Author Archives: Josh Hart

Book review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness.

I have been waiting for years to read this book, and having at last read it I can honestly say, it was well worth the wait.


 This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The premise of it is absolutely inspired. Very original and very well executed.
Not only does the message resonate with me, and likely all other young-adult readers, but almost all of the smaller factors and themes do, too.

It reminded me a lot of Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being A Wallflower, in quite a few ways. Mostly through the characters, but also through the very essence of the book. In spite of this, the book itself was very unique.

Patrick Ness proves with this book that he is an innovative and beautiful writer, capable of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
He not only tackles many important issues relevant to modern society but also works through the smaller, day-to-day struggles of adolescence that almost everyone can relate to. And he does it so poetically.

Patrick’s writing is nothing short of astounding. It had me in stitches from laughter, it had me puzzled and curious, at times, it made me feel great empathy for the characters. Also, with the range of characters in the book, there is someone for almost everyone to relate to and or bond with.
His writing keeps to the story in a direct and economical way. His writing wasn’t overly flamboyant but was definitely not boring. It had a nice flow to it, and the story moved along at a good pace.
One thing I believed to be a flaw whilst reading the book was the predictability of it. However, what I thought I had solved, is actually pointed out toward the end of the book to have been known by everyone in the book bar the central protagonist. It was simply a classic case of the main character not noticing because he was too close to the puzzle to see the picture that was forming.
The writing is relatively simple, but not basic. I.e. it is easy to read but includes a lot of good literature. This works especially well, given the book’s target demographic.

Something else I enjoyed about this book is that, while it included romance, it did not overpower the story. It was also more romance being looked at, rather than romance happening.


As I have said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it. Specifically to young-adult readers, as is intended, but also to anyone who wants a secondhand view on the struggles of adolescence or wants something to relate to or something to help them.
Very hard to fault.

4.4/5.0

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Book review: Grey, by E.L. James.

A book entirely about one of my all-time favourite characters, obviously I have a lot to say. Unfortunately, not many of those things are positive.


Like with the other Fifty Shades books, E.L. James’s writing is nothing short of awful. Everything: the style, the flow, the structure – it is all terrible. And, because the writing does not at all suit the character of Christian Grey, the foundation of this book seems rather flawed.
Not only does she write the entire book by spoon feeding every piece of information to us, exactly as it happens, leaving nothing for the reader to imagine or think about, she also drags out her descriptions with pretentious words and phrases, repeats the same lines over and over throughout the book,  and uses an uncountable amount of clichés.
On another note, which could be considered both good and bad, is the simplicity of her writing. On the one hand, it makes the book very easy to read. On the other hand, it is less appealing to a more mature readership, which would be perfectly okay, if it were not for the mature themes and obvious adult target demographic.

James does redeem herself with the actual content of her writing, as opposed to the writing itself.
Her stories and characters, minus the parts played purposefully with clichè, are original and captivating, and bring a lot of new things to a lot of readers. I personally feel the love story, while unconventional, is indeed a good love story. Although, it is often what is different that which we find most exciting.
The story is more complex and creative than so many people give it credit for. I feel there is great progression throughout this book, and all the others, for the characters involved. Grey emphasizes upon this by showing us Christian’s point of view.
The character of Christian Grey is one I strongly identify with, and allowing me a deeper look into him is very interesting to me.
However, one factor regarding the book’s content that let itself down is that Grey only shows Christian’s views on the first book. Whether or not James plans on bringing out another two follow-up books, I do not know. However, currently, I feel a bit cheated by this book.
A second thing that let the content down is, as I have said, the version of Christian we get in this book is not the same as the one we read about in Fifty Shades of Grey.

There is little-to-no empathy to feel with this book. Whether that is because it is basically rereading Fifty Shades of Grey or James has simply made worse work of this one, I actually teared up whilst reading the original book, but with this one, I barely felt anything. I was not sad, I was not happy, I was not laughing. Nothing.
What makes this seem even worse on the author’s part is that because Christian is one of my favourite characters and I feel rather strongly about him, the fact that an entire book about him did not make me emotional definitely makes a statement.

As disappointing as it is for me to admit, this book is quite a failure. Even without all of the negative points I have already given, the books essential purpose is not reached. The goal with Grey was to give us a deeper look into Christian Grey’s mind and character. Instead, it basically just recounted Fifty Shades of Grey with a switched view. We did not learn anything new about Christian, and it did not give us anything new to think about in regards to him.


I honestly feel the only reason I enjoyed this book as much I did is because I love the Fifty Shades series and Christian Grey. Although the book seems like it is written for eight-year-olds, it is clearly for a more mature demographic. However, given how bad the book is, from an objective point of view, I feel only people who really enjoyed the other Fifty Shades books should read this.


