BOOK BITES | Shelly Parker-Chan, Jodi Picoult, CM Ewan

29 May 2022 - 00:00
By Tiah Beautement, Mila de Villiers and JENNIFER PLATT
by Shelley Parker-Chan.
Image: Supplied She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan.

She Who Became The Sun ★★★★★
Shelly Parker-Chan

She is the last girl in a famine-stricken village during the Yuan dynasty. She has no fate, for it has been foretold that greatness belongs to her brother. But when a tragedy leaves him dead, she seizes his identity to become Zhu Chongba. Zhu is fierce, and her actions may shock, even as you cheer on this complex character. This epic historical fantasy is a brilliant and gripping read on survival, tenacity, identity, and a quest for ultimate power. — Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie

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by Jodi Picoult.
Image: Supplied Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult.

Wish You Were Here ★★
Jodi Picoult
Hodder & Stoughton

’Tis rather unfortunate that the title of the queen of family sagas’ latest novel draws on the good ol’ adage of “Wish you were here (and I wasn’t)”. For this reader frequently wished she wasn’t a party member of the implausible, emotionally fraught, and frankly ridiculous journey which is Wish You Were Here. The premise is classic Picoult: 29-year-old art specialist Diana is finally up for That Big Promotion at Sotheby’s and she’s booked a flight to the Galápagos Islands where she’s convinced her dependable, good-looking surgeon boyfriend Finn will propose. Then Covid-19 strikes New York. From sheer necessity Finn has to bail on their trip. The distraught Diana decides to take The Big Leap to embark on a quest of #selfdiscovery to an island where she finds herself isolated (owing to lockdown restrictions and being unable to hablar Español). Long, introspective walks on the beach, meeting the enigmatic (and devilishly attractive) island guide Gabriel, and questioning What Life Is Really All About ensues. Enter an eye roll-worthy plot twist which takes a far too literal approach to the fever dream trope. Potential spoilers aside, Picoult does manage to capture the deeply traumatising and tragic consequences of Covid-19, as well as doing a solid job of raising awareness about turtle conservation. But sorry Ms Picoult, this one overall was a big no. — Mila de Villiers

Click here to buy Wish You Were Here

by CM Ewan.
Image: Supplied The Interview by CM Ewan.

The Interview ★★★
CM Ewan

If you don’t enjoy escape rooms or feel claustrophobic when reading locked-room thrillers then best stay away from this one. It’s jarring, intense with vivid writing. Kate has suffered a great loss — her husband died in a plane crash. Despite being in total despair, she has been encouraged to go for a job interview with a well-known marketing firm. When she gets to their offices in a new sparkly high-rise called The Mirror she is introduced to Joel, who is going to interview her — but it’s not for the job. It’s a bit silly at times, but a thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced thriller snack. — Jennifer Platt

Click here to buy The Interview