Mini-reviews: Alcestis, Forgotten Country, and The Sigh

 I’ve read a lot of books so far this year but because of school and my own laziness, I haven’t reviewed most of them. So here’s a few short reviews on what I’ve read in 2012.

Alcestis by Katharine Beutner. Published in 2010 by Soho Press. Source: Personal library.

 The more that I read novels based on Greek tales, the more I realize that I really need to read The Iliad and The Odyssey. When ancient Greeks thought of the ideal wife, Alcestis came to mind. She was a woman, who took her husband’s place when Hermes came to claim his life. The book was an interesting read that took some fantastic turns once Alcestis was in the underworld. I love the imagery of Hades (the place and the god) and the interactions between Persephone and Alcestis. The ending was fantastic. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until the second half of the book for the action to pick up. My rating: 3 ½ out of 5 stars.


Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung. Published in 2012 by Riverhead. Source: Publisher.

Since childhood it’s been Janie’s job to make sure nothing happens to Hannah, her younger sister. It’s not an easy job as the two sisters are opposites. Protecting Hannah becomes even harder once she goes off to college and disappears. The girls’ parents blame Janie and it’s her job to find Hannah and close the rift between the two sisters once and for all. This is Chung’s first book but you couldn’t tell reading Forgotten Country. I found the language to be beautiful while the descriptions of Korea breathtaking. There were many passages that I read aloud to myself just to hear them. The family’s issues and the revealed secret from the past were believable. I’m glad that this was a family who wasn’t dysfunctional but more like they misunderstood each other. Forgotten County is a book that I didn’t want to end. I won’t hesitate to pick up Chung’s next book. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.


The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi. Published in 2011 by Archaia. Source: Library

The Sigh is the fairy tale-like story of Rose, the daughter of a rich merchant who wishes for the seed of a blue bean. When her father is unable to find one, a mysterious creature has exactly what Rose wants but it’s comes at a price. What I think: The Sigh is a cute book. That’s it. It’s more like something that you give to your kid as a present and less like something you publish. The Sigh doesn’t have any of the strength or purpose of Persepolis or Embroideries. My rating: 2 out of 5 stars.


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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35 Responses to Mini-reviews: Alcestis, Forgotten Country, and The Sigh

  1. zibilee says:

    Forgotten Country seems to be the clear winner among the three of these, and though I am slightly curious about the other two, I think I will be grabbing Forgotten Country when I can. Excellent mini-reviews today. I really enjoyed them!

  2. nomadreader says:

    I’ve been meaning to read Forgotten Country since it came out. It sounds like I definitely need to make time for it.

  3. aartichapati says:

    I’m so disappointed The Sigh isn’t that great! The cover and the title and the author are all so great to me! BUT THE STORY IS NOT?! Sad. Le sigh.

    I also have a goal to read The Iliad and The Odyssey again. I feel like I will get so many more literary allusions once I do.

    • Vasilly says:

      Me too, Aarti! With The Iliad and The Odyssey, I feel like I’m the last person on Earth who hasn’t read them. 😉

  4. You make The Forgotten Country sound so good! I haven’t heard of it before (or if I have I’ve forgotten about it by now). 🙂 I’ll have to give it a closer look.

  5. BermudaOnion says:

    You’ve made Forgotten Country sound outstanding! I’ve got to read that one!

  6. Natalie read The Odyssey for freshman lit, and she actually liked it – which is making me feel really guilty that I haven’t read it yet.

  7. heidenkind says:

    Alcestis sounds so up my alley! I love books where the heroine goes into the underworld.

    I have read the Odyssey (not the Iliad, though) and it was surprisingly entertaining, although it goes on and on and on… You could probably get away with just watching the miniseries if you wanted to.

  8. Hi Vasilly,
    Of all the books you mentioned, I think I would like Alcestis best. I totally enjoy Greek mythology. I would like to read forgotten country too, based on what you say about it.
    I have read most of Marjane Satrapi’s books and I agree with you, this one does not have the substance of Persepolis or the wit of Embroideries. Have you read Chicken with Plums though? That is high on my TBR.
    First time on your blog, and I liked it very much!. following you now.
    Please do visit my book blog… and if you like it, please do follow. Thank you!

    • Vasilly says:

      Hey Amritorupa!

      Thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂 I haven’t read Chicken with Plums but now I want to. I forgot about it. I’m going to see if my library has copy available. If you read Forgotten County or Alcestis, I would love to know what you think of them.

      I’ll be sure to visit your blog. 🙂

  9. Athira says:

    I didn’t know that Satrapi had another graphic novel out. I’m sad to hear that this one isn’t as good as her others. But I’ll still try to look for it.

  10. Alex in Leeds says:

    I studied The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Aeneid for classical civilization in my teens and I keep saying that one of these summers I am going to break them out again and read them now that they’ll mean more to me, not this summer though. I seem to remember The Odyssey is probably easier than The Iliad to get into as a modern reader.

  11. Welp, Satrapi had to jump the shark sometime! Looks like it’s happened. 😦

  12. Whenever someone says that they have to pause to read sections of a book aloud, its title leaps onto my TBR list. The description of Forgotten Country on GoodReads mentions folklore elements; is this a significant part of the novel, or more of a subtle presence? I’m curious…

  13. Forgotten Country sounds like a wonderful book! Too bad about The Sigh though… I loved both Persepolis and Embroideries.

  14. kay says:

    Forgotten Country sounds like an absolute must read! I’m happy to hear you liked it so much.

  15. boardinginmyforties says:

    I like the short reviews and you give me an idea of how I can go about getting caught up with all of mine. I’m really interested to read Persepolis.

  16. Pingback: Sunday Salon: 2012 Favorites « 1330v

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