Wrap up

March 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

“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

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Check out the synopsis for the first book in the series, Assassin’s Apprentice, on Goodreads

My thoughts

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

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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.

Goodreads

My thoughts

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

My rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Check out the synopsis for the first book in the series, An Ember in the Ashes, on Goodreads.

My thoughts

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.

The Betrayals

Author: Bridget Collins

Published: November 12th, 2020

Genre: Literary Something (seriously, I have no idea)

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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…

Goodreads

My thoughts

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!

The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Published: September 27th, 2012

Genre: Science Fiction

My rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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.

My thoughts

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.

7 thoughts on “March 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Wow, now that you mention it, you really were on top of writing reviews this month, Line! I should probably take a leaf out of your book sometime!

    And I’m so happy you loved the Martian 😊 Even if it hurts my mathy soul to hear you docked points for the wonderful sciency stuff 😪 But I’m glad we agree on the rest, and the movie as well! I really wish they had kept more of Mark’s humor in, too, even if it was a bit inappropriate at times (.Y.)

    Anyway, I’m about to head into the woods before it gets dark – with the Betrayals audiobook for company 😊 I started it yesterday and am still in a state of utter confusion, but am enjoying it so far! I need to know what the grand jeu is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yeah I did write more reviews this month than I usually do. Don’t get used to it though 🙈

      And thank you for recommending The Martian in the first place! 😁 I really wouldn’t have read it otherwise. And I didn’t only take off point because of the science, but it was a combination of that and the thing I didn’t like. It really annoyed me that this was a book about a man who is utterly alone on a planet, but a book is not a book if it doesn’t have romance in it, apparently. That whole thing with Johanssen and Beck made me roll my eyes so hard because it felt so forced. WHY did we need that? Also generally didn’t like how Johanssen was made up to be that “hot nerdy girl”, so of course, she had to have a love interest. The movie handled that a bit better I think by not having Mark talk about her appearance all the time. Sorry, I needed to rant about that 😅

      And I totally did not expect to hear about you reading The Betrayals so soon! Now I will nervously await your judgment, but yes, the utter confusion lasts a while.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I think I never really paid too much attention to the Johanssen and Beck thing because I was just so invested in Mark’s story 😁 I remember actually liking the romance, although I do agree that Mark talking about Johanssen’s body all the time was annoying. However, Mark seemed like the kind of guy who generally has very inappropriate humor, so I was willing to let it slide as part of his personality 😁 However, where this really started to bother me was in Andy Weir’s other book, Artemis. The protagonist is a woman in that one, and apparently she still has nothing better to do than stare at people’s chests and asses all the time and continuously comment on it 🙄 I mean, maybe it was a sign that she was secretly into girls, but I just wasn’t a fan of seeing Mark Watney copy and pasted into a female body 😅 It was bizarre!

        And well, regarding The Betrayals – it just sounded so intriguing and exactly what I was in the mood for right now that I had to try it! 🤗 And since Scribd had the audiobook and I needed a new one to go on walks with, I took it as a sign 😂 Although it always takes me forever to listen to stuff in audiobook form, so don’t expect my judgment too soon 😉 Although I am currently very into it and already have a bunch of stupid theories! My top one is currently that Dryden attended Montverre disguised as a boy, possibly Carfax (sorry if I’m misspelling stuff – I never saw any of the names in written form 😄). But maybe that’s just me using my love for this trope to attempt to explain the mystery of why she seems familiar to Léo 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, Mark’s humor is inappropriate, so I guess his comments could fall under that, but it just didn’t feel like that to me. And you saying Artemis has something similar just tells me it might be the author’s and not the characters’ comments, you know. But yes, it is such a minor thing in the book that it didn’t bother me that much. I almost accepted the romance when I saw the movie and realized they had cast Sebastian Stan as Beck because then I can see how Johanssen didn’t really have a choice but to fall in love with him 😄 But then the movie reduced the romance to two short scenes where one of them was in the credits, so again WHY?

        Very glad to hear you’re still into The Betrayals! Can’t comment on your theory, of course, but it’s interesting 😄 Can’t wait to hear your final thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

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