Monthly Reads: September 2017

Hello everyone, and welcome back!

I’m still not reading at the rate I’d like to be, but hopefully I’ll start catching up in the cooler months of tea, cozy blankets, and curling up in armchairs. I have at least started my re-read of the His Dark Materials trilogy, which I’m pretty sure will get some momentum going for me because I’m pretty excited about it (and hopeful about The Book of Dust next month).

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Female of the SpeciesOne of my best of the season and maybe of the year so far, to be honest.

This book is about rape culture, largely, but more specifically it’s about a protagonist who killed her sister’s murderer/rapist, the friend she makes volunteering at an animal shelter, and the guy from her school who takes an interest in her. The subject matter is serious, obviously, especially since this is one of those rare books that deals with the subject of sexual assault well, but there are actually a few good laughs, and it’s a really engaging read.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

A List of CagesThis book was…okay.

This one is about two teen boys who re-meet in high school; once they were like brothers, but the younger of them was taken in by his uncle into an abusive household, while the other has grown up among friends and love.

The two protagonists are very likeable, but this book is one of those that really seems averse to medication for mental health issues (the older boy has ADHD, treated by…green juice, I guess), and it’s otherwise…it has some hit or miss subplots. I enjoyed the experience okay, but it’s not really a keep for me.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark ThroneI was a bit disappointed by this sequel, to be honest.

I quite liked Three Dark Crowns, despite its issues, and I was glad I took a second chance on the author to pick it up. This follow-up was…I don’t know. I enjoyed the slow build of the first novel, although others were bored by it; I liked the amount of character information and development, and the time we spent with the people surrounding the three queens. This book definitely was more fast-paced, which some people will definitely like better, but I also just didn’t feel like it really raised the stakes very much? It felt a little like it chickened out on its premise.

It did really change the game by the end of the book, and I didn’t hate this, so I don’t know. Maybe the third book (of four, apparently) will bring it back for me, but I don’t know. I find these things are usually one way (all uphill or all downhill) for me. We’ll see.

Warcross by Marie Lu

WarcrossI took a second chance on Marie Lu. It was not regrettable.

Warcross is a semi-futuristic sci-fi where people all around the world engage in a virtual game (the titular one) that makes use of real world environments and fantasy ones, and has vaguely MMORPG-type party roles. It’s a pretty neat premise, given how not far off it feels. The protagonist is a hacker noticed by the creator of the game and recruited to do some spying within the game world.

This book gets by on its neat world; its protagonist is likeable enough, but a little too perfect, and there isn’t much time spent on developing other characters. The plot is reasonably predictable. Still, I think I’ll read on; this felt a bit short, but the ideas were neat.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I haven’t re-read this series in ages, so it was really neat to get back to it. (I actually lost my original copies, so this is the variant cover I have now. I miss the original. Sadness.)

If you haven’t read the His Dark Materials trilogy, here goes: it’s at least initially about a young girl (Lyra) from an alternate world where everyone has a talking animal companion that’s basically their soul, and she’s kind of a chosen one who ends up on an adventure across many strange lands where she meets witches, talking bears, and a lot of other unlikely allies.

It sounds absolutely fantasy whacky, but a lot of it is also a bunch of people doing scientific and theological experiments, so it feels oddly grounded.

Lyra is a great protagonist. She’s curious, brave, proud, fierce, loyal, compassionate, and a liar. She’s complicated and not perfect. She’s basically just really refreshing to read. (Also, she’s eleven when the series starts so not every boy is a love interest, which is nice.)

I’ve already started The Subtle Knife, so reading life is good for now! (I might finish it before the end of the month, but…as of writing this, it would be premature to add.)

What have you been reading lately? What are you looking forward to curling up with during the spooky season? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll speak to you again soon!

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