In October I read 7 books:
- 6 new novels
- 1 reread
It wasn’t a great reading month, but three of the books I completed were over 500 pages (also: I started Red Seas Under Red Skies and the Strange the Dreamer reread; both of them are 500+ pages and I’m halfway through them).
I read those three books for the Tome Topple Readathon, and I got to half of my TBR, which is more than I expected.
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore – ★
This is probably my least favorite book of the year. Not only it had mediocre writing and contrived plot twists (your main character, who is the “detective” of the story, shouldn’t find the answers by chance!) but it also managed to make me angry. You do not get to use xenophobia (or homophobia, or racism, or ableism…) as a plot device without dealing with it.
And if you’re an American writer, you should stay away from stories that deal with Italians and the Italian mafia. It’s just not your place to write them, especially if this is the result.
I won’t care about the f/f romance when you spent the previous pages making clear that you see my country as lesser.
Could have been better
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali – ★★★
This is a contemporary about a muslim teenage girl who lives in America, and the struggles she faces both within her community and outside of it. It was a quick read, but not an easy one – it deals with sexual assault – and it had some boring parts, but I liked most of it.
Gemina by amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – ★★★¼
I read this for Tome Topple. I liked it, but it wasn’t as good as the first one.
Gemina follows two teenagers, Hanna Donnelly and Nik Malikov, who live on the space station Heimdall. There are space conspiracies, parallel universes and alien worms. I really liked the format and I read it in less than one day, but I didn’t care for most of the characters (Ella Malikova, the hacker who uses a wheelchair, was my favorite) and I found many of the twists predictable. The ending was disappointing.
The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera – ★★★★
This is another book I read for Tome Topple. It’s about two warrior princesses, Shefali and Shizuka, and it follows them as they fall in love, starting from their birth. It’s one of the very few f/f adult fantasy books. I really liked it, but it wasn’t perfect: the pacing was too slow, and sometimes the writing was too melodramatic. Also, while Hokkaro is inspired by Japan, it’s not historically accurate in any way (as Ketterdam in Six of Crows isn’t actually set in the Netherlands) and it could feel ridicolous/appropriative to someone who is familiar with Japanese culture (it happened to me with The Young Elites, and that was my reaction, so… keep that in mind if you want to read this.)
I loved Shefali and Shizuka, both as individual characters and as a couple, but there were also many memorable side characters.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao – ★★★★¼
This book is a Snow White retelling told from the PoV of the evil queen, set in a world inspired by Chinese culture. It’s the best villain origin story I’ve read so far, and I loved the main character – we do not get to see protagonists as ambitious and ruthless as Xifeng that often. I would have liked her to have a bit more agency for that final plot twist, and I also wanted the book to be less focused on the “romance”, but other than that, I loved this. What I liked the most was the world: it was magical and atmospheric, but it also had many darker aspects, and that’s what I want from fantasy settings.
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – ★★★★½
An Enchantment of Ravens is one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve read this year, and one of my favorite books about faeries/fae/fair ones. I liked the main characters and the romance, but what I loved the most was the portrayal of the fair ones: they are monsters, not “perfect” humans with pointed ears and magic. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a romance.
I think this is the perfect Autumn book.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – ★★★★¾
This was a reread, and I counted it for Tome Topple. This is probably my favorite YA space opera (the other ones all disappointed me…) and it’s flawed (the worldbuilding isn’t great, Ezra was kind of annoying), but the ending is so good that I just don’t care. I loved the format and I reread it in less than one morning.
I still think that AIDAN is the best character in the series.
What were your favorite books you read in November? Have you read any of these?