What I’ve Been Reading: January 2017 Book Reviews

For the new year, I’ve decided to change the way I do my book reviews. I’ve decided to publish more individual reviews, mostly for books I’ve particularly enjoyed or have a lot to say about. Still, I won’t be writing a full review for every single book I read, and there’s something nice about rounding up all the books I’ve read each month. So I’m still going to be doing my monthly round-ups, which will contain short reviews of the books I’ve read, and links to the longer reviews (which will still be spoiler-free).

Since it’s a new year, I also thought it would be worth presenting my rating system:

1/5 – I don’t think I’ve ever given a book this low a rating. This would mean I haven’t been able to find anything I like about the book.

2/5 – This means there might have been some things I liked about the book, but on the whole, I wasn’t a fan.

3/5 – If I give something three stars, I liked it, but it probably had a few flaws I found difficult to overlook.

4/5 – This means I really liked a book, and would definitely recommend it.

5/5 –  A five star book is one that I loved, and found almost impossible to put down. These are the kind of books that give me a book hangover.

And of course, sometimes my ratings will fall between these categories.

So, 2017, here are the books I’ve kicked off the year with.

The Hero of Ages

Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn Hero of Ages final.jpg

Series review | Goodreads

The Hero of Ages is the third installment in Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, which takes place in a world where gifted individuals have the power to draw powers from metals. In the first book, The Final Empire, a group of such individuals band together to overthrow the God-like oppressor and emperor, The Lord Ruler, and throughout this trilogy, the series evolves into much more than a simple rebellion.

For me, this was the perfect conclusion to the original Mistborn trilogy. This was easily the best book in the series so far, and was one of the most satisfying endings in any series I’ve read. It’s a series with its flaws, but it’s one that I’ve really enjoyed, and I found this last book almost impossible to put down.

Rating: 5/5 – Book of the month!

Cinder

Marissa Meyer

Cinder simple.jpeg

Full review | Goodreads

In Cinder, Marissa Meyer takes the fairytale of Cinderella and turns it on its head. In this young adult sci-fi, she takes the Prince, the ball, and a cruel stepmother, and throws them into the mix with androids, interplanetary politics, and a deadly plague.

I loved the characters and setting for this book, which had me hooked from the first twenty pages. I particularly loved getting to know the main character, Cinder, a resourceful cyborg and talented mechanic, and her friend, a quirky and light-hearted android named Iko. My only complaints about Cinder were that the pacing dwindled a little towards the end, and it was a little predictable in places. Overall, I really enjoyed Cinder and will definitely be moving onto the next book in The Lunar Chronicles series soon.

Rating: 4/5

The Heart Goes Last

Margaret Atwood

Atwood Heart Goes Last Edit.jpg

Goodreads

The Heart Goes Last is set in a dystopian society after an economic crash has left a huge number of people unemployed, homeless, and desperate. Stan and Charmaine are two of those people, and when they hear about a social experiment which means they will no longer need to live in their car, they’re just desperate enough to take part. As part of the experiment, Stan and Charmaine will spend every other month in a home of their own in a safe community, and they’ll be given jobs. However, every alternate month will be spent in a prison, while another couple, their ‘alternates’ will inhabit their home in their absence.

This was an intriguing concept, and it really grabbed my attention when I read the blurb, and kept hold of it throughout. With the backdrop of the dystopian society, the book explored more familiar themes like love, lust, jealousy and greed, and the mysterious nature of the social experiment kept me guessing throughout.

The characters themselves were fairly dull – but maybe that’s what I get for spending the rest of the month reading about cyborgs, monster hunters, and people with magical powers – and I found them difficult to relate to, and actually, difficult to like. This is a strange book to review, because I loved the setting and plot, but I’m just not sure about the characters or the ending, which left a lot of my questions unanswered.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Last Wish

Andrzej Sapkowski

Cropped good Witcher photo.jpg

Full review | Goodreads

The Last Wish is a collection of short stories from the past of a ‘witcher’ named Geralt, a man who has undergone numerous mutations and rigorous training, granting him with the powers, instincts and strength to hunt and assassinate monsters. These short stories are interspersed with chapters from Geralt’s troubled present, in which he rests in a temple after sustaining a life-threatening injury.

The gamers amongst you might recognise these books as the inspiration for the popular video game franchise, The Witcher. With or without playing the games first, this is an exciting and enchanting read, filled with intriguing characters, mystery, and peculiar monsters. I loved learning more about the characters I had met in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, most of all, Yennefer. This book was so easy to read, and I found myself compelled to spend every spare moment picking it back up again.

Rating: 4.5/5

Previous month’s reviews:

december-reviews-final-cover

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