“Lucy Herondale was ten years old when she first met the boy in the forest.”First line in Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Hi, guys. Another month is over, and it’s time for my reading wrap up for July.
It was a pretty good month for me although a little weird because I read 3 very big books. I usually stick to just one per month so I’m pretty proud of managing 3. It means that the number of books I read is very much ‘business as usual’ but my page count is up by over 500 since last month.
It really helped that I managed to finish a certain brick called Oathbringer (1,220 pages) just before July was over. That was also the only book written by a male author. I’ve been reading female authors in July as part of The Fantasy Hive’s focus on #WomenInSFF.
My ratings were also very good this month as I didn’t rate anything less than 3 stars and even read a new all-time favorite. But enough statistics, let’s get into the mini-reviews.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: May 19th 2020
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Buzzwords: villain origin story, morally gray, unlikable main character
Synopsis: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined—every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
This was alright. Way too long, but I really liked how Collins explored how one becomes a villain. This was an interesting look into Snow’s mind. If you want more of my in-depth thoughts about the book, I have a full review for it.
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: March 3rd 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
There’s just something about those goddamn Shadowhunters that works! Chain of Gold was fast paced and alluring. Even though it’s the gazillionth book in the universe, it’s still its own book and manages to diversify itself from its predecessors. Not a lot of course. All the romance drama is still there, but that has started to become my favorite part of these books.
My main gripe with this is one is that it doesn’t exactly feel historical. It takes place in the early nineteen hundreds but if it weren’t for the fact that they ride around in carriages, I wouldn’t have known. The characters feel very modern and it gives a little bit of a disjointed reading experience.
A History of Madness (The Outlands Pentalogy #2)
Author: Rebecca Crunden
Published: July 13th 2017
Read the synopsis for the first book in the series, A Touch of Death.
I did have some difficulties with this one. We follow a different POV character compared to the first book, which I initially thought was a great choice. I still think it was a good choice story telling-wise. It really brought some new aspects of the world to the forefront and offered new opportunities. However, the character turned out to be one of those I like from other characters’ perspectives but not his own. Being in his head was annoying and I realized that he’s not a very likable character. Unfortunately, that’s just something I need characters to be to really enjoy a book.
I still found that I liked the writing. It’s very easy to read and none of the sci-fi elements are too complicated to understand. I also enjoyed some of the very “real” and hard-hitting conversations between the characters. Those can easily become awkward but that wasn’t the case here.
Finally, I also want to touch upon the fact that I found it a little boring compared to the first book which was very action packed. Here in the second one there were several opportunities for drama but everything was resolved rather quickly. Except for when there was a POV change towards the end. That was amazing!
Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1)
Author: Emily Tesh
Published: June 18th 2019
Buzzwords: nature love, centuries-old magic, wholesomeness
Synopsis: There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.
When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.
Sooo.. this was perfect! Silver in the Wood is a beautiful, atmospheric story. Tesh really shows how one doesn’t need 500 pages to create a vivid and engaging world. It’s hard to say what my favorite part was but I was very intrigued by the way Tesh wove nature into everything and what that meant for the story.
I was also amazed by how quickly I came to love every single character. As it’s only a 110 page-novella there isn’t much time to get to know them. However, when you have such masterful writing skills, 110 pages is plenty of time. For example, a certain character only needed a single line of dialogue to get a spot on my list of all-time favorite characters. I’m simply in awe of this book and have already pre-ordered the sequel.
Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: November 14th 2017
Read the synopsis of the first book in the series, The Way of Kings.
With a 4-star rating, this book is so far my least favorite in the series. It’s also the first book that felt too long, like it didn’t need all those 1,220 pages. I didn’t always feel that each chapter had a purpose other than drawing out the suspense. It felt long to read which the first two books didn’t.
This is also at a disadvantage for me from the start because it primarily features my two least favorite characters: Dalinar and Shallan. I think they are the ones with the least interesting story arcs, although I will admit that my feelings towards Dalinar improved with the ending to this one. I think I might hate Shallan more though, lol.
So why 4 stars? Well, because when this book reaches its pivotal moments it’s so bloody amazing and shows an author that ties every little plot line together masterfully. I have given up predicting things and has just accepted that I’m along for the ride.
Of course, I also give the first 3 stars just for the existence of Kaladin Stormblessed. Please, let there be more of him in book four.
That was my reading month for you. I’m so excited to have finally caught up with The Stormlight Archive. So ready for the fourth one!
August was supposed to be dedicated to N.E.W.T.s buuut since we have to hide to participate in that, I’m skipping it. Will still be trying to push myself to read a lot in August. I’m off work for the first half of the month so there should be plenty of opportunities for me to read. Hope you’ve all enjoyed your reading this past month and happy reading in August!