The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

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Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

 

I got this ARC at Book Con this year and have really been anticipating it. Ruta is one of my favorite authors.

I really love that she writes historical fiction based on events that are not widely known.
In school I learned about the horrible dictatorships of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. But they did not cover anything about Franco. They should.

“Between 1939 and the late 1980s, it is alleged that over 300,000 babies were stolen from their birth mothers and sold into adoption.” -Lucia Benavides.

CAN YOU EVEN FATHOM THAT!? It breaks my heart.

Then at the end they talk about amnesty. For stealing 300,000 babies? NO WAY! I wouldn’t grant it. There should be trials like they had for the Nazis. (I should look up if amnesty was granted or not.)

There is a quote at the beginning of the book, an anonymous epitaph from the Spanish Civil War mass grave that says, “We have only died if you forget us.”

You are not forgotten, and I think more authors should tell their stories.

I loved Daniel and Ana so much. Their stories and their families’ stories were so full of life. I really felt their feelings and became so invested in their fates. I was a mess of tears by the end. I didn’t care that I was on public transit.

I also loved how the novel told different POVs of living under Franco’s oppression. The fear, the rebellious streak, and even the indoctrination.

The inclusion of articles from presidents, ambassadors, and news clippings were insightful. As were the photographs at the end. Very fitting for a story that showed the importance and strength of photography.

As someone who was brought up Catholic, one part that really stood out to me was when all the characters were going to Confession and how differently they all felt about the Sacrament.

I feel like this may be my favorite of Ruta’s books. I haven’t figure out why that is yet. But I love all of her books that I read.

Some of my favorite quotes: (Yes, I know it’s an ARC but these quotes speak so strongly and I hope they are in the final version.)

Page 12: Photographs are spontaneous and exciting, something that he creates, not inherits.

Page 36: Julia’s fingers are silent narrators, embroidered with scars.

Page 214: God forgive me if I am wrong. If I am right, there is no forgiveness for you.

Page 278: But one day, far into the future when the pain is less sharp, the voices of the dead will find harmony with the living.

5 out of 5 Rolls of Film.

I did have one question and one wish but they are spoilers:

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Dark Age by Pierce Brown **WARNING!**WITH SPOILERS**

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For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury.

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him?

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Morning Star returns to the Red Rising universe with the thrilling sequel to Iron Gold.

This was a rollercoaster!!! So much happens and I had so many emotions as it unfolded.
I have had a book hangover this last week, unable to move on, and have been spending lots of time on the Facebook DA discussion page while trying to come up with a non-spoiler review.

I am failing to come up with one. So buckle up, Howlers. This is going to be long and only for those who have read the book.

I’ll separate the review by the character POVs.

 You have been warned about SPOILERS!

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Pierce Brown Dark Age Discussion at Barnes and Noble August 7, 2019

I got to Barnes and Noble Union Sq at 9 am to get my bracelet. I arrived just as the store opened and I saw the queue of people waiting outside filing in. So I followed the line inside and it was very swift. People went in, picked up Dark Age at the front table and went straight back to the check out. I already had my book purchased from b&n online so I just showed them the receipt.

Then I went to work and got back to B&N around 5:15-5:30ish.

I decided to record the whole thing because I was (and still am) exhausted. I had spent the past several days reading as much and as fast as I could. About 130-150 pages a day. I was still 100 pages shy of finishing during the event.

It didn’t start until 7PM and I was reading up until it started. So yea, I recorded the whole thing because I wasn’t sure how much I would remember from being so tired and also, it makes it easier to write this if I have the video to look back on.

There are some breaks in the video. I tried to break it when people were laughing, but then Pierce would say something funny and I’d miss his one liners. But other than that I think the editing is almost seamless.

Highlights:

The beginning Pierce and Peter discuss their method of writing, how they outline and the layering of their drafts.

Pierce then discusses where Darrow and the Republic stands in the second trilogy, and was it all worth it.

17:15 – That is some Star Wars Sequel Trilogy shade right there. 😉 How the ST dishonors the sacrifices and accomplishments of the OT characters. I totally agree!

18:45 Lyria’s lack of agency but how her POV shows the disillusionment of the Rising.

21:00 Pierce talks about Roman history and Greek history.

25:00 The release date delays and how he kept going on and on with Ephraim’s POV. LOL

27:50 The order in which he wrote the POVs. Darrow, Lysander, Ephraim, Mustang then Lyria (or Lyria then Mustang.)

28:50 About the story having multiple POVs and climaxing at the same time. The innuendo is hysterical.

31:00 Audience Q&A begins.

51:00 Hysterical moment: The question about Mustang being inspired by his mother so how does he write sexual scenes about her?

53:11 The sexual innuendo about what the razors (swords) look like. The gift that keeps on giving. LOL

Around 56:00 – The TV show!

So since I was in the front row I didn’t have to wait long to have my books signed. When I got up there he remembered me (blushes) and then I asked if while writing does he find himself having to reread the pervious books to remember what he wrote.

He answered, “All the time.” That he will reread sections and use control find but would love if the fans built up the wiki pages.

