Not featured is the book I somehow forgot about, Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu.
I don't see myself finishing any more books before tomorrow so 6 books finished for the month. Half of them were Netgalley, which is now clear, Yay!
All were interesting in their own ways but I think the stand-out for the month for me was Occulture, a non-fiction read.
My sample supply has stayed fairly stable as I've read as many as I've added. Hopefully I'll reduce the pile again as there are currently 87!
Meanwhile I'm having some problems with a slow computer so if I'm a little scarce for a few days, that's why. Must get my local tech expert to work out what's causing it.
At least if I spend less time on the Internet, I'll get more reading done!
by Naomi Novik
After enjoying one of the author's other books and hearing this one was good from many sources, I had to try it despite having little idea what it was about. As it turns out, I really enjoyed most of it!
Every ten years a girl is chosen by the local wizard to come live in his tower and rumors about what happens there are rife, though the girls always come back and insist the magician didn't lay a hand on them. They always end up leaving the village and finding a life for themselves elsewhere afterwards.
Meanwhile, the villagers live in the shadow of a forest that contains some sort of evil, with creatures who capture those who come too close and take them into the forest never to return.
This is one of the most original Fantasy stories I've read for a while. The magic is very well done and the characters are also done well, each of them distinctive in their own way. The challenges that face the main character, Agnieszka, range from trying to keep safe from the hazards of the forest to trying to help her best friend who is up against dangers from all sides, to dealing with the royal family and the pitfalls of murderous politics and the court wizards who see village girls as expendable at best.
It was a fascinating story and one that I kept going back to ahead of my other reads up until about the last third. Then it seemed to lose its way and become a little too surreal to hold attention. Many of the plot points were left unexplained, including why the magician specifically took a girl every ten years, although there was a reference to it with inadequate explanation.
It also hit one of my pet peeves with a single graphic sex scene. Why this has become a thing with recent books that wouldn't even be described as Romance much less Erotica I can't imagine. Yes the nature of the relationship was relevant but a move by move about who did what to which body part is completely unnecessary and ruins an otherwise good story! It also makes it unsuitable for young readers, who might have been a primary target audience for this story.
There was an end, but with too much left unexplained.
2.5 star story for me
The narration was a 5 star
The first half was amazing I was completely lost in the woods, the tower, the village. There was a beauty and the beast feeling to it. There was a difficult man, a young witch, a world steeped in mystery and possibilities. I was excited to explore this new world. Then things stoped changing and developing in the story and it got stale for me. I felt like I was wooden, and was being repeatedly beaten in the woods with a gnarled branch. I heard, in the woods, from the woods, of the woods, woods, woods, woods, ARGUH ! Enough of the woods ! I never wished for a chainsaw before but I was driven to it. The girl, she was strong-ish, independent in a cold way, and thought about everything far to much, inner dialog drag on. It dragged on in another area that droned on, success. So many dramatic struggles, so many sacrifices, far too many failures. I was tried of reading this wooded loser story that just wouldn't end. Oh that is a terrible way to feel about a book, I know. I should have dropped it, but I expected a moment to happen and felt I'd worked hard to read it finally. Fizzle, fizzle, what that's why ?, the woods still, the end. It wasn't worth the hours nearly 18 hours of listening.
I own her dragon series but after this touch of her writing style I'll not read it. She is the author for me.