Mini Reviews: Recent Reads, part III // Myths, killer woods, and essay collection from women who reported from battlefield

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Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece

by Stephen Fry

Paperback, 442 pages

Published July 26th 2018 by Penguin


No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly or brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses.

In Stephen Fry’s vivid retelling we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld. We shiver when Pandora opens her jar of evil torments and watch with joy as the legendary love affair between Eros and Psyche unfolds.

Mythos captures these extraodinary myths for our modern age – in all their dazzling and deeply human relevance.

Mythos is considered a “must read” for people who enjoyed Greek mythology, or want to get a start on the area. With all the glowing reviews and wide endorsement from avid and casual readers alike, it’s normal that I placed a high expectations on it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoyed Mythos. Maybe because I’ve already read so many books about mythology, I find that Mythos did not add much to the area. I find it too similar with Rick Riordan’s Greek Gods, from the way it’s organized (starting from Chaos and telling the stories of various nymphs in the end) and the story it chose to tell. I mean, obviously there is a certain set of story you can tell on the myth, but by choosing to tell the story in the exact same order and manner (Fry also divided his books into 2, the second one is called Heroes and only tell about the heroes- just like Riordan’s) it felt like I was reading the same book.

Depending on your taste, you might enjoyed this book more than Greek Gods. Rick Riordan’s writing style are widely known to be full of humor and witty dialogue, which can felt juvenile for some people. Mythos however, has more serious tone to its narrative and the humor present is more of british humor. For me, I never really liked british humor (sorry!) so it felt like it was really dry and trying too hard to be funny.

In the end, it’s not that Mythos is a bad book. I just felt like there’s not enough that differentiate it from other books on the subject, that it become forgettable and I can’t overlook the similarities it has with Greek Gods.

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The Devouring Gray

by Christine Lynn Herman

Paperback, 368 pages

Published April 2nd 2019 by Titan Books


On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

After so many disappointment with 2019 releases, I can’t say that I’m not excited to read The Devouring Gray. What can I say, the concept just felt too unique to be missed! However, I do learned to ground my expectations and dampen my enthusiasm.

This book has 5 main characters: Violet, Justin, May, Harper, and Isaac. I was initially wary because it can be hard to differentiate numerous main characters. However, I can safely report that all the characters have different personality and voices, that it was easy to differentiate them. Their characterization is also very well-developed that it was very easy for me to root and fell for them! My favorite characters are Isaac and Harper; they are very resilient and determined! I mean, the rest of the characters also have their own struggles but I love Isaac and Harper the most.

The author also has done a wonderful job with the setting and building up the conflict. Four Paths literally felt like it was suffocated by the woods, not only the buildings and development but also the people within. But we can see how there’s something ominous coming, how it shapes the people’s lives and made them act.

Sadly, despite this, I felt like the plot never really took off. It’s like we had this all amazing elements, but they aren’t tied together really well to make an impact. The ending was great though, I’m excited to know what happens next!

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Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World

by Zahra Hankir

ebook, 304 pages

Published August 6th 2019 by Penguin Books


Nineteen Arab women journalists speak out about what it’s like to report on their changing homelands in this first-of-its-kind essay collection, with a foreword by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour

International media coverage of the Arab world is dominated by the work of Western correspondents—meaning we often view stories about those complex, interconnected conflicts through one particular lens. But a growing number of intrepid Arab women, whose access to and understanding of their subjects are vastly different than their Western counterparts, are working tirelessly to shape more nuanced narratives about their homelands through their work as reporters and photojournalists.

In Our Women on the Ground, nineteen of these women tell us, in their own words, about what it’s like to report on conflicts that are (quite literally) close to home. From sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo to the impossibility of traveling without a male relative in Yemen, their challenges are unique—as are their advantages, such as being able to speak candidly with other women or gain entry to places that an outsider would never be able to access. Their daring, shocking, and heartfelt stories, told here for the first time, shatter stereotypes about Arab women and provide an urgently needed perspective on a part of the world that is often misunderstood.

INCLUDING ESSAYS BY: Donna Abu-Nasr, Aida Alami, Hannah Allam, Jane Arraf, Lina Attalah, Nada Bakir, Shamael Elnoor, Zaina Erhaim, Asmaa al-Ghoul, Hind Hassan, Eman Helal, Zeina Karam, Roula Khalaf, Nour Malas, Hwaida Saad, Amira Al-Sharif, Heba Shibani, Lina Sinjab, and Natacha Yazbeck

I received an e-ARC of this book from Edelweiss plus in exchange for an honest review. 

This essay collection is such a heartfelt and important read, I honestly don’t know how to do it a justice in my review. Since the essays are about women reporter who reports on the Arab Spring, all of the essays are written by women who has a connection to the country or have experienced the war themselves through their job. It wasn’t an easy read, especially reading about how the events witnessed them and their sense of identity. There’s actually not many of the piece that talked about their advantages, more of the essays are spend on telling the adversity they’ve faced but it highlights their resilience and their drive in reporting the truths to the world.

Honestly one of the best book I’ve ever read, I don’t know what else I could’ve write to convince you to pick this book up.


7 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Recent Reads, part III // Myths, killer woods, and essay collection from women who reported from battlefield

  1. I’m both intrigued and scared of reading The Devouring Gray. I’d probably love it for its atmosphere, and you make the characters sound really amazing. But the plot never taking off could and probably would bother me, so I’m not sure I should bother. I think I’ll wait until the second book is out, and see what everyone thinks of that. Great reviews! 🙂


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