From a subjective point of view, I love the book in spite of all of its flaws.


2.0/5.0

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Book Review: Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J. Maas.

Queen of Shadows is the fourth installment in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. It carries on the story of Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, once known as Celaena Sardothien, as she utilizes and faces her horrifying past in order to become the queen she was born to be.


After the disappointment of Heir of Fire, I was in no rush to read this book. It had been sitting on my windowsill since December until I decided, this week, to force myself to finish it. And I am glad I did.

The first half of the book seemed rather slow and played out, a lot of what was written seemed rather irrelevant and could have been left out. I would give specific examples if there were not so many to choose from.
The second half of the book, on the other hand, was very fast paced and kept to the storyline and point as much as possible. When I hit that switch in the book, I could not put it down.

As usual, Sarah’s writing is almost impossible to fault, being economical, well structured, and correct in all senses of the word. Her storytelling is another story. As I have said, a lot of what she writes is unnecessary. The stories and characters also seem rather unoriginal, a lot of the time, as I pointed out in my review on Throne of Glass.
On a more positive note, she does have a certain knack for creating strong bonds and emotions between her readers and her books. She did with me, at least. I found myself trapped in an unrelenting cycle of emotion whilst reading this. From excitement, to rage, to disgust, to sadness, to worry, the list goes on. I even cried, which only three books have ever been able to make me do.

Going back again to previous reviews for this series, I would like to make a note that, while most of the characters have stayed the same, the story, and a few characters, have finally shown some form of progression. It only took four books.
As for the characters who have not progressed, they have become increasingly more annoying. Aelin and Rowan’s romance still sickens me, as it completely stole a defining trait from Aelin’s personality and made her as cliché as any other protagonist with a love story.
It was interesting, however, to see Aelin finally have an emotion other than grief. It made reading about her a lot more palatable.

The book is predictable and only managed to surprise me a couple of time within its six hundred and forty-five pages. AND Sarah is still using those godforsaken ‘phantom’ metaphors and similes.
Although, Sarah has put reins on her character switching in this book. There is still plenty of it, however, it is used much more effectively and flows naturally with the storytelling.


Even with the lack of progression and the boring first half, the latter half was very strong and well written, and much more enjoyable. Needless to say, I recommend this to the same readership as the previous books in the series.

3.3/5.0

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Book Review: Pigeon English, by Stephen Kelman.

Pigeon English is based around the lives of the most inaccurate year-sevens I have ever heard of; with inaccurate and improperly used language and terminology to match.
Despite the serious themes of the book, there is not much to talk about in concern to it, as not much happens.

Never have I known a child in year seven of school to be like Harrison (the main character), or most of the kids in this book. They are either based on another generation of kids, well before the current, or the author has done poor research on the subject of kids. Or perhaps he wrote the characters however he wanted them to be, and did it poorly, ignoring modern children’s habits and ignoring any related information.

The language is not only purposefully wrong in places in a failed attempt to create humor, other parts of it are plain irritating. Terms like “Quick quick,” and “Dope-fine,” are unnatural for even a kid of that age to say, and unnatural writing is never good writing.
The writing and language are also extremely repetitive. It seemed I was often reading some of the same sentences over and over again.

I would say the story moves along slowly, but there is not much story to move along with. While there is a mystery that lasts the course of the book, it seems more like a background plot and is there to give the book some substance, however minimal. You are mostly reading about the day-to-day life of the main character.
There are a few stand-out things happening throughout the book, but again, these are all subplots, side stories, or filler.

As I have said, the majority of characters are unrealistic and annoying to read. They are all also similar in almost every way. Clearly, not much thought has gone into them. And, while they may be kids and have a lot of growing to do, the characters are rather undeveloped and lack any defining traits. There is also little-t0-no character development.
A few characters are a little more accurate and are bearable to read. The older ones, mostly. But again, the characters are simple and do not develop throughout the story.

The contrast of such dark and serious themes with the innocent mindedness of a child is a noteworthy point. The center story revolves around this.
Murder, abuse, child violence, deportation, and all manner of dark events lie within this book. Of course, while an adult sees the world for a more real place, a child is often interested, excited even, about such events, wanting to be involved in some way. At least, according to Pigeon Engish. Alas, it is interesting to see the children play through the events like they know what they are doing and what they are talking about.
The same goes for racism and sexism. This book shows that such things are put into people’s heads as children, but the children do not know what they are doing is bad until told otherwise.

This book calls to an adult demographic, one who enjoys classic literature, even though this book is not a classic.

2.7/5.0


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