I somehow managed to devour seven books in the shortest month of the year. This month’s menu included two fiction, one historical fiction, three YA and one reread. Grab a snack and let’s jump in.
- Lucky You by Erika Carter // I very rarely give books one star reviews on Goodreads. In complete transparency, prior to reading Lucky You I had NEVER given a one star review to any book on Goodreads. But there is always a first time for everything and this is my first one star book ever. I hated everything about this book. The three main characters are insufferable, the plot moves absolutely nowhere and the writing was a complete disconnect for me. This was a special early release from Book of the Month and I am so sad that I wasted one of my monthly picks on this one. 1 out of 5 stars.
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo // Coming off of Lucky You I really wanted something redeeming and had been purposely saving Six of Crows for a special occasion. I finished SOC in three days and was itching to get my hands on the sequel (below). Six of Crows is the first novel in the SOC duology and it isn’t your average YA fantasy novel. Instead of following a group of heroes, it follows a group of six misfit antiheroes, each with their own small ray of light that saves them from being complete villains. My personal favorite character throughout the novel was Inej followed closely by Nina. It was so refreshing to have two strong female leads who are NEVER at each other’s throats but rather continually have each other’s backs. While six main characters can seem overwhelming to follow, Bardugo does an excellent job of fleshing them out so deeply that you have a fantastic sense of who each of them are as individuals as well as the part they each play within the group of misfits. The writing was fresh, vivid and engaging. If you are looking for a good fantasy action novel I could not recommend this one enough. 5 out of 5 stars.
- Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo // If you thought my finishing SOC in three days was nuts, I finished Crooked Kingdom in two. The second and final book in the SOC duology, CK is an incredible finale for our antiheroes. The gang is sent off on yet another thief mission to get back their millions and we are whisked off even deeper into the beautiful world that Bardugo has created. CK shows more emotional depth from our six main characters than SOC and we get to what makes them tick. Everyone has a calling card just like everyone has their secrets and our antiheroes are no different. While I found myself overall enjoying SOC more than CK, I still absolutely loved Crooked Kingdom. The closure provided by Bardugo is my favorite kind; the door is closed enough to let you know your favorite characters are taken care of but also open enough that you can still make up your own adventures for them after the novel ends. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard // I have to admit that I was super nervous to read King’s Cage. I had read sometime in the last year that Aveyard had decided to extend the original three books of the trilogy into four and my first thought was, “oh no this extra book is going to be unnecessary plot extensions that no one wants or needs.” I am so happy to say I was proven wrong. Following Mare’s capture at the end of Glass Sword, King’s Cage’s first 200 pages does a deep dive into our resident villain Maven. I absolutely loathe Maven but I found that providing him with this chunk of story to get into his head, show his strategy and really figure out the role he was going to play was an excellent addition to the series. The only thing I wasn’t sold on was the amount of “empowerment” lines that Aveyard continues to throw into the ends of her chapters. There are only so many times you can write Mare saying something along the lines of, “I am strong and I refuse to let this define me” before the reader screams, “SHE’S A BAD BITCH WE GET IT.” I’m truly surprised at myself for still being on the wagon with this series and I can’t wait to see how Aveyard wraps things up in the final book due out early 2018. 4 out of 5 stars.
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas // After the Six of Crows duology and King’s Cage, I decided to ride out my YA dystopian fantasy novel high and reread ACOMAF for the second time. Sue me. (PS I reviewed this one last October when I read it for the first time.)
- Victoria by Daisy Goodwin // Taking a much needed break from YA angst and magic, I dove right into Victoria. A historical fiction novel based on the real Queen Victoria who ruled from 1837-1901, Victoria focuses only on her ascension to the throne and very early reign. More focused on her romantic and platonic relationships than actual governing, I still found Victoria to be a light and fun read on the young queen. Goodwin has written other historical fictions that I have enjoyed and she actually wrote Victoria while she was also writing and producing the BBC series of the same name. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood // I’ve been saving The Handmaid’s Tale for quite some time and I finally decided this was the month I would tackle it. After seeing the first trailer for the Hulu miniseries, I knew I had to read the book before it premiered in late April. The book is fascinating, horrifying and beautifully written. THT takes place in a dystopian society sometime after a war that left radiation and a plague roaming the United States. An extremist regime under the name Sons of Jacob assumes power under the newly formed Republic of Gilead, strips women of all rights and reestablishes a hierarchy among the population. The entire novel is told through the perspective of a Handmaid named Offred who is used against her will as a surrogate to infertile Wives. Offred shows the reader flashbacks to her previous life before the rise of Gilead as well as her current day to day experiences as a Handmaid. There are certain books that feel so dystopian that they are completely out of reach and then there are books like The Handmaid’s Tale that feel uncomfortably possible should certain horrible circumstances be set into motion. I would recommend this book to everyone with eyes and/or ears willing to read and/or listen as I think it is essential to learn and relearn that all consequences have actions and that all humans have the right to be treated equally. 5 out of 5 stars.