Wrap Up: February 2017

Wrap Up, 20/03/2017


February 2017


First off, I am so sorry that I did not upload at all during February, or for most of March. I’m not going to make excuses like I was busy, I just didn’t have the motivation and I was lazy. I’m not even going to promise that I’ll upload more because I’m probably not going to but right now I’m in a Waterstones cafe with my friend who also has a blog so here I am writing my February wrap up  (or I was many days ago when I wrote this). What I will promise is to attempt to get a wrap up out at least once a month, since I’ll have undoubtedly have read multiple books and I can give a short review of each of them.

I want to just add this in first, I said in my January wrap up that I would be reading The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey and I got about halfway through before I just couldn’t get any further. It’s not that the book is bad, it just didn’t appeal to me and while I try to finish books, I just found myself not wanting to read because I didn’t want to read that book. The main reason for this is that I do not like zombies, I don’t watch or read anything involving zombies. It’s not a fear of them but rather an intense dislike that I can’t really explain. If you like zombie stories then go give it a try but I just didn’t so I decided to DNF it rather than put myself through it.

The first book I read in February was Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth, I mentioned in my January wrap up that I was going to do a full review of this and well… I wrote half of it and found I couldn’t really transcribe my thoughts into words. I have a few things to say though: 1, I don’t believe you can write a valid review if you only read the first 40 pages. A lot of negative reviews I saw of this book hadn’t even got a quarter of the way through before dimissing it as racist. I can’t even begin to express how annoyed this made me. The start of the book features two opposing sides who barely know each other and have preconceptions of what the other is like. I’m sorry, but in A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre starts off a very negative view of the fae! Is this considered racism? No. Opinions of the other side change, in Carve the Mark, as they grow to know each other, they realise they aren’t so different, both groups have good and bad qualities. On another note, I don’t think Cyra’s ‘currentgift’ is ever portrayed as an actual positive thing. Currentgift is just the term used in that society. A gift is something “given willingly to someone without payment” or “a natural talent” – neither of these things means good. So basically I think this thing is a big overreaction and sadly, I think they happen a lot these days. You may obviously disagree with my opinion on this, you are allowed to, but please don’t try to argue with me unless you’ve read the entire book. My actual criticism of this book lies with for one, the very tedious beginning, I’m not surprised people have put it down out of boredom but it’s a shame because it’s not terrible as young adult books go. Overall, I actually enjoyed it, I’m not begging for the next one but I’ll probably read it.

Next up, Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. I loved Rebel of the Sands, it’s probably in my top three young adult books of all time. I love it because Amani isn’t the ‘Chosen One’, she isn’t actually vital to the whole rebellion, she also isn’t whiny and annoying. She’s actually one of my favourtie book heroines! I think she’s awesome and I’d love to meet Alwyn Hamilton to tell her how much I love Amani. So, as you can tell, I was really excited for Traitor to the Throne and it did not disappoint me! I wanted some more Jin/Amani action but that’s just because I ship them so hard. Traitor to the Throne is just as good as Rebel of the Sands and I love it a lot, I love that the characters have flaws, I love that she isn’t the typical heroine, I just love all of it.

Thirdly, Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I liked this book, I thought it was actually pretty good and I really enjoyed the mystery in it. However, Scarlett, she was quite annoying, she fell into the typical YA heroine trope which I find massively over used and quite annoying. It is a common issue I have with YA novels is that I don’t like the characters so I was not overly surprised by this. Back to Caraval specifically, I think I gave it a rating of 3.6 stars and I think it’s worth buying just for its stunning cover. Big fans of YA lit will probably really love this book but I’m getting a bit mature for it.

A bit of a change in genre for my next book which was Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. If you have never heard of these two, they are science fiction writers who were influenced by Soviet rationalism. I read this book on my flight back from Rome in about two hours so I could probably do with re-reading it but I did actually quite enjoy it. The writing style is remarkably easy to get into and I flew through it with little trouble, the only part I wasn’t so fond was how fast it ended, I would have liked an extra hundred pages or so to really go into detail about how it finishes. The actual idea and theory behind the alien presence in this book I really like though, but I also consider it to be a very human idea of what aliens would do. The idea is that aliens landed on earth for what was, effectively, a ‘lunch break’ on their journey and left their rubbish behind, not caring about the chaos caused from it when they departed. Others will probably disagree, but I can picture humanity doing this if we had the ability to travel through space the same way. I do recommend this book, I am attempting to read more sci fi this year and for one of my first, I think it’s really interesting and captivating, you may just be a little frustrated by the ending.

