The third week of December is finished, so it’s time to check in with my decimation TBR – so far I’m at 21/30 books! Let’s take a look at what I managed to read this week.
The Mask of Mirrors by MA Carrick took me a really, really long time to read by my standards – well over a week, for 630 pages. I don’t really know why, because I had an amazing time and never felt like it was a slog; it was just that every time I thought I must have read at least 100 pages, it turned out to be more like 30. I’m glad I made the effort to keep going with it though, because it was incredibly good. A full review will be coming soon.
After that I moved onto The Eighth Key by Laura Weyr for something a bit lighter. Again, I’ll have a full review of this one up soon so I won’t go into much detail, but it’s a sweet, small-scale m/m fantasy romance that would suit fans of Nine Star Press’s novellas.
I really enjoyed the Venetian setting of The Mask of Aribella by Anna Hoghton, and the way the magic was woven into the aspects of the city that already feel magical. This would really suit fans of Nevermoor, I think, as the Halfway Hotel with all its strange inhabitants and glamour reminded me of the Hotel Deucalion in some ways, and there’s a similar vibe to the adventure, too. I wish it had been a little longer, to really explore the setting, but I enjoyed it!
Torn by Rowenna Miller has one of my favourite things, sewing magic! It took me a little while to get into because I don’t tend to love a revolution theme, but once I got into the swing of things this was a great fast-paced fantasy read. I wish the romance subplot had been bigger but there are two more books, so it might develop more in the rest of the trilogy, which I need to get my hands on.
Ten Thousand Stitches by Olivia Atwater was my 500th book of the year, and it was fantastic. I adored Half a Soul, the first book in this series, and though this is fairly different (and stands alone fine) it’s got absolutely the same cosy, smart, witty and angry vibes. If you like your fantasy historical-ish and whip-smart, you have to read these!
I was really disappointed by Last Song Before Night by Ilana C Myer. I’m always looking for fiction about bards and musicians, but this was very lacking on the music front, and I found the style so detached that I struggled to remember character names from one page to the next, let alone particularly care about them. It’s a character-driven novel, with lots of introspection, so not connecting to the characters meant I didn’t really connect to anything. It also seemed very concerned with traumatising its female characters – I think I just didn’t gel with it at all. Glad to know I don’t need to track down the sequels.
I’ve adored Patricia C Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles for as long as I can remember; those books have hugely influenced me as a writer and as a person. A few years ago I set out to collect everything else she’d written, and while I’ve found some great books, this, sadly, isn’t one of them. It’s a very simple high fantasy quest, which isn’t a bad thing, but what disappointed me with this was the total absence of humour, wit, or even wryness that makes her other books so successful! I went in expecting the same genre-savvy, sarcastic tone I’ve seen in her other series, but got a very straight-forward, strait-laced story. I’ve heard that the sequels are much better, though, so I’m going to keep them on my list, but this won’t be going on a favourites shelf.
Eleven days and nine books to go – wish me luck!