Hello everyone, and happy end to the year! I hope 2018 is about to bring you good luck and a much better world.
I’m excited to get into some stats from my 2017 reading (and maybe some simpler, better reading resolutions I can actually follow for this year), but for now, here’s my reading round-up for December.
Bone Gap by Susan Ruby
This is a magical realism novel about some characters who live in a town called Bone Gap, particularly Roza, a girl from afar who arrived mysteriously, and Finn, the only witness when she disappeared.
This book had compelling characters and I enjoyed the style of writing and description, but it did feel a bit short in terms of developing the relationship between Finn and his brother, the atmosphere of the town, and in other aspects. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it.
Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman
This is a contemporary drama about Ingrid, whose mother sends her off to a remote summer camp for at-risk youth, her condition for Ingrid to be able to attend a prestigious arts school.
This book wasn’t short, but it felt that way in some ways because it didn’t cover all of its bases really? It had a lot of characters that it didn’t really flesh out and it had some fairly awkward subplots that didn’t really seem justified. It was…fine, but it didn’t give me a lot of reasons to invest and have big feelings.
Want by Cindy Pon
This is a futuristic dystopian sci-fi about a polluted Taiwan with a distinct class divide between the rich and poor. The rich wear advanced suits to avoid the polluted air and prolong their lives; the poor have drastically shortened lifespans. Zhou, the protagonist, decides to do something about it.
I felt like this book was a little too much about the romance and not so much about the worldbuilding, which I would have preferred. I also didn’t feel like it spent much time fleshing out Zhou’s friends and team, and that made it difficult to get engaged in their struggles. Again, this was one of those short books where it felt like the emotional beats didn’t land as they could have. Broken record 2017.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
This book is kind of a heroes/villains X-Men situation in a made-up city world, where we follow a hero with a secret identity and a “villain” looking for retribution for the wrongs the heroes have committed.
This book was a bit overly long, somewhat predictable (a very X-Men vs. Magneto kind of idea), not that compelling romance, and the characters are not all that fleshed out? This was a second chance read, but I kind of think maybe I liked Cinder better, despite its problems? So that kind of washed out.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I don’t know that I need to explain what this is since it’s super popular, but: this is the first book of a fantasy series that’s a sort of fairy tale retelling that takes place in a world where fae and humans both exist (segregated by a magic wall).
I decided to re-read this series because, honestly, I didn’t love the first book of it, I really liked the second book, then the third book really fell flat for me, and that’s such a strange arc I just really wanted to figure out what happened.
So I wasn’t really into this book originally, because it’s really pretty slow up until the last hundred pages or so, when it gets pretty exciting (almost crammed in too quickly). The first book is mostly the main character going to the fae world and falling in love and really pretty slow up until the ending? Anyway, rereading that was fine since I knew what was coming.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
…so I really enjoyed this the first time around, because it took a turn I didn’t expect and made me feel as if the main character had self-respect and was going to kick butt on her own and that we were getting a Statement about healthy relationships.
But this time around, I pinpointed the issue that I have with the book and what continues to be a real problem through the next one: the super annoying plot trope of “mates.” Remember imprints from New Moon? Like that, along with lots of justifications for extra gross behaviour on the part of dudes. Sigh. The tension and interest in a romance is just way better if people getting together isn’t a foregone conclusion. (Also, I had the impression before that revelation that this book would be anti-gross behaviour.)
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
This was meh to me the first time around, but it took me a while to realize why. It did have some good moments? But I really wanted there to be some key confrontations and real interactions between the protagonist and the person who really betrays her, and that just never really happens. There are also a lot of actions in this one motivated and framed around soulmatery, which is kind of…meh. There are also a lot of characters who swoop in to do important stuff who I feel like we barely know, and I just don’t care enough about them to be invested in them doing the stuff? This is maybe a much more epic series than it came out as (aka, we need more time to get to know the world and everyone in it to get involved in its main conflicts), or maybe it just needed to pull out some (quite cheesy) sex scenes to give us more time with that.
Did you get in any holiday re-reading? What were your bests and disappointments this month? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll speak to you again in the new year!