This week’s One Word review will be Both Can Be True by Jules Machias.
And the award for the book that has me excited to find out more about fairytales goes to…
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
Reading Challenge: UK’s Biggest Cities Reading Challenge
Prompt: Coventry – Read a myth/legend/fairytale retelling
Asian mythology has been tragically under-represented in mythology books. It’s a shame because they have a lot of tropes and themes in common with Greek or Roman myths: star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. To try and fix this, fifteen authors reimagine myths and folklore from East and South Asian cultures as fantasy, contemporary, romance, historical fiction and even science fiction stories.
Each of the stories comes with a little footnote from the author explaining which myth or legend they used and why they changed certain elements. I was aware of some of them (thanks mostly to Overly Sarcastic Productions) but most of them were new to me and that just made the stories all the more enjoyable as I couldn’t guess where the story would go next. It also left me wanting to look up the original tales as they all sounded intriguing. I think this is definitely one of the most engaging anthologies I read so far. There are always one or two stories in an anthology that I couldn’t follow or wasn’t interested in but this one has the fewest. I think it was just ‘Spear Carrier’ that I had problems with but, then again, that story is supposed to be a little disorientating as far as I can tell. Every story had something I could enjoy. I loved the innovative twist on the original story in ‘Crimson Cloak’, loved the plot twist in ‘Steel Skin’ and could have read a whole novel based in the world of ‘Olivia’s Tale’. If you love innovative twists on myths and folklore with great writing and a wide variety of genres, I would highly recommend this one.
And the award for the quirkiest, cliche-breaking mystery goes to…
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
Reading Challenge: Studio Ghibli Reading Challenge
Prompt: Howl’s Moving Castle – A book with an old MC
I’m jumping ahead of schedule with the Studio Ghibli challenge simply because I have the audiobook in my library and I wanted to go through the audiobooks I have before buying new ones. This time, the Thursday Murder Club have to deal with someone closer to home. Elizabeth receives a letter from someone who is more than just an old colleague. It turns out he’s landed himself in very hot water with several important people, both law-abiding and otherwise. Twenty millions’ worth of diamonds are missing from a key criminal’s home and, the longer they go unfound, the more people will die. It’s up to these septuagenarians to work quickly to find the diamonds and stop the killings.
This book expanded a bit more on the main quartet’s backstories, which I love. I certainly explains why mild-mannered Joyce is remarkably unruffled by everything. It also allowed the reader to see a more vulnerable side after a shocking twist left one of them incapacitated. I could easily listen to a whole novel’s worth of Joyce’s diary. It might be rambling and prone to going off on tangents but, when Lesley Manville is reading it, it sounds like the best story told by your grandma during a weekend visit. The plot itself, however, doesn’t have an excuse to ramble on as much as it did. Despite the fact that the stakes are much higher, the villains are more villainous and the danger is a lot greater than in the previous book, the book still felt slow. There were plenty of twists, defiance of clichés, heart-warming moments and humour to keep me going but it did sometimes feel like it was dragging its heels. If you like more of a slow burn crime novel with a lot of humour and original twists, you might like this better. I would still recommend you reading the first book in the series before going into this one. I’m not sure you would like this book or follow the characters if you hadn’t read The Thursday Murder Club.
I hope to see you again very soon.