Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Goodreads: Piranesi
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Buy: Bookshop.org UK | US
Synopsis: Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

Review: This book, gosh this book it’s just so gorgeous. The world that Susanna Clarke builds in Piranesi is so sumptuous and mysterious, I was instantly drawn in and this book effortlessly became a five star read for me.

The novel is actually a set of journal entries written by Piranesi himself. This format can be a little jarring, but Piranesi is so knowledgeable and fascinating as a character that this feeling left as soon as it came. Piranesi makes you take your time reading it, I’m a notoriously quick reader, but my pace dramatically slowed so I could absorb all of the details. Our protagonist takes his time explaining his world and how it works in minute detail, and so despite it’s short length the story feels so fleshed out and gorgeous.

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Best of 2020

Soo normally I’d split this out into a few smaller posts about the books, games, and films I’ve loved this year, but instead I’ve decided to pull together a big behemoth post about the things that have touched my ice-cold heart!

Books

So this years first place on Nia’s list of absolutely amazing reads was hotly contested. I have read some absolutely wonderful mind-bendingly good books this year, but one really stood out for me.

Eliza Clark’s incredible debut novel Boy Parts published with Influx Press is my book of the year! This book was a perfect example of unreliable narrator done well, and the book itself feels more than a little hallucinogenic. Boy Parts will be one I’ll come back to again and again just to drink in the detail, it’s dark, gritty, and I cannot wait to read what Clark writes next.
My Full Review
Buy Direct from Influx

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2020 Wrap Up

This year has been a wild one to put it mildly, and I’ll be getting into my best of 2020 in another post, so this’ll be a little more personal. It’s been a rather wild month and my content shows it because, well, I haven’t posted anything since the beginning of the month. This is due to a wide variety of things including a hectic work schedule, but mostly due to the fact that I finally ended up catching COVID-19.

Just in case you were wondering COVID sucks. I caught it just before my Christmas holidays and I was laid out for eight days, I had none of the usual symptoms but luckily I haven’t left the house in weeks. My mum is a key worker in our local hospital so it was pretty inevitable with this more infectious strain making it’s way through Wales right now, but we’re all fine and you can look forward to my triumphant return to blogging this month.

This year has brought one good thing though and that’s this blog. It’s been an amazing year for growth on Nia’s Book Fort, and I’m really proud of myself for everything this year has brought. We tripled last years views and I’ve posted more than ever! I got to really start posting about publishing and my career alongside the usual bookish things, and it’s been amazing to hear from the people I’ve helped with my efforts. All in all when it comes to this place, I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved together. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts, and I have a few tentative plans for 2021 so hopefully you’ll all stick around!

Well anyway, here’s the the rather sad amount of content that I created in December:

November 2020 wrap-up | Work in Publishing Week: Fave posts

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November Wrap Up ’20

Oh gosh, I feel like I start every wrap-up with this, but how the heck is it December already. This year has somehow managed to fly by and be so, so, slow at the same time, 2020 is just too powerful.

I’ve been struggling a little with reading this month, rather annoyingly. My ability to power through multiple books a month has vanished, and the couple of arcs I’ve started I’ve been struggling to finish. It’s so irritating because I’d been doing so well, but that seasonal depression has swung into action and taken away my drive. I will say that Christmas this year has made me feel better already, it’s wild because I’m not normally a festive person, but I think my brain is taking any hit of serotonin it can right now.

This month on the blog was pretty publishing focused due to Work in Publishing Week on twitter, so I focused my content around that! This includes a little video Q&A I did and uploaded to YouTube, I’m not an on-camera person and the video definitely reflects that, but I did enjoy talking to myself about publishing for a while. Oh, and I also attempted NaNoWriMo this month…it did not go well. Just like my reading I really struggled to sit down and write, so I lost momentum pretty quickly after week one and didn’t even hit 10,000 words. Sad times.
Anyway here’s my November content for your perusal:

October Wrap Up | Making a Sideways Move: Publishing
NaNoWriMo Week one | Imposter Syndrome: Publishing
Bimonthly Book Haul | Review: Cinderella is Dead

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October Wrap Up ’20

Well hello there welcome back to the post that tells you what I’ve been up to! I’ve sadly not been up too much if I’m honest, work has been absolutely wild, and so blogging and reading has fallen a bit off my radar; I did end up reading the entirety of the All for the Game series in three days, but we’ll just forget about that.

I’m going to attempt Nanowrimo again this year, so if you’d like to be buddies or something click here. I’m writing a little anthology of horror short stories in the hope that writing five 10,000+ word narratives will hold my attention, I’ve only made it past 10,000 words once so…wish me luck.

