January wasn’t a good reading month for me. I read more than I expected, but I was disappointed by nearly every book I read. I rated two books one star in a row, and this had never happened to me in all these years of blogging.
In January I read:
- 6 new novels, of which one was an ARC
- 1 reread
- 2 novellas, of which one was an ARC
- 1 ARC of a short story collection
- I DNFed a novel at the 40% mark.
I hope February will be better.
This Dakness Mine by Mindy McGinnis – ★½
This was disturbing, which I loved, and it used a rarely depicted mental illness as a plot device (villainizing the main character in the process, she’s shown as irredeemable), which I hated. I actually liked some parts of this while I was reading them because they were so messed up, but I hated the ending and the message so much I couldn’t rate this higher.
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston – ★½, DNF 40%
This book failed at worldbuilding. For a not racist, not queerphobic victorian-inspired society, it was pretty racist and queerphobic. This book also carefully avoided two topics it should have talked about long before the 40% mark, which are this society’s stance on eugenics (everyone is obsessed with genes, so…) and the complete absence of Native characters in a book about colonialism set in Canada. For the first 40% of the book there’s no plot and the characters were just not that interesting.
Web of Frost by Lindsay Smith – ★★
How can an author who has been writing since 2013 have such a juvenile writing style? That ruined everything. Also, the love interest was a one-dimensional creep and that’s not how I want my villain messed up romances (they need to be complex; if they aren’t, what’s the point?). But, at least, this book had a really great message and the protagonist’s character arc wasn’t that bad.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – ★★¼
The only emotions I felt while reading this were secondhand embarrassment and boredom. I didn’t think it was terrible, but it was really not for me and I don’t get the hype.
Could have been better
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – ★★★
I started 2018 with a disappointment. While the writing is still lovely and the characters are still great, this book wasn’t even remotely as good as the first one, with its predictable political intrigue and crossdressing plotline (I really did not need the two naked reveal scenes).
Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng – ★★★½
If you like surrealism, theology, and fairies, Under the Pendulum Sun is perfect for you, especially if you do not mind slow-paced books and unlikable but boring main characters. I didn’t love this, but I think it’s worth it just because of the weirdness of it all.
The Radical Element (edited) by Jessica Spotswood – ★★★½
It was better than A Tyranny of Petticoats, but it still had its low points. I loved Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore, Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave by Stacey Lee and Better for All the World by Marieke Nijkamp.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – ★★★½
Bully romances need to die a painful death (so do fake redemption arcs), and the pacing wasn’t that great, but otherwise, I really liked it. The ending had a lot of potential and I want to read the sequel. I probably would have liked it a bit more if it hadn’t been for the hype.
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander – ★★★¾
I raised the rating of this one because I actually really liked most of it, even if I still have conflicting feelings about the writing and the ending. It’s about people (dying of radium poisoning) and elephants (also dying) and elephant folklore (which also talks about dying).
Try this if you really like US history, don’t mind weird sad stories, or just really want to read about people rotting alive.
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★
This was better than the second one but not as good as the first one, and it had some of the typical flaws of McGuire’s books – mostly, the heavy-handed writing – but I really liked seeing this cast of characters again. Also, Confection was so weird and colorful and I loved it.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – ★★★★¾
The only book I rated five stars this month was a reread, which is kind of sad, but I really love this book. It has the best atmosphere, a perfect setting, and so much subtle magic it’s unforgettable.
Have you read any of these? What was your favorite book this month?