Phew, January was not a good month for me reading wise. I just didn’t pick up my books as often as usual. Plus one of the books I read was a beast (700+ paperback with tiny font). Here is to hoping that February will be a better month for reading!
What I’ve been reading lately
Jade City by Fonda Lee: This book had so many gushing reviews so I was excited to read it. For me though, it fell a little flat. I’m not really sure what it was. The world created was really quite fascinating. This small island is the one source of jade, which can give people pretty much superhuman powers. But the only people that can use that power naturally are the natives of the island. These people are in various clans, with 2 main ones. We follow the 3 grandchildren of the Kaul family (leaders of the No Peak clan). But there is a lot of tension between the 2 main clans and soon war breaks out. Throughout it, we get the POV of all 3 Kaul grandchildren; the leader, the muscle, and the reluctant sister. And I think that is where this book lost me. Now, I’ve read plenty of multiple POV books, but i felt the characters ended up being a little flat and pretty cookie cutter. As in, they really didn’t leave their little mold; they were predictable. Along with the 3 main characters, we also got several smaller POVs. It almost seemed like too much for a single book. Because of that, I didn’t really care for the characters, and that always hurts a book in my opinion. That isn’t to say this book doesn’t have merits. As I said, the world building is fascinating with a great blend of innovation and the “old ways.” If you enjoy mafia-esque stories with a dash of magic, political maneuvering and action, you will likely enjoy this story.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber: Man, this was a beast of a book. The copy I have is a standard paperback and it comes in at about 775 pages with pretty small print. Sometimes it was hard to read the words close to the spine because I couldn’t open the book enough! So it took me awhile to read this one. The first book in a long series (9 books!) I knew this would be more of a setup book coming in, but it even more of a setup than I expected. This is a space science fiction story where we start in the future when humanity has been almost wiped out by an alien race. To help save humanity, a group of people come up with a last ditch effort to send a seed ship out far away in the hopes of getting away. When they find a world to support humans, they set up a culture that has the technological advances of about medieval times. Why you ask? Because the evil aliens seem to be drawn to fancy technology. All the colonists had their memories pretty much erased and implanted with their “new” life. But to keep innovation at a minimum, a group of the leaders actually implemented a religious factor into it, with them being the figureheads. But a small group doesn’t like this and implements a safeguard to allow the information about the evil aliens to be available to humans in the future, because they think no matter what they do, the aliens will find humanity again. Phew, that was a big setup. But then, the majority of the book is actually following Merlin, the safeguard (aka an android that looks human) as he try to navigate the medieval world he is now in and to help humans begin to innovate and eventually prepare for the aliens. So what starts out as space-ey science fiction, turns into a medieval-esque life. It does get bogged down with the very specific details to an extent and the juxtaposition of medieval living with the super advanced technology that Merlin (and the original leaders) have access to takes some getting used to. I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series and hope that they don’t get as bogged down.
4 out of 5 stars (rounded up, probably closer to a 3.75 ha!)
The Infernal Battalion by Django Wexler: The final book in a series, I was ridiculously excited to read this. However, it didn’t live up to my expectations. The other books in the series are so fantastic, but this one seemed stuffed with filler content and didn’t have that “whoah” factor that the other books had. This series is a military fantasy with amazing female characters. Not something you find everyday. While I found the ending satisfactory, it was the lead-up to final part that fell flat for me. But don’t let this review deter you from the series, because overall, this is easily a 4 star series, with several of the books being easy 5 stars.
3.5 out of 5 stars
What have you been reading lately?
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