These last few weeks I have been a mix of rather busy and on holiday. As a result, I’ve fallen a little behind with these mini-reviews. To get back on track, I decided to write a very quick review for each book I read since my last reading update (of which, thankfully, there are only five). This includes the last book I read for the OWLs Readathon (Heir of Fire) and both the books I read while away on holiday (Something Rotten and Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race). I’m trying to be more varied with my reading lately as I found myself heading towards a reading slump caused, primarily, by the fact that I was reading some quite similar books, either in style, theme or genre. I have already started on this goal with the two books I read on holiday and so I shall endeavour to continue as it began.
For reference, the way I rate is as follows:
1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
A woman escapes to Essex with her young son following the death of her husband; while there she encounters the legend of the mysterious Essex Serpent and the town’s conviction that it had returned. Written with a strong hand, The Essex Serpent conjures atmosphere with only a few words and really captures the essence of each character. The book is let down by Will Ransome as a character and Martha’s main story-line – I found very little in either that I could particularly enjoy and both seemed a little out of place amongst the mysticism that the Essex Serpent created. That being said, Stella and Francis really shone and were the reason I kept reading, alongside the incredible scene-weaving skills that Perry has.
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
Lady Aileana is re-entering society following the death of her mother amidst rumours that she was the murderer herself; little do the upper class know that in her free time she builds weapons and hunts fae in the hopes of tracking down the faery who actually killed her mother. With a steampunk mix and a determined lead, The Falconer is different from its cousins – Aileana hunts of her own volition and she has very little intention of trying to balance her two lives. The book does, however, fall into some frustrating tropes (the only romance being one of them) and it ends on such an abrupt cliff-hanger that it feels like you’re expected to buy the next book (a pet peeve of mine – I like a good stand-alone feel to a series starter). I would happily read many books about Aileana, her best friend and the pixie which lives in her wardrobe, although I doubt that would ever happen; it’s also set in Scotland which was a delight to discover.
The Book Depository*: https://www.bookdepository.com/Falconer-Elizabeth-May/9780575130425/?a_aid=rosienreads
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
A non-fiction book which holds no bars as Reni discusses race dynamics across a variety of angles (history, feminism, class) and why, as the title says, she decided to stop trying to have a conversation with White people about race. This book is honest, refreshing and tackles the issues in a clear and unafraid manner, spoken by someone whose voice should be heard above others (read: White people) in the discussion about race and racism. It is a short book and, as such, only goes into broad detail for each of the chapters, so providing a solid introduction to each of the issues and leaving it up to the reader to do further research. This book is eye-opening and really highlights how racism is still prevalent today, especially to those such as myself who don’t experience it in everyday life. While I feel like those who need to read a book like this are unlikely to give it a chance, I think this is a must-read for anyone interested in race relations and the impact that race still has.
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
The fourth and final book in the Thursday Next series – Thursday must continue her adventures as she rushes to save the world, all with a cheese-smuggling scandal under her belt, a minotaur on the loose, and a disgruntled Hamlet eating her mother’s best Battenberg. This book was just the book I needed to read when I read it – after a stretch of relatively similar books, the weird and wonderful world of Thursday Next was a welcome change of scene and I think the book was easily my favourite of the series. It does suffer from being a bit slow in places and I could have done without the Landon story-line which just felt like a distraction from Thursday’s story. Despite that, this was the book that helped me escape an approaching reading slump and really helped me get excited about reading new books, particularly those which fall outside of my default types of book.
The Book Depository*: https://www.bookdepository.com/Something-Rotten/9780340825952/?a_aid=rosienreads
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (narrated by Elizabeth Evans)
Heir of Fire is the third book in the Throne of Glass series; it introduces a myriad of new characters and expands the world in a wide range of directions. The expansion of this series was well handled – I loved seeing the tendrils reach out into new areas and bring in new people to get to know (Manon in particular), not to mention getting to see the original characters in new situations without each other to rely on. I still do not like Chaol, still struggle to see how Celaena became such a feared assassin and still find it irritating that only pale women with fair hair (or dark hair if the skin is very pale) are described as beautiful in this series. For all its faults, I did find this to be my favourite of the Throne of Glass series so far. I’ve heard mixed things about the rest of the series so am hesitant to continue on, but from what I’ve seen I am happy with the direction the books appear to be heading in so may pick up the next on one day.
The Book Depository*: https://www.bookdepository.com/Heir-Fire-Sarah-J-Maas/9781408839126/?a_aid=rosienreads
*I receive a small commission when purchases are made through the Book Depository links.