Book Review: The Geographer’s Library

The following review is for the book The Geographer’s Library. Please note that this may contain spoilers.

Rating: 1/5

This book was at most a disappointment.

I was looking forward to it deeply not only because it was about alchemy, which is so mysterious in the first place and because someone recommended it to me claiming that it was a very interesting read. Maybe, I interpreted that “interesting” in the wrong way, but this book was most definitely not what I had been hoping for.

The Goods

To start out, I’ll mention few things I did like about this book.

The little short stories of each artifact interspersed throughout the book was an interesting idea that I personally like a lot. Every one of them were linked somehow and the putting everything together always makes the reader feel good, because you actually figured something out. They always ended with an artifact that, while bizarre, was also strangely interesting. Surprisingly, for the terrible quality of the book, I really did like those short stories.

Here’s a small thing I really liked as well: the letter at the beginning. Viewing this solely from a “I’m at the bookstore and I’m scanning for a book to buy” point of view, this letter at the beginning surely drew me in. It’s ambiguous and you can’t just find an answer by flipping through the first few pages of the book (though, granted, it’s not hard that to write a mysterious letter).

Austell was one of the few characters that I kind of liked. He was silly and a perfect way to get some comic relief from this death that happens. Yes, he is quite exaggerated and I admit, no real person would probably act like him, but nonetheless, he has something about him that makes you want to like him. Best character of the book.

The Not-so-goods

To put it simply this book sucked.

Fasman tried all too hard to build suspense, tension and mystery. I could tell that this was suppose to one of those books that keep you up all night turning pages, but it was not. Quite the contrary, it took me a whole week to read those 400 pages (which to put in prospective, I read around four or five hours a day and I guarantee you, I am not a slow reader. Obviously, I just could not focus.) The story took forever and there was quite a lot of unnecessary extensions of the plot. Fasman was just trying too hard to have suspense and action and it left the book feeling strained and winded.

To start with, the main character, Paul, is extremely weak. His first reaction to almost everything is “I blushed.” This is a grown man we’re talking about. A journalist, determined to find out what happened to a mysterious dead guy who obviously has had violent dealings all of a sudden blushes at a woman and everything that happens thereafter? This same person also walks recklessly into a bar “because he thought it was a good idea” and then gets shoved stupidly out the bar realizing that he actually had nothing that could physically back him up. He also half breaks into a house with a policeman but faints at the sight of a hole in the ground. It’s one thing to create a character with great contrasting characteristics, but it’s a whole other story to create one who just doesn’t make any sense.

Hannah makes no sense. I’ve reread the all of the chapters where she appears many times and I still have no idea what kind of person she is or how she’s related to the whole situation. She completely lacks a personality and many times, her actions are completely unexplained and leave me quite confused. Fasman doesn’t give enough context about Hannah’s life for the reader to understand what she might be thinking at the time and instead of creating a mysterious air around her, it only gives the reader an impression of a badly created character.

The plot was very badly made. It took the reader in many unnecessary circles that dragged all possible suspense to the lowest. The death of Panda was gleaned over way too quickly and the only emotion that was ever put into it was Paul’s boss shedding just  a few tears for the man. And then end of story. There was little explanation for any of the actions that Paul decides to take and the romance between Paul and Hannah is completely unnecessary. The little amount of suspense that was built up by plot just simply disperses with the horribly disappointing ending. Paul just gives up. How much worse can you get than that?

The Bottom Line:

Basically, a book with flat characters, a bad plot and a horrible ending. I would not recommend at all.

The following review was written following the rules for One Book One Review.

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This is Disgusting

God. I thought I never needed to talk about this again, but today, while checking my stats, like a usual self-conscious chicken, I saw this under the Search Engine Terms:disgusting

Tell me that’s not disgusting.

While I’ve been getting consistent view on my blog simply from this one post that I made, I can’t believe I would get a search engine term like this.

I am so tempted to take that post down. This is absolutely horrible. What a disgrace to mankind.

James the Giant Peach

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Prompt: For unknown reasons, insects begin to grow larger and smarter.