I said that I wanted to do a whole reread of the saga and make an encyclopedia book. He encouraged that idea.

(Funny enough, when I finished reading the next evening I did catch a blooper! He didn’t check a name!)

We took a photo together and then he asked where my sister was. I told him she was at a class. He said to “send her my love” as he pounded his heart. How sweet is he?

So my very spoiled review is coming. I am still processing that mountain of a book. It will take a few days to write. I have no idea what to say in a non-spoiler review. It would be nothing but Servo-like profanity because it was a whirlwind!

Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn; narrated by Marc Thompson

Grand Admiral Thrawn faces the ultimate test of his loyalty to the Empire in this epic Star Wars novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

“If I were to serve the Empire, you would command my allegiance.”

Such was the promise Grand Admiral Thrawn made to Emperor Palpatine at their first meeting. Since then, Thrawn has been one of the Empire’s most effective instruments, pursuing its enemies to the very edges of the known galaxy. But as keen a weapon as Thrawn has become, the Emperor dreams of something far more destructive.

Now, as Thrawn’s TIE defender program is halted in favor of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project, he realizes that the balance of power in the Empire is measured by more than just military acumen or tactical efficiency. Even the greatest intellect can hardly compete with the power to annihilate entire planets.

As Thrawn works to secure his place in the Imperial hierarchy, his former protégé Eli Vanto returns with a dire warning about Thrawn’s homeworld. Thrawn’s mastery of strategy must guide him through an impossible choice: duty to the Chiss Ascendancy, or fealty to the Empire he has sworn to serve. Even if the right choice means committing treason.

 

I think this will be the last of the Thrawn books for a while based on the timeline. It is set right before the finale of Rebels. The third book of this trilogy was not my favorite of the three. I was a little bit bored in the middle of the story, and I thought the plot was a bit..weak.

That being said I will focus on some of the positive things.

I really liked the humor Marc Thompson brought to some of the characters. Such as his Sean Connery voice for Admiral Savit. That cracked me up. As did his pompous, snobby voice for Assistant Director Ronan.
Whenever Director Krennic made an appearance he was always yelling, but Marc’s voice work for him was spot on. Oh, and I was so amused by the jokes at his expense about his white cape. So pretentious.

I loved the voices Marc did for the Death Troopers and how they were just grilling Assistant Director Ronan, because he was so annoying.

This time Thrawn did not say “Perhaps” as much! What a relief!

I did enjoy the subplot with Eli Vanto, the Chiss and their navigators. He didn’t annoy me this time and it was interesting to see his role with the Chiss were he is an outsider. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them and learning more about the Force Sensitive girls who navigate their ships.

SOME SPOILERS BELOW!

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Top Ten Tuesday July 30: Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

July 30: Freebie (Come up with your own topic! I might steal yours for a future TTT and credit you!)

Breaking the Sophomore Slump Myth!

A sophomore slump or sophomore jinx or sophomore jitters refers to an instance in which a second, or sophomore, effort fails to live up to the relatively high standards of the first effort.

My list is of books that break that stigma. I loved these books better than the first and in some cases (where I have read all three) they are actually my favorite of trilogy.

1) Golden Son by Pierce Brown

2) Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.

3) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

4) Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn.

5) Sisters of the Fire by Kim Wilkins.

6) The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

7) Another Day by David Levithan

Review of Iron Gold – the audiobook.

Iron Gold By: Pierce Brown
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, Aedin Moloney

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I last read Iron Gold back in January of 2018. This week I listened to the audiobook for the first time to refresh my memory for Dark Age (coming out this Tuesday).

I have heard mixed reviews about the new voices. Some say that Lysander’s voice is too low and that he doesn’t do different voices for different characters speaking. Some say Lyria’s is too whiny and others say she has great emotion.

Here are my thoughts:

Tim Gerard Reynolds, as always, is perfect for Darrow’s POV. I have no complaints.

The voice of Lysander, Julian Elfer, was what I imagined a Gold like him to sound. Kind of stuffy and pompous. Something was off with the volume. His parts sounded lower and I’d turn up the volume. It is true that he doesn’t do many variations for the voices and it’s hard to tell who is saying what. Actually at 25% in I started reading along on my ebook.

Lyria, Aedin Moloney, has the accent I imagined her to have, but like the narrator for Lysander, she didn’t have much range for doing the different voices. Especially for Ephraim and Holiday. I will say though that I think she got the emotion of Lyria right: the anger and sadness.

After TGR the narrator for Ephraim, John Curless, was second best. John Curless is the only one to return for Dark Age. He really got the tone of Ephraim and was able to do more of a variety of voices. I really liked his accent for Volga and The Duke of Hands.

Listening to Iron Gold to refresh my memory was a smart decision. I forgot some details, but my feelings from the review I wrote in 2018 have stayed the same.

So excited for Dark Age! I’ll read the ebook first, then listen to the audiobook, and I will review both. I’ll reserve judgment for the new voices, though I think I will miss Julian Elfer and Aedin Moloney. I got used to them.