Bout of Books 16 Wrap-up

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Pages read: 2299

Books started: 7 + 1 short story

Books finished: 6 + 1 short story

I challenged myself to only read e-books this time, since I’ve accrued quite a few on my Kindle. I managed to follow that for all of my reading except for one book (Persuasion by Jane Austen).

Keep reading for mini-reviews of the books I read! Somehow I picked a combination of REALLY wild stories.

Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer:

This is the last in a series about the Merrick brothers, who are “elementals” able to use the elements. So it’s sort of like a modern-day urban fantasy Avatar: the Last Airbender. This was definitely not the best book in the series. Michael’s arc was good, but the rest of the (large) cast suffered: several of the main characters of the previous books didn’t show up at ALL, and others were barely present. The story was pretty much the same plot as most of the previous books, and very melodramatic at points. I enjoyed the series as a whole for the romances, the magic, and for the brothers’ relationship which is very strong and dysfunctional, as they’ve had to survive alone as a unit since their parents died. 3/5 stars.

 

Lake Thirteen by Greg Herren:

This ghost story was terrifying, and I love being scared. A group of families go to vacation at Lake Thirteen, which is mostly abandoned for the summer and doesn’t seem like it has much to offer. While the parents go kayaking and whatever else parents do, the kids wander around and GET SOME CHILLS AND THRILLS. The mystery along with the haunting was really interesting, although not as hard to figure out as the book tries to make it. The protagonist was really likeable and believable, and his background tying into everything else was fairly well-done. There were some bizarrely coincidental happenstances in this story (especially in regards to why the main character is the one being haunted the most) but that was my main complaint. 4/5 stars.

 

“Fed” by Mira Grant:

This is an alternate ending to Mira Grant’s novel Feed. I HATED IT, THERE I SAID IT. I love Feed (and it’s sequels) but this was a boring, unpleasant what-if scenario. 2/5 stars.

 

Parasite by Mira Grant:

Sally Mitchell survived a fatal car=crash because of her Intestinal Bodyguard, a genetically-modified tapeworm (?sort of), but she has no memory of her past life and has to relearn everything. Six years after the crash, people start suffering from a “sleeping sickness” with terrifying consequences DUM DUM DUMMMM. Even with all the fake medical science, the “monster” was very well set-up and described so as to very chilling and believable. I loved Sal, an intelligent woman who only has 6 years of experience to draw on, and her boyfriend Nathan. There were lots of other interesting characters (Mira Grant is great at big, well-developed casts). Parts of this were incredible, but overall it was so slow-paced and even repetitive at times that I couldn’t love it. I will probably read the rest but hopefully they will have less repeated information and more action and plot developments. 3/5 stars.

 

Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster  Bujold:

A novella set in the world of The Curse of Chalion, one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time. This is about a completely unknown character, Penric, a minor noble’s son who gets saddled with (or saddles??I don’t really understand how it works) a demon when the demon’s rider dies suddenly. Penric has to figure out how to get along with the demon, who is working off 12 lives of experience, and he has to not get possessed, and also not get murdered by everyone who is afraid or jealous of him. It’s complicated! Penric is adorable and does weird things like name the demon! Everyone gives him the side-eye! 5/5 stars.

 

The Raising by Steven dos Santos:

This is the third book of a hyper-violent, hyper-dark dystopian trilogy, centering around “Lucky” Spark, a really unlucky teenager who becomes one of the leaders of the resistance against the evil Establishment. There are a lot of things I dislike about this trilogy, especially the violence and cruelty that is so intense that it occasionally becomes cartoonish. Lucky is a very likeable guy though, who never gives up no matter how much he loses or sees destroyed. Sometimes he gets desperate and really hates the human race, but he never gives up on the hope of something good surviving from the whole mess. So….on the one hand this trilogy is really depressing, but it’s ultimately uplifting somehow. There are also crazy, crazy plot developments /devices that are sometimes laughably convenient (literally, that optocom sure got invented at the OPPORTUNE MOMENT). The plot gallops along so fast that you have to pay attention so you don’t miss anything crucial. Lucky’s little brother Cole finally gets an arc in this book, which was great even though he was strangely powerful for a 6-year-old-boy. This is fine. 3/5 stars.

 

Persuasion by Jane Austen:

PERFECTION.

This was a reread. This time around, I was noticing how one of the supporting characters, Louisa Musgrove, appears to fit the expectations of the typical Jane Austen heroine more than Anne does: she’s “lively,” “good-natured and unaffected,” and pretty smart. Anne is quiet, but she’s very intelligent and much more observant, even though she doesn’t attract as much attention as other Jane Austen heroines (except Fanny, I suppose). Louisa’s observant too, but she’s only observant towards those things in her direct line of interest, whereas Anne observes as much as she possibly can. I didn’t really notice before how important it is for a Jane Austen heroine to be so aware of her surroundings and people.

Anyway, this book is wonderful and I love it. 5/5 stars.

 

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman:

I’m only halfway through this so far BUT I LOVE IT? I wish I had started it earlier in the weekend because it’s very engrossing. Seraphina is half-human, half-dragon in a world where dragons are cold and calculating but can take human form. Everybody is super racist against the other species so Seraphina has to keep what she is a secret. Also there are assassinations and court intrigues and bastards and SO MANY DRAGONS.

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