I’ve got four book reviews coming your way today – here’s hoping I can keep that reading momentum going through May! This post contains affiliate links. Any money earned through these links goes towards covering the cost of running this blog.
“The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.” – via Goodreads
This book would have been five stars had I not just read the first two books in the Sons of Ares trilogy recently (read reviews of those here!) This book had very, very similar themes to that series, down to the classes being colors and the complete injustice between them. Overall, the story seriously lacks originality. But in spite of that, it was still an enjoyable read. The main character Mare was well written. I often feel that YA incorporates character tropes that drive me nuts, and while this had a few, it handled them well. There was a rather inexplicable crush happening with Mare (as in, why on earth was she attracted to Cal?) but what I liked about the crush was that it didn’t dictate Mare’s actions. She acknowledged it, but didn’t let her emotions steer her every decision. I so appreciate that, especially in books that are aimed at teens. I did feel that that the ending was a bit…severe? I don’t want to give away major spoilers, but one of the characters basically does a 180 in terms of what side they are on, and it came off as rather abrupt. Which was the point but I don’t know, it didn’t really feel that ‘natural’ to me, if that makes sense. But it was a good, quick read and I plan on continuing the series.
“Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in) ” – via Goodreads
A Walk in the Woods chronicles Bill Bryson’s attempt to hike through the Appalachian Trail. As someone who loves both memoirs and hiking, I figured I’d enjoy this book, and I was oh so right. The writing is great, and this book was unexpectedly funny. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions reading about his trek. But what I truly enjoyed about this book was that it was such a great combination of travelogue & non-fiction. Yes, it documented his journey, but it also had tons of facts and tidbits about the trail, forests, trees, and area tucked in there as well. It was well balanced, and overall just really well done. I’ve never read anything by Bill Bryson before but after reading this, I definitely want to get my hands on more!
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (The Magicians #2)
“Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring. ” – via Goodreads
Let me preface this review by saying that it took me a LONG time to be ready to even read this book. I really disliked The Magicians. I read it in January of 2015 and it wasn’t until April of 2016 that I felt ready to tackle book 2 in the series. Here’s my full review of The Magicians on Goodreads if you want to see the issues I had with it.
Luckily, I am happy to report that I found The Magician King thoroughly enjoyable! While Quentin still aggravated me on occasion I found him so much more tolerable (and less depressed.) But mainly, I loved that it seemed that the universe finally had enough of his bullshit. Karma came back in a big way to him for a huge part of this book, and I loved every second of it. Maybe he will finally stop walking around being such an ungrateful little prig.
But the main reason I loved this book so much was because so much of it was dedicated to Julia. I absolutely LOVE her character, and I loved learning about her journey to become a magician, and what she went through. It was fascinating, and I completely adored the ending for her character in this book. Since I don’t really enjoy Quentin all that much as a character, it was really nice to have so much of her story to balance it all out. Here’s hoping the same holds true for whatever adventures they get up to in book three!
“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. ” – via Goodreads
This book had a lot of good going for it. I loved the alien invasion and their plan for it. I loved reading about the characters pasts, as they continued to survive each wave. And while I was reading it, I was enjoying it. But after finishing it, and really thinking about it, there was a lot about this book that bugged me.
The biggest thing that drove me nuts was how utterly predicable this book was. I already had the entire plot figured out by the time I was done the first quarter of the book. So it made a lot of the book rather anti-climactic. I feel like a lot of the ‘reveals’ were meant to be pretty exciting, and it really loses that when you already know what they are.
Beyond that, I found the characters really shallow. Heads up, spoilers past this point if you haven’t read it and want to! I know the main characters are all teens, but there was way too much focus on physical description in this book. And by that I mean the characters seemed to be constantly sizing up the other characters in term of how attractive they found them. Cassie wakes up in a completely strange house (in a full blown, post-apocalyptic situation as well) when she should be dead, and her first thoughts about the guy in the room are how hot he is? Really? Not buying it. And the same applies to the male lead character, Ben. When we first meet Ringer, he is caught up in how attractive she is, physically. At the end of the book, Cassie meets Ringer and immediately starts having these weird jealous, petty, thoughts about her. Things like this happen often throughout the book, and it just rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t rind it realistic at all that this would be any of these characters thought processes, and I was not impressed by such on emphasis on looks.
This sounds mean to say, but I really just wish this book were better! I loved the idea of the story, but it left a lot lacking for me. I’m unsure if I’ll continue the series or not.
If you’re looking for other book fun – check out Fiona‘s new book club on Goodreads – Nerdy Pages! There’s a shiny new badge in my sidebar for it as well. Right now there’s an introductions thread and I believe things will be kicking off with the first book in June!
What did you read in April?