1Q94 by Haruki Murakami

A mesmerizing collision of sci-fi and dystopian fiction, 1Q84 is a different take on the classic to George Orwell’s 1984. This book really caught my attention because it was written by a Japanese author, which is something unique from anything I’ve written because of how it was translated from Japanese to English! Taking place in Tokyo, Japan in the fictionalized year of 1Q84, which obviously is based on 1984, this rich story explores mature themes of violence, romance, and underlying dark motives. If you know about 1984, you’ll definitely see similarities between these books as they both involve organizations putting people under surveillance to discover parts of their life.

1Q84 revolves around the perspectives of 3 different characters: Masami Aomame, a 30-year-old woman who is a very meticulous assassin who goes by “Aomame”, Tengo, a writer who also works as a math tutor, and Ushikawa, a strangely unattractive man who is hired to investigate Tengo and Aomame when introduced in the 3rd part of the story.

I want to emphasize that this book is not for the faint of heart and the young reader, as there are many topics explored that should be read by older audiences. Anyways, despite the fact that there are many complications that involve violence and even brainwashing, I found this story quite interesting because it actually ended up being an eventful journey of a one-of-a-kind love story that involves rekindling past relationships. This book is truly different from anything I have read, and while writing this I found it a bit hard trying to put my thoughts into words because it is such an indescribable story. It’s one of the most, I guess, “adulty” books I’ve read and I feel like reading this has really broadened not only my reading preferences but my reading ability!

So, if you are looking for a strange book unlike anything you have read before or to expand your reading capabilities, definitely go check out 1Q84!

-Julianne T.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede

Across the Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede, is the second book in the Frontier Magic series. The novel is set in an alternate universe—the American frontier is being settled and explored, but there’s magic. Eff, a thirteenth child, has always considered herself unlucky, and therefore has never really tried learning her spells, but helps out at the menagerie where she takes care of magical and non-magical animals. Eventually, she crosses the Great Barrier, where the Professor finds something extremely interesting. This is a pretty dry run of it, but the book was more interesting, I promise.

When I picked this book up I didn’t realize that it was the second book in a series. Oops. Still, it was really good, and the author gave enough information about the main events from the first book that I could make sense of things. The book is told from Eff’s point of view, so it doesn’t go into too much detail about things that she doesn’t consider important, and spends more time on things that she’s interested in or that are important to her. I like this book because it has a good plot line and gives a new way of looking at the American frontier when it was still being settled. There were no Native Americans in the book, so I’m not sure if I missed something in the first book or if they just aren’t there. The end of the novel doesn’t give complete closure and pretty obviously sets it up for the next book because not everything gets resolved.