Sunday, December 22, 2013

On My Nightstand - 2013

I've been catching up on some reading this year and decided to put together a post with a super brief review of the some of the titles that have kept me up late at night (I've discussed some of these titles in this post - apologies for the repetition)...

  • Game of Thrones (7 titles) - George R. R. Martin.  I started this series last year and it has consumed many an evening of mine.  Totally addicted and desperate for Martin to finish that last book, asap.  This series is a total commitment as each book is huuuuuge.  I also found that the books in the series alternated between gripping and yawn-ey.  Several were a total bore, and others were unputtdownable.  And none of these are for the faint of heart.  For reals guys, for reals.  If you think the show is shocking, the books are... woah.  
  • The Borrowers (5 titles) - Mary Norton.  A return to some childhood favourites.  It was fun to reread these, and finally discover what becomes of these sweet little folk (we were missing the final installment when my ma read these to us as kiddos).  Gentle bedtime reading.
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone & Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor.  Argh!!!  Thank you Angela and Sarah.  Thank you thank you thank you.  I've been recommending these all over the place.  So cleverly written, such interesting, lovable characters.  Epic romance.  Epic everything.  Just, epic.
  • Graceling, Fire & Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore.  Again, recommended by Angela and again, looooooved.  So nice to find YA writers who write stories with so much depth.  Beautiful imagery, badass female protagonists, rich world-building and some seriously scaaaaaary story elements.  Woah.  Watch out George R. R. Martin.
  • One Day - David Nicholls.  Aww.  Story broke me into a million pieces.  So beautiful and funny and honest.  Kinda feel in love with this book, and its beautiful, multi-layered subjects.  Em & Dex 4eva.  Yeah, I just wrote that.
  • Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant - Veronica Roth.  (prepare yo'selves) After a fun and original first installment, I found this series a real let-down.  I shouldn't have to convince myself to pick up my book and read it.  My book should insist I pick it up and ignore the rest of the world until I'm done.  I reached the conclusion early on that Roth isn't a particularly skillful writer, which didn't matter so much at first, but mattered quite a lot once I had invested in the series and decided to stick it out till the end.  Book two set a flying pace that made reading feel a little stressful.  Okay, okay!  Action!  I don't mind fast pacing at times, in fact, I love it, but Roth didn't give her characters or readers a real break, during Insurgent.  So many opportunities missed.  Surely the faction headquarters have a little more to them than one distinguishing design feature (usually a weird sculpture) and then a bunch of dorm rooms.  I came away liking the characters less (because other than learning how they react under pressure, how much do I really know about any of them?  There was no time!  Action!), and beginning to suspect that the series was building up towards a big fat anti-climax (I was only half-right).  Book three stuck with the 2D characters, lack of quality figurative language, and flat descriptions of the dystopian world they inhabit.  And there were a bunch more disappointments in store.  Again, opportunities lost!  Roth!!  With some potentially riveting character developments held tantalizingly close, Roth just outright avoided unraveling the motives behind the 'bad characters' (very clear distinction between the two types).  Why was Peter such a big meanie?  Why did Caleb do the thing he did?  Why was Marcus such a split personality?  We'll never really know.  We get some inkling into David's motives (who is David?  You ask.  Yeah, I know), but the characters who have been dragged along for the whole ride (for what purpose, other than to be there at the exact right moment to move Tris' plotline along?) remain mysterious and somehow irrevocably broken, by something.  Bad genetics?  Isn't that the opposite of what the rest of the novel is trying to say?  So confusing.  Having given up on Tris and Four as boring and predictable (the dual narration serves to morph them into essentially the same character, to my mind), I was especially desirous of getting to know the minor characters a little better, and see them have a more interesting part to play.  *Siiiiiiigh*.  Things did get a tad more exciting towards the end, but still failed to evoke any real emotional response from me.  
  • The Hunger GamesCatching Fire & Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins.  Back for a second go.  I buck against popular trend and heart Katniss Everdeen.  I really do.  She badass.
  • Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card.  Cool book!  Via Angela (surprise!).  Totally not the type of story I would have pictured myself enjoying so much, but I did!  I enjoyed it so much!  Really!  Even all the battle stuff.  And the ending, it really got me.  And I might have cried quite a lot (that's not a spoiler, I just always cry when something is written so poignantly). 
  • Mortal Fire - Elizabeth Knox (reviewed here).  Remnants of this story still linger with me.  Knox is just such a clever writer, so SO refreshing to read something so beautifully described.  Mortal Fire and One Day, both book-ended my reading of Insurgent.  Bad luck, Roth.  
  • Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets - Shannon Hale.  Via Angela.  These were fun, easy reads.  Hale definitely relies a little too heavily on cliches, but the characters felt genuine and likable (even lovable at times), and she definitely knows how to set a scene.  River Secrets was particularly gratifying in this way, such a lovely setting (and fun protagonist).  Still waiting to read that last book, and complete the series.

I have a bunch of new titles heading my way, yaaaaaay!  Meantime I have just started reading Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor (fun!  Already!  Soooo lovely to get to know Zuzana and Mik a little better - they are tres adorable [and also, that title totes brings Bread and Puppet to mind, which I love]), and then I'm gonna have another go at Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (I'm usually a huge fan of hers and I'm totally convinced I'll get past the first few chapters this time).

1 comment:

  1. Yah. Loving reading more book posts on blogs at the moment.
    Adding more titles to my goodreads every day. lol. If only I could read as fast as I add them to my "to read" shelf.