Adult · Book review · Fantasy · Sci-fi · Young adult

Reviews: Two Two-Star Reviews

34388654Toxic was ok.
As I have very little time for reading lately, I don’t want to spend it on a book I know I won’t feel strongly about.

I think my main problem with this book, if one can really call it that, is that I’m not the target audience. I feel like I’ve outgrown this kind of YA.
With “this kind of YA” I mean the kind that has characters on the younger end who feel even younger because of their naïveté, the kind that could more or less work as a middle grade/YA crossover (at least, the part I read could). The kind in which a boy and a girl can’t do anything but fall in love. The kind in which the very dull, naive main characters end up naked together because of Contrivance.
This is also not my kind of sci-fi. While the spaceship Cyclo is very cool and unlike everything I’ve ever read, this book involves aliens, and I just don’t like reading about aliens who feel like humans with dyed hair

Toxic isn’t a book I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, however. If you want to read a cute m/f sci-fi romance on the younger end of YA which has Asian leads and takes place in a very interesting setting, I don’t think you’re going to dislike this.

My rating: ★★¼ (DNF @ 30%)

38633526Vita Nostra is one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read.
I almost feel like I’m doing it a disservice by calling it “creepy”, because it’s so much more than that, but my vocabulary in English is what it is. As this book is about projections, I think it makes sense that the explanation of my feelings in English will be only a shadow of what I could say in Italian.

As I was saying, it’s creepy. There’s no on-page death, there are no monsters, hauntings or anything scary, really. It’s just so overwhelmingly hopeless and unsettling it can’t avoid being creepy. It’s also deeply weird, which doesn’t help.

I could say I appreciated how complex and multilayered Vita Nostra was, I could say I enjoyed this 400-page-long journey into the weirdness, I could say the ending was a satisfying conclusion. I would be lying. This is a very unique book, and in a way I’m glad I read it, but it couldn’t hold my attention and I skimmed most of it. I also didn’t get some parts of it, which was somewhat frustrating, but it’s not like I expect answers from this kind of books.

In a way, for me reading Vita Nostra was just like the main character’s experience as a first year student in this questionable magical university: the words she has to read and study do not make sense together even when they (and they don’t always) make sense individually. Vita Nostra is like that: most scene seem to make sense, but as a whole? I don’t get it. Not as much as I hoped, at least.

I could say that the characterization felt really weak to me, that the main character is often annoyingly judgmental, that the worldbuilding is barely there, but I got enough to understand that none of these things is in any way the point. I can’t review this like I would with any other fantasy novel. What is the point, then? Don’t ask me – if I knew, I would have given it a higher rating. But I can say one thing: even though it was creepy and weird and unique and complex, it was also really boring, and I don’t care about the point, for me “boring” is always a flaw.

My rating: ★★½

2 thoughts on “Reviews: Two Two-Star Reviews

  1. Toxic is a book I had no interest in, I knew nothing about it, but just from looking at the cover and reading the title it didn’t inspire me much. Vita Nostra seemed a lot more interesting and I love the cover, it’s disappointing to learn it isn’t very good. I think “weird” books are very personal, and what one person hates another can love, but “boring” is the kind of adjective that leaves a lot less wiggle-room. A weird book that is also boring just seems like an exercise in pointlessness, so I’ll probably stay away from it unless it falls on my lap or something like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the Vita Nostra cover too. I found the inside boring and weirdly addicting at the same time? I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone, it was not a great reading experience, but I agree about weird books being personal, so I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

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