This Week, I Read… (#5)

11 - Six of Crows.JPG

#11 – Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

If I’d had time enough, I would have devoured this book in a single day.  I legitimately had a hard time putting it down to do things like eat and sleep and go to work.

From what I’ve seen, this book is fairly polarizing–the lovers adore the characters and the world, and the haters think both are boring/filler/derivative.

I was absolutely charmed.  While juggling a cast of six protagonists, five of whom have POV chapters, could lead to a disconnect with some of them if they’re not distinct enough personalities…well, they are distinct enough.  These characters leapt off the page and demanded my attention.

On top of that, the writing flowed well, the style being descriptive without hedging towards purple prose, and the action being fast-paced.

I read this without reading the Grisha trilogy first (having been informed that SoC is set in that world, but not a direct sequel, so that’s okay) and now, someday when I have time and fewer books in my TBR, I may very well read those, too.  I’m certainly planning to read the next book, whenever that eventually comes out.

12 - Royal Airs

#12 – Royal Airs, by Sharon Shinn

When do I not love a Sharon Shinn novel?  I enjoyed this thoroughly, though I will say it’s not her best.

My major criticism is that the romance between Josetta and Rafe has almost no internal tension.  All of the obstacles to their happily-ever-after are external, and while they’re certainly valid problems to tackle, that structure makes the two of them more passive than I like my protagonists to be.

The love interests in Shinn’s works always end up together, the reader knows that, but in this one it felt extra inevitable because they never really questioned or doubted their feelings for each other, only their ability to stick together because of what the world was throwing at them.  Not as compelling as it could have been.

On the other hand, Josetta’s relationship with her half-sister and fellow princess Corene was lively and engaging.  The web of power centered around the throne remains as complicated as it was in the first book (Troubled Waters), and despite the revelations of the two women’s parentage, they are still in line for the throne, and who will sit on it is always the question.  Corene shines in this story, even though it’s not her own (that’s the next one, which I’m looking forward to) because in many ways, she’s Josetta’s foil, and their relationship is more interesting than the romance.

Which is why I enjoyed this book, but can’t give it five stars.  I’ll keep reading the series, though, I’ll read anything with Sharon Shinn’s name on it!

13 - March Book One

#13 – March: Book One, by John Robert Lewis

Can all history come in graphic novel format?  This felt far more vivid than any of my classroom textbooks ever did.  I won’t remember the dates (I never do) but I’ll remember the events, and I’m definitely going to read the rest of the volumes.

14 - Rain Village

#14 – Rain Village, by Carolyn Turgeon

This one’s a DNF — Did Not Finish. I got halfway and lost what little interest I still had.

It’s another case of the main character being far less interesting than someone else in the book–in this case, Tessa being overwhelmed by her mentor, Mary.  Even when little Tessa grows up enough to run away to join the circus–yes, literally, this story is about a circus–all anyone can talk about when she gets there is Mary this and Mary that.  I found myself sitting down to read, getting through a few chapters, then becoming bored and setting it down to do something else.  I wanted to like it far more than I actually did–it had a lot of promise at the beginning, when Tessa was introduced and her resistance to dull farm life explored.  But by the time her journey takes her to the circus, she’s still boundlessly naive and constantly whining, and I just couldn’t endure it any longer.

Which is a shame, because the language was beautiful, and the imagery often quirky and interesting.  Too bad Tessa wasn’t.

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