Good news bookworms! As you might have heard, the Big Bad Wolf book fair is going virtual on June 30 to July 7, 2021. There are about 60,000 book titles up for grabs, with up to 99% discount rates. Although it might be difficult to recreate the intense yet satisfying experience of book hunting online, at least now you can shop for books from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is sign up for an account on the Big Bad Wolf website, and then you can easily look for the books you want just by entering the title, author, or ISBN. The downside of a virtual book fair is that shipping will take up to 18-24 days since the orders are coming from Malaysia. Shipping rates will also depend on the volume and weight of the books as well as the location of the buyer, but free shipping is guaranteed for orders above P2900. That might sound like a lot, but here are 4 books that you might want to fill your cart with.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance
Review: These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling (named Roma Montagrov and Juliette Cai in this version) set in 1926 Shanghai. It definitely had more substance than the source material, and its strength lies in the setting and the character relationships. The setting gives you a glimpse of what Shanghai was like in 1926, which was a city that was barely holding itself together after the Opium War while being halfway colonized by foreigners. I thought Roma and Juliette had great chemistry together, with Juliette being the more deadly and strong-willed type of character, while Roma balances her out with his soft and compassionate personality. It was fun to read about them building their relationship despite being part of opposing gangs. This story also delves into important topics such as sexism, mental disorders, and LGBT+ representation, although I felt like the author tried to tackle too many things at once, and as a consequence failed to give the supporting characters a personality apart from the issues they represented. Overall, I still highly recommend it, mostly for the main characters and the immersive historical setting.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Review: Most of you are probably more familiar with the Studio Ghibli movie, and while I would usually argue that the book is better than the movie, that’s not the case for Howl’s Moving Castle. The book and the movie are very different entities, and I don’t think it’s fair to compare them. Although both versions have the same core characteristics, the movie takes a more Disney-like approach to Howl and Sophie’s relationship because they fell in love almost instantly and were mostly very sweet to each other. It’s a different matter for the book because the romance was more subtle, while Howl and Sophie’s banter had more time to shine. Howl is much more melodramatic while Sophie is much more savage, which means that they spent the majority of the book playfully insulting each other. The book is also more grounded to reality in a way, and it took an unexpected turn that was a huge departure from the movie. It’s relatable for the young at heart, and also for the young who keep joking about being old. It’s wildly fun to read, and the best way I would describe it is sunshine in book form. It’s definitely worth checking out even if you’ve watched the movie already.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Review: The best way I would describe The Poppy War is that it’s a mix between Mulan and Game of Thrones. It draws inspiration from the Opium War as well as the Sino-Japanese Wars. Personally, these wars were rarely elaborated in our history classes, so reading this book actually made me obsessively google the historical events that inspired it. However, you don’t have to worry if you’re not that interested in history because you can treat this book like a fantasy story, and it would still be understandable without the context.
The story follows Rin, an orphan who was destined to be married off to someone who would benefit her foster parents’ Opium enterprise, but she carves another path for herself when she aces a test and gets the chance to train in an elite military academy. This book is mostly about war, but it doesn’t glorify it like most fantasy stories do, which I highly appreciated, although the author also doesn’t shy away from describing graphic violence, so fair warning to those who could potentially find this triggering. It also had a morally grey main character instead of the classic fantasy heroine, and I feel like that helped make the plot more unpredictable. I highly recommend this book if you want to read something with a rich cultural history and a riveting plot, although it’s a lot darker than most fantasy stories, so I would also advise you to read more reviews before going into it.
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Review: Know My Name is an autobiography that details Chanel Miller’s experiences after being sexually assaulted by a Stanford student named Brock Turner. The book delves into the lengthy trial process she had to endure, where she was scrutinized and shamed, while Turner was treated as a “promising young man” whose career she had ruined.
I feel like there’s no real way to evaluate this book because its goal was not to have a brilliant plot or exciting characters. It is unapologetically the story of a woman who was deeply traumatized and unfairly treated by the so-called justice system. It is raw and impactful and definitely worth a read. The author made use of a lot of anecdotes and metaphors to help people understand the trauma she felt, and there were also a lot of hard-hitting quotes sprinkled throughout the book. I feel like there are times when we assume we’re already “woke” enough to understand the seriousness of rape and sexual assault, and we feel the need to express our opinion even if we don’t understand the situation. This is why I think it’s important for everyone to read this book. I might not call this a favorite, but again, it wasn’t meant to be anyone’s favorite. It’s a sobering read meant to show people the truth.
Which book are you interested in? And which book did you end up finding in the Big Bad Wolf Book sale? Let us know down below!