started thinking about how briefly Louisa knew him and how deeply he impacted her life. Of course, I think that it’s possible someone you knew for a short time to change your life, but the thing is, whomever she knew, it was not even Will as he was for the biggest part of his life. It was some version of him that existed only for a short period of time and only because it had to, and not because Will actually wanted to change. Time and again Louisa thinks and talks about how much she could talk to Will about, how much she could share with him and so on, but that’s a rather exaggerated version of what actually went on in Me Before You.

Basically, this entire book felt off. It felt wrong and awkward and forced. I don’t think I will be reading the next installment unless a couple of years pass and I start re-thinking my life choices again.

“Let It Bleed” by Ian Rankin

Let It Bleed (Inspector Rebus, #7)(Author: Ian Rankin) + (Year: 1995) + (Goodreads)

(Around the World: Scotland)


Another book from my world challenge and, unfortunately, not a very good choice.

I can’t really say I enjoyed Let it Bleed. Despite it being only 360-something pages, it felt like 800. The story was dark, dreary and slow, and it had next to no emotional pull. I realized rather late that it’s one of those money-machine series with tens of novels, each the same as the previous one, and full of flat, uninteresting characters.

Inspector Rebus was a very unpleasant main character, he lacked charisma, he lacked compassion, he was terrible to his daughter, disrespected authority and personal rights and only kept going with the investigation because he had decided so and no one was going to stop him.

There were many characters in this book and not a single one was developed more than the generic background story. Even the villains had next to no motive for the crimes they committed. I’m pretty sure even Rebus himself mentioned that.

Not to mention that the entire solving of the crime was a hot mess of useless and meaningless details and conversations, and little pieces of information which, through Rebus’ far-fetched deductions, lead to him solving the crime thanks more to guesswork, rather than evidence.

I admit that I am not generally a fan of detective novels, for many of the reasons that lead me to not liking Let It Bleed, as well, but even as far as those go, this is one of the worse ones I’ve read.

“The Joke” by Milan Kundera

(Author: Milan Kundera) + (Year: 1967) + (Goodreads)

(Around the World: Czech Republic)


One of my all-time favourite books is Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. So when I went to the Czech republic, I wanted to get a new Kundera book along my plan of buying books from the countries I visit. I had heard about The Joke from several people, so I told myself “Why not?”. Well… I shouldn’t have.

This book represented everything I could possibly hate about Kundera. I had heard before that he has many misogynistic tones in his books, something that didn’t strike me as hard in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but it did so in The Joke. In fact, I had an extremely hard time finishing this book because of the terrible representation of human emotions, interpersonal feelings and the role of women in them.

In The Joke, women are nothing more than playthings. The only thing they do is serve a purpose. They are not beings on their own but only in relation to what men need from them. The characters themselves admit it at certain points, but it was not my impression that while the author does self-mock, he also criticizes this open misogyny. I don’t think that Kundera actually disagrees with his characters. He might realize that the roles he attributes to women are wrong, but I don’t think he has any other way of thinking, and that is clearly visible in the entire book.

This fact bothered me so deeply that I could focus on little else outside of it.

Throughout the entire book, I was deeply disturbed and disgusted by the fact that this is how some men see and treat women. This indifference, this humiliation, it was so scary – if we are to accept the world as seen through Kundera, it would be a sad world indeed. And the most terrifying part of it all is that this type of behaviour is not only real, but also very common. I noticed even more of the exactly same attitude toward women, while I was reading the book, in the world around me.

Indifference was also what was killing the characters in the book. Helena was tortured by the indifference of her lovers, Ludvik – by the indifference of the other people to his sorrows and need for revenge, Jaroslav – by the indifference of the modern world to his beloved traditions and folklore.

I believe that we all shudder at the idea of indifference. Anger is passion, same as love. It means that a person cares, one way or another. But indifference… that is altogether different and scarier. It means that to someone, or to a group of people, or even to the whole world, something that you care about, or worse yet, your entire being, is something of no importance and no consequence. And there is nothing at all to do to fight indifference. A cold and indifferent heart can hardly be shaken by any desperate action.

There was one character that I found more tolerable than the entire bunch – Kostka. He was the only character that was not entirely closed off into his own world and wanted to give and not just get. There was also one quote from Kostka that made me think long and hard until I ended up agreeing:

“I can understand you, but that doesn’t alter the fact that such general rancor against people is terrifying and sinful. Because to live in a world in which no one is forgiven, where all are irredeemable , is the same as living in hell. You are living in hell, Ludvik, and I pity you.”