Recent Reads

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means: book talk. Here’s what I’ve been reading recently:

Frost ArchFrost Arch (The Fire Mage Trilogy #1) by Kate Bloomfield.
This is a book I picked up randomly off of Amazon. It tells the story of Avalon, a fire mage struggling to control her power. The world is interesting; it’s set in our world in the far future, with much of the past forgotten. Humanity has branched into two distinct groups: Mages, with extraordinary powers born from (one assumes) mutation; and regular humans, who are nothing but slaves to the Mages. The plot is a bit simplistic, but the different permutations of magic are interesting, as well as some of this new humanity’s creations. Avalon leaves home to go live in the city, where (naturally) there is a tyrannical ruler, a cute boy, and mysterious trouble waiting for her to tangle herself in. Nothing too groundbreaking here, but nice for an easy read and some slight twists on magic. I haven’t decided if I’ll pick up book 2 or not yet.
3/5 stars.
 

EligibleEligible by Curtis Sittenfeld.
A modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice? You know I was waiting for this one. Sadly, it did not live up to my expectations. Some parts of how the author modernized it were very clever or fun: Collins as an awkward tech mogul, Darcy & Elizabeth’s pre-declaration relationship, Mrs. Bennet’s very true-to-life Midwestern disposition (it takes place in Ohio). But when the relationship/child-bearing choices that each Bennet daughter pursues becomes A Statement about something, it feels a bit forced. Each of those instances is absolutely fine on their own, but when crammed all into one book and one family, it veers into unbelievable. And a bit preachy. I also did not understand the decision to include the final chapter from Mary’s POV- it was jarring and out of place, and really unnecessary. There were some good and funny parts, but maybe lower your expectations a bit before picking this one up if you’re a big P&P fan.
3/5 stars.
 

ACOMAFQueen of ShadowsA Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
and Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
both by Sarah J. Maas
.
Ms. Maas has two ongoing series right now, and I am a fan of them both. I recently tore through the most recent book in each series. Both series are fantasy.

The A Court of Thorns & Roses series is more NA than YA, and deals with the clash of humans vs. fae vs. ancient evil. It is my more favorite of the two series, especially after this last book. Feyre has some serious psychological damage after the happenings in book 1, and we start to see the fallout from that, and how the people around her deal with it. The author has a deft hand for dealing with complex relationships, and shows that off beautifully in this book. I also appreciate that she doesn’t end these books in cliffhangers; there’s still Stuff to Be Found Out and Happen in the next book, but it’s not a dire ending either time. That said, I still cannot believe I have to wait another year for book 3.

The Throne of Glass series is definitely more YA, though this latest book veers NA in some scenes. I say it’s more YA because the characters and relationships in this series don’t seem as mature to me. This book also deals with humans vs. fae vs. ancient evil, but in a different way. Celaena/Aelin has had a long journey from royalty to street urchin to assassin to slave and back to royalty (almost). There’s a lot less magic-using than expected, considering the last book. This book is still good, and it still packs a punch (those sections told from Dorian’s POV!). But some parts of it felt like it was just treading water, not really going anywhere. I am glad things started picking up at the end, and some Big Things happened. It makes me look forward to the next book.
4.5/5 stars to A Court of Mist & Fury.
3.5/5 stars to Queen of Shadows.
 

Yes, clearly I’ve been on a fantasy kick, and on a catch-up-with-Sarah-Maas kick as well. Might be time to switch gears and take a short break from fantasies (we all know I’ll be back sooner rather than later).

What have you been reading lately? Any non-fantasy recommendations?
 

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Book Review: Longbourn

Longbourn

Longbourn by Jo Baker. If Pride & Prejudice was turned into Upstairs/Downstairs or Downton Abbey, this would be the Downstairs portion. It’s the story of the servants that we just get mere glimpses of in Austen’s original, given their own histories and lives and secrets. In particular, it’s the story of Sarah, the primary housemaid at Longbourn who we hear the Bennets call after in P&P. She is increasingly dissatisfied with her life of drudgery, stubbornly hoping there must be something more for her. And then of course, the household hires on a new footman, a hardworking but mysterious young […]

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Jane Austen Subculture

Jane Austen Subculture

My obvious affinity for the fantasy genre aside, I have an equally deep (if less obvious) weakness for all things Jane Austen. Her original novels first and foremost, of course. I’ve read them all, even Lady Susan. Pride & Prejudice will always hold a warm spot in my heart as my gateway drug to Austen and the story I like reading most overall, though sometimes I think I like Fanny from Mansfield Park more than Elizabeth. Sometimes. And the font I used for the heading above is called Jane Austen and based off of her handwriting. So, you know, I’ve […]

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