Friday, 7 April 2017

Spring Reading List 2017

We are well and truly in Spring now, even if the weather here in Manchester doesn't always agree. I haven't done a reading list since September, as I kind of missed the boat for a Winter Reading List amidst the general upheaval in my life towards the end of last year.
However, I am finally back on the reading bandwagon and have spent far too much money in Waterstones and on Amazon of late. These are the books I've picked out to read this Spring, and I figured this might come in handy for anyone searching for something new to read.

I ordered Ink because the plot sounded unique and slightly gross. It reads "Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin forever. When Leora's father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all." Kinda gross, kinda cool, plus the cover is stunning. That's the only reason I got the paperback instead of the kindle version. I'll report back once I've read it!
 
I read and reviewed the first book in the Themis Files series, Sleeping Giants, in May last year and it blew my tiny mind. I was never quite sure where the book was going; it was filled with twists and turns, the characters were incredibly realistic and well developed, and I distinctly remember having to put down the book for a while in an attempt to process what had just happened. Neuvel's writing style is punchy and to the point, while relishing in description in a way that isn't overdone or pretentious. Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited when I saw this on a shelf in Waterstones. Since Sleeping Giants finished on a cliffhanger, I need to read this asap.
This book and I go way back. I used to check it out of the library fairly frequently as a teenager and it was a constant source of wonder. It definitely influenced some pretty poor prose I wrote around that time (that will never see the light of day) and has had a lasting effect on my reading preferences and the myriad of half-written books that litter my hard drive. Mythology and folklore have always been my jam (see many years of university studying ancient myth), and I'm so glad that I finally have my own copy. I can't wait to reread this for the first time in years and remember why I loved it so much.

Whoever did the marketing for this book can give themselves a pat on the back, because it is everywhere. I've been seeing the cover of Caraval everywhere, and the plot sounds right up my street. It follows the sisters Scarlett and Tella who live on the tiny island of Tresda, and their excitement as the week-long performance of Caraval comes to their home. Although they've always been told that everything in Caraval is pretend when Tella goes missing things become dangerously real. I think it sounds pretty fun, although from the blurb it sounds like they've given away quite a lot of the plot already. I'm hoping there's a completely off-the-wall twist in there otherwise it could end up being a bit boring.

 Sticking with my love of folklore, I picked up The Bear and the Nightingale because it sounded right up my street. It sounds like it's in a similar vein to Naomi Novik's Uprooted (click for one of my earliest and slightly crappy blog posts), as it makes use of Eastern European and Russian folklore. I loved the woods as a child, and still do as an adult, and books set in the woods with darkness at their heart are my thing. This sounds like something I'm going to love.

I may have bought this book entirely because of The Anna Edit. It's very different to everything else on this list because it's *gasp* non-fiction. It's about style, fusing masculinity and femininity and the modern women who embody the aesthetic today. It's an aesthetic I enjoy, but I'm not sure it's quite me. Who knows, perhaps this book will convince me that I should start investing in tailoring.

The Essex Serpent has been around for a while now, winning numerous awards and becoming one of the best-selling books of 2016. Set in 1893, it follows the newly-widowed Cora Seaborne and her son in their move to Essex, where rumours of the mythical Essex Serpent haunt the local village. In a bit of hell yeah for women, Cora is a keen naturalist, in the style of the real-life Victorian women who created a name for themselves in the fields of botany, palaeontology and geology (see Mary Anning for just one example). Cora has no patience for superstition, and instead decides to seek out this serpent, thinking it might be an undiscovered species of snake. The book is described as a celebration of love in all its many forms, and sounds like a really lovely read.

I am so excited to read Strange the Dreamer. It follows junior librarian Lazlo Strange in his pursuit of the lost city of Weep, and is filled with murdered gods, a mysterious band of warriors and a blue-skinned goddess haunting his dreams. I don't know enough to speak more about it as the blurb doesn't give away much, which in my books is a very good thing. Keep your eyes peeled for a review!

Gemina is the sequel to Illuminae which I reviewed almost a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed. The immediate draw for this series isn't the plot, but the visual aspect of the books. Illuminae made full use of creative page layouts and art to enhance the story, and Gemina seems to be along the same lines. Gemina follows different main characters to Illuminae, but happens simultaneously. From the sounds of the blurb, Kady, Ezra and AIDAN will still feature, but instead, the focus is on Hanna and Nik who live on Jump Station Heimdall. I'm very much looking forward to reading this, as I suspect that much like Illuminae it won't be massively taxing, there will probably be a cool twist and it will just be a hell of a lot of fun.

I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about Firebrand. I loved the Green Rider series as a teenager, but the last two books were a little lacklustre and the whole thing felt a little tired, and lacking in the wonder of the natural world that suffused the first three books. I may also be a little old for the premise. While I loved the idea of being a horseback messenger in a fantasy world when I was fifteen when I reread the series about six months ago a lot of the enjoyment was purely nostalgia-based. I'll see how this one goes, but if I find myself getting bored I may choose not to continue with the series.

That's all for now, as I've spent a small fortune on books and probably can't afford to buy any more for about six months. Keep an eye out for some reviews in the coming months as I gradually work my way through them. Although quite sci-fi and fantasy focused, hopefully you found something of interest.

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