Saturday, June 18, 2016

While the World is Still Asleep

It is starting to thunder in my area.  You never know if we will actually get rain or not (it could pass us by).  I think it is amazing when it is raining on one side of the street by not on the other.  I have been checking out other book review sites recently and I have discovered that the majority of the bloggers give a brief review that basically states they enjoyed the book (not many details though and nothing negative).  How is that helping readers?  The main reason I started this (besides the books) was to give people an opportunity to see an honest review from one person's perspective.

While the World is Still Asleep by Petra Durst-Benning is the first book in The Century Trilogy.  Josephine “Jo” is telling her story. We start out with her in an accident and in trouble with the law (I know.  It makes no sense.)  Jo ends up in prison for 3 and a half years.  Jo then goes back to tell us about the death of her brother, Freddie??  He was twelve years old and fascinated with fire.  One Sunday Jo was ordered to watch him while her parents went off for the day to visit relatives.  Jo watched him for a while and then went to visit friends.  Freddie found the key to the barn where their father had his smithy.  Freddie was told he was not allowed in the there.  He went in and found matches.  As you can imagine he started setting fire to paper.  Sparks from the burning paper flew into the hay and soon the whole barn is one fire.  Jo tried to rescue him, but Freddie had locked the doors.  Jo was unable to break the doors down. She was found unconscious in front of the barn.  Freddie died in the fire. Her parents blame her for the boy’s death and treat her like a pariah.  Jo developed a horrible cough from the smoke inhalation that would not go away.  A neighbor, ?? convinces Jo’s parents to send her to a sanatorium in the Black Forest (the neighbor had to pay for it).  Jo found a friend named Lilo (also a relative of neighbors).  She introduced Jo to the velocipede (pedal bicycle).  Jo loved it and her cough went away (the writer makes it out to be psychosomatic—in her head).  Jo becomes obsessed with riding bicycles.  Women were not supposed to be on bicycles.  They were deemed too much for the “weaker sex” (it is also considered indecent and illegal).   Jo returns home to her hateful parents who insist she work from dawn to way past dusk in the smithy for no pay.  Jo discovers that Isabelle’s (a girl from school) father has a bicycle.  This becomes Jo’s obsession.  Jo wants to ride and this leads to her biggest mistake.  It is unfortunate for Jo that cycling is a men’s sport and bicycles are extremely expensive (all made by hand in Germany).  Come see what Jo does While the World is Still Asleep!

While the World is Still Asleep is one slow paced novel that is way, way too long.   It contains good writing, but (I’m sorry) it’s boring (alright just plain dull).   Basically, you get to see what Jo goes through to enjoy cycling (some of the information was interesting).  It was interesting to find out that cycles were handmade in Germany while the United States automated the process.  And, of course, it was a male dominated sport at the time. This is just the first book in the series.  This story could have easily been finished in one novel.  I give While the World is Still Asleep 3 out of 5 stars (it does contain good writing, good characters, and some interesting bits).  The book just needed something to liven it up and keep the readers interest.  It is way too long for it to be unfinished (can you imagine two more books on this subject).  I preferred this author's other series (it was fascinating).  

While the World is Still Asleep is available on Kindle Unlimited.  A great way to check out the book if you are a member (or you can get a sample).  The next book in The Century Trilogy is The Champagne Queen which will be out in late September. I received a complimentary copy of While the World is Still Asleep from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel. I will always provide a forthright review on the books that I read and review.

I am off to watch Outlander.  May all of you have a relaxing evening and a wonderful Father's Day!  I will be back tomorrow with another review! Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kris,

    Many thanks for reading the book and for your honest review. I just want to point out that the next two books are not about cycling at all.

    Each of the three books centres on one of the three young women, the first on Jo, the second on headstrong Isabelle, the third on submissive Clara. The second focuses on Isabelle's life in the Champagne region of France (hence the title: "The Champagne Queen," and there is some cycling in it, certainly!), while the third ("Bella Clara") is about, obviously, Clara, especially her post-divorce life at Lake Constance and her efforts to establish herself in the world of beauty products and treatments.

    Best regards always

    Ed Miles (the translator)