I go through phases with reading. I always have a book handy, but while sometimes I’m just nibbling politely, at other times I’m wildly stuffing my brain with anything covered in words and dipped in chocolate. Well, maybe not the chocolate; I prefer to send that directly to my mouth.
Anyway, you get the point, right? I’ve been reading a lot lately. So I’m going to be a little picky-choosy here, as there’s no way you want to know about everything I’ve been dabbling in. Like my Southern Vampire Mysteries re-read binge. And you should probably put that chocolate somewhere I can’t see. Just in case.
Recent Reads: Post-war, post-apocalypse, post-disaster… I’m sensing a theme here.
First up, a couple of books I devoured back-to-back and which share a certain similarity. Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead is the first in his Craft Sequence and a lot of fun. Part mystery, part court procedural, all wrapped up in a lovely fantasy package with mages, gargoyles and living gods, this was a nicely paced and tightly plotted read.
Max’s book went very well with Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs, in which old gods and old magic lurk just below the surface of a murder mystery, waiting for the plot to slowly scratch the paint away and reveal the shimmering uncertainty of Things That Should Not Be Mentioned. Best of all, and a lovely surprise, was the protagonist Shara: intelligent and well-read, she is neither powerful mage nor warrior girl. Instead, she relies on information, brains and planning to get her job done.
Over the past month I finally got around to reading the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, a promise to my daughter. I’d already watched the movie, which is tightly aligned with the first book, so no big surprises there except that the book takes the story just that little shade of deeper and darker that it needed. The second novel, Insurgent, was a little repetitive, to be honest, and could have done with some new settings thrown in. But I’m glad I stuck with it as I enjoyed the last one in the series, Allegiant.
Another YA read I jumped into was the Maze Runner series by James Dashner. My daughter (yes, the same 10-year-old who made me read Divergent) tore through this, and as we’d watched the movie I thought I’d see what it was all about. I ended up reading this and the following two books, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, all in one go. A fun read of the fast-and-furious variety.
Last on my list is Mark Lawrence’s The Liar’s Key, second in his Red Queen’s War trilogy. It’s no secret that I love Mark’s books; he writes compelling characters and Prince Jalan is a delight to follow as he’s dragged somewhat unwillingly all the way up and down the Broken Empire by Snorri the Viking.
Those who’ve read the Thorns trilogy will enjoy the little cross-references, but you don’t need to know all about Jorg Ancrath to appreciate Jalan’s often hilarious tales. Okay, so the humor is a little on the black side, but Jal is a character worth sticking along with for the ride. And Mark’s often poetic prose is delicious. After all, how many authors could make the call of nature sound so pretty? “Beneath the splash of borrowed ale lay the slap of waves against the harbor wall…”
Now reading: Grease and Glass.
I’m right at the end of Tom Pollock’s The City’s Son, first of his Skyscraper Throne series, and I just keep slapping myself for not having read this sooner. It’s a fabulously grubby fantasy (I’m talking grubby of the dirt, rubbish, oil and broken glass variety, so get your mind out of the gutter!) with some truly great characters, and I’m loving it to the moon and back.
I’m also a few pages into Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, which the nice lady at my local Barnes and Nobel raves about. It was on the summer reading challenge list at the local library, so as the kids picked it up I thought I’d take a peek. The premise sounds good: Cinderella-based story in a futuristic setting with a cyborg as the main character. I’m not far enough into it yet to get a feel for the book, though, so comments will have to wait. Also, my daughter snagged it before I got properly started, so she gets first dibs.
To Read: It’s all about that glass…
I really, really want to read the sequels in Tom Pollock’s Skyscraper Throne series, The Glass Republic and Our Lady of the Streets (which I’ve just ordered), so they get to wriggle on to my list and jump all the way to the top.
Also in the next-up stack is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, a YA fantasy novel recommended by a friend. The last YA she suggested became a firm favorite (the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima – thanks Anna!) so I’m looking forward to this one.
And you, read anything good lately? I’m always on the prowl for suggestions. After all, I can always fit in a few more words. And chocolate, there’s always room for chocolate.