Combined book review (September 2016)

Despite my wish to play catch up with my 50 book reading challenge in 2016, I managed to not read that much extra in the month of September. I was still able to read a fair bit though, be it that the majority of my selections were easy breezy reads that were mostly fun to pick up. Four out of 5 books I read were YA, but I like YA fantasy to just forget everything around you and just be transported to a different world. Meet the 5 books I read in September.

Jasper Fforde – Shades of Grey
Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods
Catherynne M. Valente – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making
Sarah J. Maas – Queen of Shadows

Sarah J. Maas – Queen of Shadows

The saga continues! After Celeana/ Aelin found herself and came to terms with her heritage she decides to return to Adarlan. With all her friends in danger, she is forced to play along the tunes of her former employer, and the killer of her at one point lover and best friend, in order to set her plans to bring down the King of Adarlan into motion. Aided by rebels, she teams up with Chaol to start on a journey to reclaim her throne. All the while, the Ironteeth Witches are stuck in a tower, with nothing to do and increasingly insane demands to meet. This sets Manon on edge and it is now more important than ever to make the right decision for her Thirteen.

This is pretty much all I can say about the 4th book in the Throne of Glass saga, without giving too much away. Where I found the previous book to be a bit slow as it focuses a lot on back story and character development, this had a lot more fast paced action. Aelin is spectacular in her role of assassin once more and the plans however clever, twist and turn into different directions. And the plot twists right along with it. This keeps things interesting but it also makes things a tad confusing.  Why?  Because there are too many twists and angles that seem a little too convenient at times. But still a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait to start Empire of Storms very soon.

Jasper Fforde – Shades of Grey

No, this book has nothing to do with 50 Shades. Shades of Grey is a science fiction novel focused on a slightly dystopian world set into the faraway future where your role in the world depends on your perception of color. We meet Eddie, a Red, who travels to the outer Fringes with his dad. We follow his day to day life for his first week. Slowly but surely Eddie starts to realize that not everything he was taught to belief is what it is. Why does Jane, a lowly Grey, hate him so much? And what happened to the Yellow he met on the train? As Eddie unravels the mystery, he must decide what choices he wishes to make. And there is always the Rulebook written by the Great Munsell to take into account.

I went into this novel not knowing what to expect. I very randomly picked this up years ago and simply finally decided to read it. I didn’t even know it is part of a series. To be quite honest, I’m a bit on the fence with this one. Where it was a great read overall, the actual reading experience was a touch tedious. But I actually think that was the point of the book: life is so overly organized by rules (no matter how ridiculous), that each aspect of the day is accounted for. So on the one hand this book is explicitly dull when it comes to plot development. At the same time, though, it is a clever book that fuses elements of the Matrix with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy set in a dystopian future where there are no spoons. A novel filled with sarcasm, wit and the obscene, that had me chuckle at times, but I wasn’t grasped enough by the story to warrant reading the remaining books in the series.

Catherynne M. Valente – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making

September is a girl who lives in Omaha. Father has been sent off to war, while Mother works long shifts in the factory. So when one day, while doing the dishes, The Green Wind drops by on a Flying Leopard and asks her if she wishes to visit Fairyland, September doesn’t hesitate. In Fairyland she meets some extraordinary creatures, some who become her friends, such as a A Through L (A Wyvern whose father is a library) and Saturday (a boy captured by the Marquess). All September wants is an adventure, but alas she gets a little bit more than she bargained for.

It had been a while since I read a middle grade novel. I read this because I was in the mood for something whimsical and fantastical and that’s exactly what this book is. It reminded me a lot of a modern day version of Alice in Wonderland with September being a lot more likeable a character than Alice. This book is not without its flaws though: the writing style feels forced at times, but definitely serves its purpose in the story. It fuses from many different fairytales, but also modern day fairytale like stories such as Chronicles of Narnia and the like. While the book feels mostly original for the most part, it also at times feels like something I’ve already read before. If you’re in for a fantastical read that truly transports you to a different world then this will however hit that sweet spot.

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods

Are you into Greek mythology, but you can’t tell your Hera from your Demeter? Or do you struggle keeping Hermes and Hades apart? Then this one is for you. Especially if you enjoy the Percy Jackson series. Because in this one, Percy takes you for a ride along the myths of the Greek Gods. From the start of time with the different Titans, on to the birth of the actual Greek Olympians that everyone knows. A great way to brush up your Greek mythology but in a less dusty and stuffy way.

Perhaps I should have read this first, but I couldn’t find this at my local bookstore for a while. That’s why I read The Greek Heroes first, but I didn’t notice too much of a problem with my little change in order. I used to be a huge Greek mythology buff back in the day. I used to love reading the stories and knew many gods by heart. So I really enjoyed this witty take on it. You do have to like the writing style of the Percy Jackson series, because if you don’t , then this is not for you. However, I truly liked it as it reminded me of why I liked Greek mythology so much in the first place.

Alice Oseman  – Solitaire

This is not a love story… That’s the first line on the cover. Meet Tori Spring: at first your seemingly typical stoic teenager. But Tori isn’t just any teenager. She used to have friends alright, but lately she’s been feeling as if everyone she knows is a fake, including herself. Struggling with her brother Charlie’s obsession with food, Tori has taking a route down a path of darkness and depression. Till one day Solitaire pops up in her school. Does it have to do something with her? And who is behind all of the different school pranks? And most importantly: why doesn’t anybody do anything?

This book was another ‘I bought it on a whim’ read. I hardly knew what to expect. Apart from the fact that I knew this was a YA novel, I didn’t know much about it. I also haven’t really read any novels where the main character is clearly suffering from depression. I liked this book. Because it is told from the perspective of an angsty teenager with serious issues, this story has its flaws. Mainly because the writing style tries to reflect Tori’s thoughts so well, I felt that sometimes it was a bit overdone. Tori is so confused and that leaves you confused. The language used to express those thoughts and feelings seems forced and overdramatic. In short, I like the fact that this book has mental illness at its center, however, the way the story unfolds makes depression seem like a cakewalk. It is a too easy and a little too neat at times.

What did you read last month?

10 responses to “Combined book review (September 2016)”

  1. Ik heb er amper tijd voor, zo zonde! Ik ben gek op lezen, maar het schuift nu een beetje naar de achtergrond. Ik wil het wel weer gaan inlassen, want ik mis het wel. Misschien maar eerst beginnen met weer een half uurtje in bed voor het slapen.

  2. Ik lees zelf ook super graag, maar heb enkel tijd voor een paar paginaatjes voor het slapengaan! 🙂 Momenteel ben ik wel in de ban van de boeken van Sophie Hannah! 🙂

    • Yeah I think this might be better if picked up again. I find that the wording is so perfectly well-balanced that it will take a second read to fully appreciate the brilliance of the prose.

  3. Oh, I absolutely love anything Rick Riordan writes! I haven’t read this one yet, but will have to. Also, have the first book in the Throne of Glass series but haven’t started that one, either! Guess I have some reading to do 🙂 New follower!

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