There’ll also be some publishing posts on the blog next week! I will finish my post on imposter syndrome if it kills me, and I’m working on a post exploring my recent sideways move into a new Marketing Assistant role. Anyway here’s what appeared on the blog this month:

September wrap-up | Books I read in September | Review: Addie LaRue
Review: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
Five Popular Trilogies I Haven’t Read | Review: Into the Drowning Deep

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Books I read in September

Piranese

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

This book is honestly beautiful inside and out and is definitely one of my favourite reads this year. There’s just so much detail, I think I could read it over and over again and still manage to miss some of the nuances. My review is on its way, but I need to find the right words for how this book made me feel!
Goodreads

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Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Goodreads: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Publisher: Titan Books
Book Depository
Synopsis: A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Review: I received this digital copy in exchange for an honest review, thanks Titan Books!

I don’t think I can express quite how happy I was to receive an eBook of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue back in August, and I devoured it as soon as I was approved. This book leapt high above my expectations, and this review is going to be more of an ode to V. E. Schwab and her writing.

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September ’20 Wrap up

Hello again friends! I took a week off which is why this post is coming at you a little late, because ho-boy has September been exhausting. I’ve just made a side-ways move into a different team within my department, which has been the strangest experience. I’m still working with all the same people but on completely different things, and there’s been bit of a learning curve that’s come with it. I’m also in an area that’s currently in local lock-down so I’ve had to stop a lot of the fun stuff I’d been doing lately. No bouldering, and I’ve reluctantly been avoiding the gym to prevent accidentally infecting my parents. It’s the indefinite feeling that has made this particular iteration of “lock-down” worse for me, and I think this will likely be part of our so called “new normal” for a while yet.

I do have some good news that I wanted to share though! This month I was on the SYP Oxford podcast talking all things rejection with the wonderful Charlotte and Caroline. I think it’s a really important episode as it’s something almost everyone in publishing (and outside of it) will have to experience, perseverance is key my friends! You can listen to the episode here and on Spotify

Well, here’s what I posted this month:

August ’20 Wrap up | Two Years in Publishing | Review: Midnight Sun
Review: The Ghost Tree | Review: The Dragon of Ynys
Remote Interviews: Publishing Edition

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Review: The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen

Goodreads: The Dragon of Ynys
Publisher: Atthis Arts
Book Depository
Synopsis: Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet, the local knight, makes his way to the dragon’s cave and negotiates the item’s return. It’s annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.

But when the dragon hoards a person, that’s a step too far. Sir Violet storms off to the mountainside to escort the baker home, only to find a more complex mystery—a quest that leads him far beyond the cave. Accompanied by the missing baker’s wife and the dragon himself, the dutiful village knight embarks on his greatest adventure yet.

Review: I received this digital copy in exchange for an honest review, thanks Atthis Art!

This review is going to be rather short because, well, the book is also rather short but I really wanted to feature it on the blog! This is a lovely children’s story full of heart and acceptance and I just loved it.

The Dragon of Ynys does it’s job perfectly, which is why I made the decision to give it five stars. The book is ownvoices and features an aro-ace protagonist, an out and proud lesbian couple, and two trans characters. It also shows how easy it is to ask someones pronouns on meeting them and acknowledges non-binary identities in the process, it was just wonderful to read! The book highlights the importance of representation and seeing yourself within stories, in fact this is a central theme of the story and it’s much needed.

Due to the length of the novel there’s not a lot of nuance, but time is spent giving each character a distinct voice. It isn’t deep and there isn’t a whole heap of world building but I don’t think that’s the point, it’s lovely to see a fantasy that’s perfect for children who want better representation in the books they’re picking up.

This is a wholesome and soft short story that’s filled to the brim with love and acceptance, and I just loved how easy it was to read.

Recommend: If you have children this could be perfect, but it works well as a short story for adults too!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Series: Twilight #5
Goodreads: Midnight Sun
Publisher: Atom
Book Depository: If you buy a copy of Midnight Sun please consider donating to the La Push Quileute tribe here
Synopsis: When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

Review: A hardcore case of FOMO is what made me buy Midnight Sun, and so I ended up reading 662 pages of a story I loved as a teen written from a different perspective. The spine of my copy of Twilight is broken from my unending re-reads, and the memory of that love is probably what made me want to buy this book despite its £20 price tag.

This, unfortunately, didn’t end up being what I wanted it to be, and the book was lucky that I already loved the story. I wanted more of the Cullens and more new scenes, but this ended up being an extended foray into Edwards man-pain which…uh…wasn’t exactly what I wanted. So first off let’s start with what I enjoyed about this different perspective on a book that I’ve read more times than I want to admit.

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