A Ladder to the Sky

A Ladder to the SkyA Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
Published by Hogarth Press on November 13th 2018
Pages: 384
ISBN: 1984823019
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John Boyne keeps getting better and better! Each time he writes a book, he tops his last. A ladder to the Sky has done just that. This book is beautifully written, tragic, compelling and hard to put down. Boyne has given me a character that I love to hate. Maurice Swift is so deliciously “amoral”. Maurice is willing to do whatever it takes to be a bestselling Author. Armed with his youth and beauty, he sets out to achieve his goals, no looking back, no remorse and feeling justified with his actions. He uses what he has to his advantage all the while using the talent of others to further his own career. He takes what he can and moves on. He is ambitious, cunning, calculating, arrogant, and manipulative.

As the book progresses, the reader watches/reads as Maurice moves from one person to the next, using that person, until that individual has nothing else to give and/or Maurice feels he has taken all he can. He will stop at nothing to succeed even if it means destroying lives, ruining careers or worse!

I enjoyed how this book delves into “ownership” There is plagiarism and then there is re-writing someone’s work and telling someone’s life events. For instance, if someone tells you about a specific time in his/her life and you write about it – have you stolen from them or just profited off their “storyā€¯? To what lengths will someone go to achieve success?

“When the gods with to punish us, they answer our prayers.”

This book is not only a character study of the main character, Maurice, but to a small degree on the many people in his life. Erich and Dash both came to realize that they were being used and both allowed it for his own reasons. How incredibly sad is it when one knows they are being used and they allow it with the hope of love or companionship. There were the tragic figures who were used by Maurice and had no idea until it was too late. On the other hand, I absolutely loved the passages with Gore. It was nice to see a character who saw right through him and called him on the carpet. Those sections were bliss for me.

This was a very enjoyable read which provides the reader with many characters POV and ending with Maurice’s. Will he ever stop in his quest for glory? What happens when you lose your youth and beauty? Will Maurice ever meet his match? Is there a price to be paid for ambition?

Highly recommend!

Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.


The House of Special Purpose

The House of Special PurposeThe House of Special Purpose by John Boyne
Published by Other Press on April 2nd 2013
Pages: 469
ISBN: 1590515986
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So enjoyable!

It is always quite enjoyable to read a book which is so well written and engaging. This book of historical fiction brings one man’s past and present together. Eighty-year-old Georgy Jachmenev is currently living in England with his wife Zoya. His wife is ill and as he reflects on their life, it is evident that their life was not as common as their friends believed. Georgy Jachmenev’s life began in Russia and as he looks back on his life, we learn about his ties to Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei. Through an act of heroism, he is brought into the world of the Romanov’s during the time of the Russian Revolution.

I really liked the alternating timeline story telling. This book begins toward the end of a man’s life and weaves its way back to the beginning of his tale. It was a nice way to bring the story full circle and back to that fateful day in the House of Special Purpose. It is obvious that the Author did a lot of research for this book. He tells one man’s story of survival, hope, love, resiliency, pain, and heartache while keeping with the historical events leading up the execution of the last czar of Russia(and his family).

I have read a couple of stinkers lately and it was like a breath of fresh air reading such a finely crafted book. Extremely well written. This book is like a slow burn -it’s not a page turner but I felt myself seeping into this story. This book is interesting, thought provoking, and riveting.


Highly Recommend!