Hi guys, it’s the end of another month which means it’s time for another monthly wrap up. I had a pretty good reading month. I managed to read 9 books – 4 of which are 4 star ratings. Although I did have a few mixed feelings about some books too. Unsurprisingly I read mostly fantasy, but I kind of wanting to read more books from other genres. Anyway let’s get started.
Borne / Jeff Vandermeer / ★★.5
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. I really enjoyed the Southern Reach trilogy by the same author so I was immediately interested in the new book. While the concept is an interesting one and Vandermeer is a talented writer, I just didn’t love this book. I think the main issue I had with this was the pacing. It has quite a slow start and quite a fast ending. It also lacks a substantial plot – alot of the is just a meandering wander into the life of the main character. The world is an interesting one, although it is also pretty weird. To be honest I didn’t really care about any of the characters. This one just didn’t work for me, but still worth checking out if you’re interested in it.
Godblind / Anna Stephens / ★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This one was quite mixed for me. To be completely honest it was probably more of a 2.5 star rating. I wanted to like it more than I actually ended up liking it. The two main issue I had was the lack of character depth and the number of perspectives. Firstly, for me the characters fell a little flat – they didn’t seem well rounded and so I wanted more development from them. Perhaps because there are so many characters, the author sacrificed some character depth/development. The second issue is that in my opinion there are too many character perspectives, which makes it hard to keep track of them all. Off the top of my head there are 10 character perspectives and in my opinion that is too many. This probably contributed to the fact it took me a while to get into this book. I will say I think the book does pick up after the first quarter of the book. The romance elements were entirely predictable (especially in one place) and kind of unnecessary. I felt like it was just there as a bit of a relief from some of the brutality and I didn’t feel like the characters actually connected. The plot was alright, if a little predictable at times. I will say that I thought the world building was quite good and the second half does get a bit better. One last thing to mention is the brutality of this book – it is not for the faint hearted or squeamish. I am currently unsure whether I will continue on with this series, but don’t let this review put you off – there are alot of good reviews of it.
Ashes of London / Andrew Taylor / ★★★
This one had been compared to C. J. Sansom’s Shardlake series, so I was immediately interested in it. Overall this was an enjoyable read but it wasn’t much more than that. The characters lacked depth, the mystery wasn’t very well thought out (in my opinion) and sections dragged a little – the writing itself was quite good though. I will say it was quite a compelling read and I read it pretty quickly. Other than that I don’t really have a lot to say about this one – it was good but not great.
Dreamer’s Pool / Juliet Marillier / ★★★
To be completely honest I was a little disappointed with this one. I have loved the first two books in the Sevenwaters trilogy and Heart’s Blood so I expected to love this too. Unfortunately I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy it, just not as much. The writing is great but where it fell for me was the characters and the plot. I quite liked Blackthorn and Grim, however I couldn’t handle the angst of the two main younger characters and their romance. I also don’t understand why the fey had to get involved. In terms of enjoyment this would probably be a two star rating but I’m adding a star for Marillier’s writing. I’m not in a hurry to continue with this series and I don’t know if I’ll bother anyway.
Age of Swords / Michael J. Sullivan / ★★★.5
This is the second book in the Legends of the First Empire series and it didn’t disappoint. I thought this was a great continuation of this series. The character development is really well done, although I was pretty heartbroken about what happens to a certain character. I’m still not quite over it. I liked that the tone of these books are quite light – it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but the overall tone of these books aren’t dark. The amusing interactions with some characters really lend itself to this lighter tone. The plot moves pretty quickly and the action is done pretty well. I love the setting of these books too. Basically I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely be continuing with this series and I would highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoy fantasy.
The Shadow of What Was Lost / James Islington / ★★★.5
This is the first book in the Licanius trilogy and is his debut book. I thought this was a solid introduction to this new trilogy. The world building is done well, the plot is engaging and the writing is good. I found the world to be an interesting one, although I would have like more detail about it at times. For example a portion of this book is the characters travelling but there was no indication of distance, if that makes any sense – the map does help a little with this. I also just wanted to know more about the terrain, cultures etc. The characters are all pretty well written, if a little cliched at times. I will say I wanted more direction (and depth) from the characters though – a few times in the book the characters are just told to do something and I wanted to know what they wanted to do/what they felt is important. There were a few times that I felt things happening in the plot were a little too convenient too. The book as a whole is pretty traditional in terms of the fantasy genre, so if you’re looking for a book that is doing something different then this is not the book for you. Overall a solid first book in a series and I will be checking out the second book.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld / Patricia A. McKillip / ★★★★
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I’m always looking to try new fantasy books and when I saw this on Netgalley I requested it. I am so glad I did – this was fantastic and quite unique. The writing is great and I was so hooked that I read this in one day. The plot is fantastic. It’s not a particularly action packed fantasy so if that’s what you’re looking for than this isn’t for you, but if you like fantasy books with an immersive world, interesting characters and great writing than I highly recommend checking this out. I’m glad I stumbled upon it on Netgalley.
Dark Fire / C. J. Sansom / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Shardlake series. I think I enjoyed this even more than the first one. The characters are fantastic, the plot is compelling and the writing is great. I find these books so easy to get into. The mystery elements are so well done and the tension builds throughout the book. It was a fantastic continuation of this series and I am so excited to continue on with it. I highly recommend this series, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.
Daughter of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / ★★★★
I picked this up on a bit of a whim as I was looking for some Asian inspired fantasy and this is set in a Japanese inspired world. I am very glad I did. I thought this was a fantastic start trilogy. It started out really strong and I was hooked from pretty early on. I have to say I wanted more of the world – more depth and history. It is an interesting world but I felt that it was a little lacking. The characters were fantastic and well written. I look forward to see how they will develop in the next books. I will say this is heavily centred around politics/intrigue so if that is not your thing then I wouldn’t recommend this. Personally I really enjoyed that element of this book. It is definitely not an action packed fantasy book but I didn’t mind that. I will definitely be checking out the rest of this trilogy. Full review coming soon.
The Queen of Blood / Sarah Beth Durst / ★★★★
I’ve had my eye on this book for a while and have been debating whether to pick it up. I finally decided to get it as some holiday reading and I am very glad I did. The setting of this is a really interesting one – it’s set in a world with elemental spirits that are controlled by the Queen of Renthia and that everything is built on giant tree branches. This was definitely one of my favourite things about this book, as the world building is done pretty well. The characters are also well written and I found it so easy to get into this book. I was hooked from quite early on. It was such a compelling read set in a fantastic world with amazing characters. I highly recommend this, especially if you are a fan of fantasy. Full review coming soon
In terms of my TBR for July I would quite like to read some more fiction books that aren’t fantasy or sci-fi. You guys know by now that is primarily what I read so I want to branch out a bit, so that’s what I’m hoping to do in July. My classic pick of the month is going to be the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I would also love to get to A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and Accusation by Bandi. You can see a few other books I want to get to in the picture below but I probably won’t get to all of them. I will most likely read some fantasy as well – I was recently granted digital copies of The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera and The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark and I am very excited to get to both. Other than that, I’m just going to read what I want to at the time.
I’m finally on track with my goodreads goal, which I am pretty happy with. Let’s hope I can now keep it up :). I have to say I’m looking forward to branching out a bit more and hopefully having a more varied reading month in July, unless I get distracted by fantasy books. What was your favourite book you read in June? Mine is probably The Queen of Blood or Daughter of the Empire… or Dark Fire. I read quite a few good books this month :). I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.