Can you believe it’s already September, autumn is about to start and before we know it, it’s gonna be Christmas?! How time flies! I am really enjoying doing those monthly reading recap. After June and July, the turn of August has come so here comes my August reading recap!
Nine books in total, some very good, some less good and some big disappointment! But see for yourself!
1. Obsidio, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
|Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published: May 2019
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Series: The Illuminae Files
Synopsis Obsidio: Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza–but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys–an old flame from Asha’s past–reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.
My review: Book three was good but not as good as the other two. I felt like it was the end of the series and that it was time to end it. There were more characters being introduced, another location and the characters of the two other books. Which made it a bit confusing at times and also explains why we have much more narration in this book than in the two others.
The humour is flawless once again and I found a lot of chapters and scenes very touching. However, considering the breadth of the crime perpetrated in the book and the scandal that it created, I am a bit disappointed that the book finished straight after the verdict. I would have loved it if the book went more in depth into the consequences of this verdict and the PR scandal following. Overall I spent a great time reading this and it actually made me like Sci-Fi, which I used to despise. So yeah, I recommend!
2. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
|Author: Charlotte Brontë
Published: April 1847
Synopsis: Throughout the hardships of her childhood – spent with a severe aunt and abusive cousin, and later at the austere Lowood charity school – Jane Eyre clings to a sense of self-worth, despite of her treatment from those close to her. At the age of eighteen, sick of her narrow existence, she seeks work as a governess. The monotony of Jane’s new life at Thornfield Hall is broken up by the arrival of her peculiar and changeful employer, Mr Rochester. Routine at the mansion is further disrupted by
mysterious incidents that draw the pair closer together but which, once explained, threaten Jane’s happiness and integrity.
My review: I had so much trouble reading and finishing this book. I was so close to giving up so many times! The writing styles, the story itself, the book format. Really, I did not like this book at all.
I know that I need to put this back into context and that back in the 19th century, this was avant-garde but I just cannot. This book contains all the literature tropes I hate. Women being bitches to each other. People being unnecessary mean just to reinforce, highlight and intensify the main character. Parents blinds to their offsprings’ wrongdoings. A boy harassing and bullying a girl. A priest that is a social climber, a dickhead and also clearly the enemy of the very people he is supposed to help, making sure the poor will always stay poor. A ten year old child with the maturity and elocution of a thirty year old. And that mariage at the end.
I cannot. I am sorry. I tried.
3. Four Dead Queens, Astrid Scholte
|Author: Astrid Scholte
Published: February 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.
With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.
My review: This book had such an amazing potential but it ended up being a disappointment.
The two main characters were very interesting, well written and deeper than your typical YA characters. The romance was slow paste and coherent. However, the entire plot felt so unrealistic and farfetched. I have no other words. The end did surprise me a lot, I did not see it coming but at the same time, it was so absurd.
The world building isn’t there, while again, it was so interesting and promising. I would have loved more details on that because it would have make the book so much better. Especially because the system in itself raises so many questions and creates so many ethical issues. Issues that are so current and it would have been great to see them address. But what can you do?
So yes, a bit of a miss for me.
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
|Author: Laini Taylor
Published: June 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
My review: I had heard so much about this trilogy. Everybody seems to be a fan. So I gave it a go, got the boxed set and read the first installment.
I cannot say I am as hyped as other people have been by the story. It was indeed a bit more unique than what I am used to read. I was pleased to see that for once in an American YA book, sex isn’t a taboo and is talked about openly. The magic system and back stories were interesting. The characters were actually well-written. I did like how magic was sort of incorporated in life and how the characters were not afraid of showing it to non-magic beings. That added some fun and humour to the story. There isn’t much else to say of this book.
I feel that this first one is an introduction and that the next two books will be much more intense. So I guess I need to read those to find out!
5. Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi
|Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Published: March 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Legacy of Orisha
Synopsis: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
My review: This is definitely a book that booktube and bookstagram made me buy. After seeing so many people obsessed with this book, I gave it a go. And what a story! I loved it! I could not put down the book.
Before I start, you should know that the plot is not mystery or suspence driven, but 100% character driven. There is no real mystery of any sort as things are revealed as we read and it is more of a “road movie” type of story where the only thing we don’t know yet (but we can still guess) is the conclusion of the journey. However, the characters were strong and interesting enough to drive the plot till the end.
Speaking of, I fell in love the main female characters, Zélie and Amari, whom we see growing as the story goes. They change, deepen, mature. There is actual character development but beyond that, we see characters questioning themselves and their beliefs, admitting to their flaws and insecurities, taking steps back to think. There is romance in the book of course, but it never takes over the story.
The male character was so well made that it created all kind of emotions in me. Mostly frustration and anger. This guy was the typical example of entitled masculinity who looses all good senses when his privileges are questioned; who does not think for himself but only for the society he was born in and which shaped him. He would accept something for his loved ones or love interest but for no one else, confirming the double standard and hypocrisy of the system he works so hard to maintain. God knows what would happen if the people would get those privileges too.
