Hello all! It most certainly has been a while since my last post but I’m finally ready to give you my November Wrap-Up! I’m sorry in advance as this post isn’t very good, but I thought it best to get something out sooner rather than later.
November was a good reading month for me despite working away from home for half of the month! Some of my mini reviews are quite a bit longer this month – I wrote some of them straight after reading the book which I don’t normally do (but probably should). I got through a grand total of 3 novels and 5 short stories. \O/
1. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. It took me ages to read because I really didn’t like it. It’s a shame really as I was expecting more from it. The story was utterly unbelievable which can work for some books; however, not for this one. I have written a more in-depth review which can be found here. 2/5
2. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Echo is a 17 year old human thief from New York who has been raised in a hidden world underneath the city with the Avicen, a bird-like race. She is dragged into the middle of an ongoing war between the Avicen and the Drakharin, a dragon-like race and is tasked with trying to find the fabled Firebird, said to be able to solve the conflict. I really enjoyed this book; the world-building was incredible and Grey’s descriptions were easy to imagine. One particular passage that stood out for me came early in the book; the description of the Shilin Night Market in Taiwan. The description was spot on which, for me, gave credibility to the other descriptions of places I haven’t been to. The pacing was good and kept me interested throughout and I particularly liked the character development of all characters but one; Echo’s boyfriend, Rowan was unfortunately absent for most of the book… However, as the first book in a series, I think and hope that he will make more of an appearance in the upcoming sequels. Echo is incredibly snarky which I loved and did I mention that she lives in a library? As far as debut novels go, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was impressed with Grey’s work. As the first book in a series, I have to say that I am eagerly awaiting the second instalment! 4/5.
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This novel is told through the eyes of Scout Finch, retelling events that occurred in the 1930s when she was between the ages of 6 and 9. It is safe to say that I utterly adored this novel. The memorable characters, including Scout’s father, the wonderful Atticus Finch (a lawyer) and her brother Jem, who are written with so descriptively, you feel as though you know them personally. The perspective of a child is particularly interesting as you see the innocence, curiosity and idealism of Scout and her peers. I also read this during Anti-Bullying Week and the portrayal of bullying is an interesting one, with adults and children alike verbally bullying Scout and Jem because of the case their father is involved with. It is a painful portrayal of human nature, but one we all know is real, even if we do not want to admit it. This book is definitely now one of my favourites. 5/5
4: The Transfer by Veronica Roth
This short story comes from the perspective of Four and is set before he meets Tris, the main character of the Divergent trilogy. It deals with the lead-up to and then his transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless. It is a very moving story about a son getting away from physical and emotional bullying from his own father. What I particularly like about this story is the fact that only Four knows about this side of his father. Everyone else thinks his father is wonderful and he is respected. Roth explores the emotional abuse well, with Four initially intent on going along with his father’s wishes and staying in Abnegation. Four toys with the idea of changing factions, reluctant to disobey his father and somewhat willing to withstand the abuse just for the sake of familiarity. 5/5
5. The Initiate by Veronica Roth
Following on from The Transfer, The Initiate does what it says on the tin and explains the story behind Four’s beginnings in Dauntless. I liked this story because it was nice to gain insight into Four’s life before Tris. I think I may have enjoyed this more had I read the Divergent Trilogy more recently. Not as strong as The Transfer, but still solid. 4/5
6. The Son by Veronica Roth
I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the previous two. It was superfluous; we know most of what happens in this story from the Divergent trilogy. Certain aspects of this story that have changed how I view parts of Divergent and Allegiant, and not in a good way. Roth’s timeline seems to go askew at this point, which is a real shame. 3/5
7. The Traitor by Veronica Roth
In this story, I really disliked Four’s characterisation. It makes no sense to me why it would change from that which was built up in the previous three stories. This story overlaps with Divergent which I can imagine would appeal to many fans but to me, it just feels like a replay. I don’t think it adds much to the Divergent story as a whole. Unfortunately, a disappointing end to Four: A Divergent Story Collection. 3/5
8. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill:
I read this for November’s Library Scavenger Hunt – to read a book by an author who shares your first name. So for those of you who didn’t know what my first name is, now you do! 😀 Now then, the book. It is set in a world where the existence of vampires was announced to the world eight months prior and follows Merit, a 28 year old grad student from Chicago who is attacked by a vampire. The attacker is scared off by another vampire, Ethan, who saves her life by turning her into a vampire. Firstly, the good. I thought that the writing was decent. Not superb, but it kept me interested which is always a good thing. It was fairly witty and humourous and did make me chuckle a few times. I liked the characterisation of Merit and enjoyed seeing her adjust to life as a vampire. I also liked her dynamic with Mallory, her best friend and roommate. However, there were a few things that annoyed me. There were three or four mentions of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which was just overkill. The dreaded love triangle makes an appearance. Certain plot points are just implausible or downright convenient. Also, it’s supposedly set in Chicago but there are no non-white or LGBTQIA characters. This book is one that I really shouldn’t like. That said, it was enjoyable enough and I’d be interested to see where the series goes. 3/5
I’ll endeavour to get my November Haul out soon. I’ll also be working on my 2016 TBR (so excited!) so look out for that.
SSJ Time Lord 😀