July Wrap Up

It’s been an exciting month! I’ve moved, finished the first draft of my dissertation and am into the editing stage, and I am starting a new job tomorrow! I have also read eight books and watched many, many episodes of Green Wing!

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaleed Hosseni

A story about siblings Abdullah and Pari and the people who intersected with their separate lives over several decades. 

An excellent book by Hosseni again, but not my favourite. There were a lot of characters and it could be hard to keep track of who was who and why they were important. It was an interesting study in the web of peoples lives.

 

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“The Circus arrives without warning”, a monochrome, magical splash on the landscape, a circus that opens only at night. At the centre of this circus is a magical competition between two apprentices, the circus their battle ground. It is a magical, whimsical tale about the Circus over a period of time and its endurance. 

After the emotional whacking, I really enjoyed the whimsical nature of The Night Circus and the magic and the passion and I didn’t get annoyed at the love story which is unusual.

A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

A fantastic sci fi novel about the interspecies crew of the tunnelling ship The Wayfarer in their mission to punch a wormhole through to unchartered space. 

I absolutely adored this book, it was about inclusivity and had understandable sci fi (like the solution to one problem simply ‘turn it off and back on again’), and the characters were simply wonderful. This is my book of the month!

 

 

The Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Amani is a young woman with an impeccable aim and a desperation to get away from her dusty backwater village in the desert. She enters a gun competition, up against a Foreigner. When they save each others life, he gives her the chance to run. They enter the desert, and a rebellion, where demijin have powers and Amani finds out a few things about herself and about her companion.

A little bit Arabian Nights and a really enjoyable read about magic and demijin and ruthless sultans and gender discrimination proving everyone wrong.

 

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

What happens to all of those who aren’t ‘the chosen ones’ when the aliens or the vampires or the weird glowing things come to town? They keep on living, rolling their eyes at the drama and dealing with much more pressing matters like graduating, asking their crush to go to prom, your best friend being the god of cats.

I’m working my way through the Patrick Ness books! This one was an incredibly interesting concept, quite an easy read, I enjoyed the very matter of fact discussion about mental health problems and also that the Chosen Ones are called “indie kids”.

A Conjuring of Magic (Shade of Magic #3) by V.E.Schwab

The final in the Shades of Magic series: White London has fallen. Red is next. Kell and Lila have to join forces with Alucard and Holland to overcome the pure corrupted magic of the Shadow King. 

I have loved this whole series and honestly the ending was so good and I loved it, I really really loved this whole series. Recommend!

 

 

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Todd and Viola made it to Haven, but it wasn’t the safe place they thought it would be. It’s now New Prentisstown and Mayor Prentiss has plans. Viola and Todd are separated and their fear for the others life keeps them in line. But who can they trust in this new world?

Second book in the Chaos Walking series, not quite as good as the first though which was a shame. Looking forward to the third book though.

 

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Tristan Thorn lives in the village of Wall, a boy who doesn’t quite fit. He doesn’t know that he was born on the other side, in the realm of Faerie. He is simply a young man in love with Victoria and hoping to prove it to her. When they see a star fall, he crosses into Faerie to collect the star and prove his love. The star however, has a lot more to say than he was expecting. 

I loved the movie, and I loved the book even more and honestly it’s such a magically weird book.

 

My top recommend for this month is definitely A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, if that’s the only one you read from this list! I have a lot of books on my kindle to read and quite a few on the shelf that need reading so of course I’m going to re-read Sense and Sensibility first :).

 

Review: Six of Crows

I kept seeing Six of Crows on booktube, and then I was recommended it over tumblr and I have been desperate to read it since I bought it about two weeks ago. Yesterday I finished it. And if you haven’t already read it, I’d say you should probably add to your TBR, it’s awesome.

A book which starts with a map is my kind of book. A book that starts with TWO maps is definitely going to spark my interest! This is the latter, two awesome maps!

Kaz Brekker is a criminal prodigy in the Barrel of Kersh. He is a feared second-in-command of a gang, operating gambling halls and trading in secrets. He and his faithful shadow, Inej, the Wraith, operate in the shadows, stealing secrets and applying leverage. After a bust up with another gang over Barrel territory, Kaz gets offered the deal of a lifetime. Thirty Thousand to attempt the impossible: to break into the impenetrable Ice Court and steal something from inside. To achieve the impossible, Kaz recruits five other criminals necessary to get the job done: Inej is an acrobat, she can defy gravity and move silently; Jesper, gambling-addict, debt-ridden sharpshooter with a wicked sense of humour; Heartrender Grisha (can manipulate other peoples blood) Nina who has been trying to release fjerdian witchhunter Matthias from the Kersh prison for years now; Matthias is permanently angry especially with Nina. The final in their party is green demolitions expert Wylan, still new to a life of crime and death and not altogether happy with a knife even if he can blow anything up.

A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.”

Their task is to break into the Ice Court of Matthias’s homeland, a notorious military stronghold designed to withstand armies. Should they succeed, they could release magical havoc on the world, but if they succeed, they will have wealth beyond their wildest dreams. There is a change they will all kill each other on the way there though. Tempers are high and trigger fingers happy, but if they work together, they’d be unstoppable.

The book is split into different characters perspectives, which allows us to see each characters motivations for taking the job, how they contribute to the story, and how they feel about other characters (best PoV is Kaz or Inej because no-one else can tell what they’re thinking). Because the characters get separated frequently as the plans change and are re-made, the sound of the bells provide a chronology for narratives to be slotted in, adding different perspectives as the plan takes shape and goes wrong and tempers fray ect.

“Jesper knocking his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.”

Five stars for world-building alone! It’s dark, its gritty, its the criminal underbelly and the main characters are murderers, thieves, con-men, soldiers. The magic system is fascinating with how it interacts with international politics. The characters are diverse and at least three are unashamedly LGBTQ. The romance aspect is all anger and pain and didn’t annoy me like other romances in fantasy novels have been known to. No, I fully support the romances in this series and am anxiously waiting for Crooked Kingdom, the second book in the duology, to arrive.

The characters were well-developed, and diverse and I love all six of them and how they interact. Kaz keeps things from everyone and then shrugs off their anger when they find out; man has some impressive trust issues and also PTSD. Inej understands Kaz better than anyone and even she gets annoyed with being kept in the dark. Nina and Matthais come as a package deal from the start, even though they are sworn enemies and I love the banter (cough: flirting) between Wylan and Jesper. Just, they’re a bunch of teenagers, but they’re all survivors, all street-rats (well, Wylan is new but still).

I had barely put this book down before I acknowledged that I would be happily joining the Six of Crows bandwagon. The Crows Duology is set as part of the Grishaverse Leigh Bardugo established in the Shadow and Bone series so I am now curious about that even if my little heist gang won’t be in it. I broke my own book ban to have Crooked Kingdom within my reach by the end of today and I will be forgoing Wonder Woman to find out WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE CLIFFHANGER.