What I’ve Been Reading: October 2017 Book Reviews

It may be over a week later than usual (oops), but my October round-up is finally here! Hopefully you can find a book you like the sound of amongst the fantasy, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic and young adult reads I’ve been getting into.

Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant #2)

Ben Aaronovitch

moon over soho.jpg

In the second book of the Rivers of London series, probationary constable Peter Grant, investigates a new spate of bizarre and magical murders in England’s capital city. This time, jazz musicians are dying unexpectedly after playing gigs in Soho, and it’s up to Peter to find out why.

My favourite thing about these books is how well it melds the ordinary and the extraordinary, by using familiar landmarks around central London (this time, mainly around Soho) as a backdrop for supernatural police work. This was a really fun book with plenty of humour and unconventional magic.

Rating: 4/5

Turtles All The Way Down

John Green

Turtles All The Way Down Cover Quotes John Green

Full Review

Turtles All The Way Down is a young adult story about a sixteen-year old girl named Aza who suffers from severe OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). The story begins when Aza and her best friend Daisy decide to investigate the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, whose son Aza went to camp with years before. As they begin to investigate the disappearance, Aza reconnects with the billionaire’s son, Davis, Aza and Daisy’s friendship is put to the test, and Aza faces the tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

I loved this book. John Green’s writing is smart, poignant, and emotional, and for me, this is definitely one of his best. I thought the mental illness representation was great, I loved the characters and the sprinklings of humour, and the story felt emotionally impactful and unique. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a thoughtful and smart read, particularly if you’ve enjoyed books like Adam Silvera’s History is All You Left Me (spoiler-free review here).

Rating: 5/5 – Book of the Month!

The Tethered Mage

Melissa Carusso

The Tethered Mage Melissa Caruso ARC Review

Full review

The Tethered Mage is the first book in a new fantasy series set in a world where rare individuals born with magical abilities are conscripted into the army and controlled by non-magical people called Falconers. The main character is Amalia, heir to an Empire, and born into a privileged upbringing filled with politics, subtlety, and duty. When Amalia inadvertently becomes a Falconer, she finds herself responsible for a powerful fire warlock. Meanwhile, the Empire looms closer to a war.

I really liked the concept of this book: the complicated power dynamic between the main characters sounded intriguing, and it had the potential for a really novel magic system. Sadly, the book didn’t quite live up to my expectations. To me, this feels a lot more like a YA-fantasy than an adult fantasy, since it lacks a lot of the complexity and slow-build that I would look for in an adult fantasy, and it feels a better fit for the more accessible YA genre. I was also surprised to find how much politics play into the plot. I didn’t dislike this book, and it wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t really excite me.

Rating: 3/5

The End of the World Running Club

Adrian J. Walker

end of the world running clulb.jpg

When the end of the world arrives, Edgar is hungover. Thoroughly unprepared and more accustomed to a life of office-work and alcohol than post-apocalyptic survival, Edgar ends up on the opposite side of the UK to his family, and finds himself in a race against time to cross the dangerous post-apocalyptic wasteland to reach them.

This was an unexpected read that completely blew me away. The writing was addictive, the action fast-paced and gripping, and the author painted a vivid post-apocalyptic setting that was a definite highlight for me. I loved the dark, gritty feeling of this book, and it’s rare that a standalone manages to pull me in this much.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Time of Contempt (The Witcher #4)

Andrzej Sapkowski

time-of-contempt.jpg

Time of Contempt is the fourth book in the series of books that inspired the Witcher video games (including one of my personal favourite games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt). The fantasy series follows Geralt, a skilled monster hunter, and Ciri, the girl he has taken on as his ward and who has begun manifesting unusual and potentially dangerous powers. The books are set in a fantasy world filled with sorcery, monsters, action, and intrigue.

The pacing in this book is slow, and the plot revolves mainly around politics, as we’re introduced to countless sorcerers and sorceresses, and learn about the various leaders in the world. Whilst I like the focus on politics, I found it hard to keep track of all the new characters and their allegiances, and after a touch-and-go beginning to the book, I loved the ending, which is told from Ciri’s point of view. Whilst I didn’t like this book as much as its predecessors, the ending left me excited to find out what happens next.

Rating: 3.5/5

Those are the books I read this October, and I’m happy to say that Turtles All The Way Down was without a doubt my favourite from the selection. For November, my TBR so far only consists of one book: James S. A. Corey’s Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6), which I’m slowly making my way through. Things are a little busy at the moment, so I’ll see what else I can get around to reading (and hopefully, blogging about!).

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