In conclusion, I loved it and I can’t wait to read the next book!
6. The tethered mage, Melissa Caruso
|Author: Melissa Caruso
Published: October 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Swords and fire
Synopsis: Magic is scarce in the Raverran Empire, and those born with such powers are strictly controlled — taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon army, to be used as weapons in times of war.
Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire Empire.
Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations.
But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.
My review: Another book that booktube made me buy. One that I have a more contrasted opinion about though.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the political intrigue. It was so well made, so thrilling and captivating and definitely drove the plot. However, a lot of aspects of the book disturbed me. Because they were problematic, because they were not addressed, because they were ignored. So is it on purpose? Did the author left things as they were to have the reader react and be outraged? If so, well done because, god, they really angered me. If not, well, you might want to check your principle.
For example, Zaira cannot read, which she repeats a lot in the book. This led me to think that there must be a reason. You don’t repeat one thing many times not to address it, right? But never ever does Amalia offer to teach her. While they are now at the top of the political chain in their country. Surely it would be easier if Amalia could read, no? Another one is the falcon system where mages are basically glorified slaves. They belong to the empire and must serve the emperor. They live in a fortress and can’t really leave without express permission of their Falconer. Finally, they will never be free and will always need to have a Falconer. And no one ever questions the system despite Zaira always highlighting how unjust it is. And what about those romantic relationships between Falcons and Falconers? Surely, the relationship can’t be healthy since the Falconer will always be the dominant one, no?!
So, even though I loved the political intrigue, a lot of things in the society created by Melissa Caruso really disturb me. They are not addressed in book one so I am waiting to read book 2 and 3 to see how the author handles them. How she addresses them or not will determine what I actually thing of the saga.
7. Legendary, Stephanie Garber
|Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: May 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more―and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about―maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
My review: I was not really convinced by the first book due to the main character. Because the protagonist is different in book 2, I gave a second chance to the series. And although book 2 is better than book 1, I am afraid it is still an accumulation of clichés.
We’ve got the mysterious broody buy, the (almost violent) bad boy, the damsel in distress, the girl who swears to never fall in love but who of course will. We’ve also got the chase of the past rather than focusing on one’s future. Maybe I am not the right target audience for this series. I might be too old. I don’t know.
Sure, the plot was more mystery driven in this book and I found it more thrilling. But the clichés everywhere in the book made it hard for me to enjoy it. And what with this moralistic undertone everywhere?! So what if she kissed a boy. Or more than one. It makes it sound like she is a slut. Guess what, you can kiss, or oh god worse sleep with, as many boys as you like, it won’t make you a slut. Jesus Christ! I hate that sort of guilt-tripping moralistic shit in YA!
8. Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare
|Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: September 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Infernal Devices
Synopsis: A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.
Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Will and Jem, will do anything to save her. As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?
The tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
My review: I read book one and two in June and July. They were actually quite good and I hoped that the few details that annoyed me in them would be addressed in the last book. Sadly not. And that’s a shame because it made me sort of despise the third book.
I must admit it is a good conclusion to the whole series and I am glad it is over. However, I am now realizing how full of clichés this series is. So much about the bromance but nothing about the female friendship while the main character and the author are both women. Speaking of the main character, must she always be a damsel in distress even though she received proper Shadowhunter training? Speaking of her savior, must he always think that the ladies in his life cannot protect and defend themselves? Even though they received proper training and are sort of better than him at blade throwing?
And what about the sexism in this book? The author makes a point of highlighting all the misogynistic nonsense of the Victoria era and yet, yet… all her female characters and the behavior of her main male characters remains deeply sexist! Back we are with this moralistic undertone of the book. Yes, I know, the story takes place in the Victorian era, which is known for being very uptight, but still! If you’re gonna have vampires, werewolves and Shadowhunter, you can make a Shadow world a bit more tolerant.
Also, you’ve got 15 main characters. Why must they all end up in a heterosexual relationship?! What is this obsession of wanted to couple up every single character?! Especially when said romances are so sudden? So yes, I am not a fan of this last installment.
9. Heartless, Marissa Meyer
|Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: November 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
My review: The book was beautiful but here we have another instance of “you must never judge a book by its cover”. The whole book would have been 10 pages long if the main character had just spoken out and say “no”. It would have saved us time and the pain of reading it.
So much ado about nothing, as they would say. Honesty. I had high hopes for this book but what a disappointment. Clichés and all. Why must we always make the woman guilty of a relationship not working? It takes two to tango so why is the woman always taking the fall?! But beyond that, I found the book rather boring and had a really hard time not DNF it. So many other things I could say about why I did not like this book but oh well…
I love Marissa Meyer and I adore Renegades. But Heartless did not do it for me.
What books are in your August reading recap? Anything good? A new discovery you want to talk about? Or any disappointment? Did you read any of the books mentioned in this post?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,