It’s time for another exploration of my recent reads. I’ve been pretty spoiled by some of the books on this list–I rarely give out five star ratings on Goodreads, but there are some titles worthy of that honor in here.
Enjoy–and be sure to let me know what you’ve been reading lately in the comments!
This book has been on my radar for a LONG time–it was just a matter of getting to it. Well, I’m currently listening to it on audiobook and HOLY CRAP, HOW HAVE I BEEN MISSING OUT ON THIS? The subject matter isn’t one that immediately sucks me in (which is why it has taken so long to pick up), but dang. Once I got past the first few chapters, I was absolutely hooked. What strikes me about this book is the excellent characterization. It features a variety of characters and switches points of view constantly, but each voice is distinct. Each character is fully-realized, which makes them feel so real. Bardugo slowly unveils their stories, giving us hints and glimpses at their pasts and their ambitions with each page. It makes driving to work an absolute treat! I’m already dreading reaching the end of the audiobook, but I know I’ll be moving on to Crooked Kingdom straight away.
Gosh, WHY do I keep reading Dickerson’s books? I’ve read almost everything she’s published and, even though I don’t love her stories, they’re enjoyable. I love fairytale retellings, and Dickerson’s are subtle. After the mess that was this one, I think I might throw in the towel. Her stories are all formulaic, but the formula is definitely wearing thin. Dickerson’s protagonists are always beautiful, kind, compassionate, selfish, pious, and BORING. Her side characters have zero depth. It’s like watching paper dolls act on a puppet show stage, then fall into a puddle and crumble apart. I’m also almost insulted by how heavy-handed Dickerson is with her representation of Christianity. Female leads are always quoting scripture, praying, and longing to someday be rich enough to own a Bible translated into German. It’s as if Dickerson expects that, by making her women models of Christian femininity, that makes them good characters. Um, no.
I talked about Schwab’s first book in this series, A Darker Shade of Magic, a month ago. While I really enjoyed that book, I fell head-over-heels in love with this one. I think this might be because I listened to it on audiobook, which meant that my reading was slower and more deliberate. Schwab is excellent at world building–in the first book, she establishes the different Londons. In this book, Schwab takes a new turn. She expands the world of Red London through a magical tournament, which reminded me a lot of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter. The tournament introduces the different empires and peoples, as well as expands on how magic functions and how each culture relates differently to it. Schwab also continued to establish her characters, who have nestled their way deep into my heart. Delilah Bard (who I found likable, but flighty and kind of annoying in the first book) is now making her way to my all-time favorite characters list. I’m eagerly waiting for my hold on the third book on audio to come through at the library so I can continue.
I read Mead’s first Glistening Court book last fall and was underwhelmed. The premise has promise–taking young women, training them to be society ladies, and taking the to a new unsettled land to marry the members of the budding aristocracy. The new-world concept is interesting because it’s obviously parallel to the settling of America. This book, being about spies and conspiracies and, offered more promise than the first. The first half featuring the journey West was really interesting and I really liked Mira and Grant. Once they got there, though, Mead tried to do too much and I lost interest. It was definitely better than the first one, but not great.
I really, really love that more diverse YA stories are being published. Stories really do tie us together as fellow humans. What I love about YA as a genre is that it’s all about growing up, discovering yourself, and figuring out how to go through life. And those are things that we all experience, no matter your color or religion or orientation. So, yay diversity! I really enjoyed this book–although I read the second half really quickly and didn’t retain much. Janna was a relatable protagonist and I enjoyed learning about her world. I especially loved the bits about her Islamic quiz team… we had one at my Christian church growing up. The religious texts are different, but the atmosphere to Janna’s was very familiar. (I didn’t actually do quiz team though… I was always really bad at memorizing the Bible.)
I needed a quick audiobook to listen to a couple of weeks ago and this one was free on Overdrive…. HOLY CATS, how did I wait this long before reading this book?! The book was narrated by the fantastic Stephen Fry and I loved every moment of it! It was so British in tone that I was nostalgic for the time I’ve spent across the pond. I laughed out loud so many times.
What have you been reading recently?
Stop back in a couple of weeks for more book talk!
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