“Crocodile tongues.” The little boy said as he glanced at the open book. The book was seemed to be a children’s book with a giant peach on the cover. It said James [illegible scribble] the Giant Peach. Underneath the title was another line, written in marker: The book to solving all your magical needs.

It looked like the boy’s handwriting.

He set the book down and looked around his shack. He had things of all sorts, eye of newt, chameleon skin, even the tail of a lizard. But where would a little boy get crocodile tongues from?

“They have to be here somewhere.” He looked around in determination. “And then one day, Cathy will be just like the others.”

Cathy was his pet spider, who was now unable to hunt due to the sudden growth in size and intelligence of all insects. The poor spider was living off of solely die flies bought from the store. It had been weeks since she had fresh food.

The little boy set out again and passed many big bugs. He wasn’t afraid. There never was a need to. He had never been mean to the bugs, (even though he was trying to help a spider right then) so they had no reason to hurt him. He even made some friends with them, but whenever he asked how they became big, they would all fall silent and look at each other, as if they were pushing this big task from one bug to another. No one wanted to tell.

“Crocodile tongues.” He repeated to himself. The book had to be right. It was the only logical explanation.

Note: For those who don’t know, James and the Giant Peach is a children’s book written by Roald Dahl about a little boy who gets a bag of crocodile tongues. Upon dropping them on the ground, they proceed to make a half-dead peach tree grow a huge peach and the few bugs that encounter these tongues grew huge and were able to speak. The little boy in this short story is referring to the crocodile tongues in Dahl’s book.

The Storage Room

A pendant.

A picture frame.

A shattered mirror reflecting shadows of sunlight.

The storage room sits along the dusty dirt road ridden with grass, weeds, and even tree saplings. It is hidden from sight, not easily seen, found or entered. The storage room is a mystery. An unknown mystery.

A music box.

A doll without an eye.

A picture of a girl holding a boy’s hand along with the eyeless doll.

The trail that leads to the storage room is long faded. Only the short span of dirt before the building remains clear of any plants. It is as if that area is poisoned, as if the room is screaming keep away. No one is allowed near. Not even the plants.

A muddy torn dress.

A muddy pair of trousers.

A golden lock of hair entwined with a lock of frizzy brown hair.

The storage room never makes a sound. It never creaks or squeaks. Or moans or groans. It never shakes at the sight of wind howling through the forest. It only sits tightly on the ground, stock still, protecting its contents inside grimly from the wild outside with its solid cinder block walls never uttering a word of complaint.

A rusty knife.

A bloody shirt.

A torn picture, a man and woman separated by a harsh jagged line.

The storage room only has one visitor. The only person who can open that locked door. The only person who can get inside. The only person who can hear the whispers of the stories the storage room holds. The person is a woman. A young woman of golden hair.

A wooden door.

A rusty lock.

Four windowless cinder block walls.

The woman deteriorates as the years go on, her golden hair turning gray. Her visits become more and more scarce and eventually stop, but the storage room remains, sitting there boldly, waiting for her to return and listen once again to the sad story it sings.

Inspired Stains

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Prompt: A desperate man comes up with a unique way to make some extra cash.

It was simply a fact that Old George never had enough money. He had long lost his home and only wandered the streets now. He never had enough food or enough clothes. He barely ever washed himself or shaved. He was poor right down to the bones, but he never ever thought to beg for money.

Old George was a man of what you could call pride. He came from a rich family, one of many many lawyers and doctors and other fancy occupations. Old George was a doctor once himself, but those were the old days. Now, Old George was just another homeless man on the streets. Well, not exactly just another. Old George preferred to make his money the correct way, but what the “correct way” actually was, he himself wasn’t even sure. All he knew was that it had worked for the rest of his family and that he was probably doing it wrong.

He did not consider himself a failure.

Old George was simply different in his ways of life from his other family members. It seemed to be a different that not all of them could quite accept, but just simply different. Old George thought nothing of it. He spent all his money quickly, unlike the rest of his family. He didn’t save anything. He didn’t manage his money. Old George never regretted his actions.

Now alone on the streets, without anyone to help him (not that he would have accepted anyone’s help anyway) Old George was wishing he had a better idea in mind. Maybe the homeless idea was simply not working. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to sell his home to avoid property tax. But Old George quickly wiped that thought away. Old George never regretted his choices.

