Obviously, I read a lot of books and eat a lot of waffles, and sometimes I don’t have time to write long reviews for every single book I read during a year. Right now, I’ve read close to ninety novels this year and almost one hundred “other” types of books, like comic books and manga. Thus as a way to tie up loose ends of a reading season, here are a few mini reviews and a whole lot of waffles from the last few months, lovingly known as autumn.
Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
It’s been forever since I read a Cashore book, and this one was really strange and different than her other books (specifically the Graceling Realm series). Basically, it follows Jane as she spends a weekend on this island with this family and their crazy household. The book is split into different sections, each one weaving through the potential outcomes based on Jane’s actions. If she talks to this person instead of that person, if she investigates this instead of ignoring it, etc. While the concept was interesting, it wasn’t executed well. There was a lot of loose threads left hanging, and some of the potential outcomes were bizarre. Some parts of the story were boring, and other parts were intriguing. I still can’t decide if I liked it or not.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I first came across Celeste Ng during my undergrad studies because she visited my school during the tour for her first book, Everything I Never Told You. That book was so profound that I vowed to read anything she publishes. Thus, when Little Fires Everywhere released, I consumed that book. Just like her other book, this book is brutal but so, so good. Ng has a knack for writing people, places, and plot. The way she weaves backstory and relationships, the details that evoke a sense of setting and time, the emotional devastation she wrecks upon the reader–it’s all amazing and incredible. Honestly, you should just go read her books because dang, she has a GIFT.
Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
I’ve had this short story on my list for years, ever since I read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. It’s an “in between” side story about Zuzana, and I’m glad I waited to read this version because not only was it so adorable I nearly died but it includes illustrations and cute notes. It’s a dazzling, magical story that is a perfect addition to the Daughter of Smoke an Bone universe.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
This was one of my most anticipated reads for 2017 because it’s the third and final book in the Magnus Chase series. While Norse mythology is still confusing, I definitely fell in love with the realms, the monsters, and of course Magnus Chase. I think what Uncle Rick did in this book was extraordinary, and it is a fun conclusion to the series full of crazy shenanigans, hilarious moments, and a lot of confusing Norse names. Basically: it was awesome. (And Percy Jackson was in it!)
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo has a knack for writing dark fantasy and pointing out important issues along the way. The short story collection that connects with her Grisha universe is no exception. The stories contained in The Language of Thorns are dark inspirations of fairy tales and monstrous myths. I could see glimpses of familiar stories interwoven in the tales, but at the same time, the stories were her own creations, coming to life with the beautiful illustrations. Honestly, I think the highlight of this book was the artwork that seamlessly integrated with the tales in powerful ways. If you’re a fan of the Grisha universe, this is one book you won’t want to miss.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
After I read The Scorpio Races, I was enraptured by Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. I read the Raven Cycle and thought there was more to desired. Thus, I was excited yet also hesitant to read All the Crooked Saints. I can say that this book wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect to the characters and the plot continually escaped my grasp. I was often confused about the magic, and while it seemed like a lot was happening, it felt like nothing was happening at all. There are pockets of fantastic writing, as always, but overall, I expected more.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
I’ll admit that I decided to read this book because I wanted to see the movie. After reading the book and watching the movie, I can honestly say I think I prefer the book. This was my first Agatha Christie novel, and it was an absolute delight. The cast of characters were an interesting lot, and I like how you can follow along with Poirot as he gathers evidence and solves the crime (unlike a certain famous British consulting detective). The conclusion to the crime was awfully clever, and I’m definitely going to read more Agatha Christie novels in the future!