Book Reviews

Mini-Reviews: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan, Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

So once again, I have mini-reviews for you guys. I accidentally forgot to put up a review post last Sunday, so today, you get a mashed up mini-review post. I read these three books sometime in the last two weeks, and I really, really want to talk about them!


Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan: Rainbirds by Clarrisa Goenawan turned out to be a completely different novel from what I had expected. Before going into it, I had thought this book to be a mystery/thriller set in Japan. But it’s not that. It’s definitely, definitely not a thriller. It’s a cultural fiction set in Japan about a young man who moves to a small town where his sister was murdered, trying to look for answers and coming to terms with certain realities around him.

I think the tone and the writing of the book is what impressed me the most. It’s very Murakami-esque in style, sans the magical realism. The writing is dry, but it somehow suits the story splendidly and makes the reading experience way better. The writing and the tone is so, so good. It’s an extremely quick read, and you literally fly through the pages. It’s the kind of book which is written in a way where you literally can’t stop reading and you have to go on reading, even though it’s not a thriller. It’s the writing which drowns you.

The story is simple – Ren Ishida goes to a small town (Akawawa) after his sister is murdered there – to take care of his sister’s belongings and to find answers. However, circumstances make him stay there temporarily, build relations, and get revelations he could never have imagined about his family and his sister.

Even though the story is simple, it’s written well and the plot unfolds interestingly. I liked the main character – he’s a simple man and I enjoyed reading from his perspective. I really like most of the other characters too – they’re side characters and I felt connected to quite a few of them. An important character (Seven Stars – I cannot reveal more as it might be a spoiler) was written in a dry manner and I wish there was more life to her character.

All in all, I really liked the book! I was highly anticipating it and had I known correctly about it, I would’ve gone into the book with the right expectations. If you’re a Murakami fan, if you’re interested in a simple Japanese fictional novel, I’d highly suggest you pick it up!

35482482Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl wasn’t what I was expecting. And not in a good way.

Coupled with an exciting premise and an author who’s attained a lot of hype over her previous work Night Film(which I haven’t read btw) – I went into the book expecting the crazy and the amazing. I did get the crazy, not so much the amazing.

This book is about a bunch of friends who meet up at a guest house a year after one of their friends had died. Once they’re there, they are informed by a man that they’re stuck in a ‘neverworld wake’ – a kind of glitch in time where they will keep living the same day again and again till forever, until they all vote and decide on only one person who can walk out of this situation alive and the rest will die.

This book had an excellent premise but wasn’t executed that well. The first 30-40% of the book was difficult to get through; it was slow, uninteresting and the book took a while to bring something engaging to the table. These characters, stuck in this situation, end up looking through past relationships and instances and uncovering some dark secrets – they uncover the mystery behind their friend’s death and what to do with the neverworld wake.

Like I said, the execution of the book didn’t impress me. I did not like the plot or the story, and the ending revelations were kinda anticlimactic and didn’t go down well with me. Another insufferable thing about this book is the awful characters. They’re poorly written, not that fleshed out, and overall I could not bring myself to sympathize with any of them.

I would suggest this book if and only if you find the premise interesting and want to give the book a try yourself; otherwise, if you’re just looking for a good thriller to read – maybe give this one a pass.

278336701Dark Matter by Blake CrouchThis book was SO GOOD

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is an adult science fiction thriller which will blow your mind and fill you with awe. A compelling story, some mind-bending discussion on dimensions and the possibility of infinite realities and a gripping writing style will ensure you’ll have an amazing time with this book!

Dark Matter is about Jason Dessen who’s a college professor, has an extremely happy married life and family – only that one day he steps out of the house for a drink, gets abducted by a man wearing a mask, and wakes up in a different reality. Where he isn’t married. Where he’s a scientist. And thus begins his race to find out what happened to his life, and whether he can have it back.

I don’t read a lot of science fiction. I don’t know why, but this genre never caught my fancy. Within science fiction too, I’ve read very less of books involving different dimensions and infinite realities existing together. The only books I remember reading about this is Firebird by Claudia Gray and both the books are completely different in a lot of aspects. Nevertheless, this concept is extremely interesting to me. I want to read more books involving infinite dimensions and realities.

I loved what Blake Crouch did to this concept. I loved where he took the story. It was so intense and so scaringly real and I loved the story. Blake Crouch is an excellent writer and he makes the book gripping and hard to put down.

All in all, I’d highly suggest picking this up – if you like sci-fi, if you like thrillers, if you like an intense read – this one’s for you.



2 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan, Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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