Although we are already heading towards the end of February, it is time to do my January 2020 reading wrap up. I like to look back at a month in books after it ends and think of what I read. Isn’t it great to look back at a month and realize you had the best reading month ever? Sometimes, it is not as good and that’s fine. It happened to me a few times back in September and November. However, January 2020 was an amazing reading month!
This January 2020 reading wrap up is going to be a happy reading wrap up. I read seven books back in January, six of which were an absolute blast and one of which was a bit of a deception but still sort of enjoyable. Thus, I did finish January on a very good note. I read so much back then, compared to my usual pace, that it took me quite some time to pick up the first book of February.
But enough talking and let’s get into my January 2020 reading wrap up. By the way, you can also watch my reading wrap up in video on my Youtube channel as all my videos have English subtitles!
January reading wrap up
1. Ruin & Rising, Leigh Bardugo
|Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 2014
Series: The shadow and bone trilogy
Synopsis: Soldier. Summoner. Saint. The nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
The Darkling rules from his shadow throne while a weakened Alina Starkov recovers from their battle under the dubious protection of the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Now her hopes lie with the magic of a long-vanished ancient creature and the chance that an outlaw prince still survives.
As her allies and enemies race toward war, only Alina stands between her country and a rising tide of darkness that could destroy the world. To win this fight, she must seize a legend’s power—but claiming the firebird may be her ruin.
My review: I read book 1 of the trilogy in July and book two shortly after. They were both great reads. However, both contains elements that disturbed me. I talked about those things in the dedicated monthly reading wrap ups. Book 3, however, was the cherry on top of the cake, the perfect conclusion to this great series!
Everything that did annoy me in the two previous books was rectified and each character had an amazing emotional development. Mal had the most interesting one and I was so happy he quit his whining, being jealous and dismissive, and frankly a bit of a d*ck to Alina self. I read through this book in two days and I was not able to put it down. The intensity and tension hooked me! I went through so many different emotions! The end was different to your usual ending but it was perfect nonetheless!
I have only positive things to say about book 3 and this trilogy in general, so if you get the chance, read it!
2. A Winter’s Promise, Christelle Dabos
|Author: Christelle Dabos
Published: September 2018
Series: The Mirror Visitor
Synopsis: Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations. Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan.
Ophelia must leave all she knows behind and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold, icy ark known as the Pole, where danger lurks around every corner and nobody can be trusted. There, in the presence of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia slowly realizes that she is a pawn in a political game that will have far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world.
Long ago, following a cataclysm called the Rupture, the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands, now known as arks. Over each, the spirit of an omnipotent and immortal ancestor abides. The inhabitants of these arks each possess a unique power. Ophelia, with her ability to read the pasts of objects, must navigate this fantastic, disjointed, perilous world using her trademark tenacity and quiet strength.
My review: This is a book by a French author, now translated in English, that met a huge success. I thought I was the only French person left who did not read it! So I did read it and I admit I had my doubts.
The story itself, the plot, the world building and the magic system are all fantastic. So creative and unique! I found the world building fascinating, with a lot of history left untold and I am very intrigued by this. When it comes to the characters, I found them a bit cliché and annoying sometimes. I did not understand at first why there was such a massive misogynist undertone to the whole book.
The only matriarchy society felt very backward. Women were either vain, gossips, frivolous and jealous or submissive to their husbands. However, this is on purpose. The author wants the reader to react, to be outraged, to get upset. And it worked wonder with me! I read through the book so fast and I could not put it down. There is a good character development in the book and we see all the issues being addressed one by one. Do not let the first impression of this book deter you from reading because I did not regret carrying on one bit!
3. Archenemies, Marissa Meyer
|Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: November 2018
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Synopsis: Nova’s double life is about to get a lot more complicated:
As Insomnia, she is a full-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes. She works with Adrian’s patrol unit to protect the weak and maintain order in Gatlon City.
As Nightmare, she is an Anarchist – a group of of villains who are determined to destroy the Renegades. Nova wants vengeance against the so-called heroes who once failed her when she needed them most.
But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is the son of her sworn enemies and, unbeknownst to Nova, he has some dangerous secrets of his own.
My review: I absolutely adored book 1 when I read, which is why I was so excited to read book 2. I started it back in November but then watched The Crown so I only picked it back up in January. Still, I enjoyed the read but it was not as good as book 1.
