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T10T: First Ten Books I Reviewed

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is First Ten Books I Reviewed.


Some Things You Should Know

These are my first reviews on goodreads. My actual first reviews were on a site that doesn’t exist anymore, and they weren’t in English anyway. I started reviewing at the end of 2015, and in 2016 I still struggled putting together a long review in English, so most of these are really short, but you can see that by the end of this post, I could put together a few paragraphs.

My first goodreads reviews were mostly negative, because explaining what doesn’t work has always been easier for me than to explain what works, and because – at least at the beginning – I only wrote something when I felt very strongly about the book.


My First Ten Goodreads Reviews, By Date

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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Do you like coherence in your worldbuilding? If the answer is yes, stay away from this book.” ― Feb 19, 2016

I still agree with what I said. This book was a badly-written and not well-thought-out mess and I’m glad I barely hear about it anymore; it didn’t deserve that hype to begin with.


Storm Siren by Mary Weber

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If I had to explain to someone what not to do when writing a YA fantasy novel, I would make them read this book.” ― Mar 24, 2016

Very direct, I guess? Anyway, this is still one of the worst thing the YA fantasy genre has come up with, an agglomerate of ugly clichés and annoying made-up insults, because this book is ok with using slavery as a plot device but not with swearing. My favorite part was when this book said that “everyone is squishing together like sea walruses”, because you know, the reader could have thought that they were squished together like land walruses, right?


The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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Italy fail.” ― Apr 26, 2016

I don’t have that much to say; this is the reason I never reach for “Italian-inspired” books written by Americans.


Ruined by Amy Tintera

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The most generic YA fantasy book ever written.” ― Jun 17, 2016

It really was. At least now I know how to recognize them from the synopsis!


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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This is my favorite book by Victoria Schwab so far.” ― Sep 02, 2016

Finally a positive review! A really dry one at that, but it’s something.


Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Labyrinth

With a premise like this, I had really high expectations. Unfortunately, this book had a predictable, almost cliché plot, and I didn’t like the writing.
When the author could have described this terrifying, twisted magical world, she decided to describe the appearance of her characters over and over instead, sometimes with metaphors that made no sense, like bipolar eyes.
I did like the characters, though, and I will give a chance to the rest of the series.” ― Dec 14, 2016

More than a sentence!! This is when I started trying to explain what I felt in English, and at the time even only writing this was difficult. I’m really proud of past Acqua. And I’m also proud of less-past Acqua for not giving up on the series, Bruja Born was amazing.


Far From You by Tess Sharpe

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I guessed the murderer before reaching page 100.” ― Jan 30, 2017

All I have to say is that it’s not 2014 anymore and we have better queer girl mysteries, ones in which the love interest doesn’t die. (The Truth About Keeping Secrets! People Like Us! A Line in the Dark!)


Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Empressofathousand

I liked this book, but it definitely had flaws:

  • The worldbuilding is really messy and inconsistent. For some reason, every planet has only one climate.
  • The main characters are people of color living in a place that is not earth, but they have Russian and Welsh names. Why?
  • The writing isn’t great, and the foreshadowing is really heavy-handed. This might be the most predictable book I’ve ever read.

That being said, I devoured this, so… ― Feb 20, 2017

This was one of the first YA sci-fi books I had ever read, and… yeah. YA sci-fi almost always has a lot of worldbuilding problems and this was no exception. The “every planet has only one climate” is still one of my least favorite sci-fi tropes.


The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

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I’m so disappointed right now. I thought this could be a book for me (lesbian pirates! diverse cast!) but it wasn’t.

I love marine biology. I was ready to suspend disbelief (…this book is about genetically engineered monsters) but I couldn’t help but notice the glaring lack of research. Terms used incorrectly, made-up words that already exist and mean something else…

I liked Cas and Swift’s romance, and their discussions about equal footing. That’s something most books ignore, so it was refreshing.
The side characters were very one-dimensional.” ― Mar 20, 2017

Around 2016-early 2017, The Abyss Surrounds Us was “the queer girl book”, one of the few non-contemporary f/f books we had. And it’s just not that good – Emily Skrutskie isn’t that great as a writer; Hullmetal Girls was even worse – and if you know anything about marine biology, it’s also going to be a really irritating read.

I’m glad it’s not 2016 anymore – I’ve read so much f/f fantasy and science fiction since that I don’t even think about this when I think about f/f SFF.


Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee

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Jedao had a standard method for dealing with new commanders, which was to research them as if he planned to assassinate them. Needless to say, he never expressed it in those terms to his comrades.

I couldn’t stop laughing.” ― Mar 21, 2017

This is where I met Jedao – my favorite character – and I started loving him immediately. I won’t get into who he is in the main series, this story is a (free!) prequel and all you need to know is that he’s a bisexual assassin on an undercover mission, and it goes unexpectedly in the best way. This story has the humor I love so much about the Machineries of Empire series, but is much lighter. I think this was when I started to suspect that Ninefox Gambit, which at the time was still on my TBR, was going to be a favorite.


Have you read any of these?

24 thoughts on “T10T: First Ten Books I Reviewed

    1. I usually wanted to say more or explain, I just didn’t have the words for it or the energy to put them together, but I’m glad what I meant came across anyway!

      And I remember nothing about The Young Elites apart from the very awkward attempts at fantasy renaissance Italy – not the characters, not the plot – which probably tells more than anything I could have said if I remembered what else I didn’t like about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ahah I loved this. Some of these have been on my TBR for ages but I just haven’t gotten to them and I doubt I ever will. I agree though, This Savage Song is such a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your reviews have come a long way in just a couple of years! I love your long, insightful and nuanced reviews that make me add every book to my TBR. But I have to say I love your scathing one liners too. Sometimes that’s all a book deserves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I didn’t have the words for nuance at the time (at least, non in English), so I tried my best to say what I thought in the least amount of space, but for some of these books, it’s not like I had that much more to say – sometimes it’s really what the book deserves…

      Like

  3. This was super interesting to read! I had issues with quite a few of the ones you reviewed negatively, too. In particular, I’m still cringing over The Queen of the Tearling. I AM SO GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO DIDN’T LIKE IT! I feel like, even now, that’s an unpopular thing to say.

    Liked by 1 person

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