Well, what a weird week, both in real life and in my reading life. In real life, snow has been the bane of my days, and readingwise I’ve been in a strange slump. I’ve still been reading, but I’ve not been very lucky in my picks. I would like to preface this weeks’ Bookends post with saying all opinions are my own. Just because I didn’t enjoy some of these books doesn’t mean you won’t.
So Mercedes Lackey’s second instalment in her Mage Winds trilogy, The Winds of Change, was a huge disappointment. All of the flaws in the first book continued in this one, plus it was full of contradictions. Maybe that was my fault for reading the sequel straight after the first but woah. I cannot recommend this series at all sadly. The writing is simplistic which is at complete odds to the adult content and the characters are contradictions in themselves. They’re supposed to be in their late twenties yet the act like young teenagers. It’s just nonsense. Sorry.
My next disappointment came in the form of Charis Michaels’ Any Groom Will Do. I felt poorly at the start of the week so I picked up a historical romance to cheer myself up. This one sounded good, a barren young woman with two best friends in trouble wants to move to London and work as an interior designer and live with her friends, so offers their dowries in exchange for husbands who will give them a new name and their freedom, but travel half way around the world to leave them be. It started off well, the chemistry built up nicely between Willow and her dreamy Earl, then he was dickish for no reason and then they managed to fall head over heels in love over a few letters. Willow lost all her determination to be a strong self-sufficient woman without a truly swoonworthy reason. Let’s be honest, that’s the only reason I’m reading.
Next, I picked up Fool’s Gold by Jon Hollins. This has rave reviews as a very comedic fantasy heist novel with great characters and plot. Sounds perfect, right? Wrong. Again, this is completely my opinion and many, many people love this book. Sadly, it’s just not for me. The general plot is several angry misfits group together to steal from the scary, huge dragon overlord, Mattrax. Ultimately, I felt like it was trying too hard to be funny and the writing just didn’t back it up with an engaging plot. Early on there are two flashback scenes are that are very clumsy and the narrative continues to tell rather than show. Perhaps I have been spoiled with some great fantasy writing in the past few months but I just wasn’t invested at all. I got half way through before I gave in and stopped reading. I feel sad as that is 300 pages of reading that I can’t put towards my reading challenge and time I will never get back.
Things seem to be looking up now though ( I hope I’m not speaking too soon) on the reading front. I picked up Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke on audio and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a beast of a book at over 1000 pages so I think I chose the format well. I didn’t realise it was about magic and faeries so that has made me super happy. I’ve listened to a fair few hours and I’ve only just ‘met’ Jonathan Strange so I’m hoping it will pick up a little now. It’s been interesting to follow Mr Norrell’s determination to bring magic to England but he definitely needs someone to bounce off. I’ve heard great things about this story so I’m excited to keep going.
I have also veered off my March tbr (what’s new?) to start Darkhaven by AFE Smith. I saw it was on offer on Kindle and it was a Harper Voyager fantasy I’d never heard of. I was intrigued. So far I’m really enjoying it, it’s started with a bang and the plot is intriguing. The Nightshade family are Changers, Ayla is a half-blood with an unusual shifted form, Myrren is her older half-brother and pure heir, but he was born without the ability to change so is considered a disgrace. The patriarch is Florentyn Nightshade, Firedrake in his changed form, Florentyn is feared and powerful. Without any better options he imprisons Ayla and plans to name Myrren his heir despite his deficiencies. However, on the night Myrren helps Ayla escape from prison, Florentyn is violently murdered. Coincidence? dun dun duuuun. The writing is addictive and easy, I’m eager to see how everything pans out. It came out in 2015 yet I haven’t heard much about it, which is odd for a Voyager title. I have high hopes (dangerous, I know) so hopefully it won’t disappoint. I don’t anticipate it being my favourite book ever but anything to get me out of this weird funk I’m in!
Here’s to a weekend of better reading!