I loved the political plot in book 1 and all the ethical issues of the Renegades system. We learn at the end of an anti-magic vaccine that will be weaponized against Prodigies who break the law. Of course, there is no framework around this so it is possible that people use it arbitrarily and that even stealing bread could get you striped of your power. There could have been such a strong debate around the ethics of this and an emphasis on the struggles the Renegades are facing.
Yet, instead, the book just focuses on the romance, while it was not that present in book 1. To me, it felt a bit flat. It was still a good read and I still enjoyed it. However, it missed what I loved so much in book 1. I also felt like we were not getting enough of the struggle the main character is herself facing, being in between both sides. Too much romance, not much development. Shame, but I will still read book 3!
4. Cress, Marissa Meyer
|Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: January 2017
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Synopsis: Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
My review: This series is so good so far! Loved Cinder, enjoyed Scarlet, adored Cress! This third installment in the saga is my favorite so far! It was such a good read! Probably my best in this January 2020 reading wrap up. Or close. I went through it so quick as well.
The pace quickens in this book as we see all our characters getting together to complete their mission. We also get a lot of answers to a lot of questions, even those are raising even more questions. So much action, mystery and. angst on there! The highlight sure was Cress herself. She grew up isolated from anyone, on a satellite, alone and she is very obviously socially inapt, awkward, naive. At the same time, she is so endearing, brave, bold, smart and loyal.
She is not the sort of character I would care for usually but in this book, it really worked on me. I loved Cress so much! All the things she accomplishes despite her circumstances… I can’t wait to read book 4!
5. Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
|Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: May 2018
Series: Six of Crows
Synopsis: Ketterdam, a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price―and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . . Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.
My review: I read the Shadow and bone trilogy so that I would not be completely lost reading this duology. And OMG! What a book! I must admit it had a slow start and I wanted the pace the quickens! Which it did, fairly quick actually!
From then on it was a succession of situation that had my heart stop, my adrenaline levels go up and down, my emotions skyrocket. Mystery, angst, suspence… the book was never predictable and the author was so good at tricking us into thinking something would happen, when something else actually happened.
I pretty much cared for all the characters except the main one as he sort of was the cliché of the dark, brooding, mysterious boy with a dark past and who refuse to build any emotional attachment. But beyond that, what a good read! Cress and Six of Crows are fighting up there for my best read in this January 2020 reading wrap up!
6. This Mortal Coil, Emily Suvada
|Author: Emily Suvada
Published: September 2018
Genre: YA Post-A
Series: Mortal Coil
Synopsis: Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.
That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.
When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.
My review: This book had everything that I should like: history, biology, genetics, warfare, disease, etc… Everything to make something absolutely amazing, with the same vibe as Contagion. I had such high hopes for this book. I mean, coding within DNA, creating vaccine with codes, adding tech to the human body, the use of science as main driver in this book.
Unfortunately, I found the plot rather blend and predictable. Nothing really happened and revelations always felt flat because they were never the result of a huge build up. The characters were a tad cliché and the end so farfetched according to me. It makes sense in the book but how it all happens so fast towards the end did not work for me. I do not cringe often reading a book, but I did then.
Overall, even though I am still quite curious about the plot, still interested in story, and will probably pick up book 2, this book was disappointing. Even though it was not a bad book, it still is the worst in this January 2020 reading wrap up.
7. Serpent & Dove, Shelby Mahurin
|Author: Shelby Mahurin
Published: September 2019
Series: Serpent & Dove
Synopsis: Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.
Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.
My review: Everybody loves about this book so I had to pick it up. I was skeptical with the resume but it all made sense in the book and actually worked so well. Just like A Winter’s Promise, the sexism of the society in this book is there on purpose. And once again, it had me all riled up.
Even though the beginning was rather slow, it did increase the pace at the right time and I ended up loving the book! Nothing was black nor white. We had characters that would not budge in their opinions but then would realize than maybe, their views are not the only listening too. Or other characters born in a world set to hate certain people but who despite all they’d been taught, would protect those people. We had the cutest love story and the steamiest scene but I am gonna stop there.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I had a great time reading and also a good laugh to be honest! There were some clichés here and there but I was also happy to find type of sass we get in Sarah J Maas’ books.
That’s all for this January 2020 reading wrap up and all the books I read back then. It was a good reading month with a lot of good books and I can’t wait to talk about the books I am reading inn February!
What did you read back in January? Anything you liked? Did you read any of the books mentioned in this post? What did you think?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you like this post.
See you soon,