“I’m pretty much fucked.”First line in The Martian by Andy Weir
March is over! Thank god. Personally, this March felt longer than March 2020. Not that anything particularly bad happened. It’s more that nothing at all happened, so I’m glad that month is finally over. April is definitely going to be better.
But anyway, the books I read this month were a bit of a mixed bag to say the least, but I’m ultimately very happy with what I read. Just take a look at my stats:
I’m very satisfied with the amount of reading I got done. It was definitely one of the better months I’ve had. Then I was also really trying to only read female authors as March is Women’s History Month, but then I had some library holds come in by the end of the month that I had to prioritize.
Out of the six books I read this month, I’ve written mini-reviews for five of them. I read the Stormlight Archive novella Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson, which I’m not going to review. All I have to say about it is that I gave it 3 stars and was fairly bored while reading it. But here are the five mini-reviews for the books I read in March.
Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy #2)
Author: Robin Hobb
Published: March 1996
Check out the synopsis for the first book in the series, Assassin’s Apprentice, on Goodreads
I love Robin Hobb. I love Fitz. I love so much about this book and this series! I wrote a review for it that is mostly spoiler-filled, but it also has a small introductory part without spoiler so check it out if you haven’t yet.
Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Published: April 5th, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
Buzzwords: The Seven Realms, magic, magic that is forbidden
Synopsis: Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now he’s closer than ever to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. With time running out, Ash faces an excruciating choice: Can he use his powers not to save a life but to take it?
Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.
Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the ruthless king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.
Well, I had hoped this series would turn out to be even better than its predecessor, The Seven Realms, but this first book kind of squashed that hope for me. It has some serious pacing issues where major events are glossed over especially in the beginning. It was very difficult for me to love the characters because they got no opportunity to react to these events. Things just happen and then we move on. A big problem with the pacing also became evident when the author didn’t dedicate time to develop a proper romance between two of the characters. It then appears as insta-love, and it was so cringey.
To say something positive, there were developments in the plot that I liked and thought brought a new dimension to the world. But it is still very unlikely that I’ll continue with this series.
A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Published: December 1st, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
Check out the synopsis for the first book in the series, An Ember in the Ashes, on Goodreads.
For some reason, I don’t have very many thoughts about this. It was good but mostly because of the characters. I could read about them forever and never get sick of them, so I’m going to miss them very much now that the series is over, Helene most of all.
The plot, however, failed to get me completely invested, although I will admit that might have been my own fault. I will say though that there was stuff about the ending that I didn’t like, so it didn’t feel like this great, epic conclusion to a four-book series. So the book wasn’t awful by any means, but I had kind of hoped for something more.
Author: Bridget Collins
Published: November 12th, 2020
Genre: Literary Something (seriously, I have no idea)
Buzzwords: Elite school, alternate reality, tiny bit dark academia
Synopsis: If everything in your life was based on a lie
Would you risk it all to tell the truth?
At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.
Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.
Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…
I wrote a full review for this, and that was probably the most difficult review I’ve ever had to write, so I’m not even going to try an replicate it here. I just love this book so much!
Author: Andy Weir
Published: September 27th, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction
Buzzwords: Survival on Mars, problem-solving, proper social distance (kidding)
Synopsis: I’m stranded on Mars.
I have no way to communicate with Earth.
I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m screwed.
I finally read this popular book, and it was actually really good! So funny! Mark Watney and I definitely share the same sense of humor. The comedic timing is done really well in what is otherwise a very serious and dark book. I get why some readers will not like this because you can get the feeling that the character doesn’t take his situation seriously. However, cracking jokes as a coping mechanism is something I personally relate to, so I didn’t mind.
The book also managed to get me invested, so I was constantly fearing for Mark’s life. I think it helped that we got other POVs than just Mark Watney. His POV often got very sciency and I found myself zoning out a bit for those parts, so a break from those was nice once in a while. But the science parts were partly why I took off half a star. There was also some very, very minor thing that happened that I really didn’t like. Other than that, this was a great book, even for someone like me who doesn’t read a lot of Science Fiction.
(Side note: I watched the movie. It was fine, but I think they cut out a lot of the problems Mark had and so made it seem quite easy to survive on Mars. Also, only about half of the jokes really landed, taking away some of the humor that made the book great. End of movie review.)
Some great books in there, and I’m definitely glad I now know what all the hype around The Martian is about. Looking into April though, I predict that to be a bit of a busy month for me. I already know that I’m going to dedicate a lot of time to writing posts for Wyrd and Wonder in May and generally prepare for that (I have so many plans!), and I’ve also planned to read quite a few big books in April. But I have quite a few days off work, so it should be fine.
To wrap this up, let me know what your favorite read of March was in the comments. Mine was probably The Betrayals, but Royal Assassin and The Martian were also strong contenders. Happy reading in April.