Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, a book review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Sometimes life can be very strange. A while back I bought the book Hex, written by Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I was drawn to it by the fact that it was being promoted as the new Dutch fantasy novel.

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For some reason I put it in my bookcase and forgot about it (sorry Thomas).

Earlier this year whilst I was attending Dutch Comic Con, Thomas was there, signing books. I felt a small pang of shame as I remembered that unread book, still in my bookcase, and bummed I didn’t have it with me to get it signed.

Still, I again forgot about it, until two days ago. One of my friends posted a screenshot of the tweet made by Stephen King, the master of horror himself, praising Thomas his book. How epic and cool is that! So I liked that post and yesterday I got a friend request from Thomas himself.

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Maybe this was the universe telling me, read the book! Ok, ok. I got my copy, settled on the couch and… read the book in one go.

Now I have read loads of books, the fact that I own over 700 of them is prove as well. And there aren’t many books I read in one sitting, where I am drawn into it, forget the world around me and keep turning page after page, desperately wanting to know what happens next. This book did.

Slight note. As I understand it, the English version is slightly different from the Dutch version. I read the Dutch one, but now I want to get my hands on an English copy as well.

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.

Author info according to Goodreads:

Thomas Olde Heuvelt

  • Born in Nijmegen, Netherlands

 

Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book. “HEX is reminiscent of vintage Stephen King, and I can think of no higher praise. Chilli

Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book.

I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers.

What I loved about this book, first and foremost is that it is set in the region I originally come from (for the people who read the Dutch version of the book). I was born in a smallish town in ‘Brabant’ although not as small as the town ‘Beek’ mentioned in the book. But how the people and townsfolk act is pretty much how I remember it (minus the horror stuff, but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised). It has nothing compared to living in a larger city where you are lucky if your neighbours greet you at all.

Not until the second chapter you finally begin to get a grasp what the story is about, and throughout the book you begin to grasp the situation about Hex. I imagine when reading the book for a second time you will get a lot of aha moments, small little signs you missed the first time because know you know.

It is amazing how Thomas managed to capture todays life, with texting, popular language and big brother is watching you and at the same time describes that small town feel and throw you back into the middle ages as well.

Some of the horror stuff, nope no spoilers, you should really read the book yourself, reminded me a lot of the books written by Bridget Wood and which I think is high praise. Thomas has captured multiple important ethical dilemmas while being subjected to years and years of indoctrination and pear pressure in such a way that it’s almost scary, even if applied to today’s everyday life and how we as people react to say the refugees’ crisis.

If you are susceptible to nightmares I suggest reading this book during the day, or keep a light on at night when you go to bed. Unfortunately, I’m past this point, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t scare me at some points.

Not one point during the book I had a moment where I had that feel of pages being filled, just for the sake of creating pages (which some books do). From beginning to end it captures you and I hate myself sometimes for having a high reading speed and finishing it in a couple of hours.

The book leaves you hunger for more, but as I said, luckily I can read the English version as well!

Thomas, ik had niet gedacht dat Hex zo ontzettend goed zou zijn. Schrijf meer van dit soort boeken, je hoort thuis in de fantasy wereld en ik kan niet wachten tot een eventuele verfilming en meer van je fantastische verhalen.

This books gets a well-deserved 5 out of 5 star review and I recommend you get your hands on a copy and read it, over and over again, because this is a book you can read multiple times.

Have you read it?

Lots of love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb, a book review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Today I’ll review a book that has a special meaning for me. I’ll tell you all about it in a minute. And don’t worry; I’ll get back on those Doctor Who e-book reviews in a couple of days. But first, the Assassin’s Apprentice, the first part in the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb.

Robin Hobb

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

About the book:

  • original title: Assassin’s Apprentice
  • ISBN: 0006480098 (ISBN13: 9780006480099)
  • edition language: English
  • series: Farseer Trilogy #1, Realms of the Elderlings #1,
  • characters: Verity, Fool, Galen, FitzChivalry, Burrich
  • Author: Robin Hobb

add-to-goodreads

 

 

About the Author:RobinHobb

  • born: in California, The United States
  • gender: female
  • website: http://robinhobb.com/
  • twitter username: Robinhobb
  • genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, History, Mystery
  • influences: Every book I ever read, every song I ever heard, every dog that e…moreEvery book I ever read, every song I ever heard, every dog that ever walked with me, every cat that ever kicked my desk clean . . . life is an influence.

** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star ‘I liked it’ rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It’s a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I’d loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I’ve ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I’m probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I wa…more ** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star ‘I liked it’ rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It’s a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I’d loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I’ve ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I’m probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I want you to know . . . I don’t finish books I don’t like. There’s too many good ones out there waiting to be found.

Robin Hobb is the author of three well-received fantasy trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest), The Liveship Traders Trilogy (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny) and the Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate) Her current work in progress is entitled Shaman’s Crossing. Robin Hobb lives and works in Tacoma, Washington, and has been a professional writer for over 30 years.

In addition to writing, her interests include gardening, mushrooming, and beachcombing. She and her husband Fred have three grown children and one teenager, and three grand-children.

She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and works under that name have been finalists for the Hugo award, the Nebula Award, and the Endeavor award. She has twice won an Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award.

My thoughts.

Before I begin reviewing the book, I think I should tell you something about how I came into contact with these books and what they mean to me.

I had a pretty rough time growing up and going through puberty. A friend of mine introduced me to fantasy books and the fantasy book store in my town. And soon that fantasy store was something I used to escape to when things got, let’s just say, a bit not good at home. It was a second home from home sort to speak. I soon got to know the owner pretty well and we developed a sort of friendship. Or more like he was there for me when I needed someone to talk to, to cry, and to laugh with and so on.

He was one of the few people that kept me going, kept me sane and introduced me to a whole new world of fantastic books I could escape into when I wasn’t able to visit his shop. I don’t think he ever knew how much he meant to me, or how much he helped me and basically saved me from myself.

Early on he introduced me to the Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb (the second trilogy in the series) and I absolutely loved them. After reading all three of them, I moved on to the Farseer trilogy and the Tawny Man trilogy as well. After that he unfortunately had to close his shop because of the recession and people ordering cheap books online.

But those books kept me sane, kept me going, kept me fantasizing about writing my own book. Kept me wishing I could live in that world. And I try to reread the series every other year (there are now in total 13 books). And although reading them over and over again reminds me of bad times. It also reminds me of how I have grown and learned over the years. How strong I am today and without that deep dark pit that was puberty for me, I would never be the person I am today, for which I am truly grateful.

That’s why I still keep on buying actual books, besides reading e-books. Because when I look at my bookcase I don’t only see pretty covers and stacks of paper, I also see memories of good and bad times. Things I shared with people now no long in my life. Where I was when reading a book. How I felt at that moment. The story that kept me going.

Each and every book I own has its own personal story. And if you don’t love books, you don’t get it. But for me, my books are more important than a new TV or a shiny laptop. They literally are the story of my life, told by other people. Worlds I escaped in. Where I wasn’t that depressed teenager but a dragon fighter or a magician. A queen of an outstretched world, or a vampire.  I learned about magic, friendship and companions. I learned about bravery and keep on going. I learned about not giving up even though it looked so dark, to just keep on going because there was a reward at the end. That it would get better, maybe not now but soon.

Oh wow, ok, enough personal stuff now. Let’s get on with the review before I start sobbing while writing this. Just one thing, because I started reading these books at the age of around 12-13 I think. I read them all in Dutch, so if I screw up with the translation of names and places I’m sorry for that.

The real review.

Needless to say this series and the books belonging to this series are my all-time favourite fantasy books. So how do you review a book you love so much? That you want to shove it into people’s hands and demand they read it. How to you put into words what this story is about so you can do it justice so people get interested in it to actually read it. How do you explain the story in a few short sentences what the story is about without spoiling it too much?

I don’t think I can’t to be honest. I think if you read the story above about what books and this series means to me should be enough for people to start reading it. I don’t think I can write a proper review and do the book justice.

And although I understand not everyone will love these kinds of fantasy books. I do urge people to read it, if you are a lover of fantasy like I am.

So I think for now this will be my review. A glimpse into my soul and rambling of a booklover. And who knows, maybe in a year or two, when I read the whole series again. I am able to write that review. But for now? Just read it, or not. But this is one of the few books who get a 10 out of 10.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Where to get your own copy:

buy-on-amazon.combuy-on-amazon.co.ukbuy-on-bol.com

 

Hunger games

First blog is up, I finally watched the hunger games yesterday. What do I think? The books are way better. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie, but it’s a movie. A book will give you the opportunity to create a world as you would like to see it and a movie is about the fantasy as the director see’s it. And in this case, the book is more emotional. I think that if you didn’t read the books first, the movie doesn’t make much sense. I like books and movies and TV shows with strong female characters, who can defend themselves and act as some sort of role model like Katniss.
Anyway, grading time. Books 8 and movie 6.5 go see for yourself and let me know what you think.

Love, your hot cute girly geek.