Heyyy so I know I said I’d be posting more frequently, but it turns out that I talk a lot of shit, so here we are. I’ve done a few recent reads in the past as a way of me doing shorter reviews of books, and I think that this is something that I’m going to do a lot more of over the next year as I find longer, more in-depth reviews to be more intimidating having not long recovered from the worst reading slump of my whole life.
This is basically a January wrap up, but since it’s February and I’ve barely managed to finish another book, we’re making it a recent reads post instead! As always, the covers of the books will take you to their respective Goodreads pages.
STRANGE THE DREAMER BY LAINI TAYLOR
Laini Taylor’s writing is so unique and wonderful and somehow I manage to forget just how much I love it until I read one of her books again. Strange the Dreamer is hard to summarise because it takes you on such a journey and the main character, Lazlo, develops so much over the course of the book. Lazlo has easily made his way onto my list of favourite protagonists, primarily because he’s an absolute sweetheart and I’m convinced that it’s literally impossible not to love him. I adored all of the characters in this book, and all the complicated ways they interact with each other. Strange the Dreamer, much like Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, deals with gods and monsters, and I love this about her work. My one criticism is that I wasn’t really invested in the romance that develops in this book, as it does manifest incredibly quickly. Much of this book and its sequel depend on your investment in the relationship between these two characters, so the books suffered for me a little because of this. I didn’t dislike the romance, and as I’ve said I loved all the characters individually, it’s just that I personally prefer a slow burn.
MUSE OF NIGHTMARES BY LAINI TAYLOR
Obviously I can’t really mention much about this book without completely spoiling the first one, but suffice to say that this is one of the best sequels I’ve read. Strange the Dreamer could have worked completely fine as a standalone book, which puts the pressure on Muse of Nightmares to be just as good, if not better. Which, really, it was. This developed the world and the characters brilliantly, and it wove in the story of two new characters — Kora and Nova — perfectly. It never felt rushed or underdeveloped, and I was more than happy to spend more time in this world. This is a sadder, more serious book when compared to the wonder of the first, but it ends in a way that I hope brings us more stories from this world, even if it’s not in novel format.
YOU BY CAROLINE KEPNES
How late am I for this hype train? Late enough that it took my friend watching and gushing over the Netflix adaptation for me to actually read it. By now, I think, we all know the premise: the book is told entirely in second person narration from the perspective of a stalker as he begins a relationship with the woman he’s stalking. This book was dark, and it definitely left me feeling uncomfortable more than once. Every character in this book was just a different kind of awful person, which made it really interesting to read, as it’s not often that you read a book where every single character is deeply and obviously flawed. I read it over the course of a day, and it’s definitely hard to put down. I do, however, think I went in with my expectations a little too high as I’d only ever heard positive things about it, but it’s by no means a bad book, and one that I’d definitely recommend. Even after reading this, I’m still going to check out the adaptation, as from what I’ve heard it’s even better than the book!
FIRE & HEIST BY SARAH BETH DURST
One of the things I’ve noticed after not reading for so long is that my standards are much, much higher than they used to be. I’m still too stubborn to actually give up on a book I’m not enjoying (which is probably a habit I should break) but I’m a little less forgiving when a book isn’t meeting my expectations. The premise of this book was so cool. I received it in a Fairy Loot box, but with the promise of weredragons, I was likely going to be drawn to this book anyway. However, I wasn’t expecting this book to be an urban fantasy, which threw me off immediately, as dragons usually go hand-in-hand with high fantasy. The book being urban fantasy isn’t a problem by any means, however the more exciting elements of the story, i.e. the dragons and the heist, fell to the wayside in favour of high school drama that would have felt more at home in a YA contemporary. The book just felt underdeveloped to me, the worldbuilding wasn’t great, and I wasn’t invested in the characters as much as I should have been. It’s not a bad book by any means, it was just underwhelming given the premise.
ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE BY ROBIN HOBB.
If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you’ll know that I’ve been promising myself that I’m going to read this book since TIME IMMEMORIAL. And it FINALLY happened! I did it! I read a Robin Hobb book! And it was okay!
The thing about this book and this series is that all I ever seem to read about it is that you have to “get through it” to get to Hobb’s better works featuring these characters. Which, you know, isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation. But it did hold up. I do love Fitz, and there were elements of this book that I really loved and would like to see more of. I did find myself getting a little lost at times, and I’m not entirely sure I fully understand the magic system. There were a lot of characters in this book, and it did get a little confusing at times. But then, I did read the majority of this book on a train back from Nottingham with a slight hangover, so that might not be the book’s fault.
So those are the five books I’ve read so far this year! I said in my 2019 reading goals post that I was going to set myself a monthly TBR, but so far I haven’t done this. I’m a little behind in terms of my Goodreads goal, but I’m making a marked improvement on my reading compared to last year.
If you’ve read any of these books, let me know in the comments! I’d also love to hear if you’ve read and can recommend any more of Robin Hobb’s work 🙂