Hi! November’s been another fantastic reading month for me. I might not have read nearly as many books as in October, but overall I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read a lot more and that’s what really matters.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – 3 stars
The Mortal Instruments isn’t my favorite series, but since everyone seems to agree that this trilogy is much better I decided to give it a chance. And while this won’t be making it on to my favorites list, I did like it. It starts out great with our main character Tessa arriving in England only to be taken captive by some strange sisters who have mysterious plans for her. This part of the book was really creepy and had me hooked, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the rest of the book nearly as much.
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin – 3,5 stars
To really simplify things The Three-Body Problem is a sci-fi novel about Chinese scientist who attempt to communicate with aliens. This book explores some very fascinating and complex ideas, but it’s very science heavy and a lot of it went straight over my head. I think someone who understands more of science than I do (so basically everyone) would get a lot more out of it that I did. But I still really enjoyed reading it, especially the historical parts.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – 4 stars
This is a complicated book to explain. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where there’s something called fifth-seasons, which are basically environmental disasters that happen at irregular intervals. Some people have special abilities that allow them some degree of control over the unpredictable elements, these people are shunned in society. We follow three women who have such powers. This book is heavy on the world-building and can be quite hard to get into, it’s worth the hard work though, cause it’s a truly unique fantasy novel with great female characters.
Provenance by Ann Leckie – 4 stars
Provenance is set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch trilogy, but couldn’t be more different in tone. It follows a woman called Ingray who’s scheme to improve her standing in her family lands her in the middle of an escalating interstellar conflict. I really wasn’t sure what to think of this at first, I just couldn’t make sense of what exactly it was trying to do. Then I saw someone on Goodreads call it a comedy of manner and everything just clicked for me. I ended up enjoying this a lot!
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull – 4 stars
This is a middle grade fantasy novel about two sibling who go to stay with their grandfather over the holidays. Once they get there they soon discover that he’s the groundskeeper of a reserve for magical creatures. In the woods behind the house they meet fairies, witches, trolls and more… This book is pretty much all you could want in a fantasy book for children and reading it was so much fun.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao – 4 stars
This is an East Astian reimagining of Snow White from the perceptive of the Evil Queen. I love female villains and anti-heroines, so this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. I’m honestly getting a little burnt-out on retellings, but lucky for me this is more of a prequel to the fairy-tale than a straight retelling. I liked this book a lot. My only complaint is that I would’ve liked the main character to have even more agency and be even more unapologetically ambitious, since that’s a trait women so rarely get to have in YA novels.
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter – 4 stars
I’ve loved everything Kyrtsen Ritter’s been in, so when I heard she had a novel coming out I had to check it out. Her debut is an environmental thriller about a woman who returns to the small-town she grew up in to investigate the company at the heart of it’s economy. The plot’s not the most original thing I’ve ever read, but the writing is really good and that kept me engaged. It’s a very dark and gritty take on this type of thriller and it gave me some small-town gothic/noir vibes which I loved.
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente – 4 stars
This is the last book in the Fairyland series, a Middle Grade fantasy series about a girl called September who’s whisked away to Fairyland by the Green Wind. In this books there is a race and the winner of the race will become the ruler of Fairyland. As readers of the series can probably guess a Fairyland race is a wild and dangerous thing. That’s really all I can say about the plot without spoling the previous books.. While this isn’t my favorite book in the series (That would be The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There) I think it was a lovely, bittersweet conclusion to a fantastic series.
Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon – 4 stars
This book’s been described as “Sons of Anarchy” meets “Thelma & Louise”. That sounds awesome to me, so I’ve been looking forward to reading this for a while. I’m not going to lie, at first I was quite disappointed. I wasn’t sure about the writing style and the plot seemed weak and kind of all over the place. But as I kept reading it I fell head over heels for the characters. They’re all so difficult and flawed and infuriating, but I love them anyway. Still, I can’t deny that he plot is a bit wild and does requite some suspension of disbelief.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – 4 stars
To sum up the plot of this beast of a novel in a short, little paragraph would be impossible. It focuses on too many characters and covers too much time. I’ve putting off reading this, in part because of it’s size and in part because it starts out incredibly dull. But apart from the first 100 pages so this book was a lot more entertaining than I was expecting. I actually laughed out loud several times while reading it, something I wouldn’t have predicted based on the title. Which is not to say that the title doesn’t tell you exactly what you’re in for – it does. While I loved the writing and themes, I didn’t feel as connected to all the characters as I would’ve liked. But the ones I did feel connected to (Valjean, Javert and Gavroche) were some of the most interesting characters I’ve encountered in a while.
Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells – 5 stars
This is the first book in a sci-fi/romance/space-opera series about a team of scientist from earth who are sent to explore an alien spaceship that was discovered in the asteroid belt in the 1960’s. One of them, a linguist named Jane, develops a telepathic connection with a giant alien squid. (The romance’s not between them. I’m not sure that needed clarification, but people are into some weird shit guys)
Remanence by Jennifer Foehner Wells – 5 stars
This is the second book in the Confluence series. I can’t really say anything about the plot without spoling the first book, but I loved this book just as much as the first one. It’s fun, escapist sci-fi with great characters and an engaging plot. I’m also super invested in the lovely, slow-burn romance between Jane and one of the other scientist on the team.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi – 5 stars
This book, ya’ll. This book broke my heart. It’s the story of a young girl who emigrates from Haiti to America with her mother. But once they land her mother is detained and she has to go live with her aunt and cousins in Detroit by herself. It’s such a beautiful and moving exploration of themes like race, class and loneliness. There’s also a really sweet romance in here, and some supernatural elements inspired by Haitian mythology.
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst – 5 stars
This is a YA/Adult crossover fantasy novel set in a land where elemental spirits who want to destroy the human inhabitants are only held in check by the Queen. When our main protagonists village is destroyed by spirits, leaving only her and her family alive, she decides she wants to learn how to control the spirits, go to the academy and become one of the potential Heirs, ready to take over when the Queen dies and the spirits are free. I loved this book. For some reason reading it gave me so many nostalgic feels. The setting is amazing (A whole country in the tree-tops) and the magic system’s original and very cool.
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović – 5 stars
Wicked Like a Wildfire is another one of my most anticipated 2017 releases and it was everything I hoped it would be. The writing is beautiful and immersive, the plot’s mysterious and original, the magic is fascinating, the main character Iris stole my heart and the setting is wonderful. (Kotor, Montenegro. Google it. It’s nice.) I don’t say this lightly, but this book is perfect for fans of Laini Taylor and Roshani Chokshi.
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – 5 stars
First of all I have to say this is a beautiful book. The cover is stunning, the illustrations are truly works of art and the stories are no less enchanting. This is a must read for all fans of the Grisha-verse, but you don’t need to have read any of Bardugo’s books to be spellbound by these clever and subversive tales. One thing that often keeps me from enjoying fairytale collections is that the characters are little more than stick figures, they rarely have much personality or agency, which make them impossible to care for. That’s not the case here at all, every character is fleshed-out, complex and real. I felt connected to all of them immediately, which made reading their story a lot more compelling.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater – 5 stars
All the Crooked Saints was my seventh Maggie Stiefvater book and my favorite so far. It’s set in a small desert town in Colorado and tells the story of a family who can preform miracles and the pilgrims who come searching for one. As usual Stifvater’s writing is 10/10, super atmospheric and lyrical, which is my favorite kind of writing, and the characters are all fascinating to read about.
You can read my full review here.
Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett – 5 stars
Even the Darkest Stars was my most anticipated release of the year and it exceeded all my expectations. It’s set in a kingdom inspired my ancient Nepal, and for someone who’s always been fascinated by the Himalayas – a fantasy novel about a young girl from a Himalayan village who wants to become an explorer is quite literally a dream come true. Another thing I love is mythological/paranormal creatures and this book has lots: witches, dragons, familiars, ghosts and more. While the setting and world-building is amazing, the plot is quite simple and slowly paced. At least until near the end, when the action picks up a lot. I don’t mind a slow pace, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So if books about characters on a journey bore you, this one might not be for you.
Have you read any of these books? If so what did you think of them? And what’s the best book you read this month?