“3 books ahead of schedule” – Goodreads~
- https://getinformed.carrd.co/ This is an incredible carrd with information and resources about many of the issues the world is going through right now!
- I find Twitter an extremely useful tool in finding information about these injustices and ways to help.
In February, I started doing a new thing on my blog and that is following along with YouTuber’s who play TBR Games (this won’t be every month). They are so much fun to watch and the first person I chose to “play along” with was April over at Aprilius Maximus. I’ve watched her for many years and I really enjoy her personality and content ♥
And in February, I’m happy to say that I completed all the books I put on my TBR (which you can check out here)! So far in 2021, I have been reading so well. This somewhat reflects last year and now that we’re in March again… finger’s crossed we don’t enter a time warp.
I’ll go through the books in order of the card draws!
9 of Clubs ♣ || Raybearer; Jordan Ifueko
- Prompt: My Newest Published
- Finished: 25.02.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐
I really, really wanted to love this. I feel awful that I didn’t, but I shouldn’t. I can tell why this book is being loved, however, some elements of the writing, pacing, characters and world-building were lacking.
Tarisai has grown up in isolation under the care of a mysterious mother, known only as The Lady. The latter sends Tarisai to the capital to compete with other children to gain a place on the Crown Prince’s council. If she can forge a close bond, the spell woven by her mother will be easier to complete – kill the Crown Prince. However, will Tarisai’s want of a close connection to people and a sense of belonging be enough to thwart her mother’s plan?
Raybearer has a lot of potential. It’s concept of political intrigue – which is shrouded in magic, secrecy and spurred on by the coveted power of men – within an empire bustling with different nations and cultures is very interesting. Above I listed things I had some issues with, so I’ll briefly go through them.
Writing & Pacing: The writing, for the most part was good. We had some good descriptions, but I felt that we were told most things, rather than shown them. This is definitely the case in the first half, and is still slightly present in the latter half. If this was only for the world-building, I wouldn’t have minded, but it was the case with quite a few of the character relationships. I felt that most of the time I was being told what to feel.
World-building & Characters: Like I’ve said, the world is really interesting. I just wish we were able to explore more of it. With the characters, I felt that we only really knew Tarisai and that’s because we were in her head. As a protagonist, she was good. I liked that her decisions made sense for her personality and while her growth was a little choppy, I liked her. Kirah was nicely developed throughout and I liked whenever she was included – same goes for Woo In. Most of the other characters don’t have any personality – only 4 council members of the 12 (I’m counting the prince) had any personality, and I’m sad to say that Dayo’s inclusion in that 4 is slightly pushing it.
Pacing: The beginning felt rushed and as this is a series, I would have loved to have spent far more time during the selection and schooling of the prospective council members. I truly think that would have made the stakes a lot higher, as well as strengthening the world building. I would have preferred that several plot points and journey’s could have been lengthened and developed.
Overall, this book was okay. It was a weak opener to a series, but from the latter end of the book, I’m interested in seeing where the plot goes.
Ace || The Stone Sky; N.K. Jemisin
- Prompt: Ebbok/Audiobook TBR
- Finished: 8.2.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Fifth Season opens with a Season, one of several over the centuries which causes an unknown period of catastrophic climate changes that wrecks the Earth and kills many. This Season has a darker meaning and signals the ending of the world. Amid the catastrophe, a woman is searching for her daughter. Her path forward is long, but her past stretches out wider, deeper and with twists that could prove to be connected to this Season in a closer way than imagined.
This is the second book I picked up in the month and I’m honestly so proud of myself. I have a fear/anxiety of finishing things, so I forced myself to read this ealier rather than later.
All the characters in The Broken Earth trilogy are incredibly compelling. They’ve grown so much throughout the 3 books and they’re what got me through the aspects that my brain couldn’t comprehend (the science in sci-fi can hurt me 😂). The plot is fuelled by the complexity of human emotion and the unpredictability of our reactions. There is emotion seeped into the fabric of this world and it’s wonderful.
I did think the ending was slightly underwhelming, but it does fit with the books progression. It also fits with my understanding and my perception of Hoa being the most integral part of these books – not only does he progress the plot, but he also affects the narrative as a whole.
