Monday, 23 May 2016

The Life Of Elves by Muriel Barbery / I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse by C H Clepitt / The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

I was very happy when one of my favourite book publishers, Gallic Books, contacted me to ask if I would like a review copy of a new Muriel Barbery novel, The Life Of Elves. The book is very different to Barbery's previous novels such as The Elegance Of The Hedgehog which I have noticed has upset other reviewers.

Set in a timeless France and Italy, the story revolves around the mystical connection between two young girls. Maria was abandoned in a French village as a baby, the only clue to her origins being two Spanish words embroidered onto her wraps. Clara was brought up in Italy and finds herself a child prodigy pianist. I loved Barbery's descriptions of music and the evocations of sound. Clara's flights of imagination at these points, seeing mountains and streams or the stone cages that are cities intricately woven through the melodies she plays, are superbly written and some of the most visionary prose passages I have ever read. This alone is the reason why I would urge people to buy The Life Of Elves.

However, alongside such beauty also comes frustration as, even after finishing it, I still don't really know what this book is about. Supernatural beings in the form of Elves have come into the human world and Maria's village comes under attack, but I never understood why or even really who by. Perhaps experienced readers of fantasy novels would find the overriding story ar so obvious that Barbery felt she didn't need to make it explicit. Personally, at the time, I was happy to simply be swept along in the whirl of words, but now I am trying to write a review I think it would have been nice to have known exactly what was going on!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Muriel Barbery / Fantasy / Books from France


I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse by C.H. Clepitt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk

I enjoyed a previous C H Clepitt witchy read, The Book Of Abisan, so was happy to be offered an advance copy of her newest novella intriguingly entitled I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse. The book will be launched on the 26th of May and there is a two day Facebook party in celebration starting on the 23rd May.

I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse tells the story of web designer Kerry who, having dressed snappily for a business interview, then finds herself hopelessly attired for escaping exploding coffee shops and general running away as The Apocalypse takes place all around her. Exasperated at becoming the generic pathetic female, she befriends a talking badger (as you do) and eventually finds that she might have a useful skill or two after all.

I Wore Heels is a whimsical exploration of survival in desperate times. The characters are more caricatures than fully rounded portrayals, but their adventure takes interesting turns and is always entertaining. Personally I would have preferred more background and description and less chat as the dialogue isn't always convincing, but otherwise this is fun escapism - and there's possibly zombies!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by C H Clepitt / indie authors / Books from England


The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is one of my WorldReads from Spain.

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

I read The Midnight Palace in September 2013, but wasn't blogging my mini book reviews back then. I re-discovered a few recently so am adding them into the next few book review trios.

I didn't realise this was a YA title when I bought it, another Oxfam find. I loved Shadow of the Wind and was hoping for more of the same. Midnight Palace does not have the beautiful poetic prose of Shadow. However, it does have good atmosphere with a strong sense of place, and is a gripping adventure story. I would recommend this to adults as a light fantasy thriller and a good holiday read.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon / Young adult / Books from Spain

3 comments:

  1. Facebook launch party for I Wore Heels has started!

    https://facebook.com/events/1174361055930342

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  2. I can't wait to read the new Muriel Barbery, she's my favourite French author! Great reviews and such a good idea to put them in one post.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Suze :-)
      Life of Elves is a very different book to her previous work. I was enthralled by her writing again though

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