“For my kind, the first sign our world was ending came on October 24, 1946.First line in The Hanged Man by K. D. Edwards
Hi, guys. We got to the end of another month so here you have the mini-reviews for the books I read in June. It was a pretty standard month for me reading-wise. Even though I felt like I didn’t read very much, I still hit my usual 5 books. Take a look at my stats:
So I read male authors this month, although not on purpose. This is the first time this year that I’ve read more male authors than female so I’m going to say that’s alright.
I read two books this month that only feature in the pages read statistic. One because I DNF’d it and the other because it was too short to rate and review. The DNF was Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, which I still have a mini-review for in this post. The short book was The Sunken Mall by K. D. Edwards, which is a short story from the Tarot Sequence series. Highly enjoyable but I’m not writing a review for it. However, I do have 5 other mini-reviews for you so enjoy!
The Dragon Reborn (Wheel of Time #3)
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: October 15th 1991
Read the synopsis for the first book in the series, The Eye of the World.
This book was not only boring as hell but also kind of pointless. Extremely little happened in this book to push the plot along. Instead, it focuses on the side-characters a lot and I guess this book is meant to develop them a little more. However, their character development is minimal. The only one I really enjoyed reading about was Perrin. The rest of them hasn’t managed to use their brain in this series yet.
I also think Jordan’s pacing is a little off. Small menial tasks the characters do get more pages than the final showdown. That’s kind of frustrating. The ending left me with a “that’s it?”-feeling. It just cemented my belief that this book should only have been half as long.
The Hanged Man (The Tarot Sequence #2)
Author: K. D. Edwards
Published: December 17th 2019
Read the synopsis for the first book in the series, The Last Sun.
This second book in The Tarot Sequence fixed the few problems I had with the world-building in book 1, and it did it very early on. I had a much better grasp on how everything worked which just helped me to be more invested in the story. I can tell that there are still more to know about the world but that’s part of this series’ charm. You don’t get information before the narrator, Rune, decides you need it. It works so well to keep the suspense building. You never know what he might spring on you.
The relationships between these characters are still my favorite thing about this series. It’s almost like I don’t need all the action (which there’s plenty of), and would love it just as much if it was all about conversations between these characters. They are so deep and meaningful that I just want more! The different dynamics between the characters also make it all so interesting to follow.
Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Published: September 3rd 2019
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy
My rating: DNF at 70%
Synopsis: Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
The fact that I don’t DNF books but couldn’t finish this one, should tell you all you need to know about my feelings towards this.
The short version is that I didn’t like a single thing about it. The characters were annoying, the world-building wasn’t prioritized because the romance needed to be developed (but they actually had zero chemistry), and at 70% I still wasn’t sure what the plot was about.
One thing I want to talk about in more detail is the sexism towards men in this book. It clearly wants to portray “strong female characters”, but I would argue that the women in here are only perceived as strong when they are demeaning to the men. The men have so many flaws to their character and it seems like they’re there only for the women to exploit and show how powerful they are. I don’t like that. Isn’t that just the gender-bent version of what we’ve been complaining about for years? So yeah, this book completely misses the mark of equality for me.
However, I guess I can see why people would like this. If fantasy romance is your favorite genre, this would be a much better fit for you than me. Also just wants to make sure that you know you’re allowed to like a book even if some people find it sexist.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1)
Author: Becky Chambers
Published: July 29th 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Buzzwords: wholesomeness, diversity, friend group
Synopsis: Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.
Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
It’s weird. This is a perfectly good book with diverse and unique characters… but it still failed to make me care. I think that’s due to the fact that this is a very optimistic and hopeful story without too many issues that need to be solved. I prefer my books a little more hardhitting, but if you don’t, I don’t foresee you having any problems with this one.
One thing I really liked about it, though, was Chambers’ use of contrasts between the alien species and humans. It’s a really great tool to make the reader reflect on certain topics. While reading, I often had the thought “yeah, that’s actually a pretty weird thing to do now that I think about it.” simply because the alien would do the complete opposite. I loved these parts of the book and think it could have been exploited even more.
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: September 16th 1996
Buzzwords: London, underground world, weird, scary villains
Synopsis: Richard Mayhew is a young London businessman with a good heart whose life is changed forever when he stops to help a bleeding girl—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.
I finally found a book by Gaiman that I loved! His writing really shines in this one where he has an entire underground world to play with. I love experiencing these kinds of worlds in books where the author seems to start out with the sentiment of ‘the weirder the better’. I mean, there’s an entire group of people who worships rats in this one, and that’s not even close to being the weirdest thing.
I also have a thing for anything British and Neverwhere is practically screaming British-ness. Not only from its London-setting and references to places there, but also from its humor and its jokes about typical British behaviour. It really helps build the world up as realistic and therefore more immersive.
My last thoughts are about the fact that before starting this, I saw people having it shelved as horror on Goodreads. Now that I’ve read it, I get it. The two villians in here are absolutely horrible people. I was actually scared of them and I remember feeling the same way about the villain in another Gaiman book, The Graveyard Book. Is he actually the master of creating scary villains?
The only reason I took off half a star is because I wish I had connected a little more with the characters. They are great characters but I don’t consider any of them my favorite characters ever if you get what I mean.
Those were the 5 books I read this month. Have I inspired you to read any of them? And please, let me know if you’ve already read them and what you thought. Hope you had a great month and happy reading in July!