The fourth book was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. I really loved this book, there’s nothing massively dramatic in it, it’s the story of a young girl who gets lost in the woods and how she survives. I love it because it wasn’t some far fetched, dramatic tale of survival but just an interesting story and it was just pleasant to read. There’s no love story, no heroes/heroines or villians, it’s just a good story and it was great.

The final book I read brings me back to YA lit as it was A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. The idea of this book I was really into, a retelling of Sherlock Holmes with their descendants sounded like it could be great but unfortunately, it was quite mediocre. You could tell what Cavallaro wanted from this book but I just don’t think she was a good enough writer to really bring it into being, also there’s some other aspects I just didn’t like. The first is it being set in America, I find it very hard to believe that the descendants of Holmes and Watson would end up in an American High School, I think I would love it a lot more if it was set in Britain. It being set in America means their Britishness is emphasised far too much for my liking and there’s not much of the classic British sarcasm (though Cavalloro is American). The second is the characters, as said previously I don’t often like YA characters, and these are the same sort of faults. Charlotte being all dark and mysterious, a typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl type, and Jamie Watson was the typical supportive male. There was nothing new and interesting there and they were way too similar to Sherlock and John. This had a lot of potential but frankly, it read like a mediocre fanfiction than a published novel, I simply don’t think that Cavallaro is a good enough writer to pull off the retelling she wanted. If you love YA lit, you’ll probably like it but it’s by no means outstanding but I did enjoy it and when the price drops on the sequel I’ll probably buy it but I’m in no rush. Side note: I’d quite like to read a story about descendants of Watson and Holmes just trying to avoid solving crimes or being terrible at it.

So that’s my February wrap up! As I haven’t posted much (at all) recently I’m also going to do a first impressions/short chat about the books I’m currently reading and then say some other books I’m intending to read in March.

The book I’ve made the most progress with so far is Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. I am loving this book but that’s no surprise since he is one of my favourite authors, he’s so good at world building and creating interesting plots and characters that I really recommend you pick up some of his books if you haven’t! Here’s the synopsis, taken from Amazon:

WARBREAKER is the story of two sisters – who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, a lesser god, and an immortal trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Theirs is a world in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city. A world transformed by BioChromatic magic, a power based on an essence known as breath. Using magic is arduous: breath can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

But the rewards are great: by using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be performed.

I’m also reading The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke. I got this book for Christmas and I’ve been excited to read it ever seen, sadly I haven’t made that much progress with it but I’ve been so busy with university that I haven’t had the time. What I’ve read so far I’ve loved and I can’t wait to really get stuck into it. Once again, here’s the synopsis (from Amazon):

Men had built cities before, but never such a city as Diaspar. For millennia its protective dome shut out the creeping decay and danger of the world outside. Once, it held powers that rule the stars.

But then, as legend has it, the invaders came, driving humanity into this last refuge. It takes one man, a Unique, to break through Diaspar’s stifling inertia, to smash the legend and discover the true nature of the Invaders.

Finally, I’m reading Hard To Be A God, another by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Since I liked Roadside Picnic I thought I’d try some more of their books and this one seems to have such an interesting plot. I haven’t got very far into it because I only started it a few days ago but here’s the synopsis (from Amazon again):

Anton is an undercover operative from future Earth, who travels to an alien world whose culture has not progressed beyond the Middle Ages. Although in possession of far more advanced knowledge than the society around him, he is forbidden to interfere with the natural progress of history. His place is to observe rather than interfere – but can he remain aloof in the face of so much cruelty and injustice…?

So there’s three books I’m intending to read this month, I also want to (finally) read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, and Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut. I may end up not reading half of these but I’m going to try.

I also have a few other ideas for blog posts that will likely never happen so (don’t) watch out for those!

Hope you all have a lovely day,
Rhiannon

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