With nothing to do, Old George took out the only document that ever was of any importance to him – his high school diploma. It was as if that document had some magical abilities. Every time he looked at it, a brilliant idea would pop in mind and he would smile as he head off to complete it. Today his diploma did not fail him. Folding up his old diploma, he tucked it away in a pocket, an idea in mind and headed off.

Might it be important to state that there was a coffee stain on his diploma?

Feather of an Angel: Chapter 3.6

A little more painful was quite an understatement. In fact, Christian long would have started screaming in pain if his mother hadn’t been upstairs. Why did he even agree?

“Are you… alright?” Angelica asked as she finally set down the hydrogen peroxide. Christian grit his teeth as he tried to recover. No wonder why she never spoke and anyone. That curse really messed things up.

“I’m fine.” He finally mumbled.

“I tried healing your bruises a little. I think that cause a little more pain than I thought.”

“You can heal things? Is this part of your curse too?”

Angelica nodded.

“I can do anything I want, but once it becomes humanly impossible, I get repercussions even if it’s neither good nor bad.”

“So technically you can fly?”

“Yeah.” Angelica shrugged as if it were no big deal. “But I also would have to dig a hole in the ground just as deep as how high I flew.”

Christian winced.

“That takes the fun out of it.”

“Yeah.” She sighed. “I had to learn that the hard way.”

Christian looked up at the clock.

“Well, it’s getting late. We have school tomorrow.”

Suddenly, Angelica paled.

“My library book! It’s still at home!”

Christian shook his head.

“I’ll go fetch it tomorrow. You need sleep right now.” He got up examining his bruises as he walked away, surprise and awe written all over his face. “You’re right… They really are smaller now…”

Feather of an Angel: Chapter 3.5

In Christian’s house, Angelica could feel a heavy aura of family. Even though there were only two of them, it was more than anything Angelica ever had with her mother. They were close. They joked with each other. Joking never happened. Only commands as to what to do. Her mother was a busy person and Angelica understood that it was hard supporting both of them and the rent without their father, but sometimes, she wished that her mother really could have just sat down with her and do something as simple as read a story.

Not that any of that mattered now. Now, she would have been completely glad that her mother threw her out. She didn’t want to hurt anyone, especially anyone she cared for.

Angelica was given on of the spare rooms upstairs, though it really wasn’t furnished. None of the rooms were furnished. In fact, there were cardboard boxes strewn everywhere. Granted, they had just moved in, but the house was a mess. In Christian’s mother’s words “an organized chaos”.

“Are you hungry?” Christian mother asked, offering her some graham crackers. She shook her head.

“No thank you.” Angelica said out of  respect.

“No? Well, if you do get hungry, I’ll be upstairs, or you can ask Christian…” She frowned looking around. “Where did that boy go? Christian?”

“Yeah mom?” His head popped into the kitchen.

“Where did you just disappear off to, leaving our guest unattended?”

“Hydrogen peroxide, mom.” He said, waving a small black bottle.

“Oh alright, now shoo. Off to the living room you two. Standing in the kitchen barefoot will give you a cold.”

Christian chuckled and Angelica followed him into the almost empty living room. There was one couch in the middle of the room and a lamp in the corner. Nothing else. No pictures on the walls. No TV. Calling it a living room was very pushing the limits.

“Sorry, it’s not much.” Christian grinned sheepishly. “We’ve never gotten to the unpacking really. Other than the necessities, everything’s still in the boxes.”

Angelica smiled slightly. A dark cloud still hovered over her and she was hesitant to speak to him. There was something that was still hold her back. A dark memory that had haunted her for years.

“Are you alright?” Christian set down the hydrogen peroxide in his hands and glance at her. “You don’t look well.”

Angelica quickly wiped the thought from her mind and shook her head.

“I’m fine.” She leaned over and picked up the bottle along with the can of q-tips. “Here. Let me do it.”

He stared at her for a long long time before he spoke again.

“Are you sure?”

She smiled weakly and nodded.

“It’ll be a little more painful than usual.”

Feather of an Angel: Chapter 3.4

This had never been harder.

