Posted in Books

Book Review #2

Here are the list of books I read along April-June 2012. It took me quite long to write down the review.
Unlike the first review, I read many new books in this quarter instead of the bought-and-unread ones in my shelf. And to see the list’s content, I should call it fiction quarter. Why? See it yourself. =)

 

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

I saw this one in book store around the end of 2011 or early 2012. I was interested, but decided not to buy it because there were several other books already on my list. After the movie’s booming, my interest rose up again and I ended up borrowed it from a friend next door.

Centered in a character named Katniss Everdeen, this book has strong character telling and interesting story. The imagination world of Panem brought up here and all the conflicts are realistic enough for me to keep read it. At some point, this book explain too much about details, but not to the extent that it’s disturbing yet. And of course, since it’s a fantasy fiction one, imagining the scenes and environment can be both amusing or tiring.

As I wrote in its review, what interest me most is Katniss’ character. I found it’s hard to fall in love to a book with a villain-like main character, but The Hunger Games did it. Almost impossible for me to ignore the existence of that stubborn girl and wondering how she’ll develop. Overall, this one gave a good ending, left enough bait for the reader to wait for the next books.

Negeri 5 Menara
A. Fuadi

This book’s been bought since August 2011, and I started to read it right after I bought it. But I found it quite static at the beginning, so I left it in my shelf. When I had my mid term exams at May, I got bored of studying and looked for something to read, so I pick this one.

Born in Minangkabau, Alif Fikri wants to continue his schools in Bandung to pursue his dream of becoming an engineer. But his mother said differently, she wanted him to study religion at Pondok Madani, an Islamic school in East Java. Half heartedly, Alif left his home town and started a very different path in his new school.

Following life story of the main character, the story goes from one event to another. Most part of this books telling how Alif spent his days in his school, his life circumstances, and surrounding. It’s including his friendship with 5 boys, called Sahibul Menara.

To be honest, this one’s not totally my favorite. The first one-third part is quite boring. For you who likes up-and-down story line, this book might be out of question. The story goes by without many conflict, or if there is, it can’t be felt as big and important as it should be. As the first book of trilogy, the writer’s style of fiction writing felt quite strict and less flowing.

What’s daring about this book is its consistency. Focusing on Alif’s dream, his hard work and struggle to adapt to his environment; Negeri 5 Menara hasn’t fail to present it from beginning to end. In addition to that, Pondok Madani culture of studying and encouraging both morale and knowledge are awesome.

For me myself, since I read it while I had exams as well, reading this books gave me fighting supplement to study. I used to read a chapter of my exams material then rest for 5-10 minutes while reading one or two chapter of this book. That way, somehow, studying could be beard longer.

Supernova: Partikel
Dee

This one is Supernova series’ fourth book. When I knew that this book is available, I  can’t help but thought, after years of waiting…at last!

Like the other Supernova’s books, Partikel’s telling about a main character. This one’s Zarah Amala, a woman born in a family close with nature. Her father, Firas, is a lecturer and mycology expert. After her father disappeared, Zarah’s trying to find him, choosing a path that she never imagined. She left her family and her home town, Bogor. Her quest brought her to Tanjung Putin in Kalimantan, lead her  to London, and gave her chance becoming a wildlife photographer. Her longing of Firas made Zarah encountering the world her father has been researching for years; the world that Zarah herself couldn’t understand in the beginning.

I love Supernova series since the first book, and reading Partikel satisfying two things in one: my waiting of this series and my miss of biological world. The complexity of the story and the strong character in Supernova series, this far, never disappoint me. How the plot’s twisted into something reader’s hardly imagine or expect is one other reason why this book’s hardly taken off before finish. Reading this book, you’ll find how deep and thorough the writer’s research did to present the fact and story baseline. All those biological terms, all the things about UFO and such.

In the other hand, Supernova series has become controversial ever since the first book. Not only because the character option, but also the theme being brought up in every book. In Partikel, aside of connection with biology and photography, the writer brought UFO and other world’s life, kind of parallel universe. Though it’s brave, for me myself, I can’t help but think you must be careful. This book’s a smart product, an intelligence one; and as the reader you have to be as smart to understand which part should be enjoyed as knowledge or information and which one should be read as a mere story. This book also showed how often high knowledge leads to misinterpretation of atheism.

This book is worth to read, but I’ve warned. Be smart.

