February was a pretty slow reading month for me. That being said, I did manage to complete two more books than I did in January. All these books were super intense and had lots of incredible writing moments. A good reading month for sure!
Human Acts by Han Kang
This book retells accounts of people who experienced the Gwangju uprising in South Korea during the 80s. There was a huge massacre, where people were demonstrating against the dictatorship, wanting a new democracy. Many of these people were students and young people, and though this book is fictional, the stories are very realistic, of which I've no doubt were experienced by many people. This book gives accounts of people who were killed: their lives before and during the protests, as well as that of the people who survived after. I liked this book especially, because it explored the lives of the survivors, and what it looks like to continue living after such a traumatic experience.
It's a very sad topic and a sensitive one, too, so trigger warning: violent depictions of brutality. But I must say I really enjoyed reading it. It's been translated from Korean to English, and apparently not all of the direct translations were able to be properly translated, but I found the writing to be superb. Nothing was overdone or over dramatised or sensationalized. It was just very honest and straightforward.
It's a story that may ignite anger in the reader, since the question of why some people have to suffer because of other people's insecurities and hatred looms throughout the book.
Though it's under 200 pages, I had to read this in breaks, to fully digest each story that was being old to me and give it the full attention it deserves.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Finally, the last book in The Millenium series, aka The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. I love this series for our main girl, the author's writing style and his attention to detail. I was a little underwhelmed by this book mainly because there wasn't as much action as there was in the first book. I think we were really spoilt with the amount of action and thrill that was given in the first book. This book is a lot more intellectual and theoretical. There's a lot of wordiness and information and description that read to be too dense for me at times - but I appreciate the amount of effort the author put in the research of law, medicine, psychiatry, espionage, police, journalism, and a lot more. Basically, he did his research and it shows a lot in this book. (It's also worth noting that Larsson had a career as a journalist.)
In this book, our main character, Lisbeth is convicted of a crime that unlocks a whole other world of covered up crime. While she is bedridden for a lot of the book, after inducing injuries, there are many other characters who we get to follow that have a role in solving these hidden crimes that are linked to each other. I wasn't a happy reader, because we really didn't get much of Lisbeth in the beginning, I'd say for most of the book. And there were so many characters to keep track of, way too many, but I guess it was necessary and realistic in the grander scheme of the story.
Good read, though patience is a must! 500 pages of reading on secret police history, government secrecy, journalism politics, police procedures, and law theory was exhausting when I just wanted to know whether our heroine was gonna be okay at the end of the day. Also, this is an adult book, so trigger warning: sex/nudity/violence. (But the violence was waaaay less than the first two books.) I found a lot of unnecessary sex scenes just for fillers sake, with a lot of other subplots that felt like the author was trying to buy some time before dropping the grand finale.
Was I satisfied by the way this series ended? Sure - I was expecting a bit of a grander send off, but considering all the action that happened in this book, it felt okay - and honestly I was ready to be done with the book!
Thunderhead (Arc of Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman
I have been dying to read this book after reading the first book in the series, Scythe. To say this is a masterful sci-fi adventure tale of humanity's future is an understatement. This book is a masterpiece, as was expected.
We dig into the future of humanity, where our post-mortal, almost perfect world, controlled by a perfect AI, starts to reveal loopholes that create a very epic and disastrous cliffhanger. We try and understand what the purpose of this AI, aka The Thunderhead is, and how something made to be perfect can coexist with imperfect beings. (Check out the goodreads link for a more comprehensive summary.)
So many questions of morals and ethics come up, which I love, because it forces many of our characters to be in the middle of complex situations where they have to make tough decisions. We discover more history of this immortal, semi-perfect world and mysteries that were kept hidden from the current society.
This book is 500 pages, but it's fast paced and is very readable. It features a lot of tension and suspense, humour, and empathy for characters I didn't think I'd have empathy for.
I'm currently reading the last book in the trilogy and I'm so excited to see how it ends.