What I’ve Been Reading, May 2021
Updated: May 24, 2021
Lately, it's been a smorgasbord of speculative fiction with a thriller thrown in for good measure.
I'm sorry to say that my impression of this book did not change from when I first wrote about it. It's too bad really, I had high expectations for a rollicking good time. Instead, the novel felt a bit too much like a Dragonlance novel for my taste. I was intrigued by the humor and jaded outlook of the narrator, but the story fell flat in the end.
This novel reminded me of the Hunger Games and Shadow and Bone. I enjoyed both those novels immensely, but this one not so much. It's definitely a romance that takes place in a fantasy kingdom. Everything about it is well done––the world-building, the action, the characters, etc., etc. But the romance story takes too much of a front seat in the tale for me to really enjoy it. Having said that, Maas is a talented and hugely popular author with a loyal following. Authors interested in writing romance of all stripes would do well to study this book.
Reading this novel, I was reminded why I enjoyed several of Nix's earlier works. It's a fun, dark, and clever story all at the same time. One thing the author does really well is start the novel off with a bang, beginning with the first chapter. It's worthwhile studying how he accomplishes this. My one quibble is the prologue––I don't think any information is imparted that couldn't be efficiently blended into the early chapters. Plus, it's somewhat confusing, practically off-putting. Still, this novel is a winner from the first chapter onward.
I was shocked by how good this novel is. You can read my extended review here.
Another novel that surprised me with how good it is. Read my extended review about this Eastern Washington urban (rural) fantasy here.
Another solid novel by Briggs. One thing she does really well is create a backdrop of political intrigue. The werewolves have their politics. The vampires have their politics too. So do all the other supernatural creatures who populate this urban fantasy. There is, of course, politics in between the different races of supernatural critters. It's really quite interesting. Alongside the political intrigue are a murder mystery and a good deal of magic, meaning the reader is going on one hell of a ride. On top of that, Mercy, the narrator, is a wonderful character––tough as nails while still being full of humanity.