1. Glass House (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine.
I originally read Glass House whilst I was still in secondary school. At the time, I devoured eight or nine of the books in the series within a couple of days. I couldn’t remember why I stopped reading them. I remember being fascinated and loving the plot. So I decided to rediscover the series.
I enjoy Caine’s writing. She has this lightness to it that I find easy to get along with. It was easy to remember why my teenage self had loved them. But something felt… off. Maybe it was because, as an adult, I hate the overly cliched way love interests are introduced in YA novels. There’s no build up, and, I’m starting to notice, not a lot of chemistry. Shane comes across more of a big brother than a romantic interest. When they finally shared their first kiss, I wasn’t overjoyed with happiness – I was cringing. There was a lot of talk about him being older – Claire is only sixteen and he is eighteen. Whilst in the grand scheme of things, the age difference is not astronomical but Caine makes it feel bigger. Shane is the worldly man who can navigate the life in Morganville with somewhat ease. Claire is painted as a highly intelligent, wise beyond her years, child. She is not treated like someone mature but a child playing an adult.
All in all, I did enjoy Glass House. The pacing was nice, and the intrigue was fantastic. It’s one I’d probably come back to.
2. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.
Back at the start of the year, I was recommended this book by a friend in regards to my dissertation. Whilst I never managed to read it for that purpose, I have now.
It’s not good. I can try and justify the writing, but at the end of the day I was left frustrated and annoyed.
The premise is that Isabella has always been forbidden from leaving her small town on the island. But when her best friend goes missing, she tries to find her. But that’s not the story – not at the heart of it, at least.
Isabella is the most dull, inactive main character that i have ever come across. She is presented as the hero, but she is little more than a vessel to tell the story. All the main action, even the height of the climax, was left to another character. A lot of the time Isabella sat and watched other characters react. It all left me feeling underwhelmed by the end of the story. I didn’t care about the characters, most of all Isabella.
Then there’s the fact there was no sustenance to the story. A lot of the writing is filled with travels. There is no tangible threat for most of the story and when there is, it does not come across well because it’s so brief. The writing took a while to get to the point so I found myself bored.
All in all, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wanted to.
3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This was my surprise book of the month. It has been sitting on my shelf for months, always overlooked in favour of books with more drama. In the end, this turned out to be my favourite book of the month.
It’s different from my usually book. The writing style is not gripping, there’s no shocking turn to keep you engaged. It’s slow, dripping you tiny little details that link characters, past and present, together to form this wider picture. It’s thought provoking in a way I really didn’t anticipate. Whilst I probably won’t ever read this one again, I would list it as a good book. It shows you the complexity of the world.How tiny actions ripple through the world, how kindness can never be forgotten even at the brink of the end.
4. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
After a hard day at work, all I wanted to do was read some light, feel-good book. I thought I found a gem with this one, having read previously another of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s books. What I found was irritation beyond compare. Not only was the writing infuriating, I found that I was really connecting with the characters.
Let’s start with the first issue. The writing. At several intervals I found myself drop-kicked out of the story by lines I had to read several times to understand – and, sometimes, forging on without. In places, I was confused as to who was speaking what. The dialogue felt like a collection of dialogue from other novels amalgamated into this story to make it great, only it failed. Miserably. Some lines felt forced, other repeated for the sake of being ‘cute’ and showing how compatible with the main characters were with one another.
Which leads on to the second; the characters. I found that I didn’t really connect with Gwen. Fitzpatrick tried to pass her off as this queen of sass, always in with the last word type, but she was more flustered than anything else. Her romantic interest, Cass, was also flustered a lot of the time. There was a lot of babbling and not much getting to the point. I didn’t care if the two got together in the end because everything, every moment they shared, felt forced. I could feel Fitzpatrick organising the scene with calculation. Plus the many instances where a conversation began in one location, paused, moved to another then continued felt strange.
I had many issues with the story, but I still enjoyed it. Loved it? Absolutely not, but it was what I was after. There was nothing heavily, it was light and easy.
But it’s not one I would recommend. Ever.
So that’s it for this months books!
Have you read any of them? If so, let me know your thoughts below!