Archive | August, 2021

Book Review: The Hangman’s Replacement by Taona D. Chivenko (1/5)

30 Aug

I was hesitant to read this one. I got it as part of a giveaway, but the reviews on it were really hit or miss and I know I tend to be critical. I put it off for years but finally gave in. Right when your child is born is probably the wrong time to be reading a slow book.

HangmanThe Hangman’s Replacement by Taona D. Chivenko

Summary from Goodreads:

Zimbabwe’s last hangman retired in 2004. As the nation drifted towards abolition, no determined effort was launched to find a replacement. However, the discovery of carnivorous flame lilies at the Great Zimbabwe monument triggered a spirited search for a new executioner. Those who know why this discovery energized the recruitment effort refused to talk.

The frantic attempts to find a new hangman were impeded by the lack of suitable candidates. Well-placed sources confirmed that the fear of ‘ngozi’ was a deterrent. According to this traditional belief, the spirit of a murdered person torments the killer and his family for generations. However, this is only half the story. Several promising applicants did come forward. None met the minimum requirements for the job. The selection criteria were designed to exclude the mentally ill, the vindictive, and the sadistic. However, they did not rule out the desperate.

This book did not work for me. It had a strong sense of magical realism, which I greatly dislike, so it really didn’t stand a chance. There were also a few stretches of characters talking that felt unrealistic which was a struggle to read. There were a set of chapters that took me two weeks to get through because it was such a struggle for me to read. And the info dumps! There were so many. This book was setting up for something, though I can’t imagine what with the intricacies it involved. There was an allergy to air, a carnivorous plant, blackmail, lawyers, assassins, prostitutes, and a British gallows builder. I’m not sure how it will all come together but the volume of it was a bit overwhelming.

None of the characters struck me as credible. There was a man who could have multiple strings of thought at once, a reclusive genius lawyer, many beautiful women, many strong men, and the most believable character fought off a lion with his bare hands. The lack of believable characters was part of what repelled me in this book. It felt like the author was trying to trick me into believing these people could really exist in a spiteful way.

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters but Able was the most sympathetic. I liked that he loved his wife and family very much and his motivation seemed more plausible than anyone else in the story. But there were moments that I didn’t like him. He was unfaithful to his wife for an unknown reason and seemingly not under his own control. This confused me. Though it’s strange, I feel my frustration is more with the author than the character. Probably because it seemed to out of character for Able to do this that it felt like a trick by the author.

I couldn’t relate to any of the characters in this story. The women in particular felt really unbelievable to me and it was a big part of my frustration with the story. The conversation between Anala and Vaida was the most cringeworthy part of the book to me. It felt forced and it was a lot of back story. I can’t imagine a conversation between two women going like this.

The first part of the book was the most enjoyable to me as it focused on Able. I was excited for the story and unsure of how it would play out. But all the other characters that were brought in and the other plot lines that were woven into the story took me out of it and made it difficult to enjoy.

There are a lot of dubious motivations in this book. The motivation to breed a carnivorous plant, the motivation to seduce a married man, and the motivation to devote your life to work are just a few. Abel’s motivation, to secure medical insurance for his family, is the only one I really understood. Protecting your family can drive you to do crazy things, even voluntarily become a hangman.

Writer’s Takeaway: I think Chivenko could have dealt with a beta reader or editor. There were few spelling or grammar mistakes in this book, but the plot was confusing and the dialogue needed work. At 466 pages, it was just too long. Sharing your work with someone for criticism can be unnerving or time consuming, but I see how it can be valuable.

Not a book I enjoyed or would recommend. I will not continue with the series. One out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 25-August-2021

25 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Kelly

Currently reading: I found out my library is discontinuing one of their eaudio platforms and it’s the one I’m using to listen to The King of Crows (Diviners #4) by Libba Bray. Needless to say, I’m pushing had to finish this one! I have about eleven hours left so it will be a small challenge, but I need a reading challenge these days and I’m ready for it!
I’m still grabbing small moments to read The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson. I feel like it’s moving pretty quickly so I think I’ll finish it up in better time than some of my past ebooks.
I’ve only just started True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey so I can’t say much about it yet. I’m excited to have a new physical book, though!

Hangman

Recently finished: I finally finished The Hangman’s Replacement: Sprout of Disruption by Taona Dumisani Chiveneko! This one was a real struggle for me. I liked the beginning of it, but there were scenes that were just so difficult to get through that I’d get stuck for a week or more, reading a page at a time before I grew frustrated and put the book down. It ended with a section like that, which was even more infuriating because I slowed to a crawl. I’ll post a review as soon as I find the time for it but know this got One out of Five Stars from me.

Reading next: No plans just yet. I’ll see how much reading I’m able to do with Baby around. They are sleeping well, but I’m not so a lot of my free time has been dedicated to napping and cleaning the house. I’ve got another month before I go back to work to try and even things out a bit.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 18-August-2021

18 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Hangman

Currently reading: I’m back, all! Happy to be checking in after a few weeks off. I was a little single-minded with the new baby but we’re starting to develop a routine and get back to a few things. I even managed to read some of The Hangman’s Replacement: Sprout of Disruption by Taona Dumisani Chiveneko and I think this will be the next book I finish. Here’s to hoping!
I’ve found a few minutes from time to time for The King of Crows (Diviners #4) by Libba Bray. It’s mostly while washing bottles and if I do my daily walk without my husband, but it’s something. I’m moving slowly but still really enjoying this one and looking forward to seeing how this series ends.
I find short bursts of time that are good to fill with reading The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson. This book started off a lot differently than I suspected and I’m still interested to see where it goes.

Recently finished: Nothing new here this week and probably not again for a little bit, but I’m fine with the slower pace and expected it.

KellyReading next: I grabbed True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey and even took it to the hospital with me. That was a bit optimistic, in retrospect, but I was basing it on how much sitting around I had at a previous visit. I hope to crack this one open soon!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 11-Aug-2021

11 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


I’m taking another week to regroup post-baby. My brain is a bit fried and not much reading has occured. I love popping in to see the progress the rest of you are making so please leave comments with your successes! Thanks for keeping this community alive.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 4-Aug-2021

4 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


A bit of a free form this week. If you’re seeing this post, Baby is making their appearance and I’m a bit preoccupied at the moment! Hope you area all having an amazing week and I hope to be back again soon. My apologies for those whose comments are awaiting approval, I’ll get to them when I can think straight again. Thanks for keeping this community alive.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.