Rapid Book Review: Six of Crows, The Great Explorer, Rumi: Whispers of the Beloved, My Cousin Rachel

Six of Crows
Leigh Bardugo


Genre: YA Fantasy

“Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.”

Now, I’m still not over this book and cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel. I love stories that are deeply character-driven with a rich cast of diverse characters and that’s what this book has and then some. I dare you to find a character in this book whom you don’t relate to. It’s laden with rich backstories, cleverly-written action, soul-soothing and soul-crushing romance and lots and lots of lessons to take away and even apply to your own life.

With these characters, the impossible heist does not seem so impossible. The money the mission brings (if successful) means different things for the characters. So who are the characters?

Kaz Brekker: the criminal mastermind and leader of the Dregs

Inej Ghafa: the morally resolute Suli spy for the Dregs who longs for home

Nina Zenik: the charming, seductive and bold Grisha Heartrender

Jesper Fahey: the good-natured, sarcastic, sharp-shooter of the Dregs with a sliiiight gambling problem

Matthias Helver: the dignified convict who serves as the voice of reason (convict and… voice of reason? Yep.)

Wylan Van Eck: the curious, shy, wayward son who proves far more resourceful and capable than he first appears

One of my favourite take-aways of this book is that each character brings a unique and essential gift to the mission. Kaz may be the criminal mastermind of the mission but they are all needed for it to be successful… which is much like life itself, there is something we all have to offer whether that be a perspective or a set of skills. The leader cannot win without the strengths of his team.

Memorable quotes:

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.”

“I will have you without armor. Or I will not have you at all.”

“Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.”

You can purchase the book here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/six-of-crows-book-1/leigh-bardugo/9781780622286

The Great Explorer Chris Judge


Genre: Children’s picture book

When Tom s dad, a famous explorer, goes missing in the North Pole, Tom decides he must find him. A daring adventure begins across the treacherous icy terrain of the North Pole.”

The perfect children’s book for children who are world curious, possess a thirst for adventure and seriously, very seriously ready to explore! This book even provides (well, informs) you of the resources, items and wits you’ll need to explore.

You can purchase the book here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-great-explorer/chris-judge/9781849394017

Rumi: Whispers of the Beloved
Maryam Mafi, Azima Melita Kolin


Genre: Poetry

Before you even begin to read Rumi’s wonderful, easy-flowing poetry (a 100 in all), we are taken on a historical adventure as to how Rumi came about writing poetry. This, in itself, was a fascinating read. It talks us through his relationship with Shams, his teacher, who served as an inspiration to Rumi. When I finished the book, I was left wondering whether Rumi’s poetry were an ode to God or Shams? There has been debate on this matter and I, for one, am undecided. Rather, perhaps, it is more important to think about whom we think of when reading his poetry.

What I greatly enjoyed about this edition is the simplicity and its readability. The language is not complex (yay! I am quite dense when it comes to poetry), the poetry is relativity short (perfect for quick and light reading) and some of it is quite nebulous here and direct there.

There’s also a pervading feeling of contentment and an asking of “is there a point to YOUR purpose? What are you doing it all for? Is what you’re doing worth it? Does it make you truly happy?” Read this for inspiration and a re-evaluation of the self and its goals.

My personal favourites:

“Peaceful is the one who’s not concerned with having more or less. Unbound by name and fame he is free from sorrow from the world and mostly from himself.”

“With love you don’t bargain there, the choice is not yours. Love is a mirror, it reflects only your essence, if you have the courage to look in its face.”

“It’s good to leave each day behind, like flowing water, free of sadness. Yesterday is gone and its tale told. Today new seeds are growing.”

This book is available to buy: https://www.waterstones.com/book/rumi-whispers-of-the-beloved/maryam-mafi/azima-melita-kolin/9780722539811

My Cousin Rachel Daphne Du Maurier


Genre: Mystery-Romance

“Philip is a young Englishman who finds his cousin Ambrose dead after traveling to Florence, Italy. He vows revenge against Ambrose’s missing wife Rachel, blaming her for his untimely demise. When Philip meets Rachel for the first time, his mood suddenly changes as he finds himself falling for her seductive charm and beauty.

Did she or didn’t she? I can tell you that I still don’t know if she did or didn’t and that’s why I loved this book because to this day the mystery still remains. There’s such an exhaustive but equal list of for’s and against’s  that the ending does not help clear up at all. However, this is the power of it as it leaves it to the reader’s discretion. If you desire a good and tireless debating session for your book club then this book is for you!

What really helped steer the narrative in this novel is the protagonist himself. Philip Ashley is so inexperienced with women that we get to see both ends of the spectrum: the initial suspicion and distrust of Rachel and his subsequent tamed (by Rachel) self.

Was she a charming, manipulative schemer or simply a self-possessed and pragmatic woman who was merely looking after herself? Philip’s inexperience proves divisive for readers, should we sympathise with him because of his naivety or dislike him for his sense of entitlement (I mean, MY cousin Rachel…)?

The book sparks so much debate. There’s a definite sense of survival of the fittest coursing throughout the book. It, also, enlightens us on any internalised biases and prejudices we might have and encourages us to take a more objective stance.

In my opinion, I fairly sympathise with Philip simply because he was clearly, very obviously, lacking in any kind of understanding of women and er, humans in general to be honest. On the other hand, the times were not so fair on women, why should Rachel not take the reins herself to ensure a good life for herself? What doesn’t help, in my case, is my having read Gone With the Wind and being a big fan of Scarlett O’Hara (case in point: Scarlett and Frank). Although, I was initially shocked by Scarlett’s actions I got over it pretty quickly and realised that I didn’t mind so much considering the other party concerned was Sueellen.

To wrap it up, if you enjoyed Rebecca, (or maybe you’re a great fan of Anne Boleyn and/or Margaery Tyrell) you will enjoy this as this is like Rebecca live in action and it’s a great study of human nature and interactions. It is a slow start but it picks up very well and the pacing is excellent to the point I could barely put it down.

Memorable quotes:

“We were dreamers, both of us, unpractical, reserved, full of great theories never put to test, and like all dreamers, asleep to the waking world. Disliking our fellow men, we craved affection; but shyness kept impulse dormant until the heart was touched. When that happened the heavens opened, and we felt, the pair of us, that we have the whole wealth of the universe to give. We would have both survived, had we been other men.”

“There is no going back in life, no return, no second chance. I cannot call back the spoken word or the accomplished deed.”

“But a lonely man is an unnatural man, and soon comes to perplexity. From perplexity to fantasy. From fantasy to madness.”

This book is available for purchase: https://www.waterstones.com/book/my-cousin-rachel/daphne-du-maurier/sally-beauman/9781844080403

For more book reviews: RAPID BOOK REVIEW CHALLENGE

Sophia Ismaa


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