Genuinely can’t believe it’s May! Even though Christmas feels like an age ago, the ensuing four months have passed in a flash. I managed to read 6 books in April, definitely not my best but to be fair one of the them was well over 700 pages (looking at you Gaiman). I actually really enjoyed everything I read this month, so read on if you want to know what books have been gripping me and why!
Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas
I’m a big fan of Maas’s other fantasy series, ACOTAR, and honestly anyone else who even vaguely enjoyed those books should check out Throne of Glass. It’s the first book in another series by Maas, and although possibly aimed at slightly younger readers, this bears all of the traits of Maas’s signature style. I personally don’t think that this was on a par with the ACOTAR books, but then again I think I probably read them the wrong way round. The world of Throne of Glass seems slightly simpler, the characters are slightly younger, and this book at least is shorter, and therefore the storytelling is of a slightly more simplistic nature. However, I really enjoyed this book, it was a quick and gripping read, and I’ll definitely be looking out for the rest of the series.
Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder
This was one of my first re-reads in a long time, although one which I used to read a lot when I was younger (and couldn’t afford new books!). This is the first in Snyder’s Study series, and the first three of these – there are now six – were some of my absolute favourites around 10 years ago. This initial instalment especially is quite dark, going into Yelena’s shocking past, and exploring themes of power, abuse, and control. I think the characters themselves save this from being too distressing, and they are fantastically built and developed. The more ‘evil’ characters are not developed quite so well, although they are largely confined to this book, so I guess it’s understandable that the character focus was on those who would feature more prominently in the sequels. The plot itself is actually fairly similar to that of Throne of Glass, with a young woman imprisoned for crimes being released to serve in a dangerous job for the incumbent ruler. Poison Study goes a little deeper, weaving two plot aspects together quite cleverly. One is Yelena’s development, the other being the overall driving plot of this particular book. This is such a comfort read for me, one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to people, and has inspired me to look at buying the rest of the series… Oops!
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
This was consistently recommended to me over a long period of time, so I finally gave in and read it. The whole book is slightly insane, and makes very little sense, but wow. It’s also absolutely fantastic. There’s a strong mythological theme running throughout, which I really liked, especially the incorporation of multiple pantheons of ‘gods’. The book is full of strange semi-fantastical characterisations, and I think it’s safe to say that very few people are ever what they seem. The plot itself is basically less of an actual plot and more like a road trip, with (very rare) periods of stability punctuating the madness. I felt generally awful for the central character, Shadow, but there are no other characters which the reader can have any kind of feelings for. Even Shadow lives up to his name, and never allows the reader to truly understand. The unsuspecting element of horror was a kicker, but I’ll say no more. I loved this and I didn’t.
Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher
Short, quick, witty, and honest, Carrie Fisher’s memoir of sorts is insightful, but not special. It’s not as good as the Princess Diarist, her most recent memoir, yet you can’t help but love Carrie and her musings, her sarcastic quips and resolute acceptance of the way things go. There’s very few people who I can’t imagine liking this.
The Reading Cure – Laura Freeman
One woman’s honest account of her suffering form anorexia, and her beginning on the road back to truly enjoying food. Freeman has a friendly and engaging writing style, making this an enjoyable read, whilst also expertly addressing a mental health issue in a different yet approachable way. This is a great trip through some excellent books, and has definitely inspired many additions to my reading list! This is a great read for anyone, although booklovers, among others, will find it particularly enjoyable.
Bookworm – Lucy Mangan
Another booklovers’ book, this is a journey through Mangan’s childhood via the books she read and had read to her. It’s honestly amazing that the author can even remember half of this – I read a lot when I was young, and would struggle to tell you anything aside from those I still own – but we should all be very glad that she did. The reader gets a memoir and reading list all in one, in a funny, relatable, and honest manner. On top of this, I greatly enjoyed spotting children’s books which I knew I had read – and compiling yet another reading list, which I’m sure I’m not too old to read now… right?!