“Halfway through his twenty-fifth year, and to his acute relief, Prince Kadou became an uncle.”First line in A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
It’s December!! The best month of the year has arrived but in this post, I’m looking back on what I did and read in November. I had a week off toward the end which was timed perfectly because it basically rained for a week so I was very happy to be able to just stay indoors. I did leave my apartment to go to a talk/presentation (I don’t know what to call it in English) down at my library about speculative fiction and how those genres are often better at tackling current and real-life issues. There were two speakers and the last was a translator who talked about the problems she had faced while translating The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, and that part obviously had me completely transfixed for twenty minutes 😍 I could have listened to her for hours without getting bored. And I haven’t even read The Poppy War!
I’ve also watched a lot of football this month because of the World Cup but I haven’t been as excited about it as I usually am and that is 100% FIFA’s fault. How is it possible for an organization to ruin its own sport that much? Anyway, that’s football politics so let’s look at what I read in November instead:
Yeah, I had a hard time prioritizing reading last month. Even when I could listen to audiobooks at work, I would much rather listen to music so I only managed to listen to one book. It was one that felt very long, though, as it was The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb. I suspected I would hate it and I did so I’m skipping the rating and reviewing part for that and the rest of Hobb’s books. Another one of the four books I won’t be reviewing is Helvedeskvaler by Anne Christine Eriksen. It’s the final book in a trilogy that only exists in Danish, but I gave it four stars.
That means I only have two reviews for you today so I hope you enjoy those!
Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: June 9th, 2009
Buzzwords: Sisters, arranged marriage, magic system based on colors
Synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.
Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.
By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.
Let’s just say I wouldn’t have gotten through this without Naemi @A Book Owl’s Corner. We buddy-read this book and it still took me way longer to read than I expected because nothing was happening and I was so bored! I’m not sure the book had a plot and Sanderson’s characters just aren’t strong enough to carry it. There are three main characters and each has their thing to do but they do it extremely slowly which had me feeling I was reading the same scenes over and over again. I’m pretty sure Sanderson could have accomplished what he wanted with fewer chapters.
Other than that, I feel like I can copy my other Sanderson reviews because I have the same issues every time. His characters feel juvenile and you can put that term on his humor too. He insists on taking the reader by the hand way too much but that’s all because he needs you to follow his faulty logic. It’s not that hard to spot the numerous conveniences in his plot and character development, though.
A Taste of Gold and Iron
Author: Alexandra Rowland
Published: August 30th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Buzzwords: Prince and bodyguard romance, slow (!!) burn romance
Synopsis: Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, has no intention of wrestling for imperial control with his sister, the queen. Yet he remains at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court – the father of the queen’s new child. Then a hunting party goes terribly awry, and Kadou finds himself under suspicion of attempted murder.
To prove his loyalty to his sister and salvage his reputation, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds. He enlists the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. But what appears to be a straightforward crime spirals into a complex counterfeiting operation, with a powerful enemy at its heart.
In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy. The conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing – and bring about its ruin.
I think this book taught me that there is a difference between “romance in fantasy” and “fantasy romance”, and while I love the former, the latter might not be my thing entirely. My 4-star rating might even be a little generous. I needed the characters to be more involved with the plot and also for the plot to be more important than the romance. Instead, I got the feeling that the plot was merely there to put our characters in interesting positions. Positions such as “the only way for us to get out of this dangerous situation is to kiss” (believe it or not, this exact thing happened more than once). And I guess that’s what fantasy romance is but I can’t help but find it ridiculous.
The two main characters are very sweet. Just maybe a little too sweet for me to be really excited about them. They are both the kind of people who are constantly apologizing for things they shouldn’t apologize for, so I occasionally got a little sick of them. In general, I’m also missing flaws in these characters, especially the side characters. They are good and completely perfect in every way which probably makes the book very wholesome to most people but very boring to me.
I still love Rowland’s writing and I also got a few peaks at the truly unique and interesting societies of this world. But I wanted more and also thought there were opportunities for that but romance was the priority.
Well, that was it for this very short post. I can’t even promise that it’ll be longer for December but it should be. December is going to be very busy for me, though, because work is so exhausting that I want to do absolutely nothing when I’m not working but it’s December so I can’t. It might be that there will be weeks when I’m not posting because I just haven’t been feeling very creative lately so maybe a short break around Christmas is for the better.
But let me know if you’ve read any of the books in this post! What did you think of them? Did any of your November reads make it into your top ten of the year?
3 thoughts on “November 2022 Reading Wrap-Up”
Can I just say that I’m extremely jealous of that Poppy War talk? It sounds fascinating! 🤩
Also, maybe I should take a page out of your book and just not review books I hated in the future 🤔 It would save so much time! And I guess I’m not too disappointed to not see you not appreciating Sedric some more 😜
I definitely wouldn’t have gotten through Warbreaker without you, either, though, so thank you for agreeing to that buddy read! Although I’m still furious that I don’t feel any smarter where the Cosmere is concerned – This was supposed to be the book that explained it all!! My re-read was pretty much worthless 😤
However, I think I’ll skip A Taste of Gold and Iron 😅 I want more plot than romance in my fantasy books as well, so those kissing situations don’t really sound like my kind of thing… But I do intend to get to A Choir of Lies eventually to make up for it!
And I hope your December won’t turn out too stressful! I certainly won’t blame you if you miss a few posts – I mean, considering my current mess of a posting schedule, that would be terribly hypocritical 😅 – but I’m still going to miss your posts terribly! 😭 I suppose we’ll just need a few good soccer highlights to make up for it!
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The Poppy War talk was so fascinating! One of her problems was the word ‘lore’ because Danish doesn’t really have a translation for that with the exact same meaning. We’d need more words to say it and that doesn’t really work in the book. And that has got me thinking that we don’t actually translate that word when we speak so the job of a translator is really unfair 😅
And I definitely also appreciate you wanting to buddy read Warbreaker with me now that I know what you willingly subjected yourself to for the second time 😂 And you didn’t even learn something!
I wouldn’t recommend you read A Taste of Gold and Iron either. I think you’re likely to like the characters more than I did but you’re probably going to be even more annoyed with the lack of plot. It literally felt like the plot took a backseat for large parts of the book. But A Choir of Lies 🥰
And speaking of missing posts… Have you seen my email? 😄 I realized today I might have sent it to a different email address than usual so just wanted to check if it’s completely gone and I need to send it again? 😄
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Come to think of it, I don’t think German has an exact translation for lore, either 🤔 Thank god that never came up in any of my translation exams! But yes, I feel like once you actually start thinking about what translation requires, you come to appreciate the job so much more! I definitely didn’t realize how unfair I was being as a kid when I judged all translations extremely harshly 😅
Also, after careful use of my sleuthing skills to figure out which other e-mail address of mine you could possibly have, I have found the e-mail! 🥰😭🥰 You can expect a very lengthy reply within the next hour or so…
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