Erudite Blondie

Bookish blog

Reading Classics Challenge 2018

Hello bibliovores,

I have an announcement to make ! I will participate in the Reading Classics Challenge 2018 launched by the blogger Lilly & Books.

The challenge consist of reading 1 novel written by a “classic” author per month. Every month, the participants have to choose between two authors. However, you are free to choose any books written by the chosen author (even if it is not considered as a classic).

I am SUPER excited about this challenge!!! This challenge is the perfect way to motivate me to read some of those classical piece of work. Most of the “classics” I read were mandatory readings in high schools and college. I used to find them boring and hardly understandable. However, I am hoping that if I choose which book I want to read, it might actually be interesting to embrace this type of literary work.

For every classic I read during the challenge, I will write a review and add the link in this article.

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The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide

The story: 

This novel is the first of a series of 5 children’s book written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. It tells the story of 3 siblings: Jared, Simon and Mallory. The children just moved in the former house of their aunt Lucinda, a lady locked up in a psychiatric hospital. The rumours say she was hearing voices and talking to imaginary friends. As soon as he first stepped into his new home, Jared feels something odd about this place. He can hear strange noises coming from the walls and notice that some of the family’s belongings are vanishing. The young boy tries to convince his older sister Mallory and his twin brother Simon to help him unveil the mysteries surrounding the crumbling house. Will they discover what kind of creatures they are living with?

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Digital Fortress (Dan Brown)

When the NSA’s most
classified technological wonder–an invincible code-breaking machine–encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls in its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power.

The NSA is being held hostage… not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it will cripple U.S. intelligence.

Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides she finds herself fighting not only for her country, but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

With a startling twist that leaves the agency scrambling to avert the biggest intelligence disaster in U.S. history, Digital Fortress never lets up. From the underground hallways of power, to the skyscrapers of Tokyo, to the towering cathedrals of Spain, a desperate race unfolds.

It is a battle for survival — a crucial bid to destroy a creation of inconceivable genius… an impregnable code-writing formula that threatens to obliterate the balance of power. Forever.”

Digital Fortress is a techno-thriller novel written by Dan Brown. It was first published in 1998. Even though it was written almost 20 years ago, the theme tackled is still very modern. Indeed, the balance between national security and right to personal privacy is still controversial in the United States today.


What I liked:  

There are a lot of actions going on throughout the novel which makes it very exciting to read. At some point, I realized I should definitely try to increase my reading speed. I mean, we’re in the middle of the action here, brain please do something!!! On the other hand, the enigma surrounding the code and the reason why it was created got me into “detective mode”. It is the kind of novel where you take pleasure into trying to find the culprit before the main character does (I failed miserably).

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed a lot was the use of another language when the action was taking place in another region of the world. It adds realism without complicating the reading. The words used are simple and easily understandable through the context. As someone who does not have English as native language, it is a small attention that I appreciate a lot.

What I did not like:

The flow of the story was sometimes confusing. I had to reread many passages to make sure I understood properly what was happening. I found it annoying especially that I was reading the book in my native language (French).

Some passages were very cliché. It is deceiving for a thriller to know what will happen next.

The romance was pushed a little too much to my linking. When I choose to read a thriller, I do not want the story to focus on the character’s love life. Also some situations were too dramatic (I cried enough please stop!!).


The verdict ! 

I have seen many readers complain about the fact that there were many factual mistakes in the book concerning cryptography and computers. As a technological dummy I did not notice these errors and it did not impact my appreciation of the book. I recommend this book to people looking for a techno-thriller and having an interest in conspiratory theories.

If you want to buy this book and encourage my blog, you can do it through this link!

Have you read  this book ? If so, let me know your opinion!

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