This trilogy is fantastic, and if you want a diverse and thoughtful read, I’d highly recommend them ♥
7 of Diamonds 💎 || The Girl in the Tower; Katherine Arden
- Prompt: 5 Star Prediction
- Finished: 18.2.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Vasya lives close to the wilderness, and spends her life frolicking in the woods and listening to the magical stories her nurse tells her family by the fire. As she grows older and wilder, her father is compelled to go into the capital to find a new wife. Vasya’s new stepmother is a devout Christian and forbids her family from leaving offerings to the household spirits. Years later, a new priest arrives and stirs up further fear and fervour against the spirits. Vasya is the only one who can sense the impending danger with the weakening of the creatures that protect her home.
I really wanted this to be 5 stars. I thought it would be, but there were some elements that let me down.
Vasya is a wonderful protagonist and the freedom and choices she makes seem true to her personality. The problem is, the characters we are surrounded by in book 1 are more interesting. There also wasn’t as much development on Vasya’s side – with Morozko helping more than I thought he would. I did like seeing her adapt to her new surroundings, as well as her being more free to express herself.
The writing was beautiful – The Girl in the Tower still has the charming folktale feeling that captivates you. The dialogue is often rather poetic, and I especially like the conversations between Vasya and Morozko.
Also can Konstantin… just like… not?
9 of Spades ♠ || Love: Beyond Body, Space & Time; Ed. Hope Nicholson
- Prompt: Light Cover
- Finished: 3.2.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
This book is a collection of stories about LGBTQ+ and two-spirit characters in sci-fi and urban fantasy settings, written by indigenous authors (North American). This collection explores magic, love and self love. Love: Beyond Body, Space & Time won the SFR Galaxy Award for Most Uplifting Sci-Fi Romances (2017).
This anthology is filled with some really great concepts and uplifting stories. I do wish that the proofreading was better, as there are quite a few mistakes. However, the fact that these stories are so full of love and optimism is wonderful in a world where so many white people are more interesting in writing about stories of indigenous and POC pain.
My favourites were Daniel Heath Justice’s ‘The Boys Who Became The Hummingbirds’ and Darcie Little Badger’s ‘Né łe’.
10 of Diamonds 💎 || Bleach 3-in-1 Volume 4; Tite Kubo
- Prompt: Manga
- Finished: 12.2.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Kurosaki Ichigo can see ghosts, but it’s something he’s come to accept. However, this ability changes his life when he comes into contact with Rukia – a Soul Reaper – and a type of evil spirit called a Hollow that attacks his family. Rukia intends to give Rukia some of her power to save his family, but he ends up absorbing all of it and becoming a Soul Reaper. While Rukia recuperates and slowly regains her power, Ichigo is forced to protect innocent people against the Hollows and give the evil spirits peace.
The plot of the 3 volumes (10-11-12) in this bind-up is mostly our characters having fight scenes. And you know what, I’m not mad about it. The fight scenes are ways to see our characters grow as they’re finding their own feet and also forming bonds with each other. I’m really enjoying this world and the characters.
Jack || The Winter of the Witch; Katherine Arden
- Prompt: Ebook/Audiobook TBR
- Finished: 28.2.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I completed another trilogy and I’m so happy! I’ve seen some mixed feelings about the Winternight trilogy, and so it was sitting on my shelves for a while. However, I’m really glad I picked them up this year.
The characters in these books are multi-faceted and interesting. Vasya may be proud, but she’s smart and admits to her mistakes. The journey she makes in this final book shows how she has matured. We’ve seen her grow from an infant to a young woman and it’s a road full of surprises, magic and a rollercoaster of emotions.
The inclusion of Sasha and Olga were far better integrated this time. And learning more about their family’s history was interesting and had some surprising revelations. There are other characters in The Winter of the Witch who become/stay prominent. The Bear and the battle between him and Morozko is delved into further, as well as how it had repercussions for the rest of the spirits. And Konstantin… that man… I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to punch someone so much. I dislike him, but his inclusion is one of the reasons I find these books so compelling.
Some parts of this book did get somewhat repetitive and some things were easily resolved, but the payoff was exactly what I wanted, which is why I gave it 5 stars. This book also made me cry out of both sadness and happiness.
These books are infused with medieval Russian folklore and traditions and it’s beautifully done. I would also recommend the audiobooks, the narrator – Kathleen Gati – is wonderful!
Also Solovey is a best boi and deserves mountains of porridge and love!
How did your reading go in February? What are your thoughts on these books? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading! I hope you’re having a lovely day and staying safe ♥