Tag Archives: egypt

Review: The Automobile Club of Egypt

automobile clubThe Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

I must begin by acknowledging, once again, my penchant for Egypt. I’m interested in all things Egypt and am just fascinated by the people & culture. The Automobile Club of Egypt began with a very curious event followed by a really engaging middle and a non-ending.

Before chapter one began, the readers become witnesses to fictional characters coming to life. From chapter one onwards, we traced the origin of ‘automobile’, the Automobile Club in Egypt, and started following the lives of the Gaafar family.

The first few chapters were interspersed with passages on the invention of automobile by Karl Benz. I found these to be quite charming and was disappointed that there wasn’t more. I wonder at how accurate they are historically but Bertha & Karl Benz were very interesting that I’m going to be looking up his biography.

There are many perspectives in this novel –mostly of the Gaafar children especially Kamel and Saleha. From these two, we see the struggle of Egyptians in a world determined to keep them as they were (servants ever after, never master). However, as intelligent beings coming to understand their own worth, each sought for their own place in the world but not as prescribed to them.

I am finding it hard to describe exactly what it is that drew me to the Gaafar family, each of the four children are so different in intellect and temperament that each perspective was unique. I can’t help but to sniff and roll my eyes at the eldest, Said, for all his posturing. And Mahmud’s perspectives amusing, despite all his shortcomings.

The book didn’t feel like it ended for me… It felt like there should be more… There wasn’t a feeling of completion like the circle is still left open. I don’t know if it’s mean to be a series of some sort though there hasn’t been any mention of it online. I just feel that I need that extra chapter to relate to the very beginning of the novel for that all-rounded kind of feeling.

The Automobile Club of Egypt is a fascinating tale with brilliant characters and excellent plot. It is a novel that captivates the reader despite only reading on the daily lives of Egyptians. It’s a fairly sizeable book but I didn’t have one jot of wandering mind as I was fully immersed in the story and very involved (vicariously) in these characters’ lives.

Thanks to Penguin Australia for paperback copy in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews

Review: The Alexandria Connection

alexandriaThe Alexandria Connection by Adrian d’Hagé

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

I had my doubts about reading this –mostly because it seems to be a part of a series though that’s not clear on Goodreads. I think The Alexandria Connection is the third book of Curtis O’Connor (main character); CIA Agent. However, being persuaded that picking it up out of order will not make much difference, I did and it was a pretty good read.

I loved a thriller involving ancient artefacts –who doesn’t love Indiana Jones!? so it wasn’t hard to convince me to pick up this read; especially noting the Egyptian connection! I love anything with Ancient Egypt! Regrettably, the book is fairly different to my expectation. It was more espionage thriller with a bit of an archaeology spin (I expected it to be the other way around). I loved Ludlum’s Bourne but just couldn’t get into Clancy’s thrillers. I just couldn’t get into the espionage / terrorism part of this book, especially when it involves politics.

The history spiel was interesting though I found it barely scratched the surface. I don’t know whether it’s meant to be followed on with the next instalment but it seems that certain things are referred to but aren’t developed enough. The thriller part of the book, however, didn’t really have to do with the archaeology side of things so it appears it was really only as an addition to what’s really the main event of the book. It seems a little disjointed to me and somewhat unfinished.

It was, overall, a pretty average read for me noting that it didn’t quite meet my expectation and I floundered quite a bit through the reading. I also think that not having that initial connection with Curtis O’Connor from earlier books wasn’t helpful. It might make a better read, if you had a more relevant expectation and have that initial relationship with the main characters.

Thanks, Penguin Books Australia for eARC via NetGalley

View all my reviews

Review: Pharaoh

pharaohPharaoh by David Gibbins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of Dell via Edelweiss

I’m slightly obsessed with ancient Egypt (thanks to Stargate) so when I saw this book on Edelweiss, I really thought it could be a fun read. For one reason or another, I didn’t find out that this was the 7th instalment of Jack Howard series until quite a bit later and as I just don’t have the time or energy these days (new house & job), I was hoping this book could just stand on its own.

For the most part, reading this book by itself really wasn’t an issue. As the blurb on Goodreads would tell you, this book alternated between 3 timelines though mostly not on the Present Day. Therefore, it tends to be a non-issue reading this as a stand alone as the stories could be enjoyed as short stories that are somewhat linked throughout the 3 timelines.

The ancient Egypt timeline was actually quite short so the bulk of the novel is taken up with the 19th century timeline which was had interesting characters and pretty good plot. This part of the novel, as far as I’m concern, is what saved the book from a 1 star rating. The present timeline with Jack Howard and co was rather lack-lustre. There was not meaty substance; no character development and filler type of story which was neither here nor there. There were a few times that I got caught thinking, ‘oh, here we go, a CONFLICT’, just to be deflated a few seconds later.

Based on my experience on Pharaoh, this is not a series that I’d be willing to explore without sparkly recommendation from a trustworthy source. I wonder if there are any fans of this series out there who can tell me if earlier books are good?

My thanks to Dell via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read & review eGalley

View all my reviews