February 2017 book review

February 2017 book review

Even though February is the shortest month of the year, I still managed to finish roughly a book per week. I did cheat a little as one of these books I finished just last Sunday, but I didn’t want to wait with reviewing it until next month as it was my favorite read this month. Here’s what I read in February.

february 2017 book review american gods shadow and bone scarlet lunar chronicles grisha rebel of the sands

Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands
Leigh Bardugo – Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1)
Marissa Meyer – Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Neil Gaiman – American Gods

Despite the fact that I finished a book per week this month, most of my reads were quite disappointing. I gave one book 2 stars and another 3 because good reads doesn’t allow half star ratings. Another one was a solid 3 star read that I enjoyed but seemed a little samey while my last and final read this month was rewarded with 4 stars.

Marissa Meyer – Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)

february 2017 book review american gods shadow and bone scarlet lunar chronicles grisha rebel of the sands

Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles and continues on the one hand where the first book left off: Cinder exposed for who she really is for all to see and the Lunar queen who visits New Beijing. However, this story line is now intertwined with the story of Scarlet, whose grandmother has mysteriously gone missing. While Scarlet goes about her business selling the fruit and veg from her grandmother’s farm to local restaurants, she meets Wolf. Timid and seemingly shy, he is a cunning street fighter who Scarlet takes a liking to and who might be able to take her to her grandmother.

This first book of the month was the worst one. I enjoyed Cinder, but this just wasn’t as good. These stories are fairy tale retellings, which sounds like a great plan, but it actually means that you can see many of the plot twists coming. In addition, this story just tried to do too much plot wise and it just didn’t work. Intertwining the stories of Cinder and Scarlet felt forced, colluded and illogical. It was too much a gimmick and therefore the natural flow of the story was nowhere to be found. It’s that I like the futuristic Sci-Fi world this story is set in that I am still interested to read the rest of this series and that I gave this book a 2 out of 5 stars.

Leigh Bardugo – Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1)

february 2017 book review american gods shadow and bone scarlet lunar chronicles grisha rebel of the sands

Alina grew up together with Mal. As orphans of a war struck village, they both grew up in without their parents, having no one but themselves. Mal has a knack for tracking. Alina isn’t really great at anything, but when the army needs them they both join up. The story begins when Alina and Mal are getting ready to cross the Shadow Fold. This dark patch of nothingness is haunted by horrible airborne creatures and divides the land in half. During the crossing Alina does something she didn’t know she could: she defeats the darkness. In an instance she becomes the only hope of a nation and is instantly held captive by the most important man in the land: The Darkling.

Over the year I had heard such great things about this series that I was very curious. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to its expectations. I found the world great: it is a very promising and mysterious setting, but the actual story? Too much and too little happens at the same time. Important plot points are skimmed over, while others are too much dragged out and many pivotal moments are too ‘easy’. This book also tried to do too much in one go and the romance aspect of it was too Instalove. Not my cup of tea, but I love a world set in a good dose of magic and I am curious to know what will happen to the main characters. That is why I gave this 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, but I’d have given it 2.5 stars if it had been possible.

Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands

february 2017 book review american gods shadow and bone scarlet lunar chronicles grisha rebel of the sands

In a small desert town, on the edge of the world, Amani has lived all her life. Destined to either wither away or marry into her uncles harem, she is determined to escape. Luckily she is the best sharpshooter of Dustwalk. So she decides to put her skills to the test in a shooting contest where she meets a foreign stranger who ends up becoming her ticket out of a life she never wanted. Together they set out on a journey filled with betrayal, mysterious creatures and the magical djinni. While fleeing the Sultan’s army, Jin and Amani end up discovering not only themselves, but also each other.

I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars. It was good, though the romance aspect of it, I could have done without. The plot is thrilling, action packed and Amani is pretty kick ass, which I liked. The mystical world inspired by Arabian Nights works, but seems to put a thin layer of veneer over the story line more than anything else. Especially because I read this right after Shadow and Bone, I felt these two books to be interchangeable. The setting is different, but the plots in both books move in a far too similar way. This made Rebel of the Sands feel tropy and not as interesting as it could be.

Neil Gaiman – American Gods

february 2017 book review american gods shadow and bone scarlet lunar chronicles grisha rebel of the sands

Shadow’s life hasn’t been all that great. He ended up in jail for three years and right before he is released from prison he gets to go home early because his wife Laura died in a car crash. Turns out she was cheating on him with his best friend Robbie who was supposed to give him a job once he got out. While making the flight home, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday a mysterious fellow that has a strange proposition. Having nothing left to lose, Shadow agrees and goes on a road trip across mall time America asking no questions and trying to stay out of trouble. As the journey continues, he slowly unravels the plot and finds out he is in the presence of Gods who are at the brink of war. But to what end?

After three semi-disappointing reads, this was the breath of fresh air I had been waiting for. I decided to read this because I wanted, no needed, something completely different than the next YA instalove fantasy/ dystopian setting. And that was exactly what this was. It is weird and meanders quite slowly along for most of the plot, but in the end it all comes together and just works. Rather than taking the easy way out, this book explores side streets and back alleys to the plot line that at first has you wonder: why am I reading this? But before the end of the book it all starts making sense. A clever novel that is banked heavily in mythology and the faith of a nation: a good mixture of old beliefs and newly discovered fads while there is just one guy who is trying to keep his head cool. The only reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because it took me half the book to really get into the story. But if you soldier on, it is well worth it. I can only say that this is a very satisfying read.

What books did you read?

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3 thoughts on “February 2017 book review

  1. Holy cow! How did you manage to read American Gods AND 3 other books in 28 days!? That book is massive! I think it’s being turned into a tv series. It was already on my read list, but I definitely have to get my hands on it before that starts.

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