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A reader or a writer?

When I first created this blog (at the very dramatic age of fifteen), I wanted to post my observations related to things I read. I made song playlists for books, mainly. I also followed a lot of book-review blogs, and participated in the book tags that go around such communities. It was, overall, a space for the reader in me to post my views on everything related books.

A few posts later, I began to write. I posted short stories and poems that my teenage self was pretty proud of despite the obvious insecurities. I also posted “quotes” everyday from books and songs, and even went on to make occasional personal updates. I have never been able to write very elegant prose or enchanting poetry, but I like to write, nevertheless. I named this space Thunderstorms and Sunshine because it was where I addressed all sorts of things, the sunshine as well as the rain. This didn’t last long. My insecurities drowned my pride, and college engulfed all of my spare time, turning my quite dynamic blog into one where I post book reviews and only book reviews.

This is my last semester in college as an English major. Throughout my undergrad course, I have been haunted by the loss of the writer in me. For the last three years, I have been only reading. I read for college, I read for reviewing, I read in my spare time. I have read everything from classics to cheesy YA novels, from Beowulf to A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I have loved every second.

This semester, however, we have a professor who discusses non-fictional personal essays with us, and makes us write our own ones. It’s an odd feeling, to use the first person pronoun in a writing for class, to incorporate my own feelings into a piece of writing without worrying about quotes and citations and thematic concerns. It brought forward a matter that has been disturbing me for the past few years – the conflict between my reader-self and my writer-self. There is no reason why these two selves cannot co-exist harmoniously, and yet I haven’t been able to make them do so for a long while now, if ever.

Blogging is perhaps a dying medium, and this blog of mine is surely a dying one. It is entirely possible that I won’t post anything beyond book reviews here for the next 5 years. Perhaps I am meant to be more of a reader, after all. There is, however, a part of me that has more things to say. Things beyond my thoughts on someone else’s work. We’ll see.

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Fierce like a Firestorm (Hibiscus Daughter #2) : Book Review

Fierce Like a Firestorm (Hibiscus Daughter, #2)Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popović

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so glad I read this series.

The thing is, I get why people may not like this duology. It might seem kind of slow, and I get that not everyone will like these characters. For me, however, these books were a conglomeration of all of my favourite things.

Things I liked:

– The setting. Montenegro??? Eastern European mountains????

– The characters, especially Iris. Iris is not a likable person, but she was very realistic and not a Mary-Sue at all. She is confused and quite mean and I could understand her at a spiritual level. I also loved how amazing Malina’s character turned out to be in this book. None of them go through any particularly revealing epiphany about themselves, nor do they change a great deal, but they grow stronger with every tragedy life throws at them.

– The magic. I like how it began as something very frivolous, something only capable of generating beauty, but ended up having the potential to save the world.

– The romance(s). I kept comparing this duology to the Shadow and Bone series (The Grisha Trilogy), mainly because of the romance arc. Fjolar made me feel almost everything the Darkling did, and whatever he lacked was made up for Luka. I had hated Mal in Shadow and Bone, but Luka made me laugh and cry and hurt. Plus, you have Niko and Malina, perfect together and complete cinnamon rolls.

– The writing. Lots of reviewers have criticised the author for her “purple prose”, but I found the language just perfect. It was not overtly flower-y and poetic to the point where it lost meaning (*cough*The Star-Touched Queen*cough*). It had better language than the usual simplistic or at times cliche YA novels.

What I did not like:

*I* didn’t dislike ANYTHING. But, once again, I get that it is possible to find this book slow, and if you do not like the characters, you possibly may not like the story.

Overall:

I’d say this book has a very specific kind of target audience. If you like a sort of witchy, dark vibe to fantasy novels where the characters may not be always likeable, and if you like descriptive writing and beautiful settings, read this book. As a biased fan I would say that even if you aren’t sure you like these things, just give this series a go. I’ll go buy the hardcover for the first book, practice wiccan rituals, and move to Montenegro now, thank you.

– Sreepurna.

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