It’s June which means it’s summer, the world cup and most importantly it was my birthday this month. I got older (unfortunately I haven’t found a way of having birthdays without that side effect). And after my mini book haul from my birthday money I am officially stating that I am on a book buying ban until Christmas. Yes, that long. I don’t know if I’ll last but I’m going to try because I have more than enough books to read until then (plus any arcs I get in the meantime). Seriously, I have over double the amount of books I could feasibly read in that time so no more until Christmas…. If you see me buying anything I give you permission to shout at me.
But back to this month, I was hoping to get through quite a few books in June as I’m finally taking a couple of months off editing but, in true me fashion, I got obsessed with a new story idea instead which meant I didn’t get through as many as I’d like. But four is still a decent number and considering one of them was 780 pages I feel like I should be allowed to count that as two books. It was my favourite book of the month though, and all year too.
(Reviews are spoiler free and links go to the goodreads pages for each book)
I have so many SFF books to read but I just really felt in the mood for a contemporary book and this one had a lot of rep that was recommended by someone on twitter. It’s a dual POV from two boys who had been foster brothers and get reunited through a school guidance councillor. The book builds as the boys get to know each other again and we find out the mystery behind what’s happening in Julian’s home life. I think it was done really well but I did feel like the second half of the book wasn’t as good because the tension disappeared for me after a certain point (although I’ve seen reviews say the opposite). Both characters are really loveable as are a lot of the side characters. I loved the friendships depicted and it’s so nice to see a book that centres friendship over romance. But I did find Adam a little bit too… happy? That sounds bad, his character has ADHD and the rep seemed really good to me but it was a little unrealistic that every single person he ever comes into contact with loves him even when he is doing something that could get him into trouble. That being said, I sped through this book in two days and I really did love the characters.
This is a mammoth of a book. When I see adult fantasies of this length I worry there will be a lot of world building, info dumping, history tangents and descriptions that slow everything down but this book was advertised as The Lies of Locke Lamora x The Legend of Eli Monpress and those are two of my all time favourite books so I took the gamble. I am SO happy I did. It lived up to all my hopes, it was fast paced and gripping. It never felt slow and the pace never dragged. Best book I’ve read all year, maybe one of the best books ever. Yes, I really did love it that much. It’s basically The Lies of Locke Lamora but better and with dragons (and I loved that book so that’s not a slight). It follows Ardor Benn, ruse artist extraordinaire, as he undertakes the biggest ruse of his life from a priest to steal from the King.
I absolutely loved Ardor, he’s cocky and overdramatic and awesome, and his friendship with his partner Raek was one of the (many) best bits of the book. The magic system is really well thought out and it doesn’t involve people with magic which is an awesome change, instead it uses products from dragons in a more science-y based system which means it’s available for everyone to use. It’s such a brilliant idea and something very different from anything I’ve read. It was woven throughout the world so well. Everything relies on it and it was an amazing world to visit (and dragons!) Even after 780 pages I can’t wait to be back for the sequel. It had a nice overarching mystery element to it that reminded me of Mistborn too, you always knew something bigger was going on but it focused on the characters and never lost my interest. In short, this is an amazing, fast paced, character driven book with unique world building (and dragons). If you are a fan of Scott Lynch, Mistborn or just thieves and con artists like I am read this book.
I posted this month about how this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and then the next day I got hold of an arc to read. It’s the final book in a trilogy that I’ve loved with one of my favourite characters I’ve ever read. But to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. It simply didn’t have enough Silyen in it for me. There wasn’t enough from Silyen, of Silyen or about Silyen. Now being disappointed because my favourite character didn’t show up enough might sound a bit harsh but through the whole trilogy it felt like it was building up for Silyen to take centre stage and be important. And don’t get me wrong he was important but I just didn’t get the pay off that this awesome amoral melodramatic character deserved. He, and what I was expecting from him, was why I was here. the rest was still really interesting and enjoyable to read but I wanted more. (Also the ending. Gah. I understand why but I just needed another scene!) But Silyen isn’t the only stand out from this book, it’s a weird fantasy mix of modern and Victorian Britain and yet it picked up on a lot of extremely topical points. With a lot of on-the-nose comments about sexism, racism, classism and just fascism in general and how the powerful use propaganda and abuse their power. It never comes across as preachy but was woven into the story so well and mirrored too much of what is happening in the world.
A couple quotes that I have to share with you:
Jenner took her elbow and pulled her to one side in the corridor beside a long tapestry. She shook him off. Men didn’t touch each other when trying to make a point, so why touch her?
You learned in school about countries that went backwards. Peaceful nations that flared up in civil war. Democracies that fell under the sway of fanatics. You never imagined that such a thing might happen here in Britain. But it could. It was happening right now.
Adrift by Rob Boffard *****
The concept of this sounded similiar to one of my favourite doctor who episodes (midnight) so as soon as I saw it I had to give it a try. It’s about a group of tourists who get stranded on a small tour ship after the space station they were visiting gets attacked. Its set almost completely within the small ship and has multiple point of view characters that are refreshingly different from each other. Including a ten year old boy, sixty five year old woman, a young tour guide and jaded alcoholic hotel critic. It’s nice to see such different characters rather than the same old average ones. It did start very slowly as we got to know the characters and they got to know each other and the situation they were in. It’s written in present tense which I did find quite jarring at the start as I don’t see so many books written in that style but it really worked with the way we learnt about the characters pasts. Unfortunately it did take a while for it to pick up for me and it wasn’t until the half way point that things really got intense. The good news is the second half of the book was really great. I loved the idea of a sci fi that was so self contained in a small environment, so often books set in space span such huge areas and concepts but this was a true character based study in a dire situation, I’d recommend it for anyone who doesn’t mind a slow build Sci fi and wants a multi pov book where the characters are really different to each other.
“What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?”
Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them” things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.
Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naive, eighteen-year-old Nora the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.
For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.
Overall I had a good month, I enjoyed all the books I read even though I didn’t read as many as I had wanted. I already have the books I want to read next month planned but we’ll have to see if I stick to them, And just so you know, my new acquisition was available for free so I didn’t break my book buying ban in the same post as I announced it!
Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think? What was the best book you read this month? Anyone else love the doctor who episode I’m talking about?