Yes, Christian had taken on men before and won, but never 5 at a time, and especially after getting deeply bruised. The first man he had taken down was back up already and he would see the anger in his eyes.

“Not quite so nice to beat up a little kid, don’t you think?” He said, giving a cold glare at each and every one of them. “Especially 5 of you.”

“You asked for it.” The first man repeated. “Pin him down.”

He was thrown down on the ground and the man stepped on his face.

“It’s been a while since I’ve done this.” The man growled, a sinister smile spread across his face. “Let’s see how well I can still do this.”

He stepped back and motioned for the men to pick Christian up. Half-standing there limply, he seemed lifeless and in despair. The man laughed and threw a punch right at the face.

Christian, with one last struggle, threw his feet up and kicked the fist, sending him flying backwards. He landed on the ground, scraping his knees, but to moment he got up, he began sprinting down the street towards the school, where he saw Angelica, seemingly decided to come back.

“Go!” He shouted, his voice hoarse. “To the end of the street, then make a left. I’ll meet you there.”

He took a sharp turn to the left, making sure the men followed him before he kept going. He scrambled onto a car, shattered one of the windows and threw the glass shards at them. The car alarm went off.

“Credit Dianna for that.” He muttered as he ran back around the block. That was all the time he needed to get them off his trail. Angelica was there already. He beckoned her over as he pounded on the door.

“Mom, quick, open up the door! It’s me!”

Seconds later, a tall women, deeply resembling Christian slid the door open.

“Christian, what-”

Christian pushed himself in and dragged Angelica along, slamming and locking the door after him.

“You look horrible Christian!” His mother gasped. “Did you get into a fight already? I thought I told you that this was a nice town! We’ve agreed to put fighting in the past already didn’t we?”

“No, mom, I didn’t get in a fight with anyone. Everyone at school is really nice.”

“Then how did that happen?” She wiped some blood off his cheek.

“It’s hard to explain.” He sighed.

“The CIA…?”

“I don’t think so.”

Angelica’s heart lurched at the mention of the CIA. The CIA, after her? What for? But it settled down with Christian’s denial.

“Christian, you are leaving this area until you explain what the heck you were doing staying out this late getting into fights and- is that a girl I see you have there?”

“Yes mom, she a friend.”

“A girlfriend? Didn’t we talk about this?”

Angelica’s face flushed red. Girlfriend? No way.

“No mom, can I please just explain?”

“This better be good.”

“I was on my way to the bakery to get that exotic bread you mentioned and I saw her surrounded by these guys, these grown men, and they looked like they were about to kidnap her and so I saved her. And then we ran into a couple of inconveniences after that.”

Inconveniences? Angelica was in shock. The boy who everyone at school considered the nicest, most gentlest and non-violent kid ever just considered what just happened as a couple of inconveniences? How did he even make this transition?

“Well how’d you get rid of them? I can’t have crazy kidnappers pounding at my door in the middle of the night. You know how annoying that is.”

“Pulled a little Dianna trick.” He said with a sparkle in his eyes.

“Was it illegal?” She squinted with disapproval. He only shrugged.

“Does it matter?”

“No. As long as I don’t get phone calls from the police asking to arrest you, I’m fine. Dealing with the CIA is enough.” She looked over at Angelica. “Hey, you never introduced your friend!”

Feather of an Angel: Chapter 3.3

AN: Not really a necessary section. Literally just here for word count. Read if you like, but feel free to just ignore it.

Angelica ran off in fright until she reached her school, not very far from where she lived. Or where she used to live. She really regretted her decision. If she had just listened to Christian, he wouldn’t have to save her again. Or get hurt saving her. They probably were going to end up kidnapping him now and it was all her fault. What about his mother? Or even… Vicky and Jen? Surely they’d be upset if he disappeared.

But her…

Tears rose in her eyes. No one would miss her if she disappeared. Just simply another soul that didn’t appear in school again. Maybe they’d wonder where she was for a few days, but the arrival of a new kid would surely erase all memories of her from their mind. She was so unimportant, so useless… Why was she here?

She stood up and wiped the tears from her eyes. She would not allow herself to sit here like a wimp. She hardened her gaze and ran back.