I read a bit more than I usually do in the first half of November. Here is my latest reading list:
Tis the Season to be Sinful by Adrienne Basso
This book arrived in a package from Jane. I had heard good things about Basso’s writing so I opened it with high hopes, but after a few chapters, I realized it wasn’t for me. The 1858-set story of an American businessman trying to buy an impressive country estate in order to hobnob with aristocrats and a widow who owns such an estate but does not want to sell it, Tis the Season to be Sinful felt predictable to me.
The problem wasn’t so much the plot (since I love marriage of convenience stories, and this turns out to be one) or even the main characters’ basic personalities (Richard and Juliet seemed likable enough). Rather, the problem lay with the slow pacing of the story, the lack of nuance and complexity to the character development, and the language, which occasionally jarred me. I felt unengaged and couldn’t make myself read further. DNF.
The Famous Heroine by Mary Balogh
This book was fun if occasionally silly (in a deliberately silly way), but the poignancy underlying the farce gave the story depth. My review can be found here.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
My husband and I recently read this YA dystopian which was reviewed by Jia back in May. Both my husband and I loved it up until the last 20% or so, where, for separate reasons, we each felt that implausibilities and inconsistencies cropped up. Even so, the book was well worth reading because Tris, the main character, was such a compelling mix of vulnerability and toughness, competitiveness and selflessness.
The romantic subplot was touching and there was a nice balance between it and the rest of the book. The book’s exploration of the nature of courage was fascinating as well. The first half of the book was marvelous and I was astonished that the author was only twenty-two when Divergent was published. The later sections had more flaws, but I’m still very glad to have read this book. B+/A-.
Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
This was an ARC of a book that will be out on November 29. Ilona Andrews’ Edge series has quickly become one of my favorite urban fantasy series.
In this one Kaldar Mar, Cerise’s cousin from Bayou Moon, has become an agent for the Mirror, the Andrianglian spy agency in the magical dimension known as the Weird. Kaldar’s latest assignment, to travel to the Edge (a dimension between the Weird and our own world), and enlist the thief who stole a top secret gadget to retrieve the stolen item, goes awry when twelve year old Jack and fourteen year old George, who first appeared in On the Edge, stow aboard Kaldar’s wyvern.
It doesn’t help that when Kaldar finds the thief, Audrey Callahan, she tasers him and ties him to a chair. But Kaldar isn’t one to give up, not when at stake is his revenge on the organization that killed his family members. So with the evil Hand in pursuit, Kaldar, Audrey, Jack, George and Kaldar’s cousin Gaston soon embark on elaborate con games designed to win back the gadget.
Fate’s Edge is filled with daring deeds, humor, and romance. Although I wished the romantic relationship had deepened earlier in the story, I enjoyed seeing Audrey and Kaldar, both con artists, impress and outdo each other. I love how capable Andrews’ heroines are, and Audrey is no exception. Kaldar was on the slick side, but he grew on me. Jack and George stole the show and I hope to see more of them in future books. There were a few inconsistencies, but overall, this book was a lot of fun. Normally I don’t even enjoy books about con artists so the fact that I had a blast reading this book says a lot. High B+.
What about you? What have you been reading lately? And if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned, what did you think of them?