Seeing as we’re now in March (HOW?!) I thought it was high time I shared a bookish post with you all as it’s been a long time! I’ve had a really good reading year so far in 2018, so there’s really no reason not to have shared my bookish thoughts with you sooner. I blame my laziness! Please forgive me! And read on for my January reading update.
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage – Philip Pullman
First up, the latest book from the genius mind that is Philip Pullman. I was surprised that I really enjoyed this book, not that I didn’t expect it to be good. More that I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed this book in my life. I was happy with where the original trilogy had ended. But it really was lovely to delve back into the magical world that Pullman’s created. It felt like revisiting an old friend while at the same time being introduced to new and intriguing characters. I can’t wait to see where the story goes. My only bug bear? Not a lot happened and it did feel a bit like setting the scene for book two, enjoyable scene setting, but scene setting nonetheless.
Twister – Juliette Forrest
Twister is a brilliant middle-grade read and it there’s any sense in the world this will be a classic in years to come. It follows a young girl, Twister, who’s father has gone missing and who comes into posession of a magical necklace as she searches for him. The magical necklace is being sought by a dark, evil power, who may have had something to do with her father’s disappearance. The book is so magical and a complete page-turner – I defy you not to love it. And Twister, the main character who I wound up adoring. She’s got such heart and she’s an interesting mix of Scout and Dorothy.
State of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
I was a massive fan of Melinda’s original series, The Sin Eater’s Daughter, so I had a lot of expectations with this book. And Melinda’s book smashed through every single one. It’s simply that incredible. She’s created the most wonderfully realised and richly imagined world and written a character, Sorrow, that I love more than Twylla, the protagonist in The Sin Eater’s Daughter. Sorrow was born just after her brother died and as such she’s grown up essentially parentless and as the unofficial ruler of the Court of Tears. She’s an uneasy ruler and wishes she could do anything but rule. And then her dead brother is found seemingly alive. Will she move aside to allow him his supposed rightful place on the throne or will she fight him to become leader when that’s the last thing she’s ever wanted?
This really is a great read and I was kept on tenterhooks all the way through – could I trust this person?, what was that person’s motivation?, what would happen next? It really is an incredible read.
Dark Matter – Blake Crouch
When Jason wakes up in a strange lab surrounded by people he’s never met he realises things have gone strange in a big way. And then he returns home and discovers he no longer has a wive and a teenage son. His whole life has changed. But is the world he’s in now the right one, or is that the world he remembers? And how does he find out what the hell is going on? Thus begins a twisty mind-blowing thriller that considers the paths not taken and the lengths we’ll go to to return to the life that we remember.
In truth this book lost me at times. All the talk of the multiverse and dark matter got a bit too much now and again but as a page-turning thriller I was hooked. It really is unputdownable, which is impressive considering the scientific nature of big chunks of it. I defy you not to be hooked within a couple of chapters of this book.
The Surface Breaks – Louise O’Neill
This retelling of The Little Mermaid by feminist writer Louise O’Neill is a masterclass in incredible storytelling. Every page is perfection. Under the sea we’re introduced to a world of female mermaids who have to endure immeasurable pain and sacrifice in order to please men. They’re at the mercy of their fathers and husbands and have no say in what their lives are like. Here we’re introduced to Gaia, a mermaid who has just turned 17 and has been allowed up to the surface for the first time. There she meets a handsome boy who she saves from death and begins to fall for. She longs to join him on land, but will he give her everything she wants or will she have to sacrifice too much for life above the sea?
This is genuinely spellbinding storytelling and I devoured it in a day. It’s such a timely book and the most brilliant way of retelling a classic tale that we all think we know from the Disney film. It’s equal parts rage-inducing and thought-provoking. You’ll adore it.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
I’d heard a lot about this book before I added it to my bookshelf and everything people have said about it is 100% true. It’s rage-inducing and eye-opeing and incredibly informative. I learnt so much and realised I need to do so much better. I thought I was aware of the realities of race in this country, but it turns out I was pretty clueless. In her book Reni talks through our country’s history with race and how structural racism became so established in this country. From a history fan standpoint it’s incredible interesting, even as you’re sitting there getting angrier and angrier at every point. This is certainly a must-read for all.
The Wicked Cometh – Laura Carlin
I’d heard only good things about The Wicked Cometh, and then when I saw the beautiful cover I knew this was a book I needed! And it did not disappoint. This is a beautifully written mystery novel set in grimy Dickensian 1830s London. It delves into a world of murder and grave robbing so rife in that era while also being a love story for two lost soles. The descriptions are so detailed you can’t help but be in that time period. Although I could have done without some of the really gruesome descriptions if I’m honest! I found my self second guessing everything and everyone apart from Hester and Rebekah – two brilliant heroines that I rooted for from page one. Here’s hoping book two is on its way soon…
*This book was sent to me via the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Moonrise – Sarah Crossan
This is a heartbreaking tale about a teenager whose brother is on death row, with his execution date fast approaching. It’s a beautifully written tale, and equal parts hopeful and soul-destroying, as it asks big questions about forgiveness, love and the realities of live. Sarah Crossan’s writing draws you in straightaway and you can’t help but root for Joe and his brother Ed, despite Ed’s crimes. She also has this brilliant way of making you feel all the emotions as you race through the book in one sitting. Her writing is that good. I genuinely feel that Moonrise is an essential read for all as it raises so many vital questions about the legal system and life in general and it does so so beautifully.
The Girl in The Tower – Katherine Arden
The first book in the Winternight series, The Bear and the Nightingale, was one of my favourite books of 2017 so it’s safe to say I had high expectations with book two in the series, The Girl in the Tower. Thankfully it did not disappoint. I raced through it in two days and loved every page. It’s just as dark, atmospheric and full of twisty plot as I wanted. And the descriptions, they are so vivid, you feel like you’re in deepest, darkest, coldest Russia. As for the characters, I adore everything about feisty Vasya and was angry, happy and scared along with her. Finally I love the Russian folklore that’s woven through every chapter. This book is a special historical fiction novel and deserves to be lauded as it has been. Simply put it is so so good.
* This book was sent to me via the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
My final January read was Neverworld Wake, a psychological thriller about a bunch of teenagers who are stuck in the Neverworld Wake – an alternate reality that keeps resetting. The only way out? To uncover the secrets surrounding the death, a year earlier, of one of their friends. Will they work together to get out of the world they’re stuck in or will they fall apart? Will they be honest with one another? And will they realise the lengths people will go to to hide the truth from themselves.
This is a real page-turner and a book that I didn’t imagine would go the way that it did. It’s twisty and full of flawed characters and keeps you guessing until the end.
So there we have it, my ten January reads. I brilliant mix of teen and fantasy reads, suspense novels and eye-opening essays. Basically, something for everyone. and all really good books. Tell me, what have you read so far this year that you would recommend I read next – just one suggestion though. My TBR is too big for many more books!