Ranah 3 Warna
A. Fuadi

I read Ranah 3 Warna still in my mid term exams, though I bought it at the same time as Negeri 5 Menara. This one pick also for the goal of keeping my study mood consistent, hahaha.

Still centered in Alif Fikri, the main character, the story now following Alif’s life after he graduated from Pondok Madani. His old dream of studying in university hasn’t die yet. He studied hard and got what he wanted; he continued his study in a university in Bandung. But his life path didn’t become easier in this new town. With many struggle, from becoming door to door sales and even got sick for a month, he successfully finish his major.

This book’s more interesting than the first one for me, due to many reasons. First, the writing style became less strict. It’s easier to enjoy the lines. Second, the story development went well. The conflicts are quite sharp; the writer has decreasing his behavior of avoiding problems. This one event have love story, and quite tragic too, which I thought a brave movement.

The most important for me is Ranah 3 Warna didn’t lose its essence: pursue of dreams. Morale values brought up in Negeri 5 Warna still being told thickly here. And of course, the chapters where Alif’s living in Canada is a very interesting part.

Conspirata
Robert Harris

Conspirata’s telling about Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman consul at the first century BC. This book’s the second of Cicero’s life trilogy, a sequel from Imperium. Still being told from the point of Cicero’s secretary, Tiro, Conspirata centered in Cicero’s life from the point he’s being the new consul.

After taking the oath as a consul, Cicero’s having many problems regarding Roman republic. Some of it are life threatening. Cicero also has to face many factions of Roman, both in senate and military. Defending his republic, Cicero did many political movement while being targeted to be assassinated. In the end, Cicero and his family had to leave Roma.

Following Cicero’s life, this book is thick of political things; its power, its consequences, and its darkness. I’ve never been interested in politic, but Conspirata presenting historical side, which I’m deeply adored, so this book got my intention from the first time I saw it. The book I borrowed is a junior’s, quickly grabbed by me after he finished read it.

Cicero’s intelligence is undoubted, I think. As a senator, orator, and lawyer, his skill of speaking is beyond average; his words are powerful. His political strategy’s good, and what’s adorable from him is his principles. No matter what happen, even when he’s going to be murdered, he never set aside those principles. When his foes changing friends and even wives for political reasons, he’s still loyal to his own friends and family. Some rare quality.

Perahu Kertas
Dee

Among all of Dewi Lestari’s books, Perahu Kertas is the only one I haven’t read. So when I went to a book store in my home town, I decided to buy it. And I should say that I’m quite surprised, because this one seems out of Dee’s mainstream of writing.

Perahu Kertas’ following the story of Kugy and Keenan, two human with different personalities. Their world merged into one because of friendship they spared with Noni and Eko, Kugy’s best friends and Keenan’s cousin.

Pursuing their dreams, fell in love to each other; Kugy and Keenan’s life twisted around along with decisions they made. Conflicts with their friends and family, the path they chose, and how their world collided again became the back bone of this book.

Perahu Kertas is very teen-lit or chick-lit taste, unlike other Dee’s books. The story’s good, though not special for me. The concept of faith in this book is an interesting point. Reading this one, I felt some points where Dee seemed hesitating about wrote it in teenager’s style or her usual style which more mature-like. Overall, it’s interesting seeing her writing this kind of genre.

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

This book’s being on my this-year-to-read list and I quickly bought it when I came home at the end of June. First published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular classic novels, and very considerable in English literature. I’ve known this book for a long time, but never interested enough to read it though I love classic literature. This holiday, I spared time to enjoy it.

Pride and Prejudice’s centering in the female protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet. Born as the second daughter of five, Elizabeth’s a cheerful and clever one. Her family live in Meryton, Hertfordshire. The story goes along with problems Elizabeth facing, including her sisters’ morale, the family issues, and, of course, love. Her meeting with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, a higher social class born, left a bad impression on both at first. But along the time goes, many things happened and they got to know each other better. This relationship ended up in a marriage.

Aside of being literary well known, this book didn’t leave deep impression on me. The main character, Elizabeth, has strong personality, but not to the extent to be adored. I found out Mr. Darcy’s more interesting, with his way of feeling and his silent but thoughtful act. The country, and England’s culture generally, being told well in this book.

To me, the first half of Pride and Prejudice’s quite boring. Too much detailed explanation of social activities; or maybe the writer just wanna emphasized her information surrounding the characters. The other half felt more interesting since the conflicts began to be more pierce. The story’s ending is acceptable, though I can’t say it’s not predictable.

Bandung, July 22nd 2012

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