Initially, I thought I hadn’t read that much this month. Then I realized I was in the process of finishing my 5th book since my last reviews. I was a little disappointed in several books this month, so maybe that played into it. I also was trying to play catchup with my Netgalley books and I can feel my bookshelf of physical books judging me.
What I’ve been reading lately
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri: Easily my favorite book of the month. Set in a world inspired by India, we follow two main characters along with several secondary characters. Malini is a princess that is accused of treason by her brother the emperor and sent to an outlying province not long thrown to the bottom the of the empire for prison inside an old temple. Priya is a maidservant that is assigned to the task of helping take care of the princess. But she has ties to the temple from her past that she has tried to hide. Malini will do and use anyone she can to try and escape her imprisonment so that she can see her brother deposed. Priya is swept up into her machinations. But Priya is not some innocent bystander either as she also has goals that she wants to achieve within the Hirana, even as her “family” pushes her to do the same. Now this book – there are some fantastic characters. Priya and Malini especially. Neither can be categorized as good or bad. But as they like to say, they have monstrous faces (aka sides of themselves that are not good). I also appreciated strong female characters that are not above getting and receiving help. The magic is also fascinating and I’m really hoping it gets explored more in future books. If you enjoy characters with questionable morals, politicking, a magic system everyone is trying to understand and a fast paced plot, this book is for you.
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin: Meh, for me this felt like at typical YA book. There were things I really liked about it though. Set in current times, but witches are accepted part of society and play a big part in helping to control the atmosphere/weather. But their job is getting harder because of climate change and humans trying to “tame” parts of the world that shouldn’t be tamed. Each witch is affiliated with a specific season, except our main character, Clara, who is an Everwitch and can work powers from all 4 seasons. She is literally the most powerful witch in two generations. Alas, Clara is a little brat and constantly is “poor poor me.” It gets old really fast. Now, I’m not saying she hasn’t had a tough life (her magic killed her parents and best friend on accident). But witches are literally dying from trying to control the crazy weather and her teachers think she can help stem the tides. But what does Clara do? She contemplates if she can get rid of her magic. And training and actually trying to figure out how to use her magic? It feels like she just doesn’t care. She eventually does, but its is still like boohoo I’m going to sit in my cabin in the woods and brood. I did appreciate some of the secondary characters that called out Clara on pretty much being a brat, but that was few and far in between. So – cool magic system, terrible lead character. Hard pass.
2.5 out of 5 stars
Girl One by Sara Flannery Murphy: I think I expected more from this book. Josie is Girl 1, a miracle baby along with her 8 “sisters” that were born with only the DNA of the mother. But The Homestead where the girls were born was abandoned after a fire killed Dr. Bellanger (the doc that helped make it happen) and one of the Girls. Josie is trying to follow in he footsteps of her “father” and recreate the work that created the Girls that died with the doctor. But then Josie’s estranged mother goes missing and that leads Josie on a journey that will turn her life upside down and leave her questioning everything she knows about herself and her past. I did enjoy the characters in this, especially some of the secondary ones. But I wanted either more science or more magic. This landed in a weird in between and neither was explored enough for me. I’m down with both, but neither were actually explained. It sort of felt like they were just being used without any reasoning. How were the Girls created? Why do they have abilities? They just were and they just do, which for me, isn’t enough.
3 out of 5 stars
The Ninth Metal by Benjamin Percy: Once I saw this was set in northern Minnesota, I knew I had to read it. The Earth went through a comet’s debris field, which sent all sorts of meteors falling from the sky. Northfall, MN was hit especially hard. But this ended up being a boon, as the meteors were made of “omnimetal” a new metal that creates a gold-rush-esque era for the area. This story follows one family, the Frontiers, that are hoping to cash in on the opportunity. But the meteors left more than just omnimetal behind, and the government has a super secret lab set up in the area to study what might become of this opportunity. This is another book that I didn’t really like the main characters. but the secondary characters carried it for me. There is a lot going on with this one too, with topics like the economy, familial ties, super powers and company wars, it can be a lot to take in. I still enjoyed it, but it also wasn’t my favorite book ever either.
3.5 out of 5 stars
The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne: This book was fine, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I’ve enjoyed Gwynne’s other books and figured this one would also be dark. But this one was dark without the solid characters I expected. I honestly didn’t really like (or like to hate) any of the characters. They weren’t bad, I just didn’t care about any of them. There are 3 different storylines here and it takes until the bitter end for them to even remotely cross. I think that was the issue for me, there was no “oh I bet xyz might happen when these characters cross.” There was just nothing to tie the characters and storylines together until the bitter end. This almost was more of a prequel or a really long setup for the next book. I’m undecided if I’ll continue reading the series.
3 out of 5 stars