Hello everyone, happy end-March!
I’ve become more and more convinced that time is a social construct, that it doesn’t exist, as two months off the blogosphere just flew by in a series of hectic schedules and crazy workloads.
Thankfully, things have eased a little (or rather I hope) and I’m popping back here to share with you all about these past 2 months, where I didn’t read much (I’m a couple of books behind my GR goal, yikes!) got to some priority TBR reads and found favourites in them!
For February, I was in a terrible slump and the bookish gods only bestowed upon me 2 books… thankfully in March that number doubled to 4. I’m currently reading two books and I do have a chance of finishing them by the 31st so we shall see if the number increases!
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
My Rating: ★★★★½ || Genre(s): Fantasy || Age Group: YA || My Review
I had an inkling I would like The Gilded Ones but I didn’t anticipate falling completely head over heels for it.
It did feel like a typical YA fantasy, filled with the familiar tropes such as the “badass girl as the main character”, “tragic past”, “pain pain pain”… but it was the execution, infused with emotions, as well as incredibly salient messages of feminism, empowerment etc that turned this into such a brilliant read. As did the characters, oh my Deka and the other alaki (girls with demonic blood) have strung themselves to my heart and are there to stay. Found family fans, Y’ALL COME OVER HERE.
Add on all that action with the great amount of foreshadowing and subversion of expectations (rip the nail which was being peeled of in excitement and anticipation), plus some intricate lore and history towards the end, and there you have it, a potential candidate for my top 10 books of 2021!
We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor
My Rating: ★★★ || Genre(s): Fantasy || Age Group: YA || My Review
My first impression of We Are the Fire was it’s comparison to An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir, aka one of my favourite YA fantasy series. And of course, when a book is compared to a remarkable series you have to read it, don’t you?
I was so excited, my expectations raised… and then fell flat. We Are the Fire wasn’t a bad book, the tension, action scenes and brutal atmosphere created were thrilling to read about, for that I gave it 3 stars. But where it disappointed me was the world-building. In An Ember in the Ashes, we have intricate world-building of the Martial Empire, rich supernatural elements closely tied in, but in We Are the Fire, the world-building was totally non-existent, which is quite atrocious, in my opinion, for any fantasy novel. There were so many unanswered questions, a silly one being why in the world do they have antlers???
And the romance. sigh sigh sigh If you want yearning and development and everything, read An Ember in the Ashes. If you want repetition, cliche-ness and cringe-worthy scenes, this book is for you.
The Sixth Gate by K.T. Munson
My Rating: ★★ || Genre(s): Fantasy || Age Group: YA || My Review
Ah my most disappointing read thus far.
But let me reinforce my point. This isn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t for me with its confusing world building, POVs and confusing confusion. I’m in no mood to sulk about it so please do read my review as linked above if you’re interested.
A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden
My Rating: ★★★½ || Genre(s): Science Fiction (Dystopian) || Age Group: Adult || My Review
Ahh it seems like an eternity since the huge dystopian craze. Hunger Games, Divergent, we all know the classics. And because of how obsessed I was, and overwhelmed I became, I took a huge hiatus from the genre.
And I’m back with the first book in The Outlands pentalogy, an adult dystopian that rekindled my liking for dystopian novels.
We had our good old stuck-in-a-life-or-death-and-two-enemies-have-to-work-together situation, and the character to character dynamics truly shone for this one! Their personalities, constantly fluctuating stances on serious matters and BANTER BANTER increased the enjoyment level of this book dramatically. The other elements like the plot, pacing etc were pretty well written as well – here’s one to pick up if you’re keen on revisiting the genre with a refreshing view!
The Half-Orphan’s Handbook by Joan F. Smith
My Rating: ★★★★ || Genre(s): Contemporary || Age Group: YA || My Review
The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is one of those books that nails the perfect balance between light-heartedness and cheer, and the sombre themes of grief, guilt and loss. The exploration into loss and acceptance was both sensitive and thought-provoking, the writing metaphorical, sprinkled with deep nuances I appreciated. The characters and their relationships were all so beautiful and heartfelt, and like friendships hello – something rarely focused on in YA.
Truly one to anticipate with its release on 6 April! I’m part of a blog tour for this book at the end of the month so do look out for my full review then!
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
My Rating: ★★★★½ || Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Fantasy || Age Group: Adult
Yes, I know: I FINALLY READ THE POPPY WAR BY R.F. KUANG.
It feels so surreal to say that, and I’m still reeling after having progressed to another book.
The only coherent word I can mutter now after The Poppy War messed my mind up is brilliant.
The characters? Brilliant. The plot? Brilliant. The historical context with parallels to the second Sino-Japanese War? Brilliant. The lore and portrayal of the gods and its significance in the historical context? Brilliant. R.F. Kuang? Brilliant.
I’ve been rendered a stuttering incoherent idiot by this book… I can promise you a full review, but as to when I can express something other than “brilliant”? Only time will tell. Just know that it lives up to all the hype and is utterly… brilliant.
(I 200% recommend it but please check the trigger warnings first as this is quite a heavy book.)
Ah as mentioned, February and March were crazy months from me and I haven’t been able to keep up with the Reader and bloghop as much, but allow me to share some incredible posts which I read recently!
- Phoenix @ Books with Wings is back with a discussion post about Teens in YA, which I found so thought-provoking, especially because one of my favs: Six of Crows is notorious for the unrealistic behaviour of the 17-year-olds it features (but I still love the crew nonetheless <3)
- Riddhi @ Whispering Stories has her One Year Blogiversary + Advice for New Bloggers, go show some love!!
- Sofii @ A Book A Thought has done some incredible work for the book blogging community by producing the long awaited Definitive Book Blogger List!
- During the month of February, Eleanor @ Wishing Upon a Star introduced the Insights Upon the Writes series on her blog, discussion posts looking into different writing tactics which was so insightful, my personal favourite was the discussion on political intrigue!
- Sanah @ Stories and Stardust shared with us her favourite audiobooks and I’m currently listening to the audiobook of Lovely War as per her recommendation and woah, I need to somehow have the audiobook rating exceed my already 5 star one for the physical book haha!
And that was what went on during my 2 months of ghosting the blogosphere… because of that, I’m terrible sloppy in catching up with everyone’s posts, my apologies!