This year really won’t give me a break. In June, I’d post an all-queer pride TBR, but this year I’d be surprised if I finished even one book.
In June, I will have to be out of my house for at least a week for university reasons, which will be incredibly draining, and for the rest of the month it’s Exam Season Yet Again. Yay! Let’s limit ourselves to a general update.
Where Are We Now
Botanically, we’re right in the middle of broom season. The mountains all around Genoa are lit up by the bright yellow of the ginestra di spagna (Spartium junceum) and by the burnt golden-yellow of the ginestra spinosa (Calicotome spinosa).
Reading-wise, I completed two books in May, The Fever King and The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee, the first of which was a reread. I had been wanting to reread this book about a magical pandemic for a while, but in 2020 I just couldn’t; now that I’m vaccinated (was lucky, no side effects) there really wasn’t any excuse anymore, so I went back to it. And… I don’t know, I was just kind of disappointed both by my reread of The Fever King and by its sequel. It’s a good series, especially when compared with most YA dystopians, but neither book managed to make me feel as strongly as The Fever King did when I first read it. The first felt somewhat rushed, the second went much further but forgot pieces of itself along the way.
The Electric Heir went a lot further than I thought it would, and it was right to do so. Sometimes, YA books tend to hold back while portraying abuse, for many understandable reasons – but The Electric Heir is the demonstration that something doesn’t need to shy away or become exceedingly graphic to explain itself fully. It’s raw, it’s messy, it’s honest, it’s painful; it doesn’t relish in its portrayal of pain. I appreciated all of this more than I could put into words, and yet, something was missing for me.
I fell in love with the first book in this series. I couldn’t think about anything else for weeks. While rereading it, I realized that I somewhat glossed over certain aspects – the choppy writing, the hollow side characters, how empty this world feels – that shone through in the second book as the story progressed and grew, becoming if anything thinner instead of more fleshed out.
Did this book live up to my expectations, then? More than I ever thought it could; not in the way I was certain it would. I loved it, it disappointed me; I read it in less than a day, I wish it had stayed with me for longer.
Plans for the future
Just “read something“, it won’t really matter what it is as far as I have something to talk about here. I can say that while on my Grishaverse high I’ve bought The Severed Moon journal and I really enjoy writing in it, but that’s not something one can really review; my hope is that this returning interest in the Grishaverse will convince me to finally read King of Scars.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t yet, there are two main reasons: I’m a perfectionist who wants to reread everything else first, and, second, reading it would mean acknowledging the ending of Ruin and Rising, which made just as much narrative and emotional sense as it made me mad. I was fifteen and it still does and it should have no right to! Someday I will be over it. Maybe.
What are your plans for June? Have you read any of these books?